Wednesday, November 9, 2016

America







“When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”—H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)



A Sad Irony:

“…The day after the election, working with millions of grass-roots activists, I intend to do everything possible to make certain that the new president and Congress implement the Democratic platform, the most progressive agenda of any major political party in the history of the United States. ‘At a time of massive political discontent, when millions not only are contemptuous of the major political parties but are also actually giving up on democracy, we need a new administration that has both vision and courage.’

“That agenda includes overturning the disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding Social Security, breaking up ‘too-big-to-fail banks,’ making public colleges and universities tuition-free for the middle class, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. It also includes pay equity for women, a new approach toward trade, aggressive action to combat climate change, raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, lowering prescription drug prices, a significant movement toward universal health care, and major reforms in our criminal justice and immigration systems.

“If this election has taught us anything, it is that the American people are sick and tired of the economic, political, and media status quo. They are tired of a rigged economy in which millions work longer hours for lower wages while 52 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. 

“They are tired of billionaires like Trump and large profitable corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes while the middle class pays their fair share to support governmental services. They are tired of a corrupt campaign finance system that allows billionaires like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and others to spend hundreds of millions to elect candidates who will represent the wealthy and the powerful. They are tired of corporate media that focus on political gossip and look at elections as personality contests, rather than provide for a serious discussion of the major crises facing our country.

“The anger and frustration of the American people, all across the political spectrum, is palpable. They want a government that represents the needs of working families and not just billionaires. They want bold action to rebuild the shrinking middle class, not inside-the-beltway palliatives written by corporate lobbyists. 

“At a time of massive political discontent, when millions not only are contemptuous of the major political parties but are also actually giving up on democracy, we need a new administration that has both vision and courage. We need vision from the top to point the way toward a new America that is more inclusive and egalitarian — which boldly addresses income and wealth inequality, poverty, and the needs of the uninsured. We need an administration that has the courage to take on the powerful special interests — corporate America, Wall Street, the insurance and drug companies, the fossil fuel industry — who stand in the way of real change and whose greed is destroying this country.

“There is no moral excuse for the top one-tenth of 1 percent owning as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, for one family (the Waltons) having more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of our population, for the number of billionaires increasing by ten-fold since 2000 while we continue to have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any industrialized country on earth.

“There is no rational reason why we remain the only major country not to guarantee health care to all as a right or provide paid family and medical leave, or why we have more people in jail than any other country on earth at the same time as we have outrageously high levels of youth unemployment in minority communities.

“Too many Americans are living in despair and hopelessness. Too many of our brothers and sisters are turning to drugs, alcohol and suicide to avoid the painful economic realities of their lives. Too many others are turning to rage and bigotry as they try to make sense of their declining standard of living.

“At a time of hateful political division, a new president can bring our people together by leading and appointing an administration that will fight for working people. We need a secretary of treasury who is prepared to take on the greed and illegal behavior of Wall Street, not someone who comes from Wall Street or will leave office to go to Wall Street. 

“We need a trade representative who understands that our current trade policies have failed, and that we must adopt a trade approach that represents workers and not the CEOs of large corporations. We need an attorney general who is prepared to vigorously enforce antitrust laws and prosecute bankers and corporate leaders who break the law.

“This is a historic and pivotal moment in American history. Now is the time for our next president to rally the American people against Wall Street and corporate greed and stand up vigorously for the declining middle class.”

Here’s What I’ll Do the Day after Election Day by Bernie Sanders




11 comments:

  1. “…A visionary left at this moment is better suited than routed establishment Democrats to catalyze an uprising against Trump and Trumpism – engaging the protest voters’ pain and fear rather than pathologizing them, as many did (to disastrous effect) during the election.

    “Together we can propose plans for a democracy and economy that work for the vast majority of people living in them, calling out the system as rigged, showing the ways men like Trump rigged it and charting a tangible way forward. That socialist Bernie Sanders remains one of the country’s most popular politicians should inspire some hope, as should the fact that large majorities of Americans favor raising the minimum wage, reforming the criminal justice system and taking on climate change. Pointing out the gap between that fact and Trump’s rule could embattle his first term, and make a second unthinkable. (Fortunately, Trump will probably be as inept at governing as he was at running his business empire, creating both anger against him and a hunger for reasonable alternatives.)

