- Full employment and “an economy that works for all.”
- “Secure homes for all” by building “at least 1m” new homes over the next five years.
- Stronger employment rights and an end to zero hours contracts.
- End NHS privatisation, integrate NHS and social care.
- A free national education service and universal public childcare.
- Commitment to a low-carbon economy and green industries.
- Expand public services by renationalising railways and local leisure and sports centres.
- Shrink the gap between highest and lowest paid via “progressive taxation.”
- Act to end discrimination based on race, sex, or disability.
- Conflict resolution “at the heart of foreign policy.”
I find nothing radical here. Corbyn has also suggested a six hour work day, which is long overdue. The nations which work the longest aren’t the most productive nations; we might as well share jobs, and for people over 40, productivity drops radically after 30 hours a week anyway.
I have little patience for all the Brits who are wringing their hands about Labour and parking their votes in the Conservative party. This is a good, non-radical plan that will work. It is a plan of a government that wants to be good to the poor and the young. Corbyn is entirely credible regarding the lot of it, as he’s stuck by these principles all through the Thatcher and Blairite years.
If you’re planning to vote Conservative in the UK, when this is on offer, you’re just an asshole, an “I”ve got mine, fuck you Jack,” or someone who has bought so far into neoliberal ideology that your political actions make you indistinguishable from an asshole, whether or not you think neoliberal policies “work.” (Especially as all the evidence is that they only work for a minority, presumably a minority which you belong to.)
Brits have something which most of the rest of us don’t in most of the Western world: The opportunity to vote for a government which is not the lesser evil, but which is actually good. If they blow it, as far as I’m concerned, the majority blame will be on Brits, not on Corbyn. This is a character test: Do enough Brits still want a government which tries to take care of everyone?
Remember, the Conservative government, among other policies, cut a program which gave disabled people things like wheelchairs. That resulted, literally, wheelchairs being taken away from cripples. That’s what you’re voting for if you vote Conservative, and yes, you should be judged on that.
So, Brits have Corbyn to vote for. (He will defeat this revolt, there is no question in my mind, especially as the Courts have restored the voting rights of members who signed up since January and his supporters swept the NEP elections).
This is the potential first crack in the Anglo-world: The end of the neoliberal monopoly on power. Let’s see if the British are ready for it.
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Randall Collins has probably influenced me more than any other writer. A sociologist who concentrated on theory, with an encyclopedic knowledge of world history and in particular intellectual history, I regard him as a candidate for greatest intellectual of the 20th century whom no one outside his field knows.
Sociological Insight is a short book, subtitled “An Introduction to Non-Obvious Sociology”.
The dig against sociology is that it mostly discovers stuff that any idiot already knew: It is reified common sense. (A friend and I used to joke that if we ever started a consultancy we’d call it RCS, and not tell anyone what it meant.)
Collins wrote this small book to explain to students considering sociology, and to non-sociologists, why sociology was worth studying. The book is clearly written, divided into short chapters and clocks in at under 200 pages. Used copies are cheap, or you can probably still find it at your local university or college library.
If you read only one book of the books I’m going to review this year I suggest it be this one, or “An Introduction to Weberian Sociology,” also by Collins.
Enough preamble, into the meat. Each section of the book covers one subject, I will precis some of them, but not all.
The Pre-Rational Basis of Social Trust and Solidarity
Collins covers the Durkheimian argument that it is always rational at some point to betray trust and that trust is therefore non-rational. This sounds like game theory, but Durkehim made this point long before game theory. The idea is simple enough, as a game (society) accumulates assets, at some point it is better to betray and grab them all. The long term gains do not necessarily outweigh the what you’ll get from betraying.
If this is true, and it seems to be, then why do we have societies at all? The answer is that trust isn’t rational. The more interesting question is: How trust is formed? The Durkheimian answer is: “Through rituals.”
People assemble, they put their attention together on the same sacred object, they move together, and their emotions move together. There is emotional effervesence, and the symbols become charged with the feelings generated by the ritual. We feel a force larger than ourselves, we feel awe (awesome), we feel as one with the group.
These rituals can be small (the rituals of greeting, the rituals of dating) or they can be huge. You can see the sacred effect in fans of football and fans of rock bands, but also in how people become outraged when a flag is burned, or in how people thinks it makes a statement to burn a flag.
