The Report

The report on our president’s behavior has not been made public.  The Attorney General has offered a summary that if far too brief for sensible people to be drawing conclusions about what the implications of the findings are–should be–for the president and his administration.  But, the fact that the prosecutor will prosecute the president or his children or his in-laws does tell us much that is horrible about the way in which people think about politics in this country and the way in which the political is discussed in the media.  The Mueller decision, even with so little so known about it, if the American public were know even history most recent, would see that the powerful urge for immediate explanations for things that happen and fast and simple answers to complex questions leads to disaster.  This happened with the war in Iraq–the New York Times issued a seriously important retraction and apology for its dangerously flawed reporting–and it just happened again, the cable news pundits driving the real reporters to, as those pundits do to make their obnoxiously high salaries–speculated at least as much as they tried to get to facts, as much as they tried to get at the truth, this so they would be invited to appear on the pundits’ big money making shows.

The investigation into Russian participation in the Trump election campaign, it is likely, found things about the campaign’s operation and Trump’s business dealings that, if and when they come to light, will show wrong doing, ethical wrong doing for certain, criminal wrong doing, quite possibly.  But Trump will be able to say, and he will say it over and over again and loudly, that he was right about the fake media and that his witch-hunt claims were valid, the claims made about his lying invalid because of the sources from which they come.  The possibly irreparable damage done is that truth had been destroyed, the possibility of a politics based in truth made impossible.

The bigger story yet is that this will be accepted by politicians and public as the tolerable,  just the way things are, compromise, business as usual, best that can be done considering, reality with which we can learn to live.  And, in to a large extent, good numbers will be very happy about this state of things because it will insure continuation of a status quo that has been in place for a very long time that benefits the wealthy well–those pundits and the reporters invited to pundit with them, the movie stars and recording artists, the hedge fund managers, corporate investors, corporate heads–at the expense of the “not so lucky,” many of these the ethical who are not willing to be so rotten as to be, capitalistically “pragmatic.”

For a very long time, we, the people of this nation, have accepted rotten as good for what rotten has gotten, what rotten gets.  This is because of our economic system that proves to us on a daily basis that such is true.  Not being wholly truthful is our operating ethos, not being truthful good, strategic, smart, a critical element in the art of the deal.  Trump is not the only lying business man and Trump is not the only politician who is a liar.  The status quo is favorable to liars who make money and win power and use power to make money by lying.

Several years ago Matt Tiabbi wrote an expose on Goldman Sachs about its culture of lies that was the culture that allowed it to succeed and succeed enormously because of the size of the lies it with which it was able to get away.  Neither democrats or republicans in power liked that story, hoped it would go away, which it did.  After the crash of 2008, precipitated by companies like Golden Sachs, several of which came out just fine when many a run of the mill citizen did not.  Hillary Clinton made some money off of them by speaking to their bandit gang.

The culture of lying just passed a test that predicts a long future for it.  Liars were lied about and so the liars are exonerated because they are not the only liars.  Those telling of their lies are liars too.  Media bias against liars is real so how can one believe that the stories about the liars’ lies are true?  Truth has been demoted even further for now it can be proven that the truth itself is often a lie and no one can be trusted as a truth teller.

The potential for a sane and humane democracy may have been killed once and for all and those who benefit most from the insanity of the present society and from the inhumanity of it will now have to work even less hard to prove that though they are inhumane and lie, they are still good people.

No more time left to call bullshit.  We are too deeply buried in it to hope to breath truth again.

Tiabbi on Russia Investigation

 

 

Morale and pay, brilliance and respect

 

About our local school district what may be relevant to many other school districts: Two posts to Facebook maybe worthy of wider distribution.

Anyone else think that it is time for a thorough review of the district’s operations? Morale is a signifier of the health of an organization and I would bet that there are a good number of students whose feelings towards their schools are nowhere near as good as they should be, in some part, due to the way their teachers feel about their jobs and the causes for these feelings. The problem has been for a very long time a focus on graduation rates rather than student involvement in activities that stimulate thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for learning what is being taught. Teachers are pushed to prepare students for passing tests and to move them along at whatever cost, this forcing teachers to push out students they know are not ready for what comes next. The job is about numbers and hardly about helping individual human beings grow well intellectually and emotionally. If one likes young people, cares about their futures, only a foolish teacher would be happy about the district and its goals.

