Things related to the 2012 Republican primary

We’re only making plans for Nigel

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the Western right’s love for Vladimir Putin. Here’s another example:

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit movement in the UK and formerly head of the far-right UK Independence Party (he retired after the Brexit win), is in talks with the Russian government owned RT news network to a be roving reporter covering Donald Trump’s presidential campaign this fall.

And who knew crunchy cons loved repressive dictatorships so much (via)?

[N]ews broke about a young Russian atheist provocateur who got himself arrested by playing Pokemon Go inside a large Orthodox church in Yekaterinburg, his hometown…

[….]

They say he faces up to five years in prison. I find that excessive, but I don’t feel sorry for this jackass. His fellow atheists committed mass murder of and terror against Orthodox Christians when they were in power during the Bolshevik tyranny.

I don’t think there’s any measure by which Putin has been a successful leader, other than his ability to simply remain in power. He’s the head of a petro-state with a terrible economy and a GDP roughly the size of Mexico. He has a high approval rating in Russia but my impression is that they’d like any leader who is strong like bull (hope I’m not offending anyone).

But in a world under constant siege from black Jewish homosexual atheist feminazis, he’s the last bastion of white Christian male strength, I guess.



I was dreaming when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast

Al Gore made some serious mistakes in 2000 — not having Bill campaign with him, picking Lieberman — but establishment media’s anti-Clinton/Gore jihad is the main reason the race was so close. If you’re not up-to-speed on this topic, Bob Somerby has devoted even more words to it than it deserves. I’ll give a quick Billy Joel-style rundown of American politics from 1999 to 2003: “Earth tones, Gore lactating, Chris Matthews pontificating, cowboy king, another war, I can’t take it anymore”.

It’s happening again.

Krugman:

So I would urge journalists to ask whether they are reporting facts or simply engaging in innuendo, and urge the public to read with a critical eye. If reports about a candidate talk about how something “raises questions,” creates “shadows,” or anything similar, be aware that these are all too often weasel words used to create the impression of wrongdoing out of thin air.

And here’s a pro tip: the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing. Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president; Mrs. Clinton’s speaking style and body language aren’t. George W. Bush’s policy lies gave me a much better handle on who he was than all the up-close-and-personal reporting of 2000, and the contrast between Mr. Trump’s policy incoherence and Mrs. Clinton’s carefulness speaks volumes today.



Nothing’s gonna change my world

If Hillary wins by 8 points and the Democrats take the Senate, that will be great because it means Democrats are likely to establish a long-term majority in the Supreme Court. But to think that the victory will be seen as a mandate or that Republicans will pivot to the center is just stupid:

I don’t think even a massive landslide would crush Trumpism. Goldwaterism didn’t go away after 1964 — it morphed into Wallaceism and, more significantly, the GOP’s Southern strategy. David Duke lost badly when he ran for governor of Louisiana in 1991, but the GOP continued to appeal to its voter base with Duke’s message translated into dog whistles; shortly after that Duke loss, a Louisiana politician named Steve Scalise declared himself “David Duke without the baggage.” He’s now the House majority whip.

In fact, we’ll be told that Democrats have to move farther to the right to become a true majority party. Sure, Ryan Lizza is especially bad but expect a lot of this:

I like magical thinking, but the truth is the super-majority coalition never develops, the meteor never hits, the levee never breaks. Hillary wins, most likely, then Trump challenges the results in a half-ass way, Ryan and the rest of the conservative Beltway nobility support his challenge in a half-ass way, while still being hailed as serious moderate thinkers, and then we get back to dealing with filibusters and the usual bullshit.

I don’t mean this to sound pessimistic. To the contrary, it all makes me glad we have a president like Obama and a candidate like Hillary. Because it’s all a tough slog, not an episode of West Wing or a documentary about the Roosevelts.

Update. I shouldn’t say “never”, just not soon. A few more generations of kids voting Democratic 20+ over Republicans (and voting democratic socialist +60 over neoliberal in primaries), and, yes, the levee breaks.



Only love can break your heart

I’ve been impressed by how many right-wing pundits — George Will and Robert Kagan stand out — are so freaked out and upset about Trump that they’re willing to be anti-Trump all the time and note devote any columns to fragging Hillary. Meanwhile, the professional centrists continue to treat Trump and Hillary as two sides of the same coin:

Why is the convention so negative? For the same reasons next weeks’ Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia likely will be an anti-Trump orgy.

[….]

Shouts of “fascist” from the convention floor, for example, would be the Philadelphia analogue of “Lock her up!” Smug dismissals of Trump’s populist approach and policies might be viewed by undecided voters as an indictment of them.

