Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Keepin' it unreal

Something that really bothers me is that everywhere I look, people seem to be really interested in getting rid of Trump without much consideration to what would be left if that happened. True, even with Trump in charge they all seem pretty efficient at doing horrible things, but just think how much better they'd be at it if they didn't have him to worry about. And as near as I can tell, the only other person who is worried about this is Atrios.

The Republicans passed their scary "repeal and replace" of Obamacare in the House. Democrats, more fixed on winning elections than on how many people will die if this thing makes it through the Senate, sang a happy tune to celebrate a Republican electoral loss in the next election. Trouble is, there is no guarantee of that - nor that in such an event they will fix the damage. The probability is that the bill won't get through the Senate, but the happy dance is still pretty stupid.

To add injury to injury, "Pelosi Refuses to Back Single Payer, Despite GOP Deathmongering Suddenly Taking Center Stage: " Bad policy and bad politics, Nancy. Just like it wasn't good politics for Hillary Clinton to announce during the primaries that single-payer would never, ever come to pass. Jeez, even Krauthammer says, "We will be in a single-payer system within 7 years."

Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque, "Curtains for Comey: Rocketing Through the Looking-Glass With the Troller-in-Chief: Whatever else you can say about Trump (don't get me started), he's a first-class troll: citing Comey's handling of the Clinton email probe in the last days of the campaign as his reason for firing him! The very action Trump had long praised as a "gutsy" move by Comey, one which redeemed him in Trump's eyes. That's some high-grade mendacity there, transparently false, yet told with a straight face, and pretending it was on advice of the Attorney General."

"Reporter arrested at W.Va. Capitol during visit from Conway and Price: CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A reporter was arrested Tuesday at the West Virginia Capitol for allegedly causing a disturbance and yelling questions at federal leaders in town, court records show. It happened during a visit from U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and Special Counsel to the President of the United States Kellyanne Conway. Dan Heyman, 54, of Charleston, is charged with willful disruption of governmental processes, which is a misdemeanor."

Gothomist, "State Senate Passes Bill That Would Make Assaulting A Cop A Hate Crime: The State Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would make assaulting a police officer, EMT, or other first responder akin to a hate crime. The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Fred Ashkar of Binghamton, passed 56-6 with bipartisan support." So, Democrats supported this piece of crap. Great.

Sessions is stepping up the War on (Some People Who Use Some) Drugs. "Rand Paul: Sessions' sentencing plan would ruin lives: The attorney general on Friday made an unfortunate announcement that will impact the lives of millions of Americans: he issued new instructions for prosecutors to charge suspects with the most serious provable offenses, "those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences." [...] The attorney general's new guidelines, a reversal of a policy that was working, will accentuate the injustice in our criminal justice system. We should be treating our nation's drug epidemic for what it is -- a public health crisis, not an excuse to send people to prison and turn a mistake into a tragedy."

In a rare departure from the norm, a police officer who shot a black teenager has been charged with murder.

"Three Murders in Philadelphia: In the early 1990s, the police arrested three men for crimes they didn't commit. It's taken more than 25 years for justice to be served." Coerced confessions, planted evidence, and exonerating evidence withheld - but none of those cops are going to jail.

"$elling off our freedom: How insurance corporations have taken over our bail system: Every year, millions of people are condemned to cages and separated from their families simply because they cannot afford to pay bail after an arrest. This country's justice system claims to treat people as if they are innocent until proven guilty but the reality is that before even being convicted of a crime, the accused and their families are forced to pay non-refundable deposits to bail companies in exchange for their release from jail. Bail insurers prey on those entering into the criminal justice system and trap them in debt through high fees and installment plans. These profiteers coerce people into signing over their privacy rights and when it's not profitable, they leave people in jail."

