Tuesday, October 18, 2016

...the fun is having lots to do and not doing it."

I don't want the 'Pub to become a political commentary blog, but this election has me worried, and not (like Lisa) because I seem to becoming objectively Trump-curious or (like PF) I'm worried that Hitlery will invade Poland.


I'm worried for what I see as the long-term implications for the United States' system of government.

First, let's agree that it is blindingly obvious to anyone that hasn't drunk the wingnut Koolade that the GOP in it's present incarnation really offers only two policy "things":

1. Working for open oligarchy, and
2. Comfort for white nationalism, Christian theocracy, and fear of the "others" (whether those others are gay, or brown, or Muslim)

I know that sounds harsh, but...that's really it, isn't it? It's all tax cuts and privatize and deregulate and unshackle Wall Street and shove the homos back in the closet and no abortion and open carry everywhere. "Small government"? Sure...unless you count the DoD. Or the NSA.

There's no GOP vision of a future United States that doesn't really come down to a return to the Gilded Age, is there?

Now...don't get me wrong. I'm not in love with the mainstream corporate-whoring Democratic Party. The Dems' neglect of the horrible effects of capital flight, economic inequality, and crony corporatism are a yuuuuuuge part of why we're in this mess right now.


The Sanders movement shows that the Democrats CAN be pulled to the left.

Not only can the GOP not go there...it's obvious that it won't even let the corporatist centerist Democrats go there - it won't let them be corporate centerist Democrats because they're insufficiently fucking nutzoid for smacking homos, luuurving Jesus and snowflake babies, hugging rich people and big corporations, and bombing the shit out of darkies and fuzzy-wuzzies.

The ugly parallel that jumps to my mind (and I’m not the only one, given the spate of articles about this…) is the rise of Jacksonism in the 1820s.

And the reason that scares me is the damage Jacksonism did; the next thirty years of American politics were dominated by Jacksonians and Jacksonian policies like internal minority genocide and external aggressive war. Plus the malign neglect of slavery (or the outright approval of and expansion-encouragement of it). A whole bunch of our worst Administrations were Jacksonian, culminating in Buchanan. Basically Jacksonism was the bedrock on which the Civil War was founded. One of the worst features of the politics of Jacksonism was that it helped made it impossible for the United States to simply outlaw slavery as Great Britain did between 1830 and 1845. Jacksonism wasn't the only reason, or the main reason...but it was a reason, and not a small one.

The upside of GOPism (call it "Trumpism if you want, but can we accept the the Donald is just the inevitable culmination of 40 years of what the GOP has asked for?) versus Jacksonism is that we no longer have a franchise limited to white males.

The downside is that the GOP’s propaganda machine has done a helluva a great job pulling in the “white male allies”; Christian theocrats, people fearful of imaginary jihadis under the bed, and the plutocracy into a coalition that looks like it represents about 40% of the public.

And the downside of that is that this hard nut of "conservatives" is dead-set against allowing the United States any government but the one they desire.

Do I think that we will see “another Jackson Administration” anytime soon? Probably – and hopefully – not.

But I think that the GOP has become a self-licking icecream cone; I think that regardless of whether the media comes down hard on the Trumpeters after November that this hard core of Jacksonians will not dissipate, and the United States will be, in effect, dealing with the same situation that broke the nation in 1860; there will be a large, indigestible, irredentist minority that will never, NEVER accept the legitimacy of their opponents. No non-Jacksonian/Trumpter will be allowed to govern. Obstruction will be the order, not just of the day but of the week, the year, the decade.

And let's not even start into the nightmare place the GOP is taking us with it's "vote fraud" and "rigged election" fantasies.

And the problem with THAT (beyond the problem of a dysfuntional U.S. government) is that I think, eventually, the American public will get frustrated with the dysfunction. And, as now, there won't be an acceptance that one of the two major parties our first-past-the-post system allows us is a craven lickspittle for corporate power while the other has gone utterly Jacksonian-batshit-nuts but anger and frustration at "both sides".

We the People will writhe and fume - not at the oligarchy we have become, but - that the oligarchy itself no longer "works".

We the People will look for a “savior”, and in my horrified imagination that "savior" will be a Man on Horseback.

