Politics, Anally

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Politics, Anally

1RickHarsch
Nov 30, 2019, 10:18am

If the Anal-retentives are to keep pace as one of the most vibrant groups on LT, we must discuss politics. I figure rules will establish themselves threw the fling of decompositionals, but to start with I suggest: 1) no arguing; 2) no haranguing, evangilist, mamby pambilism.

So, let me start. When I started reading and thinking, which occurred when I was 19, I rapidly became what I am not, a left of whatever your farthest left conceivable is. I tired of sayin ___socialist, _____anarchist. So, can westart with What are you?

2baswood
Nov 30, 2019, 11:37am

Me - I am a socialist verging on communist, which isn't a good place to be in this world at the moment. I despair at the politics in England. They have a chance to elect a true left wing politician as Prime in Jeremy Corbyn, but they won't take it. They will elect that overgrown schoolboy Boris Johnson instead and watch the planet burn. France also has a right wing government, but I am more hopeful of a popular revolt against M Macron.

3Macumbeira
Nov 30, 2019, 3:08pm

far right

4baswood
Nov 30, 2019, 4:41pm

So for those of us that do take an interest in politics What do we read?

I read the political articles in the London Review of Books which has strong left wing views and I also read the Guardian and the Independent newspapers online. I even sometimes dip into Le Monde

I tend to avoid political books only because I have a fear that I would find them so fascinating I would not have time for reading anything else. I have been slowly going through How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism by Eric Hobsbawm and a couple of years ago I read a biography of Jeremy Corbyn.

Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography especially the third instalment Force of Circumstances deals in some detail with the political situation in post war France as it affected her and Sartre and the result is serious disillusionment of the people who held left wing views. Nothing much has changed.

At the moment of course there is intense electioneering going on in England with a general election to take place on December 12. For once plenty of Europeans are taking an interest because of the Brexit issue. So in my day to day conversations with my French neighbours after we have talked about the weather then the next subject is usually Brexit.

5RickHarsch
Nov 30, 2019, 7:51pm

I read as the winds blow. The best in recent years, or perhaps the most surprisingly illuminating, has been The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade by McCoy. What is particulalry great is that he goes into great detail in unexpected places such as Marseilles during WWII and just after.
I've read all of Hobsbawm or nearly.
Now I am reading Harsch and only Harsch to write my Olof Palme book, which required research on Gladio that is unavailable in the US. Ganser in Switzerland and Cento Bull in England combine to make one good book.

Separately: only with diligent study can a USer understand a Brit, or, better, Brit politics.

6blackdogbooks
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 11:03am

My favorite political reads are always historical - one year, I read all the memoirs of the Watergate guys, along with the Woodward and Bernstein books. Fascinating to try and see where the truth was in their tales, and separate it from the ego-driven self protection.

Also, recently read Confederates in the Attic - really good.

7RickHarsch
Dec 1, 2019, 11:16am

So where do you place yourself on a spectrum? give us the dope.

8Macumbeira
Dec 1, 2019, 11:27am

Spectrum is the wrong metaphor.
Politic choice should be described on a circle not on a bar
3 times to the left makes you a fascho
3 times to the right makes you a commie
try it for yourself : standing and turning your body each time 90 degrees.

9RickHarsch
Dec 1, 2019, 11:45am

I always forget where I started.

10Macumbeira
Dec 1, 2019, 1:26pm

you are born to be a politician

11lriley
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 2:47pm

I would do things like cap personal wealth after which I'd go after the banks and corporations. No one needs to be a billionaire. We would have to set limits. $100 million?--maybe not even that much. Banks would be paying back the money they got after 2008 that they sat on and it would be paid back with interest. Corporations would be paying taxes and energy companies (particularly oil and gas) would be on the hook for fixing our climate issues. There would be universal medicare for all. College debt would be wiped out--free college would start happening. There would be trade unions everywhere. I'm working on ending poverty and reparations are in the works too. No more free rides for colleges or houses of worship. They pay their fair share of taxes too.

Anyway that's to start.

Oh and this thing about being the global policeman is going to end and we're shutting down overseas military bases wherever we can.

12RickHarsch
Dec 1, 2019, 11:14pm

Let me now when you start accepting donations, Larry

13lriley
Dec 2, 2019, 2:12pm

On the subject of mainstream media it's not so much 'fake news' as the Trumpistas would have it but a slanted through a corporate lens news. Even those outlets who want to be perceived through a democratic or liberal news perspective are owned and run by the billionaire class.....and for the coming election cycle they like their counterparts on the right are demonizing and misinforming the public on medicare for all. They are determined to kill it.

