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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
July 23, 2015

Donald Trump: Backfiring on more than one level, and not necessarily good for Democrats.

We know what "backfire" means in the sense that Donald Trump is currently demonstrating: To do something with the intention of realizing a benefit, but instead the consequences smack you in the face. That much is good for Democrats, and a lot of fun to watch.

But there's another sense of "backfire" Trump is illustrating, and one that is a problem for us: The sort of backfire that firefighters set around valuable property to get rid of fuel so that a much larger, less easily controlled wildfire can't get to it.

Trump is also this kind of backfire for his Party: He is dispensing so much crazed, bigoted nincompoopery - and so many of us are taking the bait, reacting to his trolling - that we are consuming nontrivial amounts of energy and mindspace dealing with it rather than focusing on people far more likely to be the GOP nominee.

And meanwhile the other bigoted nutjobs running for the Republican nomination are given constant opportunities to look sane and reasonable, engaging in reverse-straw-men about themselves by holding up a crazy person and saying "Look at that! I'm not that! I'm normal!"

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am effectively certain (in fact, willing to bet money) that Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee, for all the reasons stated in that earlier post. And Bush is certainly reaping plenty of firebreak benefits from Trump's buffoonery already.

In fact, Trump's act is so fine-tuned to the exact type of benefit Bush is receiving, it causes me to raise an eyebrow: Jeb Bush's most profound demographic advantage is his marriage to a Latina. Who does Donald Trump - native of the Northeast - go after? He goes after a group he's never had any historical problems with, energizing the right-wing base and drawing media attention to the Republican primary while making all the other psychos look rational by comparison.

Meanwhile he sends some liberal activists into apoplexy because they actually think he has a chance in hell of being nominated, or because his antics entertain some of us who just enjoy reveling in how completely fucked up Republicans are. And while we're doing that, guess what we're not doing? Every moment focused on that bellowing turd is a moment not focused on our own campaigns or on the likely GOP candidate.

Here's another thing worth thinking about: Because of Trump, Latinos are paying close attention to the Republican primaries. If not for him, that would be far, far less the case. And when Jeb Bush wins them, they will be far more likely to notice - exactly as he would have it.

Donald Trump is not stupid or insane. He knows there is zero chance he could become President, and if he actually wanted political power, he would have bought himself a Senate seat or a Governorship a long time ago to make himself a credible candidate. Instead he launches this clown show where he's calling John McCain a coward and saying Mexicans are rapists. I'm shocked that anyone at all buys into it.

Keep your eye on Bush, that slippery fucking Borgia.

July 22, 2015

Accusations of "Cultural Appropriation": A thoroughly racist concept that needs to go away.

Let's be very clear about something: Culture does not belong to anyone, because human beings are individuals that can do what they like, listen to or create whatever kind of music pleases them, put their hair however they please, etc. Just as one person is not required to dress a certain way based on their race, so another person is not prohibited from dressing that way based on not being a member of that group. As long as they're not mocking the other group, there is nothing morally questionable in liking a style and participating in it.

The entire concept of "cultural appropriation" is insanely racist, internet hivemind nonsense that has no connection to liberal-progressive values, and I'm very disturbed seeing it leeching into the mainstream of left-wing discourse. Pigeonholing people and telling them what their tastes are supposed to be based on their race is literally racist. Not figuratively "literally," literally literally. Racist.

This isn't much of a priority problem on the subject of racism, but it is annoying how openly it's being preached, and how bizarrely the people engaging in it think they're speaking out against racism by being hugely racist. An idiotic idea bothers me the most when it believes itself to be progressive and is the opposite.

July 21, 2015

"Budget Woes": The GOP's Munchausen-by-Proxy Syndrome

I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices that Republicans keep cutting taxes and creating revenue shortfalls that they then cite as a reason to cut budgets.