Trust is shared belief and sense of belonging. Ritual groups re-enact it regularly when they meet as groups, we re-enact it every day when we treat each other ritually, which we always do. (Just don’t say goodbye to a close friend; instead, walk away without saying a word. See how that feels for both of you.)
Collins goes into all of this in far greater detail than I can, touching on the caveats, the counter-arguments, the cult of modern individuality, and the creation of the self by the group. The entire section is worth reading because it rebuts the common idea that we are in any way self-contained, or self-created individuals.
Collins then moves on to a discussion of how social power is created: through force, through money, and through solidarity. He discusses the limitations and benefits of each. Force gets you the least cooperation, but you give the least in return; money buys you cooperation, but not enthusiasm; letting people “in” and giving them power to speak and act on the part of the group generally gets you enthusiasm, but it also requires you to share actual power, which you may not wish to do.
Coercion, by the way, requires surveillance, which Collins meant in the old-fashioned sense of “someone watching you” as opposed to all-out electronic surveillance (which is still, eventually, someone watching you), and its effects on conformity, group think, and submission. High-surveillance societies are really coercion societies, and they produce people who appear dull and without any initiative.
This is something everyone should read and think on because we are moving from a low-surveillance society back to a high-surveillance society; perhaps the most high-surveillance society in history, in certain respects. Understanding what it is likely to do us is important.
Collins covers two theories here. The first is labeling theory. Most adolescents do something that would be considered a crime, but most aren’t caught doing it, let alone given a record. Those who are become criminals, because, once labeled a criminal, your options for doing anything else tend to shut down, while your options for being a criminal open up (not least because of all the contacts you make in prison.)
On top of this, most crimes are not “natural” crimes, i.e, like violence crimes, those recognized by essentially all societies. By making something a crime, we create criminals.
Collins cites the experience of Denmark in WWII, when the police were locked up for a year. What happened? Property crime increased tenfold. Violent crimes did not increase at all.
Collins thus states Crime seems to fall into three categories: (1) Victimless crimes, like drug use, which would not exist if society did not make them a crime; (2) Property crime, which would exist no matter what, and; (3) Crimes of passion which are largely unaffected by the criminal justice system at all (if someone’s so worked up they’re going to assault, murder, or rape, deterrence doesn’t work).
As part of his argument, Collins does cite “socialist” societies like Russia as having no property, but still having property. This is one place I differ with him, I think Communist countries only got rid of property in theory, not practice. Societies which really did have almost no property, like hunter-gatherer bands, also had essentially no property crime. In many such societies, if someone has something you want, you admire it and they give it to you. Of course, some time later someone admires it and you give it to them…
Collins goes on to talk about how crime is useful in a ritual context: If laws are about enforcing ritual categories of sacred and profane, society needs scapegoats, to reinforce the bad/good dichotomies upon which it rests.
Marriage, Love, and Property
Here, Collins makes a strong argument that marriage is about sexual property, or about who has the exclusive right to have sex with other people. There is a section on how dating is a negotiating process and ritual used to create strong emotions, which we regard as love.
There is a hardheaded look at power in marriages, with a note that as women gain resources outside the household, their relative power increases. In the traditional marriage, where the woman is dependent on her husband, she is essentially a servant, with the added side of official sexual duties (and remember, up until very recently in most countries, the law was that a husband could not rape a wife, she had already given consent to sex at any time or place or under any condition.)
This section is historical, moving from the Victorian household and marriage revolution through to the 60s and 70s revolution in dating and mores and is worth reading in the whole, though you may find it has disenchanted romance somewhat for you, even as Collins avers that the rituals do produce love.
There is also a chapter covering what sociology offers to the project of making an AI (a lot, actually, and Collins suggestions are eerily prescient to what is just now happening with social robots), that I’m not going to cover.
What is important about this book is not the specific subjects covered, but that it can teach you how to think like a sociologist. Core assumptions are hammered in: Humans are almost entirely non-rational; personality and character come from the outside, not the inside. Understanding society means looking at variations: If the behaviour is thus here and now, is it different in another time and place? If so, it is not essential, it is social (for example crude studies insist breasts are sexual, but traditional Japanese society viewed them as related to child-bearing and thus disgusting and non-sexually attractive.)