And then all the sort of worrying and fretting and discussing things like policies and strategies and politics that we do here will be over and done with, and I hope I am safely dead long before that happens.


  1. I'm still wrestling with the idea of writing what a Trump presidency means to Germany, but so far I hold back until it happens. In short; I would recommend preparing leaving NATO to be ready to leave at the first hint of aggression. Also, boosting public knowledge about the EU Treaty's alliance function.

    My opinion goes back to 1914, literally.
    So far, I have a general post about the topic from 2008

    We wouldn't leave NATO at all, of course.
    It a foundation of our chancellor's party ideology and (West) German grand strategy (Westintegration), and there's also a pro-NATO lobby - a network of so called "Atlantiker", pro-U.S. and pro-NATO journalists, think tanks, politicians and people with serious money.
    The only real opponents of NATO membership (more or less) are greens (only when not part of ruling coalition) and socialists (likely the same).

    1. Sorry, that faction is called "Transatlantiker", not "Atlantiker". They're infuential, but no more grass roots than the fertilizer lobby.

    2. Wasn't the old joke about NATO that is was to "keep the Yankees in, the French out, and the Germans down"..?

      I don't really worry about Trump-as-Trump; he's a uniquely awful candidate and is likely to lose as badly or worse than Goldwater did.

      But...in the long- and even the medium-view his success within the GOP shows the extent to which (in the words of Robert Graves' Claudius) "all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch(ed) out." The GOP has gone beyond simply refusing to let the US be governed. They are saying, in effect, if I don't get exactly what I want I'll blow it up.

      I can accept (to a degree) the extent to which my country has become an oligarchy. At least, with the formal processes of a republic in place, I can hope that a genuine popular resurgence can reverse that.

      The GOP's intransigence, however, threatens an outright end to the American Experiment...and that sickens me to death. As I said; I fervently wish not to live to see that.

  2. Chief,

    That's pretty unpersuasive and mean spirited. Sounds like you got some "others" you're scared of too. A lot of them are your fellow citizens though.

    PF Khans

    1. How is this "meansspirited", PF? Do you have any factual rebuttal to my characterization of the nature of American "conservatism" above? Did I somehow mistake a credo-like faith in tax-cuttery as the solution for EVERY fiscal problem as a piece of Christ-like compassion for the poor and afflicted? Did my assessment of the GOP's infatuation with privatization and deregulation somehow miss how this would actually benefit people rather than the organizations that will be privatized and deregulated?

      So...barring that; that is, if you're willing to concede that I have adequately characterized the American Right...why should I, or you, for that matter, be willing to acquiesce to the destruction of our political system in pursuit of ANY policies, let alone those as meanspirited (yep, I said it) and venal as those?

      Because that IS what the Right has done and is promising. Or did you miss the part where the GOP met in 2009 and vowed to obstruct EVERYTHING the Kenyan Usurper proposed? Or when they fingaled with the debt ceiling and the notion of defaulting on the national debt? Or refused to even hold hearings on Obama appointees? Or, as now, flirted with the notion of "nullifying" election results like a goddamn banana republic.

      And...for the record, the treacherous bastards shot down assaulting Cemetery Ridge were "my fellow citizens" before they decided that they'd rather obstruct and refuse to accept the results of an election they lost.

      Just sayin'.

    2. And, as always, Charles Pierce says what I said above about the "irredentist Right" only better:

      "Yes, what Donald Trump said on Wednesday night about keeping us all “in suspense” as to whether he’ll “accept” the results of the presidential election was a great soundbite and an easy way to emphasize further the fact that the Republican Party has nominated a petulant child for president. But enough with the shocked faces from the pundits who drape themselves in imaginary togas and weep on cue for this assault on the fragile American democracy. This is nothing new…

      It has been an article of faith for the entire Republican Party for a quarter-century now that any elected Democratic president is prima facie illegitimate. Trump is just putting a layer of narcissistic varnish on the bucket containing all the historical deplorables. Further, the history of the country is replete with efforts, some of them violent, by politicians to avoid “respecting” the results of elections… We had a civil war because 13 states didn’t “respect the election” of Abraham Lincoln. And that fact is not mitigated in the least by the nice words spoken by Stephen A Douglas in the aftermath, when he declined to respond to losing by joining the Army of Northern Virginia. That’s a fairy tale.

