Bringing Down the System

I’ll be voting for Jill Stein in the general election. It’s hopeless, but it’s the right thing to do. If Trump is ultimately elected well I’d say that’s no more than we deserve. We’ve voted for the lesser of two evils over and over again for decades. Trump is the logical conclusion of such a national voting pattern. In the short term, voting for Hillary might seem like the smart thing to do, but in the long term a Hillary presidency will lead to fascists even worse than Trump. My great hope, is that the next President’s mediocrity is enough to convince people to abandon the two parties.

Hillary is directly responsible for the coup in Honduras. That alone is enough reason to not support her, in addition to the fact that she has received millions of dollars from the big banks.

A Facebook friend

These twisted narratives regarding Hillary! (we know where they came from nowed.) All available evidence that I’ve seen indicates that we didn’t orchestrate the coup in Honduras. Instead, that was just a good old fashioned power grab, without our influence behind it. Our complicity in that mess happened after the fact. We continued to give them financial support, and refused to call the coup a coup, because US doctrine states that we are to suspend aid when countries have military coups. So, we’re not “directly responsible for the coup in Honduras.” We just acted unethically after it happened. The same policy is still being implemented with John Kerry as the Secretary of State, so this is not a Hillary problem.

Try to understand how the Secretary of State‘s job works. The Secretary doesn’t get to act unilaterally in any way that they see fit, regardless of what the president wants. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. They get to make suggestion based on what they think is best; and, once the president make a determination regarding what they think needs to be done, the Secretary is allowed a certain degree of discretion with respect to how to accomplish the goals they’re given by the President. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was not allowed to determine what we were doing in Honduras. That decision came from Barack Obama. Maybe she would have done the same thing in his place, Maybe she wouldn’t have, but giving her all the blame/credit for decisions like that reveals a misunderstanding about the Secretary of State’s role in policy.

The slippery slope argument as it is applied to the subject of voting for Hillary or the Democratic party is fallacious. It simply hasn’t worked out the way that the naysayers who have been naysaying all my life have said it would work out.

We are no-fooling way on the other side of the problem of slippery-slope and reaching the point of collapse for lack of participation in the system; and this is all because the people who live under the system refuse to take any interest in the running of that system.

The parties are the problem. I’ll grant that as a precept. But this means that ALL of the parties are the problem. Even the Greens, the LP and whoever else pops up this year. Only the Democrats and the Republicans can change the system as it stands now. Either we motivate them to change it by participation (participation that is only capped by voting) or we allow the system to collapse entirely and build something fresh from the remains. Personally, I think there is something worth saving in the Republican system the forefathers gifted us with. That is why I will be voting Democratic this fall.

Voting for the Democrat is simply accepting that the only way to reform the system is to engage with it. Voting third party is thinking you’re going to reform the foxes in the henhouse by leaving the foxes alone to their devices while you sit a mile down the road twiddling your thumbs.

The only systemic progress we make in this country is the result of mass movements, not the ballot box. The women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, the labor movement of the early 20th century, the anti-war movement during Vietnam…these are the source of real progress. The idea that the two parties are going to magically decide to reform themselves is ridiculously naive.

It has been a thing in independent circles for awhile now, a desire to see the system fail rather than participate in it. This shouldn’t be the first choice if there are other possibilities out there. Reform is something that can be done if only 10% more of the population took an active role in politics. We know what the solutions are, we simply lack the numbers participating in the major parties to make the changes.

…and if you could get a movement of that size and power then you will make change. But, voting doesn’t stop you from engaging in that movement. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

I never said “boycott all voting.” I am voting for Jill Stein after all. I’m saying we should stop voting for the two parties until they give us what we want. There’s no reason to vote against the future of this country,which is the choice we are presented with.

The teabaggers have taken over the GOP and they will see their demagogue nominated. They have done exactly what I am suggesting be done to the Democrats, but in this instance we want to change towards equality, not away from it. This is what the teabaggers want, white supremacy, white nationalism. Christianism. Not equality.

Without pressure exerted from within, the Democrats will never change.

The Democrats don’t want real change and you know it. Look at their record of warmongering, handouts to the big banks, the continued refusal to push for single payer health care, and their refusal to even attempt to reform the system.

I’m saying that you’re boycotting contributing anything productive to the system. Don’t do that. You can do all you can to make change in the fashion you were alluding to above, and then vote for the lesser of two evils (quoting) so the world doesn’t burn around us while you try to make major changes. These things aren’t mutually exclusive.

The Democrats are a collective made up of the people who participate in the process. What I’m suggesting is we alter the makeup of that collective, thereby altering the party and its goals. You can’t just create a viable national party in the United States. First the party has to control a city, then a state, then a region, then become national. That the two we have are encoded into the system is one of the many corrupting factors we have to change.

