June 25, 2016
Inside The Clinton White House, 2018

Once again, the Democrats have been shellacked in the midterms. There is stunned disbelief in the White House. Niether Hillary nor her political team saw it coming, which was surprising because they were the most diverse group of experts ever to be assembled from both Harvard and Yale. They were the brightest minds in the country, a group Thomas Friedman compared favorably to presidential brain trusts of the past. Think JFK with an iPhone, he gushed, trying to convey something of their sheer dazzling awesomeness to an unenlightened public.

They were young, hip, dynamic and cutting edge. Thinking outside the box and pushing boundaries was mother’s milk to them. Hell, they practically did it in their sleep. They watched Game of Thrones, compulsively used Twitter, and put cute little emojis in their email correspondence …

They told Hillary to resurrect TPP and fast track it through Congress. She did. They told to her cut Social Security. She did. They told her to go easy on Wall Street. She did. They told not to raise the minimum wage. She didn’t. They said strengthen ties with Israel, get tough with Putin, and when it came to Syria and ISIS, there were only four little words: boots on the ground. Done, done and done.

Then, shockingly, the Democrats got trounced, and none of Hillary’s bright young political sharpies had the faintest idea why. They frantically texted back and forth that it was, like, the Dark Side had won, and, like, Sith lords controlled America!

Now Hillary was staring down the barrel of Republican domination and one term mediocrity. Was it possible that the most qualified candidate in the history of the universe would rank alongside like Herbert Hoover or, gasp, G.H.W. Bush? Despair grips the White House. The atmosphere is funereal.

President Clinton gazes out of the Oval Office, cradling a cup of herbal tea with both hands. It is her second cup in a row — an unseemly indulgence, to be sure, but these were extraordinary times. Surely Hugh Rodham, glowering down from his Methodist heaven, wouldn’t begrudge her this minor lapse? She had, after all, earned straight A’s at Wellesley and became America’s first female president.

Huma Abedin tip toes up as quietly as a mortician and whispers in Hillary’s ear: “Jeb Bush sends his condolences. He says he knows exactly how you feel.”

…Read on

Posted by OHollern at 1:45 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
June 24, 2016
Bad Press

Ever wonder why your local paper went out of business long ago or sucks so much it might as well have? A 1999 article in the American Journalism Review has your answer. Excerpts:

In addition to minding the books, Ryerson says he had to monitor the amount of film the photographers used, check odometer readings in employees’ cars against expense accounts, and lock up the supply cabinet “because people would be stealing tape to take home for Christmas presents…”

As in New Haven, she says, the operations manager was ordered to check the odometer readings in reporters’ cars. “When you’re paying people so little — we paid $17,000 — and then you sneak around like that, it makes people feel like dirt…”

On JRC’s first day at the helm, September 27, 1993 — still known there as “takeover day” — the company fired 25 employees. Under family ownership the paper had weathered the lean years of the recession without layoffs, so the cuts shocked employees. “They lined us up in two lines like cattle,” recalls Maureen Burk, an advertising sales representative. Each line led to a different set of strangers who would rule on their future. As the top salesperson in her department, Burk was “totally confident” she would keep her job. When she entered a conference room, she says, the new publisher smiled broadly, then told her, “We have no place for you.” When she walked out, “people were crying and sobbing. One woman took her arm and swept everything off her desk…”

The executive called him “an ignorant moron,” Penick says. “I wrote it down. ‘Ignorant moron.’ ” But what triggered his resignation was an incident that took place at another budget meeting — on a Saturday — when he got a message that his son, who lived with his ex-wife in Illinois, had been injured in an automobile accident. He told the group he had to catch a plane. “They said, ‘No, you can’t leave. How bad is he? Call the hospital.’ I said, ‘I don’t believe you people. I’m leaving right now.’ “ Penick now manages home delivery for the Indianapolis Star and News.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:18 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Media | Our Sordid Press Corps
June 18, 2016
What Would The NRA’s Ideal Country Look Like?

I’ve never had strong opinions about gun control, but I find myself utterly detesting the NRA and and its legions of brain dead gun zealots. They just drive me up the wall. I don’t really care that much about guns. If Billy Bob and Darrell want to run off into the woods in their camos and play Rambo with their rifles, that’s fine by me. In fact, I would prefer that they do that instead of engaging in activities that are more directly harmful to society, like, say, voting or breeding. But every time I hear some conservative asshole say that more guns equal less crime, or that it takes a “good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” I want to kick him in the nuts and put him on the first flight to Somalia, where there is no debate about gun control or the nanny state.

