Showing posts with label democratic party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label democratic party. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Beto, Your Courage Is In Running

Beto O'Rourke presidential campaign staff, 2020
Beto O'Rourke names Texas staff for presidential campaign
Beto for America
O’Rourke bolsters senior staff with 5 hires

5 factors that could determine the strength of Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for governor The former congressman must keep elements of his 2018 campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz, while fixing mess made in 2020 presidential effort.

Beto O’Rourke hires 4 for national communications team

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Elizabeth Warren Would Be A Great Choice

In some quarters they are talking about Elizabeth Warren as being the VP pick for Biden. I think that would be a wonderful choice to make. It would certainly be the most democratic choice. There were two clear streams this primary season. Biden represents one. The other can be represented by Warren. She is a progressive who is clearly not a socialist. And she goes low when Trump goes low. She goes toe to toe. Politics is war by other means.

Picking Warren would be great to bring about party unity. And we can expect to see AOC back on the campaign trail with Warren. She will do for Warren this Fall what she did for the B man last Fall. Warren wanted AOC to do that for her last Fall, but then B man went ahead and had a heart attack. That tugged at AOC's heart. Besides, Bernie only popped up because Warren refused to run in 2016. Hillary was the Biden of 2016.

If Warren is on the ticket no lefty will be talking about if Biden went far enough for them or not. You get Warren, all such anxieties are soothed. Besides, this pandemic makes Bernie look like a Wall Street don.

Biden should pick Warren. Wait, the names even rhyme. I just noticed.

They both can retire and make room for AOC in 2028.

Warren hits Trump: He's trying to turn a health crisis into 'a political rally for himself'

Monday, April 13, 2020

Michelle Obama For VP

I think she is the logical choice. A VP, by definition, must be able to take the top job in a heartbeat. Nothing prepares you for the top job like spending eight years in the White House. She is well prepared.

Joe Biden became Joe Biden in South Carolina. The African American voters across the South put him back in the race and gave him the nomination.

President: Joe Biden
Vice President: Michelle Obama
Attorney General: Kamala Devi Harris
Secretary Of Urban Affairs: Pete Buttigieg
Secretary Of Labor: Andrew Yang
UN Ambassador: Tulsi Gabbard

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has Never Spoken to Joe Biden. Here’s What She Would Say. I want to respect his win, he won because of his coalition building, he won because of his service, he won for a lot of different reasons — but I don’t think he won because Americans don’t want “Medicare for all.” And in this moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if what we’re seeing with coronavirus didn’t further change people’s views in further support of a progressive agenda......... And I just don’t know if this message of “We’re going to go back to the way things were” is going to work for the people for who the way things were was really bad......... Beating Donald Trump is a matter of life or death for our communities. I think it’s a difference between making an argument for harm reduction, and making the argument for, there’s actually going to be progress made for us........ Because, for some people, this argument of returning to normalcy sounds like an argument of respectability politics and civility. And for other people, it sounds like, will my child be put in a cage? ....... I do not feel a choice in adhering to my principles and my integrity, and being accountable to the movement that brought me here. But also, I don’t want another term of Trump....... I don’t want this president throwing paper towels at my family again.

Ocasio-Cortez says Biden campaign has not reached out to her

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Warren's Lead: Expected

ELIZABETH WARREN LEADS JOE BIDEN BY DOUBLE DIGITS IN LATEST 2020 POLL Warren tops the Democratic candidate field with 28 percent of the vote while Sanders comes in second with 21 percent. Biden, who has maintained his status as Democratic front-runner since entering the race in the spring, has fallen to just 18 percent....... Warren is holding steady as primary voters' second choice, meaning she is in good position to rise as other candidates drop out of the race...... Warren, 70, is the only top-three candidate who beats Trump on perceptions of how health impacts their ability to govern. Two-thirds of voters said they believe Warren's physical condition is good enough

Right now it is looking like:

