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ProfessorPlum's Journal
ProfessorPlum's Journal
May 31, 2016

Clinton server - Molehill or Mountain

I still can't figure out what to make of the Clinton email server 'scandal'.

Here's some perspective . . . Republicans routinely do seriously illegal, unsupervised, dangerous things while in positions of power and are NEVER called on it. Dick Cheney's records from his time in office disappeared into his man-sized safe. Colin Powell just deleted all of his emails from his time as SOS - and apparently his AOL account can't be recovered. Fancy that. Mitt Romney destroyed all of his electronic and email records when he left office. And let's not even start on all of the intelligence failures, betrayals of Americans, and treason that happened leading up to and during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, Republicans just thumb their noses at the rules and the press never calls them out, their party never calls them out. They don't believe in good government, and so they deliver bad, unaccountable, criminal government.

Clinton wants to be held to the same standard as Republicans when it comes to accountability and rule-following (apparently), that is to say, none. Which, I guess is a goal. Democrats are theoretically supposed to champion good, accountable government, but maybe that idea went out the window in the 80s.

So, what she did seems to me to be no worse than what every member of Bush's government was up to for eight years. And yet it is hard to just dismiss it. The Clintons are supposed to be better than the Bushes. Democrats are supposed to be held to a higher standard than Republicans.

It seems fair to want to hold any Democrat to a standard higher than Snarling Dick's and the Pretzeldunce's record. It is a low bar, indeed.

May 25, 2016

The Revolution was fought against Corporations! The FFs were anti-corporatists

One of the best kept not-really-a-secret(s) (things-which-are-true-but-which-we-never-ever-talk-about-as-a-culture) is that the American Revolution was a struggle against Corporate Control.

The East India Company was a British corporation that had control of the British government when it came to how to run the colonies, and the British government just lay down and let the EIC squeeze the hell out of the colonists. The colonists protested, both peacefully and with vandalism and violence, but the British government stupidly would not consider their complaints against the EIC. They were, one presumes, both bought and paid for.

And so this country was born in the bloodletting of an anti-corporation rebellion. Fighting against the control of these paper machines, which care only to create more wealth for their owners and the rest of humanity be damned, is in our very birth story as a country.

The irony of first one, and then both (you aren't fooling anybody, Democratic leaders), of our major political parties becoming paid stooges for corporate power, so that these paper machines can once again make our lives miserable and extract our wealth, should not be missed, either by our (coincidentally also corporate owned) media or the average American.

I wish we could once again smash these metal motherfuckers (ok, paper motherfuckers) to junk and regain control of our political and economic destinies. It will happen, inexorably, but how much damage will be done before then?

FIGHT CORPORATE CONTOL. It is what the founding fathers both wanted and fought for themselves. It is as American as apple pie.

May 25, 2016

Clinton's 2008 letter to superdelegates should end all discussions of Sanders dropping out

Clinton supporters, please watch this and then kindly cease running your pie holes about Sanders.
May 25, 2016

Cenk explains why Clinton not debating in CA is the sign of a terrible candidate

He lays out why Clinton should be _rushing_ to be on TV. It is a chance to praise Sanders, attack Trump, and get a ton of free air time. Oh, and also another opportunity to be more than a slimy politician who breaks promises. Cenk is right, of course, and this demonstrates once again what poor decisions she continues to make as a candidate.
May 19, 2016

Say what you will about Clinton, but she rigged the hell out of the machine

I'm not very keen on Clinton era policies, especially the ones that hobbled welfare, allowed telecommunications to coalesce around the wealthiest, deregulated banking, and demanded the continuing silence of gay military personnel.

And, I think this country needs to get back to FDR-style, New Deal regulations and social policy. Big time. As quickly as possible.

And so, my support for Sanders in the primary was a foregone conclusion. As I've watched him go from nearly-unknown to a candidate who will command very nearly half of the pledged delegates at the convention, I'm pleased at the way he has highlighted the need for more social justice and less income inequality, more banking regulation, more opportunities for young people.