I can appreciate Joe Scarborough's disdain for Trump but people should always keep in mind that he was formerly a republican congressman. He's lost his party and he would like to turn the current democratic party into a 90's version of the republican party. He's a conservative but so are a number of the democrats that are running for POTUS in 2020. And those particular politicians prefer that voters vote more out of fear than for those things that they really want. Medicare for all is important. Climate change is important. College debt. Infrastructure. Gun violence etc. etc. Trump doesn't do policy--he's too clueless. Always force him to talk about policy then watch him implode.

14RickHarsch
Dec 2, 2019, 2:36pm

What is always amazing to me, if commonplace by now, is how much the typical Republican voter is hurt by that party.

15lriley
Dec 2, 2019, 5:02pm

#14......and that they don't seem to get it?

16baswood
Dec 3, 2019, 6:31am

>11 lriley: It seems that I am in good company here.

17RickHarsch
Dec 3, 2019, 6:55am

18berthirsch
Dec 3, 2019, 2:28pm

the demise of trade unions was a real turning point on a spiral downward. The working class is currently fucked without organized representation. if it continues people will grow more and more disheartened, desperate, angry and disenfranchised. not a good trend line. Progressives and working class could form a powerful base

19baswood
Dec 7, 2019, 5:09pm

I am not looking forward to election day in England on 12 December. I won't be there of course having escaped to France. I have managed to send in a postal vote. All the signs are that Boris Johnson will be elected with a majority and the extreme right wing of the conservative party can get on with Brexit and asset stripping Britain while watching the planet burn.

We have been invited round to a friends for dinner where there will be a number of ex-pats. They are of course all anti-Brexit, but they are all right wing conservatives, so they are in a bit of a dilemma, because living in France and returning frequently to England will no longer be so easy for them. They can't however bring themselves to vote for Jeremy Corbyn the socialist leader. I am expecting a fractious evening, but the consolation is that we will be able to leave early and wallow in our own depression as we live just round the corner.

20RickHarsch
Dec 7, 2019, 7:52pm

I am sorry to say that I don't think they deserve rioja. Maybe to prevent the depression you can invite a few other lefties over for a red after-party.

21baswood
Dec 17, 2019, 4:08am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q

Wont Get Fooled Again
The song by the who was ringing in my ears on Thursday night.
The Conservative party in England under Boris Johnson had just pulled off the biggest con yet and had been returned to rule Britain with an eighty seat majority. Unlimited power then for the man who believes he was born to rule. The tired old policies will continue: Britain will exit from the European Union maybe without any trading agreement, anything profitable will be sold off to the highest bidder, including parts of the National Health Service, taxes will be kept low and the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer, nothing will be done about climate change.

How did this happen? one might ask who were those people that voted for Johnson, none of my friends will admit to voting conservative but I suspect that many of them did. Money doesn't talk it swears said Bob Dylan many years ago. Johnson had one policy slogan "Get Brexit Done" and the lies he had peddled three years ago in the referendum were still seen as the answer to Britains problems. Britain will be Great again under Boris.

On election night I was having dinner at a friends house here in France and with the group of people that had gathered there, we had made a tacit agreement that we would not talk politics and would wait till we all got home before switching on the TV to find out about the election results. France is an hour in front of England and so the polling stations would not close until 11pm French time. I particularly did not want to spoil the evening by hearing the result because it seemed obvious to me what that would be. At 11.30 someone turned on the radio and we heard the result of the exit poll and we could not stop ourselves from talking about it. It soon turned into an us (me and Lynn) against all the rest and it got uglier, soon Lynn was lecturing them all on climate change (they are all dinosaurs) and by this time all the men were gazing avidly at there smart phones and drooling over the fact that share prices and the exchange rate were rapidly going up. We made a hurried exit. Its a relatively small community of ex-pats here and it seemed pointless to be beating our heads against a brick wall.

22krolik
Dec 17, 2019, 4:14am

>21 baswood:

You might consider this bit from Mitch Benn:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-FT3W-rXsA

23baswood
Dec 17, 2019, 5:42am

Yes I enjoyed that.

24RickHarsch
Dec 17, 2019, 8:16am

You didn't waste your rioja on those turds, I hope. (good for Lynn)

25berthirsch
Dec 17, 2019, 12:34pm

a poem I wrote this morning that seems relevant

Poem- The World is Upside Down

The world is upside down
Religious people
Their souls bathed in prayer
Songs of praise to the one and only

Clean shaven and bathed
Their pink skin shines in the sun
As they leave church each Sunday
Blessed, reborn
They are readied
To do battle for the lord.

Yet
Their world is upside down
With fear they cower
To the culture war
They announce is
The beginning of the end.