President: Elizabeth Warren
Vice President: Bernie Sanders
Attorney General: Kamala Harris
Secretary Of Urban Affairs: Pete
Secretary Of Labor: Andrew Yang
UN Ambassador: Tulsi Gabbard
Texas Governor: Beto
Chancellor, Obama Library: Joe Biden

Friday, September 06, 2019

Climate Talk And The Dems

2020: Current Lineup

President: Andrew Yang
Vice President: Elizabeth Warren
Attorney General: Kamala Devi Harris
Chancellor of the Obama Library: Joe Biden
Senate Lion, McCain of the Left: Bernie Sanders
Texas Governor: Beto
UN Ambassador: Tulsi Gabbard
Secretary Of Urban Affairs: Pete

How 2020 Presidential Candidates Can Raise Their Polling Numbers Andrew Yang: What do you have to lose? Bump it to 2K a month.

Friday, August 02, 2019

The Third Democratic Debate

Looks like we are moving towards 10 candidates on the debate stage for September. (Full disclosure: I did not watch the second debates either.) And it might make sense to keep it there until Iowa. If you can fit them on one debate stage, hey! But if you winnow it down to five, those might be Biden, Bernie, Warren, Harris, and Pete. But I believe that would be too narrow. 10 until Iowa. Then five going into New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The thing to note though is that the rest are still in the race. Unless they themselves drop out, they only have lost their slot on the debate stage. They are still on the ballot.

Nothing prevents a network from holding a debate among just the top five, either.

Health care in America is a lot to wrap your head around. Just to articulate an understanding of the system as it exists today is a lot. To offer an alternative is much more. But the hardest part might be, how do you go from here to there? If you make people anxious, you are toast. You don't want people thinking, what we have is not working for everyone, and a better system would be good, but if I lose what I have when you start on the journey, I am not too excited. Where do I get my insulin?

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Young And Progressive

57 percent of millennials call themselves consistently liberal or mostly liberal. Only 12 percent call themselves consistently conservative or mostly conservative. This is the most important statistic in American politics right now.
Recent surveys of Generation Z voters (those born after 1996) find that, if anything, they are even more liberal than millennials........ Only 16 percent of the Silent Generation is minority, but 44 percent of the millennial generation is. If you are a millennial in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona or New Jersey, ethnic minorities make up more than half of your age cohort. In just over two decades, America will be a majority-minority country....... Seventy-nine percent of millennials think immigration is good for America. Sixty-one percent think racial diversity is good for America...... They are much more sympathetic to those who identify as transgender. They are much more likely than other groups to say that racial discrimination is the main barrier to black progress. ....... conservative intellectuals seem hellbent on taking their 12 percent share among the young and turning it to 3.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Andrew Yang: The Only One With A Solution

Andrew Yang for President 2020 - YouTube

Andrew Yang is the only one with a solution. That solution is the Universal Basic Income. America is at the cusp of enormous rises in technology-driven productivity. But tech is agnostic. The political process has to rise up to the challenge.

China is trying its best to avoid what is known as the middle-income trap. When Nixon went to meet Mao in China, China was a country of farmers who could barely feed themselves. Today it is a large manufacturing country. It is called the factory of the world. But wages have risen, and China has lost some of its competitive advantages. And so China has to move to the next level or stagnate. The next level is high tech and the service sector.

Instead of America trying to get back its manufacturing base that even China has begun to lose, America has to assess what the next step for the American economy is.

The US made a huge mistake after the internet took off. It did not invest in health and education like it needed to. The US education system is still something that was designed for Henry Ford. A knowledge economy asks for paradigm shifts in education. France seems to have a pretty good system for health care. But not even universal health will solve the problem.

Universal Basic Income has to be the first and most important step. Everything else has to be built on top of that. And Andrew Yang is the only one talking about it.