Let him see a truly libertarian paradise in action. Let him see how “more guns equal less crime.” Let him see how well his liberty is preserved in a country where open-carry is zealously practiced by armed gangs of young men. Let him see what happens when one group of “good guys with guns” tries to stop another group of “bad guys with guns.”

Anybody who tells you that putting more guns into more people’s hands makes you safer is a lying mercenary for the NRA, a moron, or a lunatic. Would you honestly feel safer if every eighteen year old male in the country went around with an AR-15? Would that make you feel secure? Would that encourage you to exercise your right to free speech?

What happens when a group of these ardent Second Amendment freedom lovers goes bad? What happens when they decide they want to rape your daughter? Are you gonna just whip out your magnum and shoot ’em up, like in the movies? You wouldn’t have time. Knowing you were armed, they would have taken your ass out right away. You’d be dead on the ground faster than you can say “well-regulated militia.”

But it’s okay, because in our NRA Utopia everyone is armed, so another citizen, let’s call him Good Guy One, pulls his gun and starts blazing away at those Bad Guys! Problem solved, right?

Except Good Guy One’s first shot misses and hits a bystander. The Bad Guys then turn and start blasting at him. Bullets are flying everywhere. There is utter chaos and pandemonium. You and your daughter are dead. Viva freedom!

Enter Good Guy Two, locked and loaded and ready for action. He draws his piece and opens fire. The trouble is, Good Guy Two doesn’t know who the good guys or the bad guys are, so he actually aims and hits Good Guy One.

At that point, another good guy, Good Guy Three, rolls up and starts shooting at Good Guy Two. The ground is littered with dead bodies, but Good Guy Three is undaunted. He knows that freedom isn’t free and that this is the price you pay for liberty. He knows that any compromise on gun rights puts you on a slippery slope to Hitler. Why didn’t liberals understand that? He concludes that liberalism is a mental disorder and continues blasting away at anything and everything that moves, winging one of the Bad Guys and killing some terrified schlub who was just walking to his part-time minimum wage job at Wal-Mart. Viva freedom!

Then the police show up, and they have no idea who the good guys and the bad guys are. They just see a bunch of lunatics shooting at each other. They open fire and kill them all.

And look at that. Even in the face of all that freedom, Big Government still wins!

The next time you hear some glib politician say that more guns equal less crime, or that more guns are the solution to mass shootings, just think about the consequences of what they are recommending, and then ask yourself what kind of human being would advocate such a thing.

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Posted by OHollern at 1:49 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
June 15, 2016
Three Tell-tale Events

Three events coming up have the potential to change the entire atmosphere of the general election for President – depending very much on how they are set up and how they play out. No one else seems to have thought about the contingent possibility of those three related events, so I’ll presume to take a shot at it.

The three events will take place at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in late July. They are: (1) the keynote address; (2) the address putting Hillary Clinton’s name into nomination for President; and (3) Clinton’s acceptance speech. These speeches – particularly the nominating and acceptance speeches – are usually pretty ho-hum. But this year they will signal whether the ensuing post-conventions campaign process will be muddy and inconclusive … or exciting, surprising political drama for the ages.

Signs so far from the Democratic side are that it will be the former: Hillary pontificates in a drab, policy-thick uninspiring dimension, and her Republican opponent bloviates in an alien, far-off, but vivid dimension, the two shouting past each other – to the perplexity of the rest of us.

Now that Hillary has sewn up the Democratic nomination (I am writing this on Memorial Day, 2016), we are getting evidence of her attitude to the overall contest. In very recent “survey” articles in one of our national newspapers, the Clintonians speak – a real pot pourri:

…Read on

Posted by A. David Tucker at 4:58 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Elections | Political Commentary | Presidential Hopefuls
You Want Conspiracy?

