The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Category: Republicans Page 1 of 3

The Life and Death of George Bush, Sr.: The Best of a Bad Bunch

Well, he’s dead at 94. He lived a long time, appears to have chosen his wife badly, and had kids of whom he may have been proud.

He was the best of the Republican Presidents from Reagan on, but still, overall, not very good.

His decision not to go to Baghdad was incorrect, and it allowed lot of Saddam’s enemies to get crushed after he encouraged them to rise. It would have been simple enough, even, to use American air-power to keep the Republican Guard down, and the rebellion would have succeeded. That would have avoided that big mess under his son, Bush, Jr., who appears to have wanted to get Saddam to avenge his father.

The Gulf War was questionable on its face, as Kuwait was created, basically, to keep oil from Iraq, and under the control of a small, very corrupt elite. The execution of the Iraq war included a lot of destruction of civilian infrastructure, including sewage systems. It was a war crime and led to a lot of death and suffering.

Meanwhile, Bush, Sr. was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal: clearly illegal. He won the ’88 election on the back of the Willie Horton ad, a clearly racially incendiary strategy.

He did do a decent job of shepherding the end of the USSR (the aftermath of which was fucked up beyond belief by Clinton, which has lead directly to the current US/Russia problems).

The best of a bad bunch, I suppose. Better than Reagan, his own son, or Trump, that’s for sure.

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Why Republicans Are Unlikely To Impeach Trump

This is why the bar for impeachment is so high.

In Alabama, GOP voters delivered a rebuke to incumbent Rep. Martha Roby, who is headed for a runoff against former congressman Bobby Bright — whom Roby defeated in 2010 when Bright held office as a Democrat.

Roby angered constituents by un-endorsing then-candidate Donald Trump after the 2016 release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about groping women. In TV ads, Bright accused Roby of “[turning] her back on President Trump when he needed her the most.”

The Access Hollywood tape was the “grab them by the pussy” tape.

The base supports Trump. You have to get past the base in primaries to be a candidate in the general. This is why the fact that Democratic primary voters are basically ok with Democrats makes change from the left hard: they did mostly vote for Hillary, Bernie’s won independents.

The right did take over the Republican party, and they did it by winning primaries. Every recent attempt by the left to do the same in the Democratic party has failed.

Trump has very consistently acted to frame Mueller’s investigation as partisan, so that whether to impeach him becomes a political decision. In any Congress where Republicans have enough votes to stop impeachment, it will be very hard for Republicans to vote to impeach Trump: doing so will mean a serious primary challenge they may well lose.

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Reagan and George W. Bush Changed the World More than Bill Clinton or Obama

We have a problem.

Left wingers and centrist, technocratic types are enamoured of intelligence. Of being smart.

Smart is all very nice. I am smart. But smart is not a synonym for effective or competent or wise or, well, most other words. It isn’t even a synonym for clever.

George W. Bush, by the time he got to the White House, was not smart. You listen to him talk, and it’s obvious. This is not a smart man (he was smart when he was younger–something went wrong).

George W. Bush had his two terms, and he changed the nature of American government in ways that neither Clinton nor Obama did. Bill Clinton ran Reagan’s economy better. Reagan was not smart. Reagan changed the nature of American government more than any President since FDR.

Bill Clinton was Reagan’s butt-boy. Understand that. Internalize it. He ran the neo-liberal economy that Reagan had created, and yes, he ran it better than Reagan, but he was living in Reagan’s world.

Obama ran Bush’s government. He kept deporting people–he deported even more people than Bush did. He ramped up drones. He kept troops in Afghanistan, he attacked Libya, he kept extending the Patriot Act and AUMF. He was operating within a constitutional order set up by Bush, and he never challenged it. Not once.

Obama was Bush’s butt-boy. Understand that. Internalize it.

It was famously said of FDR that he had a second class mind and a first class temperament. FDR created a framework for the US that ran, substantially from 1932 to 1970 or even 1980. Even Nixon, who overturned the post WWII order, didn’t overturn the New Deal. Heck, Nixon wanted universal health care.

Every Republican President after FDR and before Reagan, was FDR’s butt-boy. They ran the country he set up and they did it largely by his rules.

FDR wasn’t stupid, by any means, but he wasn’t as smart as Clinton. He might not even have been as smart as Obama. But he was far, far more effective. He got his way, he changed the nature of America, and he made it stick with his enemies.

Smart is NOT a synonym for effective.

This is very important to understand when dealing with someone like Trump.

I’m going to pound this issue a bit more, in a bit more detail, but for now: Stop underestimating people because they don’t have the sort of smarts you were taught in school matter, and which mostly matter because school selects for them. If you don’t, people like Trump and Bush will keep winning.

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I guess the Tea Party isn’t finished

Every time I write about the Tea Party, I note that they have power because they are feared: they can win primaries.

Every time I write about the Tea Part progressives tell me that they’re finished, they’re past the peak of their power, blah, blah, blah.

They just defeated Eric Cantor.

This is why the Tea Party has power.

It is not even conceivable that progressives could do the same to Nancy Pelosi despite the fact that she has often betrayed progressive interests.

