Wednesday, December 30, 2020

On the Privatization of the ACA Exchanges

At Charles Gaba's urging, I have written in response to the Trump administration's proposal to privatize various aspects of the ACA exchanges. As I reviewed the proposals, I realized that I was looking at a recipe for turning the individual health insurance market into something like the mortgage market before 2008. And this was two things: a giant fraud machine and a racism and sexism machine.

How utterly disgusting. How entirely Trumpian.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Morning Cranky Croaky Tweets

“If you work for the Klan, be you ever so personally decent, even if your job has nothing to do with burning crosses, you are still working for the Klan. Remember this, Republicans.” – tweet

“At what point do we say ‘we are being ruled by monsters’ and revolt?” – tweet

“The Republican Senate leadership is working on creating a depression during a pandemic. Fuck that cluster of fuckers.” (Collective noun due to Driftglass.) – tweet

“Democide. The apparent goal is to reduce the vast majority to poverty, disease, and servitude.” – tweet

“The goal, ultimately, is to destroy all workplace safety protections. It probably won’t pass this year, but it will be back.” - tweet

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Winning the Upper Middle Class

I may have an answer to how to reach these people.

The main enemy of the non-college educated upper middle class is the actual upper class; people like Trump. We need to concentrate on that, and insist on that. Remind them, over and over, that Trump consistently stiffed his contractors.

At the same time, we need to offer an out; we need to say, “You can be respected and adored; you just can't be kings” to this group, so that they have a place to go.

This…might work.

The Con is Unraveling

So today, we have Senator Hawley (R-Stone Age) claiming that the major Russian attack on the US government is a hoax. And, at the same time, it is now revealed that the Trump administration made a policy of spreading COVID-19.

What these things have in common is that they come out after Trump is losing power. Before then, not enough people were brave enough to talk.

The con is unraveling, and all that will be left are several hundred thousand dead, and millions grieving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Winning Back the “Working Class”

Senator Bernard Sanders offers this op-ed in The Guardian: How do we avoid future authoritarians? Winning back the working class is key.

The people who most heavily supported Trump are white, upper middle class, and non-college educated; contractors who own their own trucks, well-off subcontractors, small shop owners, and the like, a group more petty bourgeois than working class. 

Working class or petty bourgeois, Senator Sanders  is right in this: healing the divisions in the USA requires persuading this group to support democracy and aligning their interests with the broader public. It is a difficult project, which socialists historically have rejected entirely entirely. This past Presidential election was not won by persuading the white upper middle class, but rather by turning out marginalized people like Blacks and Natives. But the white upper middle class remains, and must be dealt with somehow.

Sanders is wrong; this is not simply a problem of corporate capitalism. The non-college educated white upper middle class largely sees its interests as aligned with corporate capitalism. There is ample evidence that those interests are not. We need only consider how the largest businesses have fared (well) compared with the small ones (poorly) during the COVID pandemic to see that the biggest enemy of the upper middle class is the same as the enemy of the working class.

I once wrote to a Trump supporter, “If you're willing to be in the middle, not at the top or the bottom, we have a place for you.” He didn't answer. Being able to claim the bottom position in society while actually being several rungs up the ladder is a fine delusion. One gets to both claim sympathy for one's oppressed state, while at the same time getting the benefits of being an oppressor. So…I don't know. White privilege is a hell of a drug.

Sunday, November 22, 2020


“I had to protect myself. I would have died that night if I didn’t.” – link

I think that:
  1. If Rittenhouse feels he is threatened by a Black person and,
  2. if he has deadly force available and,
  3. he knows there will be no penalty,
he will kill again without remorse, just like any racist police officer.

This young man ought never have been released.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

My Morning Snarks: the White Working Class, Liberals, Miserliness, and Republicans

What you call 'white working class' is not working class at all, but rather petty bourgeoisie. Look at the Trumpists! They are not sales clerks, nurses, gardeners. They're contractors with trucks, people with incomes and positions a few rungs up that they want to protect. You look at rural white voters - it's the same story. Follow @SarahTaber_bww for lots of detail. (And Bernie Sanders doesn't know this. Hmph.)” – tweet

The LA Times is not a liberal paper. I am not sure there are any liberal newspapers. The people you are lambasting as liberals are polite conservatives. The whole left attack on ‘liberals’ goes back to the bad old days, when liberals were not violent enough to get with a Stalinist program.” – tweet

Robert Cruikshank: “It doesn’t require federal help. WA has a GDP of $600 billion.” My reply, “And a government which draws on it will be out of power in two years. We are too miserly.” – tweet

Scott Edelman, sf author: “The Republican Party is the party of Death.” Me: “And rape and sedition and treason.” – tweet

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Black Christmas

On my local Nextdoor, one of the automated interest generator posts is a survey: “How do you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving this year?” Several people replied they were going to have a regular Thanksgiving and celebrate life.

Well. No, not well. COVID-19 is surging throughout the USA. Transmission at family gatherings is common. There are four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year; about enough time for some who gets COVID to die.

It is going to be a black Christmas.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Whim of the Court

So here we are. Joe Biden has won a clear victory in the Presidential race, and we have Secretary of State Pompeo saying, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” snickering through the entire answer. It was probably a lame joke, but it was something he should never have said at all.

The election was honestly run, and the count is clear. State governors, state legislators and state secretaries of state say so. The only way Trump can win a second term is if somehow votes are thrown out. The state governments, all three branches, have so far found no reason to do that despite numerous frivolous lawsuits on the part of the Trump campaign. Which leaves the Federal government, which has no authority over how states run their elections, so long as it is within the law.

…or does it?

US Attorney General William Barr announced a new policy that would allow federal prosecutors to look into “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections.” Richard Pilger, the head of Department of Justice’s election crimes department, has resigned in protest. The Trump campaign has sued in federal court, demanding that the state throw out thousands of ballots. Reportedly they are asking the Republican legislature to throw out the election results in Michigan. Georgia’s Senators Loeffler and Perdue have asked the Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger, a Republican, to resign. He has refused.

This is not like the 2000 election, where the whole case hinged on a few hundred votes; the Trump campaign is asking for tens of thousands of votes to be thrown out. In Michigan, they are trying to get all the state votes thrown out. Could the campaign succeed?

