Journalism? General Education, That is the Problem

A comment on Robert Reich’s status went a bit long;

Trump is a manifestation of poor education in the US exacting its price on the US and the world.  The chickens have come home to roost. The wide-spread, wrong-headed notion that a strong leader is the way to get the change you want in a complex system, has manifested in the personages of Trump and Sanders, the demagogic “outsiders” who are believed by the uninformed to be capable of effecting change on a system by themselves.
While Sanders elected alone would fail just as Obama failed to live up to the dreams of the people who voted for him in 2008, Trump is quite capable of wrecking the system all by himself if he is elected. 
It is much easier to destroy than it is to create. 
At this point in this one election all that is left is to hope for is that the Democrats can pull out a win.  It would be nice to think that they could gain a sweeping victory that would bring in enough progressives to alter the system in a positive way.  Hand the Republicans such a crushing defeat that they are forced to re-invent themselves into a opposition party that doesn’t deny science and embrace religion as its starting point.  The Bernie or busters are going to make that possibility as remote as they can, unfortunately.
The Bernie or busters are not interested in reforming the system any more than the Tea Party Trump supporters are.  They want to re-invent it, which is just one step more than simply destroying it.  They tell themselves they’ll be happy with a Trump presidency because at least the status quo will end.  Both the Trump supporters and the Bernie or busters don’t really understand the kind of misery bringing down the US system will create.  I’m becoming afraid we might just find out how deep that well of misery is.
The fix for this is so much more than just reporting.  Just being able to predict what the population will go for in an election. That is not even scratching the surface of the problem. First you have to educate the voting public on just how blind this faith in a strong leader is.  The journalists who inform us on politics cannot be held responsible for the failure of the education system in the US to actually educate the population to the dangers of dictatorship.  As college educated people they of course discarded the idea that the average American would fall prey to a demagogue like Trump.  It’s obvious he’s lying and has no clue what he’s talking about.  Why would anyone take this orange hate-monkey seriously?
…Unless of course you believe that a strong leader is what we need, in spite of the obvious fact that a system as complex as the US government cannot possibly be run by one person. Then all bets are off and the people who want a guy who pretends to have all the answers have control of the mechanisms of statecraft through the selection of the next head of state.
We’ve been so busy propping up dictators in other countries that we’ve forgotten we might be subject to one ourselves.  That fate is now just the flip of a coin away. 

The Fallacy of “Free Stuff”

Stonekettle Station

Everything that gets done by humans as a group requires humans as a group to do it. There will always be free-ridership and people who get more out than they put in. Should we then say “fuck it” and climb back up in the trees? Go back to the caves because the trees were a bad idea? Where does this regression end?

Surveys and studies have been conducted that show that investment in education yields benefits far beyond the dollars invested. Studies have also shown that barrier-free healthcare yields better outcomes for the vast majority of people living in a system. That these benefits translate to better productivity for more years for more people.

Only stupid people argue against investments that profit everyone including themselves. Even those people who object to lazy people getting free stuff.

Facebook status and comment backdated to the blog.

Hillary for President

I know I really do like Hillary Clinton. The proof is in the conversations I have with Trump supporters and people who feel the Bern. I know I like her because I’m not expecting her to be anything other than President of the United States.

Sanders and Trump supporters act like they are anointing a king or a dictator. No thanks. I like US politics to stay US politics with some minor variations on the theme, such as public campaign finance and no personhood for corporations.

Somewhere in the future we’ll see the end to party influence and perhaps some sensible ideas about who should lead in advance of people declaring themselves leaders, but in the meantime I’ll take the Clinton known quantity, thanks.

So it is with some trepidation that I face 2016 and acknowledge that I really don’t have a problem with a President Hillary Clinton. No one is more horrified by this than the tiny voice in the back of my head. – Me last year, in a post titled Hillary for President?

Facebook status backdated to the blog.



Bernie won Minnesota, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Vermont, and lost Massachusetts by a whisker. So the Bernie movement lives on (even though much of the media wants to discount it). Meanwhile, Trump took most of the Super Tuesday states, but Cruz got Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama (thereby becoming the Republican alternative to Trump).


In effect, the next president will emerge from one of four political tribes — Trump’s authoritarians, Cruz’s fierce right-wingers, Hillary’s establishment Democrats, and Bernie’s political revolutionaries. If America had a parliamentary system, these four parties would negotiate to form a government and a prime minister. But we don’t, and only one of these tribes will win.

The only group left out is the Republican establishment. They despise Cruz and abhor Trump. So where will they go? I think they’ll join Hillary’s establishment Democrats.

What do you think? – Robert Reich on Facebook

Pretty much what I’ve figured on for more than a year now. I still maintain that Hillary is the best candidate for President running. Bernie’s internal ideas are more progressive and the convention should adopt a lot of them; but a president has to be our representative to the world as well as the domestic leader. The progressive movement should focus on changing states and the US legislature. We will need a widespread blue shift, not just a Democratic president (as President Obama has shown over the last 6 years) to make the kind of changes we want.

I’ve watched her through the news for years. She isn’t isolationist enough for the people who are anti-war, and she’s not enough of a hawk to satisfy the chickenhawk neos. She’s a savvy political operator who stands to get something done if elected to office. I’m willing to give her the chance. Her economics started out wrong, but she’s paying attention to what the primary voters are saying and modifying her views.

But I can’t stress this fact enough; changing the states and legislatures will do more, more quickly than electing yet another liberal dream candidate to the presidency, where he will fail just as Obama failed because he’s one freaking guy expected to fix an entire country. Hillary for President.

Facebook status and edited comments, backdated to the blog

Fingers of Blame

No, Donald Trump is not Mussolini. He is a wild, sociopathic American genius who has yanked the reins of a rampaging horse away from the monsters who spurred and whipped the beast into a mad-populist frenzy. Trump may be a sociopath, but he is not the one who tormented that horse into screaming, nostril agony.