Tea partiers are willing to vote their values.  Their values may mostly be retrograde, but they vote them.  As a result, they have power.

Reports of the Tea Party’s death were premature.

Another note on Republicans

They seem to be moving to change protected works (so called IP) laws, to make them less punitive.  I didn’t expect this, but it makes sense:

1) Hollywood is a Democratic bailiwick, and IP is how they make their money.

2) Libertarians took a couple percent in a lot of states, sometimes more.  Something that can peel back some of that support makes sense.

3) It’s something they can do which appeals to the young, who hate the current regime of protected works.

4) It is fairly populist, and when Dems vote against it, as they will, it will demoralize the Democratic base, again.

Republicans aren’t doing this for any good reasons, but if they do get serious about it, I’ll support them on the issue.

The Democratic party is so right wing now that left flanking the party on some issues makes sense for the Republicans.  And in a sense, this isn’t even all that left, 19th century conservatives hated patents and copyright, and for good reason.

Ron Paul Hysteria

So, I’m noticing a ton of attacks on Ron Paul from progressives.  The reason is simple enough, Ron Paul is great on some key things the left cares about, and horrible on others.  His last ad in Iowa says he’d ban abortion, for example.  On the other hand, he wants to withdraw all troops from foreign wars and bring back the troops from America’s far flung military bases.  And he’s the only candidate to unequivocally state that he would never order the assassination of Americans.

Paul’s economic policies are straight up insane, and would throw the world into a full catastrophic Great Depression, even worse than the one we’re in now and worse than the one in the 30s.

But the problem is that current policies by more “mainstream” candidates just get to the same place more slowly.  And maybe not even that much more slowly.  Numerian thinks this could be the year of the big crash, for example, one where even the first world has food shortages and so on.

We’re going to get there.  There is a consensus for austerity amongst the transnational developed world elites which is breathtaking in its unanimity, imperviousness to argument and lack of regard for democratic niceties.  There is no consensus on how to deal with the oil bottleneck, no plan for actually dealing with the leveraged debt overhang, no understanding of how to create real growth, as opposed to bubbles.  If they do manage to hang on, what will happen is a huge non-conventional oil boom (read Fracking) and that will devastate ground water and turn large areas into wastelands.  Nor will it last all that long or feel all that good (it’ll be better than now, but probably not even as good as the best Bush years.)

After that I see no scenario in which things don’t crack up, completely.

So Ron Paul will cause a crack up, possibly a little bit ahead of schedule.  That sucks for old people who might have died before the world went to hell, but for young people, you might as well get it done.

But Ron Paul also might do some real damage to the military industrial complex.  There is no route forward for the US which does not require taking that misallocated effort, and using it for other things.  So this is necessary.

Also the movement of manufacturing and other expertise overseas means that the US labor force is a wasting asset.  The longer the decline goes on the fewer people there will be with the skills to bootstrap back up, the less of an industrial base other than defense there will be, and so on.  Infrastructure will be more degraded, not less, and so on.  So from that point of view, cracking up sooner, rather than later, is preferable because it leaves a clearer path to the future.

But let’s move back to the title.  The reason Ron Paul causes hysterics is he pits interest group against interest group, morality vs. morality. He’s a different kind of lesser evil.  If Afghans got to vote in the US election, who would they vote for?  How important is Habeas Corpus to you really?  What about pot legalization?  Etc…  Ron Paul is awful on some issues, and very good on others.  Are abortion rights more important than dead Afghans and Pakistanis at weddings?  (I don’t claim they are, or aren’t, I simply note Paul forces you to make that choice.)  And Paul would end all bank bailouts.  Hate the banksters?  Think they’re the key problem?  Paul’s your man.

Obama is objectively awful.  Paul is objectively awful.  But unlike Romney, Paul is objectively awful in different ways than Obama.  Romney would just be Obama, but slightly worse.  If you’re going to choose a lesser evil, you might as well choose Obama.  But when it comes to Paul vs. Obama the equation changes.

And that’s why many progressives are attacking any other progressive who says anything good about Paul, because Paul threatens to split the left, and because Paul makes progressives decide what they value most.

What the Debt Limit Crisis Should Have Taught You

This is not primarily about the Tea Party

It is about what rich donors want.  The Tea Party does not even have the amount of muscle progressives do.  Progressives can bring tens of thousands of people out, the Tea Party can rarely even get above 1,000.  They are a convenient excuse to do what the Beltway and the oligarchs already want to do.

Where are you going to go?

Both Dems and Republicans are onside with cutting Social Security and Medicare. They are only third rails if there is someone else to vote for.

The deals being offered will cause a second downleg of the Depression and a worse one

We’re in a Depression.  This is fact.  Anyone who doesn’t call it that is gutless, stupid or uninformed.  This will make it worse, not just for the US, but for the entire developed world.

