Interlude With Ludes

01.10.2017

“Interlude With Ludes”

I’ve always been behind you
So I think we should meet
I’ve sharpened my knives
So I’m gonna use them

I’m gonna smother you with my love
Forever and ever, also forever
Acid and poison and chemicals baby
Is what I mean to provide
I know together, we’ll make the possible
Totally impossible

If you want me I’m yours
And even if you don’t want me
I’m trained and licensed and armed to the teeth
I think you’ll agree
It’s so hard to apologize
So I’m just gonna skip it
Sleep deprivation will make you a million
Did you just hear something crazy?

I got my fingers crossed you’ll catch something baby
Cause I just threw myself at you
Everyone run and hide
I’m coming to find you
Is my face still bleeding?
Then what is your problem?
By the skin of my teeth
That’s how I’m going to drive you

On the goodship lolly-gag
LSD and a bloody pile of rags
I hate to be the bearer of bad news
But I am…

-Them Crooked Vultures

A Short History of the Third Millennium
ANATOLY KARLIN • JANUARY 10, 2017

Fundamentally solve the “intelligence problem,” and all other problems become trivial.

The problem is that this problem is a very hard one, and our native wit is unlikely to suffice. Moreover, because problems tend to get harder, not easier, as you advance up the technological ladder, in a “business as usual” scenario with no substantial intelligence augmentation we will effectively only have a 100-200 year “window” to effect this breakthrough before global dysgenic fertility patterns rule it out entirely for a large part of the next millennium.

History After ‘The End of History’
Andrew Bacevich and Tom Engelhardt
January 09, 2017

Robert Gates, Pro and Con
by David R. Henderson, January 10, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s Dream of Domination Has Gone Up in Flames
PATRICK COCKBURN • JANUARY 8, 2017

The Trump Bubble
MIKE WHITNEY • JANUARY 6, 2017

Fake News

01.05.2016ishamel_jones

This settles it for me. Let’s move on.
Russian Interference in the Election: A Media Hoax?

America Versus the Deep State
-James Howard Kunstler

The fakest of all “fake news” stories turns out to be… “Russia Hacks Election.”

The story may have climaxed with Trump’s Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State’s power. Trump worked a nice piece of ju-jitsu afterward, pretending to accept the finding as briefly and hollowly as possible and promising to “look into the matter” after January 20th — when he can tear a new asshole in the NSA. I hope he does. This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic.

No Smoking Gun on Russia Hack
Language used in the intelligence community’s latest report suggests that they may not possess indisputable evidence.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • January 9, 2017

Purge the CIA
They’re a threat to the republic

ISHMAEL JONES: FROM RUSSIA WITH DOUBT

The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Note: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility.

presence

Tom Friedman Drinks His Own Pee

2017

The idea that Modernity itself might go down is inconceivable to those in thrall to the Religion of Progress, which declares that the world (and life in it) only gets better and better every year. This would appear demonstrably untrue, just in the visible damage to the landscape and the living things that struggle to dwell there.
-James Howard Kunstler

Tom Friedman is an Ignorant Cunt

In short: If machines can compete with people in thinking, what makes us humans unique? And what will enable us to continue to create social and economic value? The answer, said Seidman, is the one thing machines will never have: “a heart.”

No wonder one of the fastest-growing U.S. franchises today is Paint Nite, which runs paint-while-drinking classes for adults. Bloomberg Businessweek explained in a 2015 story that Paint Nite “throws after-work parties for patrons who are largely lawyers, teachers and tech workers eager for a creative hobby.” The artist-teachers who work five nights a week can make $50,000 a year connecting people to their hearts.

 

Longtime Apple fans feel forced to buy ‘pathetic’ and ‘old’ Macs from 2013

 

33% of Americans out of workforce, highest rate since 1978

Forecast 2017: The Wheels Finally Come Off

About That “Big Fat Ugly Bubble” and its Consequences
Part 1: History Lesson

The USA ran out of growth capacity around the turn of the millennium because we ran out of affordable energy to run our techno-industrial economy. It was hard to see this with seemingly plenty of oil available. And, of course, the computer tech fiesta was blossoming, but for all that glitzy stuff to attract dwindling real capital, other old stuff had to go, and did go, and when all was said and done the computers did not generate much wealth or social value. In fact, the diminishing returns and blowback of computer tech were arguably more damaging than beneficial to society and its economy. Look at where the middle class is today. Computer tech gave the magical appearance of growth while actually undermining it.