Mark Steel is the best political analyst in Britain, and he has a response to the latest claims about the evils of Corbyn. "Labour's leaked manifesto proves it's stuck in the 1970s, unlike those ultra-modern Tories who love fox hunting: Several Conservatives have taken issue with Labour's pledge to be 'extremely cautious' before using the nuclear deterrent. What sort of 1970s nonsense is that? If you're going to be extremely cautious about dissolving millions of civilians in an apocalyptic firestorm, you might as well bring back outside toilets."

Paper: "Tax cuts for whom? Heterogeneous effects of income tax changes on growth and employment [...] I find that the positive relationship between tax cuts and employment growth is largely driven by tax cuts for lower-income groups, and that the effect of tax cuts for the top 10% on employment growth is small."

Dean Baker:
* "The Fed's New Excuse for Raising Interest Rates: Helping the Poor: Bloomberg reports that Esther George, perhaps the Fed's biggest inflation hawk, has a new argument for raising interest rates: she claims that inflation is a big tax on the poor. This is peculiar for two reasons. First, the people who are denied work as a result of higher interest rates will be disproportionately those at the bottom of the ladder: African Americans, Hispanics, and workers with less education. Furthermore, higher unemployment rates mean that the workers who have jobs will have less bargaining power and be less able to push up their wages. It's hard to see how people who lose jobs and get lower pay increases will benefit from a slightly lower inflation rate. The other reason why the argument doesn't quite work is that even the modest inflation we have seen in recent years is driven almost entirely by rising rents."
* "The Need for Job Killing Robots in Pension Fund Management: Gretchen Morgenson had a good piece this weekend on fees paid by public pension funds. These fees are large and have grown rapidly in recent decades. The fees go to some of the richest people in the country, such as private equity and hedge fund managers (think of Peter Peterson or Mitt Romney). The fees often do not correspond to any benefits to the pension funds in the form of higher returns. In other words, these fees are the equivalent of a massive welfare program under which the taxpayers are putting money in the pockets of some of the richest people in the country, for doing nothing."

David Dayen:
* In The American Prospect, "Our Bankrupt Policy for Puerto Rico: The restructuring of the island's debt allows no role for the Puerto Rico's government." You guessed it - austerity imposed from without. Like Greece, only smaller. (More here.)
* At The Fiscal Times, "Who's Watching Wall Street? The Feds Turn a Blind Eye to Goldman's Game [...] There's only one problem with these investments: They're supposed to be illegal under the Dodd-Frank Act. But 'the law' is only as good as the men and women willing to enforce it, as Goldman Sachs has discovered to its delight. Big banks have turned one key section of Dodd-Frank into mush, such that Goldman can flaunt its defiance openly without an ounce of fear. It makes me wonder why House Republicans are working so hard to repeal Wall Street reform when regulators have shown so much willingness to repeal by neglect."
* At The Nation, "Trump Is Helping Big Media Companies Get Bigger: And it's looking like a mutually beneficial relationship." Pretty scary. Tribune was already big and right-wing, but Sinclair is genuinely part of the far-right media infrastructure. Laws against this kind of media conglomeration existed for very good reason. Unfortunately, as with so many things, Bill Clinton and his friends just didn't understand it when they did away with those restraints.
* At The Intercept, "Pressure On Democrats Pays Off As Chuck Schumer Picks Consumer Advocate For FTC Nominee: AFTER PRESSURE FROM consumer advocates, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has recommended Rohit Chopra, a former official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), for an open Democratic seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As reported by The Intercept in March, Schumer had previously been considering his ex-Chief of Staff David Hantman - a former lobbyist for Yahoo and Airbnb who opposed regulation on Silicon Valley firms - for the position. After details of Hantman's past work became public, Schumer last month told the International Business Times that he would not be submitting Hantman's name. Chopra, by contrast, has a strong record of action on consumer issues."

