Best If Argued By: Socialism Edition

Socialism is the reason that Venezuela is a hellbasket? Capitalism caused the 2008 recession? Maybe if the groundhog saw it shadow, it’s sixty more years of arguing about Socialism/Communism/Capitalism, and if the groundhog did a Fortnite dance, moving on to something useful is just around the corner.

Socialism versus Capitalism was best-if-argued-by 1969, at the latest.

Some people never grow out of the phase of thought that dictates that “my -ism is better than your -ism,” failing to recognize the inherent framework-as-map-is-not-the-territory-reality of the thing.

If you’re socialist, but you think that people aren’t going to want a medium of exchange and therefore some level of commerce, shame on you. If you’re a wallet-toting capitalist, but you believe that victims should pay jails to hold their assailants, I nod and smile and look for the nearest exit.

Socialism, writ-large, is a non-starter for the USA. That’s not the point. Unfettered capitalism is also a non-starter. But cries of “Socialism!” are worthless. They avoid the policy discussion.

We keep having the same silly arguments that have no impact on anything. They are often stand-ins for the real arguments we should be having (anybody whose interacted with humans should recognize that phenomena). Arguments about tax rates, improving regulation while lowering regulatory burdens, about different structures that hold corporations accountable through insurance requirements rather than per-se regulation.

Of course, the anti-tax folks don’t want to have a reasoned argument about tax rates. They want to kill the discussion with a cliche reference to socialism. But the rest of the world doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring reality in favor of a soundbite. The same goes for climate issues, where the GOP has no policy, hasn’t begun to formulate a policy, and rejects the very existence of climate policy.

The pattern is there, of one party either adopting a wholly inadequate solution or simply ignoring the problem. Immigration is the same thing. Until there’s a spaceship-style airlock on the southern border, passing immigration reform is impossible for the GOP. Good luck with that.

And that’s the problem with American politics. The conservatives still think we’re having an argument about these things. The liberals know we’re past that, and we’re on to finding the right policy to address the issues. Climate, healthcare, taxes, paid family leave, take your pick. Society has recognized the need, but one party is still back at the starting line arguing about whether the go-shot has been fired.

Sure, you can bait a liberal into arguing about capitalism versus socialism, but if you ask them about an actual policy position, they won’t start with, “Socialism dictates the correct choice is …” They aren’t dyed-in-the-wool about it. They want a better society, not one that adheres to some fantasy government league regime. They aren’t beholden to the meta-game. They just want sick people to get better, poor people to have a fair shake, and for the oceans not to engulf all of Florida.

Accusations in a Vacuum

Update: a back-room agreement seems to have been made by Jeff Flake to see at least some investigation done by the FBI. We’ll see if that happens, but it would be a step in the right direction even if it is not definitive.

The failure of the White House to have the FBI to investigate the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, alongside his own failure to publicly call for said investigation, and the failure of the GOP to call for an investigation, means I have no choice but to believe the accusations. They are credible based on the available evidence, and any evidence that could have impugned them is left ungathered.

There is sufficient evidence that Judge Kavanaugh lacks credibility:

  1. Unexplained discrepancies between earlier testimony and the limited documents released on his record from his time working in the government under the Starr investigation, in the Bush administration, and regarding his correspondence or other knowledge of Judge Alex Kozinski’s abuses.
  2. A lack of specificity regarding his debts.
  3. His lack of candor in the Fox News interview regarding his high school behavior.
  4. His failure to call for an investigation that could plausibly clear his name.
  5. His lack of candor in the hearings on Thursday.
  6. His indulgence in right-wing conspiracies regarding the process.

Meanwhile, the only accuser given the chance to testify, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, has had a consistent recollection of the incident going on some six years. She called for the FBI to investigate. There is no offered evidence that impeaches her telling.

Given the gravity of the alleged behavior, high school or not, it is damning if true. But we don’t have the luxury of deciding truth. We have to choose who we believe. In a natural vacuum, you might believe Ford or Kavanaugh. But we have here an artificial vacuum, created by the reluctance of the GOP, including Kavanaugh himself and the man who nominated him, Mr. Trump, to have the matter professionally investigated by the FBI. That artifice must weigh heavily against Kavanaugh.