    “Over the short term, we have a partial script for what happens next. As with Brexit’s Leave voters, the vast majority of those who backed Trump at the polls are not hardened racists – though many are suffering at the hands of the status quo’s disastrous economic policies. In stark contrast to Clinton’s establishment sheen, Trump simply offered an alternative and a series of scapegoats: chiefly, immigrants and Muslims.

    “Given that, we may see another disturbing Brexit replay. In the week after the Leave vote, hate crimes in Britain shot up five-fold – a figure the country’s police suspected was vastly lowballed. Inspired by their win at the polls, xenophobic thugs were emboldened. Unlike in Britain, those thugs’ hero – the man who stoked our electoral coup – is now in control of the executive branch. But even as we defend our brothers and sisters from attack, the broader fight against Trump’s rule can’t be a defensive one.

    “In January, we’ll see what of Trump’s plans – to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, tear up the Paris Agreement, throw Clinton in jail – he’ll carry through on. The upshot is already clear: in short order, the United States could slide from hawkish neoliberalism into authoritarianism. Preventing this will mean mustering more unity and vision than progressives in the United States ever have”—Kate Aronoff, The Guardian.

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  2. What Happened??? 10 Reasons Why Trump Won by Matt Rothschild

    1. This was not the year for an Establishment politician. More so than ever, people hated politics as usual and politicians as usual. That’s why Bernie Sander surged, and why Trump surged. Hillary Clinton was the embodiment of the Establishment; Trump the outsider. People get in their gut that the system is rigged against them, and they were rebelling against that. Trump was not the first politician over the past two years to draw attention to this. Elizabeth Warren has been giving the “rigged” speech for a couple years now, and Bernie Sanders has been talking about it forever. And it’s true! The economy is rigged against regular people, and the political system doesn’t work for them, either. Trump drove this home.

    2. This is what the DNC gets when it rigs the primaries. Take a bow, Debbie Wasserman Schultz! The DNC did everything in its power, and some things beyond the pale, to load the dice for Hillary and put Bernie Sanders at a disadvantage. On a fair playing field, Sanders could have beaten Hillary, and could have beaten Trump. In fact, my friends in the Bernie camp warned repeatedly that Hillary would have a hard time beating Trump, and they had poll after poll demonstrating that Bernie would do much better against Trump. They were right. The Bernie folks didn’t bring Hillary down; Hillary brought the Democrats down.

    3. Hillary hatred: The level of hatred that has built up against Hillary Clinton is pathological. She’s been thoroughly demonized for decades now, and what we saw during this campaign was a modern-day Salem Witch Trial. “Lock her up” is but a faint echo of “String Her Up.”

    4. Messaging: Trump told people, over and over, what they wanted to hear. He was going to, yes, make America great again, and bring people their good jobs back. Those are popular messages, even if the elites sneered at them. What were Hillary’s messages: “I’m with Her”? That slogan was all about Hillary. It’s not about what Hillary will do for me and my family. And her other slogan, “Stronger Together,” was also vacuous, and beyond that, it rang false because people understood that she wasn’t going to be able to unite the country because she is such a divisive figure herself.

    5. Free trade: People in the Midwest have suffered from NAFTA and all the other free trade deals, and Trump hammered Clinton on these. Plus, Hillary’s waffling on the TPP didn’t fool a lot of people. She was still seen as a free trader.

    6. Elitism: This was a rebellion against the elites, and Hillary’s one bad unforced error in the campaign, “the basket of deplorables,” reinforced the elitism that people so despise.

    7. Racism: Hillary was right to point out, however, that Trump was appealing to people’s racism. He was the candidate of the KKK, after all. And there was, as Van Jones so eloquently put it on CNN last night, a “whitelash” against Obama and the changing face of America.

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  3. 8. FBI Director James Comey’s grotesque injection of himself into the race 10 days before the finish line stalled Clinton’s momentum dead in its tracks, and gave Trump the opportunity to gain ground.

    9. When politics has been reduced to a spectator sport, people will choose the most interesting or outrageous performer. Most Americans have become disengaged from the political process. They watch the circus on the TV, and they are sick of standard-issue politicians with their blow-dried hair and their focus-grouped talk. They’re attracted to someone who is unpredictable and entertaining and authentic.

