Panic Over Biden

I have taken positions on every side of this issue. That will likely continue.

I understand everyone on every side of this. Trump is literally an existential threat, when you figure in climate and nukes. And if you’re in a group that will be executed or rounded up. So to me every argument is understandable because so much depends on winning this.

People are terrified, so if Biden’s age makes it look like he could lose there is panic. And people are terrified so if it looks like replacing Biden could cost the election there is panic. And people are terrified so if it looks like replacing Biden with Harris could cost the election there is panic. And people are terrified so if it looks like running someone besides Harris could cost the election there is panic.

PS It also depends on planning for what happens after the election if Trump does not get the votes because their plan is obviously to have a Republican House or Republican Supreme Court put him in anyway. That’s why there was so much detailed planning for a next administration, and meetings with autocrats around the world, even when it seriously looked like he would not “win.”

The Debate And The Election

This post first appeared at Government Cheese (Chronicling the collapse of democracy)

The way I look at the election and in particular this debate is, “how the fuck is Trump even or ahead in the polls, and how does the voting public see things?” Not, “how do I see things?” How in the world does the voting public see their lives under Dems and Biden as worse than Trump?

So you look at the information environment that regular people are in. And you try to see what they see.

I know what the public saw in the first 15 minutes of the debate – which is all that matters. Impressions are set and no one cares after that.

I am of the belief that you have to vote for Biden anyway because of the existential threat of Trump or at this point any Republican. (I wavered because of Gaza but am still there.) And I was shaken by what I saw, wondering even if Biden can even stay alive until November, never mind another 4 years. And the brain was not functioning. I see no future in a Biden vote. No hope for more of what we saw that last four years, only a Harris ascension quite soon. But I still will vote Biden – only because of Trump.

Will the debate change things? The right-wing-dominated information environment regular people live in already had Biden as old and demented, so all that happened is that was confirmed. For people outside of that information environment, Trump is clearly understood as extremely dangerous, and that was confirmed if you could stomach even watching him which I could not and did not except for a bit.

Anyway what matters now is are the polls going to change? I think maybe not. I think enough people already had it in their mind that Biden is too old but Trump is too dangerous.

If we can change the information environment America could come back. At this point that means overcoming Murdoch, Sinclair, private equity, billionaires etc. Musk and his cohorts did not buy Twitter to make a profit.

Only Republicans Can Be Harmed

You’ve heard the term IOKIYAR. It’s OK If You Are Republican. This week we’re experiencing a variation of that: Only Republicans Can Be Harmed. Also Only Republicans Count.

Judge Cannon explained that prosecuting Trump would harm him and his reputation, because of the “threat of future prosecution and the serious, often indelible stigma associated therewith.” Also, “As a function of Plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own.” Therefore the Justice Department has to stop.

Bush v Gore

This is a variation of the Republican Supreme Court’s reasoning in Bush v Gore that if the Florida vote-counting were allowed to continue it might “threaten irreparable harm to petitioner (Bush)” chances of winning the election.

What about harming Gore’s chances of winning if they kept counting? That’s different. Only Republicans Can Be Harmed. Only Republicans have legitimate concerns.

Only Republicans Count

Now we have the latest variation on this concept of Republican legitimacy. Donald Trump says presidents can declassify docs ‘even by thinking about it’.

So, couldn’t President Biden have RE-classified the documents by thinking about it?

Here’s the thing: ONLY REPUBLICANS COUNT! Trump CAN, Biden CAN’T.

In the Republican mind, Democrats are not legitimate. Democrats aren’t “real Americans.” Non-whites also fit into this scheme. They are not “real Americans.” This applies to people who live in large cities as well.

This also goes for non-Christians, by the way. 61 percent of Republicans supported declaring the United States a Christian nation.

The rest of us just don’t count.

Hypnotizing Us Into The Biggest Slumber Mankind Has Ever Seen

“We live in a kingdom of bullshit.”

Is the climate crisis real? Is Covid real? Is Trump’s coup attempt real? Is inequality real?

Does anyone care about and of these?

Frm Mr. Robot:

Mr. Robot | Christian Slater) "REALITY" Speech Scene (S01E10) from MAKING THE CUT on Vimeo.

Is any of it real? I mean, look at this. Look at it! A world built on fantasy. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills. Psychological warfare in the form of advertising. Mind-altering chemicals in the form of… food! Brainwashing seminars in the form of media. Controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks.

Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs while we tossed the remnants in the ever-expanding Dumpster of the human condition. We live in branded houses trademarked by corporations built on bipolar numbers jumping up and down on digital displays, hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen.