In my post (the one above) I did not speak to the issue of pay but how one is able to live one’s life is dependent on what one is payed and teachers should be able to live much better lives than their current salaries allow. The thing about pay is that it has much to do with how the importance of people in our society is judged. This may not be a good thing but it is a real thing and it affects how people are seen and how they understand their worth in the society. Teachers, good teachers, the ones who understand how to make it possible for others to understand the world well are incredibly smart people, the best brilliant and there are limited numbers of these in the universe. That all teachers are not of this class is terribly unfair to students and to a society that needs highly thoughtful people to make it work as an effective democracy. Not all teachers are as smart as students and society deserve them to be and pay–along with which comes degrees of dignity, self-respect, and acceptance of their authority–is is not only important for what can be bought but for the kind of respect–self respect and respect from others–that is confirmed by how much of it one receives. Stupid movie stars receive more respect in our society than the most brilliant teachers! Money, like it or not, does attract and to attract the best and brightest to teach our children, teachers need to be awarded with decent pay, those truly highly qualified to teach. A minimum $100,000 salary is not unrealistic if the reality we wish to create is one that supports sensible and humane democracy. Good teachers, using a sensible scale of importance and effect, are worth at least this.

Why Socialism is Necessary

Socialism can work with a market economy, one that is regulated enough to insure that the economy serves the country and its people first and foremost. In proper socialist market economy, by law, vital commodities and services, health care and medicine, would be state controlled because they are vital to the people’s well being. So too defense industries, transportation, infrastructure, and so on. The state would, in regard to private businesses, enforce regulations necessary to insure that these entities provided adequately for workers and that products and services were safe and what they were advertised to be. In many ways, for periods of time in the United States when there existed a more kind and generous governing class, government did exert more control in the name of the health and welfare of the people. The reason that a new injection of socialism is needed is because the government of the people is no longer that but, rather, a government by a few for a few people, the regulatory function of government undermined by the ability of the monied to write law and have it enforced in their favor. That is why we are talking about socialism again, not because it hasn’t been a force in American society, but because the elements of government that serve the common good have been eroded to the point that the harm is being made more noticeable. The push back that should have occurred to right what was going wrong did not happen, this in good part because of a two party system with neither party truly on the side of the common good so that all the majority of people got was a bad deal.

Deny the dopes. Extinguish dopiness.

What some of these new female congressional representative represents is everything those who have ruled over everyone else by virtue of their being white and most of them male is the end of the game. They are concerned that they will loose power illegitimately gained, often by holding others more capable than themselves down by denying them resources and access. There is possibility for democracy to actually break through and it scares the shit out of the good old boys and girls who have lived comfortably off those they prevented from having what they deserved. Trump is their hope and he is a dope like many of them theirselves. Sadly, they still hold considerable undeserved power because the dopes have somehow–maybe by controlling the school system–made it possible that there are enough dopes out there to support them despite the poor treatment they receive at their master’s hands.

We need to take the dopes out of power and we need to help the dopes who put them there to stop believing that the shit they receive is all that they deserve.

That would be revolutionary. That would make possible democracy that serves the good of all.

Tame Capital

From Bob Fulkerson: Nordhaus symbolizes all that is wrong about the environmental movement’s embrace of conventional economics.
“Remarkably, Nordhaus—like most orthodox economists—has never bothered to consider this question. The growth-is-good mantra is so baked into our consciousness that to question it seems almost crazy. Indeed, growthism is hegemonic to the point of transcending ideology. Politicians on the left and right alike hold it up as the single most important policy objective; they may quarrel about how to make growth happen, and how to distribute its yields, but on the question of growth itself there’s no daylight between them.”

Me:

This is why it is important to understand that when all is said and done, there is but one perspective that is sponsored in our current political system and that is a capitalist perspective. It goes unchallenged in our political debates because there exists no viable opposition. There is advocacy, sometimes, for small fixes but never, at least in the mainstream of politics, any for fixes meaningful enough to cause a change in direction even if such is vital to survival. The cost to real people, to most people, of a society in which profit, not people or their planet, is profound but, terribly so, it is profiteers who have the money to buy power and they use it consistently to insure continued profits. The cost to others is always but a minor consideration if it is a consideration at all.

