Category Archives: Politics

The Left steps across a line and embraces political violence

Summary:  People on the Left have become disoriented by Trump’s win, and become ever more dysfunctional. Now they take a big step to embrace political violence, from reformers of America to its enemies. It’s a small step over the line. Unless they rethink and pull back, expect more serious violence coming. It might be back to the future, back to the violence of the 1960’s and 1970’s — which contributed to the start of the Left’s long decline into political irrelevance.

“Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.”
— Madonna at the Women’s March. Trump is fortunate that she didn’t calculate that it would change things! Transcript here; video here.

"No Violence" by shit2009

“No Violence” by shit2009.

America’s bien pensant leftists have gone quite bonkers at the rise of Trump. Before the election they condemned Trump for saying he might refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate, and for failure to condemn political violence (some of which was by his supporters; most was by the left against his supporters). Now they refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate (on the flimsiest of evidence) and advocate personal violence against those who disagree with them. Both are potentially destabilizing for the Republic; the latter especially so.

The latter is displayed and explained at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Richard Spencer, a white supremacist, was sucker-punched by a good leftist — which they applauded. Daniel Nexen (assoc. prof of government at Georgetown) wrote “How is this Even a Thing?“, a tepid condemnation of “some dude {who} sucker-punched an asshole racist neo-Nazi (or post-Nazi or whatever) who was giving an interview.” The comments were mostly full Stalinist, cheering street violence against the enemy of the people.

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Robert Reich’s program to save the Left after a decade of defeats

Summary: Here one of the Left’s top political analysts sketches out a path forward for the Democratic Policy after its well-deserved defeats during the past decade. While tactically sound, he ignores the two weaknesses that prevent the reform of America.

Dead donkey

 

The Life of the Party:
7 Truths for Democrats

By Robert Reich.
At his website, 20 January 2017.

 

The ongoing contest between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wings of the Democratic Party continues to divide Democrats. It’s urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths:

The Party is on life support. Democrats are in the minority in both the House and Senate, with no end in sight. Since the start of the Obama Administration they’ve lost 1,034 state and federal seats. They hold only 16 governorships, and face 32 state legislatures fully under GOP control. No one speaks for the party as a whole. The Party’s top leaders are aging, and the back bench is thin.

(1)  The future is bleak unless the Party radically reforms itself. …

(2)  The strongest and most powerful force in American politics is a rejection of the status quo, a repudiation of politics as usual, and a deep and profound distrust of elites, including the current power structure of America. {He conflates populism and progressivism, different but overlapping phenomena both rooted in rebellion against elites.} …

(3)  The economy is not working for most Americans. …

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As we start a new era, see the similarities between Obama and Trump

Summary: America has begun a new era with a new president. The similarities between Obama in 2008 and Trump today are remarkable. More precisely, between how we saw Obama and see Trump, with the Left and Right swapping roles. Perhaps another 4 or 8 years of crushing disappointment will teach us lessons we failed to learn from Obama. Then the reform of America can begin.

“It’s agreed. Different presidents, same script for America!”

Trump and Obama

Tens of millions of Americans believed Obama was not a legitimate President, being born outside the USA (Wikipedia). Tens of millions of Americans believe that President Trump is not a legitimate President due to Russian interference in the election; large numbers believe Trump is an agent of Russia (stories have him compromised in a variety of different ways).

The parallels go deeper. Obama won the presidency campaigning as The One bringing “hope and change”. Trump won the presidency (with a minority in the popular vote) making a wide range of big populist promises — many of which will be difficult or impossible to fulfill (e.g., boosting employment in manufacturing, and rebalancing trade with China). Neither entered office with a plan to fulfill their promises.

A look at the Obama administration

Obama delivered on some of his promises, most notably by enacting ObamaCare, expanding the war in Afghanistan (unsuccessfully), and various Leftist social policies. On some he failed to deliver, such as closing the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. He betrayed his followers on many key issues: the banker-friendly bailout (esp. allowing mass foreclosures using perjury and forgery, illegal assassination of an American citizen, increased illegal domestic surveillance, and the promised “most transparent administration” (staging an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, including use of the Espionage Act).

The Right went bonkers during the Obama years, with fantasies about Obama as Hitler — and the horrific deeds he would do. Sales of firearm soared during Obama’s years, as they prepared for Obama’s mass confiscation of guns. There are scores much nightmares that convative leaders used to terrify and so mobilize their flocks. For a partial list see Brian Tashman’s “Ten Right-Wing Predictions About Obama That Never Came True“.

About the coming Trump era

“Remember that the first person Donald Trump killed due to his presidency was Sharon Jones.” {Source.}

— She died on November 18 at age 60 of pancreatic cancer (NYT). The source of the rumor was an LAT story: “Jones, Roth said in an interview Saturday, suffered a stroke on Nov. 8 — election night — as she was watching the returns. …’She told the people that were there that Trump gave her the stroke,’ said Roth, laughing.”