You can only learn about your own society by looking at other societies, and you can only understand individuals by looking at the larger groups which created them.
Sociology is a discipline which is widely despised. Sometimes there’s good reason. But because hardly anyone outside of sociology takes it seriously (unlike, say, economics), sociologists have a higher frequency of doing astoundingly useful work than in other social sciences, save anthropology and archeology.
Reading this book, and indeed anything written by Collins, will pay back your time and open intellectual vistas most people weren’t even aware existed.
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Notice that the narrative for if he loses is being set up. It will be a stab-in-the-back storyline, as follows:
Republican leaders and billionaires turned on him when he could have won, flocking to Clinton, and there was voter fraud.
The first is true, the second will be believable (Clinton’s proxies did purge voter rolls and so on to help Clinton win the primary), and the hardest core of Trump’s support base will believe that his loss was due to betrayal and cheating. Of course, the fat cats went against him, he was trying to “help the ordinary guy.”
I have a feeling that, should this play out, some Republicans who went publicly against Trump will pay a price.
This is the founding myth of a movement.
While I thought Trump could win (and I still think it’s not over), I have always believed that if he fails, he will simply be the first, and that those who come after him will be far more disciplined and dangerous.
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This is another small book by Randall Collins, one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, though he’s virtually unheard of outside Sociology.
Weber is known primarily for Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic, the thesis that Christian ideas and practice, and especially Protestant ideas, led to capitalism.
But the Protestant Ethic was only a small part of Weber’s huge output, and in other places he treats other parts of the equation, including raw power and material circumstances, at length.
This survey book deals with Weber as an idealist, but also with his overall theory of the conditions required for industrialization, his writings on power in general, and his wider religious writings, which included an analysis of religion in ancient Egypt, China, and Judaism. It also deals with his theme of rationalization (bureaucratization), which some take as his actual master thesis.
You will get more from this book than any other I am reviewing this year, save perhaps Collins other small book on “non-obvious sociology.”
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I want to say something simple about Clinton and Trump as President, and about the future this election cycle presages.
With Clinton, you know pretty much what you’re going to get. She has a track record: She’s a neoliberal, neo-conservative. She’ll throw the left some bones, especially on identity politics issues, but basically she’s the status quo candidate. Slightly to the left of Obama on domestic issues, but well within the neoliberal consensus, significantly to his right on foreign policy issues.
Trump has issues he keeps hitting again and again. Trade and immigration are the big ones. Generally, Trump looks at most issues as profit-loss statements. “Is America winning from this trade deal? Is America spending more on NATO than it is worth?” But Trump’s said a lot of things, and his track record from private business says less about how he’ll run things than one might like, especially as his long term strategy is to “hire the best people,” and who knows who those will be?
Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, has pointed out that people at the bottom or people who are heading there under the status quo and have little cushion, need volatility. If you’re at the bottom or near, and you can’t stand the status quo (aka, things getting slowly worse for you), then taking a flier on someone like Trump is a rational decision.
On the other hand, if you still have something to lose, or you feel that Trump threatens you directly (because you’re brown and think he’ll be worse than Obama on such issues (remember Obama has deported more people than any President)), well the status quo is preferable to change; to volatility, whose direction you can predict.
It’s not that Trump’s trade policy is insane, or that NATO is wonderful as it stands (it’s made us more likely to get into a nuclear exchange with Russia), it’s that Trump himself seems unpredictable. You don’t know who the “best people” are, and so on
But none of that matters if your life is already unbearable. You need a chance, any chance, and you know you won’t get it from Clinton. You might from Trump. He is more likely to cause substantial changes than Clinton, and thus change the matrix of winners and losers. You might be a loser who wins under Trump.
This is the calculus behind Trump. It will be the calculus behind the next nativist populist if Trump fails or fails to deliver. The more people there are whose lives are trash, or who see themselves in inevitable decline, the more people there are who are willing to take a flier on something–anything–which will upset the current way of doing things.
This is much of why Sanders, a Socialist, did so well. It is why Brexit. It is why Jeremy Corbyn in England. It’s why so many Scots want to leave the UK, or Catalonians, Spain.