    10. Capitalism has devoured our democracy. We don’t really have a functioning democracy anymore because capitalism has generated tremendous wealth for a tiny minority, who now control our politics. They pick the candidates, and they dictate the policies. Study after study has shown that the people’s wishes are ignored, and we only get what we want when the top 1 percent and the business interests also want the same thing. As Jimmy Carter put it last year, we’ve become “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.” This breeds great resentment among the people. And capitalism is no longer delivering the goods: People are working harder and longer, and getting nowhere, and their kids are falling further behind. This, too, breeds resentment. So people are ready to roll the dice for a strongman who says that he, and he alone, can solve all their problems.

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  4. “…And so Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue – each of which Trump exploited to the fullest. They chose Hillary even though they knew about her private email server. They chose her even though some of those who studied the Clinton Foundation suspected it was a sketchy proposition.

    “To try to put over such a nominee while screaming that the Republican is a rightwing monster is to court disbelief. If Trump is a fascist, as liberals often said, Democrats should have put in their strongest player to stop him, not a party hack they’d chosen because it was her turn. Choosing her indicated either that Democrats didn’t mean what they said about Trump’s riskiness, that their opportunism took precedence over the country’s well-being, or maybe both.

    “Clinton’s supporters among the media didn’t help much, either. It always struck me as strange that such an unpopular candidate enjoyed such robust and unanimous endorsements from the editorial and opinion pages of the nation’s papers, but it was the quality of the media’s enthusiasm that really harmed her. With the same arguments repeated over and over, two or three times a day, with nuance and contrary views all deleted, the act of opening the newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station. Here’s what it consisted of:

    • Hillary was virtually without flaws. She was a peerless leader clad in saintly white, a super-lawyer, a caring benefactor of women and children, a warrior for social justice.
    • Her scandals weren’t real.
    • The economy was doing well / America was already great.
    • Working-class people weren’t supporting Trump.
    • And if they were, it was only because they were botched humans. Racism was the only conceivable reason for lining up with the Republican candidate…” (Thomas Frank, The Guardian).

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  5. I looked forward to your writing this morning, more so than usual. A blend of perspective and thought provoking ideas, they are much appreciated.

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  6. Thank you for the Frank piece, Glen. Many of the comments (& not the title of his piece--RE: "liberals" losing the election)echoed things you've/we've been saying all along. The results of this election (& let's not forgot that,now, Congress is a GOP majority)were wrought upon us by the DNC (backing the wrong horse)AND mainstream media (putting Bernie on the back burner & constant coverage of Trump--geez, I sometimes had to watch Fox News to see Bernie rather than on CNN or MSNBC {& MSNBC's "reporting"--if one can call their constant fawning over HRC, Bernie bashing & Trump broadcasting loop--was particularly skewed).
    & Bernie's Campaign should have challenged in each & every state he lost--massive election fraud (no, not voter fraud {there's a big difference}-- in the Dem. primaries. Several lawsuits filed/pending (including Chicago March 15th primary)but, in order to actually rectify results, the candidate or candidate's campaign has to file suit.
    Pretty sure we'd be seeing president-elect Sanders today, had that been the case.

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  7. “The fact that a majority of Americans were willing to disregard DT's odious character traits and lack of temperamental fitness for the highest office betrays a shockingly high level, maybe even an unprecedented level, of the economic desperation people are feeling in the ranks of what used to be called "the silent majority." They're not silent anymore, although the pollsters didn't hear them. This Brexit-like sea change in American politics has ushered in a new era of American realpolitik in which the fundamental precepts of human decency, or at least some ostensible acknowledgement of them, are no longer viewed as basic attributes of American character or the American democratic process. The Faustian deal Americans made yesterday in which a majority of citizens essentially agreed to sacrifice the integrity of the presidential office in exchange for prosperity (the same folks, many of them, who fell for Wall Street's bank schemes in the early aughts), defines America now as a first world country with a third world fascistic leader. Ugh. According to the need this morning, Canada received an unprecedented number of requests for immigration forms yesterday”—Chard DeNiord.

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  8. “You will learn more about Trump in coming months. He isn't the Mussolini (but with frightening power) that he threatened to be in trying to win the election. He once said that he became a Republican because Republicans will believe anything if they like to hear it. But his anti-establishment, anti-ideology, anti-neoliberal pitch will carry over, modified to meet new circumstances. Now he has to broaden his appeal without alienating the Reaganite following that got him where he is.