Both aspects of these aspects of the Obama era are likely to repeat in the next four years, with Left and Right swapping places in this dance. Those hoping for populist reforms are dreaming. People are policy in Washington, and Trump has appointed a bog-standard far-right wing team. Meanwhile the Left has gone bonkers, screaming fantasies of a fascist revolution — including Trump’s mass imprisonment of his enemies and calling off the 2020. Every day their fantasies get wilder, doubling down on the fear barrage the failed so spectacularly during the election campaign.

“When one starts with ‘issuing a new decree’, it’s clear one has neither understanding nor respect for Constitutional separation of powers.” {Source.}
— Every President has used executive orders as a powerful tool (they are “decrees”).

What will happen in 2020 if the Left’s forecasts of fascism prove false, and instead of NAZIs we get traditional conservatism (i.e., rolling back the New Deal, a stronger plutocracy)? Will their years of wild unsupported predictions discredit them as a serious alternative government? They have wagered their credibility.

Experts say Trump has a narcissistic & authoritarian personality!

psychiatry

“On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.

“The ‘Goldwater Rule’” in The Principles of Medical Ethics: With Annotations Especially Applicable to Psychiatry, 2001 Edition.

The Goldwater Rule: Why breaking it is Unethical and Irresponsible.”

By Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. at the American Psychiatric Assn website.
3 August 2016. Red emphasis added.

“Since 1973, the American Psychiatric Association and its members have abided by a principle commonly known as “the Goldwater Rule,” which prohibits psychiatrists from offering opinions on someone they have not personally evaluated. The rule is so named because of its association with an incident that took place during the 1964 presidential election. During that election, Fact magazine published a survey in which they queried some 12,356 psychiatrists on whether candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater, the GOP nominee, was psychologically fit to be president. A total of 2,417 of those queried responded, with 1,189 saying that Goldwater was unfit to assume the presidency.

“While there was no formal policy in place at the time that survey was published, the ethical implications of the Goldwater survey, in which some responding doctors even issued specific diagnoses without ever having examined him personally, became immediately clear. This large, very public ethical misstep by a significant number of psychiatrists violated the spirit of the ethical code that we live by as physicians, and could very well have eroded public confidence in psychiatry.

“We live in an age where information on a given individual is easier to access and more abundant than ever before, particularly if that person happens to be a public figure. With that in mind, I can understand the desire to get inside the mind of a Presidential candidate. I can also understand how a patient might feel if they saw their doctor offering an uninformed medical opinion on someone they have never examined. A patient who sees that might lose confidence in their doctor, and would likely feel stigmatized by language painting a candidate with a mental disorder (real or perceived) as “unfit” or “unworthy” to assume the Presidency.

“Simply put, breaking the Goldwater Rule is irresponsible, potentially stigmatizing, and definitely unethical.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the Obama years, about Trump and the new populism, and especially these…

  1. Three big things to expect from the Trump era.
  2. See the warnings about Trump’s infrastructure plan. It’s betraying populism.
  3. The Left goes hysterical over Trump, giving him a free ride as President.
  4. Trump assembles a Strategic and Policy Forum to better hear the 1%.
  5. Trump is the next logical step as America becomes a plutocracy.
  6. The Left sees President Trump and goes mad.

Populism is reshaping the West. Here’s what we can expect to get.

Summary: Suppressed for generations, the greed and incompetence of the West’s elites allowed populism to re-emerge. But few understand it. Many confuse it with progressivism. Elites consider it “the bad thing”, when the proles slip their leash. Populism is reshaping western nations. We should understand it. To help us, here is a clear introduction in which a professor at Oxford reviews a new book about populism by a professor at Princeton.

 

Is Europe Disintegrating?

By Timothy Garton Ash.

Excerpt from the London Review of Books,
19 January 2017.

A review of What Is Populism?
by Jan-Werner Müller.

 

I have used the word “populist” several times without pausing to define it. But isn’t it just a woolly, catch-all term for parties, movements, and presidential candidates we don’t like? What is populism? This is the question addressed in an excellent short book by Jan-Werner Müller, a German scholar who now teaches at Princeton. Müller recalls that Richard Hofstadter once gave a talk titled “Everyone Is Talking about Populism, but No One Can Define It” {at the London School of Economics, 1967}, yet he makes the best effort I have seen to give the term a coherent contemporary meaning.

Populists speak in the name of “the people,” and claim that their direct legitimation from “the people” trumps (the verb has acquired a new connotation) all other sources of legitimate political authority, be it constitutional court, head of state, parliament, or local and state government. Donald Trump’s “I am your voice” is a classic populist statement. But so is the Turkish prime minister’s riposte to EU assertions that a red line had been crossed by his government’s clampdown on media freedom: “The people draw the red lines.” So is the Daily Mail’s front-page headline denouncing three British High Court judges who ruled that Parliament must have a vote on Brexit as “Enemies of the People.” Meanwhile, Polish right-wing nationalists justify an ongoing attempt to neuter Poland’s constitutional court on the grounds that the people are “the sovereign.”