"Paul Ryan Needs An Electoral Opponent-- And We're Very Close To Announcing One: Once again-- as it's done every two years like clockwork since Pelosi gained control over the committee-- the DCCC has moved to protect Paul Ryan's reelection. A swingy southeast Wisconsin district that Obama won in 2008, 51-48%, WI-01 offers an obvious Democratic target-- one the DCCC habitually refuses to consider, even going so far as to sabotage local candidates and asking institutional Democratic donors to cut off their funding. WI-01 is not on the DCCC target lists this year, despite the fact that Paul Ryan is the single most disliked and mistrusted politician in America."

Read an excerpt from Noam Chomsky's new book, Requiem for the American Dream: The Ten Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power, "Principle #6: Running the Regulators [...] Remember, there were no financial crashes in the '50s and the '60s, because the regulatory apparatus of the New Deal was still in place. As it began to be dismantled under business pressure and political pressure, you get more and more crashes, and it goes on right through the years - the '70s is where deregulation starts, and the '80s is where crashes really take off."

"Democrats say they now know exactly why Clinton lost: WASHINGTON - A group of top Democratic Party strategists have used new data about last year's presidential election to reach a startling conclusion about why Hillary Clinton lost. Now they just need to persuade the rest of the party they're right."

Greg Sargent, "Why did Trump win? New research by Democrats offers a worrisome answer. [...] One finding from the polling stands out: A shockingly large percentage of these Obama-Trump voters said Democrats' economic policies will favor the wealthy - twice the percentage that said the same about Trump."

"Why Do So Many Americans Think Democrats Are Out of Touch? The party appears to be struggling to convince the public it represents a better alternative to President Trump and the GOP."

Marcy Wheeler, "The Obamacare Not Comey Effect: Unless Wang's chart is totally mislabeled (Update: In an 'explanation' added to his post, Wang effectively says his graph is off by three - though not four - days due to the way he presents multi-day polls; he has, at least, now told his readers when the actual letter came out) but what it shows seems to be consistent with what I showed in this post, which shows a Hillary dip and a Trump spike moving in concert on before October 28), then his chart show doesn't support a Comey effect at all - it shows the opposite. The differential started narrowing after October 24. By October 28, when the letter was released, the differential had plateaued before it turned up again. As it turns out, the ObamaCare spike was announced on October 24 (and reported heavily starting October 25)."

CMike tweeted, "Healthcare wonks, consider this Tea Party-er's proposal. Case closed as to whether our system is totally FUBAR. "The Bill To Permanently Fix Health Care For All"

"Low Black Turnout May Have Cost Clinton the Election [...] According to Demos' Sean McElwee, UMass - Amherst's Jesse Rhodes and Brian Schaffner, and Indiana University's Bernard Fraga, black turnout declined by 4.7 points from 2012 nationally while white turnout increased by 2.4 points. Crucially, the drop in black turnout was even sharper in states where the margin of victory was less than 10 points than it was nationally - in those battleground states, black turnout dropped 5.3 points. In two critical states that swung to Trump - Michigan and Wisconsin - black turnout dropped by just more than 12 points. Declines were less dramatic but significant in other swing states Trump carried: Ohio (down 7.5 points), Florida (4.2), and Pennsylvania (2.1)."

Bernie Sanders had a chat with Jimmy Carter. The story linked is just repeating that Carter voted for Sanders, but the video looks to be the whole discussion.

"The New York Times defended hiring former Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens - a writer who has promoted climate denial and bigotry against Arabs - by insisting that it is seeking diversity of thought. Public Editor Liz Spayd responded to readers' complaints about Stephens by writing that the Times is looking 'to include a wider range of views, not just on the Opinion pages but in its news columns.' But hiring another prominent writer whose ideology hems close to that of the nation's elites - in this case, fossil fuel corporations who are polluting the world and advocates of Western military might - is hardly adding intellectual diversity to the pages of the Times." The Times, strangely, has no columnists representing the view of supporters of the most popular politician in America (Bernie Sanders), or the current president, who happens to be popular with Republicans. There are no young people and no Arab or Muslim Americans, although they are frequent topics in the paper. Despite the embarrassment of still employing Thomas "Suck on this" Friedman, the NYT has no counter-balancing opponent of insane militarism, and of course the hire of Stephens would only represesnt "diversity" of views if they also employed a columnist who was an environmental advocate.

