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Wandering

I’m putting the throttle on, and working up to being calmer. It’s hard when you are so sick.

My wandering has led me somehow into the guts of the Georgia Democratic Party, and I can hardly believe I’m doing some social media for 19 counties.

It’s strange, getting noticed. I’ve always considered myself nobody special. Heaven knows I’ve been told by assholes that I am not. Yet, some people I know and have known like me better than I thought.

This is odd. I can’t process it, because I am in it now. From here, I have no idea where I am going to take my id and subsume it into some superegoistic organism like a political party. I have a lady boss, and we’re going to talk over my spartan quesadilla, hold the creamy shit and sub exttra salsa, and do a bit of day drinking today when I meet her in person for the first time. Every thing I have written here in this small space has been really, really honest and I also had no idea that all I was doing was reacting to…everything. Even at my sickest, I told the truth here.

So, that’s what my boss wants. Reaction. OK, I can do that. The trick will be to convince people that there is action to be taken.

I shall not capitalize my words here anymore….oll-korrect being the exception since nobody fucking speaks their own language very well. Nobody punctuates anymore, nobody can tell the difference between a metaphor and a true statement. I omit entire articles when I type sometimes. Thanks to social media, texting on tiny devices and the mind-twisting Twitter, you are now challenged to get your thoughts in quickly and some of us forget what an apostrophe is. I guess it’s OK, grade school was a long time ago and we were all too hyperactive to learn and no one knew how to calm us down because they stopped hitting us.

I am pleased by this evolution, but some of you need a nun with a pointer. Christian discipline seems to be the only thing that has worked for the West, and we know how I feel about discipline and Christianity and I will accept neither without cause. It doesn’t matter though; all our masters have done is discipline us with the pursuit of survival and we have great alacrity now in telling our fellow man to go fuck himself.

Pure fucking comedy, if it wasn’t such a deadly game to play.

Now you go play, kids. I have some of my own playing to do.

The Continuing Adventures Of Tits McGee

Nevada’s gun totin’, bra-bustin’ Michele Fiore seems to have a desperate need to be in office. She’s always running for something, and usually losing. But thanks to the fact that judgeship elections have little to no public scrutiny, Utah has decided to give Michele the title of Justice of The Peace in some podunk county seat called Pahrump.

Michele hasn’t got a law degree. And beat out seventeen other candidates, most likely much more qualified to sit. There is no requirement for the Justice Of The Peace to have a law degree in Nye County. But Michelle is promising to go to school to get one.

I just have this feeling she isn’t the studying kind. But I could be wrong.

Typically, the Justice Of The Peace has only a handful of duties, adjudicating small claims, dealing with minor infractions, perform marriages, and they can authorize arrests. But can someone with no legal background decide on even these small things? Even a paralegal could do a better job than someone known in politics for her boobs and her gun collection.

Now I know I said that Pahrump was podunk. Well, yes it is, but not by Nevada standards.The county boasts a population of a little over 50,000, and is the largest county in the state. Even my podunk county (not so much a podunk county but a place for middle class whites to flee the suburbs at reasonable prices), Columbia County, Georgia has 160,000 in it. So Michelle will be busy making decisions that change peoples’ lives with nothing but her pretty little head, which has led her to do some really dumb things in the past, as evidenced by the link above.

What was it, County Commissioners? Did you all get a rise out of what she was wearing? Did she have a portfolio of her best poses with guns? Whatever it was, I’m sure you could have done better.

Could We Just Not Do This?

As I expected, the explanations on why the polls were wrong have already begun. As of this writing, the GOP has 217 confirmed House wins. I will just guess, given that there are still several races too close to call, that they will control.

That means the polls were right.

The polls were right about the Senate staying in Democratic hands. The polls were right about new governorships for us. The polls predicted we barely had/have a Chinaman’s chance at holding the House.

One can say that in a sense they were off, because of the margins they were suggesting that the GOP would win the House by were fairly high (though again, we do not know that yet).

But that still means they have probably called the winning party in each category-and ergo, all these amateur pollsters running around on social media who said the Democrats were going to win were even wronger even if their numbers were closer.

I like Seth Abramson, but this is kind of what you’ll be seeing as this week drags on:

Let me take this moment to say how much I loathe the term “narrative”. It is a Republican paranoid nonsense word, and lefties need to stop using it. But fuck it, let’s run with it-why did they drive this narrative…that is pretty much the question Abramson wants answered.

