Monday, January 30, 2017

Dodging Bullets: Stochastic Terrorism and the Trump Administration

It is not widely known that the Reichstag fire was most likely set in an act of stochastic terrorism. The Communists of the period put about the story that it was set by the Nazis in Braunbuch über Reichstagsbrand und Hitler-Terror, The brown book of the Hitler terror and the burning of the Reichstag, but this has never been proven. It could even, ironically, have been set by the Communists, just as the Nazis claimed.

In any event the young Communist Marinus van der Lubbe was executed for setting the fire. Historians mostly believe he was guilty. He had a history of arson and there is no reliable evidence he acted in concert with anyone else. The Nazis followed his act of terrorism with a crackdown, and that was the end of freedom and democracy in Germany for the next decade, and the beginning of the path to World War II in Europe.

It is entirely possible that some Muslim or some Trump opponent will undertake an act of terrorism, either against Trump himself or against some hated representative of the administration, and provide the excuse for the Trump administration to crack down and start a war in the Middle East. We are literally dodging bullets.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Morning After the Coup

And when they come for you, who will you call for aid, when all voices have been silenced?

“The Department of Homeland Security says a New York court order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Donald Trump’s travel ban will not affect the overall implementation of the White House executive action.” — CBS News

“Senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview Sunday morning that a federal judge's ruling ‘really doesn't affect’ the President's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from certain countries from entering the United States.” — TPM

“White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said in an interview Sunday that the response to President Donald Trump's signing of an executive order banning refugees and immigrants from certain countries from entering the U.S. ‘wasn't chaos’ and that he would ‘apologize for nothing.’” — TPM

“President Trump's executive order reorganizing the National Security Council removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence as regular members of the principals committee and added former Breitbart News Executive Chairman and now Presidential Counselor Steve Bannon.” — TPM

“For political and moral reasons, it is important to remember that very little of what the President is now doing is possible without a compliant Congress.” — TPM

To sum up: the White House and the Department of Homeland Security are refusing to comply with a court order. The white nationalist Steven Bannon has been elevated to the National Security Council and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence have been removed.

It’s a coup.

Trump's less-expensive, more-effective health plan is possible

Either Medicare for All or the ACA with a public option and more regulation would do it.


Friday, January 27, 2017

They will know, and they will never trust you again

“In the meantime, the task is much harder: you must tell them the truth. You cannot lie to the working class, James, not even once. They will know, and they will never trust you again. Lie to the bourgeoisie all you want, because they will hear only what they wish, and to the aristocracy, because they will not hear at all, and certainly to the government, the organ of the other two. But never to the working class.” — fictional Fredrich Engels, Steven Brust and Emma Bull, Freedom and Necessity

Which, I think, explains the failure of the Democratic party's centrist wing and the success of Bernie Sanders.

(Freedom and Necessity is possibly the only pagan Marxist Victorian fantasy romance novel ever. Used copies are cheap. Recommended.)

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Strange Inauguration

That was bizarre. Trump gave a version of his stump speech to an uncrowded mall, and he used the words, "American First," which was the cry of Americans opposed to US entry into World War II, while neo-nazi David Duke applauded on Twitter.

Even Trump's supporters don't seem happy. Oh, I'm sure there are some who are jubilant. But most stayed home. What's your problem, guys? You won. You're going to get what you want. Why aren't you happy about it?

…or perhaps it is dawning that you didn't win, after all.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On the Disaster That Will Be the Trump Administration

(First draft was written in response to a John Scalzi post.)

Mostly, we need courage and fortitude. I think most commentators here underestimate how bad it can get, and how fast. Hyperinflation, mass unemployment, hunger, disease, these were all things good government shielded us from for 60 years. A Trump administration might bring any or all of them back.

We can fight domestic disasters, but if, for instance, the fascist faction of the Trump administration succeeds in breaking up the European Union (, or they default on the national debt or adopt other disastrous economic policies (, or the extensive cuts in government spending and employment ( that Trump promises lead to an economic collapse, there is little we can do.

As far as health care, I am now a supporter of states rights. ( For you people in red states my thoughts and prayers are with you, because that is all I have to offer you.