Representatives work for the people who pay them

That isn’t really you.  They don’t become multi-millionaires on their salaries, you know.  It’s their donors, the people who hire their wives and children, the people who fund their campaigns, the people who give them good jobs when they leave government.  If you want Reps and Senators to work for you, you must pay them better, you must fund their campaigns (and sharply limit outside funding) and you must make it illegal for them to EVER make more money in a year than their government salary (index it to an average of the median wage, the minimum wage, and CPI).  You should do what Canada used to do and give them a good pension after 6 years.  You DON’T want them worrying about their next job, or what they’ll do if they’ll lose.

Point being, they don’t work for you.

This is a representative plutocracy

I believe Stirling Newberry, in the early 90s, pointed this out first.  Politicians are paid by people other than you.  You are the product.  Think of this as the Facebook rule, if you aren’t paying for something, then you are the product.  The rich pay politicians to rangle you.  The amount of salary and public funding most Reps get is trivial compared to how much money they get from donors, even during their time in elected office, let alone after they leave.  You are the product, not the customer, of DC politicians.  They do not represent you, and you should not expect your interests to be looked after except as an afterthought.  When the oligarchs all agree that something needs to be done (like cut entitlements), it will be done, no matter how unpopular it is.

This “Crisis” is what Obama wanted

Again, if he didn’t, he would have raised the debt ceiling in the lame duck.  Nancy Pelosi was always very good at getting those sort of basic housekeeping bills through. It would have passed.  Period.  Obama wanted to cut SS and Medicare, and he needed a “crisis” in order to do it.  He also needed a Republican House, which he had, because his policies during 2009 and 2010 didn’t fix the economy.

You should have been working on nothing but primarying Obama since the day after the midterms

If you don’t understand why, I can’t help you.

There is no war but class war

Break the rich, or they will finish institutionalizing aristocracy.  Period.

A blast from the past and a reminder about the future

Courtesy of the Black Agenda Report:

As election year 2008 began, Obama took the most pro-banker, laissez faire capitalist position on home foreclosures of the three major Democratic presidential candidates. John Edwards backed a mandatory moratorium on foreclosures and a freeze on interest rates, while Hillary Clinton supported a “voluntary” halt and $30 billion in federal aid to homeowners. But Obama opposed any moratorium, mandatory or voluntary, and balked at cash for homeowners and stricken communities

You don’t always get what you vote for, but the surprises aren’t usually on the upside.  Obama was given the opportunity to be the new FDR.  The financial crisis was a huge opportunity to break the power of the financial industry and the rich for a generation, and in so doing make it possible to have an economy which worked for everyone, to fix America’s energy problems, and to have universal healthcare.

Instead what happened is that Obama bailed out the rich and the financial industry, who were bankrupt, then refused to prosecute them for systemic fraud.  He did so in a way which left, by and large, the exact same class of people in charge of the financial industry, made the remaining banks bigger and more powerful, restored the wealth of the rich to pre-crisis levels and restored their profits.  Meanwhile employment has still not recovered (ignore the unemployment rate, it is a lie), wages are flat or declining, real inflation is through the roof, the price of oil is skyrocketing and the current discussion in DC is how much the poor and middle class should get screwed out of their Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, in order to keep the rich filthy rich.  Oh, and how much tax cuts the rich should get.

America is in terminal decline.  There may be a lot of ruin in a nation, as Adam Smith wrote, but that amount is not infinite.  The next chance you get to turn this around you will be starting from a much worse position.  A lot more pain will be unavoidable.

Obama is not turning things around, what he is doing is negotiating with Republicans how fast the decline will be, and how much and how fast it is necessary to fuck ordinary Americans in order to keep the rich rich.  If Obama wins another term, he will continue to negotiate the decline, then, odds are very high, a Republican will get in, and slam his foot on the accelerator of collapse.

This is why Obama must lose in 2012. I would prefer that he lose to a Democrat in a primary, then that Democrat wins, but he must lose regardless.  If he loses to a Republican, then 2016 you get a chance to put someone in charge who might do the right things (or even just some of them.)

No, those odds aren’t good. They suck.  Every part of them sucks.  And even if you get a Dem in 2016, you’ll probably choose the right most candidate, just like  you did last time, and he’ll go back to negotiating with Republicans over what parts of the corpse of America’s middle class they should dine on next.  “No, no, eat one kidney first, they only need one to survive, so that’s not too cruel.”

But it is still your best chance.  Otherwise you’re looking at full, Russian-style collapse.  What comes out the other end, I don’t know, but  you really won’t enjoy getting there.

And yes, if a Republican gets in in 2012, that’ll be awful. Just awful.  But it’s not like a Republican is never going to be president ever again.  That’s not on the agenda, that’s not possible.  It will happen, and he will substantially cater to the Teabaggers.  He will trash your country.  That’s baked into the cake now, all you can choose is how soon it happens, and work to replace him with someone who might do the right thing.

Remember, the question is not “if” this will happen, it is when.  The sooner you get it over with, the sooner you have another chance to get it right, and the less decline the US will have suffered. If President Teabag gets in after 4 years of Obama, the US will be in better shape at the start of his wrecking than it will be if he gets in after 8 years of Obama.  Obama is a disaster, who is making things worse, not better.  He’s just making it worse more slowly than a Republican.

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