You won’t like some of the dumb armchair psychology being used to explain it. I’m too lazy to find you some examples( I promise I have seen plenty), but trust me when I say that, if I may, the “narrative” is that the pollsters, in collusion with the GOP, wanted to drive down turnout and discourage Democrats from bothering to vote.

I am hoping you realize how stupid that sounds. You may not. You may be stupid, stubborn, or conspiracy-minded, take your pick.

If anything, that will generally make your average Democratic voter more determined than ever to show up and show out. We hear we are on the wrong end of a battle, we wake up and do shit. I don’t know who is profiling us as gloomy mopers who give up the minute they hear about troop strength on the other side, but this is a bullshit “insight” into the Democratic mindset.

And us showing up was exactly what the fuck happened. So indeed, if there was any plan to depress turnout in the manner Abramson is suggesting, it backfired wildly and was a really dumb plan. We fucking took it to them on Election Day. We were never not going to, regardless of what the polls and the media were saying. Democratic voters had the signal and weren’t listening to the noise. We saw the Christian fascism coming over the hill and we said NO. Maybe he’s referring to a possible attempt to shape independent minds, but that is a fool’s game because independents are stupid and you never know what they are going to do no matter what feedbag they choose.

Stop listening to the polls, you say? Stop listening to the people who say stop listening to the polls. More data is better than less, and if you really need to drill down on a poll because its numbers seem hard to believe, the methodology is out there.

Hate To Say They Told You So

On Wednesday, I mounted a minor defense of the polling industry. I did so because I looked around and found them wanting, but I have to say, I found unprofessional people with hunches even wronger.

As the number of R-flipped seats in the House continues to climb, we are approaching poll prediction territory. It is still not anywhere near a rout, but once all is said and done there will probably be enough for that dipshit McCarthy to claim a mandate.

Disbelieving polls to me is like disbelieving in science; once you stop listening, you are doing nothing but alchemy and falling back on faith when you predict. Every skeptically minded person should watch, listen and let the professionals do their work. People on social media keep screaming in caps “STOP LISTENING TO THE POLLS!!!!” not because they are wrong, but because they are not being told what they want to hear. Thoughtless people completely forget things like margins of error-that’s a pollster’s admission that based on their sample size, there’s a good chance of wobble one way or another.

I have a short, simple message as we wrap up the counts for people to consider next time we do this.

Follow the polls with a watchful, curious mind-also, follow the news and consider what that might do to the numbers. Understand that there is a strange mushy middle that breaks one way or the other the day of the election. But do not get into the forecasting business unless you have the requisite credentials to do so. I’m just telling you for you own good, and hopefully your friends will forget the dumb uninformed calls you made and not wonder what else you might be wrong about.

Is Our Children Learning?

I am what you might call a guppie in the Twitterverse. My position and standing in Internet conversation has been fairly constant over the years that I have used it to communicate. I’ve run a couple of blogs over the years, and occasionally I would hit pay dirt and draw people to my site because a bigger blogger took notice of something I said. Soon after, I would slip back into obscurity. I like writing, but I don’t have the education nor the discipline to be “someone”.

And so it goes on social media for me. Especially when it comes to Twitter, the so-called “public square” where people meet to discuss ideas. But you have to be quick! It’s not like blogging at all. You don’t get to ramble longform, you need to limit your participation to about three sentences. Once in a blue moon, I say something that goes somewhat “viral”, where thousands of people look at a tweet I’ve composed.

Well, I went somewhat viral (for an account my size) a few days ago, from a simple reaction to another tweet. Here is what I reacted to:

My reply was simple and mostly glib, but I have started a minor firestorm about our failures to educate people. All I said was:

To me, it seems absurd that someone in that generation (likely a boomer) hasn’t got clue #1 about what a communist is. They spent half their lives feeling existentially threatened by them, so my question is, why do they know nothing about them?

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. I can’t believe how often I have to explain this, but there is NO FUNCTIONING “FAR LEFT” IN AMERICA. IT IS A FIGMENT OF YOUR STUPID IMAGINATION IF YOU THINK OTHERWISE.

We’ve all watched how communism has not succeeded in bringing about a worker’s paradise. We know logically and empirically that communism is not the inevitable result of the decline of capitalism. To date, no one has done a very good job of bringing forth a humane revolutionary state that ends private control of property and production. Not even close.