I left the Libertarian Party because they are wasting their time. They try for national status without first controlling a region. This same observation also applies to the Green party. They can’t be national without first controlling a region. It takes regional support to make a national party viable.

Look at the success of the pro-legalization movement. They have very nearly gained control of a region. That is effective use of the process for good. How many decades must third parties bash their heads against the notion of running national candidates and failing before they realize their approach won’t work? The Democrats or the Republicans will win nationally. That is how the system is set up. Pick a party and change that party.

If the system is rigged, why would I want to participate in it? Progress isn’t made that way, historically. When it comes to cosmetic issues like legalization of marijuana, the system is responsive. But when it comes to structural issues, like campaign finance reform, the system is utterly incapable of reforming itself.

That is special pleading. Fallacious thinking. Either the system will reform under pressure, or it will fail under pressure. There are no other choices available. Voting for the lesser of two evils (quoting again) doesn’t stop you from being able to make progress in the fashion you’re indicating. It just puts someone in power who will be slightly better for the environment, for the country, etcetera. Can you deny that Obama was leaps and bounds better for the than W?

As an atheist I deny the existence of evil. It is a religious concept with no bearing on the real world. Bad exists, as in bad outcomes exist. A bad outcome in this election would be for the Republicans to do anything other than to lose badly. If they don’t lose badly they will be emboldened to continue the course that are on. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Obama is more conservative than Clinton, and Clinton was more conservative than his democratic predecessor before him. Obama represents a step backwards, and those who voted for him are complicit in that step backwards. The two parties shift further to the right every year, because we keep encouraging them to do so.

That is demonstrably false. President Obama repealed conservative orders, signed repeals of conservative legislation executed/passed by Bill Clinton, W., W. dad, etcetera, making Obama demonstrably more liberal than all of them. I voted for Barack Obama with pride in 2012. I would do it again this year (2016) if he could run again.

…Even if that were true (hypothetical) the only question is what is better for the country. You can engage in the kind of progressive movements for change that you like, and then vote for one of the two main parties candidates that most align with your principles, just so that things are less shitty while you get out and create a movement (as Bernie Sanders has done –ed.) this is not complicated. There’s no reason not to vote for the more liberal party, even if that party is corrupt.

The “liberal” party is just another mechanism in the Capitalist system of control. It provides us with the illusion of choice,and the ability to feel like we’re “doing something” when we vote. It also lends a veneer of legitimacy to an illegitimate power system. The “liberal” party is one of the primary reasons we’re in this mess today.

Obama was better than W., the way hemlock is better than arsenic. Either way, you’re still left with poison. In fact, another dose of “arsenic” may have been exactly what this country needed. Without Obama’s presidency, OWS might have amounted to something.

You are aware of the Snowden revelations, right? You are aware of our global drone campaign (a terrorist campaign, by the way)? You are aware of the National Defense Authorization Act? It’s all poison, and it all stems from Obama, who actually built upon the programs Bush left behind.

I swear, if the choice were between Hitler and Stalin, you’d be trying to explain to me why I should vote for Stalin because he’s the “lesser of two evils.” The point being, there is a limit, a point beyond which you have to draw a moral and ethical line. I guess we’ll never agree, because my “line” is far closer than yours.

I recognize where that viewpoint comes from, it is the same glamour that Dan Carlin is under. It comes from Glenn Greenwald and the rest of the fourth amendment is under attack contingent. The problem for them is that the most pressing problems in the world have little or nothing to do with that subject; consequently, peering at the problem through that lens produces no useful information but leads to a myopic belief that the problem you are focused on is the only one that counts.

Obama may be to W as eating McDonald’s every day is juxtaposed to Arsenic, but to call them both poisons of the same kind is crazy. It sounds like conspiracy fantasy and the belief that there is some they out there somewhere that controls the levers of the machinery of government with fine-grained control. I don’t see that happening at all at this point. (I would love for some of those people to explain the Orange Hate-Monkey from the perspective of 2020, though. –ed.)