By affordable energy I mean energy with a greater-than 30-to-one energy-return-on-investment, which is the ratio you need for the kind of life we lead. That’s what the now-ridiculed Peak Oil story was really about: not running out of oil, but not getting enough bang for our bucks pulling the remaining oil out of the earth to maintain our standard of living. I’ll return to this issue in more detail later. But that was what provoked America’s 21st century economic malaise. Everything we’ve done in finance since then has been an attempt to compensate for our fundamental problem with debt — borrowing from the future to maintain our current (unaffordable) standard of living. Our debt has grown ever larger and faster each year, and our methods for managing it have become more desperate and dishonest as that occurred.

The culprit at the center is America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, which is actually not a government agency as it seems, but a consortium of the nation’s biggest private banks, lately known as Too-Big-To-Fail. The Fed was created in 1913, when the complexities of capital finance were multiplying in step with the complexities of industrial production, which, remember, was a new and evolving phenomenon of human history. Mankind had no prior experience with industrialism. We discovered toward the end of the 19th century — decades of unprecedented industrial growth — that the system’s dynamic produced booms accompanied by very destructive busts. The operations of banking usually outran the cycles of trade, industry, and war that were coloring evolving Modernity. So the Fed was created to smooth out these cycles. It had two basic mandates for this: acting as the lender of last resort between banks during financial panics so that some money would always be available in an emergency; and stabilizing the money supply and prices in the system. The Fed failed spectacularly to smooth out the cycles of boom and bust and to maintain the value of the dollar over time.

Sixteen years after the Fed’s creation, America entered its worst economic downturn ever, the Great Depression, which was only mitigated by the colossal abnormality of World War Two. America emerged from that episode as the last industrial society standing amid everyone else’s smoldering ruins. That gave us an extraordinary advantage in world trade lasting roughly thirty years. That high tide of the era of seeming “normality” — the 1950s and 60s, which the Trumpian-minded might recall as “great” — started unraveling in the 1970s, which was not coincidentally the moment of America’s all-time oil production peak.

The pathetic end of the Obama era

Diminishing Returns

 

anything goes, and nothing matters
-JHK

The idiotic behavior of the US toward Russia in these matters led to the most dangerous state of relations between the two since the heart of the Cold War. It culminated in the ridiculous campaign this fall to blame Russia for the defeat of Hillary Clinton. And here we are.

I didn’t vote for Hillary or Donald Trump (I wrote-in David Stockman). I’m not happy to see Donald Trump become president. But I’ve had enough of Mr. Obama. He put up a good front. He seemed congenial and intelligent. But in the end, he appears to be a kind of stooge for the darker forces in America’s overgrown bureaucratic Deep State racketeering operation. Washington truly is a swamp that needs to be drained.

The ‘War on Terrorism’ Just Keeps Making It Worse
PATRICK COCKBURN • DECEMBER 23, 2016

European political leaders are making the same mistake in reacting to the massacre at the Christmas fair in Berlin, in which 12 died, as they did during previous terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. There is an over-concentration on the failings of the security services in not identifying and neutralising the Tunisian petty criminal, Anis Amri, as the threat he turned out to be. There is too little focus on bringing to an end the wars in Syria and Iraq which make this type of atrocity unstoppable.

Making COIN
The modern history of an unstoppable bad idea
Tim Shorrock

The Syrian War Condensed: A more Rigorous Way to Look at the Conflict

Why I Still Don’t Buy the Russian Hacking Story

Open source reporting indicates that Ukrainian artillery forces have lost over 50% of their weapons in the 2 years of conflict and over 80% of D-30 howitzers, the highest percentage of loss of any other artillery pieces in Ukraine’s arsenal.

Declassify the Evidence of Russian Hacking!
The debate over possible intervention in the election should be based on publicly disclosed evidence, not unverifiable, anonymous leaks.

The Official F-35 Price Tags Are Bogus
Pentagon statements do not reflect real costs or original estimates

With the production data, we can calculate a F-35A has a price tag of $157 million, not $102 million. It’s $265 million for a F-35B and $355 million for a F-35C, not $132 million for either variant.

On average, these F-35s cost $188 million apiece, not $122 million.

More basically, Bogdan says the F-35’s price has been coming down, and indeed it has. The $188 million generic price in 2015 was less than the $250 million the Pentagon quoted in 2001.

For the 2017 fiscal year, Congressional appropriations showed us that the total costs came down again to $128 million for a generic F-35. That’s $113 million for an F-35A, $142 million for an F-35B and $241 million for a F-35C.

