Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

If Trump & Clinton were D&D characters

September 28, 2016

If the presidential contenders had Dungeons & Dragons alignments, Hillary would be lawful evil, and Trump would be at best neutral evil, at worst, chaotic evil.

Source: Rod Dreher | The American Conservative

Hillary Clinton as the more effective evil

September 27, 2016

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In last night’s debate, Hillary Clinton demonstrated that she is more fit to be President than Donald Trump in terms of temperament, experience and understanding of the issues.

She is able to rule her emotions.  She has the background knowledge required of a world leader.  She would not be a national embarrassment to the United States on the world stage.

But I don’t think these qualities will, in fact, make her a good President.  They will make her a more effective evil.

Compared to Trump, she would face fewer obstacles in leading the United States into war, and she would be better able to defuse opposition to Wall Street and the monopolization of wealth by a tiny elite.

Trump, by reason of his inexperience, ignorance, lack of self-control and lack of allies in the Washington establishment, would be easier to stymie—which is not to say that a Trump administration would be harmless.

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What I think about Donald Trump

September 21, 2016

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Source: Joel Pett, Lexington (Ky) Herald-Leader.

The passing scene: Deplorables, debt and Osama

September 21, 2016

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand White People by Jason Johnson for The Root.

Progressives Are Targets of Hillary’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ Speech by John V. Wash for Counterpunch.

Donald Trump tries to reassure supporters they’re not really racist.   Hillary Clinton tries to reassure supporters it’s okay to be elitist.

The Coming European Debt Wars by Michael Hudson for Defend Democracy Press.

The European Union is in crisis because it insists on repayment of debts that are too great to ever be repaid.

An Anniversary of Shame by Michael Hirsch for POLITICO.

Some in the CIA say the “war on terror” could have won in six months if the U.S. government had not given “regime change” priority over capturing or killing Osama bin Laden.

Hard choices and lesser evils: links 9/15/2016

September 15, 2016

The Clinton Foundation’s Problems Are Deeper Than You Think by Nathan J. Robinson for Current Affairs.

The Question No One’s Asking About the Clinton Foundation by David Corn for Mother Jones.  [Added 9/22/2016]

How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money by David A. Fahrenthold for The Washington Post.

Guess which candidate’s foundation was caught in illegal campaign funding by David A. Fahrenthold for The Washington Post.

Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems by David A. Fahrenthold for The Washington Post.  [Added 9/20/2016]

American Greed: Trump’s Economic Team Is a Who’s Who of What’s Wrong by Richard Eskow for Campaign for America’s Future.

Hillary Clinton’s National Security Advisers Are a ‘Who’s Who’ of the Warfare State by Zaid Jilani, Alex Emmons and Naomi LaChance for The Intercept.

How The Trump Organization’s Foreign Business Ties Could Upend U.S. National Security by Kurt Eichenwald for Newsweek.

How I became radicalized

September 14, 2016

For most of my life, I thought my country was fundamentally sound and moving in the right direction.

I knew there were serious problems and injustices in American life, but I thought that these were aberrations, contrary to our democratic ideals, which under our democratic system would be reformed over time.

radicalismstock-photo-fake-dictionary-dictionary-definition-of-the-word-radicalism-180290102I rejected the Communist belief that the crimes of capitalism are systemic, while the failures of Communism are failures to correctly understand or follow Marxist doctrine.

But my own beliefs were the mirror image of this.  I believed that the crimes of Communist countries were the inevitable result of a bad system, while the crimes of Western countries were aberrations that could be corrected.

The first step in my radicalization was the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001.  I was shocked at how fundamental liberties, such as habeas corpus and trial by jury, could be simply wiped off the blackboard, and the majority of Americans would see nothing wrong with this.

I always thought of torture as the ultimate crime against humanity, because it destroys the mind and soul while leaving the body alive.   Torture became institutionalized, and even popular—possibly because of the illusion that it would be limited to people with brown skins and non-European names.