People whose lives suck, or whose lives are facing near-to-certain decline, will take a flier on anyone who seems genuinely committed to changing the status quo.
Trump is far from the buffoon people make him out to be, but he is also a very flawed candidate. If he fails, he will be replaced and the people who compete to replace him (and there will be many), will include amongst their numbers some who are very disciplined and who understand that all the gifts the status quo bankers and hedge-funders and so on can give them are nothing compared to pure power, the adulation of the masses, and the sight of those “lords of the universe” on their bellies crawling to lick the boots of their new master. (The contempt with which Putin treats oligarchs who do not do as he wishes is instructive.)
I believe it is now too late to “self-correct.” We are going to have one of three outcomes in most countries:
- An oligarchical, dystopian police state reminiscent of cyberpunk novels, if the status quo wins
- A right-wing populist government of some form or another
- A left wing populist government of some form or another
This is only the beginning. I am amused by just how worked up people are over Trump, because the sequence of events made inevitable by 40+ years of neoliberal policy is only beginning to unfold.
You can have your cyberpunk dystopia, you can have your right-wing populist, or you can have someone like Corbyn or Sanders.
There aren’t any other options, yet, on the table.
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Of note in this speech are a promise for tuition-free college for the middle class and debt-free college for everyone, and for a living wage (during the primary campaign Clinton refused to endorse a $15 minimum wage).
Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome.
And Chelsea, thank you.
I’m so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become.
Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.
And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong. It’s lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.
And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way.
On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job.
I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime.
To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight…
And to those of you who joined our campaign this week.
And what a remarkable week it’s been.
We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton.
And the man of Hope, Barack Obama.
America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I’m better because of his friendship.
We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people.
First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.
And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you’re soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator.
He’ll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.
And…I want to thank Bernie Sanders.
Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.
You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.
And to all of your supporters here and around the country:
I want you to know, I’ve heard you.
Your cause is our cause.
Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion.
That’s the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.
We wrote it together – now let’s go out there and make it happen together.
My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.
We all know the story.
But we usually focus on how it turned out – and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.
When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.
Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way.
The revolution hung in the balance.
Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.
And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation. That’s what made it possible to stand up to a King.
That took courage.
They had courage.
Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.
America is once again at a moment of reckoning.
Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart.
Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.
And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees.
It truly is up to us.
We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.
Our country’s motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one.
Will we stay true to that motto?
Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention.
He wants to divide us – from the rest of the world, and from each other.
He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise.
He’s 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.
Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against.
But we are not afraid.
We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.
We will not build a wall.
Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.
And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!
We will not ban a religion.
We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism.
There’s a lot of work to do.
Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash.
There’s too much inequality.
Too little social mobility.
Too much paralysis in Washington.
Too many threats at home and abroad.
But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges.
We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.
We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had.
We have the most powerful military.
The most innovative entrepreneurs.
The most enduring values.Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity.
We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people hear them – they hear… America.
So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak.
Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes.
And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”
Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland.
And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.
I alone can fix it?
Isn’t he forgetting?
Troops on the front lines.
Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger.
Doctors and nurses who care for us.
Teachers who change lives.
Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.
Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.
He’s forgetting every last one of us.
Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.”
We say: “We’ll fix it together.”
Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.
Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.
Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers.
Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.
And you know how the community responded?
Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days.
That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.
20 years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?
This is what I mean.
None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.
America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.
I believe that with all my heart.
That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history.
It’s not just a slogan for our campaign.
It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build.
A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.
A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach.
Where families are strong… communities are safe…
And yes, love trumps hate.
That’s the country we’re fighting for.
That’s the future we’re working toward…
And so it is with humility. . . determination . . . and boundless confidence in America’s promise… that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!
Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage.
As you know, I’m not one of those people.
I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York.
I ran for President and lost.
Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.
But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done.
They don’t tell you why.
The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.
I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.
So let me tell you.
The family I’m from . . . well, no one had their name on big buildings.
My family were builders of a different kind.
Builders in the way most American families are.
They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.
My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years.
Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did.
And he was right.
My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.
When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.
I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.
He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had.
And he did. My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid.
She was saved by the kindness of others.
Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share.
The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me:
No one gets through life alone.
We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.
She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith:
“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school.
I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house.
She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn’t seem possible.
And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.
It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough.