Tom Friedman is a Dick

friedman

The best book review ever written:
http://www.alternet.org/story/21856/flathead/?page=entire

Do Friedmans Dream of Electric Sheeple?
David V. Johnson
December 13, 2016

Thomas Friedman’s seventh book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, is already a New York Times bestseller and will likely rival neckties as the go-to holiday president for fathers and grandfathers across the country. And just like those ties, the books will likely find their way to a darkened corner, never to be seen again. Thank the thrice-Pulitzered journalist himself—author of a string of similar works of ebullient market prophecy such as The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World Is Flat—for creating an age in which books need only be bought, not read, and columns need only be shared, not perused, for their content to make its mark.

CULTURE » NOVEMBER 22, 2016
Thomas Friedman’s Latest Book Is a Tour Through His Troubled, Neoliberal Mind
We read 500 pages of corporate platitudes and ungainly metaphor so you don’t have to.
BY CHRIS LEHMANN

This witless, reflexive endorsement of corporate prerogative runs so deep in Thank You for Being Late that even Friedman’s cautionary environmentalism is steeped in it. Mother Nature, he burbles, is “relentlessly entrepreneurial,” possesses a welter of “killer apps” and knows that “allowing the weak to die off unlocks more resources and energy for the strong.”

Best Comment of 2016

Best Comment of 2016

Exxon Mobil

REX TILLERSON, FROM A CORPORATE OIL SOVEREIGN TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT
By Steve Coll
December 11, 2016

What’s Good for Exxon Is Bad for the Country
Does Rex Tillerson know the difference between corporate imperatives and national interests?
By Fred Kaplan

Is is stupefying how none of these guys understands just how important oil is on a geopolitical level. And yet this is a no-brainer for Trump. I would assume Tillerson is fairly expert in what’s important about Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran – the only countries that matter when you are Secretary of State. I could be wrong, but even a casual glance suggests he may be the most qualified when both knowledge and experience are counted. And Fred Kaplan is an idiot.


Trumpxuberance… Until It’s Not

American oil companies can no longer make a buck doing their thing. Exxon-Mobil’s U.S. production business lost $477 million in the third quarter, the seventh straight quarter in the red. Why? Because it costs a lot more to get the stuff out of the ground than it did ten years ago, and that high cost is bankrupting oil companies and industrial economies. That is the stealth action of Peak Oil that so many people pretend is not happening. It will ultimately destroy the banking system.


Explanation for What?

Vox.com’s capture of the know-it-all demographic
David V. Johnson

Take Vox sponsors Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, persistent targets of populist rage for their exorbitant profits and their role in the wave of fraud that contributed to the financial crisis. Yes, Vox explains that breaking up the big banks—a policy senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supported and Hillary Clinton opposed—is a bad idea. I’m sure this position had nothing to do with the influence of money, or Klein’s niggling worries about biases that make us stupid. Like good high-achieving students, Vox writers give their reasons and show their work. Nor does Goldman’s sponsorship of Yglesias’s podcast influence his conclusion in one of those podcasts that raising taxes on the superwealthy doesn’t actually do much to reduce inequality. (“I think it is not a great idea to have adopted this entire inequality focus,” he said.)

 

Some good comments on this one:
Gun Control: Hawglegs and Hawgwash
FRED REED
• DECEMBER 1, 2016

Daddies, “Dates,” and the Girlfriend Experience: Welcome to the New Prostitution Economy

A growing number of young people are selling their bodies online to pay student loans, make the rent, or afford designer labels. Is it just an unorthodox way to make ends meet or a new kind of exploitation? Nancy Jo Sales investigates.

As the debate over whether the United States should decriminalize sex work intensifies, prostitution has quietly gone mainstream among many young people, seen as a viable option in an impossible economy and legitimized by a wave of feminism that interprets sexualization as empowering. “People don’t call it ‘prostitution’ anymore,” says Caitlin, 20, a college student in Montreal. “That sounds like slut-shaming. Some girls get very rigid about it, like ‘This is a woman’s choice.’ ”

Not that interesting an article. No insights into men or women that we didn’t already know. Mildly titillating. In the print edition it is followed by the bikini pics of Margot Robbie (as close as Vanity Fair gets to a centerfold). I think that if all these twenty-something “women” are unclear on the difference between feminism and prostitution, then Hillary Clinton hasn’t achieved much and the battle is probably lost forever.

The best book review ever written:
http://www.alternet.org/story/21856/flathead/?page=entire

12-06-2016

32c8472000000578-3520973-image-a-18_145964329907612-06-2016

Really good 50-minute podcast on what to look for in American foreign policy under Trump.