If the Trump campaign can get enough state courts or legislatures to override state laws, or pressure state executive officials, perhaps. If the campaign can get a case to the Supreme Court, where three Justices participated in the theft of the 2000 election, perhaps. By the Constitution the Supreme Court has little authority over voting in the states. It would be a constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court intervenes. Still, they might. This is in many ways like the attack on the ACA. If they can throw enough mud at the wall, perhaps some of it will stick. Biden’s Presidency may stand or fall on the whim of the Supreme Court’s “conservative” justices.

Don’t give up hope. Keep fighting. If you have the money and the will, donate to the Biden Fight Fund.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Tweets to a Never Trumper

It's about racism and sexism, Tom, and all the long years as conservatives were making deals with the authors of this result. I cannot name one who dissented until, finally, Trump's vulgarity pushed them over the edge. Maybe the left does not have the answer, but the right danced us to the gates of hell. Most of them – most of you – entered in. It is to your credit that you finally turned away and to your shame that you walked this road as far as you did. – Tweet

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Twisted Justice

So, Amy Coney Barret:

This is, even for a conservative judge, an unusually uncompassionate series of rulings. If you read her decisions, she is all very rational and collegial as she destroys the lives of little people. I am very much reminded of smart abusers I have known and read of, who can talk their way out of almost anything. Barrett has twists in her character. I worry about her children.

If Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court we will have a twisted fanatic, a rapist, a sexual harasser, and a perjurer on the Supreme Court.

Twisted justice, indeed!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Aristocratic Personality Disorder

Look at Brett Kavenaugh, look at Neil Gorsuch, gods help us, look at Amy Coney Barrett. All three seem deficient in some basic empathy. Kavenaugh, who probably raped dozens of women as a young man. Gorsuch, who opined that it was just fine for a trucking company to fire a man for leaving a load so as to avoid freezing to death. Barrett, with decisions making excuses for rapists and racists.

Surely these people are deranged. Surely there is some problem with them, some aristocratic personality disorder.

The history of aristocracies says they are not. The history of African slavery in the United States says they are not. Rather, they are normal people who have been raised to privilege. When people are raised to believe they are above all others, some will behave this way – it has happened over and over in history. If we want compassion to become a norm, we must teach it and reinforce it.

Now: look at white people in the United States. Are they not also an entitled class? Does this class not also have a significant faction of brutal members – white supremacists, rapists? Do the brutal not also have wide support among the less brutal members of the class?

We only thought we ended aristocracy with the Revolution.

What would it take to truly end aristocracy?

We would have to teach egalitarian values and compassion throughout society. We would have to limit extremes of wealth and poverty.

Could we do it? Would it lead to a workable, lasting society? I do not know. Trying is surely worthwhile.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?

The Time article on Barrett describes her as like Scalia but with fewer rough edges.

We know, generally, that she has been nominated for three things: (1) reliable support of voter suppression, (2) a reliable radical “Christian” conservative vote, and (3) reliable support of brutal pro-business, pro-wealth policies. Possibly there is (4) support of the fossil fuel industry; her father was a long-time attorney for Shell Oil. There may even be (5) racism – she is from Metairie, Louisiana, a place with a dark Klan history and the place which elected white supremacist David Duke to the Louisiana state legislature.

Her experience as a judge is quite limited. She has limited trial experience and only three years of judicial experience on the Seventh Circuit. She is not, regardless of how smart and knowledgeable she is, qualified.

She is also dissembling and concealing information about her politics. She is very radical, and she is a senior member (a “handmaid,” forsooth) of People of Praise, a secretive evangelical group, nominally ecumenical but mostly Roman Catholic, group which holds strongly that women are to be subservient to men, which raises the question of who, if anyone, she is subservient to.

I suspect that part of the reason her nomination is being rushed through is that, like the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, her nomination would not stand up to a thorough investigation. This is a woman who, taking advantage of many feminist victories, intends to take women's rights away. Is she, then, a well-mannered sociopath? A fanatic? Or someone who simply does not see people outside her chosen circle as human, like the slaveholder wives of the South who would politely and decorously order whippings and worse?

Just who is Amy Coney Barrett?

A Telling Observation on Voter Behavior

Or, Converse in the streets. 

YOU THINK voter logic is like: A → B → C → D. In actuality, voter logic is more like: A → Purple → Banana → 18 […] The most pervasive bias in political coverage is not left vs. right it's “follows politics” vs. “doesn't follow politics.” – Tweet by Time correspondent Charlotte Alter.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Plaguing the Senate, again

A few months back, I did a rough estimate of how many Senators would die if COVID-19 started spreading in the Senate. At that time, the only Senator who had the disease was Rand Paul and, apparently, he wasn't well-liked enough to spread the disease. But the White House, at its nomination ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett, has taken care of that little problem: Republican Senators Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Thom Tillis have been infected. It's time to bring the chart back, so here it is again:

The odds were almost 9 in 10 for at least one Senate death and the chance of one to three Senators dying were roughly 3 in 4.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

COVID-19 and the Crawl Door

In the Japanese tea ceremony, guests, to enter the tea house, must come in through the nijiriguchi, the crawl door. Even mighty lords must crawl when they are guests at the tea house. Mighty lords turn back into mighty lords when the ceremony is over, of course, but – the teamaster hopes – they will remember that there is something beyond their rule.

The Trump administration, rejoicing over the fall of their enemy Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, planned a great ceremony to introduce their replacement for Justice Ginsburg, chosen to undo everything Justice Ginsburg stood for. They held the ceremony in the open, in the White House Rose Garden, and observed inadequate precautions against COVID-19. Unmasked people sat closely and embraced each other after the ceremony. Then they went inside the White House to schmooze.

Tweet: Confusion To Our Enemies!

I want to see the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign take the best advantage of the confusion in the ranks of the Republicans. I don't want to see good sportsmanship. I don't want to see sympathy. 200,000 people are dead. I want to see Trump and the Republicans gone."

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

First Presidential Debate Notes: The Morning After

(Some quick notes, taken during the debate. There's lots of knowledgeable commentary out there, and even the New York Times got it, but here's a few things I found significant.)

The Candidates


Showed himself prepared and knowledgeable. In climate and energy, where I have specific personal knowledge, I found him to be well-informed. If there is mental decline, it is not obvious.