To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws.
You need both understanding and action.
So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.
It’s a big idea, isn’t it?
Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.
But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door.
And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education.
It’s true… I sweat the details of policy – whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.
Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid – if it’s your family.
It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.
Over the last three days, you’ve seen some of the people who’ve inspired me.
People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine.
People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning.
They told their stories Tuesday night.
I first met Ryan as a seven-year old.
He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds.
Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed…and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids every year.
Lauren was gravely injured on 9/11.
It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero.
I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.
In this campaign, I’ve met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change.
And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.
I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
For the struggling, the striving and the successful.
For those who vote for me and those who don’t.
For all Americans.
Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union:
the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President.
Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.
Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.
Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.
So let’s keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.
Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead.
Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.
Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.
Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That’s real progress.
But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot.
We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the recovery.
I’ve gone around our country talking to working families. And I’ve heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn’t working.
Some of you are frustrated – even furious.
And you know what??? You’re right.
It’s not yet working the way it should.
Americans are willing to work – and work hard.
But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.
And less respect for them, period.
Democrats are the party of working people.
But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through,
and that we’re going to do something about it.
So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.
My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States…
From my first day in office to my last!
Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.
From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian Country to Coal Country.
From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures.
And here’s what I believe.
I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives.
I believe that our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.
That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!
I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return.
Many of them are. But too many aren’t.
It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.
And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.
I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.
I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out.
Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together – and it’s the right thing to do.
Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.
If you believe that companies should share profits with their workers, not pad executive bonuses, join us.
If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage… and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty… join us.
If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care…join us.
If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals… that we should stand up to China… that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers…join us.
If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions… join us.
And yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay… join us…
Let’s make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Now, you didn’t hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention.
He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd.
And he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things.
No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans.
You might have noticed, I love talking about mine.
In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.
Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure.
If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future.
And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.
Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!
We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.
It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can’t refinance theirs.
And here’s something we don’t say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.
We’re going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.
We’re going to give small businesses a boost. Make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks.
In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.
We’re going to help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then Deal Me In! (Oh, you’ve heard that one?)
Now, here’s the thing, we’re not only going to make all these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them.
And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.
Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is.
And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back. And we’ll put that money to work where it belongs … creating jobs here at home!
Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking, well that all sounds pretty good.
But how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.
But Trump, he’s a businessman. He must know something about the economy.
Well, let’s take a closer look.
In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you’ll find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.
People who did the work and needed the money, and didn’t get it – not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them.
That sales pitch he’s making to be your president? Put your faith in him – and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away, and left working people holding the bag.
He also talks a big game about putting America First. Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado.
Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin.
Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.
The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security.
Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face.
From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated.
No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance. Looking for steady leadership.
You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.
I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.
I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.
I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.
I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS.
We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen.
We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.
It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.
Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….”
No, Donald, you don’t.
He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.”
Well, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee.
I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure.
We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces. Decisions about war and peace. Life and death.
A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country – including the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines.
Ask yourself: Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?
Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.
He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he’s challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.
Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.
I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.
America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out.
Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power.
That’s the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be.
And if we’re serious about keeping our country safe, we also can’t afford to have a President who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby.
I’m not here to repeal the 2nd Amendment.
I’m not here to take away your guns.
I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.
We should be working with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.
For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics were too hot to touch.
But I ask you: how can we just stand by and do nothing?
You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence.
You heard, you saw, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals.
I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here.
We have to heal the divides in our country.
Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.
That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.
So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.
We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights… women’s rights and workers’ rights… LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities!
And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.
For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.
They think he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says – like when he called women “pigs.” Or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.
Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain -a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect.
At first, I admit, I couldn’t believe he meant it either.
It was just too hard to fathom – that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that.
But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump…This is it.
And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.
So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change.
He’s offering empty promises. What are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country – to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, and to give your kids the opportunities they deserve.
The choice is clear.
Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger.
None of us can do it alone.
I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together again.
But I’m here to tell you tonight – progress is possible.
I know because I’ve seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.
And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I’ve had to pick myself up and get back in the game.
Like so much else, I got this from my mother. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said.
And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.
We lost my mother a few years ago. I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what.
That’s what we need to do together as a nation.