Stop looking for villains to compare to Mussolini, to Huey Long or MacArthur, Mr. Will.

Look in a mirror. You have reached out to choose treason with both eyes and with both hands and with a willing heart.

David Brin on Facebook

Rather than compare Trump to any particular fascist, even though his talking points are reminiscent of a few of them and his past behaviors are demonstrably corporatist in nature (Mussolini’s brand of fascism) I will go straight to the source. Learned people in positions of authority in the GOP (like George Will) should have known where their actions were taking them. The Republican party has made themselves into the NSDAP, the party of Germany that elected Hitler. They could be any one of the groups that backed fascists in the troubled times before and during World War Two, it really doesn’t matter which group you choose to compare the Republican party to. What is important is that if Republicans nominate Trump and he wins because they give him the status of ‘Republican nominee’ then the horrors he inflicts get hung around their collective necks.

They need to understand this point going into the convention. It needs to be made blatantly clear that we are at a historic turning point. They have an important choice to make now. They should probably put some real thought into that. Perhaps it is time they actually noted the points illustrated, and revised their goals. That is, unless they want to be the party that brings fascism to the US.

Facebook Status backdated to the blog. 

Teabaggers Defend the OHM

Facebook

The former chair of the Texas Libertarian Party issued this challenge on his Facebook wall a few days ago. He was immediately inundated with various versions of staid anarchist philosophy that ranged from hand-waving excuses for Trump’s behavior to the standard observation that all government is tyranny. At which point I offered the following,


I’m betting Trump will not be the nominee. I’m already seeing stuff happening behind the scenes that will make it possible to put someone else in as the nominee even if Trump is selected by the (certifiably insane) base of the GOP and Tea party.

As I’ve commented more times than I care to remember, it is the anarchists (and libertarians) willingness to call all government tyranny that has brought us every dictator in history, from Napoleon through Stalin to whichever dictator that holds power today. If all government is tyranny then any attempt to govern that springs from anarchist roots will be tyrannical.

This also explains Trump’s popularity with the Tea Party, who were once libertarians to a man. The LP is well rid of them.


The Charlie Foxtrot continued unabated. Thus ends this demonstration of the bankruptcy of libertarian and anarchist thought. The John Birch Society finally rules supreme.

Facebook comments backdated to the blog.

The Cost of War vs. The Cost of Peace

I listened to Waking Up #26 – The Logic of Violence today. I was left troubled by the way that Sam Harris seemed to be drawn down the garden path by his guest.



This is another episode of a podcast that I’m listening to and wondering “What Would Jim Wright say about this?” I mean, he wouldn’t be critical of the man’s service, that much is sure. He has a rule about that which I agree with. There are a few other points that can be made without going there. The Iraqis asked us to leave, so insisting that we stay just invalidates the premise that we went there on, to free the people. So too the majority faction voted for the government they have, which created the fertile ground that Daesh spread into.

Syria and Russia contributed to the current mess Daesh mess, and too few voices point this out. Shall we go to war with Russia over Syria? Daesh is a world problem, it should not fall to the US to fix it, or should it? Are we the world’s policeman now, is that our job?

Allusions to the paving stones in the road to hell, or to what ‘big brother is watching’ means in a twenty-first century war aside, I have to really wonder at intelligent people who claim that war ended the ideas of fascism while the Republican front-runner openly voices fascist proposals and is applauded for it. Fascism is clearly alive and well here in the US.

We having an identity crisis right now. Perhaps we should figure out who we are before we try to tell others who they should be.

Facebook musings duplicated on the blog at the time. Linking for reasons of personal sanity. 

TPP: Multinational Profit?

President Obama warned yesterday that China would step into the economic vacuum the U.S. would create if it fails to complete and enact a free-trade deal with Asia. “If we don’t write the rules, China will write the rules out in that region,” he said. “That will mean a loss of U.S. jobs.”

But who’s “we?” The deal was written largely by big American corporations. But American corporations aren’t “we.” They exist for their global shareholders, not for Americans. To the extent we know what’s in the deal (on the basis of what’s been leaked), the Trans Pacific Partnership does exactly what American-based global corporations want: It expands their intellectual property protections and gives them the right to be compensated if national health, safety, labor, or environmental regulations that impinge on their profits.

Moreover, there’s no reason to think American-based corporations will be a counterweight to China. They’ve been cozying up to China for years in order to gain access to China’s vast market.

Your view?

Robert Reich

I’m inclined to let China keep stealing from the multinational corporations unless and until they want to drop the idea that they and only they are guaranteed profits. The multinational corporations need to embrace the notion that humanitarian concerns should be part of their corporate goals. Until they do that, they are no different than vampires living off the bodies of the living.

China owns us already, there is no preventing the dominance of China in global economic markets now. Now that we’ve forced them to buy so much of our government’s debt. The trade deficit won’t be affected by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) All it does is make it easier for multinational corporations to profit in China. TPP doesn’t do a damn thing for average Americans. If corporations wanted the weight of the US behind their perceived right to profit-take, they probably should have left us with some hope of profit of our own.


2019 – The Orange Hate-Monkey killed the TPP. One of the few things he’s done that hasn’t proven to be destructive of America itself. It’s nice to be right every once and awhile?

Facebook status and related comments backdated to the blog.

The First Clown Out

The Senator we all love to hate is the first clown out. I wanted him out first because, frankly, he is the most dangerous person running, completely capable of destroying the U.S. government and possibly the world as we know it. But, we were always safe from president Ted Cruz because he was never qualified to be president and will likely never be qualified to be president. He’s a Canuckian, as I pointed out previously.