But I still thought of this as an aberration, part of a scheme by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others to restore executive power that had been lost after the Watergate hearings.  I voted for Barack Obama with great enthusiasm in 2008, not because I believed he would be a strong reformer, but because I thought he would restore the country to normal.

I soon learned that there was a new normal, one that was different from what I thought it was.

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Hard choices and lesser evils: links 9/14/2016

September 14, 2016

These linked articles provide worthwhile information and food for thought.   I don’t necessarily agree with the writers in all respects.

If Libertarian Gary Johnson Was President, Here’s What Would Happen to the U.S. Economy by Emily Stewart for The Street.

If Donald Trump Was President, Here’s What Would Happen to the U.S. Economy by Emily Stewart for The Street.

If Hillary Clinton Is Elected President, Here’s What Will Happen to the U.S. Economy by Leon Lazaroff for The Street.

What Jill Stein, the Green presidential candidate, wants to do to America by Max Ehrenfreund for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

What Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president, wants to do to America by Max Ehrenfreund for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

What Donald Trump wants to do to America by Max Ehrenfrend and Jim Tankersley for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

What Hillary Clinton would do to America by Max Ehrenfreund and Jim Tankersley for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

Is Jill Stein Worth Voting For? by Robert Nielsen for Whistling in the Wind.

Could Gary Johnson Be Relevant in 2016? by Robert Nielsen for Whistling in the Wind.

Hard choices and lesser evils: links 9/13/2016

September 13, 2016

The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee by Maureen Dowd for The New York Times.   Hillary Clinton, the ideal Republican.

The Only Shocking Things Donald Trump Has Yet to Do by David Rees for The Baffler.

Here’s what happens if a presidential nominee has to drop out of the election by Jeff Stein for Vox.

How the GOP honored Labor Day 60 years ago

September 5, 2016

GOP Labor Day 1956

Race, economic inequality and the 2016 election

August 31, 2016

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During the presidential primaries, Clinton supporters were prone to downplay the importance of economic inequality.

Black people, they said, were only concerned about racism and racial discrimination, not the gap between rich and poor.

But a Pew Research Center survey indicates that economic inequality is in fact the top issue among African American voters.

The survey indicates that 77% of American black voters view the gap between rich and poor as a very big problem, followed by crime (68%), with relations between racial and ethnic groups coming in third (61%).

Black Americans are much more concerned about crime than white Americans, which should not be surprising, because, as a group, they are much more likely to be victims of crime.

Interestingly, black Americans are less worried about immigration than white Americans, or even Hispanic Americans, are.

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Populists vs. liberals in American history

August 16, 2016

One of the main things I’ve learned from reading American history is that political alignments in the past were very different from what they are now, and that, prior to the New Deal, “populists” and “liberals” were rarely found in the same party.

By “populist,” I mean someone who defends the interests of the majority of the population against a ruling elite.  By “liberal,” I mean someone who takes up for downtrodden and unpopular minorities.

3080664-president-andrew-jackson--20--twenty-dollar-billAndrew Jackson, the founder of the Democratic Party, was a populist.  He gained fame as the leader of a well-regulated militia, composed of citizens with the right to keep and bear arms, who defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans and who fought for white settlers against Indians in what later became the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

He was regarded as a champion of poor workers, farmers and frontier settlers.  In an epic struggle, he broke the stranglehold of the financial elite, as represented by the Second Bank of the United States, on the U.S. economy.   Jacksonians fought for the enfranchisement of property-less white people.

In standing up for the common people, Jackson denied any claims to superiority by reason of education and training.  He defended the spoils system—rewarding his political supporters with government jobs—on the grounds that any American citizen was capable of performing any public function.

Jackson was a slave-owner and a breaker of Indian treaties.  He killed enemies in duels.  He was responsible for the expulsion of Indians in the southeast U.S. in the Trail of Tears.   He was not a respecter of individual rights.   He was not a liberal.