Now let me stop you right here because I know what you are thinking: oh great, another idiot who thinks reflexively that “communism only works on paper”. I will not discard the ideals of Marx so blithely; in these modern times nothing is more plainly obvious than the fact that we have become economic animals, fighting between each other for position through possessions and money. The moneyed and the propertied among us would like to stay that way, and if it means that people die in the streets of the richest country in the world from hunger and lack of shelter because of it, oh well, so be it, they were useless workers anyway. Especially this nouveau riche class coming up- they have no taste and no sense of noblesse oblige at all. Young rich fucks like Elon Musk skirt their obligations to the society that hosts and nourishes them by being “cash poor” and living on gigantic loans that are untaxable. And when government comes up with a novel solution to obscene wealth hoarding like an unrealized gains tax, an entire political party is paid handsomely to make sure it never happens.

But anyway, people really wanted to talk at length about my little response. It’s been 48 hours and I am still watching some interesting conversations from a few dozen people. About a thousand people responded in some way or another to the tweet. This tells me that it may be a burning question that lots of people are asking to themselves, just as Shrub did, perhaps using better English.

So how long have we been stupid? Where did things go horribly wrong, and was it and is it by design?

I suppose the people who wind up picking up the tab for public education might think that they deserve a little say in what is being taught. But that’s not how a public service functions; once tax money is out of our hands, it goes, or should go to general welfare of some sort. However, our government today is sharply divided about this idea. Half of it thinks we can use government funded initiatives to enrich all through smart planning and smart thinking; the other half thinks that those people are “elites” who want to tell individuals what to think and do or some such nonsense. We don’t even know why they are in government because they detest it so much. Furthermore, their candidacies are funded by actual elites with billions of dollars in PAC and dark money to flood the political system with their influence. They are obsessed with an ROI, because that is how they think ALL of the time. Everything is transactional to rich people.

Cui bono? Not me? Fuck you, then, is what they are saying to us. And sometimes, that value system rubs off on the more brutish of our kind.

How are we supposed to run a society based upon this idea of extreme self-centeredness? There’s nothing like it in the primate world, as far as I know. Naturally, all orders have their peculiar hierarchies within a social system, but at least they have a system. The far-right (which does exist in America) would like to do away with this idea; some intellectuals believe it’s an evolutionary advance for us to be such individual creatures. The idea is a joke. Everyone is dependent on someone or something, I don’t care if you are the idea man or the laborer who brings the idea to life; we simply cannot get anything truly great done without each other. You can have freedom of conscience and still serve your fellow man, these ideas are not mutually exclusive. Look up “interdependence” if you don’t know what I am saying.

The end state of anarchy is oppression and likely, slavery or serfdom. Libertarians don’t seem to understand what a vacuum is. Or maybe they do, and are good with the basic savage laws of nature that we have spent oh, I don’t know, 40,000 years or more trying to protect ourselves from. It will go from liberty to authoritarian oligarchy in six seconds flat. Your little 2A pea shooters will not do much good against the army and police they purchase that will most surely grind you down.

Equally bad is fascism, which, funnily enough, is unwittingly promulgated by the very same people who preach radical individualism. Once again, the end state of the participants will terminate in them being crushed under the weight of the state and some raving lunatic with a silver tongue pining for good ‘ol days that never were. I don’t want to go Nazi here but it’s a readily available comparison. Hitler’s brownshirts were not unlike our new angry set of conservatives, and once the fix is in, our useful idiots will be discarded much like the brownshirts once they have outlived their utility to the so-called strongman that ascends.

And so we have tried an interesting middle ground to maximize freedom: to govern ourselves in a way with the aid of sage representatives. We decided a patchwork of differently behaving states would be far more preferable than an overarching government making nonlocal decisions for them. Our experience with the British crown soured any interest we had in an intrusion into affairs from up above. We tossed together a founding document after the revolution ended, and it worked poorly.

Enter the vaunted Constitution. Modern conservatives’ relation to the Constitution is pure irony; it was literally created to exert more control over the states. At the same time, a separation of powers was introduced to confound the activity of the government. Enshrined within was something relatively novel; guaranteed rights that are natural. However, let’s step back from the document and look at it as a whole and it is a severely dated compact that has not been updated properly and in the absence of fixing it to change the times, we use the judiciary instead to add meaning to the amendments which were not intended. Don’t get me wrong; if we’re not going to fix the Constitution, this is the only way to keep it current, by new legal reasoning. All the more reason to be careful who makes it into office, as it is the politicians who select these opiners, because even the judges can suffer from myopia or be inappropriately political.

In any event, promoting the general welfare, an oft-forgotten clause in the Constitution, is the point of it all- the idea of the more perfect union, not 300 million people in a rat race to get their piece of cheese.

I happen to feel that public school is a way to show the direction to that better place of union. But perhaps it has been ill administered from the beginning.