I’ll give you conspiracy. This is from a comment on Hillary’s reaction to the Brock Turner case by a young lady whose name, out of kindness, I will not post:

About Bill Clinton… WHO CARES. He is a has been. Its about Hillary now. Why is everyone talking about Bill.. hes not running. But if everyone must comment.. remember.. CLinton was often faking sexual interludes so that the corrupt government could get away from scandal.. the Monica Lewinsky scandal was faked so that people would look away from the CIA scandal with central LA.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:39 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Reveling in the Weird | The Long Con
June 08, 2016
RINO

From The Hill:

Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), introduced a measure to recognize the “extraordinary life, accomplishments, and countless contributions” of Ali, who died last week at the age of 74…

The resolution has 42 co-sponsors. Rep. Mia Love (Utah), a CBC member, is the measure's sole Republican co-sponsor so far.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:30 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Race | Republicans | Reveling in the Weird
June 07, 2016
Granddaughter Georgia…

…off to the prom!


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:50 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
What Actually Matters
June 06, 2016
IOKIYAR

From Lawyers, Guns & Money:

And, you know, Trump has a point. Not because his comments about Curiel aren’t racist — they certainly are. But it is fair to wonder when his arguments somehow became taboo within the Republican Party.

You may remember, for example, the discourse surrounding the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. Her formal credentials were impeccable, essentially identical to Sam Alito’s. And, yet, Republicans routinely described her as “unqualified” because her background meant that she couldn’t be an impartial judge. A particularly common talking point was to compare Sotomayor (Princeton, Yale Law, more than two decade’s worth of experience as a federal judge) with Harriet Miers (SMU, no judicial experience, no experience as a prosecutor, holder of elected office or legal scholar, favorite justice was either Warren Burger or Earl Warren, she’s not sure) because they’re both women and therefore presumptively equally unqualified.

I’m also old enough to remember the National Review‘s chief legal affairs writer arguing that a judge should recuse himself from hearing a same-sex marriage case because he was gay.

In other words, Trump probably got the idea that only straight, conservative white men could be truly impartial judges from…listening to how Republicans talk about judges. No wonder he thinks the circular firing squad is unfair.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:56 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Legal Absurdities | Republicans
June 02, 2016
Law for Sale…

…at least in Texas and Florida. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Did you know how cheaply it could be bought, though? The Donald did.

Besides the probe that led to Attorney General Schneiderman’s suit in New York, the office of then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, opened a civil investigation of “possibly deceptive trade practices.” Abbott’s probe was quietly dropped in 2010 when Trump University agreed to end its operations in Texas. Trump subsequently donated $35,000 to Abbott’s successful gubernatorial campaign, according to records.

A spokesman for Abbott, now Texas governor, declined to comment.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi briefly considered joining with Schneiderman in a multi-state suit against Trump University. Three days after Bondi’s spokeswoman was quoted in local media reports as saying the office was reviewing the New York lawsuit, the Donald J. Trump Foundation made a $25,000 contribution to a political fundraising committee supporting Bondi’s re-election campaign. Bondi, a Republican, soon dropped her investigation, citing insufficient grounds to proceed.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 7:13 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Graft, Corruption and Malfeasance | Presidential Hopefuls | Republicans | Rich White Trash
Snake Discovers Animal New to Science

This is fresh from today’s edition of Herpdigest, to which you may subscribe here.

The team encountered the first individual, a beautiful meter-long silvery female, climbing in a Silver Palm tree near the water’s edge on a remote island in the southern Bahamas. As dusk approached, Harvard graduate student and team member Nick Herrmann called out on the radio: “Hey, I’ve got a snake here.” The rest of the team came crashing back to his position, and collectively gasped when they saw the boa. Expedition member Dr. Alberto Puente-Rolón, a professor at Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico Arecibo and global expert on West Indian Boas, remarked that this animal appeared unlike any species of boa yet known. The group then set about a systematic survey to locate additional animals, turning up four more individuals by the middle of the night. After recording data from these specimens, the team had lain down on the beach to rest until dawn. During the night, as Dr. Reynolds slept, a boa crawled down from the forest, across the beach, and directly onto his head. This caused him to awake with a start, and upon realizing what had happened, he awoke the others to inform them that they had found their sixth animal.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:16 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Animal blogging | Snakes | The Real World | What Actually Matters
May 31, 2016
WWJD?

…if He found a little boy in the little girls’ room? There’s no doubt in the mind of James Dobson. Jesus would plug that punk with a couple of hollow-point .45-caliber slugs right through the nut sack. Think I’m kidding? Not by much. Here’s the famed Antichristian televangelist, from his very own internet pulpit:

Obama, acting like a king, is wielding dictatorial powers never envisioned in the law. He is determined to change the way males and females relate to one another, and worse, how children perceive themselves. If you are a married man with any gumption, surely you will defend your wife’s privacy and security in restroom facilities. Would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peering over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the pervert who was using mirrors to watch women and girls in their stalls?