This was opposed by almost all the great New England humanitarian reformers of Jackson’s time and later.  They were educated white people who tried to help African Americans, American Indians, the deaf, the blind, prison inmates and inmates of insane asylums.  Almost of all them were Whigs, and almost all their successors were Republicans.

They were liberals, but not populists.  Like Theodore Parker, the great abolitionist and opponent of the Fugitive Slave Law,  they despised illiterate Irish Catholic immigrants in his midst.  Poor Irish people had to look for help to the Jacksonian Democratic political machines.

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Could the GOP become the pro-worker party?

August 15, 2016

My parents were New Deal Democrats, and I was brought up to revere the memory of Franklin Roosevelt and to believe that the Democrats were the party of working people.

DCdivided-300x253But a strange thing happened in American politics during the past 20 years.  Blue-collar workers and high school graduates have become the base of the Republican Party, while college-educated professionals are now the base of the Democratic Party.

As recently as 1992, when Bill Clinton ran against George H.W. Bush, he had a huge lead among workers earning less than $50,000 a year, and high school graduates and dropouts.  The elder Bush won by a similarly large margin among workers earning $100,000 a year or more, and narrowly carried college graduates.

In contrast, a CNN poll conducted right after the 2016 conventions gives Hillary Clinton a 23 percent lead among college graduates and an 18 percent lead among voters earning more than $50,000 a year.  Donald Trump is competitive among voters earning less than $50,000 a year and has a 26 percent lead among whites with high school educations or less.

This isn’t because Republicans actually represent the interests of working people.  Leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan—and including Donald Trump—still believe that the key to prosperity is deregulation and tax cuts for rich people, policies which have been tried and failed for the past 25 years.

But Trump, in his saner moments, at least talks about the concerns of working people.  Hillary Clinton at the moment seems more interested in reaching out to conservatives and anti-Trump Republicans.

My guess is that she will win in November, probably in a landslide, based on an alliance of racial and ethnic minorities, women and college-educated white professionals, plus the disgust of middle-road voters with Trump’s antics.

But if she governs in the interests of Wall Street, as her political record and donor list indicate she will, Republicans could reinvent themselves as champions of the working class.

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Jill Stein’s strange choice for Green VP

August 10, 2016

What was Jill Stein thinking when she picked Ajamu Baraka as the Green Party’s vice presidential candidate?

I don’t entirely disagree with Baraka.  It is true that Sanders isn’t as eager for war as Clinton, but he does not challenge the basic assumptions behind U.S. war policies.

The problem is that mere denunciation will not change anybody’s mind.  Baraka’s rhetoric will appeal only to those who already agree with him.

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Daily Kos writer smears Jill Stein

August 9, 2016

Jill Stein is a fraud.  Check out her list of campaign contributors per the FEC. The top five donations are from corporate interests — AON, Xoom Global Money Transfer, IBM, Thoughtworks, and UPS.  Would Bernie take money from any of these?

Source: Daily Kos

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Jill Stein

This sounds bad, doesn’t it?  Corporations are barred from making contributions directly, but the Vote Smart web site editors track the affiliations of individual contributors—which can be top level executives or rank-and-file workers.

The answer to the question is that Bernie Sanders would have taken $27 donations from employees of any of these organizations.

Here are the facts.

Vote Smart reported that Jill Stein has raised $859,155 so far in this election.  The top affiliations of contributors were:

  • $2,700 from AON, an insurance company.
  • $2,600 from Xoom Global Money Transfer
  • $2,000 from IBM Corp.
  • $2,000 from Thoughtworks
  • $1,550 from UPS.

Does that seem like big money?  Compare this with Hillary Clinton, who has raised $264 millionmore than 300 times as much.  The top affiliations of her contributors were:

  • $641,593 from the University of California
  • $432,615 from Emily’s List, which supports feminist and women candidates.
  • $426,910 from Alphabet Inc. (Google)
  • $414,532 from Morgan & Morgan, a law firm specializing in personal injury cases.
  • $330,433 from Morgan Stanley.