Judgement Day
Was growing near and
Their ardor and passions
Were awoken

They needed a warrior
An authoritarian
A champion
A bulwark to hold off
The masses of the unborn
Those who rejected
The word of god

Who dared to question
The good book
Who dared to
Think for themselves
Who dared
To love all kind
Black, brown, yellow
Straight and queer
Jew, Muslim, and Hindu

Non believers who followed
Their own sense of
Right and wrong
Who believed
In one another
Here on earth
And not up high
In heaven
A community of equals
A common good

The believers
Feared the unknown
And now
their world upside down
They prepared for battle
For Judgment Day
was coming and
their savior
had appeared

a warrior of commerce
a TV reality star
a bloated
self-righteous savior
they were doomed
once they had
chosen him
as their leader.

26Macumbeira
Dec 17, 2019, 12:49pm

The Brexit is a coup by the Rich
England wants to turn into a Dubai or Abu Dhabi without the risk intermingling of social Europe.
If they succeed, it is pretty well done.

And Corbyn has an unlikable personality.

27baswood
Dec 17, 2019, 3:47pm

>25 berthirsch: you have got that right. Enjoyed your poem

28berthirsch
Dec 17, 2019, 6:00pm

Thanks.
Just watched 22 July film on Netflix. Chilling.

29baswood
Jan 29, 2020, 6:27pm

OK Why are the Democrats trying to impeach Trump? If I understand it correctly there is no way the Senate is going to impeach him. Wouldn't the Democrats be better off focusing on a candidate for the November Elections.
All it seems they are doing is adding more fuel to Trumps election campaign.
AS it stands he will definitely get re-elected - ?

30RickHarsch
Jan 30, 2020, 3:55am

Trump has committed several impeachable offenses. Financially alone, he is a tax criminal and he's used his office to enrich himself. And of course he is a sex criminal. The Democrats haven't the balls to go after him for something complex like financial crimes and the assume most people who vote for him don't care about sex crimes. So they got this easy to understand Ukraine scandal handed to them and the finally decided to go after him. The Senate should impeach him: every Republican, like every Democrat, swears to serve as an impartial juror. The fact that Republican senators can get away with saying ahead of time that they are not, won't be, impartial, and that everyone accepts that he won't be found guilty, suggests that the US has become a shell of its hypocritical self. In the good old days you had to dig a little to find the hypocrisy. Or think. The Democrats are old-fashioned oligarchs. The Republicans are the new oligarchs. Unfortunately, Trump is so egregiously anti-presidential that the Democrats had to go after him sooner or later. The paradox is that Republicans fear opposing him, so don't; democrats fear opposing him, so do so tepidly.
The best case scenario is that so many people are sickened by the process, by Trump, by moderate Democrats, that Bernie Sanders gains enough support to be elected. The press, the Democratic machine, and the Republicans will do anything possible to stop that from happening. Not so good is that while Trump's crazy supporters take the impeachment as proof of Trump's greatness and victimhood, the rest of the country, including many Republicans who publicly support him now, want him gone. That leads to the victory of a typically moderate Democrat, and back to the type of regime of Obama, Clinton, GW Bush, the US doing all that Trump does, but quietly.
Obama expanded the activities of the empire around the world through the use of special forces and drones. Trump has quietly increased these same activities. Trump has also deregulated and rolled back rights and environmental legislation like no one since Reagan. This has alarmed the EU. Intelligent oligarchs are aware of this.
On the bright side, the young progressives like Ocasio-Cortez are genuine and support Sanders. They don't' give a damn that Warren could be the first woman president. They want to fight the rich. They represent the only hope in US politics today.

31baswood
Jan 30, 2020, 4:20am

Thanks Rick, a bleak picture indeed.

32lriley
Jan 30, 2020, 8:28am

Biden would be a disaster if he became the democratic nominee. People always mention how Trump slurs and stumbles through his speeches but Biden is at least as bad if not worse. He can't stay focused on subject matter. I started to read his NYTimes interview regarding their endorsement and only managed to get a quarter of the way through--even in a private interview he's all over the map in his replies and quite often I had no idea what the fuck he was going on about. He blurts and stammers--gets half way through a sentence or answer and then heads down a completely different rabbit hole. It's embarrassingly bad and IMO I think the NYTimes really wanted him to be at least good enough where they would have endorsed him rather than Warren and Klobuchar. They ended up with their 2 for not because they really want Warren either but because Klobuchar doesn't have enough public support in the center lane (which is really where they want to be) and they had to have somebody and it couldn't be Sanders. They'd run out of choices.

Biden also has a habit of lying and embellishing and being caught out. He was caught out in one of the debates by Kamala Harris when he started in about civil rights marches he took part in back in the 60's---there is 0 evidence and he's been warned by staffers going back into his previous runs for the democratic nomination not to go there but cannot help himself and neither can he help himself with his backup lifeguard--Corn Pop story which is even more ludicrous and embarrassing. In one of his iterations of that (which is on youtube) he is surrounded by a number of black kids and he's going on about how as a lifeguard kids liked to play with the hairs on his legs and how happy he was when they jumped into his lap. It's cringeworthy and creepy. He also has plagiarism issues.