Though “we may not live to see the glory,” as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, “let us gladly join the fight.”
Let our legacy be about “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
That’s why we’re here…not just in this hall, but on this Earth.
The Founders showed us that.
And so have many others since.
They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.
That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.
Yes, the world is watching what we do.
Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose.
If you want to read it before the review, you have till then do so. I’m putting below here the preamble from the review itself, since it makes the case why this book is worth reading.
Randall Collins has probably influenced me more than any other writer. A sociologist who concentrated on theory, with an encyclopedic knowledge of world history, in particular intellectual history, I regard him as a candidate for greatest intellectual of the 20th century whom no one outside his field knows.
Sociological Insight is a short book, subtitled “An Introduction to Non-Obvious Sociology.”
The dig against sociology is that it mostly discovers stuff that any idiot already knew; it is reified common sense. (A friend and I used to joke that if we ever started a consultancy we’d call it RCS, and not tell anyone what it meant.)
Collins wrote this small book to explain to students considering sociology, and to non-sociologists, why sociology was worth studying. The book is clearly written, divided into short chapters, and clocks in at under 200 pages. Used copies are cheap, or you can probably still find it at your local university or college library.
If you read only one book of the books I’m going to review this year, I suggest it be this one, or “An Introduction to Weberian Sociology”, also by Collins.
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I know. It’s not what you’ve been told. Hold still, and read.
Clinton’s storyline is as follows: “I will be an historic woman president and I am supremely qualified, competent, and tough. I know what can be done and most left-wing things are impossible, but I’ll do what I can within the constraints of the system.”
Or, as some wag put it during the primary, “No we can’t.” Add in: “I have ovaries” and “I’m tough,” and you have Hillary’s storyline.
Here is Trump’s: “I know the system is corrupt because I won in the corrupt system, but I’m rich and owe no one, so when I’m President I’ll work for you.”
Jobs: “There aren’t enough good jobs because of bad trade deals and immigration. I’ll re-negotiate trade deals, slap on huge tariffs, and bring America’s jobs back while reducing illegal immigration with a wall.”
Terrorism: “Terrorism is caused by Muslim immigrants and I’m going to stop those immigrants from coming to the US until we can figure out who the bad ones are.”
Read what I’m about to say next very carefully; I am not talking about the platforms or policy proposals (which mean little anyway), I am talking about the message the candidates and their main surrogates are pushing.
These are their positive messages.
You may disagree with either message, but the simple truth is that Trump has a stronger positive message. Trump is saying America has problems, he can fix them, and here are his solutions.
Clinton is saying: “I’m competent and I deserve this.”
Clinton says, “I’m with Her” (meaning Americans are with her).
Trump says, “Trump For America” (meaning Trump is there for America).
On positive messaging, Trump is absolutely stronger. There is no contest.
Now, let’s look at negative messaging.
Negative on Trump: He’s a fascist, racist, incompetent blowhard. He is (barely sub voce) Hitler reborn. (And, just recently, “a pawn of RUSSIA” who will destroy the American Empire.)
Negative on Clinton: She’s a crook and a traitor and incompetent. She voted for or was for everything that has fucked up America, like Iraq and trade deals. She supports BLM and wants cops to die.
The negative message against Trump is a lot stronger than the negative messaging against Clinton. Most of my readers are probably firmly embedded in a liberal bubble, and may say, “That’s not right!” but look at the actual charges. “Fascist, Hitler, Manchurian Candidate”.)
Yes, traitors should be hung, but Hitler’s/Fasicsts are far worse.
This is the most negative campaign I remember in my life, bar none. Both sides are going all out, but the anti-Trump negatives are stronger, though Trump is now trying hard with the blue lives matter message.
I want to point out something: When people are traitors or Hitler, violence is justified: especially in the case of violence against the Hitler/Fascist.
If an actual fascist was to take power in the US, the damage he could do is immense. When people hear “fascist,” they think genocide, gulags, world war.
There’s very little that isn’t justified if someone is going to be Hitler. He must be stopped, no matter what.
If someone isn’t actually Hitler/Fascist, then calling them that is very dangerous.
I don’t, myself, think Trump is fascist, let alone Hitler reborn. But if he is, then virtually nothing is off the board in stopping him.
