It’s just a game that can’t go on (pt. 4)

16 01 2018

Cont.

59. I think this’ll be the last iteration of the list. It’ll end on the number it ends on.

60. I was never a super-fan of the Cranberries (although I did have 2 of their cds), but I did like them. Hearing of Dolores O’Riordan’s death has made me more wistful for the time I listened to her music than the music itself—after all, I can still listen to the music—but I’m sorry for whatever she went through prior to her death.

61. No, I don’t know if she killed herself, but, well, it’s a damned shame she died so young.

62. I don’t go out a lot, and when I do go out, I generally mind my sixes. However, once a year or so I light up the night.

63. So, yeah, got that whole lit thing checked off for 2018.

64. I don’t know if Donald Trump is either physically or cognitively impaired and I don’t care.

65. What makes him unfit is not his physique, and it’s not as if he were less self-aggrandizing when younger.

66. His policies are terrible, but there are many people with terrible policies (including slim senator Tom Cotton or Mr. Workout, Paul Ryan) who are not unfit in the same ways.

67. Cotton and Ryan have commitments—terrible, wretched commitments—beyond their own selves. These men should be opposed for their policies, but they do manifest, it pains me to say, some understanding of principle and of public service.

68. God, I think I died a little writing that. But yeah, those two are old-school shitty, terrible in an ordinary way.

69. Trump, on the other hand, untethered to any idea or person beyond himself, is so far out there that the usual partisan epithets cannot capture the wrongness of his presidency.

70. So, no, I don’t care why he’s so wrong, just that he’s so wrong, and all the damage this wrongness combined with his (and his fellow Republicans) old-school wretchedness will inflict on so many of us.

71. In the first installment of this list I noted that I liked Kirsten Gillibrand, and, yeah, I do.

72. But two things: one, the elections this November matter more immediately than who might run for president in 2020.

73. I have no predictions about the midterms.

74. I trust no predictions about the midterms.

75. Let’s see who the candidates are and the races they run and then. . . I still will make no predictions.

76. And two, I’d like to see a big ol’ stuffed Democratic primary, with candidates from all over the country, from both state and federal levels, and with all kinds of backgrounds.

77. I don’t particularly want to see Oprah run, and don’t know why she would—the presidency, remember, is an exercise in failure, and she’s someone who likes to win—but hell, if she wants to jump in, that’ll, huh, that would be interesting.

78. I don’t particularly want to see Joe Biden run. I enjoyed his “Uncle Joe” schtick as vice president and thought he was a pretty good veep for Obama, but, man, no.

79. He’s too old, his legislative policy record isn’t great, and I am not encouraged by what he says today about his treatment of Anita Hill back then.

80. I don’t particularly want to see Bernie Sanders run—too old, and, goddammit, if you want to run as a Democrat, then join the goddamned party—but he has inspired a lot of people with his give-’em-hell approach to econ issues, so having him in the race wouldn’t be the worst thing.

81. I don’t particularly want to see Elizabeth Warren run–she’s veering on too old—but, as with Sanders, her critique of business as usual in the governments—and the Dem’s—approach to the economy is sharp.

82. Again, if neither she nor Sanders were to run, I hope multiple someones with their left-econ agendas do.

83. Back to the midterms: I am deeply ambivalent about Chelsea Manning’s actions, and almost certainly would not vote for her in a primary.

84. I am in general in favor of greater transparency at all levels of government and think far too much info is over-classified and for too long a time.

85. However, I also accept, reluctantly, that some info should, in the moment, be secret.

86. I don’t know where that line is “in the moment”—I think after some reasonable period of time all info should be released to the public—and, honestly, I don’t know enough to know if or when Manning (or Snowden) crossed it. Hence my ambivalence.

87. But I do think that whistleblowers do have to be prepared to discuss this, at some length and in public, with those who can thoughtfully make an argument against disclosure.

88. Man, this is tough: my default sympathies are with the leakers. But. But sometimes leakers may be wrong to leak.

89. Anyway, I’m glad her sentence was commuted and that she seems to be doing well in life: I thought her treatment in the brig and in prison was unjust, so was glad she was released.

90. But I still think if Manning wants to serve the public, then she needs a fuller accounting of the actions which brought her to the public’s notice.

91. So, how to end this list? How about a plea for recommendations for solid histories on the Hapsburgs, on Napolean, and on the French Revolution? I have Furet’s 2-vol set on the revolution, but I always prefer multiple takes on complex events.

92. Oh, wait, let’s instead end with Henry, my great-nephew: he’s now walking and teething and is a happy, laid-back boy.

93. Chill-baby Henry, yeah, let’s end there.

Fin.

