End Game

How does all of this end?  Big question, I know, but truly… what’s the end game for the Republicans, the Democrats, Europe, post-Brexit UK, China, North Korea, Putin’s Russia, the whole wide world… where do we go from here?

Some recent Twitter wag recently quipped that this is one of those moments wherein, in 100 years or so, the history books will immediately follow the paragraph about this era with a bunch of maps that are all pointy.

He will probably be proven correct in short order.  Honestly I don’t see how we get out of the current mess without the following things happening:

  • Mueller gets fired, Trump never gets fully investigated
  • The GOP passes the AHCA, millions suffer as a result
  • American governance finally collapses into naked corporatocracy
  • Trump drops a nuke on someone
  • America is deemed a rogue nation by the global community
  • Domestic strife unparalleled since the Great Depression

A good result to come out of this would be the crack-up of the United States, quite honestly.  We’re an odd, bolted-together amalgam of wildly different political cultures and economies and, frankly, the places that are skewing our political discourse toward the medieval are barely more evolved than Saudi Arabia.  Like Saudi Arabia, they had wealth and technology dumped on them suddenly by the outside world so they didn’t really come by their modernization honestly.  I note that Tennessee, home to the Scopes Monkey Trial, is currently the #1 champ for tax-payer-supported private schools teaching creationism.

I also note that these are the parts of the US not immediately inclined to distrust Putin and his geo-political ambitions because he has positioned himself as the global champion of traditional values, something Ma & Pa Yokel think is important.  Long term, I think this affinity between authoritarian mindsets will aid the crack-up of the US.  Indeed, Putin already appears to be working that angle from the other side, most likely being the force behind the California secession movement.

Crystal ball?  I think in 30-40 years, a series of tax revolts in the big pay-in states (NY, CA, PA, NJ) plus rising political violence at the unequal protection of urban v. rural in representation in government will result in regional coalitions of states, plus a smattering of cities outside those regions, making more and more of their own arrangements between each other and with foreign powers.  We already have seen the first wave of that balking as states and cities across America are reiterating their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, no matter what the shitbird asshole the toothless goobers put into the White House may say.  I think we’ll see more and more of just the kind of Electoral College mischief as haunted us in 2000, 2004 & 2016.  As general election victories with EC losses mount and as Congress continues to house more and more Republicans representing fewer and fewer actual voters, to say nothing of the looming threat of a Koch-sponsored constitutional convention and the implementation of  congressional-district-based EC delegate allocation, the perceived legitimacy of the federal government will continue erode until cities and states will be the only political entities demonstrating the necessary responsiveness.  Why should a bigoted goober like Mitch McConnell get to tell the fine people of California and New York that their political wishes are subservient to those of his constituency?  This is where the questions of legitimacy will ultimately turn.

So, as the people who believe in science and climate change grow weary of accommodating the self-serving superstitions of a bunch of people who actively choose not to as the oceans rise around their ankles, these regional associations will slowly form.  I think they will begin informally, then eventually they will hold conferences — something like the “NorthEastern Regional Urban Affairs Conference of 2025” type of thing, resembling the UN with Boston, New York, Philadelphia & D.C. on something like a permanent security council and Hartford, Baltimore and Providence all sending delegation — and these conference will eventually evolve into formal action.  Nothing in the world says that the cities of the Amtrak North East Corridor (the NEC) couldn’t all just get together and say “OK, fine, we’ll build our own damned high-speed rail because we’re sick of your shit out there in Nebraska and Kentucky.”  Who knows.  Maybe the NEC Cooperative would eventually work with the Great Lakes Cooperative and the Pacific Coast Cooperative to build their own interconnecting rail and communication network.  Honestly, I think its all going that way anyway.  The fact that the Orange Menace yanked the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords only to have all our major cities and nearly half the states immediately come out and publicly re-commit independent of the actions of Washington D.C. is to me a canary in the coal mine that our federal government is fast approaching the brink of a crisis in legitimacy.

In other words: the oligarchs and their vast fortunes have, with aid of the votes of the toothless goobers who keep Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn employed in the Senate, played a warped game of capture the flag in D.C. on the assumption that the levers of power could always be manipulated for their ever greater profit, that the apparatus of the American electorate was just a tool, a knob to be turned, with no risk of human agency responding; trained seals who will bark on command.  If that sounds vague, the hard proof is the healthcare debate.  The Republican mindset is that the people will always accept whatever profit-generating scheme is shoved their way from Washington as long as it is cloaked in “freedom” and some kind of underlying racism is winked at and, honestly, very little in recent American history would contradict that assessment.  Until now.  The people want their healthcare and the GOP just can’t figure out how to get people to be excited about getting fucked over like they used to.  I still think they’ll try, but it remains to be seen if they’ll actually succeed in the near-term and I am not convinced they’d really pay an electoral price if they tried and succeeded, at least not as long as the Democrats continue to utterly suck.

Simply put: the wealthy blue states will eventually get sick of footing the bill for the moochers in the red states and being forced to live by their hayseed values from a federal level.

At that point, maybe we can all petition to join Canada.

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50.1%

Fuck John Ossoff.