You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo, before you can find anything real. We live in a kingdom of bullshit. A kingdom you’ve lived in for far too long. So don’t tell me about not being real. I’m no less real than the fucking beef patty in your Big Mac.

The Benefits Of Trade And Automation Were Stolen From Us

This post first appeared at Government Cheese.

The capitalist economist’s argument for “free trade” was the Jetsons Economy argument: the future will be glorious. They explained that when you move production to places where workers were paid less, everyone here would benefit because it freed up resources that would be applied to better jobs with higher wages, more free time, etc. The resulting gains would benefit everyone. And everyone where the jobs were moved to would also benefit from climbing the same ladder.

Sounds nice. A democracy would have made sure that was written into trade agreements, for everyone on both sides: The gains must be shared by everyone.

Same for automation, technology, etc. The gains were supposed to go to everyone. A democracy would have guaranteed that’s what happened.

A democracy would certainly have outlawed what did happen: Big money used “free” trade and automation/technology to pit workers against each other to force wages and benefits DOWN, with all the gains going to the top few.

What actually happened is that the Jetsons economy was stolen from us.

The Brand-Name “NAFTA”

All of this and the consequences — the benefits of trade and automation going to the top, everyone else forced ever downward, homes lost (and bought up by private equity to rent back to the former owners), factories closed and abandoned to rot, businesses closed and replaced by private-equity-owned chains, communities destroyed, etc – is covered by the brand name “NAFTA” for voters who were affected by this. That’s a big part of what brought us Trump and destroyed the Democratic party in the minds of all those voters.

Why Blame Dems?

Those textile mills and furniture manufacturers and all the rest of the manufacturing that went away when the Jetsons Economy future was stolen, the hollowed out cities with abandoned stores & homes downtown, ringed by private equity chains in malls out by the highway, bitter people forced out of the middle class blaming Dems for what happened to them…

The dilemma: This stuff branded NAFTA was a Republican/Wall Street neoliberal project all along but some Dems went along with it. Carter with deregulation, Clinton with trade, Obama with Wall Street. Wall Street/corporate money and propaganda getting them into office. (The famous chart showing the split between productivity and wages started under Carter/Volker. Then driven home by Reagan.)

The reason it’s identified with Dems more than Republicans now is that Dems were supposed to be the party of labor. The Democrats were supposed to protect working people from the things big money wanted to do to us. So Dems get the blame for breaking that wall of solidarity.

It’s like how Dems get the blame for things every single Republican is doing. We expect Republicans to be the party of capital, not Dems. Of course it wasn’t all elected Democrats who did this, but the capital bought enough Dems to get away with it.

The Hawley Nonsense “Porn” Interview – A Master Class In Propaganda

You probably think I’m going to mock this. Nope.

Watch this interview. It is a master class in propaganda. What he says was obviously (to me) written in one of their well-funded think tanks. He has obviously rehearsed this. Those of us who mock it just don’t get what the real message is and how effective it is.

As I keep saying, the current Republican fascist appeal all goes back to “NAFTA” – which is the brand name for the neoliberal austerity attack on the middle class, pushed by Wall Street, by all Republicans, and bought into by the “corporate Dems.” (See below)

How can you make these claims?, Hawley is asked. Answer: “If you look at the policy of deindustrialization…

The Virus That Carries the DNA Therapy

The porn nonsense is like the virus that carries the DNA therapy. The virus isn’t the point, the embedded DNA is. The virus is used to move around the body, targeting the right cells, leaving behind the intended therapy.

The “porn” part will be repeated widely because of the outrageous nonsense, but… Then there is this nugget (and a few others like it): “The [Democrat] policy of deindustrialization.” It is slipped in there, as if it is something we all know and agree with. The Dem policy is why you are all suffering, out of work, etc.

The nugget – the real message here – is the things slipped in as taken for granted now that they have your attention.

The REAL message in this is: “Democrats did this to you. We (the fascists) are here to make it all better.”

See the longer interview here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=583015609418505

It All Comes Back To NAFTA

“NAFTA” is a brand name for all the neoliberal policies that wiped out the factory towns and turned blue collar workers against Democrats.

The Clinton admin went all-in to get NAFTA passed. The televised 1993 “debate” between Al Gore and Ross Perot over NAFTA is worth revisiting. “Giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the country – and that’s what happened. (The damage was really more from China entering the WTO, but “NAFTA” is the brand name for all of it.) The “benefits” of free trade were all directed up to a top few. People were threatened with, “Do you want YOUR job moved to China, too? No? Then shut up and take the pay cut.”

And everyone in the Midwest and other “post-industrial” areas that were wiped out understand this.

