The Train Wreck

And I cannot look away!

I have people ask me all the time just how I can watch/read about the politics of this country day after day….

It is just fascinating watching the conversation coming from the president change almost hourly…..Trump presidency is truly a train wreck in progress…..

In the corrosive and dangerous Trump presidency, the outrages fly so fast and the chaos mounts so thoroughly that it’s easy to pass off the entire unsettling phenomenon as one more made-for-TV-and-Twitter unreality show. New outrages drive the previous ones from our minds.

In recent days, two questions have dominated the discussion: Did he abuse his presidential power to boost his own political fortunes by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter? And is he obstructing justice by not cooperating with an impeachment inquiry?

These two questions have such enormous consequences for the nation that they may overshadow other alarming actions and traits. But we must not disregard the many other actions that have led to the hollowing out of our institutions, the cheapening of our spirit, the undermining of our values. Faced with the challenge to unseat, indeed to repudiate, Trump and his pernicious program for America, it’s essential not to forget the true damage he has done, continues to do and threatens to continue.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-10-20/trump-failures-outrages

Image

The nation’s government is looking like a tragedy….in 3 acts……

As the Ukraine scandal unfolds, President Donald Trump and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are frequently compared to a Mafia boss and his lawyer. We should be so lucky, because that would certainly mean the end of the mob.

It’s difficult to put into words how inept Giuliani is. But we’ll try… by making him a character in one of the most iconic mob movies in history: The Godfather.

It is the story of Don Corleone, a Mafia boss portrayed by Marlon Brando. Trump is often compared to this character while Giuliani is seen as playing the role of Corleone’s right-hand man (consigliere) Tom Hagen.

A key difference is that, while Hagen is extremely capable and effective, Giuliani clearly isn’t. So we thought it would be fun to imagine a mafia film modeled after scenes from the Godfather trilogy.

Our version stars Don Trump and his trusty sidekick Consigliere Giuliani as they hatch a foolproof plan to get prosecutors in the Ukraine to dig up dirt on their hated enemy, Sleepy Joe. We call it “The Ukraine Scandal — a Tragedy (for Democracy) in Three Acts.”

A Tragedy (for Democracy) in Three Acts

This whole drama begs the answer to one outstanding question….Is The US Political System Beyond Repair?

Well is it?

Moving ahead with the impeachment of Donald Trump is a good idea. Indeed, the fact that it is moving forward is a sign of the deep fissures in the ruling class. They are very divided. Even if it is done within the limited parameters hoped for by Pelosi and other mainstream Democrats, the process should expose the criminality of one party of the ruling class and the venality of both.

Despite the claim by some, the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump and others in his administration is not just cosmetic. Furthermore, because it is part of a process to ensure the government continues—to repair it, if you will—impeachment will not change the system.

Is the US Political System Beyond Repair?

Matters not if one is a supporter of Trump or not…..it is just fascinating watching the hole get deeper and deeper with every Tweet…..

So much happening and so little time…..we had better get this whole thing right or we could possibly kiss our way of life goodbye.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

A Call To Democracy

Once you got past the lies spread by our president you may heard about the protests going on Hong Kong……

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that drew a late-in-the-day apology from the city’s top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony, the AP reports. Nearly 2 million of the city’s 7 million people turned out, according to estimates by protest organizers. Police said 338,000 were counted on the designated protest route in the “peak period” of the march. A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated to voice their concern over Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory’s special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover. Well after dark, crowds gathered outside the police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s office.

On Saturday Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China. The move did not appease Hong Kong residents who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms and legal autonomy. In a statement issued late Sunday, Lam noted the demonstrations and said the government “understands that these views have been made out of love and care for Hong Kong,” adding: “The chief executive apologizes to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledges to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public,” it said. Not enough, said pro-democracy activists, who demand that the Lam administration retire the proposed amendments and not bring them up again for passage at a later stage.

Now the MSM and its pundits are telling the world about the ruthlessness of the Chinese government…how they are doing they can to dash any hopes of a democracy movement….

How nice!

And yet people trying for their democratic rights elsewhere are ignored by the MSM…..take the state of Israel as an example…..they do all they can to subvert the movements in the West Bank and Gaza

You know I have hard time seeing a group of people with rocks as the aggressor in that situation….rocks against airstrikes, artillery, tanks etc……and the Palestinians are the aggressors…..and that is how lies get started.

In The Land Of The Free

Our politicians are always, no matter the party, telling us to take back our democracy from one party or the other…..but let’s be honest there are not telling you the truth……most of what they taunt is myths and lies…..

Myth No. 8—We have a democracy.

If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? … You probably can’t do it. It’s like trying to think of something that rhymes with “orange.” You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn’t. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy: A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control.

Myth No. 7—We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.

Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!

Myth No. 6—We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.

Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can’t get anything resembling hard news because it’s funded by dicks.) The corporate media’s jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It’s their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I’m telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they’re standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.

Myth No. 5—We have an independent judiciary.

The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted, “The most basic constitutional rights … have been erased for many. … Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.”

Myth No. 4—The police are here to protect you. They’re your friends.