For decades, they have been speaking about "times of tight budgets" as if it were some environmental circumstance imposed on them by fate rather than a situation they keep deliberately creating, and then with mock-paternalism talking about how we need to "tighten our belts" because of it. Invariably in every area of government that isn't violent, oppressive, or in some other way destructive to American society.

Thinking about this fact, it occurred to me what that's like: Munchausen-by-proxy. They want to "drown government in the bathtub," but short of that ultimate fantasy of theirs, they will instead repeatedly starve/poison it with tax cuts and then take it to the hospital for "treatment" (i.e., budget cuts).

So whenever you hear someone speak of a "time of tight budgets" or a "tight budget environment," as if it were some external circumstance, just remind them that nothing of the sort exists. We are in a time of Republicans deliberately starving the public sector of funds and then demanding budget cuts as a cure for their own criminality.

July 14, 2015

Some Bernie Sanders campaign slogan ideas (with poll)

This is just some brainstorming for campaign slogan ideas, so pick among the options in the poll below.

Or suggest your own in comments.

July 14, 2015

If ordinary killers got off paying police department wrongful death settlements.

The City of New York has settled with the family of Eric Garner for $5.9 million after initially seeking $75 million in damages for his death at the hands of police. An award of $5.9 million may sound a lot to most people, but the yearly budget of the NYPD is about $4.8 BILLION, so to put that in context, $5.9 million is about 0.1% of a single year's operating expenses for the NYPD. And that's only assuming the city pays the entire sum up front, rather than in installments - in which case the percentage becomes increasingly trivial.

What would this kind of settlement look like if some random person had killed Garner and reached a proportional arrangement? The median household income in the United States is about $52,000 a year, which is actually way above the typical income associated with high murder rates, so our example is actually quite generous if we start with this premise. If someone making this income choked someone to death on the street and then, rather than being charged with murder, simply settled a wrongful death lawsuit at the exact same percentage as the Garner settlement, how much would they be paying?

Exactly $63.92. Yup: Sixty-three dollars and ninety-two cents. Even if it were the NYPD itself paying the bill rather than the entire City of New York, the result would be equivalent to an average person having to pay sixty three bucks and change for killing a man. And if the payment is spread out over several years, it could be even lower, divided out over the total number of years. If it were divided over three years, you could just drop a twenty in the dead man's family's mailbox every year.

But in actual fact, the NYPD isn't paying a single cent. The whole City of New York pays, so let's look at that budget: This year the budget of NYC was about $75 billion. So since NYC is paying the Garners, what does that look like proportionally? Their $5.9 million settlement is about 0.008% from one year of the city's yearly budget.

Going back to our ordinary person killer with a $52k income, that amounts to a one-time payment of $4.09. That's almost enough to buy a soda in a movie theater. So if you were a city, you could murder someone and then drop a $5-spot to their family and everything would be fine. Though, of course, even then cities only do this if absolutely forced to by massive political pressure and an overwhelming case on the part of the plaintiffs.

I say it's time for victims' attorneys to stop accepting deals like this, and start genuinely holding cities accountable on a level commensurate with their crimes. If they refuse or are unable to bring killer police to justice, then make them pay financially on a level that makes any kind of moral sense. The sought awards should be a billion dollars, and the settlements should be $50-$100 million.

July 9, 2015

Is it cool to re-post something from earlier?

Someone had requested that I repost a thread from earlier because it kind of got lost in a big news day. Is it cool to do that?

July 3, 2015

Why is there no Tomb of the Unknown Dissident?

A thought occurs to me sometimes: That throughout history, there must have been countless people who - despite living in cultures without explicit concepts of freedom - chose to behave freely and openly, and speak truth to power at the cost of their lives. While there are a few examples in ancient history that survive in modern awareness, the vast majority of these people are lost to memory.

But I have what you might call a spiritual belief that, regardless of their memory as individuals being lost, that the value of their sacrifice cannot be. That regardless of there being no objective evidence their actions had any effect, that an inherently good and brave action invariably marks itself in humanity somehow.