"Stephen Fry's blasphemy probe dropped after Irish police fail to find 'enough outraged people': Asked in 2015 by the programme's host, Gay Byrne, what he would say to God if he arrived in heaven, Mr Fry replied: 'I'd say, bone cancer in children? What's that about?' 'How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault? It's not right, it's utterly, utterly evil.'Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain? 'We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of god would do that? 'The god who created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.'"

"Bernie Sanders Is Building An Army To Stop Trumpcare Dead In Its Tracks In The Senate: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wasted no time in immediately mobilizing the opposition that will be needed to kill Trumpcare in the US Senate. In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Sen. Sanders said, 'The bill that Republicans passed today is an absolute disaster. It really has nothing to do with health care. It has everything to do with an enormous shift of wealth from working people to the richest Americans. This bill would throw 24 million people off of health insurance - including thousands of Vermonters - cut Medicaid by $880 billion, defund Planned Parenthood and substantially increase premiums on older Americans. Meanwhile, it would provide a $300 billion tax break to the top 2 percent and hundreds of billions more to the big drug and insurance companies that are ripping off the American people. Our job now is to rally millions of Americans against this cruel bill to make sure that it does not pass the Senate. Instead of throwing tens of millions of people off of health insurance, we must guarantee health care as a right to all.'"

"Progressive Attorney Unseats Business-Friendly Mississippi Mayor: Chokwe Antar Lumumba picks up where his late father left off." He ran to replace his father when he died in 2014 and lost, but now he will be taking his seat.
* "Meet the Left Radical Who Will Likely Be Jackson, Mississippi's Next Mayor"

"Georgia Can't Block New Voters From Registering in the Ossoff-Handel Runoff: In a big win for voting rights, a federal court overturns the state's 90-day registration deadline"

"John Oliver Has Another Brilliant Plan to Save Net Neutrality From 'Cable Company F***ery' (Video)" - I can't actually see the video, but there's a short article and a link to some contacts.

A review by Rob Levine, "Twenty five years later charter schools a costly, failed experiment: Ember Reichgott Junge's book provides a clear view into the history of charter schools in Minnesota, just not the one she intended" She says it was a "grassroots" movement, but it was led entirely by the big shots, and against everyone else.

"We Asked ICE About the Prank Calls to Their Anti-Immigrant Hotline and They Kind of Lost Their Shit."

Have some Single-Payer cartoons.

"How to pronounce Emmanuel Macron"

Who shot Martin Luther King? On the record, it was nothing like the story you've heard. Lee Camp starts off with a fact that shocked me. The True Conspiracy To Kill Martin Luther King Jr.

Congratulations to our friend Whit Diffie for his election to The Royal Society.

"The Rock-Star Appeal of Modern Monetary Theory [...] For a small but committed group of economists, academics, and activists who adhere to a doctrine called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), though, #mintthecoin was the tip of the economic iceberg. The possibility of a $1 trillion coin represented more than mere monetary sophistry: It drove home their foundational point that fiat currency is a social construct, and that there are therefore no fiscal limits on how much a sovereign currency-issuing nation can spend.

The article is about the British election, and the headline seems misleading, but aside from the fact that Corbyn is doing better than expected in the polls, contains a piece of advice the Clinton team badly missed: "Unnoticed and unreported, Jeremy Corbyn is surging in the polls: Labour's vote share is increasing as the election approaches. [...] As I've said before and will say again, the only bits of an election that matter are the bits that people who don't care about politics see: the newsbreaks between songs on music radio, the pictures that play without sound on Sky News in every Wetherspoons through the country, the few minutes at the start of the six and ten o'clock news before people switch channels - or the few minutes at the end before they switch back."