Andrew Yang Recalls Getting Beat Up For Being The ‘Skinny Asian Kid’ his experiences as one of the lone Asian Americans growing up in his upstate New York town. ..... Yang said that, during his childhood, the prevailing cultural references to Asians were limited to “Long Duk Dong” of “Sixteen Candles” and the line from the movie “Platoon”: “That’s the way the gook laughs.” ...... while the disputes happened sporadically throughout his elementary school and junior high school years, Yang doesn’t recall teachers getting involved much. Bharara, who said he had similar experiences with bullying, also felt little support from teachers and staff. ..... The pair agreed that the experiences shaped how they operate within the world today. ..... “I felt myself to be that marginalized Asian kid throughout my entire life,” Yang said. “Whenever there’s a gathering of people, when I notice someone who’s out of place, I would naturally gravitate towards them.”

2020 Democrat Andrew Yang thinks the key to his success is standing next to Joe Biden at debates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is making a name for herself in the 2020 campaign by cranking out policies. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, are hoping you know their names already. ..... Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, is more concerned that the person she's standing next to is "maybe going to be really tall"

Inside Andrew Yang's Outsider Campaign There’s nothing like an Andrew Yang campaign event. Nowhere else will fans show up wearing hats with MATH written across the top (“Make America Think Harder”). ...... an outside-the-box style that comes across as refreshing to voters who crave an outsider candidate. ...... Yang is vying to become the first Asian-American nominee of a major party. And while he remains a rounding error in the polls, his modest momentum reflects the enduring hunger for unconventional candidates. If his campaign can catch fire, he’d be further evidence that it’s no longer necessary to spend time serving in elected office or even to be conventionally good at retail politics. What matters, Yang suggests, is to think differently than Washington does. ...... “the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math” ....... Yang, 44, was born in New York to two immigrants from Taiwan. He graduated from high school in Exeter, N.H., in 1992, got an undergraduate degree from Brown and went to law school at Columbia, which he graduated from in 1999. ...... Then he ran a tutoring company that was acquired by test-prep giant Kaplan in 2009 for an undisclosed amount. (On the trail, Yang refers to it as a “modest fortune.”) ........ Along the way, Yang married and had two kids, including an autistic son. ...... Yang’s path led him in early 2017 to the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, where he sat down to lunch with Andy Stern, the former president of Service Employees International Union. He’d read Stern’s book, Raising the Floor, which focuses on universal basic income and closes with the idea of someone running for president on the issue. Yang wanted to try it. ..... If your government teacher ever asked you to invent policy from scratch for a school assignment, the results might look something like his: imaginative, interesting and a little bit out there. ..... The first major moment of Yang’s campaign came after his appearance on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast, where he first introduced himself to a large audience. After that he started gaining traction on Twitter and Reddit, largely for his universal basic income proposal....... while he can draw crowds in the thousands, Yang’s base is online. .... On Twitter, his follower count is more than 282,000 ....... “I think it’s because young people unfortunately have come of age in an era of institutional failure and erosion,” Yang says, “and so when they sense that someone is speaking in an institutional voice, they kind of tune out.”.... Yang’s theory of the case is that once people get to know him through the debates, they will realize his ceiling is “much higher than most other candidates” and begin to coalesce around him. He often says that people tell him he’s what they hoped for when they voted for Trump.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Two Party System Continues

America is a two party democracy, and it continues. The Republican Party is not dead, although a major act of creative destruction might have happened. The Democratic Party is now a municipal party, but such total defeat is also the best place to be from where to mount a strong comebck.

NATO is too expensive. That is the electoral verdict. The unfinished business of ending the Cold War once and for all perhaps now will be finished. Architecting a normal relationship with Russia might be at hand.

Trump's ascent might be a challenge to the solar entrepreneurs who now have to make sure dirty energy gets priced out completely. 

Friday, August 05, 2016

The Diamond Triangle: The Voters, The Politicians, The Academics

It really is just about one person, one vote, one voice. Democracy can be magic. And if you just keep building the matrix, the lattice, there is no upper limit to how big your party can be. It is power. It is also in-built humility.

The voters are required to vote, go above 80%. That is all you really need to do. But you do have to do that much, every two years, by the clock. And if your rear end can't move that much, do not have expectations, do not complain.

