Even the rich don’t want the tax cuts, and I’m not just talking about that good ole, salt-of-the-earth Omaha billionaire Warren Buffet, who has been preaching against tax cuts (and wealth inequaliy) for at least a decade or so. Now other billionaires are “coming out.” Eric Schoenberg is one of them.
“I pay a lower tax rate than you do, which is startling”
“To illustrate this problem, Schoenberg posted portions of his returns online. He wanted to show how much he, a very wealthy person, benefits from our system. He has always benefited from low taxation on his investment income, for instance.” From Meet The New Class Traitors Read more
Health care is deeper and wider than most of us probably realize. That came home to me after reading a fantastic article on single-payer healthcare from Jacobin, one of my faves. It’s also a concise and critical review of the Bernie Sanders single-payer plan. Single-payer is shaping up to be the major political game-changer in the coming years. All of the major potential Democratic Presidential candidates have already lined up behind Bernie on single-payer. So, I’m passing this fine article along to my readers.
At the core of the problem is a basic fact: it’s not profitable to insure people who are sick or likely to get sick.
The dominant chimp is a pretty good way to think about how Trump rules, one of the better ways, I’d say. Here’s an excerpt from a very well-written article on Trump, written by Dan P McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University:
“Our expectation that social status can be seized through physical power and threat – that the strongest, biggest and boldest may indeed lord it over the rest of us – is very old, awesomely intuitive, and deeply ingrained. Social psychologists today distinguish between the social dominance form of human leadership, on the one hand, and leadership through prestige on the other. Both are grounded in human evolution, but the prestige form is younger, tracing back a mere million years or so to the time when our hominid ancestors began to form culture…”
Source: It’s an alpha male thing: what dominant chimpanzees and Donald Trump have in common | US news | The Guardian
The kinds of violence that we are seeing in protests, on campuses and in Charlottesville will likely only continue to escalate. I’m surprised that it hasn’t been worse, frankly, but I’m grateful that we’ve been able to hold it together — but the kinds of violence we are seeing are symptoms of a social sickness, and hence the answer is not to condemn the violence itself, despite how affirming it may feel. President Trump does what he always does: heap as much blame for the violence on liberals and the left as is humanly possible (hence “violence on both sides”). The left justifies itself and condemns fascist violence. But condemning violence completely misses the point of what is happening in our society. Read more
One of the things that has gotten a lot of press lately is how Evangelical leaders who are a part of Trump’s informal faith advisory council have stuck with their man, even after Trump’s Charlottesville fiasco.
Even after Trump wavered on his condemnation of white supremacy in his recent comments on Charlottesville — indicting “both sides,” as though the left shared just as much blame as neo-NAZI’s — evangelical leaders continue to stand by Trump. Even after a wave of prominent CEOs defected from one of Trump’s advisory groups and even after every last soul resigned from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, prominent evangelical leaders continue to ring out their support, which has come most ardently (and most infamously) from Jerry Falwell, Jr. who took to Twitter to praise Trump in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s Charlottesville speech.
The most obvious question: Why?
Given how at-odds Trump is with the basic tenants of morality and spirituality as taught by Jesus, how can evangelicals remain so steadfast in their support for Trump?
I found this at The David Pakman Show, via Facebook, but dude’s got a YouTube channel. The above vid is a good breakdown of the different forms of socialism and what socialist politics looks like in practice. As a socialist, myself, I find that most anti-socialism arguments against socialism are really not arguments at all. They rarely go very far beyond the cliche that “socialism has never worked!” or “socialism fails every time it’s tried!” But within the vast and growing void of capitalism’s economic and spiritual failures, a growing number of Americans are getting educated, especially the young, who are inheriting the worst of capitalism’s abuses, a shit show of social breakdowns and compromised and corrupted social institutions.
Geez. That’s invasive. Yo, I thought the Republicans were the party of small government! Of individual rights! Let a man own a basement full of guns, but he can’t have a gram of weed? I think Jefferson is not so much rolling over in his grave as thinking, “the fuck, man?!”
But I jest.
Let’s put Republican hypocrisy aside for a moment, because there’s something even more ridiculous to what the debunked Trump administration is doing. This is what the 70-year-old Jeff Sessions (Trump’s Attorney General) says about the marijuana crackdown he’s so anxious to initiate:
“Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities…”
“Reducing violent crime”? If you want to reduce violent crime, dude, like, don’t take weed off the market. Alcohol, for example, leads to far more violence than weed, which from my experience only gives you the munchies, a good night’s sleep, and makes you feel slow and stoney…and may more or may not be the solution to writer’s block. 😉
Dear Jeff Sessions,
Dude, like, chill. Try smoking a bowl and watching the Big Lebowski. Then let’s talk about the link between marijuana and violent crime. Maybe we can save a few government bucks and/or use it for something that matters.