-Colonel Wilkerson on empires at 8 min
-The sweet spot starts around minute 20:00 with Andrew Bacevich
-Then again with Stephen Walt at 32:00

Worth reading about Bloomberg, Trump, Buffet, Gates, Carnegie, and Rockefeller:
The Other Buffett Rule
Or why better billionaires will never save us
Alex Cuadros

Fake News Versus No News
How Russia is pilloried while real news about Israel goes unreported
PHILIP GIRALDI • DECEMBER 6, 2016

-Does the name Judith Miller ring any bells?

-At the present moment, it is practically obligatory to slam Russia and Putin at every opportunity even though Moscow is too militarily weak and poor to fancy itself a global adversary of the U.S. Instead of seeking a new Cold War, Washington should instead focus on working with Russia to make sure that disagreements over policies in relatively unimportant parts of the world do not escalate into nuclear exchanges.

-There is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches.

-The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is intended to give the Department of Education investigatory authority over “anti-Jewish incidents” on America’s college campuses. Such “incidents” are not limited to religious bigotry, with the examples cited in the bill’s text including criticism of Israel and claiming that the holocaust was “exaggerated.” It is a thinly disguised assault on the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is non-violent, does not criticize Jews as a religion or ethnicity, and is actually supported by many Jewish American who are concerned about Israel’s apartheid regime.

-As the Act is clearly intended to restrict First Amendment rights if they are perceived as impacting on broadly defined Jewish sensitivities, it should be opposed on that basis alone, but it is very popular in Congress, which is de facto owned by the Israel Lobby.

-Mattis continued, referring directly to Israeli apartheid: “I’ll tell you, the current situation is unsustainable … We’ve got to find a way to make work the two-state solution that both Democrat and Republican administrations have supported, and the chances are starting to ebb because of the settlements. For example, if I’m Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers to the east and there’s ten-thousand Arabs already there, and if we draw the border to include them, either [Israel] ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country.”

Mattis will no doubt be reminded of his remarks when he is up for Senate confirmation. A predecessor Chuck Hagel was mercilessly grilled by Senators over his reported comment that the “Jewish lobby” intimidates congressmen.

A People’s History of the Third Reich
How Great Man theory allows us to abdicate collective responsibility
Megan Carpentier
December 02, 2016

Well. Now we know how it all works.

Political Science’s “Theory of Everything”
DAVID CHIBO • NOVEMBER 30, 2016
The 7 “Blind” men and the US Elephant

He defines the third corporate lobby as the Big Oil-transport-military complex, which he explains has put the US on the trajectory of heavy oil-imports dependence and ever deepening military entrapment in the Middle East: “Since the days of John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust a century ago, Big Oil has loomed large in American politics and foreign policy. Big Oil teamed up with the automobile industry to steer America away from mass transit and toward gas-guzzling vehicles driving on a nationally financed highway system. Big Oil has consistently and successfully fought the intrusion of competition from non-oil energy sources, including nuclear, wind, and solar power.”

Sachs also highlights Big Oil’s counter-intuitive reliance on the Pentagon: “America defends the sea-lanes to the Persian Gulf, in effect ensuring a $100 billion–plus annual subsidy for a fuel that is otherwise dangerous for national security. And Big Oil has played a notorious role in the fight to keep climate change off the U.S. agenda. ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and others in the sector have underwritten a generation of antiscientific propaganda to confuse the American people.”

The fourth of the great industry-government tie-ups has been the health care industry, America’s single largest industry today, absorbing no less than 17 percent of GDP. According to Sachs, what began as government partnering with business to refund costs has morphed into a lobby with little systematic oversight and control: “Pharmaceutical firms set sky-high prices protected by patent rights; Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers reimburse doctors and hospitals on a cost-plus basis; and the American Medical Association restricts the supply of new doctors through the control of placements at American medical schools. The result of this pseudo–market system is sky-high costs, large profits for the private health care sector, and no political will to reform.”

Trump should embrace ‘dual conciliation’ abroad

Trump’s other option is to try easing Middle East conflicts rather than escalating them. This can only be done through cooperation with Iran. A map of the region shows why. Iran is the big country in the middle. Just as Europe became stable only after Germany was invited to be a security partner, the Middle East will become stable only when Iran’s interests are taken into account.