In terms of actual speeches, I judge Trump as LESS likely to start a major war, because Trump has gone out of his way to be conciliatory with Russia and Putin: a.k.a., the only other country with enough nukes to destroy the world.
As for domestic policies, Trump’s more comfortable with racist rhetoric and violence than I like.
Is he Hitler reborn, though?
Trump has the stronger positive message. It isn’t even close.
Clinton has the stronger negative message. It isn’t even close.
Because of how much Trump is happy to use ridicule and because the media despises Trump even as they can’t look away, that’s not how it has been played, but it’s still the case.
Trump has been hit with stronger negative messages. Fascist/Hitler/Russian stooge beats incompetent, crooked, traitor.
Oddly, if Clinton wins, assuming messages stay relatively consistent, it will be because FEAR has won. If Trump wins, it will be because HOPE has won.
I do not claim that Trump has the “better” plan. If one wants, one can draw Trump as another Reagan, with his “Morning in America” and his bullshit plan, and draw Clinton as the sensible one. (Jimmy Carter, for all his flaws, does not deserve to be compared to Clinton.)
Or one can compare to Britain leaving the EU, where the Leave campaign had the message of hope, and the Remain campaign had the “This is as good as it gets!” message.
What I do say is that Trump’s message has been one that says “America has problems, I can fix them, here is my plan,” and that Clinton has said, “America’s fine already, I’ll make some tweaks, life is about as good as it’s going to get.”
If Trump wins, it will be because he had a stronger positive message.
It’s a weird world.
(For the record, folks, I would not vote for Trump and do not recommend doing so. I would also not vote for Clinton. I’ll run through the reasoning and how to decide who to vote for in a later post. This is one of the rare elections where I recommend just voting your self interest.)
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Crime Is Increasing, Cops Are Being Killed, I’m Going to Stop That
I’m more with BLM, but this isn’t a surprising message. In fact, as he’s a Republican, I’d be shocked if he had not used it. (It’s also not true that crime is increasing, but that hasn’t stopped others from proposing hard-on-crime policies. And the perception of high crime is real, because of mass shootings and attacks on police.)
Illegal Immigrants are a Big Part of the Crime Wave, I’ll Deport Them
Immigrants commit less crime than native born Americans, but this isn’t that crazy; he’s just going to do more of what Obama and Bush did. The irony is, of course, that Obama has deported more immigrants than any US president of which I’m aware, but, hey, executing Republican policies doesn’t get you credit with Republicans if you’re a Democrat.
Stop Immigration from Countries Where Terrorists Might Originate
Okay. It’s not going to make much of a difference. But as a logical construct: “There are terrorists over there, we shouldn’t let them come here”, it’s not crazy. I disagree, America has some responsibility (okay, a lot of responsibility) for the refugee crisis, and if you broke it, you get to pick it up. But given how many countries are already refusing Syrian immigrants, this isn’t that far out.
He starts with African American poverty stats. He pivots to the fact that Obama is a failure for ordinary people, their wages are down, etc.
America has lost jobs because of trade and has an 800 billion dollar trade deficit. He’s going to fix that with bilateral trade deals. And an 800 billion trade deficit is a LOT of jobs. And, no, other countries aren’t going to stop selling to Americans.
This is not crazy. It is, in fact, sane.
He starts with Iran, and moves on to trade deals. He throws a bone to Israel, and so on. The Iran and Israel bits are crazy, but his rhetoric is no worse than Clinton’s. The Iran deal happened after Clinton was no longer secretary of state for a reason.
Attacking Hillary’s Record
I don’t agree with the entire laundry list, but the argument isn’t a bad one. Libya is in ruins, Syria is in ruins. The Iran nuclear weapons bit is a lie, but it’s one Democrats tell all the time.
And he’s completely right that if Clinton wasn’t so important, the way she handled her email would have destroyed her life. An ordinary person would not have skated on that.
He’s right in the uber argument too: Clinton is corrupt, beholden to various special interests, and to judge on her record in an actual position of power? Incompetent.
I Care for Americans
I’ve hugged this American and listened to that American’s tale of woe. I love you all and I’m going to look out for you.
Any politician who does not say this sort of thing is incompetent.