“I grew up playing in the woods, floating coolers of beer down a river, shooting off fireworks, just generally raising hell, all that kind of stuff,” said Neely. “Things most people would consider a part of redneck culture. We’re trying to acknowledge the ways we’ve made mistakes and bought into white supremacy and capitalism, but also give ourselves an environment in which it’s OK to celebrate redneck culture.”
There are several commonalities between the far left and the far right – including a disdain for liberals – but the biggest divide is on the topic of intolerance.
I’m very happy to have landed out west — I love the landscapes, the culture, I just love the whole vibe — but I’m originally from the Midwest, and this makes me more than a little suspicious when I read articles that slam the Red States. I don’t disagree with most of the points made in this article, even though it’s harsh, and I even agree with the author’s basic premise that too much is being made of trying to “understand” the swing state Trump voter, as if Trump won and the Democrats lost at (literally) every level simply because they didn’t have better Red State focus groups.
To understand rural white Christian conservatives is to understand that their perspective is non-negotiable. The author gets this right. It’s the fundamentalist strain of evangelical Christianity — there are certain things you just believe, certain things you don’t question. And more to the point: there are evil enemies (liberals and leftists, atheists and secularists) against which one must be hyper vigilant. A liberal or secular perspective (and the facts they cite) can be safely dismissed without serious consideration because their point of view (and the state of their soul) is fundamentally and fatally flawed. Read more
Ideas matter. Policy matters.
While it is true that people can get lost in theory and ideology, as a culture we are in desperate need of a vision and a substantial direction for how to get there. Republicans have never had that, and they never will. They’re holding on to the very same policies and ideas that ruined us to begin with. Even so, we are hungry, our nation and culture is hungry for a new direction and it would be a drastic mistake if liberals underestimated the power of new policies and new ideas.
Many mainstream Democrat politicians are reluctant to take the kind of stand that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie have taken. They seem to be content to wait it out and watch the train wreck that is the GOP. This approach already failed. In the 2016 elections, Democrats were defeated at every level, from the Presidential race down to the local and state level. Being “not a Republican” is a strategy with limited appeal during a period of time when we need a bold vision.
Bernie resonates with so many of us because he takes ideas seriously, and he knows that policy matters. But what is more, Bernie matters because he makes us all feel like we were a part of one movement. He rallied people around the benefits of universal healthcare, the critical need to attack privilege and bigotry, and the deep reform we need in a political system of corporate patronage, a system that that benefits so many in the Democrat establishment.
At this point, it’s ideas that can best unite the left under one vision. It’s ideas that matter, and from a strategic perspective policy matters more right now than attacking Trump because people want to vote for something, and not simply against someone else. A bold progressive agenda will win in the years to come, and in the long-term, it’s the best anti-Trump action that we can take.
Over the last year, my approach and attitude toward politics has evolved. That’s probably true for most of us. A year ago, I was engaged and optimistic about the possibility that Bernie might beat the liberal establishment and make a serious run at the White House. I was in McCarthy, Alaska a year ago, and I went to a Democratic caucus where something like fifteen people showed up, which may not sound like much to you, but McCarthy is a remote community that is literally at the end of the road, way out in bush Alaska, so fifteen people represents roughly half of the winter population. The caucus turned into a party.
But then the establishment struck back and Bernie got booted out, and since then, our political situation has only devolved in a downward spiral of outrage and cultural dysfunction. The worse it gets, the more I find myself single-pointedly posting politically. I can’t help myself.
I don’t apologize for filling my social media with political shit, but it’s odd because I’m not sure that I like it that way. I’d like to broaden my horizons a bit. For example, I’m a new author, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, trying to build a writing career and publish a novel. So from a marketing perspective I know that I should be posting stuff that’s more neutral, less politically charged, in an effort to broaden my influence among potential readers. I know this, intellectually, but it doesn’t stop me. I’m undeterred, day after day posting on politics and power and socialism and, of course, Trump. Is it possible to break out?
Yuval Harari is the internationally best-selling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, which is probably my favorite book of 2016. In the introduction to this fascinating YouTube talk (see below), Harari discusses one of the central elements of the modern self and of the modern world: the authority of the individual’s inner voice. We decide essential questions of personal identity, of right or wrong based on our inner sense. We make critical career choices or other life decisions based on how we feel. “Look within,” we tell each other. “What’s your gut telling you?” we ask. Then there’s that ancient Greek inscription that seems to say it all: “know thyself.”
This approach is often derided by religious types. This was certainly true back a decade or so when I haunted churches, seminaries, and other evangelical enclaves. There’s a higher authority than the self, evangelicals would say. For evangelicals, this was biblical authority. For other Christians, it might reside in the church. In conservative politics, the constitution has (for all practical purposes) a biblical authority. But not so fast.