  • Did not denounce white supremacism
  • Gave a shout out to the Proud Boys “Stand back and stand by.”
  • Refused to say he would accept an electoral loss.
  • Flat-out lied about Hunter Biden (and many other things, but that was striking.)
  • And all but said he would announce a vaccine in October, and none is close to ready.
  • Also said he was going to make the lame duck hell.


Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station)

“This is how Trump treats America. Trump doesn't listen. Trump is a bully. Trump talks over the experts, the courts, congress, and every citizen. You're looking right at it. How he treats Biden is how he treats YOU.” – Jim Wright, Facebook

Carl Bergstrom

“If everyone had been announcing for months that I would be debating a severely brain-damaged honey badger, and came prepared for a debate against a statesman but had no idea what to do with badgers, yes—I deserve a 4/10.” – tweet

Kurt Eichenwald

“From what I can tell, Trump locked down the wife beater and white supremacist vote tonight. Meanwhile, Biden won the vote of every frightened woman who has seen that look of rage in a man's eyes, everyone who has faced down a bully, & every decent person who cares about racism.” – tweet

Mark Hamill

"That debate was the worst thing I've ever seen & I was in The Star Wars Holiday Special." – tweet

Famous old snark

“Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”–Scott D. Weitzenhoffer

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

I Do Not Get Conservatives: Decency and Decorum and the Hurly Burly

A recent never-Trumper statement on the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hoped for a time of return to “decency and decorum” in US politics. 

I seriously Do Not Get conservatives. When in history has US politics or government been decent or decorous? In the aughts when President Bush lied us into a war? In the 1990s when a man who is now seated as a Supreme Court justice helped make sure we know all about Presidential blowjobs? In the 1980s when the consumer banking system collapsed? In the 1970s when a Presidential candidate committed treason to extend a war, and so win an election. In the tumultuous 1960s? I can go back and back and, while I can find many better times, but I can find none that can be called decent and decorous without leaving out the often-violent conflicts of the past.

I call on conservatives to come to reality.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

COVID-19: Sensible Things

If we were at all unified, we could do these things:
  1. Make COVID-19 tests widely available.
  2. Ramp up production of necessary medical supplies.
  3. Regulate the distribution of supplies. Especially, control profiteering.
  4. Put everyone in masks.
  5. Release as many low-level prisoners as possible and space out the remaining people in the prison population. It is much better to have these people out and social distancing, than having the prisons become centers of infection.
  6. Issue temporary visas to as many asylum applicants as possible. Drop ICE enforcement for all but the most egregious offenders. Same reason as for the prisoners.
  7. Start a crash program of workplace infection management. Assemble the necessary teams of industrial hygienists and work out rules and practices for the control of infection in workplaces.
  8. For working drivers, start a system of infection control and support.
  9. etc., etc. etc.

George W. Bush's Daddy Issues and the Constitution

We ought to be paying more attention to how much power the Presidency has and how poor we are picking presidents. George W. Bush’s daddy issues led him to destabilize the world. This ought never have happened. It ought not to have been possible for so much power to have been vested in a single person and, if so much power is vested in a single person, it ought to  be the best person we could find, not a ne'er-do-well son seeking to show he's as good as his father.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Joseph Robinette Biden's Schmooze-fu

Now I realize that Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is a politician and schmoozing is part of the job. But this:

His last visit was eight years ago, too. Then there's this:

And this:

 This goes above and beyond basic "shake hands and kiss babies" politics.

Biden, it seems, is not merely a schmoozer. He is a schmooze-master. This, I think, is how he has survived for so long. Biden is a master of getting people to feel he is one of them and, since group identity is the basis for the votes for a plurality of the electorate, it may just win him the Presidency.

People just don't vote on policy or, rather, only a minority votes on policy. Running on personality rather than policy also has the enormous advantage that, unless one is a complete jerk, there are not five million people all ready to pounce on the slightest error, argue over whether or not your health care plan or foreign policy or teddy bear protection plan is quite perfect.

Me, I'd prefer to know what he will do in office. But even he doesn't know. So, all right, then. He is at least no malignant narcissist like Trump.

I'll take it.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Herd Immunity

I talked to a senior White House official earlier this evening about all of these people, hundreds of people sitting side by side in the audience, not wearing masks, and the senior White House official brushed off these concerns about the lack of social distancing at the president’s speech. And get this, this quote might blow you away, “Everybody is going to catch this thing eventually.” – Jim Acosta, CNN Chief WH Correspondent, link

I would guess the senior White House official is Stephen Miller, who would be a Nazi if only he were not Jewish. In any event, the Trump administration, probably all the way up to Donald Trump himself, subscribes to the eugenic theory of herd immunity, the idea that if one lets a disease run rampant through a population, it will die out and the surviving population will be a stronger one.

But this is fantasy. If it were so, all of the great plagues would have died out centuries ago and there would be no influenza, no measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio, bubonic plague. Over the centuries, Europeans developed limited resistance to all of these. Over the centuries, the surviving pathogens became less deadly to Europeans. But the diseases never died out. When the diseases arrived in the New World they ripped through a population with no immunity. The things that finally killed smallpox and polio were vaccination, quarantine, tracking, tracing – the public health measures that the Trump administration refuses to take against COVID-19.

Nazi Nazi Nazi.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Robots Discover Mental Vulnerability in Humanity

…And all of a sudden, Q is everywhere. 

For people who don't know, QAnon is an incredibly stupid and crazy conspiracy theory, and it has at least hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of adherents. The founders of the movement, even, are surprised by its reach. Ben Collins writes on Twitter: “These aren't just boomer memes and 4chan shitposters anymore. They're moms who were radicalized in wellness Facebook groups they've never even heard of.”

Friday, July 17, 2020

Green New Deal: Why Run the Numbers?

An Essay on Global Systems and Project Management

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I’ve been saying “run the numbers” for about a year now.

It occurred to me to wonder why no-one else is saying this. (This turns out not to be quite true. There is a group of futurists who do say it, but I had to go looking.) And then it occurred to me to wonder, why am I saying this?