I am Part of the Corrupt System, but I Will Now Fight for You
Because I’m a billionaire, I know how the system works. But because I’m already rich, I owe nobody anything and I’ll work for Americans. A friend calls this the “sleazy version of FDR’s class traitor.” It’s a good argument, even if one doubts him.
I’ll fix crime by appointing the best people. I’ll fix the inner cities. (Sub Voce: I will care even for those who don’t vote for me.)
An End to Nation Building
Sorry, this is just the right policy. Especially since Libya and Iraq clearly illustrate the results of American “nation building” these days. While I supported the Arab Spring, its success or failure was no damn business of the US’s.
NATO Is Obsolete
People have been squealing about this, but Trump’s position is that Russia is not particularly a threat, terrorism is, and NATO does little against terrorism. He also notes that America foots most of the bill for NATO, while it is intended to protect others (for instance, if Russia does attack, it won’t be sending tanks into D.C.).
I think that the way NATO has been used for the last 20 years (Estonia? Estonia?) has made a nuclear war more likely, not less. Trump’s wrong about the purpose of NATO in a way (control of Europe), but I think Europeans will be better off without large American garrisons.
Bring the Troops Home
They cost less to keep at home.
Sorry, people, but it is way past time for most US overseas bases to be shut down. Sorry.
Immigration Is a Bad Idea Right Now
It can bring in terrorists when it is from countries which breed terrorists, and there aren’t enough good jobs for the people who are here already.
Practically his signature, not surprising it gets a call out.
I’m Going to Look after Americans FIRST
That’s the job description, people. That is not going to go across badly. If America can’t employ the people already in America, decreasing immigration until that is fixed is not insane. And it especially doesn’t look insane to the poor and working class who compete with immigrants for jobs.
The economics on this is dodgy, but the case can certainly be made (in England a BOE study found that immigration was decreasing wages for the poorest 20 percent).
Bring Back the Manufacturing Jobs
Covered above: Initiate bilateral trade deals to bring these jobs back. It’s not insane, despite what the neoliberals and economists who have given you the wonderful economy will say.
Cut Taxes and Regulations
I disagree, but this is a Republican nominee. And many Dems have said (and done) the same thing.
Fix the TSA
Ummm, any politician not for this is committing political malpractice. (Correction: Turns out the platform says this means not allowing unionization. Sigh.)
Allow Political Churches
I disagree, but he’s the Republican candidate. In any case, he just said he’ll fight for it, he’s unlikely to be able to do it except that he will tell the IRS to stop going after said churches, which was the status quo under Bush.
I Love You, I Love You, I Love You
“I grew up around regular people, even if I’m not one now, and I think you’re wonderful. Honest!” This is at least as believable as Clinton trying to pretend to like working class people. Slightly more, even, as with Trump it’s obvious that if they make him feel good about himself, he’ll like them.
Clinton Is the “More-of-the-Same Candidate,” I’m the “Candidate of Change.”
Whether you agree with Trump’s plans or not, if he follows through on even half of them, this is completely true.
My Concluding Remarks
Pundits have been screaming about the conflation of crime and terrorism, and wailing about his NATO remarks. I don’t like the first, and I actually agree about his NATO remarks, but I am not super worked-up about this.
“I’m going to super deport illegals” is not a radical idea. “I’m going to be tough on crime,” which I disagree with about 95 percent, is not a radical idea. Clinton’s husband was responsible for one of the toughest on crime bills ever passed in America.
Now, depending on how far it goes, Trump’s NATO policy could be radical, as could be bringing back troops to America. But it’s not a radical I necessarily disagree with, as noted above.
His trade policies: Well, these could go disastrously wrong, or could go brilliantly right. They’re certainly not stupid prima facie. But if you’re a working class or poor American, the status quo is not in your favor, period. You need a roll of the dice.
I don’t support Trump, nor do I support Clinton, but the demonization of Trump is off the scale. I very much doubt he is Hiter reborn. He actually seems less likely to start a nuclear war than his opponent. I despise some of his policies, but some of what he is proposing is not in the least nuts, it is just not acceptable to the guardians of the neoliberal status quo.
Trump’s positions are reasonably consistent.
Trump is a nativist populist authoritarian. He does not believe in the American Empire.
More on Trump later. And judge for yourself, read the transcript of Trump’s speech.
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