Rather than side instinctively with Saudi Arabia in its rivalry with Iran, Trump should seek to balance the two. We should judge them not by sentiment, but strictly according to whether their actions promote our interests. Our central interest in the Middle East is containing violent radicalism. After that, our next goal should be withdrawal. The reasons we set up imperial shop in the Middle East have evaporated. The Soviet Union is gone, we no longer depend on Persian Gulf oil, and our people are tired of desert wars. Yet some are pushing Trump to jump more deeply into this quagmire.

Winning:
Trump Loves to Do It, But American Generals Have Forgotten How

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
PATRICK COCKBURN • DECEMBER 2, 2016

These are the two groups that dominate the armed opposition in Syria as a whole. In Aleppo, though only about 20 per cent of the 10,000 fighters are Nusra, it is they – along with their allies in Ahrar al-Sham – who are leading the resistance.

Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. A number of intrepid correspondents who tried to do eyewitness reporting from rebel-held areas swiftly found themselves tipped into the boots of cars or otherwise incarcerated.

Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.

What Makes Israeli Apartheid ‘Special’?

2007 may be seen as one of the greatest technological inflection points in history. And we completely missed it.

Thomas Friedman is a horrible writer. His thoughts are unintelligible. He thinks what he writes is original – recognizing something others don’t – and therefore informative and that it will have positive consequences. It is meaningless drivel. A complete waste of time. I love to read Friedman to confirm that I am right about him. It makes me feel better about myself. I feel I understand how the world works and the meaning of life when I read Thomas Friedman. I think I read a couple chapters of ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree.’ It is a point of pride that I cannot remember anything about it. He is the most highly overpaid asshole on the planet. I secretly wish he would visit Syria and maybe be abducted by ISIS.

“For me, that translates into building healthy communities that are flexible enough to move with these accelerations, draw energy from them — but also provide a platform of dynamic stability for citizens within them. More on that another day.”

Hilarious. What the fuck does that even mean? Does he even know? He’s completely crazy.

11.29.2016

culture11.29.2016

Idiots:
A potential nightmare scenario has arrived for the electric-car industry

In any case, bringing self-driving tech to gas-powered cars doesn’t ask the automakers to create an entirely new fueling system. The winners in this space could be new entrants who avoid the “old” futurism of EVs and concentrate on the brave “new” future of autonomous mobility. I’m looking at you, Uber.

It’s becoming clear that the legacy problems of EVs are proving to be just as daunting as they always were. For automakers that have already committed to substantial EV programs, the risk is that they’ll be stuck with vehicles nobody wants to buy — and charging networks that nobody wants to use.

Iraqi Troops Increasingly Bogged Down in Mosul Invasion
Special Forces Make Gains, But Everyone Else Seems Stalled
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

Rebels Abandon Northeastern Aleppo as Syrian Military Advances
Rebels Suffer Biggest Defeat in Aleppo Since 2012
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

Pentagon Plans to Replace Afghan Air Force With US-Made Helicopters
US Had Bought Them a Whole Fleet of Russian Helicopters in Recent Years
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

The Rediscovery of Men

Uniquely Talented
Only the Democrats Could Have Lost to Trump
FRED REED • NOVEMBER 24, 2016

They do not know that that in the bleak down-scale strip development of Jeff Davis Highway, a half-hour away, reeking of exhaust and blowing with trash, an aged veteran on crutches lives in a dismal residential motel. Every mourning he hobbles to Dixie Lee’s Diner–I forget its actual name–for a cheap breakfast because it is all he has. Or ever will. He is waiting to die. The elite don’t know, and wouldn’t care.

The upper crust are also moral frauds, though they do not know this either. Nice liberals to the roots of their teeth, in principle they believe that we should all love each other, and they hate anyone who doesn’t.

The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979) – Christopher Lasch

Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Progress (2013) – John Michael Greer
Greer is one of the smartest people alive and a keen observer of human nature, American culture, and resource constraint – but his prophecies continue to fail like everybody else’s. Is he aware of the irony? This is still one of the best books on peak oil and only 140 pages.

Schopenhauer: Essays and Aphorisms (1851) – Arthur Schopenhauer
Superb. Easy to read. Concise philosophy, psychology, and observations of human nature that hold up today.