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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let the GOP remember its great betrayal

Summary: Amidst the recollections about the trials and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr., let’s remember that at the peak of his success another man’s actions would undo much of his work. Barry Goldwater betrayed the Republican Party and poisoned American politics at what should have been a moment of triumph. Now the Republicans have an opportunity to fix this, and recapture their lost greatness.

Martin Luther King: Injustice

In 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. was leading the civil rights movement to its greatest triumph since the Civil War. But one man’s decision had introduced corruption into the Republican Party, which has flowered so greatly in the following five decades.

Reflecting the parties geographical, not ideological, foundations, the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed on 19 June 1964 with strong majorities in both parties — but against determined opposition.

  • Democratic Party: 46–21  (69%–31%).
  • Republican Party: 27–06   (82%–18%).

The Republican candidate for the Presidency cast one of those “no” votes. Barry Goldwater saw an opportunity to redraw America’s political map and end the Democratic Party’s domination, held since the Great Depression. The price paid: betrayal of the Republican Party’s century-long civil rights legacy, the original foundation of the Party. All for nothing. Goldwater lost by a landslide of 38% to 61% for Johnson. He did not even get 30 pieces of silver.

Here’s the speech Goldwater gave justifying his betrayal, from the website of Brad DeLong (Prof Economics, Berkeley). It has the high-flown rhetoric racists have used since the founding, and use today. The red text highlights the apocalyptic forecasts often used to scare Americans from doing what they know is right. DeLong decodes the key phrases Goldwater used to disguise his betrayal.

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Here are the facts so far about the Trump-Russia file.

Summary: The Trump-Russia story creates a situation without parallel since Watergate (Iran-Contra was a sideshow). The news gives us the usual confusing mish-mash. Here is an outline of the story, with links and pointers to the best analysis I have seen so far. Read, decide for yourself —  and watch this story evolve. See the follow-up: Deciphering the scandalous rumors about Trump in Russia.

Donald Trump covering his ears

Contents

  1. The story so far.
  2. Follow-ups to the story.
  3. Analysis of the story.
  4. Updates.
  5. Conclusions.
  6. For More Information.

(1) The story so far.

Christopher Steele, former SIS (aka MI6) agent and director of London-based Orbis Intelligence Ltd., gathered a file of dirt about Trump — first paid for by Republicans opposing Trump, then by Democrats opposing Trump (details here; the clients carefully concealed themselves). Steele gave the file to the FBI in August 2016 (others did so later). With no visible results from the FBI, Steele gave it to others (e.g., David Corn, who wrote an October article in Mother Jones). They passed it to others (e.g., to Senator McCain, who gave it to the FBI). See The Guardian for details.

At some point US intelligence agencies took it seriously, in combination with information from other sources. The file consists of memos dated from 20 June to 13 December 2016. The memos have misspellings and minor errors. For example, it says that Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney, visited the Czech Republic. That was a different Michael Cohen.

On January 10 CNN broke the story, saying that Trump and Obama were briefed about their concerns about Trump’s ties to Russia (including allegations in the file) by four senior intelligence directors: James Clapper (DNI), James Comey (FBI), John Brennan (CIA), and Mike Rogers (NSA).  NBC said Trump was not briefed, and might not have received the two page summary. Some members of Congress also received the summary. Later that day Buzzfeed published a story about it, including the full 35-page file.

Update: Wednesday night James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, released a statement that punctured the fevered speculation by Democrats about the Trump-Russia file. The key lines…

“The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.”

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The Left sees President Trump and goes mad

Summary: Sometime in 2015 the Left caught fire. This fire still burns hot, with a flame pleasing to the Right. It shows that the Left is lost in their delusions, and will offer only loud but ineffective resistance to Trump.

The Death Of Humanity

Good liberals look at the American people and see themselves (i.e., the good and the wise). They see the loyal minorities. They see the deplorables. It’s a political vision incompatible with winning.

“But I think there’s an explanation {for Trump’s win} that runs more true to the facts and human psychology. These voters want to divorce themselves of responsibility for doing anything for the folks falling down the ladder. “They’re f**king assholes.”

— Once posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

Benjamin Franklin in the film 1776 gave a good reply to this.

“These men, no matter how much we may disagree with them, are not ribbon clerks to be ordered about – they are proud, accomplished men …And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will be part of this new nation that YOU hope to create. Now, either learn how to live with them, or pack up and go home!”

Many good Leftists explain the election results as a result of American’s racism. They have their own values, which they wish to impose on America.

“Speaking only for myself, I’m committed to open borders as a moral position rather than an economic one. So it doesn’t have a lot of relevance in discussions about the relevant economics.”
— Comment posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

How many immigrants would the US have with open borders? Could we culturally or economically absorb them without massive damage? No problem! Being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry.

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