Vote Smart reported that Donald Trump has raised $89 million.  The top affiliations of his contributors are:

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When (if ever) will Donald Trump self-destruct?

August 8, 2016

It’s a good thing we have photographic evidence of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump being in the same room at the same time.

Otherwise you could really convince me that after a blowout electoral loss on Nov. 8, “Trump” will walk onstage and pull off a rubber Scooby-Doo-type mask to reveal that it was really Bill Clinton all along, acting like the dumbest candidate in the world, just to guarantee that Hillary Clinton got into the White House.

The real Donald Trump is somewhere tied up in a Brooklyn, N.Y., basement, guarded 24-7 by Clinton surrogates, wondering why he’s allowed food and drink but no access to Twitter.

That’s more believable than the idea that out of all of their options, Republicans nominated a Gold Star-family-attacking, non-party-endorsing, baby-kicker-outer to face off against an ethically challenged policy wonk who barely connects to her own party’s base.

Source: Jason Johnson | The Root

In the early days of Donald Trump’s candidacy, I never thought he would get the Republican nomination.  I thought he would soon do or say something so offensive and outrageous that his followers would turn against him.

I’m still waiting for that to happen.

The daily news cycle seems to go like this.

  • Donald Trump says some shocking and offensive thing.
  • Washington press corps and respectable politicians denounce Trump for shocking and offensive thing.
  • Donald Trump refuses to back down from shocking and offensive thing.
  • Next day: Donald Trump says or does another shocking and offensive thing.

DonaldTrumpInstagram(JPEG Image, 1160 × 629 pixels)What Trump manages to do with all this is to keep public attention focused on himself.   He says so many shocking and offensive things that it is hard for the ordinary busy person, who has a job and family responsibilities, to keep them straight.  What remains is an impression of Trump as a strong person who doesn’t back down.

Hard-core of Trump supporters believe anything and everything he says, including that President Obama is a secret Kenyan-born Muslim socialist and that Muslim sharia law is a real and present danger to the USA.   There is no way to convince them of anything different because they are not interested in separating truth from falsehood, and have no criteria for doing so.

Their support is what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls anti-fragile.  No matter what Trump’s opponents do or don’t do, their faith in him grows stronger.

Another group supports Trump not on his merits, but because they think anything is better than the status quo.  The more he outrages established politicians and journalists, the better they like it.  The size of this group is a measure of the failure of American government during the past 15 or so years.

By the standards of the past, Trump would have been a fringe candidate, as would Bernie Sanders.  Their strong showings are due less to their own qualities than to the discontent of the American public.  I don’t think Trump supporters’ will cease to be angry at the status quo because Trump makes disrespectful remarks about a Muslim Gold Star mother.

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The influence of third-party candidates

August 6, 2016

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If you go further back in history, the other notable alternatives to the Democrats and Republicans were the Populist (or People’s) Party in 1892, Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party in 1912 and Robert (Fighting Bob) LaFollette’s Progressive Party in 1924 and Henry A. Wallace’s Progressive Party in 1948.

All of these parties except Henry Wallace’s actually carried states.  TR’s Progressives actually received more popular votes and electoral votes than incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.

The most successful third-party and independent candidates—Theodore Roosevelt, George Wallace and Ross Perot—were celebrities before they ran.

The Populists definitely influenced the major parties.  Democrats in 1896, 1900 and 1908 nominated William Jennings Bryan, who advocated most of their reform platform.

Theodore Roosevelt was not a spoiler.   Public opinion in 1912 favored progressive reform, and Woodrow Wilson, the victor, probably would have received much of the vote that went to TR.

Henry A. Wallace, interestingly, received almost as many popular votes as Strom Thurmond.  They each got about 2.5 percent (as did Ralph Nader in 2000).   But, because Henry Wallace’s votes weren’t concentrated geographically, he didn’t receive any electoral votes (nor did Nader).