If you are a dad, I pray you will protect your little girls from men who walk in unannounced, unzip their pants and urinate in front of them,” he said. “If this had happened 100 years ago, someone might have been shot. Where is today’s manhood? God help us!


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:27 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Idiots | Politics and Religion | Religion and Society | Reveling in the Weird | Rich White Trash
May 30, 2016
There, There, Little Nation…

…don’t be frightened. Before reading any more of the usual crap in the MSM about the perils to the American Way of Life posed by Russian expansionism, read this from The Saker. It’s long and you may disagree with his conclusions, but there should be no ignoring of his facts. For most of my lifetime we have got the Russian menace dead and diametrically wrong. In the worst instance of this so far, John F. Kennedy almost stumble-footed us into a nuclear world war by invading Cuba. Our world was only saved by Nikita Khrushchev’s brave commission of political suicide.

As a nation we love war, we really do. But while mostly we prefer to bully the small and helpless, we are also a perpetually fearful and misinformed nation — one quite capable of repeating Kennedy’s overreach. And Putin is no Khrushchev.

Remember that, on this Memorial Day.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:22 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Historical Perspectives | The Fall of the Roman American Empire | Warmongers | Weakening America
May 27, 2016
Back to the Future

Next thing you know, pay phones will be back. From the antiquated presses of the New York Times we learn that:

After years of seemingly unstoppable growth, e-book sales have started to slip, while paper has improbably bounced back. Digital book sales fell nearly 10 percent in 2015 from the previous year. Paperback sales grew by a healthy 16 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers, which tracks sales from more than 1,200 publishers.

Those who came of age with digital technology seem, surprisingly, to prefer paper to pixels. Young readers are less drawn to e-books. Only 13 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds primarily read e-books these days, compared with nearly 30 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds, according to a recent survey of 4,992 book buyers conducted by the Codex Group, a publishing consultancy.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:01 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (4)
Hope for the Future
I’m a Very Good Killer

This is from Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of [the] America[n Empire]. His is the most provocative, original, intelligent and informed voice that I have so far come across on the internet. Take a look.

To begin to see what ails us, let’s start at the top. Tom Paine equated kings with wars, and although we have no king as such, our executive office has usurped the power to unleash war to itself, irrespective of Congress or popular opinions, so that each President has become a de facto king as long as he occupies the White House. With no check or balance, he can have anyone killed, imprisoned or tortured, and even destroy an entire nation. Or take our current President’s nonchalance towards his kill list, as in “I’m a very good killer” and joking about drone strikes, and compare it to the agony Washington went through as he contemplated executing a Brit soldier, Charles Asgill, in retaliation against an American prisoner of war who had been hanged by the English. Asking Congress to decide Asgill’s fate, Washington wrote that “It is a great national concern, upon which an individual ought not to decide.” Echoing Washington’s anguish, Paine called this possible revenge murder “a sentence so extraordinary, an execution so repugnant to every human sensation.” In the end, Asgill was spared. Released, Asgill charged that he had been treated barbarically during his captivity, but this is only an indictment against his local jailers, not anyone higher up. An Abu Ghraib it was not. Think also of how American diplomacy and civility has declined since, for Washington’s behavior is a far cry from Hilary Clinton’s chirpy “We came, we saw, he died!” when speaking about Muammar Gaddafi, a foreign leader who had been sodomized with a knife, killed then displayed in a supermarket freezer by the American-supported thugs. And no, such breezy barbarity is not at all common, since no one but the US routinely violates foreign countries, persons or corpses.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:17 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Historical Perspectives | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | War on "Terror" | Warmongers
May 25, 2016
The New Normal…

…Well, not so new actually. Nearly as old as me, actually. Consider our “Defense” Department, enthusiastically funded by the taxpayers of a country last invaded in 1812. Since World War II we have become death merchants to the world, nor is there any sign of this ever changing. Not one major presidential candidate or political party since V-J Day has ever dared to propose that we exchange guns for butter — or for bridges, or schools, or highways, or health or…

And so the beat goes on:

The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending what the New York Times called “one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.”