    “His first words on becoming President are significant and not just temporary expedients like lock up Hillary, ban Muslim immigration and build a wall to keep Mexicans out. He will not survive for long if he doesn't deliver economic improvement to the white working class who elected him (with the Southern racists -- the old Democrat core coalition).

    “That's why his first promise was to introduce a Roosevelt New Deal programme which would address home problems (inner cities, infrastructure, while creating jobs). People like Krugman and Stiglitz (and Keynes before them) have already been banging on about spend don't save. Trump is serious about America first, so he will try to dismantle the international trade regime, the ruling class, the banks and anything else that got us into this mess. On foreign policy his line about how he will treat nations fairly that don't oppose us is chilling. He will attack Russia, China, Mexico and others who get in the way and is willing to risk another world war.

    “But remember Nixon's ‘mad dog’ strategy in the Cold War -- if the Kremlin really believes that he is crazy enough to push the nuclear button, they will be better behaved, than they were with Kennedy for example. And they were. Just to make sure Nixon made an opening to China which would be good for US trade and keep the Russians occupied. He was the most effective world statesman that the US ever had -- and another Republican president, Eisenhower, completed the task of building up infrastructure that Roosevelt had begun, while stopping the generals from pulling the nuclear trigger at least three times.

    “On balance I do think WW3 is nearer today, but don't bank on Trump lighting the blue touch paper. If the Chinese continue to contest the dollar or Putin keeps flexing his muscles, they had better watch out. The Russians were the China of their day (10% p.a. growth, 1890-1913) and look what happened next. But Trump knows that his home economic policy depends on demand staying up in the world as well as at home and a general war would disrupt that. Trump's actions will destabilize ruling powers everywhere, in Europe and South Africa, for example, as well as Russia and China.

    “WW3 could come from anywhere, not necessarily as a result of Trump's direct military initiative. But the US would win and come out of a general war globally more dominant than before, while China would probably collapse if trade, transport and communications are disrupted, as they were in the previous world wars, forcing countries to become more self-sufficient. You can bet that the Pentagon with State have been mulling over all this for a while. The people who actually run the country are smarter than most people think -- and that includes Comey.

    “Yet, the world and especially the US will become a much more dangerous place. I can't bear to think what kind of world my 14-year-old daughter will become an adult in. To be Black, Latino, Muslim or even a woman in America will be a lot worse -- the first signs of this came within hours of Trump being elected”—Keith Hart.

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  9. “This entire election has been an extended demonstration of just how corrupt, dysfunctional and broken our allegedly 'democratic' political system really is. Only in a broken and dysfunctional political system would we be forced to choose between a billionaire racist who absurdly presents himself as the voice of populist anger and a warmongering political insider who received the enthusiastic backing of Wall Street.

    “Only in a broken and dysfunctional political system would we be forced to pick between the two least-liked and least-trusted political candidates in modern election history. Only a broken and dysfunctional political system would allow corporate donors and wealthy individuals to spend so much money—a substantial portion of the $3 billion that has been spent this year on the presidential campaign alone— to influence the outcome of the election.

    “Only a broken and dysfunctional political system would allow the sort of voter suppression and intimidation tactics (such as illegal poll watching) that appear to have been used by the Republican Party in Ohio and North Carolina. Only in a broken and dysfunctional political system would it even be possible for the candidate who received the most votes, or as the media like to call it ‘the popular vote,’ to lose to the candidate who came in second in the ‘popular vote.’

    “Only in a broken and dysfunctional political system would citizens be forced to rely on a privately owned, commercially-driven media obsessed with sex, scandal and celebrity—an obsession that clearly worked in Donald Trump’s favor—as our chief source of political information.

    “Trump’s asinine, xenophobic and profoundly incoherent policies will do nothing to address the legitimate grievances of his millions of working class voters. He will fail ‘Big League.’ Quite likely, his failures will hurt the very people who voted for him (by tanking the economy, eroding civil liberties, and exacerbating our already appalling levels of income and wealth inequality).

    “It is time for a revolution. We need to build a labor/socialist/people’s party and movement in this country, and we need to do it now”—Steve Macek

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  10. First I have to shake this feeling that WE'RE FUCKED!

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  11. http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/michael-moore-morning-after-do-list?akid=14860.1072740.-ZEZAo&rd=1&src=newsletter1066883&t=2
    Michael Moore:
    "1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.
    2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn't let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on..."

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