Friday, July 10, 2020

Quick Thoughts on the Pardon of Roger Stone

The USA is Constitutionally unable to deal with Presidential malfeasance. Andrew Jackson got away with sending the Tsalagi on the Trail of Tears, Andrew Johnson got away pardoning the Confederate traitors, Hayes let the South build Jim Crow, Wilson introduced Jim Crow to the Federal bureaucracy, Teddy Roosevelt invaded the Philippines because he felt like it, Nixon got away with treason, Reagan got away with treason, and Trump is getting away with treason.

We need change. I haven't figured out what kind of change is needed, but we need change.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Policing, Policy, Murder, Racism, and Corruption

White Americans are shocked, shocked to discover that they are living in a police state.


On the 25th of May 2020, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered African-American George Floyd in cold blood while officers Tou Thou, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng looked on. The murder was recorded on video and posted to Twitter. The Minneapolis police department (MPD) then announced that Floyd had “died a short time” after a “medical incident.” The MPD police union president, Lt. Bob Kroll, said: “Now is not the time to rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers.”

Monday, June 29, 2020

“Let people die, that's the whole damn plan.”

Jim Wright, writing on Facebook on the Republican health care plan: “Let people die, that's the whole damn plan.”

The left has been saying this for decades. The fascist streak in US politics has taken over the Republican Party. Republicans have become fascists, fascists rape, torture, and kill people just to assert their authority. Orwell knew. Orwell's monstrous interrogator O'Brien said: “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston? […] By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation.”

Anyone who has walked the picket line outside a deadly workplace (and those have come back, even before COVID-19), fought the goons – they know.

Orwell, again, “You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature. […] The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness.”

So even though death and disease surround them, Republicans will deny death and disease and die themselves.

This is the malignant narcissism that Dr. Lee and her co-authors wrote about in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. Trump is the mirror of it, but he is not the source.

What do we do about it?

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Leviticus 13 and Deuteronomy 24: the Bible Supports Social Distancing

The Israelites knew plague.

Tzaarat,” whose diagnosis and management is described in Leviticus 13 and mentioned in ‪Deuteronomy 24:8, is the name of a group of skin diseases, and is usually translated as “leprosy” – Hansen’s disease – but it is not Hansen’s disease, which doesn’t seem to have actually been present in Israel in biblical times.

Rabbinical teaching sees tzaarat as a physical manifestation of spiritual failing, yet the Torah itself says nothing of this: tzaarat is the name for a physical disease for which Leviticus 13:1-46 give a protocol for diagnosis, treatment, and management. Leviticus 13:47-59 describes identifying tzaarat in cloth. Deuteronomy 24:8 advises victims to follow the instructions of the Levite healers. Perhaps the ancients thought that skin and cloth rotted in similar ways, or perhaps tzaarat was caused by a fungus which also affected fabric. Scientific medical commentators cannot identify tzaarat; it may not be a currently active disease, or it may be so rare as to be relegated to obscure papers and texts.

Leviticus 13 describes a protocol of isolation, examination, and monitoring for tzaarat. (One commentator even gives a flowchart of the protocol.) In extreme cases, when the disease would not heal, the victim was pronounced tame (טָמֵא, taw-MAY), unclean, and required to isolate themselves until they healed.

What has this to do with modern Christians? The Old Testament recognizes the existence of physical disease and the need for diagnosis and quarantine as appropriate: god did not prevent disease. When modern Christians say that god will protect them against COVID-19 and that there is no need for precautions, distancing, or quarantine, they are adopting an unbiblical stance. Deuteronomy advises victims to do the equivalent of following their doctor’s orders. When Christians say that they do not need to do so because god will protect them, or that quarantine is an infringement on their rights, you can answer them that the Israelites knew plague, and that their own laws told them to quarantine if necessary.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

In Which Andy Slavitt Is Radicalized and I Wonder About Pandemics and Health Care Systems

“There are two things the pandemic shows has to change about US health care: payments should be to doctors not insurance companies; and health insurance should be tied to existence not ” – @ASlavitt on Twitter
This is the Andy Slavitt, Obama's Medicare and Medicaid director ("Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services"), former UnitedHealth Group executive, former Goldman Sachs banker, former McKinsey consultant. And he is now practically endorsing Medicare for All.

And, I wonder… the British National Health Service was established in 1948. The Swiss health care system dates to the early 20th century. The German system dates to 1883. The French system dates to 1902. These Swiss, German, and French systems date to the times when tuberculosis was endemic. The British system dates to a time when the 1918 flu pandemic was still living memory.

I wonder how much of the creation of national health care systems was due to the influence of pandemics on the public, and on political leaders?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Let's Talk About International Relations! China Invades India Again

“Tensions between China and India over their Himalayan border have escalated, with China accused of moving thousands of troops into disputed territory and expanding a military airbase in the region.” – China and India move troops as border tensions escalate

I wonder if China isn't here taking advantage of the COVID-19 epidemic, which they claim to have controlled. If their troops are healthy while India's are sick, they are in a good position to press their advantage.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

What Would Governmental and Social Forms Adapted To Change Be Like?

At the end of my post “The End Of 20th Century Democratic Capitalism” I commented that “Our system is not equipped to handle revolutionary change, but the history of the USA has been a story of nothing but. It demands a quick, disciplined response. Instead, we have panic and proposals of revolutionary change and reaction” and it has been this way for over two centuries.

What would institutional forms that responded to change look like?

There is a paradox at the heart of that question: creating lasting institutions that respond to change means to conserve as well as change.

What do we want to conserve? What changes can we allow in order to conserve it?

And here this post ends, at least for the moment because I have no idea how to finish it. In US governmental forms, we have the Executive, which can react quickly, but is autocratic in form, and the Legislative, which is democratic in form and has operated too slowly since the foundation of the Union. What might we reasonably put in place of this system?

Libertarian Capitalism is Brittle

(A repost of part of my “The End Of 20th Century Democratic Capitalism” post. I wanted this piece separate to link to.)

The claim underlying libertarian capitalism: that it is the best way to reliably satisfy human needs and desires in a way which maximizes liberty, has failed. It cannot reliably feed, shelter, or care for a population and it has left the entire world to the mercy of the very wealthy.