The voters also should be part of the conversation. This happens in person. This happens in small groups. This happens on social media. This happens at rallies. You voice your opinions. You consume information. You learn more about issues and the political process. You ask questions. You have your questions answered.

The politicians are to ziggy withit the government machinery, the political machinery, are to connect the academics and the voters. Running the government machinery is brain surgery, it takes a lot. Only the most qualified can do it.

And then there are badly paid academics. They are the ones who think the thoughts and connect the dots, but they don't much care for retail politics, and most of them don't much care for politicians either. But even the most obscure academic is part of some social network or another, and there is no dearth of academics who are fond of glamor. If the academics are part of the diamond triangle then running the government becomes like physics and engineering. You are looking at data, you are collecting data, academics are making sense of it all. Academics should always, always, always be three steps ahead of politicians and voters.

You can really quicken the heart and the pace of the political process by forming this diamond triangle. It is the political machinery's job to take the academics to the voters in digestible formats. Some might want to read journal articles. Most might prefer summaries. Some might like a minute long YouTube video. You give it to them.

With this matrix/lattice in place, you can have a vote share of 60% or more and still not suffer the mindless, irrational, quirky pendulum swing two years after snatching a massive mandate. You keep delivering and you keep looking forward.

Either you will eventually have an opposition that is also finally into evidence based decision making and is past bigotry, xenophobia, racism and sexism or America will stay a de facto one party state for a while. Doesn't hurt.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Two More Arguments For Warren

One is that she is the only person in both parties who seems to know exactly how to tackle Trump.

The second is that the left that Warren represents and the center that Hillary represents have to be welded together. Otherwise what is the Democratic Party?

Friday, April 08, 2016

Hillary's Narrow Lead

Bernie has won many states in a row, and Hillary's already narrow lead among elected delegates has become narrower. But what if it gets narrower still at the end of the day, but Bernie does not surpass it? Then the superdelegates could stay with Hillary, and that gives her a huge lead, and she is the nominee. And that is the most likely scenario right now, unless Bernie wins California by a wide, wide margin. More likely, New York and California cancel each other out. Hillary carries New York by 10% and loses California by 10%.

Bernie, in that scenario, will have shaped the race, shaped the party, shaped the platform, energized the young voters mostly, but does that mean the two end up on the same ticket, kind of like Reagan and Bush in 1980? If the race stays close, that is a plausible scenario. Such a ticket would make the party strong in November.

Sunday, November 01, 2015


Have you seen her? She is amazingly ugly.

It was political. On both sides.

On the part of the New York City Democratic Party Machine. And my part.

2016 is not 2008.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Democracy In America: 2014 Version