But I have to say, I'm even more in awe of the way that Clinton and the Clinton organization rigged the living shit out of this election, to the point where there was never a chance for an upstart contender like Sanders.

She pre-bribed the state DNC organizations and the superdelegates with her technically-legal kickback scheme for donations from the super wealthy. She contrived to coordinate a debate schedule with her flunky at the head of the DNC which guaranteed low viewership, stacking the deck for her front-runner advantage. She pre-bribed herself by accepting huge personal gifts from the economic masters of the country, guaranteeing that they understood where her allegiance lay. She has taken advantage of the corporate media's absolute bias towards the status quo to praise and perpetuate the status quo. Her connections to foreign governments, corporate power, and celebrity were all greased by the Clinton Foundation, to ensure the corrupt system that the elite will find her palatable.

She entered the race as the 800-pound gorilla, and has used the corruption of the system to maintain that advantage fairly well.

She left nothing to chance this time around. The upstarts, like one-term senator Barack Obama, would get no breathing room, and the entire DNC apparatus would be rigged against them and for her.

It speaks to a certain ruthless, crushing, determination that her will be done, no matter the will of the electorate. And skill at organization, consensus building, coercion, glad-handing and strong-arming.

Say what you will about Clinton, but she rigged the hell out of this corrupt, fetid, money-worshipping machine that is our electoral process.

At least we will get a candidate that has some skill at thinking ahead, using power and money to get her way, and knows how to move among the elite to achieve some things (even if it is stamping down on the democratizing spirit of the country).

May 11, 2016

Conservatives absolutely INSIST on living in a world of lies

From one of the best and most insightful bloggers around (The Slacktivist), comes a brief deconstruction of Rod Dreher's recent, laughably impossible story of gangs of transsexuals menacing the populace:

The story is not true. The story is flagrantly and extravagantly not true. It involves a swarm of “men in their early 30s who were obviously transgendered” harassing women and children in line at a suburban Texas movie theater where Dreher’s friend — a conservative “tough Texas chick” and apparent expert on visual gender identification — was taking her son to see Captain America: Civil War. More “transgenders” arrive, then still more, cutting in line and bullying everyone around them with crude language and sex talk to aggressively show everyone in Texas that roving transgender gangs are now in charge of law and culture and daily life in Texas.

And it’s all utter bullshit. None of this happened. The Bad Jackie of the tough Texas suburbs — if any such person really exists — is making stuff up. And she’s so focused on making her story shocking that she forgot to make any of it plausible. None of this would be believable even if she’d made this a story about taking her son to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror in Provincetown.
So is the devout and pious Mr. Dreher lying? Or is he just credulously passing along an obvious lie without feeling any compunction to examine this false witness against his neighbors first?

Doesn’t matter. That’s not interesting. “Religious conservative bears false witness against sexual minorities” isn’t news. That’s a dog-bites-man story.

What is interesting is that Rod Dreher wants this story to be true. He presents this fantasy as a nightmare, as a horror show that he condemns, but none of that purported revulsion quite manages to cover up his desperate longing to have stories like this be real. If one shows him otherwise — proves that the monster under the bed does not exist, he would not find that reassuring, but upsetting. It would make him sad, and angry, and disappointed.


The current trans-panic, like the earlier Satanic panic it imitates, isn’t mainly a matter of misinformation that misleads the credulous. It’s a fantasy that its proponents want and desire to be true despite, on some fundamental level, already knowing that it’s not. They need it to be true because it provides the basis for their identity as the special people, the extraordinarily virtuous, the heroes and champions of righteousness. Take away the fantasy story and what does that make them? They can’t bear to think about that. And so they won’t.

May 10, 2016

Independent voters are chumps

For a long time I've been trying to figure out how Sanders can get people so excited, pull big crowds, generate so much interest and passion, and then get beaten by Clinton at the polls. The phenomenon continues right to this day.