During the build-up of libertarian capitalism, when it was accepted dogma, there were all these arguments made that, despite a lack of law and regulation, despite the whole thing working like a bucket of fiddler crabs, each one striving to climb to the top of the heap over the bodies of all the others, the goal of making a profit would result in a emergent stable and productive economic order with unprecedented personal liberties for all.

Oh, sweet naïve capitalists.

Just as grades in a grading system where the stakes are high and there is no discipline, self or imposed, go to the cheaters, profit went to those who cheated. Instead of a stable, productive economic order we got one in which the majority of actors did the minimum work for the maximum profit, and quality and safety be damned. The very wealthy determined that the best way to extract the most profit from workers was to move the work to places where workers had the worst negotiating positions. Profit-seeking business owners each specialized in what they felt they could make the most profit at, resulting in long supply chains. One shock: widespread systemic financial fraud, a change in trade policy by a major actor like the USA, a rise or fall of a major input like petroleum, an epidemic, a panic, and the whole thing breaks.

If this has failed – and it has – what do we put in its place?

Part of an answer has to be the creation of stable, well-funded social institutions which are not primarily based on making a profit. At the same time, checks and balances are required. Focusing all power in a single organization – a single branch of government – is a path to corruption.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Passivity or, Why Doesn't Anyone Do Anything?

In a neighborhood not far from my usual roost, there is a bar with a big old neon sign, proclaiming to one and all that it was once a country music bar. I stopped by one night, to find if it still was. Nope. Just a bar. People in the neighborhood used to go dancing there. What happened?

In Sioux Falls North Dakota, there is a meatpacking plant, owned by Smithfield. It is a coronavirus hotspot, yet people were working there until the CDC shut them down. Why was there no strike?

All over the USA, Amazon endangers people’s lives. Why are there no strikes, no protests. Why?

In Minnesota, Vice President Michael Pence is visited the Mayo Clinic and refused to wear a mask, in defiance of the hospital's “everyone masks” policy. No-one at the clinic is required to obey his orders yet they do not protest. Why?

On the other hand, tiny numbers of people are protesting against coronavirus quarantine measures, brandishing battlefield weapons. The police do nothing. The press reports this as though it were a major movement. Why?

It is like a disease, an epidemic of depression. Somehow, this people that once conquered a continent have turned passive. Only the worst are willing to act.


Monday, April 20, 2020

The End Of 20th Century Democratic Capitalism

The COVID-19 epidemic, by revealing the incompetence of most western Democratic governments, has marked the end of 20th century democratic capitalism. Broadly, the post-World War II deal between capitalists and socialists was “you stay loyal, allow the wealthy to be wealthy, and the wealthy will treat you right.” It was a pretty good deal, better than the brutal failures of revolutionary socialism. But the western system won and the capitalists, having decided they did not need the loyalty of a broad public anymore, started undermining it. It took a generation, but the wealth of the broad middle class of the 1960s was looted.

And now the virus. It has become clear that the democratic west is incompetent at picking and leaders and cannot not feed its people, shelter its people, or protect them from an epidemic.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Character, Capitalism, and Business Failure

(This little post has been sitting in my files for about half a year. It does not, I think, make any new points, but it still strikes me as worth publishing, if only as a matter of adding my small contribution to an ongoing movement)

Maureen Tkacik at The New Republic offers “Crash Course ,” an extensive article on the managerial failures at Boeing that led to two crashes and 346 deaths. Shameful, of course. Horrible, of course. There’s an economic lesson here. In capitalist economics it is assumed, usually without question, that businessmen will act at least in the interest of their business, of preserving their capital. But that is exactly what the Boeing executives and managers did not do. I don’t know how this will work out. It is possible that Boeing will simply go bankrupt, which would be a shame – all that knowledge, all that history, all those skills and so many jobs lost.

The Economic Lesson

Conservative economists consistently argue that businessmen (and it is almost always businessmen) will do the “rational” thing, conserving capital and making their business grow. But this is exactly what the Boeing executives did not do. For them, managing Boeing became an exercise in applying abstract theories of wealth creation rather than the concrete practices of engineering and making of aircraft, leading to the abysmal failure of the Boeing 737 Max. A second claim is made that not only are businessmen rational in this narrow sense, but also that most businessmen are brilliant, and will seek out or create the best business ideas. And, finally, conservative economists claim that rational businessmen will produce optimal (in some sense) businesses.

Conservative economists went on to imagine the economy as a network of these optimal business organizations, which would lead, though market processes, to an optimal economy. Keynes delivered the death blow to that idea that an economy would invariably converge to an optimum state, pointing out that the observed economy around him (his major macroeconomic work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money , was written during the depression of the 1930s) did not match the theoretical predictions of conservative economics. The kind of arrogance we saw from Boeing executives and managers, the belief that they knew better than people who had been doing the job for their entire careers, the arrogance that led Boeing to produce an unsafe aircraft itself destroys the idea that businessmen are in any sense the superior men (why is it always men?) of conservative fantasy. There is nothing that requires capitalists to act in the interests of, even, preserving their own capital and often they do not.

What are the policy implications?

Which leaves us where? If the lawless capitalism that conservative macroeconomists have been advocating since before their position was even called conservative, let alone libertarian, is not to govern our economy, what is? On the other side of the argument, there is a whole line of socialist thinking which argues for minutely detailed control of the economy. This, equally, has failed. I will mention some of the problems here as well.

Critique of Lawless Capitalism

  1. Governance is not an economic activity and attempts to make it so are inherently corrupting.
  2. Regulation is our friend. It prevents some of the worst outcomes possible in an unregulated economy. Without it, finance turns instantly corrupt.
  3. Sometimes government intervention is the only way to proceed. Some activities like providing health care cannot be done equitably and efficiently without either intense regulation of private enterprise or government provision of service.
  4. Monopoly and oligopoly are corrupting. The holders of such large “private” fortunes must be kept from buying the government they want.
  5. Letting a wealthy minority govern invariably leaves the vast majority impoverished.

Critique of the Planned Socialist Economy

  1. It is corrupt. This is not only so in Communist countries, but also within large businesses and the military. There is always, in planned economies, an underground economy of scroungers and their customers.
  2. It is totalitarian: it makes every interaction which might even possibly be economic subject to the intervention of the state.
  3. It is inefficient, requiring the creation of a vast bureaucracy which promptly proceeds to work to maintain and expand itself.
  4. It is unnecessarily conservative, leaving one dealing with the bureaucracy to get permission to do anything new. This is the experience of anyone dealing with a complex grant application or one of the old European government telecommunication monopolies, which kept European telecommunications back for many years.
  5. All attempts to produce minutely planned civilian economies have failed.