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy
over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power. ..... Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters. ...... "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," they write, "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." ...... Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first. ...... this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month's ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse. ...... "Ordinary citizens," they write, "might often be observed to 'win' (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail."
Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy The MIT professor lays out how the majority of U.S. policies are opposed to what wide swaths of the public want
American power is diminishing, as it has been in fact since its peak in 1945, but it’s still incomparable. And it’s dangerous. Obama’s remarkable global terror campaign and the limited, pathetic reaction to it in the West is one shocking example. And it is a campaign of international terrorism – by far the most extreme in the world. ...... According to received doctrine, we live in capitalist democracies, which are the best possible system, despite some flaws. There’s been an interesting debate over the years about the relation between capitalism and democracy, for example, are they even compatible? I won’t be pursuing this because I’d like to discuss a different system – what we could call the “really existing capitalist democracy”, RECD for short, pronounced “wrecked” by accident. To begin with, how does RECD compare with democracy? ....... In the work that’s essentially the gold standard in the field, it’s concluded that for roughly 70% of the population – the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale – they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They’re effectively disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it’s plutocracy. ....... So the major domestic issue in the United States for the public is jobs. Polls show that very clearly. For the very wealthy and the financial institutions, the major issue is the deficit. Well, what about policy? There’s now a sequester in the United States, a sharp cutback in funds. Is that because of jobs or is it because of the deficit? Well, the deficit. ....... Europe, incidentally, is much worse – so outlandish that even The Wall Street Journal has been appalled by the disappearance of democracy in Europe. …[I]t had an article [this year] which concluded that “the French, the Spanish, the Irish, the Dutch, Portuguese, Greeks, Slovenians, Slovakians and Cypriots have to varying degrees voted against the currency bloc’s economic model since the crisis began three years ago. Yet economic policies have changed little in response to one electoral defeat after another. The left has replaced the right; the right has ousted the left. Even the center-right trounced Communists (in Cyprus) – but the economic policies have essentially remained the same: governments will continue to cut spending and raise taxes.” It doesn’t matter what people think and “national governments must follow macro-economic directives set by the European Commission”. Elections are close to meaningless, very much as in Third World countries that are ruled by the international financial institutions. That’s what Europe has chosen to become. ....... Returning to the United States, where the situation is not quite that bad, there’s the same disparity between public opinion and policy on a very wide range of issues. Take for example the issue of minimum wage. The one view is that the minimum wage ought to be indexed to the cost of living and high enough to prevent falling below the poverty line. Eighty percent of the public support that and forty percent of the wealthy. What’s the minimum wage? Going down, way below these levels. It’s the same with laws that facilitate union activity: strongly supported by the public; opposed by the very wealthy – disappearing. The same is true on national healthcare. The U.S., as you may know, has a health system which is an international scandal, it has twice the per capita costs of other OECD countries and relatively poor outcomes. The only privatized, pretty much unregulated system. The public doesn’t like it. They’ve been calling for national healthcare, public options, for years, but the financial institutions think it’s fine, so it stays: stasis. In fact, if the United States had a healthcare system like comparable countries there wouldn’t be any deficit. The famous deficit would be erased ....... For 35 years there have been polls on ‘what do you think taxes ought to be?’ Large majorities have held that the corporations and the wealthy should pay higher taxes. They’ve steadily been going down through this period. ...... On and on, the policy throughout is almost the opposite of public opinion, which is a typical property of RECD. ....... In the past, the United States has sometimes, kind of sardonically, been described as a one-party state: the business party with two factions called Democrats and Republicans. That’s no longer true. It’s still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction. The faction is moderate Republicans, who are now called Democrats. There are virtually no moderate Republicans in what’s called the Republican Party and virtually no liberal Democrats in what’s called the Democratic [sic] Party. It’s basically a party of what would be moderate Republicans and similarly, Richard Nixon would be way at the left of the political spectrum today. Eisenhower would be in outer space. ......... There is still something called the Republican Party, but it long ago abandoned any pretence of being a normal parliamentary party. It’s in lock-step service to the very rich and the corporate sector and has a catechism that everyone has to chant in unison, kind of like the old