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story (2012)- Greg Smith

Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They’ll Take Us to the Brink Again (2010) – Suzanne McGee

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World (2011) – William D. Cohan

1-donald-trump-meme-get-in-pussy-making-america-great-again1

11.22.2016

computer_barbie11.22.2016

Failsons Of Weimar America
By ROD DREHER • November 22, 2016

The reader said that leftist blogger James Howard Kunstler made the same point more eloquently in this post, following the 2015 school massacre in Oregon. In it, Kunstler said that our is “a nation physically arranged on-the-ground to produce maximum loneliness, arranged economically to produce maximum anxiety, and disposed socially to produce maximum alienation.” He goes on:

IDIOT JOY SHOWLAND

I think I’m still in shock. When the sun rose this morning it was blistered with the face of Donald Trump, bronze and smirking hideous, and all I can think about is Hillary Clinton. It’s what I know. Throughout the entire election, one slow-motion clip of a clown car ramming into a crowd of pedestrians, I’d assumed that the danger of Trump and the danger of Clinton were of two different orders. Trump was dangerous because of what he said and what he represented, the waves of fascism and violence that rippled out from the dead plopping weight of his speeches. Clinton was dangerous because of what she would actually do, because Clinton was going to win the election. I was a sucker, the kind who gets duped precisely by believing himself to be too smart for any kind of con. I thought I saw through it all, the whole stupid charade, a coronation disguised as a battlefield. I was wrong. This was exactly what Hillary Clinton wanted people like me to think; she wanted to be an inevitability. And this is why Trump won: the presidency was Clinton’s to lose, from the moment she announced her candidacy, and she lost it. She was the only person who could. People don’t like taking part in someone else’s inevitability.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2016
When The Shouting Stops

Fans of irony have much to savor. You’ve got people who were talking eagerly about how to game the electoral college two weeks ago, who now are denouncing the electoral college root and branch; you’ve got people who insisted that Trump, once he lost, should concede and shut up, who are demonstrating a distinct unwillingness to follow their own advice. You’ve got people in the bluest of blue left coast cities marching in protest as though that’s going to change a single blessed thing—as I’ve pointed out in previous posts here, protest marches that aren’t backed up with effective grassroots political organization are simply a somewhat noisy form of aerobic exercise.

The Feminization of Politics
ROBERT WEISSBERG • NOVEMBER 22, 2016

To appreciate how this “guy” style of political conflict is becoming undone, keep in mind that the Trump victory was absolutely unambiguous compared to countless other presidential election outcomes. Recall the election of 1828 when the House chose John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson despite the former having fewer popular and Electoral votes, the 1860 election of Lincoln who won a mere 39.9% of the popular vote in a four-way contest, the bizarre Rutherford B. Hayes win over Samuel Tilden in 1876 in which Tilden won the popular vote and fell a single vote short in the Electoral College but lost thanks to Republican skullduggery or Kennedy’s 1960 razor thin victory over Nixon as a result of a last minute flood of questionable Chicago votes and so on and on.

Yes, many were upset, but when it was over, it was over. The slogan was “wait to next year,” not “the resistance must continue.” Losers “took it like a man” and looked to the future. Nobody marched or rioted in the hope changing the outcome. Nor were there calls for the Electors to violate voter instructions to put into office a candidate that did not win a Electoral College majority.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before
Liberal nostalgia cozies up to power in the form of a zombified Ronald Reagan

Reagan was a bumbling idiot, but he was also a monster, a slimeball fascist whose mercenaries and paid fanatics gunned down thousands across the globe, who fought wars of aggression for PR purposes, whose crackdown on drugs amounted to the all-but-genocidal repression of his own population, who empowered Salafists and death squads, whose economic policies replaced the supposed drudgery of unionization and job security with constant anxious panic for the many and a vampire’s glut for the few, who left communities to be hollowed by disease, whose administration was packed with sleazes and scumbags and scandal. Reagan tore deep gashes in the surface of the world, he killed without conscience, and he did it all with the effortless lubricated grin of a shitty Hollywood actor who knows that it’s all a charade.

#RIPMyShillaries
An end to the era of professionally explained candidates

Second, neoliberalism. It took over the Democratic Party on Bill Clinton’s coattails, shaped all its policy thinking and ushered in our era of free trade, union-busting, deregulation, middle-class decline, mass incarceration, and massive inequality. It was fitting that this era left its leader’s spouse with a campaign so lacking in positive message—a thin gruel of identity politics, credential-brandishing, and anti-Trump harping. Yes, the Hillary campaign did offer a plethora of progressive policy nuggets discoverable by the Internet-savvy, but she could not credibly push them to a Rust Belt so demoralized by decades of neoliberal devastation. RIP, neoliberalism.

jaws

In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony
– (2008)
by Eamonn Fingleton

 

The Chinese secret weapons are government-forced savings through restrictions on consumption and Confucian authoritarianism.