Fuck him and the blinkered logic that says to run a bland, technocratic neophyte to build on the automatic 40% vote they’ll get no matter what (literally… a phantom candidate named Rodney Stooksbury of whom no one has ever seen a picture nor did he raise nor spend so much as $1 in the 2016 race against Tom Price… that non-person garnered 38.3% of the vote in November) because that logic says that the path to victory lies across the center with the vain hope that by being juuuuuuust enough NOT a Democrat and juuuuuuust enough like a Republican, you can capitalize on anti-Trump sentiment and W-I-N!

Fuck that.

Ossoff received 24 fewer votes than Stookebury in the 2016 general. Not 24,000 or 2,400 or 240… twenty-four… FEWER votes than a non-entity. The margin was only as close as it was (and it wasn’t close) because the Republican turnout was dismal.  Rephrased: the Democratic turnout was for all intents and purposes IDENTICAL to November, but the Republicans (because of anti-Trump sentiment and the general awfulness of Karen Handel) just didn’t show up; hence, proportionately, the Dems won a greater percentage of a smaller overall vote, but convinced no one to switch sides.  The Democrats swung for the fences, the Republicans did a face plant and still managed to pull out a comfortable win.

For fuck’s sake, if they had raked that $24M into a big pile and set it on fire, at least they’d have gotten light and heat out of it.

Some will claim a moral victory in almost winning a R+10 district and I’m not doubting the moral victory angle, I just don’t think it counts for much in a horseshoes and hand grenades kind of way. The Dems managed to get almost every single person who voted in the general to come back out again, but failed to win over one single new voter and still came up 24 bodies short of matching or exceeding their old number and they had to spend a ba-zillion dollars to do it. The GOP had an utterly dismal candidate who openly declared she didn’t believe people should be paid a living wage and still they were able to draw out enough people while sputtering along in second gear to beat a Democratic operation that was red-lining in high gear at full throttle.

In other words, the whole thing isn’t scalable to a national election.

The Dems are a party drowning in expensive consulting firms and the only purpose of the consulting firms, as far as I can tell, is to help Dems raise more money to pay consulting firms.  Tom Perez, the darling of the centrist Clintonian wing of the party, only managed to raise $4.3m in May.  All those damned special elections and the DNC only pulled in $4.3M, which is what you call a lack of enthusiasm.

Good job, Dems. Keep going.  Perez, Pelosi, Schumer… yeah, keep going.

But since this author is rooting for a blow-out of the Democrats in 2018 to finally sweep away all that DLC/Clintonian dead wood, I am personally happy that Ossoff lost.  He deserved to lose because giving the Third Way sell-outs even one single itty-bitty win would give them the firm place from which they would push back hard on every single attempt to shape the Democratic internal narrative in a truly progressive way.  They need to sit down, shut up, accept that 2016 happened (and it never should have been close enough for any of their boogymen – Comey, Russians, misogyny – to play a role) and fergawdsake let the kids finally drive this fucking bus.

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Grenfell

In the burned-out husk of the Grenfell Tower in London, where as of this writing the number of presumed dead has risen to 58, this author sees a pitch-perfect metaphor for the state of the neoliberal project and in the person of Teresa May and the disintegrating state of both her political career and the political party to which she belongs, a spot-on bookend to the era that began with Maggie Thatcher almost fifty years ago. Continue reading

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Hardball

On that day when Obama informed the leadership of both parties of Russian interference in the election and Mitch McConnell’s response was to threaten to consider it a partisan issue should Obama go public, on that day Obama should have assured McConnell that if he did make it a partisan issue, he’d be awakened the very next morning by the D.C. police with a dead hooker in his bed, with every news outlet in America, both print and broadcast, already on the sidewalk outside ready to film him being lead to the police cruiser. Continue reading

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Hope

The real thing.

Not Obama’s vague hopey-changey snake oil, but the real thing.  The lesson the Dems aren’t learning from Corbyn in the UK and from the energy of the Berners during last year’s primaries and that which they will steadfastly refuse to learn because of the old adage that it is very hard to convince a man to believe something when his salary depends upon him not believing it, is that they have to give the people hope.  The main problem with Clintonian Third-Way centrist capitulation is that it is just a methadone bump when the GOP is offering a mainline heroine dose of Americanized fascism.  The GOP is well down the road to unvarnished authoritarianism and 30 years of Democrats finding middle ground has landed us here.

Halfway between truth and a lie is still a lie. Continue reading

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Austerity Pimps

Later in the day, upon reflection and after consuming reams of op-ed analysis, it certainly seems like yesterday’s UK vote is comparable in earth-shattering scope & scale of impact to that of the Brexit vote because it clarifies for the austerity-pimps at the centrist-y center of the political spectrum —  and all of their mealy-mouthed apologists in the punditocracy (all of whom are millionaires BTW, but shhh! remember that we don’t talk about class in America) — across all parties both here in ‘murrica and in the UK, it clarifies that Brexit wasn’t wholly and 100% the fault of a bunch of Luddite xenophobes from the sticks too uncultured to fully appreciate how magical free market fairy dust just makes everything super-duper peachy-keen for everyone.  

Plus, rainbows and unicorns in every garage, too. Continue reading

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Red, Red Rose

labour-e1497127522103.jpg

So, Corbyn & Labour knock the wind out of May & the Tories’ cynical play to gain more power in Parliament.

Good. Continue reading

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