I hate to link to Kristof, but he's talking about people who are smarter and more moral than he is, and right in America, too, in "Meet Dr. Willie Parker, a Southern Christian Abortion Provider [...] 'I believe that as an abortion provider, I am doing God's work,' Parker writes in his new memoir, 'Life's Work.' 'I am protecting women's rights, their human right to decide their futures for themselves, and to live their lives as they see fit.' Since childhood, Parker had been taught that abortion was wrong, and for the first half of his career as an OB-GYN, he refused to perform abortions. But then he had what he calls his 'come to Jesus moment,' an epiphany that his calling was to help women who wanted to end their pregnancies."

"How 'Russiagate' Got So Much Momentum: A new book about Hillary Clinton's last campaign for president - Shattered, by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes - has gotten a lot of publicity since it appeared two weeks ago. But major media have ignored a revealing passage near the end of the book. Soon after Clinton's defeat, top strategists decided where to place the blame. 'Within 24 hours of her concession speech,' the authors report, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta 'assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn't entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.' Six months later, that centerpiece of the argument is rampant - with claims often lurching from unsubstantiated overreach to outright demagoguery. A lavishly-funded example is the 'Moscow Project,' a mega-spin effort that surfaced in midwinter as a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It's led by Neera Tanden, a self-described 'loyal solider' for Clinton who also runs the Center for American Progress (where she succeeded Podesta as president). The Center's board includes several billionaires."

And speaking of Books about Clinton, Susan Bordo wrote one, too, The Destruction of Hillary Clinton, but Sarah Jones at The New Republic sees it as "The Deification of Hillary Clinton [...] In The Destruction of Hillary Clinton, the feminist scholar seeks to absolve Clinton for her loss to Donald Trump. To do so, she presents a raft of justifications: James Comey, Wikileaks, conservatives, Bernie Sanders, and dumb young people. There is scarcely a mention of policy positions Clinton took during her campaign that were less than inspiring, or of moments when the candidate seemed to misread the public mood - such as her repeated claim that 'America is already great.' Any rational analysis of Clinton's career and campaigns must include an examination of her mistakes, but Destruction is not rational. Bordo starts from the conviction that Hillary Clinton, as 'the most qualified candidate in history,' should have won. Clinton's actions interest her less than what she deems as Clinton's greatness. It's not an investigation but a deification. [...] Bordo's objection seems to be that anyone opposed Clinton at all, even from the left. What she does not grasp - and is seemingly not interested in grasping - is that Clinton's critics from the left were not opposing a caricature of her as some kind of right-wing political operator. We opposed Clinton-the-hawk and Clinton-the-means-tester. Our objection was about politics, not personality. Similarly, we do not reject the feminism of Bordo and Clinton because of its ideological rigidity, as Bordo suggests. We reject it because it is insufficient. America was not 'already great.' Our lives are proof."

"If Bernie says working class and you hear white working class, it is on you not Bernie [...] Bernie's economic agenda would benefit the entire working class, most especially in the lives of women and minorities. I am so sickened to see the donor class attempt to trick people into thinking that Bernie is attacking them when it is just the reverse. I am even more sickened to see people who should know better fall for it."

Thomas Frank, "The Democrats' Davos ideology won't win back the midwest: The party has harmed millions of their own former constituents. If they change course, they can reverse their losses [...] The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party's neoliberal turn. Every time our liberal leaders signed off on some lousy trade deal, figuring that working-class people had 'nowhere else to go,' they were making what happened last November a little more likely. "

"For Health and Freedom: Civil rights activists knew their struggle was incomplete without winning a just health care system. They're an inspiration for single-payer activists today."

"Weaponized Philanthropy: Document Trove Details Bradley Foundation'S Efforts To Build Right-Wing 'Infrastructure' Nationwide [...] The documents open a window to the behind-the-scenes workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. With $835 million in assets as of June 2016, the Bradley Foundation is as large as the three Koch family foundations combined, yet receives much less attention as a significant funder of the right."
* "Bradley Foundation Bankrolls Attacks On Unions."