Note: this is a HIGHLY abridged glance at a few inflection points in our education system.

Protestantism has been hugely helpful in the pursuit of public education; after all it was they who insisted that the laity should have access to the Bible without interpretation by the clergy. It would take another post for me to discuss how Protestantism helped so many lose their way and become splintered over dogma. I’m probably not qualified to discuss it at length anyway. But for the sake of argument, they helped make us literate. In the 19th century, public schooling exploded, funded by tax dollars. Things went well-school became compulsory, and a bureaucracy was formed to standardize learning. Parochial schools existed, but were denied the use of public funding, as they should be. No one should have to support a religion centered education.

The Second World War interrupted progress in education, sending many teachers and students to fight and die. LBJ is the poppa of reordering 20th century education, though. In his War On Poverty, he sent extra federal dollars to struggling locales. He spent money to train an army of professional educators. We spent money on art, foreign language, and even mental health care at school. One of the things buried in his education act though, was that there be no attempt at a national curriculum.

This, to me, was a serious mistake. We are the United States. Furthermore, as I have said elsewhere, a “state” is a highly artificial concept, whose borders are drawn at caprice. There is nothing special about an American state as a unit of a federation. Doing things 50 different ways or more seems to me to produce lopsided outcomes for people stuck between arbitrary borders. I’m sure there’s lots of dumbshits out there who think this is a good way to create a fucking “laboratory” for democracy, as if experimenting with a thousand ways to run things is a great idea at this late stage in the game of federalism. We should be pointing towards perfection (in the abstract), but we seem to be dissipating and atomizing instead. Sometimes our labs are full of toxic fumes and you can’t afford to get the fuck out of the building to breathe. Our fixation on the marketplace as the only context where anything can be considered has caused us to be obsessed with the idea of “choice”, inserting it where it is unneeded.

Then, asshole Reagan came along, and institutionalized the very problem I outlined above, declaring blatantly that”government is the problem”, ushering in the era of the politician who wants nothing more than to stand in the way of other politicians trying to do their job. States were free to do what they wished without federal input. Obviously inequality in outcome was the result, as states and locales were now free to mismanage their educational system and damn near anything else in the manner they chose. We’ve made some attempts since his misrule to bring back accountability, often through wrongheaded ideas like using standardized testing and charter schools as a way to supplant so-called “failing” schools, which has only served to put teachers and administrators on edge and make them meet a milestone in a timely manner rather than teach, but on the whole we have just strengthened the idea that local control is best, and that a state knows better than a federal bureaucracy comprised of experts, thinkers, and protectors of institutions.

Since the deregulation of the school system, it has seen its funding slashed, its teachers discouraged, and its curriculum narrowed. Homeschooling by ignorant parents is on the rise. Other parents are demanding to pore over teacher plans and accuse them of brainwashing their students. We’re banning books from the school libraries. Socialization and empathy skill teaching is verboten. The secular nature of our system is under attack. Teacher pay is abysmal and a lot of prospective educators don’t know if it is worth all of the student loans they would have to take on to go into a system that makes them miserable instead of inspired. This is what local control has wrought.

Most people that responded to what I had said believe that there has been a purposeful long-term attempt to make students dumber, to make more docile, manageable workers. The wave making, drop-outing and near street level chaos of the intellectual student movement in the 60s must have shaken a few deep-pocketed families, and it’s highly likely that they are trying to prevent it again by not teaching our young about fairness, justice, empathy, civics, history, economics, philosophy-all of that good stuff is now hiding behind wildly expensive paywalls. Many veteran teachers took umbrage-which was certainly not intended. Teachers are not the problem AT ALL.

The idea that twelve years of school really only prepares you to be an average worker has been with me for a while, and right now, that is more unacceptable than ever. Had we done a better job educating in those 12 years, we wouldn’t have grown people begging for fascism and ersatz independence while screaming batshit about communism that isn’t being proposed. No one would have listened to the trash coming from the radio and the TV if they had been properly educated to realize what it was- and I’ll call it what it is-mindless hate speech. Now we have even more trouble emanating from the Internet, where all your prejudices can be validated with a coax connection and a mouse click.

Am I asking for some collectivism? Yes. I probably am. But that’s a far cry from communism. It’s just organization. No need to get spooked about it. It’s common sense. A complete, perspectivized education will not stop you from being “free”, in point of fact, you will have a better jumping off point than before if you know some very important fundamentals. No good teacher, and no sane parent wants to tell children what to think. Rather, they want students to get used to learning how to think. Let’s teach kids the best of what we know, tell the whole truth as best as we can, trust our professionals, fund public education fully, and then watch them soar. It would be supremely gratifying to once again see a generation do better than the last.