So I wonder why there is no Tomb of the Unknown Dissident. Why there is no monument to the countless people who have made this sacrifice for the entire world, regardless of their motives, and yet been forgotten?

It's something that I hope will exist some day. If so, it could perhaps depict something similar to the Norman Rockwell image of an earnest-looking man standing to speak amid his neighbors, but starker: A small, innocent looking figure speaking fearlessly to looming, menacing figures, and yet appearing more powerful. Just a thought about what the inscription should read:

To all throughout history who have spoken truth to power and paid with their lives: Your names have been lost, but your deeds are forever inscribed in the fabric of the human heart.
June 26, 2015

Make no mistake, Jeb Bush is the GOP nominee. Everyone else is just running interference.

Having watched the Satanic shitshow that is the Republican Party over the years, one thing is certain when it comes to presidential primaries: There are two classes of candidate - Inner Party and Outer Party, like in Orwell - and Inner Party always defeats Outer Party for a nomination. Outer Party candidates are only nominated when an Inner Party candidate fails to run, which is typically when the wisdom of the GOP's clearest-eyed internal strategists suggests victory is unlikely.

The distinction between Inner and Outer is not a rigorously defined one, but is clear in context. Despite the adulation heaped on him in retrospect, Ronald Reagan was an Outer Party candidate - which is why he was only able to obtain the nomination in the midst of general Republican disarray still in the shadow of the Nixon era. It's also why he was basically an empty suit whose administration did whatever it wanted with or without him, while he just wallowed in the acting gig of pretending to be a leader.

His Vice President, George HW Bush, however, was profoundly Inner Party, and exemplified some of the factors that usually play into it: Old Money, deep family connections with crime and radical right-wing politics going back generations, intimate military and intelligence connections, and the most effective of all conservative qualities - the patient acquisition of real power, both in public and in the background.

To call HW and his crowd (including Dick Cheney) "sinister" would be an understatement. From the very beginning, they effectively orchestrated Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, dropping back-channel hints at every opportunity that the United States had no interest in preserving the independence of Kuwait, and would not strongly intervene if - as Hussein was strongly hinting - an Iraqi annexation were to take place. Bush et al had deep knowledge of Saddam Hussein from a long-term intelligence relationship during the Iran-Iraq War, and knew he aspired to possess Kuwaiti oil fields, and knew the likely significance of his inquiring about the US disposition to Iraq/Kuwait relations.

An Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was almost certainly the desired result of the responses to these inquiries, hoping to encourage action that could serve as a justification for massive intervention. To the mind of George HW Bush, raised in WW2-era politics, such a war would definitely secure him a second term. The only problem was that it was too successful, ending too soon, and he overestimated the attention span of an American public now much younger than himself while underestimating the charms of a smooth-talking liberal-esque Southerner.

Despite the initial sense that Bill Clinton was a lightweight who had scored a fluke win, these interests - with their deep knowledge of power - were soon forced to respect his ability to elude their tactics, and had failed by 1996 to create any halfway plausible pretext either for running against him or trying to impeach him. As usually happens in that case, the field was ceded to an Outer Party candidate who, despite his long career in the Senate, was never himself a web-weaver in terms of power.

The plan by 1994 was for Jeb Bush to become Governor of Florida and then run for President in 2000 and resume his father's legacy. The full force of the media, of industry, and of his father's military, intelligence, and judicial associates would back him full-throatedly and with no moral or legal holds barred once the presidential election came around. However, that plan was postponed when Jeb lost the 1994 race, and only gained the Governor's office in 1998, making 2000 premature. But his brother George W. won the Texas Governorship in 1994, putting him on the track to fulfill this roll.

