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Vote for Bernie!

For what it’s worth, which admittedly isn’t much, I decided to write down why I support Bernie Sanders:
People sorting out their politics right now could be forgiven for viewing the global corporation as a source for social justice and the state an extension of Donald Trump’s toxic personality. This helps create this somewhat strange situation where there’s hostility towards corporations coming from the right (with a small section even critiquing markets) and a large swath of the liberal/left coming to terms with a globalized capitalism that shares many of their cultural values. 
This situation, it is important to say, is within the context of a growing wealth inequality we haven’t seen since the 1920s. (The richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans.) 
The sectarian left is useless, only worth mentioning to point that out, and the mainstream of the Democratic Party sees the progressive corporation as the best possible ally to have. Many within the profes…
Recent posts

Against Empire

It seems like no one outside of the “American Conservative” is thinking about the US as a declining empire. Contrary to what some thought, Trump has no interest in scaling back the US to a “normal” country. That wasn’t what MAGA meant. Quite the opposite, Trump and his goons think the post war international order isn’t US-centric enough. This is where Trump and the neoconservatives find common ground. 

What’s more interesting to me is the Democratic Party, and the liberal/left in general. The Dems are historically the war party, and they have renewed that patriotic passion in the Trump era. The shameful treatment of Ilhan Omar is a good example. This charge of her being “anti-Semitic” for questioning Israel’s influence in US foreign policy is disingenuous and disgraceful. (People are acting like we didn’t already go through this silly “debate” when Walt and Mearsheimer’s book came out over a decade ago. It’s infuriating. These are also the same people who can’t go a half an hour witho…

The Best a Man Can Get

Paralleling the socially conscious corporation is the conservative critique of capitalism. Tucker Carlson, an odious character to be sure, has gone as far as saying family values are being “crushed” by market forces. How is the left going to explain this, let alone fight it, when to your average person the left is indiscernible from a massive corporation like Gillette? The right has already taken a chunk of what it means to be transgressive, particularly in England as they pretty well own the counter-culture, now they are set to become the new anti-capitalists while we cheer on advertisements. This is going to be a rough year.

“Against Responsibility”

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n21/william-davies/against-responsibility

There is an interesting historical narrative starting to be told about the political context in which I grew up in. I remember the period well, as I first starting following politics during this time. I ordered Cooper’s book based on the superb outline in this review. Davies gets to the heart of it when he says,
“What is brilliant and original in Cooper’s analysis is her demonstration that there are clear continuities between traditional forms of moral accountability (to parents, children, husbands, the church) and entirely new ones (intrusive systems of welfare reform, new forms of student and consumer credit). She suggests, for example, that gay marriage could only be introduced thanks to the demand for equality not in cultural or political status but for equal rights under inheritance law. What unites neoliberal and neoconservative mentalities is an insistence on personal bonds of one kind or another, whether finan…
I’m really glad to see Paulsen and Lewis gone (especially Lewis who is particularly ghoulish), but I would be much more confident if the DFL would have kept Walz’s and Nolan’s seats. Many powerful Dems were already convinced of the “suburban strategy” (basically a mad dash away from anything labeled “populist”) and the midterm results are going to make them even more zealous. The problem is that this strategy is based almost solely on moral outrage and that burns people out. It’s simply not sustainable. And while I’m sure they’re good people who know how to say the right things, I don’t trust the political instincts of Craig or Phillips. 
The Sanders wing of the Democratic Party is the most interesting thing to happen to it since Vietnam and there is a real possibility it will be manuvered into irrelevance during the 2020 nomination process. This will make the Dems turn to suburban white collar professionals complete. It will also cede all populism to the right which will open the do…
I’m listening to Christopher Hitchens’ fine collection of essays, “arguably.” I’d read many of these years ago, but had forgotten how good of a writer he was. Listening to him take down JFK is pure poetry. However his post 9/11 theme, that fundamentalist Islam is the threat most comparable to 20th century fascism for the enlightenment influenced democracies, stands on even shakier ground today. His realpolitik version of Trotsky’s “permanent revolution” had our enlightenment influenced democracy with Puritan characteristics as some sort of revolutionary regime spreading the best we can do to some despotic areas. It’s quite a twist that Iraq ended up being a boon to Iran, which caused the gulf monarchies to freak out. Of course Trump and his goons are now trying to make amends by demonizing Iran to an absurd degree. I wonder if America allying itself with al-Qaeda in Syria would be enough to cause Hitchens to rethink some things? Maybe his weird hatred for the Baathists extended to the…
The threat to liberal values (liberal in the philosophical sense) coming from right-wing populism is pretty unconvincing considering that the self-appointed gatekeepers of those values, from EU technocrats to Thomas Friedman to Emmanuel Macron, have pretty well opposed all secularism and republicanism in the Middle East for decades while simultaneously championing the Gulf monarchies. If you compare human rights abuses between places like Iran and Syria (pre civil war) on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the other, it’s a wash. Sure Iran is a theocracy, but it’s a republican theocracy, meaning they’ve fundamentally adopted western thought into their state. Doesn’t that count for anything Mr. Friedman? Nothing the monarchs do seems to matter, but the world is close to over because Hungary, Poland, and Italy embrace some mild illiberalism. Trump can be a mixed bag. Those liberal thought leaders love him when he passes tax cuts, bombs Syria and threatens Iran, but we also have…