I Don’t Know Who The Fed Is Working For, But It Ain’t You And Me

I’m no economist. But economics seems to be one of those fields that you can be trained in for years and years and still not know what the fuck is going on. Not even a savvy investment giant like Warren Buffett can tell which way the wind is blowing all the time. Economics is a guessing game, judging by the amount of divergent opinions one can help themselves to in the news on a daily basis.

So the field is open for a layperson like myself to learn the fundamentals. But even the “laws” of supply and demand elude people interested in the subject. Some people think that is the end of the discussion, that all economic activity comes down to that raw tension between those two concepts. Their relationship is definitely very much a thing and weighs hard on all economic discussions, but it is not the end of them. What I have learned so far is that there are several forms of market warp that transcends the simplicity of laissez- faire notions of how money moves.

Peoples’ memories and attention spans being shit as they are, they often don’t remember events that changed the face of history. Just for an easy example, Trumpers like to point out the price of gas when he was president as compared to what it was this summer while Biden presided. Now of course this is dumb on its face because of the easily understood fact that the president does not really control gas prices. There are things that can be done, like releasing oil from our strategic reserve, employing gas tax holidays, and diplomacy with oil-producing nations. But most of that will not bring significant results that people are clamoring for. Stupid people think that presidents are like CEOs, where everything that goes wrong on their shift is attributable to them. But there’s this little thing called current events, and a president would have to have a crystal ball to head them off. History has to run through the course of a presidency, and to truly understand the efficacy or failure of a presidency we must know what happened during it, looking at phenomena that haven’t got a thing to do with who sits in the Oval Office.

So anyway, why was gas so cheap during Trump? Well, let me get right to it. It’s the prime mover of every calamity we have had and are continuing to have.

COVID-19.

If you don’t understand what the epidemic did to the economy, you have shit for brains and should shut up on the subject of economics for the last three years or so.

We literally didn’t leave the house for a year and a half. Businesses were destroyed. Supply chains mangled. Workers laid off. Oil actually traded in the negative, which technically meant we were running out of places to put the oil that no one needed and were on the verge of giving it away. We were worried about how we were going to wipe our ass. It took Trump begging the Saudis to shut their taps off to keep American producers afloat.

An event like this only comes perhaps once a century. It changes everything, and sometimes it just doesn’t matter who is the unfortunate chump in office is when they do occur. Mind you, Trump’s response to COVID was as bad a response as could be imagined, first denying the danger for months and then hawking quack treatments for people who were encouraged to have vaccine hysteria.

By the time Biden entered office, America was back at play, footloose and fancy free. Mask restrictions were done away with, vaccine proof was no longer needed to do certain things and we were off to the races. Demand skyrocketed.

But supply did not. A good chunk of manufacturing is coming from China, who has a zero COVID policy and if they catch a whiff of a breakout they literally go on lockdown. This would and still is causing a crimp in our supply capabilities. Oil company investors, who had their profits pared down seriously by COVID, went on a wild greed spree this summer, refusing to up production to meet the demand, citing a labor shortage, drill parts shortage and the events in Russia and Ukraine. Some of that may have been true-but much of the rise in price in oil was partly attributable to stock buybacks and and insistence on not growing to maximize the barrel price.

So what happens when too much money is chasing too few goods because supply cannot meet demand?

Inflation. It’s as natural as a newborn. Now during COVID under Trump, we printed seven trillion dollars to keep the economy alive. Another two trillion was printed in the first months of the Biden administration. Now those seven trillion under Trump had no effect on inflation. The Fed kept rates at near zero, allowing cheap money to flow wherever it needed to. Once again, it is stupid people who don’t understand that debt is not tied to inflation in a sophisticated economy like ours. Had this been true, we’d be like Argentina since we’re already 23 trillion in the hole and debt to GDP is almost 100%. We absolutely had to borrow that money to just keep basic services going. Some of it went to bad places but on the whole it was necessary debt, which some nitwits cannot tell from bad debt. But anyway, America is taking risks and are back in society, buying what they want. But they’ve noticed big time that what they want is going up in price quite a bit.