The only thing I can figure out is that a lot of attendees of his rallies, the people very excited by him, are independents, Republicans, or in some other way not affiliated with the Democratic party. So, they have a candidate they support, and want him to be the Democratic nominee, but apart from donating money or canvassing, they can't affect the vote - they can't vote for the candidate they support.

Republicans, well, I can understand. They are not well informed to begin with, so if a Sanders message resonates with them they are clearly in the wrong party.

But independents who like Sanders' message . . . they are deliberately dis-empowering themselves by not being members of the only party where that message can come from. They have to watch the parade go by.

Meanwhile, Democrats themselves are busy nominating the weaker candidate. Also bizarre to me, but then what do I know. In any event, by not belonging to the Democratic party (mostly due to the Democrats not fighting for the people), those independents shoot themselves right in the foot.

May 4, 2016

Stephen King got it right:

Trump for president is like watching The Dead Zone play out in real life.

May 4, 2016

Look, everybody! A horserace!

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, can you feel the excitement? Can you feel the excitement of talking about Clinton versus Trump? We have six months to talk about it but I just can't wait to start talking about it. They are so exciting. What's he going to say? I'll bet it will be outrageous. What's SHE going to say in response? Who is going to WIN? Who is going to score rhetorical points? Omigosh, I could just pee myself with excitement.

The moment Sanders drops out or concedes, the plight of the poor, the workers, the union-less, the unemployed . .. their concerns will be consumed in the fire of this mindless babble. Sanders is trying to keep our minds focused on what is important to the people of this country - not which of the two very well-heeled horseys will win the race. His senatorial posts on Facebook last night were right on point, continuing to drive his message of economic equality home. He was talking about climate change, the corrupting influence of fossil fuel money, the retirement crisis. Those issues go right down the toilet once the horse race begins. By delaying the start of that stupid "conversation", Sanders is doing everyone a huge favor.

run, Bernie, run

May 3, 2016

One of the most chilling details in Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine",

which is chock-full of chilling details, is the social engineering done on South American nations in the 1970s that are stripped of their socialist democratic governments and replaced by tender mercies of the American capitalists and their fascist allies. In Chile, in Argentina, in Bolivia, big business and the United States government destroy the social fabric of their societies and replace it with political repression, torture, militarized enforcement, rapacious and unfettered capitalism.

In order to keep this regime in place, these governments need to destroy people who would help the poor, who encourage others to be kind to their fellow humans, who are humanists and humanitarians and kind-hearted clerics. The people of these countries are encouraged to turn on, and turn in, the people among them who are the best of humanity, who feed the hungry and clothe the sick, who care about workers oppressed into wage slavery, who stand up against this crush of capital.

It was horrible to read about, and I can only imagine how horrible it must have been to live through. To basically have all the good, and kind, and caring people in your society bullied into silence, or tortured, or killed, to keep them for sticking up for each other and everyone else.

And while I don't want to draw the analogy too far . . . this is just a primary race after all, and one where the person who wins is likely to be the person who was likely to win from the very beginning . . . I would caution my fellow humans and DUers about the tone with which we treat the goals of helping our fellow citizens. And the tone with which we treat politicians that embody and encourage those goals.

Sanders has a history of fighting for social justice, of not "playing the game" of the rest of corrupted Washington, of setting an example of standing up to the corporate powers and creating an atmosphere of solidarity for Americans to copy and thrive in.

He is to be admired for his stances, and especially for his trying to turn the race into a contest of who can treat their fellow Americans better. That is a contest that everyone would win.

This ugly mocking of him for tilting against the corrupt windmill of our government and the rot at the top of the Democratic party - for daring to challenge the establishment - chills me. It echos the persecution of the humanitarians in South America, of the practitioners of social justice, and the causes of kindness and fairness.

Sanders' fight for the nomination may ultimately fail . . but his ideas are best handled with reverence and respect. For they encompass the treatment that we would all wish to have from our countrymen and women.

"The Shock Doctrine" is a must-read for everyone on Democratic Underground.

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