That’s funny. I don’t recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states.)

The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs—which by definition is a war on our own people.

We lock up more people than any other country on earth. Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea—none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty’s skirt.

Myth No. 3—Buying will make you happy.

This myth is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).

Myth No. 2—If you work hard, things will get better.

According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey: “80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs” and “[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.” That’s about one-seventh of your life—and most of it is during your most productive years.

Myth No. 1—You are free.

And I’m not talking about the millions locked up in our prisons. I’m talking about you and me. If you think you’re free, try running around with your nipples out, ladies. Guys, take a dump on the street and see how free you are.

I understand there are certain restrictions on freedom we actually desire to have in our society—maybe you’re not crazy about everyone leaving a Stanley Steamer in the middle of your walk to work. But a lot of our lack of freedom is not something you would vote for if given the chance.

 
Read!  These observations are accurate and if you ask yourself questions after reading then you will agree.
 
But if you blindly follow then you deserve to lose the rights that you have one at a time until there is NOTHING left.

Illiberal Democracy?

HUH?

Democracy is sacred, right?

Well it is until it isn’t!

On both sides of the Atlantic the regnant elites have launched a furious regime change campaign not all that different from the ones they started in the former Soviet republics. The formula seems to go like this: hold an election in which the full resources of the EU states and their upper classes are brought to bear on one side of the question. Vilify dissenters as more than likely agents of Vladimir Putin.

On the British side the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, which has been all along pretending to be in favor the people’s decision to leave the EU, has effectively sabotaged the process with so many exceptions, amendments, other concessions to Brussels that they might as well have stayed in.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/12/02/democracy-is-sacred-except-when-it-isnt/

Let’s start with the election of Donald Trump….some painted him as an “isolationist”…..not something that I say or heard from him in all his campaigning…..

Let’s go even further back say 15 years or so……Illiberal Democracy…….

The term “illiberal democracy,” advanced by some as an acceptable model for future change in many parts of the Middle East, is, in truth, an oxymoron. Real functioning democracies can never be illiberal. Nor can they be at peace with the rest of the world, a fact that makes their appearance quite problematic for many of their neighbors and for the world at large.

https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-oxymoron-of-illiberal-democracy/

But that was before the rise of Sir Donald…….enter Our Dear Supreme Leader and the royal presidency begins…..

Donald Trump never expected to win the presidency. As Michael Wolff exposes in Fire and Fury, he hoped to use the campaign to build his personal company’s brand and secure a career in right-wing media. Trump’s inner circle was so shocked by their victory that his wife Melania purportedly broke down in tears not out of joy, but horror at the prospect of moving into the White House and subjecting their pathological family soap opera to even more public scrutiny. Unprepared to rule, Trump scrambled to cobble together a cabinet with an amalgam of establishment Republicans, Wall Street Democrats, and far-right nationalists.

The new administration struggled from day one to produce a coherent foreign policy based on Trump’s slogans “Make America Great Again” and “Putting America First.” Trump’s consigliere Steve Bannon and his co-thinkers called for the United States to withdraw from free trade deals like the North American Free Trade.

https://isreview.org/issue/109/illiberal-hegemony-trump-administration-strategy-us-imperialism

Two years into a presidency and many are starting to see the Illiberal Hegemony as it begins to wrap itself around our country……

Barry Posen, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the leading scholars of American grand strategy, has a fascinating essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. I want to write more later about some areas where I disagree with Posen’s argument (some of which I articulated in the paper I wrote last year on libertarian foreign policy). However, I want to highlight here an aspect of Posen’s argument that I think is spot on.

Since he first articulated his “America First” foreign policy agenda during the 2016 campaign, critics have argued that Donald Trump wanted to end American hegemony. Posen argues that, as president Trump, has not actually tried to end American leadership of the international system. If anything, he has accelerated. However, Posen claims that Trump has also transformed America’s strategy of “liberal hegemony” into an “illiberal hegemony.” He writes,

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/notes/donald-trumps-illiberal-hegemony/

Trump is striving to set up his own little imperial court……maybe now with a Dem majority in the House this country will and should return to its liberal roots…..

But will it?

Further Reading:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trump-the-illiberal-hegemonist/

https://www.lawliberty.org/2019/01/04/homegrown-varieties-of-illiberal-democracy/

Is More Democracy Better?

We have just practiced one of our “inalienable rights”….we voted in the midterms and according to the pundits democracy has won out over the silliness in the country today.

But has it?

I still have not seen a backlash that all were predicting…..okay the Dems won the House…..who did not see that coming?  Repubs keep the Senate….and this is a surprise?  At what point will all that make a difference to my life?  But it does give the high paid pundits something to talk about…..

Just what did the midterms prove?

People voted…..Trump still has a 40% approval……Dems still are as rudderless as always….do I really need to continue?

But now let’s look at the democracy we love (about here someone will no doubt point out that the US is a republic…..thanx for that now go back to sleep)……

Candidates and Political Parties…….the candidates no longer need to hold to party ideology……

n the late evening of August 29, 1968, a balding fifty-seven-year-old wearing a black suit and a black tie took the stage at the International Amphitheatre, in Chicago, to accept his party’s nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Framed by a gray backdrop, Hubert Humphrey promised America a bright new day: “It is the special genius of the Democratic Party that it welcomes change, not as an enemy but as an ally; not as a force to be suppressed but as an instrument of progress to be encouraged.”