What’s the real problem? Did we overdo quantitative easing? Or is this inflation just a function of low supply and high demand? Or do we have yet more greed coming from monopolistic elements within the economy? Either way, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell thinks he has the answer. He’s gearing up for several aggressive interest rate hikes to combat inflation. People I have been reading say he’s going to crash the economy if he keeps it up, and that may be his plan-which sounds insane for a society that just got let loose into the marketplace to buy, buy and buy. Yes, some tightening is probably necessary. Some. But not recession-causing tightening. Apparently Powell doesn’t think the market has the know how to heal itself, and is going to instead contract us into a manageable size, where wages are lower as well as prices. This is madness. COVID-19 warp has shit to do with monetary policy. Those trillions were on the books and they could have stayed there a bit more while we got on with business. Once again, incremental adjustments to the interest rates make sense, but not these ham fisted moves Powell is making. He’s not going to squeeze inflation out of the economy if he is not taking into account what is causing it.

It’s not the balance sheet, folks. It’s the bug. And if Jerome Powell thinks he’s doing us a favor by making the cost of of money expensive and halt this economy’s gains, he doesn’t understand the American consumer nor the pandemic. Give America a minute to actually be a free market. Or to be free, period.

Loose Lips Sink Ships-The Closing Democratic Window Of Discourse

“Shut up, be happy”-Jello Biafra

It’s taken me a little while to figure out in which “skin” I belong in as far as left of center politics goes. There are many hashmarks between say, moderate and communist. You can be a moderate, a liberal, a progressive, a social democrat, a democratic socialist, a socialist, a libertarian socialist, all the way to communist. I’m sure I’ve missed some.

I have done some thinking about all these waypoints along the left side of the axis. I have found that progressive suits me best. I’m not looking to overthrow the capitalist system (not yet at least). I am searching for fairness in this one. I am searching for forward movement, the continual betterment of the common man’s condition.

There’s 101 of us in the federal government. I hate to break it to the moderates, but we are the future of the party. The young generations will sweep status quo candidates from office in due time. I will probably help them, if I see we can win.

Now there are definitely problems as we transition to new generations of voters. The youngest are angry, confused, scared and think the system doesn’t care about them. Who can blame them? To them, the old guard just sits back, tells them to be quiet, watch the planet burn, see the cost of living skyrocket so high that they can’t see a way to live independently, see corporations and the filthy rich take over every facet of life with their money, witness a culture where they have to worry about being shot at any given place and time, observe militarized police who will beat you if you assemble improperly, worry about wars and international beefs we may not have an existential stake in, and see civil and constitutional rights disappearing because of an out of control white christian authoritarian minority…you’re all reading the news. I could go on.

I have criticized the Do Something mentality in the past, but the more I learn the more I see why it exists.

They say that perception is reality. While that maxim is flawed, it does mean that leadership must pick up its tin ear and listen to the concerns of its potential constituents. It is especially important now seeing as how we Democrats are on track to lose the House and we’ll be needing the lefty vote and the young vote to get to the place where we can spring into action and remove this cursed filibuster, expand that wreck of a Court, and legislate back the rights we’ve lost over the past ten years.

So it really doesn’t make much difference at this point to continue to list the positive things that Joe Biden has done, of which there are many. He has done what has needed doing to repair the damage done by Trump. For that, we should all be grateful. But unfortunately, politics and time moves on and has a “but what are you doing now” and a “what are you going to do” vibe running through it, and now that the honeymoon is long over, the Biden administration and other leadership are short on ideas and even shorter on enthusiasm. Everyone is asking the administration and other Democrats questions about what it can or will do about this or that. And we often get no good answer. The brilliant flak-catcher Jen Psaki is gone, leaving the White House short on professional ass coverage. The president is not taking questions from a querulous press and when he does, he’s grumpy about being challenged. All we get are angry Biden apologists teeming on social media, and those apologists don’t want you to speak a single ill word about the president or the party.

This will not fly. No matter how hard you tell Democratic Biden critics/questioners to shut up, it will not go away. This is not the Republican Party; we don’t have a hive mind. We are a coalition of diverse thinking groups, and those groups are increasingly at odds with each other. And we need to work together, not hiss and spit. That is how Republicans win. Moderate Democrats will have to give air to the more left element’s grievances, and the more left among us will have to understand better our limitations. We need to talk, not throw slime. Share wisdom. Exchange knowledge. It will make us much stronger if we have a healthy dialectic.

Discourse should be acceptable within our ranks. I don’t like the idea that questioning things is bad for the party. There’s something…undemocratic about it.

Biden must give succor to both wings. That is part of his job description, keep the party together. Especially now that democracy itself is on the ballot.