One more thing: We–people who really do care about people and planet–continue to react to incidents when we should be using our energy to deal with causes. The cause of most all of the problems progressives fight to solve can be linked to our–now global–economic system. Money is power because money buys power to buy more power. The fix is in nixing this equation, making it unworkable, ineffective. If we save a forest, while we are doing the work, some other forest somewhere is being destroyed, and so it goes and will continue to go so unless we tame capital, force those who hold the bulk of it to use it for the good of planet and humanity, this, to some extent, necessitating its redistribution.

Empathetically Weak. Empathy is Weakness

Nevada Sagebrush article

This shouldn’t have to be a topic of discussion on campus but it must be because there are terrible people running around doing terrible things to others. It is terribly sad that we live in a country where violence is a regular part of life and that young people have to find ways to cope with their legitimate fears of being harmed. Those who do harm to others, those who make others live in fear are, simply put, bad people, bad because they lack something of critical importance to a civil society, empathy.

How can some people be so numb to the pain they cause others? Perhaps it has something to do with the not so hidden ethos that is accompanies capitalism, the underlying theme that is actually appreciated more than we are willing to speak of that makes winning more important than compassion, that causes many who wish to “succeed” to ignore the cost of their success for others.

There exists in our society a tension between practicality and compassion and a notion of practicality that inures people to empathy for empathy prevents a person from acting boldly and decisively. Empathy undermines a “winning spirit.” He or she who would not hurt a flea is a fool!

The answer to violence in our society is empathy. The answer to violence in the world is empathy. But empathy threatens threatens the empire because the empire thrives on division, on the one against the other, one winning and losers and winning and losing. It is an empire and it is ruled by those with the least compassion, the least amount of empathy. Such people “get things done.” They get what they want. They get their way. And to get there, they have to push others out of their way even if it means killing them.

Nevada Sage Brush: “Anti-semitism, racism and prejudice, ADA accessibility and sexual assault on campus were the primary agenda items. Attendees were broken into smaller groups to create a more intimate setting for a conversation.

Anti-semitism was focused on during the town hall due to a swastika that was carved into the wall of Peavine Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Due to the vandalism, a hate crime investigation was opened.”

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H.W. BUSH

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H. W. BUSH AND FOR VERY GOOD REASON.

When George H.W. Bush was president, I thought him to be, for many a good reason, a bad person and not a good one. So did many of those now praising him. Okay, he got older and maybe he became a better person. But that is not what he is being praised for; he is being called a great man and a great leader FOR what he did as a public servant.

Are we so stupid as to forget the past, to revise history for the sake of some weird sense of propriety? To praise those whose beliefs and deeds do great harm is symptomatic of something far worse than bad ideas, an inability to understand where they come from and the real beliefs of those who propagate them.

“In a 2009 speech, George H.W. Bush said that Bill Clinton was not his enemy, but his friend.” (From CNN). What I get from this is that there is a class of people in this country who view politics as a game amongst friends. What is difficult to like about this is the cost to others of their playing at this game. To gain election, they accentuate important differences in world view so as to give hope that alternatives to the status quo are possible. In reality, within meaningful contexts of how the world is and will be, they only are different enough that little that is truly important will be affected no matter who wins at the game; things will remain pretty much as they are because as they are, things are pretty good for THEM.

Political opponents in a truly democratic system offer alternatives, representing different ways of going about–it should be–making life better for those who participate in the electoral process. What is most important IS their differences and the debate over how to go about doing things that ensues.

In the case of our modern day “democracy,” the differences are so insubstantial that those with what seem to be critically different political views, who possess different perspectives on how the lives of others should be considered, can reconcile so quickly. That the “opponents” can not only come to respect one another–even if the actions of one or the other is not respectable, even outright inhumane– but also come to see greatness in that other, is a sign that the game is but spectacle, of no gravity.

The truth of the matter is that other people, hardly ever the players themselves, are hurt by those so made respectable and great. Lives are destroyed and people killed. The electoral process, because it has little to do with meaningful differences between the “choices” offered is, to, spectacle, a hollow gesture to a democratic process that really does not exist.