The separation of governance and day-to-day economic activity is a valuable check on both economic and government overreach.

Implementing Policy

I return, finally, to something that political conservatives often advocate when they are not shilling for vast wealth and entrenched privilege: attention to the character of people in positions of both governmental and economic power. An economy where most of the actors are grifters will produce little of value. A government where most officials are corrupt will extort the wealth of the vast majority and produce tyranny.

The bulk of this essay was written before the COVID-19 pandemic, which underscores the above. Somehow we must begin to pick officials of good character, or all our theorizing will be in vain.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Death Camps: COVID-19 In Prisons and Immigration Detention Centers

I have here an article from Marcia Brown on “COVID-19 in Our Jails, Prisons, and ICE Detention Centers.” What the article says is distressing but not at all surprising:
Even in a state like Ohio, which has taken proactive measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, the disease is quickly sweeping through congregant environments such as jails and prisons. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has only announced tentative steps to reduce jail and prison populations. Advocates say it’s not enough. Likewise, in correctional facilities across the country, such as Rikers Island, Cook County jails in Chicago, and the Washington, D.C. jail, the virus is wreaking havoc. NPR’s Ryan Lucas reported that 30 facilities in the Bureau of Prisons system have confirmed cases. But for some states, this spread isn’t truly tracked because they still don’t have enough tests.
Meanwhile, ICE detention is a worsening nightmare. That was the headline on a story I did two weeks ago and it continues to be true. ICE detainees are civil detainees, so ICE has full discretion to release them. But immigrant rights groups have been forced to sue to secure these releases. County jails often hold ICE detainees, and my reporting shows that they are often ill-prepared. ICE’s unchanged protocols, the ACLU’s Eunice Cho told me, are actually making the spread worse. Not to mention that ICE is still deporting people and adopting a ‘business as usual’ attitude. Meanwhile, the fight to close immigration courts rages on—spearheaded in part by the National Immigration Judges Association, the judges’ union and immigration activists. Some courts have closed after a staff member tests positive, only to reopen a few days later.
The prisons and the immigrant detention centers have become centers of COVID-19 infection, just like ships.  The only reasonable things to do is release as many non-dangerous prisoners as possible and space out the remaining ones, as many asylum-seekers as quickly as possible, and stop detaining undocumented aliens. This will reduce the spread of COVID-19, not only in the prisons and detention centers, but throughout their staffs and the general population.

And, of course, crickets. The Trump administration justifies its policies in part by claiming a threat from immigrants; it can scarcely reverse itself now.

So. The prisons and immigration detention centers have now turned into death camps. It is happening here.

(Added) And this was foreseen.
The Covid-19 outbreaks now surging through many of the nation’s prisons and jails weren’t just predictable, they were predicted. And not just by the prisoners themselves and their family members in increasingly desperate tones over the past month but also by some sheriffs and jailers and corrections officials and their union representatives. And not just by those behind bars but by lawyers and doctors and criminal justice advocates and professors, hundreds of them, in every nook and cranny of the country, all of whom understood how dangerous and deadly the pandemic would be once it found its way into cramped, dirty, overcrowded cells.

Nazi nazi nazi

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Hitler Hitler Trump

It was the day the administration was adding Ireland and the United Kingdom to its travel restrictions, and Trump wanted to understand why talk of “herd immunity” — allowing the coronavirus to sweep a nation largely unchecked, with the belief that those who survived would then be immune — was such a bad idea.

“Why don’t we let this wash over the country?” Trump asked, according to two people familiar with his comments, a question other administration officials say he has raised repeatedly in the Oval Office.

Fauci initially seemed confused by the term “wash over” but became alarmed once he understood what Trump was asking.

“Mr. President, many people would die,” Fauci said.

The president said he understood but since then has repeatedly made clear he wants to reopen things soon — although significant roadblocks remain. – Washington Post, April 11, 2020, “Trump administration has many task forces — but still no plan for beating covid-19.”
Are Nazi comparisons OK now?

Thursday, April 9, 2020

To A Socialist, On Supporting Biden

(Written in response to a socialist who does not want to vote for Biden. Removed from its original forum as inappropriate for that location.)

Your back is against the wall when it is literally against the wall, when they start killing you to silence you. Before then, you have choices.

In 1932, the German left could have unified against the Nazis and outvoted them. But the Communists (KPD) 1932 thought they could outwait Hitler and the Social Democrats (SPD) didn't want to form a coalition with the KPD. The very first antifa, Antifaschistische Aktion, was founded as a unified response to the Nazis. It did not gain enough support to be effective.

Sanders, like any old socialist, is aware of this history. This is why he advocates staking out the strongest possible left position and “Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous President in modern American history and we will fight to elect strong progressives at every level of government from Congress to the school board.”

No, I do not love Joe Biden. No, I do not like his record. Yes, he is still 1,000 times better than Trump. Joe Biden wouldn't have dismantled Obama's epidemic response infrastructure response. Nor would have have kidnapped children on the southern border. Nor defended Nazis as "very fine people."

I don't understand the thinking here. There is a clear lesser, much lesser, evil than the one that is endangering your lives. Why not choose it?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Sanders Concedes

“I will stay on the ballot in all the main states and will continue to gather ballots while Vice President Biden will be the nominee. We must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party's platform and other functions. Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous President in modern American history and we will fight to elect strong progressives at every level of government from Congress to the school board.” – Sen. Bernard Sanders, video.

To Sanders supporters who are tempted to sit this one out: it is time for a strategic retreat, not a suicidal last charge. Besides, do you really want to find out who Trump will pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

If you still cannot bring yourself to vote for Biden, pick a Senate campaign you can support, or just a local politician. As Sanders reminds us, there are plenty of places to fight for progressive values.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I wish people would stop expecting Trump to straighten up and fly right and work on stopping his depredations

In the latest outrage of the Trump administration, “President Trump has removed the chairman of the federal panel Congress created to oversee his administration's management of the $2 trillion stimulus package.” The removed inspector was Glenn Fine, who has been an inspector general since 1999. He has been replaced with Trump appointee Sean O’Donnell.