Ron Fournier and Matt Bai aren’t upset that the country could devolve into a fascist dictatorship under Trump (note: I don’t think it probably would, but some on the right make a good case that it might). It would just be further proof of the corrupt duopoly derp derp and, anyway, they have plenty of money so it probably wouldn’t hurt them much.

A lot is made about how the country has become too polarized and angry. Well, fury can be misdirected but being mad as hell is at least a sign that you give a fuck.

In the comments a few times, some of you have mentioned studies that show that people can’t make decisions if the part of the brain that deals with emotion is incapacitated. I hate to go into Boboish pseudoscientific gibberish here, but I do think that sober-minded, nonpartisan, objective blah blah blah analysis has its limits. That it’s not just that Ron Fournier is a sociopathic asshole but that the whole nonpartisan project is doomed to failure.



Straight to the moon

Fuck yeah.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.15.55 AM








I Think I Can Barely See the Light

So I’ve been kicking around this idea for some years now, and it’s been greatly on my mind for the past few weeks. As time goes on, things appear to be getting clearer, and I’m getting a stronger hold on my thesis. This is the beginning of what I hope to be a much longer treatise or series on this theme, and your comments and feedback are very welcome either in public or private to help challenge, develop and hone it. I’ll be around to discuss and explore with commenters, but please, no tech issues or questions today. That’s soon, not today.

Succinctly, I think we are already deep into the effects of Climate Change without realizing it. To be clear, I’m not talking about the alarming carbon dioxide levels or growing average high temperatures, recurring new monthly record high temperature, fires in Alberta, abnormal highs in Alaska, drought in the Southwest, diminished Arctic ice, or decreased reflectivity of glaciers and snow deposits world-wide due to pollution and soot. This is not about any physical aspect of Climate Change and the Anthropocene era. I’m concerned with the internal psychological, value, and cultural effects, those subsequent effects on populations, and what I see as larger trends worldwide.

I’m not usually a doom-and-gloomer, but there are a lot of powerful and scary currents across a wide swathe of humanity right now that seem, at their root, to share some intangible motivation. I think it’s fear – not of the other, not of progress or modernism or capitalism or Judgement Day or gay rights or transsexuals or Donald Trump or women’s rights or blasphemy or sacrilege or hippies or ethnic minorities or anything else rooted in our normal experience.

I think we, as a species, are already waist-deep into Climate Change and we’re acting like many other species do when put under serious, unseen-from-their-perspective environmental stress: we’re freaking out, and as tension rises, striking out against others and tearing down social and cultural edifices and the order that has served us well for the past few hundred years.

I fear that the future truly is undiscovered country as human history, norms, rules, etc. did not develop under this type of environmental stress – we’ve flourished coincident with a mild climate, and moved on when local climate changed too much or too quickly. Too many ascendant disharmonic forces across the globe strongly question, challenge, threaten, or violate their previous norms of behavior, treatment, principles, values, and history for me to not feel there is a trend, and it’s related. And no, it’s not the plants working together to drive us insane and reclaim the Earth for Mother Nature. And yes, for you wiseacres and cynics, in a way, the ascendency of women’s, gay, and transsexual rights is a positive effect of this break with who we thought we were.

It’s Happening Everywhere
I spend a lot of time reading about, thinking about, reading and listening to the Far Right so-called fever swamp. And to my ears, things have changed, and it truly scares me. Trump is like a stumbling, wind-up toy with lit sparklers sticking out of its head in a dry and dusty storeroom filled with rich fuel. But he’s no more than a match, which is horrible enough and will likely be tragic. He’s just one example, too close, gaudy and loud to ignore, and even if we Americans dodge the bully bullet, the rest of the world is also being challenged, and the good guys won’t win everywhere, certainly not every time.

Trumps scares me and it’s taken a lot of introspection to figure out why – it’s what he’s building off of that really scares me. He’s tapped into something for, although I don’t think he’s very smart in a traditional sense, he is a genius (not used lightly) at reading people and getting under their skin, intuiting what will anger them or put them off-balance so he has an advantage. The thing is, the people he’s appealing to are not just in the South or rural areas, or even just the US, or even the Western or developed world. There are far-right/quasi-fascist movements rising across Western and Eastern Europe, even Western Asia that share an anger, rooted in fear. And they are sharing, working together, learning and cross-training. These are movements that promise a return to greatness, incorporating a fundamental theme of palingenesis. They are organizing, recruiting, training, influencing, even winning (or almost winning, thank you Austria!) elections. Far-right leaders across Europe have reached out to or attended meetings or rallies with Trump!

It’s familiar to those of us who have studied the Right or Fascism – a focus on purity, on land, on blood, on heroes of old, on a strong leader who has the will to set things right. On rebirth, trying to recapture some idealized past when things were better and those “others” knew their place and it was at our feet or cowering in fear. When the future was exciting and not full of dread.