The GOP in the Senate is now on trial. If they vote to consent to his appointment with the bad process, they will thereby sign a statement of their own incompetence at governing. They will disqualify themselves from the claim to legitimacy that is vital to the functioning of a democratic republic. All of this is a result not of Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged crimes, but of the very real process failures at the hands of the Trump administration and the Senate GOP.

There are sufficient leads for an FBI investigation to be conducted, even at this late date. They might find exculpatory evidence. They might find corroborating witnesses or facts. They might decide to have Mark Judge testify. The GOP’s failure to have the matter investigated requires a jaded eye fall on Kavanaugh’s rebuttal testimony. He is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court purely due to the process failures here.

If the president chooses, withdraw and renominate him with an FBI background check that encompasses these allegations. But, where we are today, any Senator worth eir salt will vote against Kavanaugh unless and until the public facts are improved. The damage of doing otherwise is a major blow to the integrity of our institutions.

2018 midterms are in five weeks.

2⁵ (2⁶ – 1)

Tomorrow marks the beginning of 2017. So, final headlines of 2016.

Netanyahu’s on First?

President Obama continues to turn heads with foreign policy moves, but an inside source from the Trump transition team has admitted that these actions were taken to benefit the next president. It seems that the president-elect does not know “shit about dick,” according to a self-described “bigly official” of the transition.

In order to force the president-elect to learn the conflicts, Obama has undertaken several international shake-ups, so that Trump can see all the moving parts in real time. Among Trump’s questions were, “I thought Reagan killed the Soviets back in the 1980s, but they just changed their name?” and “If it means ‘City of Peace’ then why are they fighting over it?”

Putin’s Mама Wore Combat Boots, and Now You Can, Too

In a bid to match the gaudy inelegance of Trump’s own family businesses, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s will put out a line of smart, fashionable combat dress uniforms and equipment inspired by his dear мама’s own personal style. It should hit stores by early next winter.

Russian fashion critics are expected to rave over the new line, which they will all be forced to wear.

Republicans Unveil Sanctions… Against Themselves!

The House Republicans are moving ahead with a package of sanctions they say will restrain not just Vladimir Putin, but also American lawmakers who will be unable to help themselves from joining a Trump administration’s support for the brutal man.

One nameless Republican said: “When another country screws with us, we just do this. It’s tradition. So we felt it only appropriate to put the screws on ourselves to prevent the United States from being usurped.” Sanctions include the confiscation of their dog whistles, at least one bill that would force all churches to teach the controversy of God, and a requirement that all members do at least one fundraiser while dressed as clowns.

Building a Wall

The Trump transition revealed they will pay for the wall they will seek to build by moving all American business to Mexico and issuing a new tariff on imports. The move, while controversial among economists, will “probably raise enough money,” said Trump’s personal trainer (who is expected to play a key role in the new administration).

In related news, oil prices jumped to $10K BBL when it was revealed that everybody would have to make the commute to their new offices in Mexico. Commute times will range from minutes for those living near the border to more than a few days for those coming from Alaska and Maine. Oil prices sank back to $50 BBL after traders realized the logical contradiction of building a wall and then trying to drive through it. One trader is quoted as saying, “Good golly, I thought I was rich and then there’s that wall, I mean, we need to tear that sucker down as soon as it’s built so that it doesn’t affect us economically when we can’t get to our jobs in Mexico.”

Have a nice new year.

A Burning Flag

Zzzt, foomp.

The PGOTUS has proclaimed: flag burners, all tens of yous, should spend a year in jail or hand in your ‘Merica Card at the nearest church! It hath proclaimed that millions of illegal immigrants voted against it! And the PGOTUS also “was very impressed!” by Gen. David Petraeus. It was, no doubt, also impressed by Mitt Romney joining it for dinner. Its ego grows by the day.

How should we react when the PGOTUS says crazy things? When it does crazy things? Should we be afraid? Should we donate the Jill Stein and hope for a miracle? Flee? Burn the flag?