“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” Obama said. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

So, to sum up: the sale of weapons is a sign of normalization. Appropriate, in that that is what is normal in America’s foreign relations in the 21st century. Not whether a nation is an ally or adversary per se, but whether they are a customer for our defense industry. For example, Saudi Arabia. Sure, they fund Sunni terrorism globally and played a role in the horrible events of 9/11, but they are also one of America’s most prolific buyers of weapons, and so are courted.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:03 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
America is Doomed | Historical Perspectives | Idiots | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | Warmongers | Weakening America
May 24, 2016
Things You Never Knew…

…because you never bothered to read Economic and Cultural Correlates of Road-traffic Accident Fatality Rates. Nor will you now, but at least you can skim the abstract from which this comes:

Countries with higher road-traffic accident fatality rates were characterized by higher power distance and uncertainty avoidance as well as embeddedness and emphasis on social hierarchy. Countries with lower road-traffic accident fatality rates were more individualistic, egalitarian, and emphasized autonomy of individuals. Conscientiousness (from NEO-PI-R) and IQ correlated negatively with road-traffic accident fatalities.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:19 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
May 19, 2016
Getting Rich by Going Broke

This is from Thinking Highways (whose site seems to be hacked) via Naked Capitalism. Once again, the invisible hand of the market turns out to be in your pocket.

Beginning with the contracting stage, the evidence suggests toll operating public private partnerships are transportation shell companies for international financiers and contractors who blueprint future bankruptcies. Because Uncle Sam generally guarantees the bonds – by far the largest chunk of “private” money – if and when the private toll road or tunnel partner goes bankrupt, taxpayers are forced to pay off the bonds while absorbing all loans the state and federal governments gave the private shell company and any accumulated depreciation. Yet the shell company’s parent firms get to keep years of actual toll income, on top of millions in design-build cost overruns….

Of course, no executive comes forward and says, “We’re planning to go bankrupt,” but an analysis of the data is shocking. There do not appear to be any American private toll firms still in operation under the same management 15 years after construction closed. The original toll firms seem consistently to have gone bankrupt or “zeroed their assets” and walked away, leaving taxpayers a highway now needing repair and having to pay off the bonds and absorb the loans and the depreciation.

The list of bankrupt firms is staggering, from Virginia’s Pocahontas Parkway to Presidio Parkway in San Francisco to Canada’s “Sea to Sky Highway” to Orange County’s Riverside Freeway to Detroit’s Windsor Tunnel to Brisbane, Australia’s Airport Link to South Carolina’s Connector 2000 to San Diego’s South Bay Expressway to Austin’s Cintra SH 130 to a couple dozen other toll facilities.

We cannot find any American private toll companies, furthermore, meeting their pre-construction traffic projections. Even those shell companies not in bankruptcy court usually produce half the income they projected to bondholders and federal and state officials prior to construction.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:14 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
The Problem with Capitalism
May 15, 2016
Brotox

We are in the end times for sure, as we learn from the New York Times:

Years ago, the only ones getting perfectly prettified were brides. But now, grooms are going for a brotox boost. They are making appointments with dermatologists and plastic surgeons to reduce fat, restore volume to their face, lose inches in their waist, remove wrinkles and hair, and erase those 11s — no one wants to look angry in their photos.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:18 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
America is Doomed | Idiots | Reveling in the Weird
May 11, 2016
Electability No Longer an Argument Being Made

It’s true that Donald Trump is the most disliked presidential candidate in public polling history. And you probably already know who the second-most disliked candidate; she’s very likely to be the Democratic nominee.

It’s funny, and telling with respect to the party, that her campaign was arguing early on that she’s the most electable person in the Democratic primaries, but long ago dropped that line. They have, after all, seen the data.


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(Graphs from a tweet by Jon Schwarz, @tinyrevolution)

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at 7:10 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Way Back in 1979!

…today’s horror show was precisely foreseen. Frightening stuff from Sally J. Goerner at Evonomics.com. Dr. Goerner holds out some hope if you follow the link to her whole article, as you should.

…But the pundits are all missing the point: the Trump-Sanders phenomenon signals an American oligarchy on the brink of a civilization-threatening collapse.