I wish people would stop expecting Trump to straighten up and fly right and work on stopping his depredations.

Taney Court II: In Wisconsin, Yet Again the Law is the Loser

The US Supreme Court handed down a decision which blocks the extension of the absentee ballot deadline in today's Wisconsin election. In conjunction with the decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which refused to allow the rescheduling of the election, the result is that voters must turn out physically and expose themselves to COVID-19 or accept that the right-wing crank judge Daniel Kelly remain on the state's Supreme Court.

As @NeinQuarterly observes: “Give me liberty. Or give me death. Or, heck, just come to Wisconsin. Where on election day you can have both.”

Saturday, April 4, 2020

They Intend To Wreck The US Health Care System And Then Ration Health Care

We now have multiple reports that US Customs is confiscating shipments of medical personal protective equipment and sequestering them. Reportedly masks en route to other countries have been confiscated, prompting protests. There is a huge amount of profiteering going and, and still states have to beg for supplies. To get around this, Massachusetts more-or-less smuggled a shipment of masks into the state. People of color are dying at higher rates than white people due to poorer deliver of medical care. Meanwhile, the Administration continues to press its meritless lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. If it succeeds tens of millions will lose access to health care

Without protective equipment health care systems will be hit, as doctors, nurses, and support personnel fall ill and die. This will create further chaos in the system. In the Republican-dominated states, where medical personnel will likely be given access to protective equipment by our political leaders, it will be like a droplet in the sea. Those states took precautions too late, and the system will be overwhelmed by the numbers of the sick.

Someone, several someones, somewhere, has a vision of a purified America without black or brown people, without weakness or illness and so they intend to wreck the US health care system and then ration health care. This is the culmination of a 75-year program of rationing health care in the USA. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a modest limited reversal of this program and look how much opposition has been raised to it!

Friday, April 3, 2020

CORRUPTION! and COVID-19: My Snark of the Day

George Takei: “Jared Kushner isn’t qualified to run a lemonade stand, let alone tell governors how to manage critical supply chains.”

Me: “Competent to hold the bag, though, while Mnuchin fills it.” - Tweet

And I don't know if it's actually those two, though it is likely enough. But that's what's happening; profiteering from withholding life-preserving medical equipment from COVID-19 patients. See, for instance, Josh Marshall to this point.

Elizabeth Warren, where are you when we need you?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

I Cough on Jared Kushner

I see so much written as though the shortage of tests and ventilators was a natural disaster, something that just happened. This is not true. This deadly failure is the result of inaction by Donald Trump and his criminal family.

Whenever we hear of triage, of patients denied care because of a lack of ventilators, of doctors and nurses sick because they lack gloves and masks and gowns, remember: This is the work of Donald Trump and his family.

Towards a New Democratic Vision

Since Karl Marx, socialism or progressivism or whatever you want to call it has focused on the material conditions of life. There is no doubt that improving these conditions improve lives. That has not persuaded the public to be progressive. Against all evidence, progressives keep thinking that if they make the reasonable case, people will believe. Something else is necessary; we cannot make philosophers of all the world.

On the one hand, according to Converse’s work (and I don’t think matters have changed much since he first published in 1962) the largest plurality makes its voting decisions based on what he called “group identification” and what we now call representation, it is a minority, perhaps 10-15%, that are even aware of policy. Yet any good or bad we get from government comes from policy and from the conduct and character of the people who govern. The largest group votes based on nothing that affects their lives and they get unpredictable results.

Ideally, democracy would create a bridge between the two; the candidate you identify with, that feel you could have a beer with or would like to have in your sewing circle should also be, or be able to pick, the people whose policies will be good for you. In practice, we get affinity scammers: Reagan and Trump and the like, but also various Democratic leaders, though they are less toxic.

In the end, voting for people you identify with is nothing more than voting for a warped mirror of yourself, a kind of self-regard. And every now and again, a great leader slips through the haze of self-regard, but it’s not common.

A successful progressive movement, if such a thing ever comes to pass, would combine the sense that the various leaders and elected officials were people you could trust with the choice of people of good character who could make good policy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Stimulus Bill

There is a bill. Reports are it’s a big few strings attached bill for the richest corporations (6 trillion), loans for small business, a too-small one time payment for individuals. David Dayen is apoplectic.

To her credit, Warren managed to get something for individuals, and reportedly Sanders managed to get gig economy workers included, but the overall deal stinks.

Meantime, we are still on track for genocide in the red states.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Premonition of Genocide

Me writing nearly three years ago (edited, the original was about the last Republican attempt at health care “reform”): “This is a deliberate part of a program of culling the unfit and purifying the race. Someone, several someones, somewhere, has a vision of a purified American with women enslaved and without black or brown people, without weakness or illness.” – link

Call this what it is: a genocidal program.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Republican Republican Republican Nazi Nazi Nazi

It seems that Trump and the Republicans intend to do as little as possible about the epidemic and its economic impacts. If this goes as badly as seems likely, the Republican Party is going to go down in history beside the Nazis.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Plaguing the Senate: Things Just Got Real

(This is an update of my 1,000 Plagues on the Senate post; refer to the original for the assumptions used.)

So I reran my model with a current list of Senators.

(I didn't include the frequency numbers this time because I can't figure a simple way to insert them with Excel.)

So, a bit different. The chance that no Senators die is up to 13%, which is bad odds; almost 9 in 10 for at least one death. The chance of one to three Senators dying is now 73%, roughly 3 in 4.

This is about to get real. Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for SARS-nCoV-2. He is thought to have been exposed on March 7ᵗʰ and his test results came back today, March 22ⁿᵈ. He did not self-quarantine and could easily have been contagious for over a week. It is likely that Sen. Paul has exposed the entire Senate to SARS-nCoV-2.

There is a bitter, bitter late Isaac Asimov story, “The Winnowing,” about a scientist who, threatened by some world government council, devises a poison that would reduce the world's population by randomly killing some percentage of the public. Instead, he uses it first on that council, poisoning himself as well, and saying, this was what you wanted, this is what you asked for – wasn't it? And so, here we are.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

COVID-19: 1,000 Plagues on the Senate

(It turns out the list of Senators I used was out of date, so here is an updated version.)