      Donald Trump is just being a little cruder about things than many of our television historians would like. Democracy is not a bedtime story, but the monsters within it are very, very real.

  3. Although I haven't mentioned this before, I have the singular honor of being on the Committee to raise $5,000,000 for a monument of Donald J. Trump. We originally wanted to put him on Mt. Rushmore until we discovered there was not enough room for two more faces.

    We then decided to erect a statue of Trump in the Washington, D.C. Hall Of Fame. We were in a quandary as to where the statue should be placed. It was not proper to place it beside the statue of George Washington, who never told a lie, or beside George W. Bush, who never told the truth, since Trump could never tell the difference.

    So, we finally decided to place Trump beside Christopher Columbus, the greatest swindler of all time. He began his journey not knowing where he was going, and when he got there he didn't know where he was. He returned home not knowing where he had been, and he did it all on somebody else's money. And then his supporters got to take it out on the locals for not worshipping the wrong god.

    1. As I pointed out above, mike, my problem isn't with Trump. Yes, he's an epically loathsome human being, and the fact that the GOP primary process coughed him up on the national living room rug like a nasty orange hairball says something particularly unflattering about the GOP as a party.

      But his policies...(where they're not just ridiculous nonsense like the Mexican rapists, the border wall, and how he's singlehandledly going to bring back yuuuuuge amounts of bigly middle-class jobs)...his policies are pretty much standard Republican boilerplate. He's just terrible at doing the usual Republican tapdance in front of them so that the rubes can't see how awful and regressive and punitive and Gilded Age-y they are. His open enthusiasm for all this poor- and queers- and hippie- and commie- and darky-bashing has had the combined effect of bringing the moron C.H.U.D.s of the GOP base out into the daylight and highlighting the dogwhistles and indirection and make-believe all the more suave Republican leaders have used since back in the Goldwater and Wallace days to reassure those C.H.U.D.s that they really DID intend to hammer the poor and the dark and the queers and the heathens and the lib'ruls.

      And those leaders had no more intention than Trump does of "accepting" defeat. Did they not harass Clinton 42 and impeach him over a blowjob? Have they not spent eight years harassing and threatening to impeach Obama? Will they not to the same with Clinton 45?

      Of course they will, and that's my point.

      Lisa's latest ridiculous "OMFG! People are SO hypocritical!" post talks about Little Red Riding Hood, but these Republicans are more like the Boy crying "wolf!". They are pushing the limits of the workability of a representative democracy, and I'll bet they'll be shocked, SHOCKED! when the Caesar arrives to "rescue the dysfunctional Republic" from their shenagains.

      And, as I said, too; I hope to God I'll be long dead by then.

  4. So...we know have solid proof - caught on video - that those wonderful accepting liberals plotted to start violence at Trump rallies, have fire bombed a GOP HQ and sent bomb threats to others, stirred up riots against police, left evidence of media collusion with the Clinton campaign, shutting down of wikileaks, evidence that the FBI/DOJ and POTUS rigged the Clinton server investigation so that she would never be charged with crimes...they take money from oppressive foreign governments and appear to serve them more so than the American people they are supposed to represent and their followers look the other way as they lie to our faces without shame...they want to open US borders to anyone and everyone and hard working tax payers are suppose to fund this without end......they rig it so the jobs we need go overseas or to the immigrants...they label millions of US citizens as "deplorable" and "irredeemable".....these twisted fools that think a man who castrates himself wears a dress is a hero and who heap a guilt trip on those with white skin and testicles...these social science worshippers who despise Christianity, but glorify Islam....who divide us along racial lines and blame the deplorables for it...but it's just paranoid fantasy to think that the election is rigged? A hard rain is going to fall one of these days. It will wash away all the smugness.....when they run to the police, that they hate.....or the soldiers that they hate......begging for protection from the people that they hate....and......you know what? The democrats haven't done jack shit for any citizen of this country. Never. It was the GOP that got civil rights moving along. All of the big cities that are thoroughly D controlled are freakin' hell holes for the the poor, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore......Chief, you're living a stupid mythology created by people that hate you and want to use you. But by all means, keep up the virtue signaling if it makes you feel like a superior kind of enlighted guy.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. And there you have it, ladies and gentelmen. EXACTLY what I'm describing above. A complete and total ingestion of every ridiculous "conservative" meme vomited out by FOX and Breitbart and Rushbo; wikileaks, emails, crimes, Meskin rapists, jihadi immigrants, hatin' on the commie lib'ruls and not-luuurvin'-enough-Jesus ("social science worshipers who despise Christianity and worship Islam")

      And, for the record, I'm fine if you want to go all-in on this adorable crackpottery. Provided that, when the obvious nutzoid-ness causes you to lose elections that you are willing to go sit in your corner and let the grown-ups handle the problems your religious-credo-like "politics" has helped create.