It’s noteworthy how few votes Thurmond needed to carry four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.   I wonder how much was due to apathy and how much to voter suppression.   I read somewhere that in the 1928 election, the total votes cast in the former Confederate states were less than the voter turnout just in New York state.

Thurmond’s and George Wallace’s candidacies, along with Barry Goldwater’s candidacy in 1964, were part of the transition of the South from predominantly Democratic to predominantly Republican.

Ross Perot may have been a spoiler.   Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory was narrow, and I think Perot took away more votes from George H.W. Bush than from Clinton.  Perot’s emphasis on balancing the budget may have influenced Clinton, but his opposition to NAFTA most certainly did not.

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Five American parties on war and peace

August 6, 2016

The political platform of a political party is not binding on its candidates, but it is significant because it reflects what people who are most active in the party would like to see happen.

Since I think Americans should be open to voting for small political parties as well as large parties, I look at what the top five parties advocate concerning war and peace, which I think is the most important issue.

To sum them up:

  • The Democratic Party says it wants peace, but that it is threatened by ISIS, Syria, Russia, North Korea and others.
  • The Republican Party says peace is threatened by ISIS, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and others, and no limitations should be placed on possible U.S. military action.
  • The Libertarian Party opposes military intervention and “entangling alliances” and believes in armed neutrality, like Switzerland’s.
  • The Green Party thinks the USA should be guided by the United Nations charter and only engage in military action when authorized by the UN Security Council.
  • The Constitution Party opposes undeclared wars, treaties that commit the United States to military action and membership in the United Nations and other international bodies.

None of these is exactly what I think.   I’m somewhere between the Democrats (their platform, that is) and the Libertarians and Constitutionists.

∞∞∞

Below is a slightly more detailed summary of the party platforms, with my comments.

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Donald Trump sets a trap for his campaign donors

August 6, 2016

Donald Trump’s campaign web site provides no way for campaign contributors to cancel recurring donations.

Once you sign up, there is no apparent way to stop giving—unless you cancel your credit card or possibly arrange with your bank to stop payments.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign web site has a “remove” button for those who want to stop payments.

LINK

Donald Trump’s web site won’t allow you to cancel recurring donations by Jeremy Stahl for Slate.  (Hat tip to Joseph Cannon).

The perils of bipartisanship

August 6, 2016

The GOP defections to Team Hillary were already well underway by the time of last week’s Democratic National Convention, which featured endorsement speeches from billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Republicans.

Since then Hewlett-Packard executive and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has come out for Clinton.  So has Republican-leaning hedge fund billionaire Seth Karman and Republican Congressman Richard Hanna.  A CNN poll showed that nearly one in four self-identified conservative voters said they would support Clinton over Trump.

From a tactical point of view, it makes sense for Clinton to welcome their support. But it poses a dangerous temptation for her – especially when, as is the case with Bloomberg, Whitman, and Klarman, it presumably comes with buckets full of campaign cash.  She may see this support as a mandate to form something like a unity government with Republicans, a call to tack right toward the failed “centrism” and “bipartisanship” of the past several decades.

That would be a tragic error, but it would it follow a well-worn groove in recent American politics.

“Bipartisanship,” in this context, is the notion that government works best when corporate-backed politicians from both parties get together behind closed doors and decide what’s best for the country.  The “bipartisan” ideology gave rise to Washington’s long obsession with deficit reduction at the expense of more pressing concerns.  It nearly led to a cut in Social Security benefits, which would have been disastrous for millions of seniors, disabled people, and children.  It is responsible for the government spending cuts that, as economist Robert Scott explains, have been largely responsible for the weakness and slow pace of our current recovery.

Source: Richard Eskow | Campaign for America’s Future

As my e-mail pen pal Bill Harvey pointed out, appeasing Republicans is not a “temptation” for Hillary Clinton.   It is her default position.   It is what she will do unless pressured to do otherwise.