I know about the drone campaign (W started that. Can someone defend the 2019 NDAA? Good luck with that.-ed.) and many other reasons why Obama isn’t an ideal president. I also know that

  • the ACA got 90% of the country covered with healthcare,
  • he had the foresight to bailout the auto industry,
  • the Iran nuclear deal,
  • his stance on gay marriage,
  • he repealed don’t ask don’t tell,
  • he increased fuel efficiency standards,
  • he created new EPA restrictions on mercury and toxic pollution,
  • he picked the third and fourth women to ever sit on the Supreme Court including
    • the first hispanic person of either gender,
  • he got Russia to agree to further nuclear disarmament,
  • he gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco,
  • he issued an executive order requiring all federal agencies to limit their carbon footprints,
  • he expanded stem cell research,
  • he helped Sudan declare independence,
  • he cut the Global Gag Rule,
  • he strengthened the Endangered Species Act,
  • he didn’t interfere with states legalizing recreational and medical marijuana,
  • he started a program training veterans in green collar jobs,
  • he donated his $1.4 million Nobel Prize to nonprofits,
  • he invested $90 bil in smart grids,
    • energy efficiency,
    • electric cars,
    • renewable electricity generation,
    • cleaner coal,
    • and biofuels.
  • Then there’s Dodd Frank,
  • the Credit Card Accountability,
  • Responsibility and Disclosure Act,
  • the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act,
  • the Fair Sentencing Act,
  • the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,
  • the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act,
  • the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act,
  • the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

…Oh, and there’s the little thing he helped Bush II do (W. wasn’t all bad. -ed.) saving this country from a massive depression by continuing the bailouts needed to keep the financial system afloat, and offering stimulus that the Republicans never forgave him for.

Obama/Bush II Stalin/Hitler, or Arsenic/Hemlock. Barack Obama is much better than Bush II in many ways (something that I go into in Obama Best President Since Eisenhower -ed.) and if you truly believe that nonsense then I feel sorry for you. That is the view that produces a downward spiral that there is no recovery from. I’m glad to be rid of that focus. When looked at through a different lens you get a more realistic picture, a more complete understanding.

…which is why I’m going to continue working to salvage the system rather than bet on scuttling it in favor of smaller, more agreeable vessel.


Editor’s note. The Facebook friend and I are old friends from way, way back. Back in the pre-Facebook bad old BBS days on Dan Carlin’s website. I linked him to a thread on Dan Carlin’s Facebook group (now deleted or made private) because I hadn’t seen him on the Dan Carlin group contributing, and because he was illustrating delusion in relation to the Democrats in general and to Hillary Clinton in particular. It was a friendly disagreement that I found productive in a thought-provoking way. I appreciate a good counter-argument when I can find one. I borrowed liberally from his and another friend’s words to make this article for the blog. I hope they appreciate the work.

This was an article that my friend from the DCBBS should remember.

RAnt(hony)-ings

I have to wonder, now that we’ve met his Ochre Highness, the Orange Hate-Monkey. Does he still think Hillary would have been that bad?

Facebook

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

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

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.

YoutubeWaking Up #26 – The Logic of Violence

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. 

Dick Cheney Thinks Trump Has Gone Too Far

When the evil psychopath who thinks Preemptive War, Rendition, and Indefinite Detention are good ideas, who came up with TORTURE AS NATIONAL POLICY, a guy who half the civilized world considers a murdering war criminal, yeah, when THAT soulless cybernetic bastard thinks you’re over the line, when Dick Cheney comes down on the same side as the French, as Muslims, as LIBERALS … well, you know, maybe that should tell you something.

Stonekettle Station

I've been waiting patiently for the Trump Campaign to angrily denounce the media for taking Donald Trump's most recent…

Posted by Jim Wright on Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Facebook

That gave me pause last night. Cheney? He can be all loose with the truth when it’s his balls in the vice, but when it looks like the mob that every Republican candidate has embraced since Reagan decides to go full goose bozo and demand the personification of the rhetoric they’ve been raised on, NOW he discovers solid moral ground not based on fear.

Too late, Dick. You are going to hell with the rest of the people you brought to power.

torture as national policy was instigated in the 1950s by Allen Dulles upon his becoming head of the CIA. It was simply that it wasn’t used in OUR nation until the CIA’s prohibition against acting within the borders of the US was quietly retired.

Nothing that is revealed about the CIA surprises me. Like the KGB there isn’t a depth of horror beyond their reach. On the other hand, a history to point to does not exonerate the vampire. He’s the one who still thinks it was a good idea and defends it.

Facebook

If you love the principles that make the foundation of our laws — and of the United States in a general sense — then you should take your leave of Trump, and for that matter, of any candidate who would cheerfully ride into power the same constituency Trump is mining. What you stand for and who you stand with matters. It’s time to stand away from Trump. As far away as you can get.

Whatever

Stormtrumper

A name coined for Donald Trump fans by Berkeley Breathed in these two cartoons.


Instagram tribute.

Editor’s note. This was added as a definitive source when I started using stormtrumper as a noun on the blog. It was backdated to when the comics first appeared on Facebook. BB occasionally pulls down the comics he posts to Facebook. Also, non-Facebook users do not have access to those posts. I have two birds …er problems, that I solved with this one post. Simple solution.

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.