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In a town called malice

3 02 2017

nope not even close they haven’t even begun to absorb that there are real (as in physics and all not just public will/opinion) limits to economic growth, to employment, to pollution, wealth/resource extraction etc. —dmf

I was going to offer a short response to dmf, but decided to pull it out for a more considered consideration.

The short response is: yes, I agree. When I wrote that HRC and the Dems had done a decent job with the practicalities, I meant that there were some specific policy ideas (regarding, say, college and vocational education, job retraining, etc.) which would likely have done some good. Grand visions are grand, but how to build them?

That said, I agree with dmf that the Dems lack that grand vision which takes a hard account of the limits of our current economic and social standard operating procedures. Incrementalism has its place, is necessary. even, but it is not enough, and neither any post-Reagan Democratic presidential candidate nor the party as whole has offered a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the world as it is.

Despite occasional Democratic victories, the failure overall has been monumental.

I have my own ideas of what that strategy should be, as well as what could be some of the policies (again, some of which might be adapted from the 2016 Dem platform) which would put those ideas into practice. I’ll be tossing them out less with the sense that THIS IS IT than This should be in the mix—less from certainty, that is, than possibility.

I am certain, however, that that comprehensive strategy in service to a grand vision is necessary, not just to overcome the meanness of the GOP view, but to be able to comprehend how deep the troubles are.

We can’t get better if we don’t have a way to see how bad we are.





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Dance this mess around

23 12 2015

I am old—I’ll hit a half century in 2016—so I have run out of patience for this kind of shit:

Hillary Clinton is just Republican lite

And, fucking hell, he had to make this a generational thing, as opposed to a self-satisfied-schmuck thing.

I’m not going to bother fisking Bragman’s “argument”, such as it is—Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money has been handling Bragman and others of his ilk quite nicely—but I do want to emphasize that when the 2nd-wave feminists argued the personal is political, this is not what they had in mind.

I get it: You don’t like Clinton. Fine. You don’t have to like Clinton. And the primary is the perfect place in which to register your preference for the senator from Vermont.

Hell, I plan to vote for Sanders (even if self-satisfied schmucks “feeling the Bern!” make me want to defenestrate my computer). And then I’ll go volunteer for the Clinton campaign.

You see, I know this election is not about ME ME M-FUCKIN’-E ME!

It’s about a chance to make things marginally better versus a chance to make things much worse, not just for me, but for folks in this country whose well-being ought to matter to any decent leftist.