Carole Cadwalladr in the Guardian, "Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media: With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network. [...] We're not quite in the alternative reality where the actual news has become 'FAKE news!!!' But we're almost there. Out on Twitter, the new transnational battleground for the future, someone I follow tweets a quote by Marshall McLuhan, the great information theorist of the 60s. 'World War III will be a guerrilla information war,' it says. 'With no divisions between military and civilian participation.' By that definition we're already there."
* Carole Cadwalladr in the Observer, "The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked: A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose?"
* Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind The Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America's populist insurgency"

I was disappointed in Todd Gittlin's article about how Americans have lost faith in the news media, because it seems to be all about Trump and Republicans. But a lot of highly-informed news junkies can tell you that the media is full of junk, and it's not just Fox news.

"The Democratic Party Is a Ghost: Democratic Party elites don't have ideals. They just need you to be scared of the Republicans. [...] The Democratic leadership looks hardly different than it has for my entire adult life, a grim and aging collection of Clinton apparatchiks totally secure in their sinecures - all the more so because the only time the party ever does use what power it has, it's to quash any discontent from its base or its leftward flank."

And, in another stellar display of the diversity and civilized, mature decorum we expect from Clinton partisans, "An Editor at Ms. Magazine Rejoices That Someday Bernie Sanders Will Die." Katie Halper reports.

Jimmy Carter, "Losing my religion for equality: Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God. I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult."

Richard J. Eskow, "Yes, Obama's $400,000 Speech is a Problem: A new poll shows fully two-thirds of the American public agrees with this statement: 'The Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of most people.' And scarcely more than one in four Democrats themselves think the party understands most people's everyday concerns. It was also just announced that Barack Obama, following in the well-heeled footsteps of Bill and Hillary Clinton, will be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for giving a speech on behalf of a Wall Street firm. Anyone who thinks these two facts aren't connected isn't paying attention. Obama's payday reflects a longstanding pattern of behavior from Democratic leaders: Talk like liberals, govern from the center, and make a lot of money once you're out of office."
* Gaius Publius, "Obama Harvests His Presidency:
* And oddly, even The New York Times editorial board is critical of "The Cost of Barack Obama's Speech."
* "Barack Obama's $400,000 speaking fees reveal what few want to admit: His mission was never racial or economic justice. It's time we stop pretending it was."
* Elsewhere, Gaius reminded me of an article James K. Galbraith wrote back in 2011, "The Bad Deal: Over here reality has been evident for a while, thanks to the President's pattern of giving way to banks, lobbies, Republicans and right-wing extremists. Whether your prime interest is housing, health care, peace, justice, jobs or climate change, if you are an activist in America you have known for a long time that this President is not your friend. [...] The debt deal will make things clear. The President is not a progressive ' he is not what Americans still call a 'liberal.' He is a willful player in an epic drama of faux-politics, an operative for the money power, whose job is to neutralize the left with fear and distraction and then to pivot rightward and deliver a conservative result."

"Why the U.S. pays more for health care than the rest of the world [...] Other countries will say, here's the maximum price. Go ahead and compete below that. And in other countries, there's policy that you can charge a lot when you have a wonderful new technology, but as it gets older, that price has to keep coming down. And what we see in the United States, pretty much uniquely, is, as technologies get older, sometimes the price can go up, and can go up a lot. [...] In Japan, that same test would cost $100 to $150, because, in Japan, those prices have to go down over time. You can't say, wow, this was a great new technology 30 years ago, and so we're going to raise the price because it's even greater now. It's not. It's basically the same."

"Stay in a hospital, pay the CEO $56 a night: Norman Roth has a great job. He's the CEO of the relatively small Greenwich Hospital in southern Connecticut, and for each night patients stayed at his hospital in 2015, he got paid $56.40."