This material is out there for someone like Trump to turn it all into a mudfest and Working Class Joe who never worked a working class job blurts and spouts off much like Donald does at times but to much less effect and really there is not much substance to Biden's political shtick---it basically comes down to 'let's go back to the way it was in 2010'. And bullshit or not Donald will slap him around as well with the Burisma/Hunter shit.

All that said Biden could possibly beat Trump but of the candidates left he's the one who Trump can blow the most holes in.

33RickHarsch
Jan 30, 2020, 11:01am

Don't forget way back when the first time Biden ran and was ousted when a case of plagiarism in his bottom--or top--drawer was discovered.

You have to wonder what motivates some of these people. I think Biden started out as an 'eventual presidential hopeful', and once that idea got in his head it just never quite got shaken out. Right now it's like a sebaceous cyst--nothing malignant, but it aint goin away neither.

Harris was a typical candidate. She went from big power in small place to big teevee and sudden thoughts of glory. Her dropping out was atypical, and it either means she's a realist and sane or, more likely, that she had things that would come out if things got any farther along, maybe the kind of things that would be worth battling if she was immensely popular, so that finding she was not, she gave it up. Booker may be a similar case. Klobuchar is reminiscent of all the guys who've dropped out, sort of a why not candidate, maybe ambitious enough to play a long game. Look for her in 2032. Mayor Pete is I think the leprechaun that turns out for somebody every four years. His record is not astounding. He's no Bernie Sanders. But you notice that once he got momentum, his heft deflated.

Bernie and Liz, my pals, they visit Izola often, just to get away from the hectic campaigning...I think both have the feeling that they need to run, that the nation needs to at least be given a good thump to get it back into the oligarchic orbit--not that either necessarily prefer oligarchy, but they both probably know the limits of what they can do, which includes a move toward rebalancing income through the old progressive tax, and providing 21st century health care for white people.

A lasting empire can't be shaped by a greedy, snot-nosed five-year-old kid. History will be less kind to Reagan the longer his legacy veers tragicomically out of control.

34baswood
Mar 18, 2020, 5:47pm

All countries that have more than a handful of Covid 19 infections should have imposed strict lockdown procedures by now. In my opinion those countries who have not imposed strict lockdown procedures are behaving irresponsibly (Mr Johnson, Mr Trump etc) it seems to be a choice between saving the people or saving the economy.

I don't buy this herd immunity idea, because how many people will need to die before the "herd immunity" kicks in if at all. WE do not know the extent of the virus, there is no cure, there is no vaccine, we don't know if people do become immune after a mild infection, meanwhile they could be carrying the virus and effectively killing off people more vulnerable than themselves. I really hope we are not entering into a survival of the fittest scenario (aka the survival of those with most money)

Here in France we have a lockdown similar to Italy and Spain. If I leave the house I have to carry a signed piece of paper saying why I am out in the street. Reasons for being allowed outside are: employment in an occupation that is considered an essential service, shopping for food or essential provisions, health reasons or medical appointments, providing assistance to people who are vulnerable and pet care (dog walking). Apparently there are 100,000 law enforcement officers patrolling the streets and instant fines will be imposed on law breakers. I fully support the procedures my only complaint is that they should have been imposed two weeks earlier.

35RickHarsch
Mar 19, 2020, 10:09am

A couple weeks ago an Austrian of some standing came right out and said it was a question of balancing economic consequences with medical circumstances. Soon they were more or less locked down. Slovenia was slow but then decisive. Italy is still a nightmare, so no one really knows what will happen anywhere. Italians are critical of the late actions taken there; apparently officials assumed the virus was spreading more rapidly in China because of specific Chinese conditions. I think the mental problem is that if you act quickly enough you don't see the result of your action--you never know if you were right to, say, close schools before the first case hits your country (which I thought Slovenia should do as its neighbor was clearly a centre of the virus...). Once cases begin to multiply, obviously you close schools...

36librorumamans
Edited: Mar 19, 2020, 12:24pm

>14 RickHarsch: >15 lriley:
What is always amazing to me, if commonplace by now, is how much the typical Republican voter is hurt by that party.
I found Dying of Whiteness illuminating on this.

37baswood
Nov 4, 2020, 6:01am

Whose winning the election? No Biden landslide, but did anyone expect that?

38lriley
Nov 4, 2020, 8:19am

#37--it's a tossup and pretty much dependent on uncounted Michigan and Pennsylvania early voting.

39RickHarsch
Nov 7, 2020, 11:40am

Sorry I've not been here. I called it around 1500 Slovene time on the 4th for Biden.