Obama understood, too. In 2008 he campaigned in the Midwest as the candidate who is going to do something about NAFTA and all the shit that is happening to you.

Blue-collar workers voted for Obama because he campaigned on fixing NAFTA, but then he didn’t. During the campaign there was a scandal that Obama had reassured Canadian leaders that he didn’t mean it. Then, immediately after taking office he went back on renegotiating NAFTA,

The administration has no present plans to reopen negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement to add labor and environmental protections, as President Obama vowed to do during his campaign, the top trade official said on Monday.

Then came full-on neoliberalism. Dems did not even bring the promised Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made it easier to organize unions in the workplace, up for a vote. Wall Street was bailed out and instead of removing (and prosecuting) the executives whose fraud caused the financial crisis the bailout funds were used to give bonuses to those executives. Austerity was imposed. The “recoverey” left millions behind, especially in the “deindustrialized” regions.

Then the Obama/Wall Street years clinched the wipeout of the middle class. For millions upon millions things didn’t get better, they got worse. People don’t forget things like that.

So Trump campaigned on getting rid of NAFTA, etc. Add in the right’s propaganda infrastructure )”Republicans are the party of the working class”) and here we are.

PS The Onion has more on this, demonstrating how the virus spreads, so it can implant the DNA. Also it’s hilarious: Josh Hawley Slams Video Games As Threat To American Masculinity After Bullshit Sniper Ends His ‘Battlefield’ Killstreak

Lies vs Democracy

This post first appeared at Imagine Democracy.

Well-funded lies are very effective.

The tobacco companies proved that with well-funded propaganda lies (a.k.a. “marketing”) you can get people to kill themselves while giving you their money.

The firearms industry proved that with well-funded propaganda lies you can convince people to allow kindergarteners to be killed while giving you their money.

Trump proved that well-funded propaganda lies (and media participation) he could convince people to kill democracy while giving him their money.

Now the oil&coal companies are proving that well-funded propaganda lies can get people to kill the planet while giving them their money.

Democracy doesn’t have an advertising agency to counter this stuff. This is why we need a Department of Democracy.

A Painful Day

Impeachment Day 1

This has been a painful day for me. First of all, watching that video and reliving Jan 6 was hard. It was bad enough that day watching from here; I can only imagine how it must feel to have been there. It was very painful to watch Trump’s lawyers make incredibly preposterous arguments – when they delivered an argument at all.

More painful, though, is that a year ago his entire party supported what he was and did, after having already destroyed so much of our government and rule of law. Painful that half a million people died in the last year with a government doing nothing, even encouraging actions that made it so much worse.

They tried to destroy the rule of law, and with that vote today they mock it.

Take What Happened Very, Very Seriously

This post originally appeared at Imagine Democracy.

People don’t want to say that Republicans attempted a “coup” but they certainly attempted to overturn the clear results of a democratic election. They tried to end our democracy, right in front of our eyes.

The election was almost “close enough to overturn.”

The Democrat received (the counting is not finished) over 6 million more votes but it was “close.” This is because our 18th-century electoral college system, designed to keep the “slave states” happy, does not belong in the 21st century.

If Republicans had blocked a few more people who couldn’t get birth certificates, etc. from voting…

If Republicans had been able to close a few more polling places…

If they had taken away a few more ballot drop-boxes…

If Republican had scared just a few more people…

If Republicans had told just a few more lies…

If the USPS had delayed a few more ballots…

If just a bit fewer Democrats had voted…

they very well might have gotten away with it.

Take what happened very, very seriously. Because they tried. Right in front of our eyes.

And if we don’t take steps to do something about this, next time they will do … just that bit more.

Right Before Our Eyes

Storm troopers in the cities? A Trumpian takeover of democracy?

The question isn’t if this is what the Trumpers are doing, it’s will they succeed.

A lot of people are in the “it can’t happen here” camp on this. But it is happening, we’re watching it. Trump says he is sending these – what should we call them – to all the “Democrat” cities. Calling them Little Green Men is good, because that is the model he is following.

Trump is following the Putin 21st-century stealth takeover model. Will Trump also follow the Putin election model? The one where Putin always wins “elections” even when he is unpopular?

Trump said this, and it is worth remembering that he did:

“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher.”

(“Bikers for Trump”? So maybe call these forces invading our cities “Night Wolves?)

There really is no question this is what he is doing. He told us, and we are seeing it happening. (Do we take him seriously or literally?) The question is, will it work?

It seems clownish, he is clearly not all there. The Trumper crowd are so incompetent that it is hard to take them seriously.

But make no mistake it IS happening right before our eyes. He says it out loud, and then he does it, and then people ask if it is happening?

But don’t worry the Democrats are not happy and might do something.