The difference between an establishment Democrat such as Clinton and an establishment Republican such as Jeb Bush or Paul Ryan is that the Democrat depends on the votes of working people and therefore can be pressured to vote in their interests, provided this doesn’t threaten their wealthy donors, whereas the Republican will not vote in their interests in any case.

The pressure on Clinton would have to be unrelenting and uncompromising, and even then there is no certainty it would work.

LINK

As Republicans Defect, Will Clinton Be Tempted to Tack Right? by Richard Eskow for Campaign for American’s Future.

The five major parties and their candidates

August 5, 2016

As my friend John (Jack) Belli points out, five major parties are running candidates in this year’s election.

The five parties are the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties.   They are “major” parties because their presidential candidates are on the ballots in at least 20 states and could in principle win a majority of the electoral votes.

In this post, I merely provide Wikipedia links to the five major parties and their candidates, as basic and more-or-less neutral sources of information.  The links show that the three small parties are not only different from the two large parties, but very different from each other.  In subsequent posts, I’ll compare and contrast their platforms on important issues.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY

For President: Hillary Clinton.

For Vice-President: Tim Kaine.

REPUPLICAN PARTY

For President: Donald Trump.

For Vice-President: Mike Pence.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY

For President: Gary Johnson.

For Vice-President: William Weld.

GREEN PARTY

For President: Jill Stein.

For Vice-President: Ajamu Baraka.

CONSTITUTION PARTY

 For President: Darrell Castle.

For Vice-President: Scott N. Bradley.

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Why limit your choice to just two parties?

August 4, 2016

In a fascist or Bolshevik dictatorship, I would be forced to vote for a single party that didn’t represent me.

Since I live in a democracy, why should I limit myself to voting for one of two parties that don’t represent me?

1. reverse-courseThe Democratic presidential candidate is Hillary Clinton, who is literally a paid servant of Wall Street, who is almost certain to involve the United States in more wars and who may possibly bring on World War Three.

The Republican presidential candidate is Donald Trump, a crooked businessman who cares nothing for human rights, the Constitution or the rule of law.

So why vote for either of them?  Why not vote for a candidate who favors peace, opposes Wall Street and upholds historic Constitutional rights?

Now you may disagree.  You may think that either Clinton or Trump represents a positive good and not a lesser evil.  If you do, nothing in this post applies to you.  It is aimed at people who think they have to choose between a greater and a lesser evil.

Many liberal Democratic friends agree there is some truth in what I write about Clinton, but they see it as their duty—and my duty—to vote for Clinton.  They say that to vote for anybody but Clinton, or to refrain from voting, is the same as voting for Trump.

They have two main arguments, which I call the Nader argument and the Hitler argument, which I will address below.

The Nader argument is that people who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 tipped the balance from Al Gore to George W. Bush.  So liberals and progressives should limit themselves to voting for the Democrat, no matter who, to prevent such a thing from happening again.

The Hitler argument is that Hitler came to power because the main German political parties—the Catholic Center Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party and the conservative anti-Hitler parties—were unable to bury their differences and unite against Hitler.   So liberals and progressives should bury their own convictions in the interests of stopping the supposedly Hitler-like candidate on the right.

What’s interesting about these arguments is that we all live in New York state, which is as certain to go for Hillary Clinton as anything can be.  All my presidential vote does is to express where my loyalty lies—to a political party or to my own beliefs.

Vaclav Havel, the great Czech playwright and dissident, wrote in his 1979 essay, The Power of the Powerless, about the manager of a fruit and vegetable shop under Communist rule putting a sign in his window saying, “Workers of the world, unite.”  The manager didn’t care about workers of the world uniting, and the sign wouldn’t affect whether workers of the world united or not.  What he was really doing by putting up the sign, Havel wrote, was saying: I am obedient and have the right to be left in peace.

I’m not comparing myself to somebody in a Communist country who would be persecuted for refusing to follow the party line.  The worst thing I risk is the mild disapproval of a few people.  What I am saying is that the issue is the same.  Where does my loyalty lie?