      So I'd like to thank ol' avedis for showing up to make my point; folks like him aren't willing to "compromise". For him "compromise" means "surredner to the "stupid mythology people" and that's just not OK with him. Or the other Trumpters, or people like Ryan and McConnell, or McCain who promises to break the Supreme Court rather than accept that a Democratic President might appoint a liberalish justice.

      THIS is EXACTLY what I'm talking about above.

  5. Here is an interesting take on Rural vs City. Perhaps some of the differences of perspective relates to where one lives.

    1. Saw that. Cute little meme, but not really apropos of my point above. You don't have to be an urban metrosexual to want to be free from radical inequality to the point of oligarchy, unrestrained air and water pollution, domestic prejudice and exclusion, and corporate crony capitalism.

      Do the Dems (the "urban" party) offer some of that? Hell, yes, they do, and they should be pushed away from them; that's the promise of the Sanders wing of the party.

      The GOP? They offer nothing BUT that. Read "avedis"s lunatic screed above and tell me that you want THAT as the governing philosophy of this country. That's what the GOP, and ALL that the GOP as currently constituted, is offering.

      Which is both stupid and wrong; we need a "conservative" voice in this country as in any polity. It's just that the sort of movement conservatism that has taken over the GOP is the avedis-lunatic-sort of "conservatism" that is not, in fact, conservative but is radically reactionary.

      Because of FPTP we are only going to have two parties in this country. So it would help if one wasn't 1) utterly batshit crazy and 2) increasingly unwilling to cede legitimacy to anyone or anything NOT utterly batshit crazy in the same fashion.

      So it's not "Urban vs Rural", really. It's "moderately corporatist but fundamentally grounded in reality" versus "Plutocrat-racist-feudalist-Gilded-Age-Elvis has fucking left the building"...

    2. Yeah, that's what some significant proportion of the colonies (e.g. loyalists) said when the Sons of Liberty were working up a revolution. I live in a rural community in the heart of the rust belt. We don't need more of the same. I guess life is more beautiful in coastal Oregon. Your candidate, the elitist that hates both of us (despite you on your knees kissing her ass)will be obstructed because she needs to be before she sends the last deplorable to die in the Ukraine or on Main St; jobless, demoralized and strung out on opiates. Then again, all hope might not be lost for you. You can wear a wig, a dress and some tastefully applied make up and maybe, just maybe be acceptable enough to have a roll in the enlightened borderless world utopia. Can't wait to see the selfies.


    3. You're precious. Keep fuckin' that chicken.

      But kidding aside...here's a good example of why people like you are the problem here in "coastal Oregon".

      Twenty-six years ago some of your political pals cobbled up a piece of chicanery called "Oregon Ballot Measure 5". It was a pretty slick piece of work, too; it put a cap on property taxes at a time when Oregon was starting to see the Californication of property values. We had all the usual propaganda; poor granny being led out of her home-seized-for-nonpayment-of-taxes blah blah blah.

      And the sonsofbitches who put up the thing - a skeevy group of Norquistian trolls called "Oregon Taxpayers United" - made sure to do it as a ballot measure (that is, a constitutional change repealable only by ANOTHER constitutional change) rather than working it through the legislature because the point wasn't really saving granny's house. It was to shrink Oregon's government so it could be drowned in a bathtub.

      Sound familiar?

      Well, there was the usual bullshit about "replacement revenue" which was dropped like a live grenade when the voters approved this thing. Which, indeed, did just what it was intended; it choked the shit out of Oregon's tax revenues.