So I got to wondering just how many Senators, that body of old mostly men, could die of COVID-19.

So, I simulated a plague on the Senate. The ages of Senators are public information. I assumed a 50% infection rate and use the Italian death-rate-by-age statistics and for each Senator I calculated a probability of death. Since this is simulation, I could plague the Senate over and over. In each plague, for each Senator, I took the probability of death, a number between zero and one. I then had my computer pick a random number between zero and one. If it was below the probability of death, I said that that Senator had died. I did this for each Senator, then I did it over and over for each plague. I could then count how many Senators died in each plague, and this chart summarizes the result: most likely between one and three. The odds of none dying were quite low – 7% – and the odds of more dying were 23%.

Critique: my editor argues that the infection rate would be higher. The age brackets I had were ten years wide, assigning the same probably of death to a 70-year-old as to a 79-year-old. But the data we have is not precise and this is probably as good an estimate as any. 

How will the Senate react if we see those deaths? How will Donald Trump and Mike Pence react?

In Praise of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Regardless of what I think of the man and his record (not much) he is most likely going to be the Democratic Presidential nominee for 2020. So here are some of his positives.

I believe Joseph Biden will keep his oath to uphold the Constitution.


  • Biden would have acted wholeheartedly against the coronavirus epidemic.
  • He will appoint competent people to his cabinet.
  • He will appoint an honest competent jurist as his Attorney General.
  • He will not have white supremacists as advisors.
  • His Supreme Court appointments will be honest and competent. Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be able to retire when she wants.
  • He will appoint honest competent justices to the Federal Courts.
  • He has repudiated his support for the Hyde Amendment. He has made promises to adopt parts of Warren's bankruptcy proposals and Sanders education proposals; a big shift for him. These are campaign-year conversions. But with Warren and Sanders in the Senate, we may be able to make him keep these promises.

In Foreign Policy

  • Biden will work to preserve US international alliances.
  • Biden would never have abandoned the Kurds in the Middle East
  • He won't be making concessions to North Korea.
  • He won't be holding secret meetings with Vladimir Putin. 


Indications are that Democratic voters will turn out for Biden – primary voters overwhelmingly have. He is popular with many African-Americans. He is less so with women, but if he chooses Kamala Harris as his running mate he may well be unbeatable; Harris may even become the first woman to be President.

So, I give you – Joseph Biden!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Considering Biden

The man has skated for years under the protection of the Mediocre White Guy Full Employment Act. This is so awful. Not surprising, but it is still  awful. The man is racist, sexist, and classist, and is going to give away the store, if he even wins.

So here's a list of what he has done so far, and why I say he is racist, sexist, and classist:
  • He voted for the Hyde Amendment for decades, and changed his mind just for this campaign.
  • Anita Hill
  • The incredibly punitive and racist Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. 
  • The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.
When he reaches across the aisle as he has promised to do, what does he have left to give to the Republicans? More tax cuts? Medicare and Social Security cuts? More losses to women’s rights? Will he close the concentration camps?

Michael Bloomberg can relax; his tax cuts are safe with Biden. All the corruption issues are going to be let go and people will go around asking “Was this what we voted for?”

Warren is not a likely VP; she’s been Biden’s opponent for decades and she’d have to give up on ideals she’d pursued for decades to back Biden. I think the VP pick almost has to be a woman, and a woman of color would be a better choice. Harris is likely VP because of her skin color and sex, and because she let the banks off in California.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Sex of the Revolution

On the eve of 14 Democratic primary elections
We have the big money (Bloomberg), the voice of financial services (Biden), the democratic socialist (Sanders), and the woman's candidate (Warren) who is also a social democrat. Biden and Bloomberg have both been sexist in their careers. Sanders has been a decent ally of women, but his main focus has always been his socialism. And Warren, who is a social democrat by choice and a feminist by necessity.
Warren is being asked to step aside by both the Wall Street Democrats and the Sanders faction. The Wall Street faction is simply sexist. The Sanders faction believes she should take one for the team.
My mind goes back to the hippie girl who said in frustration, “The only place we women have in this revolution is on our backs.” My mind goes back to figures like Jenny Marx and Mary Burns, socialist leaders, both less known than their famous lovers (Burns was Engels long-time paramour and has been almost erased from history.) My mind goes back to the geisha who helped make the Meiji Restoration in Japan and were then outlawed by the government they helped bring to power. My mind goes back to Sybil Ludington, who rode twice the distance Paul Revere did to warn the colonial militia that attack was imminent and yet is almost forgotten.
Women help make the revolution, are necessary to the revolution, and then are thrown under the bus after the revolution.
Does anyone believe a victory for any of these men will be a victory for women? Certainly not Biden or Bloomberg. Sanders is in some ways very good for women – for one thing, he is adamantly pro-choice – but he would be leading the government and will have to make compromises.
I want Warren to stay in the running as long as she thinks appropriate. I want her to get a bunch of votes tomorrow. I want her to stick.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Trump:Russia = Bloomberg:China!

In each of the past two years, his company (Bloomberg LP) has hosted a conference highlighting China’s growing and indispensable role in the new world economy, and last year, the gathering was held in Beijing. Bloomberg has defended the Chinese Communist Party as quasi-democratic (“they listen to the public”) and when asked whether President Xi Jinping is a dictator, answered, “No, he has a constituency to answer to.” –  Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, “Why Bloomberg Can’t Beat Trump.”
Does every dictator on the planet want to buy our government?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Trump:Russia = Bloomberg:China?

My story shows the lengths that the Bloomberg machine will go to in order to avoid offending Beijing. Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg LP, is so dependent on the vast China market for its business that its lawyers threatened to devastate my family financially if I didn’t sign an NDA silencing me about how Bloomberg News killed a story critical of Chinese Communist Party leaders. – Dr. Leta Hong Fincher, The Intercept, When Bloomberg News’s Reporting on China Was Challenged, Bloomberg Tried to Ruin Me for Speaking Out, February 18 2020.
Caution: this is The Intercept and Snowden's lawyers are involved. But the author is taking considerable risk in publishing this, and therefore I think it is probably true.