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Democrats embrace legacy of Ronald Reagan

August 3, 2016

… Ronald Reagan is the man whose name improbably electrified the Democratic National Convention … .

… . On Wednesday night, Barack Obama said:  Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.”  Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix.

On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton said:  He’s [Trump] taken the Republican Party a long way… from “Morning in America” to ”Midnight in America.”  He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.

And just in case the point wasn’t clear, a former official from the Reagan administration enchanted a crowd of screaming Democrats with this one-liner …):  Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.

Source: Corey Robin — Crooked Timber

I would say Donald Trump has more in common with Ronald Reagan than Bill and Hillary Clinton have in common with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

What a real US fascist movement would look like

August 3, 2016

Donald Trump is not intellectually, temperamentally or morally fit to be President of the United States.  If elected, he would do great harm to the United States and to the world.

Trump_1_21_againagainLike Hitler and Mussolini, he is contemptuous of laws, human rights or restrictions on mob violence.

But I don’t think he has a conscious goal of creating a fascist dictatorship, and, even if he did, he is not backed up by the kind of fascist movement that would make it possible.

A full-blown American fascist movement would have these characteristics:

  1.  A party line and strictly enforced party discipline.
  2.  An armed party militia.
  3.  A covert understanding with Wall Street.
  4.  A parallel structure of authority that superseded the legal governmental structure.

∞∞∞

Here’s why Donald Trump and his followers don’t fit that profile..

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Trump woos workers, Clinton woos Republicans

July 29, 2016

Donald Trump is going after the vote of blue-collar workers who, rightly, feel abandoned by the Democratic leadership, while Hillary Clinton is trying to woo anti-Trump Republicans.

For struggling American workers, Clinton is like a physician who says your terminal illness is incurable, and also charges bills higher than you can pay.  Trump is like a quack who offers you a treatment that probably won’t work, but you may be willing to try for lack of an alternative.

Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian, summed up the situation well:

Thomas-Frank_250

Thomas Frank

Donald Trump’s many overtures to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders were just the beginning.  He also deliberately echoed the language of Franklin Roosevelt, he denounced “big business” (not once but several times) and certain of his less bloodthirsty foreign policy proposals almost remind one of George McGovern’s campaign theme: “Come home, America.”

Ivanka Trump promised something that sounded like universal day care.  Peter Thiel denounced the culture wars as a fraud and a distraction.  The Republican platform was altered to include a plank calling for the breakup of big banks via the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.  I didn’t hear anyone talk about the need to bring “entitlements” under control.  And most crucially, the party’s maximum leader has adopted the left critique of “free trade” almost in its entirety, a critique that I have spent much of my adult life making.

It boggles my simple liberal mind.  The party of free trade and free markets now says it wants to break up Wall Street banks and toss NAFTA to the winds.  The party of family values has nominated a thrice-married vulgarian who doesn’t seem threatened by gay people or concerned about the war over bathrooms.  The party of empire wants to withdraw from foreign entanglements.

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Memo to Donald Trump: Don’t tell jokes

July 28, 2016

Donald Trump was asked yesterday about the hack into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails.

220px-Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)The Republican nominee said he did not know if Russia was behind that attack, but that he would like to see the Kremlin turn its attention to the 30,000 messages Mrs Clinton deleted prior to the FBI investigation into her email practices.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

Mr Trump, who was giving a press conference in Florida, said it gave him “no pause” to essentially sanction Russian cyber hacking on an American official.

“Hey you know what gives me more pause? That a person in our government – Crooked Hillary Clinton – that a person in our government would delete or get rid of 30,000 emails,” he said.

“Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean to be honest with you I’d love to see them.”

Source: The Telegraph (UK)

I thought that was funny, and I thought his joke had a point.  But almost every comment I’ve come across this morning treats Trump’s comment as a serious and shocking proposal.

Trump should have learned by this time something I learned very early as a newspaper reporter.  When you engage in humor or irony, vast numbers of people will not recognize it as such unless it is labeled as humor or irony.