The tragedy is that, despite what you hear on TV or read in the paper or online, this collapse was completely predictable. Scientifically speaking, oligarchies always collapse because they are designed to extract wealth from the lower levels of society, concentrate it at the top, and block adaptation by concentrating oligarchic power as well. Though it may take some time, extraction eventually eviscerates the productive levels of society, and the system becomes increasingly brittle. Internal pressures and the sense of betrayal grow as desperation and despair multiply everywhere except at the top, but effective reform seems impossible because the system seems thoroughly rigged. In the final stages, a raft of upstart leaders emerge, some honest and some fascistic, all seeking to channel pent-up frustration towards their chosen ends. If we are lucky, the public will mobilize behind honest leaders and effective reforms. If we are unlucky, either the establishment will continue to “respond ineffectively” until our economy collapses, or a fascist will take over and create conditions too horrific to contemplate…

Rigged systems erode the health of the larger society, and signs of crisis proliferate. Developed by British archaeologist Sir Colin Renfrew in 1979, the following “Signs of Failing Times” have played out across time in 26 distinct societies ranging from the collapse of the Roman Empire to the collapse of the Soviet Union:

1. Elite power and well-being increase and is manifested in displays of wealth;

2. Elites become heavily focused on maintaining a monopoly on power inside the society; Laws become more advantageous to elites, and penalties for the larger public become more Draconian;

3. The middle class evaporates;

4. The “misery index” mushrooms, witnessed by increasing rates of homicide, suicide, illness, homelessness, and drug/alcohol abuse;

5. Ecological disasters increase as short-term focus pushes ravenous exploitation of resources;

6. There’s a resurgence of conservatism and fundamentalist religion as once golden theories are brought back to counter decay, but these are usually in a corrupted form that accelerates decline.

The crisis reaches a breaking point, and seemingly small events trigger popular frustration into a transformative change. If the society enacts effective reforms, it enters a new stage of development. If it fails to enact reforms, crisis leads to regression and possibly collapse.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:22 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
America is Doomed | Class Warriors | Economics and Society | Historical Perspectives | The Problem with Capitalism | Weakening America
May 09, 2016
Random Nonthoughts

Ed at Gin and Tacos, explaining the inexplicable:

The final group is where things get ugly. Converse labeled them NIC: No Issue Content. These people have a party they identify with but cannot explain what it stands for. They have opinion, but opinions with “no shred of policy significance whatever.” They like individual candidates based on their personal attributes and they have no substantive understanding of any policy issue, so the ideas they appear to support can appear quite random and perplexing to the observer in aggregate.

Re-read that last sentence. Does that sound familiar?

The most incredible thing about the Trump campaign from an academic / political science perspective is that we have the rare opportunity to observe a major party campaign with no ideological content whatsoever. There is no coherence to anything about Trump, policy-wise, and this reflects his supporters’ similar lack of meaningful ideology. On what rare occasions that he does put forth an actual idea it 1) makes no sense and 2) bears no identifiable relationship to any other idea he mentioned before or since. It is the definition of random. His appeal, in the eyes of his supporters, is that he is Tough or Bold or some personal characteristic that one could only get from watching and listening to Trump if one does not understand what anything in the realm of ideas in American politics actually means. Moreover, one must explicitly not care what any of it means.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 11:41 AM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Presidential Hopefuls | Psychology and Society | Weakening America
May 07, 2016
Yeah, But…

…she made the fingers too long.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:15 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
American Heroes | Idiots | Presidential Hopefuls | Reveling in the Weird
May 02, 2016
Why I Am a Republican

On account of it’s the party of the young, which I am at heart. Just take a look at our platform:

We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs — expansion of social security —broadened coverage in unemployment insurance — improved housing — and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people…

Further reductions in taxes with particular consideration for low and middle income families … Continual study of additional ways to correct inequities in the effect of various taxes…

“Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country — they are America”… The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is our firm and permanent policy … We will continue to fight for dynamic and progressive programs which, among other things, will assure equal pay for equal work regardless of Sex…

We shall continue to seek extension and perfection of a sound social security system…

We favor self-government, national suffrage and representation in the Congress of the United States for residents of the District of Columbia…

We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women…

The Republican Party supports an immigration policy which is in keeping with the traditions of America in providing a haven for oppressed peoples, and which is based on equality of treatment, freedom from implications of discrimination between racial, nationality and religious groups …

As the Party of the Young and in glowing appreciation of his dynamic leadership and inspiration, we respectfully dedicate this Platform of the Party of the Future to our distinguished President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and to the Youth of America.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:43 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Historical Perspectives | Republicans
April 28, 2016
What Is to Be Done?

This from Professor Wolff at The Philosopher’s Stone:

The time has come to ask, What is to be done? I am going to argue that each of us must do whatever possible to ensure that Hillary Clinton wins the election, and also whatever possible to transform Bernie’s campaign into a genuine movement.

