What began with Bush…

 

 

Yet Trump and Pompeo’s rhetoric has some in the intelligence community concerned that the Administration may try to push on the origins of the virus much the way that, in 2002, Vice-President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, pressured intelligence agencies to provide material that might support the theory that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  New Yorker.

Civilized sensible socialism

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

NY Times

As millions of Americans struggle to get their unemployment benefits, pay rent and feed their children, consider someone who flips burgers at a McDonalds in Denmark. Starting pay is about $22 an hour once various allowances are considered, plus six weeks paid vacation a year, life insurance, a year’s paid maternity leave and a pension plan.
What’s more remarkable: Those workers are all still employed and on full pay, because of a government plan to keep people employed. Denmark managed the pandemic quite well, with much more testing and fewer deaths per capita than the United States, and it is now starting up the economy again, with unemployment estimated at 4 to 5 percent, one-fifth the level of the United States.

Twisted politics of the Trump era

From:

This poll number shows something very important about the Tara Reade allegation

Opinion about whether the accusation is true is very, very divided. Roughly 4 in 10 (37%) — say the allegation is “probably true” while 32% say it’s probably not true, and 31% have no opinion.

Which isn’t great news for Biden. Except that when you dig into the numbers one level further, you find this: Among the group that says the accusation against Biden is probably true, he still wins 1 in 3 of their votes. (President Donald Trump gets 59% among that group.)

What that means — at least at this relatively early stage in the general election race — is that there is a decent chunk of voters whose dislike for Trump or support for Biden overrides even their belief that Reade is telling the truth about Biden. They so want Trump out that they are supporting Biden even in spite of believing the unproven (and denied) allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in the early 1990s.

How we came to be what we are and should not be

Important article.

 

The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions , George Packer, Atlantic , April 2020

How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will

They didn’t grasp the readiness of large numbers of Americans to accept, even relish, Trump’s contempt for democratic norms and basic decency. It took the arrival of such a leader to reveal how many things that had always seemed engraved in monumental stone turned out to depend on those flimsy norms, and how much the norms depended on public opinion. Their vanishing exposed the real power of the presidency. Legal precedent could be deleted with a keystroke; law enforcement’s independence from the White House was optional; the separation of powers turned out to be a gentleman’s agreement; transparent lies were more potent than solid facts. None of this was clear to the political class until Trump became president.

But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it.

Never for Bernie

I never was a fan of Bernie.  Bernie has never been for me just a person.  Bernie is an idea.  No, Bernie is a philosophy to which, in almost all parts, I subscribe and to which I have been subscribed for most of my life.  That philosophy is about what Paulo
Freire calls humanization, about growth of human consciousness toward kindness and generosity, the purging of ruthless selfishness that can be achieved when people know they do not have to fight one another to get what they need because they have spent a good part of their time on earth findings ways to insure that everyone has enough.  That is a sane and humane goal and by buying into it one is him or herself humanized, capable of and wanting to celebrate the wonder that is the human being, that being more fully realized each minute and hour and day by further discovery of the capacities of the human mind.

Bernie, the philosophy, is based in a profundity of empathy, a what hurts you hurts me sensibility that prevents the one doing harm to another one.  The individual is precious and the primary goal of government is to allow all to grow fully as individuals while supporting a system of constraints that individuals agree to impose upon themselves for the sake of a society that allows all amongst many to live as freely as possible.  The primary work of good government is to discover, promote, and perpetuate the common good, it, to a large extent, manifest in the freedom to think and form opinions that contribute to the formulation of policy–in the realm of the personal and in the realm of the societal–that makes possible the best conditions for the best possible life.

This is not the philosophy that guides shapes our current policies and the actions that result from those policies are patently inhumane.  One child starving as a result of policy or for the lack of humane policy indicates that humane society has not been achieved and, the ongoing creation of policy that is inhumane, according to our Declaration of Independence, violates nature’s law, makes for an unnatural and rancid society.

Some of us hate living in a rancid society in which many children and many adults, a great many too many when one is tragedy enough, are allowed under policy formulated by the governing to live miserable lives while, at the very same time, others live gluttonous lives, these made possible in good part by the misery of those others.  Bernie philosophy has it that this should not be.  Bernie’s take on the current reality is that the few have been exploiting, crushing the humanity out of the many, that many ever more so being excluded from participation in the decision making process by which their lives are shaped.

Cruelty was a part of Bernie’s defeat.  Selfishness was a part of Bernie’s defeat.  Fear of change when that one child and the many need the help of a humane society to be allowed to exercise their right to live decently.

America has always been about goodness and doing right. Platitudes!  Propaganda!  The big lie that somehow is effective in turning people away from seeing the nastiness of American reality.  Last democratic convention, the good old boys and girls that pushed for Hillary constantly repeated the phrase “America is already great.”  It was a lie.  None there could have believed it if they possessed the least bit of humanity, if they cared at all about the plight of the suffering of that many harmed by the greatness of the system they wanted to keep in place.  It was an inhumane chant meant to cause people to vote for a twisted reality that would work to serve the interests of those with their bellies already full at great cost to those already hungry.

 

How far will I bend over?

And you have succeeded. A good number of us know there is a better future than what has been so much of our past under both democratic and republican administrations, neither of the only two sides considerate enough of human needs and human pain to change the way this country operates.  Both parties fail in offering platforms humane enough for decent people to find enough good in them to really believe that after election poverty will be eradicated, fear for job security will be eliminated, a fair wage will be paid for a fair day’s wage, that health care will be made a right, that schools will be adequately funded, that measures will be taken to defang the rich by taking away their right to own the political system and most everything and everyone in this society.

Yes, some do sip hundred dollar a shot bourbon and some own beach homes worth more that the lifetime pay of several working because they have no choice but homelessness and starvation to work for what they can get.  Last round of primaries made anointment by the Democratic Party of a right of center candidate a done deal.  The party rallied to show enough hatred of the idea of real change to insure that capitalism would stand strong and continue to crush decent people in this country and abroad.  Joe did what he could to make the party line resonate in strongly implying that Bernie Sanders was not just a socialist but a communist and a friend of leaders of communist countries, countries they want people to believe are so terrible that no one wants to live in them.

Bernie, they advertised, is about dictatorship and this because he pointed to the truly humane things these horrible governments have done for their people like educate them, help them out of poverty–poverty encouraged by the capitalist west’s desire to have what ever these places had that was good and necessary in exchange for promises not to annihilate them. A capitalist dictator is always better than a compassionate socialist and no matter what a communist government does to feed and educate and give health care to more people in these countries than they ever had before, it is far worse that us, a country extremely rich that refuses to make life decent for good numbers of its people.

Can I forgive the democratic party and get on board after it won its way against me by winning the argument, not with good sense discussion of the truly pressing issues, but through fear mongering, creating a new red scare, this to protect what is not right and good but to protect what is wrong but serves the leadership and many of its supporters well.

Biden wants us, of course, to come together so we can defeat a man who is worse than him.  He is not good and many who have voted for him know this.  He is better than the worst and still not good enough.  That is the real tragedy of Trump who comes after Obama who came after Bush who came after Clinton.  The democrats, when they win, try be friends with those across the isle, many of whom are really for the same things–that good old American way that cheats labor so to keep those elegant cocktail on the veranda with movie stars and billionaires going.

I may have to bend and vote for Biden.  But I may not be able to unless he moves somewhat my way.  Want a fucking compromise, maybe if good enough.  Want submission to your cruel reality?  Go to hell.