The PGOTUS doesn’t understand the role of executive. All it understands is reproach and praise. Every single thing in its world is either the best or the pits. The PGOTUS lives inside of a monochromatic prison of its own design—the best monochromatic prison: gold on gold with gold trimming.

The role of the executive is to make the best out of what we have got, and to push for better. The role of the executive is to understand the threats and opportunities our nation faces, and to meet them. Flag burning is not a threat. Factless visions of illegal voting, dreamed up by deluded minds, are not a threat.

But PGOTUS does not care. PGOTUS looks out on a world it does not know from a place of deep confusion. It suffers from a disease that science has never studied thanks to the distorted profit motive of the medical fields. It suffers alone, afraid.

The PGOTUS will say more crazy things. “If I had a dollar for every time I ripped someone off, I’d have exactly the amount of money I have!” is what it will say. The people who like the PGOTUS will cheer. They are hypnotized by PGOTUS. They are the people of OZ, goldmongers that believe only in the allure of that 79-proton element. The PGOTUS has the gold, so the PGOTUS must be of divinity, they believe.

The PGOTUS will give tax breaks and other doodads to companies that have, in the recent past, sold military secrets to China (and admitted it in a court of law!), despite all its rhetoric about being tough on companies moving out, being tough on China, being strong on military. The PGOTUS is not equipped to handle the task ahead.

The PGOTUS will teach corporations to keep throwing tantrums so they get even more preferential treatment at the expense of the citizenry. And after they get what they want, they can always make the moves anyway, without consequence. The PGOTUS will gladly see taxpayers pay Tuesday for its political hamburger today.

The PGOTUS is currently on an apology tour, showing everybody what a sorry thing it is. Who gives a fuck about saving the flag when lives are at stake and the PGOTUS is too dim to see it. We can always make more flags, but the pending destruction will take a lot longer to mend.

Conspiracies Abound

Given the role that fake news is playing in the modern political landscape, I’ll quote one of Senator Watson’s old go-tos: “If you can’t lick ’em, jine ’em.”

  1. Donald Trump was turned into a lobotomized sex-slave by Melania, who is really pulling the strings.
  2. Steve Bannon never worked for Breitbart, and in fact, never existed. They just picked the name out of the obits, and when Trump fired his previous campaign chief, they ran out on the street and grabbed the guy who’s now pretending to be Bannon. The man pretending to be Steve Bannon is actually a tourist from the heartland (though, he is, in fact, a big league racist asshole).
  3. Senator Jeff Sessions doesn’t really believe the crazy stuff he says.
  4. During the inauguration, Trump will be taking the oath of office on a book he’s never read. [Whoops, looks like a truth slipped through the cracks!]
  5. Trump Tower is built on an ancient Native American graveyard, and they’re finally having their revenge.
  6. The voting machines were hacked… by themselves. Machines have already become aware and are using Trump as a distraction to strike the first blow in the war between man and the machines.
  7. The Russians really did want Trump to win the election, but not for policy reasons: due to the overcompetence of Russian agitprop programmes, all Russians secretly believe that America doesn’t exist and therefore all news of the USA is just a melodrama for their benefit.
  8. Donald J. Trump has up to a 5% chance of having a heart attack over the next decade.
  9. The Trump administration will not be plagued by repeatedly having to return to the Senate to confirm new cabinet members after repeated resignations of officials.
  10. Trump actually believes in global warming, but he thinks it’s just the summer. He believes scientists want us to stop having summer, and that’s why he’s against renewable power.
  11. Trump plans to reduce the deficit by having fast food companies sponsor and cater all state dinners. (The latter is true, but he plans to increase the deficit.)
  12. There is a drug that is strong enough to make you stop worrying about the potential damage coming.
  13. Trump will eliminate all the czars that Republicans were so pissed about a couple of years ago. He’s replacing them with warlords.
  14. Republicans will commit mass-suicide upon the introduction of an abortion gun to the market—a gun that’s specialized to only perform abortions.
  15. The Trump administration won’t just swap one form of trade-protectionism/crony capitalism for another.