Which the Bernie-or-bust bros, with their heads comfortably snuggled up their respective asses, are manifestly not.

~~~

Okay, so here’s where I also admit that I’m a hippy-hippy-forward-hippy-hippy-hippy-hippy-hippy-shake! hypocrite:

I voted for Nader in 2000. When I was old enough to know better.

Now, in my defense, I was living in Minnesota, which Gore had locked down, and I’m pretty (not, alas, absolutely) sure I would have sucked it up and voted for the vip had I lived someplace swing.

(And as an aside, if these Bern-burners live in states which are clearly in the tank for one party or the other, then, whatever, register your protest. But Bragman et. al. aren’t content simply with registering a protest: they loudly announce their preference any Republican to Clinton.)

But, yeah, I was pissed at Gore and even years into the Bush regime I liked to toss around the whole “he couldn’t even win his home state” bluster in response to (entirely appropriate) criticism of my vote.

I was an idiot. Not only would Gore have been a better president than Bush, he fuckin’ certainly would have been a better president than Nader. Who I voted for. For president.

Fuuuuck younger-me.

So maybe I’m particularly sensitive to these types “we’ll-show-’em!” of arguments because I am a convert away from them, and y’all know the converts are the most hard-core.

But it’s also worth pointing out how well that whole Gore Sucks movement worked out, how well that worked for the country, for the world—which is to say, calmly, quietly,

NOT FUCKING WELL AT ALL.

 





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Sincerely

7 10 2015

Hillary Clinton has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and I say ‘Great!’

I also say: don’t believe it for a minute.

If she becomes president and the deal has been ratified by Congress, she’ll do nothing to overturn it; if it were shot down, she’ll find a way to resurrect it.

So, too, would a Republican president.

Even money on whether President Bernie Sanders would throw in with the TPP.





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Never gonna get it

28 05 2015

I’m so glad Rick Santorum is now officially in the race (which he’ll lose) for president.*

Why glad?

Because, while he has no chance of winning, he, like Mike Huckabee (who won’t win), can make some fun trouble for the candidates who do have a shot.

Carly Fiorina (who won’t win) might bless us with more ads featuring diabolical livestock, but is otherwise uninteresting, as is George (just plain “who?”) Pataki. And Ben Carson, who is a truly terrible candidate, will likely simply be politely ignored by the rest of the field before he retires to the Fox sinecure for which he’s auditioning.

Ted Cruz (who won’t win)? He might be fun to watch just to see how much he pisses off everyone else, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that Huckabee or Santorum will be able to needle him into a highly entertaining aneurysm.

On the Democratic side, I’m glad Bernie Sanders (who won’t win) is running. He, along with Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb (neither of whom will win), won’t give Hillary Clinton much of a workout, but hey, a few laps around the track are better than none at all.

In any case, I make no predictions as to who will ultimately prevail in either the Republican contest or the general election. Clinton’s a strong candidate, but that’s no guarantee of nothin’: whoever the GOPpers pick will likely also be a strong candidate.

Which means that, a year from now, my sang froid will be gone and I’ll be reminding myself to Take deep breaths.

*Yes, it’s officially the race (which he’ll lose) to be the Republican nominee, but we all know the point of winning the primary (which he won’t) is to run for president.





Circus Maximus MMXVI

18 03 2015

We have a winner!

As previously mentioned, “Bread and Circuses 2016” was in the lead as the theme name for the upcoming ongoing presidential campaign, but when I came across this phrase, I thought Yessss.

To inaugurate this chariot race, let’s (re) consider the contenders:

Republicans, short- to long-shots:
Jeb Bush
Scott Walker
.
.
Chris Christie
Marco Rubio
.
.
Legit politician, could affect debates/win a state or two, no chance:
Ted Cruz
Lindsay Graham
Mike Huckabee*
John Kasich
Rand Paul
Rick Perry
Rick Santorum*

The entertainment:
John Bolton
Ben Carson
Carly Fiorina
Bobby Jindal

Update: *Included in “legit” category only because have actually held office and have chance of affecting the chances of other candidates; otherwise would, like Jindal, be slotted as “entertainment”.

Democrats:
Hillary Clinton
.
.
.
.
.
Joe Biden
.
.
.
Martin O’Malley
Bernie Sanders
Jim Webb

Do note that this list is near-completely impressionistic, i.e., I did no additional work beyond the mostly-casual reading I’ve been doing of the race thus far. Jonathan Bernstein is a clear influence (even if I don’t always agree with him) in terms of the significance of the invisible primary, and I did look at Larry Sabato’s list in compiling this one—although, again, I don’t necessarily follow his line.

Look to the “Know Yer Politics” links to the right for more-than-just-horse (chariot?)-race coverage. In the meantime, get your togas cleaned and your sandals resoled: it’s gonna be loooong 20 months.





Welcome to the terrordome, 2016

10 11 2014

D’ya like that as a theme? Too much?

I’ma play around with themes for a bit before I settle on one for the Long March.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Now that the midterms have ended,  it is officially Not Too Early to discuss the presidential election—so let the games begin.

They have, pace Jonathan Bernstein and the “invisible primary”, already begun: prospective candidates have already been sussing out talent and numbers and lining up the money folks like a bank of ATMs. Absent such resources they will be relegated to either to sentimental/puzzling sincere long-shot (Buddy Roemer, Dennis Kucinich) or clown-candidate status (Herman Cain, Donald Trump)—the latter of which at least helps plump future revenue streams.

In any case, let’s consider who on on each team is maybe-possibly assembling to beat each other bloody before reaching center ring:

Republicans: Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan

This site lists many more, but I don’t think Nikki Haley or Susannah Martinez will run—no resources—but could end up on VP lists.

The Half-Guv deserves no comment.

Whatever you think of this bunch, you can at least see it is a bunch, and thus likely to create the kind of conflict and bloodletting that makes primary politics such a delight.

(As a side note, I generally hate cringe-comedy—I cringe too much to enjoy it—but I do loves me some cringe-politics, especially when it’s the other side creating the cringe.)

Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schweitzer

Again, there are more possibilities, but what is so notable about this bunch is that they are not, in fact, a bunch. Barely even a handful.

This is bad.

It is true that most folks don’t pay attention to primaries, but I think they serve to prepare the candidates, and the candidates’ operations, for the main card fight: primaries are where weaknesses are exposed, where one learns how well a candidate can take a hit and how well s/he recovers, as well as how well they can hit.

In addition to get-out-the-vote and money-raising and message-honing and all that, course. And good  candidates can bring in fresh volunteers who, after their preferred candidate does lose, nonetheless may stick around to help the nominee.

That’s party-building 101.

So, yes, I want more contenders because I’m not enthused about Hillary Clinton, but also because I think the fight would do the eventual nominee (which may very well be her), and the party, good.

Thus, while Democrats try to rustle up some contenders for the White House, I’ll do my part and try to rustle up some lyrics for blogging about that contention.