"The way forward for progressives" introduces an upcoming book: "As previously noted, this work traces the way the Left fell prey to what we call the globalisation myth and formed the view that the state has become powerless (or severely constrained) in the face of the transnational movements of goods and services and capital flows. Social democratic politicians frequently opine that national economic policy must be acceptable to the global financial markets and, as a result, champion right-wing policies that compromise the well-being of their citizens. The book traces both the history of this decline into neo-liberalism by the Left and also presents what might be called a 'Progressive Manifesto' to guide policy design and policy choices for progressive governments. We hope that the 'Manifesto' will empower community groups by demonstrating that the TINA mantra, where these alleged goals of the amorphous global financial markets are prioritised over real goals like full employment, renewable energy and revitalised manufacturing sectors is bereft and a range of policy options, now taboo in this neo-liberal world are available. In today's blog "

Last year, Gary Young went to "Middletown" to look at how America was experiencing the election up-close. His final dispatch was, "How Trump took middle America [...] But the issue was not simply about trade or globalisation: to many voters in Muncie, Clinton looked not only like an integral part of the establishment that had brought them to this place, but like a candidate advocating more of the same. 'If you take a step back and look at all America has achieved over the past eight years, it's remarkable to see how far we've come,' Clinton argued. For many of those who already had their backs against the wall, it was hard to see the progress. Trump, on the other hand, offered the near certainty that something would change. 'At least he'll shake things up,' was the phrase that kept coming up. One in five of those who voted for him thought he didn't have the temperament to be president. For some who had little to lose, he was evidently a risk worth taking. 'The Democrats keep making out like everything is OK,' says Todd Smekens, the publisher of the progressive online magazine Muncie Voice. 'And it's not. Nobody's buying it.'"

"Fellas, Should You Roll Up Your Sleeves? Here's the answer!"

Stranger Things Kids Performance at the EMMY -Dance Performance


  1. "Something that really bothers me is that everywhere I look, people seem to be really interested in getting rid of Trump without much consideration to what would be left if that happened"

    Was just having this conversation with my Dad, who sadly at 80 seems laser focused on Russia and impeachment. My response was what's better: imcompetent & evil or competent & evil. As if President Pence teaming up with that Randroid weight lifting granny starving c-nt Ryan is going to be a great improvement. Not to mention the colossal distraction that results when impeachment has sorted everyone into their partisan silos. Sanders wasn't going to have much luck remaking the Democratic party to begin with but Perez & co. are thrilled to no end that the slightest whiff of class warfare has been sucked out of the public discourse.

    2018 will be all about Trump, which may be enough to swing some seats the Dems' way but after 6 months their party continues to be deeply unpopular, in total denial about why they continue to lose everywhere, and without a fucking clue as to how to formulate an appealing platform on which to restore the party.

  2. In another fine example of both sides do it, both sided are dazzled by the distraction: While everyone is glued breathlessly to crotch-shots on the tube awaiting the next tidbit of Oh My Freaking Dog The Russians Hacked The Election And Our Tea Pot Dictator Is Right In The Middle Of It !!! * Oregon District Two "Representative" Greg Walden, House Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell are on the one hand systematically dismantling a hundred years of social progress while on the other hand Vice-President Pence, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Sessions are systematically establishing a White Christo-Facist theocratic oligarchy with blatant disregard for both the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and The Founders' intent.

    Overall Pence, Sessions et al are a far greater threat than Drumpf uck. We do indeed need to be careful what we wish for, these guys' plan is The Handmaid's Tale; not some jack-booted 1984, drugged-out thoroughly distracted Brave New World or dystopic over-populated Blade Runner, they are dedicated to establishing an authoritative, dominionist white "christian" theocratic oligarchy and are not shy about it.

    Russia, and Drumpf uck, are distractions. 

    * Promised for months the election would be rigged, everyone is surprised?