      So all of us transvestites...and Oregon's schoolkids, public collegians, drivers, longshoremen...have spent the next twenty-six years scrambling to figure out how to pay for the stuff you hate (like free lunches for poor kids) along with the stuff you like (like pay for Oregon Guardsmen and highways and sewers).

      Because, genius, government is US. It's the stuff we need and can't build ourselves, like roads and canals...and stuff that we need as the basis of civilization - so not luxuries we can do without or with less of - and that are vulnerable to monopolization, so that letting private entities profit from them risks spending far more than they cost.


    4. (con't from above)

      And what have you and your "conservative" friend contributed to this discussion?

      I'll tell you; a childish repetition of the kindergarten mantra "NO NEW TAXES"!

      THAT's what's so fucking frustrating to me.

      I'm willing to accept that some people don't like taxes. I - and a gajillion other lefties - are fine with tussling with the right over how much and how to raise that money.

      But y'all don't want to talk about this like grown-ups. You want to rant about jobless transvestites strung out on opioids and scary ISIS headcutters under the bed.

      Well, gee, Einstein...where are those jobs gonna come from with our ports idle from lack of post-Panamax cranes, our roads and bridges falling down, our schoolkids derping from having the shortest schoolyear in the nation and hurting for tech...

      Do you know...my kids' school has TWO computer carts for the entire school? TWO. Every year they've had to cannibalize the dying machines because the district has to pay pensions and upgrade seismic safety and repair old pipes leaking lead into the kids' water fountains and pay for buses and...

      And what do the "conservatives" here in Oregon want to do about that? They won't do ANYthing unless the State promises to do away with its' pension system and throw the teachers into the same shitty 401K that I have, that cratered in 2008 and that means even if I didn't want to I'm gonna have to fucking work until I'm dead.

      Do they even want to TALK instead about maybe it'd be a better idea to a return to the sort of pension system for everyone that my helped my father and mother retire honorably and live decently instead of throwing the state workers into the shitty "private" 401K-based system the rest of us have to suck up?

      Fuck, no! Privatize, downsize, voucherize...sucks to be you, teach. NO NEW TAXES!!!!

      All that just gets very, very old.

      And, frankly, I'm really done with it. I'm tired of the wingnut attitude that "my electoral wins are mine and yours are negotiable". As I noted to PFK above...if you and yours won't negotiate and you won't compromise (in a "you give some and I give some" and not a "I'll move the goalposts way right and THEN you meet me halfway" kind of way) then I'm going to have to try and do what my guy Sanders did; blow your nonsense up. Go to the people, those people in the rust belt who have been fucked over by crony capitalism (that has used BOTH R's and D's but way more R's than D's...) and capital flight and offshoring and automation and try and wake them up to see that they need someone fighting for THEIR America, not the America of Alcoa and GM and Monsanto and Verizon.

      That's sure as hell not Clinton or Kate Brown (our D candidate for governor). But...that can be people who work WITH Clinton and Brown.

      People like Trump? Pence? Brownback? Ryan? McConnell? Pierce (our R-governor candidate)? There's nothing there for us. They've shown they'll burn the place down and blow it up rather than compromise to their left.

      And you, my friend, sound more like them than Bernie.

      Which is just pretty damn sad.

    5. Chiefy, I live in the socialist republic of new York. Between federal and local taxes I pay, fully, 33% of what I earn in taxes. The psycho witch you want in charge wants to raise my taxes further. At some point I'm just going to stop working, collect some of that wonderful welfare and sit on my porch drinking 40s and picking guitar. Why not. Abe Lincoln was educated in a one room school house with hand me down books. I think he came out of it better than all the high priced liberal education - you know why? because reading, history, math...none of it has changed. And it's all contained in the forgotten books. Now children can be "educated" for a high price, on the glory of Mexican history and the evil of America and gay pride on high $ computers, but they can't even begin to quote the Bill of Rights. It's all smoke and mirrors.


    6. "It's all smoke and mirrors."

      Ummm...if you say so, chief. I don't have the option to slide into a wingnut welfare-revenge fantasyland. I need my kid's schools to run and my roads to work and my water to be drinkable, and taxes are the price of civilization. I'm not happy to pay them, but I want all those things, so I do.

      But feel free to drop in sometime. We have the best gay pride computers. They're YUUUGE! And we have tacos, too, what with all the Mexican rapists.