This post basically evolved from my increasing irritation with the mass blowoff of the more left wing of the party. And that blowoff is translating into poll outcomes like this:

I was repeatedly told not to share that poll because it would help depress turnout and lose us the ’22 election. I simply thought the numbers were eyebrow-raising to say the least. But I am also repeatedly being told I have some sort of “agenda” (a paranoid Republican babbleword), accused of helping Republicans (or in some cases, being one) if I even so much as acknowledge fucking reality. Sorry. I will call balls and fucking strikes like I see them. If we tell ourselves and others lies about the current efficacy of the administration we risk our integrity. That poll ain’t my fault. The truth is still out there whether I share it or not.

There was also this stupid statement from the White House recently:

Oh, so the people who marched and protested and screamed for answers to a severe crisis are “activists”? This is the kind of bullshit that chafes voters. This rhetoric will lose Democrats more votes than any poll. Does anyone know what the mainstream even stands for at this juncture? If our “activist” values aren’t theirs, what business do they have calling themselves part of The People’s Party? What intrinsic good is there in just being the Not-Republican Party?

That’s just taking the slow train to hell instead of the express. I find this increasingly unacceptable, and avoidable.

We can stop blaming “the media” right about now and making up screwy conspiracies about their aims. Again, that’s another dumb Republican idea that we’ve somehow assimilated into our yaksacks. We’re cutting our own throats with the message (or lack of one), not the coverage. Papers of record are awful right now, but not for the reasons we think. Personally, I’d rather read the muckrakers who don’t give a good god damn what either party thinks. Generally, they don’t shade the truth.

To a great degree, this next election is an all hands on deck moment and it’s important to understand that Republicans have gamed ’22 and made a circus of the electoral system. I am working hard personally to GOTV in my county and make sure as many Democrats as possible show up to vote. I run media on several social platforms for the party and maintain the county website. I will soon be tasked with phonebanking and canvassing. However, what I share as a private citizen with my followers that I find interesting is my business and you can fuck off if you don’t like it. Last time I checked, that account is mine, not the Democratic Party’s. I barely have 1100 followers. I have no influence. Go crawl up David Hogg’s ass, who, while perhaps well-intentioned, has literally discouraged people from voting and donating to the party. Millions of people see him online daily. He’s a spokesperson for the young whether he knows it or not and he has to get smarter quickly.

Let’s just keep the conversation and the reality free and flowing. Telling people to be quiet will not make more Democratic voters, nor will sharing uncomfortable truths make less. It will just make people think and consider, and we need that more than ever in America.

And be fucking polite out there. I am still learning this one myself, but if you know something that someone else doesn’t, share it. Don’t be a dick. Save that shit for Republicans.

Let’s Talk A Little About Steve Bannon, Putin and The Future of Global Fascism

Sometimes I feel pretty fucking clever when I’ve sussed out that America is about to enter into its second dalliance with fascism and its characteristics. It will be Christian, white, and male-centric. Like Jello Biafra said once, it’s bedtime for democracy and there is no telling when it will wake up.

Now it’s awfully hard to believe that Steve Bannon, who looks like some weird mixture of Baron Harkonnen from Lynch’s Dune and a wino, is of any particular threat to American democracy. It’s almost hilarious that he has Mike Lindell on his “War Room” on the regular. He’s probably facing jail time soon, depending on how much he pisses a judge off by turning his contempt trial into a media circus.

However, as far as the right wing goes, he’s the daddy-o of American neo-fascism, or populism, or nationalism, whatever you want to call it. And when he fell out with Trump, he moved on to bigger and better things. After the White House, he went abroad to spread the populist word, powwowing with right wing parties, dictators and autocrats around the globe. He’s a Putinist, and I guess now is a great time to introduce a notorious living Russian fascist, often referred to as “Putin’s Brain”, Aleksandr Dugin. (More on the Dugin-Putin relationship here). The guy appears to be completely insane, a mad monk advocating for a Russian empire that stretches all the way to Ireland. I am sure that Putin, while a little touched in the head himself, listens to Alex’s counsel, smiles in his mind, takes the good parts and leaves out the absurd. He did come up with the idea of annexing Crimea, and thinks Russia should treat Ukraine as theirs, which they have done de facto by invading and robbing Ukraine of its ability to trade freely. I’m not going to get into an argument with any of you chuckleheads out there who seem to have no clue about military tactics and realpolitik, the end game of this invasion is that Russia gets good cream and lots of political leverage over the rest of the world from Ukraine’s food and energy markets. And there isn’t shit the West can or will do about it. (UPDATE 4/2: Zelenskyy isn’t giving up territory for peace, and NATO is now sending deadlier assets. He’s either going down with the ship, or this is going to be Afghanistan II: The Return Of The Bear Trap.)