When he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, some two decades earlier, Humphrey was hailed as a liberal hero for his outspoken support of civil rights. When he served as Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vice-President, he continued to champion progressive causes like equal-opportunity hiring and privately expressed misgivings about the military escalation in Vietnam. But, during the primaries, he did not publicly distance himself from Johnson even as the President became less and less popular, and activists gradually came to see Humphrey as the hapless face of a failing establishment. “Once a fiery liberal spirit,” the satirist Tom Lehrer lamented in song, “Ah, but now when he speaks he must clear it. / Second fiddle’s a hard part, I know, / When they don’t even give you a bow.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/11/12/is-more-democracy-always-better-democracy

An outside group, Indivisible, has taken upon themselves to help the Dems grow a spine…..a lofty task……..

After more than year of playing defense against President Donald Trump and the GOP’s attacks on healthcare, workers, immigrants, refugees, the LGBTQ community, and the common good, the progressive group Indivisible on Tuesday published a new action guide aimed at helping organizers and constituents go beyond resistance and pressure the new House Democratic majority to fight for a positive, ambitious agenda.

“This guide is for what comes next,” Indivisible notes, contrasting the new roadmap with its viral 2016 Trump resistance guide.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/14/help-democrats-stiffening-their-spines-new-indivisible-guide-details-how-trump

The GOP may be a hopeless cause…..they have sided with sex deviates and have lambasted a military man in defense of a cowardly president……their redemption will be harder for these spineless slugs…

Democracy is a fascinating topic and I will re-visit it in the near future….

Turn The Page ….but Stay Tuned!

Closing Thought–27Nov18

How many of my readers were on the internet in 1999?

Well I was and I participated in an experiment into democracy……

Democracy on the internet…….

in 1999 I felt that the internet was the future of democracy and voting…….now a look back into those days……

In 1999, the organization responsible for the backbone of the public internet, ICANN, tried to build a democracy.

In theory it was utopian: Internet users from around the world would register as at-large members of ICANN, elect delegates to represent their continent, and these delegates would sit on the ICANN board of directors. The structure of internet would be governed by its users.

ICANN was in a position to do this because it’s in the business of determining how people are found on the World Wide Web. It governs the directory that every computer uses for directions to the right web page on the right server. If you register a web page, it gets registered by an ICANN-approved registrar. This proposal wasn’t just about who could register a .edu domain versus a .org, but instead who would be allowed to have a place on the web at all.

https://qz.com/1422925/the-public-internet-was-almost-a-democracy/

I still think that the internet could be used for good but that would require a free internet and there are too many working to make sure that is NEVER the case.

Any thoughts?

Midterms Biggest Loser!

Today is the big day…the day that we all have been hearing about for over a year…..the 2018 Midterms (or is it mid-terms)….but no matter which way you vote….whether as a human or otherwise….there is one thing that is for sure….no matter who wins what the biggest loser will be democracy.

When Angelina Cruz, the head of the teachers’ union in Racine, Wisconsin, goes canvassing, she doesn’t just knock on doors. If she sees someone in the street she approaches them and starts a conversation.

“D’you know you can vote today,” she asked a young black man who walked by last Saturday.

“I can’t,” he said. “I’m a felon.” (A felon is someone who has committed a “serious crime”.)

“On papers or off papers,” she asked. (In Wisconsin your voting rights are only restored after prison, parole and probation have all been served, and you are “off papers”.)

“On papers,” he said.

“Well, ask your friends to vote,” said Cruz.

“Most of them are on papers too,” he yelled back.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/11/02/why-democracy-will-be-biggest-loser-us-midterms

This may not matter to too many people….if not please do one thing no matter what…VOTE!

Dems may win the House but that matters not because…within the Party there is a “Civil War” brewing…..

Now here is something really interesting, via Politico: there’s a growing cultural divide within Democratic ranks:

As the party’s attention turns to the presidential nominating season, one of its biggest challenges will be navigating this culture war in its own ranks. The energy at the moment is with the liberal wing, centered around cities and college towns and on the coasts, its members mostly white and college-educated and far to the left on social and cultural issues compared with the rest of the party. But its voting majority is still more blue-collar and diverse, many of whom favor an incremental approach on social issues and who are more interested in preserving the clout of longtime powers like Crowley and Capuano than in notching symbolic victories for the “resistance.”

In many of the cases outlined above, the policy differences between the candidates are microscopically small. Nearly all Democrats favor tackling income inequality, raising taxes on the wealthy and the minimum wage, and reforming the criminal justice system. There is some dispute over how fast to move and how far to go, but the broad outlines are the same. The differences, in one analysis, are stylistic, and so it is easy to imagine that they will be worked out over the next year as the party settles on another presidential nominee.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/democrats-hidden-civil-war/

The Midterms may make these divisions more pronounced…..but the real battle will begin January 2019….how will the country turn?