Communist Party. The distinguished conservative commentator, one of the most respected – Norman Ornstein – describes today’s Republican Party as, in his words, “a radical insurgency – ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise, dismissive of its political opposition” – a serious danger to the society, as he points out. ....... Really Existing Capitalist Democracy is very remote from the soaring rhetoric about democracy. ....... men who understand that a fundamental task of government is “to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority”. Those are quotes from James Madison, the main framer ..... another important feature of RECD is that the public must be kept in the dark about what is happening to them. The “herd” must remain “bewildered”. The reasons were explained lucidly by the professor of the science of government at Harvard – that’s the official name – another respected liberal figure, Samuel Huntington. As he pointed out, “power remains strong when it remains in the dark. Exposed to sunlight, it begins to evaporate”. Bradley Manning is facing a life in prison for failure to comprehend this scientific principle. Now Edward Snowden as well. And it works pretty well. If you take a look at polls, it reveals how well it works. So for example, recent polls pretty consistently reveal that Republicans are preferred to Democrats on most issues and crucially on the issues in which the public opposes the policies of the Republicans and favors the policies of the Democrats. One striking example of this is that majorities say that they favor the Republicans on tax policy, while the same majorities oppose those policies. This runs across the board. This is even true of the far right, the Tea Party types. This goes along with an astonishing level of contempt for government. Favorable opinions about Congress are literally in the single digits. The rest of the government as well. It’s all declining sharply. ....... Iran just had an election, as you know. And it was rightly criticized on the grounds that even to participate, you had to be vetted by the guardian council of clerics. In the United States, you don’t have to be vetted by clerics, but rather you have to be vetted by concentrations of private capital. .... The role of the PR industry in elections is explicitly to undermine the school-child version of democracy. What you learn in school is that democracies are based on informed voters making rational decisions. All you have to do is take a look at an electoral campaign run by the PR industry and see that the purpose is to create uninformed voters who will make irrational decisions. For the PR industry that’s a very easy transition from their primary function. Their primary function is commercial advertising. Commercial advertising is designed to undermine markets. If you took an economics course you learned that markets are based on informed consumers making rational choices. If you turn on the TV set, you see that ads are designed to create irrational, uninformed consumers making irrational choices. The whole purpose is to undermine markets in the technical sense. ...... after Obama’s election in 2008, a couple of months later the advertising industry had its annual conference. Every year they award a prize for the best marketing campaign of the year. That year they awarded it to Obama. He beat out Apple computer, did an even better job of deluding the public – or his PR agents did. If you want to hear some of it, turn on the television today and listen to the soaring rhetoric at the G-8 Summit in Belfast. It’s standard. ....... If you go back to the 1960s, banks were banks. If you had some money, you put it in the bank to lend it to somebody to buy a house or start a business, or whatever. Now that’s a very marginal aspect of financial institutions today. They’re mostly devoted to intricate, exotic manipulations with markets. And they’re huge. In the United States, financial institutions, big banks mostly, had 40% of corporate profit in 2007. That was on the eve of the financial crisis, for which they were largely responsible. After the crisis, a number of professional economists – Nobel laureate Robert Solow, Harvard’s Benjamin Friedman – wrote articles in which they pointed out that economists haven’t done much study of the impact of the financial institutions on the economy. Which is kind of remarkable, considering its scale. But after the crisis they took a look and they both concluded that probably the impact of the financial institutions on the economy is negative. Actually there are some who are much more outspoken than that. The most respected financial correspondent in the English-speaking world is Martin Wolf of the Financial Times. He writes that the “out-of-control financial sector is eating out the modern market economy from the inside, just as the larva of the spider wasp eats out the host in which it has been laid”. By “the market economy” he means the productive economy. ...... a study of the IMF that found that the largest banks make no profit. ..... There is a widely publicized bailout, but that’s the least of it. There’s a whole series of other devices by which the government insurance policy aids the big banks: cheap credit and many other things. And according to the IMF at least, that’s the totality of their profit. ........ there is massive state intervention in the productive economy and the free-trade agreements are anything but free-trade agreements. ...... The information technology (IT) revolution, which is driving the economy, that was based on decades of work in effectively the state sector – hard, costly, creative work substantially in the state sector, no consumer choice at all, there was entrepreneurial initiative but it was largely limited to getting government grants or bailouts or procurement. Except by some economists, that’s underestimated but a very significant factor in corporate profit. If you can’t sell something, hand it over the government. They’ll buy it. ...... After a long period – decades in fact – of hard, creative work, the primary research and development, the results are handed over to private enterprise for commercialization and profit. That’s Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and so on. ........ In just the past 20 years in the United States, the share of profits of the two hundred largest enterprises has very sharply risen, probably the impact of the Internet, it seems. These tendencies towards oligopoly also undermine the mantra ....... What are the prospects for the future under RECD? There’s an answer. They’re pretty grim. .. One is environmental catastrophe. The other is nuclear war. ........ There are some who seek to act decisively to prevent possible catastrophe. At the other extreme, major efforts are underway to accelerate the danger. Leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster is the richest and most powerful country in world history ......... Leading the efforts to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life, are the so-called “primitive” societies: First Nations in Canada, Aboriginal societies in Australia, tribal societies and others like them. The countries that have large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in the effort to “defend the Earth”. That’s their phrase. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing forward enthusiastically towards destruction. ....... take Ecuador, which has a large indigenous population. It’s seeking aid from the rich countries to allow it to keep its substantial hydrocarbon reserves underground, which is where they ought to be. Now meanwhile, the U.S. and Canada are enthusiastically seeking to burn every drop of fossil fuel, including the most dangerous kind – Canadian tar sands – and to do so as quickly and fully as possible – without a side glance on what the world might look like after this extravagant commitment to self-destruction. ........... there’s still a real problem in American society. The public is still too committed to scientific rationality. One of the many divergences between policy and opinion is that the American public is close to the global norm in concern about the environment and calling for actions to prevent the catastrophe and that’s a pretty high level. ........ these are deep-seated institutional properties of RECD. They’re not easy to uproot. All of this is apart from the institutional necessity to maximize short-term profit while ignoring an externality that’s vastly more serious even than systemic risk. For systemic risk, the market failure – the culprits – can run to the powerful nanny state that they foster with cap in hand and they’ll be bailed out, as we’ve just observed again and will in the future. In the case of destruction of the environment, the conditions for decent existence, there’s no guardian angel around – nobody to run to with cap in hand. For that reason alone, the prospects for decent survival under RECD are quite dim. ........... The governments seek to extend power and domination and to benefit their primary domestic constituencies – in the U.S., primarily the corporate sector. The consequence is that security does not have a high priority. ....... Obama’s now conducting the world’s greatest international terrorist campaign – the drones and special forces campaign. It’s also a terror-generating campaign. The common understanding at the highest level [is] that these actions generate potential terrorists. I’ll quote General Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus’ predecessor. He says that “for every innocent person you kill”, and there are plenty of them, “you create ten new enemies”. ....... Take the marathon bombing in Boston a couple of months ago, that you all read about. You probably didn’t read about the fact that two days after the marathon bombing there was a drone bombing in Yemen. Usually we don’t happen to hear much about drone bombings. They just go on – just straight terror operations which the media aren’t interested in because we don’t care about international terrorism as long as the victims are somebody else. But this one we happened to know about by accident. There was a young man from the village that was attacked who was in the United States and he happened to testify before Congress. He testified about it. He said that for several years, the jihadi elements in Yemen had been trying to turn the village against Americans, get them to hate Americans. But the villagers didn’t accept it because the only thing they knew about the United States was what he told them. And he liked the United States. So he was telling them it was a great place. So the jihadi efforts didn’t work. Then he said one drone attack has turned the entire village into people who hate America and want to destroy it. They killed a man who everybody knew and they could have easily apprehended if they’d wanted. But in our international terror campaigns we don’t worry about that and we don’t worry about security. .......... the invasion of Iraq. U.S. and British intelligence agencies informed their governments that the invasion of Iraq was likely to lead to an increase in terrorism. They didn’t care. In fact, it did. Terrorism increased by a factor of seven the first year after the Iraqi invasion, according to government statistics. ...... Let’s go back to 1950. In 1950, U.S. security was just overwhelming. There’d never been anything like it in human history. There was one potential danger: ICBMs with hydrogen bomb warheads. They didn’t exist, but they were going to exist sooner or later. The Russians knew that they were way behind in military technology. They offered the U.S. a treaty to ban the development of ICBMs with hydrogen bomb warheads. That would have been a terrific contribution to U.S. security. ... Here’s a possibility to save the country from total disaster and there wasn’t even a paper discussing it. No one cared. ........ A couple of years later, in 1952, Stalin made a public offer, which was pretty remarkable, to permit unification of Germany with internationally supervised free elections, in which the Communists would certainly lose, on one condition – that Germany be demilitarized. That’s hardly a minor issue for the Russians. Germany alone had practically destroyed them several times in the century. Germany militarized and part of a hostile Western alliance is a major threat. That was the offer. .......... The offer was public. It also of course would have led to an end to the official reason for NATO. It was dismissed with ridicule. Couldn’t be true. ...... Khrushchev .. realized that Russia was way behind economically and that it could not compete with the United States in military technology and hope to carry out economic development, which he was hoping to do. So he offered a sharp mutual cutback in offensive weapons. The Eisenhower administration kind of dismissed it. The Kennedy administration listened. They considered the possibility and they rejected it. Khrushchev went on to introduce a sharp unilateral reduction of offensive weapons. The Kennedy administration observed that and decided to expand offensive military capacity – not just reject it, but expand it. It was already way ahead. ........ on October 26th, the letter came from Khrushchev to Kennedy offering to end the crisis. How? By withdrawal of Russian missiles from Cuba in return for withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Turkey. Kennedy in fact didn’t even know there were missiles in Turkey. .......... North Korea, Iran, China. .... North Korea has been issuing wild, dangerous threats. That’s attributed to the lunacy of their leaders. It could be argued that it’s the most dangerous, craziest government in the world, and the worst government. It’s probably true. ......... the current crisis began with U.S.-South Korean war games, which included for the first time ever a simulation of a preemptive attack in an all-out war scenario against North Korea. Part of these exercises were simulated nuclear bombings on the borders of North Korea. ......... the North Korean leadership. ..... they can remember that 60 years ago there was a superpower that virtually leveled the entire country and when there was nothing left to bomb, the United States turned to bombing dams. ........ exulted over the glorious sight of massive floods “that scooped clear 27 miles of valley below”, devastated 75% of the controlled water supply for North Korea’s rice production, sent the commissars scurrying to the press and radio centers to blare to the world the most severe, hate-filled harangues to come from the Communist propaganda mill in the three years of warfare. To the communists, the smashing of the dams meant primarily the destruction of their chief sustenance: rice. Westerners can little conceive the awesome meaning which the loss of this staple food commodity has for Asians: starvation and slow death. ..... Clinton’s strategic command, STRATCOM. It’s about the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era. Its central conclusions are: U.S. must retain the right of first strike, even against non-nuclear states; furthermore, nuclear weapons must always be available, at the ready, because they “cast a shadow over any crisis or conflict”. They frighten adversaries. So they’re constantly being used, just as if you’re using a gun, going into a store pointing a gun at the store owner. You don’t fire it, but you’re using the gun. ....... the “gravest threat to world peace” – those are Obama’s words, dutifully repeated in the press: Iran’s nuclear program. .. a Western obsession. The U.S. and its allies say it’s the gravest threat and not the rest of the world, not the non-aligned countries, not the Arab states. The Arab populations don’t like Iran but they don’t regard it as much of a threat. They regard the U.S. as the threat. In Iraq and Egypt, for example, the U.S. is regarded as the major threat they face. ........ There was to be an international conference under the auspices of the non-proliferation treaty, UN auspices, in Helsinki to deal with moves to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. That has overwhelming international support – non-aligned countries; it’s been led by the Arab states, Egypt particularly, for decades. Overwhelming support. If it could be carried forward it would certainly mitigate the threat. It might eliminate it. Everyone was waiting to see whether Iran would agree to attend. .. In early November, Iran agreed to attend. A couple of days later, Obama canceled the conference. No conference. .......... The last potential confrontation is China. ... Magna Carta .. one is the Charter of Liberties which is being dismantled. The other was called the Charter of the Forests. That called for protection of the commons from the depredations of authority. ........ It’s privatization that is destroying the commons.

Monday, October 06, 2014

A Political Immigration Detention

President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain...
President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain in a press conference, taking place on March 4, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I went in the precise day Hillary lost to Barack in 2008. I came out a few days after Barack Obama beat John McCain. I had not been out but a few days I got an email from one of the two Co-Chairs of the New York State Democratic Party. She had sent it to me on Facebook, one on one. She had invited me to a DL21C event. At the time it was illegal for me to show up for a DL21C event. Why would a Co-Chair of the state Democratic Party, someone I had never met, invite me to an event in an open invitation to flaunt the law of the land?

There were people who never expected to see me again. They were offended I was back in town.