Anyway, back to this character Dugin for a minute. He is quoted as saying, “We, conservatives, want a strong, solid State, want order and healthy family, positive values, the reinforcing of the importance of religion and the Church in society”. Sound familiar? That’s word for word what the Republican Party in America has come to stand for. Coming from the mouth of a Russian fascist. A “traditionalist”. Democracy, liberalism, and individualism are all anathema to his thinking, a refutation of the principles of America’s revolutionary ideas. He said of Putin as early as 2007: “There are no more opponents of Putin’s course and, if there are, they are mentally ill and need to be sent off for clinical examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, and Putin is indispensable.” It’s not dissimilar to the cult of personality that surrounds Trump, or any other “strongman” who can control people. The main difference between Putin and Dugin, is that one is pragmatic and one is a romantic. He wanted Putin to take Georgia as well as Ukraine. Putin took the chunks he could hold, probably knowing from Hitler at Stalingrad that when you spread yourself too thin, you will get your ass kicked. He believes that COVID is a “kind of divine reprimand, a divine decree against humanity.” and “It is a kind of punishment for globalization.” Dugin attacks the arts and the schools for their decadent thoughts (again, sound familiar?), even finding physics and chemistry to be “demonic”. The man is a mystic, looking for signs of the apocalypse.

So let’s circle back to Bannon: what’s the connection between him and Dugin? Well, they met once, in 2018, in Rome. While they agreed philosophically, the meeting did not go well, as Dugin was focused on the United States as the great evil, and Bannon felt it was China. I guess we should be glad they did not agree or join forces, but the idea that America is engorged with “evil” is becoming chapter and verse for more and more Republicans, no doubt to Putin and Dugin’s glee. We will be rid of Steve Bannon soon enough. But if we continue to share a traditionalist fascist destiny with Russia, then I am afraid the world over will become a dark place to practice freedom.

Now Is The Time To Stop Tom Cotton

Well, I’ve been waiting for this day for years. Tommy Cotton is officially eyeballing the presidency.

To Republicans, he may be the man for their times, should Trump decide not to run. He’s fairly well educated and served his country honorably. That’s more than you can say for the majority of the Republican Party. He’s certainly smarter and has more gravitas than a wannabe tough guy doofus like Ron DeSantis.

All of this is to say that makes him very dangerous. His ideas are, to put it mildly, radical as fuck. When the New York Times published a Cotton editorial in 2020 calling for the military to crack down on protestors, The Times almost lost its shirt due to the number of subscription cancellations. Went out on a limb to scotch the Iran nuclear deal. Wanted to use the Espionage Act on journalists. May have engaged in a little stolen valor by claiming to be an Army Ranger when all he did was go to Ranger school. Hates SNAP. Loves waterboarding. Steve Bannon is into him. Wants to lock up as many people as possible. Doesn’t want teachers to teach slavery. Anti-immigrant. ACA opponent. Supported Defense of Marriage. Refused to support Violence Against Women Act. Hyper anti-choice. Believes China purposefully leaked COVID-19.

All of this and more can be found elsewhere, some behind paywall journalism.

Until now, Republicans had some pretty piss poor choices for ’24. But put Cotton in there minus a Trump run and the calculus changes.

If we don’t expose this creep for who he is now, it may be too late to do so soon. Jen Psaki took the first shot today condemning his warmongering nature and just talking the talk but not walking the walk, and many need to follow. I’ve been right about his ambitions, and I suspect I will be proven right that Tom Cotton is going to be a contender.

Mitch McConnell Is On Something

This isn’t the first time we have heard this from a Republican, but it’s testament to the profound degree to how out of touch these frilly clowns are with regular people:

During an appearance on Fox News, host Martha McCallum posed the question to McConnell.

“Do you think the checks that are going out — you know, there’s some unemployment benefits, additional benefits that would run out in March — do you believe that these checks prevents some people from wanting to work?” McCallum asked.

“Well, there is a concern,” McConnell replied, “about making it more advantageous to stay home rather than going back to work.”

None, I repeat none of us are going to kick up our heels and give up our jobs or give up looking because of a very, very minor windfall. That money that’s coming can’t even sustain an ordinary household for two months. And the unemployment benefit pays for a week of groceries for a family of four. Furthermore, most folks are going to find plenty of uses for that money for things they are putting off, like bills and repairs. There is no upside to staying out of work. Ever. All working stiffs know this.

Why don’t they know? Is it that fat salary with the perks getting in the way?

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