Despite having no credentials or rational argument whatsoever to become Governor of Texas, and no argument against his opponent, the full force of the Bush family machine steamrolled popular Democratic Governor Ann Richards out of office and placed GW in position for the 2000 presidential election. Then, despite having done basically nothing but smirk at executions and create a third-world educational system as Governor of Texas, the Bush family machine then steamrolled all other primary candidates in 2000, including highly popular Outer Party Senator John McCain. It then infamously secured Bush the Presidency through a vast web of criminal acts (including actions by his brother Jeb as Governor of Florida), culminating in a lawless Supreme Court decision arbitrarily declaring him the winner of an election he had plainly lost.

The rest of the GW Bush saga is a long, ugly, and horrifying story that is outside the scope of this discussion, but suffice it to say that the Bush family machine became an effective authoritarian monarchy during this period of time, and that the US Constitution was more or less interrupted from 2001 to 2009. Having nearly destroyed the US economy and all other institutions, the Inner Party retreated into the shadows to count its vast trove of stolen money and plan its next moves, but ceded the political field to its erstwhile Outer Party favorite, John McCain, who was given only a part of the machine support that George W. had received.

By 2012, the Inner Party once again knew it had no foundation from which to go after the Democratic incumbant, seeing clearly that Barack Obama was untouchable given simple demographic math. Jeb Bush, despite having waited a dozen years longer than the original plan, opted to wait longer. Instead, a self-funded billionaire was nominated - one whose particulars placed him somewhere on the inner edge of the Outer Party, but whose money could never buy him the level or depth of power network that the Bushes had inherited.

Now, however, Jeb Bush is running. So make no mistake about it that he will be the Republican nominee for President, regardless of whoever else runs. The Republican Party is effectively Bush family property. The Republican electorate simply have no say in the matter. None whatsoever. Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee, and the full force of the media, the markets, the courts, and if necessary, uglier elements will be brought to bear to see him inherit "his" more important family property, the White House.

The point is, do not be distracted by the clown show. Trump is nothing. Rubio is nothing. Cruz is nothing. Keep your eye fixed on Jeb Bush, and attack every move he makes and every word he says, at every opportunity. And moreover, make sure we have the right candidate to mount the only kind of campaign that can defeat people like him: A popular electoral uprising by an impassioned electorate determined to see a better future, immune to propaganda and too numerous to be undermined by any form of fuckery with the slightest chance of succeeding.

June 10, 2015

Chilean film "No" about peaceful ouster of Pinochet: A great progressive film for wider adaptation.

I just watched a very interesting Chilean film, No (2012), about the highly unusual (and actually pretty funny) circumstances under which fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet was peacefully driven from power.

Since it's a matter of history, I can't be accused of Spoilers for explaining: After decades of terrorist dictatorship, Pinochet yielded to international pressure for a plebiscite on remaining in power, with the two votes being Yes (to let him stay in power) or No, requiring him to leave. He, and everyone else, expected it to be a cakewalk for him - to be a formality that he could easily win even in a fair vote.

What he didn't count on was an advertising professional creating a Don Draper-worthy campaign for the No position full of Hollywood pizzazz and catchy entertainment. The ultimate result in favor of No shocked Chile and the world, and led gradually to the restoration of Chilean democracy.

It's a very profound, epic story. While the movie is interesting enough on its own merits, it's too limited for the scope of the theme. So while I usually hate it when foreign movies are adapted for wider audiences (i.e., usually dumbed down), in this case I think there's a strong argument that the story could be told more comprehensively and more powerfully.

"No" is somewhat matter-of-fact, and prefers to focus on the quirkiness of the intimate events surrounding this one ad guy. I think it could be done more profoundly - but also with stronger emphasis on the humor and glorious absurdity of it (think of a tone like "The Pentagon Wars," but positive).

Anyway, I recommend "No" on its own merits, but if you watch it, you'll see that it has a lot of potential.

June 9, 2015

A modest proposal to improve the policing situation in America.

Pass a law requiring anti-psychotic medication be added to donut batter.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.
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