The thing is, it’s not just in Russia, the ‘stans, Europe, or the US. It’s ISIS. It’s the LRA. It’s Boko Haram. It’s Somalia/Kenya. It’s Y’all Queda and other resurgent secession and Confederate movements. It’s the Zetas and other drug gangs that are just as horrible as ISIS. (yes, they’re a drug gang but they are also powerful rebellions and mini chiefdoms that control large parts of Mexico’s territory) It’s a dozen more groups spread across the world. It’s happening almost everywhere, and where there’s not such a growing movement, there are established powers that are dropping their masks and embracing division and cultivating fear, selfishness, scarcity, and envy. And not being called on it like they would have been in the past. It’s like norms and expectations no longer are considered important. And it’s happening everywhere. It’s never been this way before, never so pandemic.

The Era of Migrants
Into this maelstrom of psyche and influence, a new problem has emerged. It’s here, and it won’t stop for hundreds of years – the era of mass human migration. Many point to the unprecedented drought in Syria as leading to the mass migration of the rural population to the cities, the subsequent overcrowding, scarcity of jobs, food and relief, the subsequent rebellion and fracturing of the formerly-strong Syrian state, and it did. You move lots of people and things change.

This instability, coupled with the US-caused fractures and instability in Iraq, and touched off by a millennial cult wishing for an end-times-inducing battle between the powers of the West and their holy warriors bathed in blood, has resulted in ISIS and it has spread. And so we now see millions of refugees, internal and external, and this Era is just beginning.

Germany has been at the lead in accepting their brothers and sisters in humanity, but I fear that a few more exploitations by ascendant movements in Europe coupled with inevitable ISIS attacks will result in walls and dogs and machine guns and barbed wire being first tolerated, then accepted, then embraced as these pressures transform us into something different: more reptilian, less Enlightened.

The thing is, climate migrants are not just far away. Certainly, a not-insignificant portion of Central American emigrants are seeking escape from social fractures heralding collapse of their fragile governments and systems. Just a few weeks ago, an entire city of 125,000 people evacuated due to Climate Change-caused fires in Alberta. Luckily, this was a temporary evacuation, but next time, it may be permanent.

In case you missed it, our first domestic climate migrants are escaping the rising water and sinking land. From Southern Louisiana, very poor rural refugees are being helped by a new model program that will become commonplace the rest of our lives – helping Americans, our brothers and sisters, to relocate and not be thrust into abject poverty and hopelessness.

This is good – while our issues are still small and before they grow, we’re trying to figure out how to best handle this type of situation domestically. But as evidenced by a not-insignificant portion of our governing class (ahem, Republicans) not seeing the importance of fully funding our efforts against Zika before it becomes a much bigger problem (and it will), I fear that we will not continue to develop the capacity and mechanisms to move and incorporate internal climate migrants. So when we need to relocate millions of Americans permanently, we will not be able to do it well, and we will have discord and likely pockets of rebellion and retributive violence against falsely-accused “others”. This is what animals do when under extreme environmental pressure.

When an environment changes and the stresses on a population increase, we humans move on or we fade away. That’s been our history as a species, and one of the chief reasons that we’ve been so successful on this planet the past 500,000 years or so. But in this case, we’re all on the Titanic and we’re all just re-arranging the deck chairs since there are no lifeboats. I think that at a very low, primeval level, we, as a species, know that. And so we are already well into freaking out. We just haven’t realized it yet and we don’t have the leadership and level of trust in our cultures to identify, manage, and overcome our animal nature at the worldwide scale.

So while I look around and marvel at the wonders of everything from our technology, art, science, the beauty and glory of this planet, and the wonderful, kind, silly, beautiful things billions of people do for each other every day, I am filled with optimism and joy. But no matter how much I smile and greet the day, I fear that things will quickly devolve.

The only reason we as a planet survived the Cold War was through wisdom, procedure, communication, fear, and the knowledge that one small mistake could blow everything up. I fear that because this is not as much of a conflict and certainly lacks a clear enemy and intuitive visual of the results of failure – a barren, lifeless radioactive planet -we are not going to be able to adapt well to this ever-growing pressure. Although it seems logical that if there’s a major climate-related issue before the election, the Democrat would be elected, I fear that we’re gibbering apes, and the cocky bully baboon will step into power.



I shouted out who killed the Kennedies

Anne Laurie’s last post should serve as a reminder: the general election is going to be shithouse rodent crazy.

Here’s my question: how much traction will the murder of Vince Foster, the Clinton’s drug-running activities at the Mena airport, and so on, get within the mainstream media?

I have one prediction and I guess it’s an obvious one: Don Lemon will ask someone from the Hillary campaign a direct question about Mena and/or Vince Foster on camera sometime between now and November.