I ask a favor of each of you: spare me the impassioned and accusatory list of reasons why Clinton is horrible. I know them all, and agree with them all. What is more, I am older than almost everyone who reads this blog, in many cases fifty or sixty years older. If Clinton is elected, and if her Wall Street soulmates will refrain from again crashing the American economy, she is likely to be re-elected, which means that I will be ninety-one when she leaves office. Don’t talk to me about despair!

Don’t talk to me either. I’m even older than the professor. Instead, go to the full posting from which this excerpt comes. It says everything I would have written on the subject, only better. I too voted for Bernie on Tuesday, and I too gave money to his campaign. Only a whole lot less. I’m not a rich professor.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:04 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Hope for the Future | Presidential Hopefuls
April 27, 2016
Can You Spot The Authentic Friedman Quote?

Two of the excerpts below are fakes from the Thomas Friedman Op/Ed Generator and one is an authentic Friedman. Can you identify which is which? The winner gets a cheap black turtleneck sweater from a Bangladeshi sweatshop. Second prize is a vial of mustache clippings. Here we go:

Yesterday’s news from Cambodia is earth-flattening, and it raises questions about whether there might just be light at the end of the tunnel. What’s important, however, is that we focus on what this means to the citizens themselves. The media seems too caught up in spinning the facts to pay attention to the important effects on daily life. Just call it missing the myths for the lie.
Here’s number two:
Imagine if industrial giants sat down with ordinary people like you and me and ironed out some real solutions to our transportation crisis.
And here’s number three:
You can learn everything you need to know about the main challenges facing Africa today by talking to just two people in Senegal: the rapper and the weatherman. They’ve never met, but I could imagine them doing an amazing duet one day — words and weather predictions — on the future of Africa.
Which one is the real deal?

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Posted by OHollern at 9:37 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
April 26, 2016
In Search of the Least Flawed


Son Ted didn’t attend Trump’s Hartford rally, but here’s his takeaway from son Mike’s takeaway from the event in the previous post :

The problem is, fine, Bernie is flawed; but compared to what?

Hillary is extremely similar to two well-known historical presidential candidates: Hoover and Bush Sr. The similarities are eerie. All three have résumés that made Beltway insiders and no-mind pundits assume, and tout, that the candidate was among the best-qualified and best-prepared candidates in the country’s history. All three have some degree of personal magnetism that has enabled them each to generate incredibly devoted and quite large coteries of personal friends who are nearly maniacal about helping the candidate get to the White House. All of these core groups of friends are also defensive and thin-skinned to the point of paranoia.

And very relatedly, the candidates are all similar in terms of decades within the bubble in terms of personal finance. They all also have a distasteful fascination with personal wealth, though Hillary’s graspingness is orders of magnitude more unattractive. They also all three suffer from a truly surprising level of utter failure to appreciate the challenges and opportunities of the moment the country is in as they approach the White House.

Hillary will for instance do everything she can to get a Geithner or a Summers in as Treasury secretary, and will also launch whatever land war she has the first opportunity to. Both her domestic and foreign policy inclinations will result in historic disasters, and my fear is that based on Hillary’s personal lack of skill, the Democratic party will be tarred with failures at home and abroad that are really creations of the pivotal George W. Bush Administration.

Like Hoover and George Herbert Walker Bush, Hillary has “one-termer” written all over her.

…Read on

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:24 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Historical Perspectives | Presidential Hopefuls
April 25, 2016
Once Berned


While you were in church yesterday my son Mike was feeling the Bern. Here are his takeaways:

Bernie came to town yesterday, a day after Hillary worked a few events. I dropped off Georgia and a few of her friends and watched from a distance. It was fascinating.

— It was a pretty white crowd, particularly for New Haven. Not nearly as diverse as the normal free events we have at the Green. But totally filled the Green, so certainly over 8,000 folks.

— He’s a cult figure to many of his fans — even though he’s basically lost the race, the folks around me were saying things like “we are in a revolution, and Bernie will save us...” It will be crushing to these folks when they realize that their revolution can’t even win the Dem. primary.

— He is a pretty poor speaker. No change in tone, the same hand gestures over and over, doesn’t respond to the crowd vibe at all.

— But clearly his anger and grumpiness are really doing it for his supporters. He’s really benefited from a double standard here, I think. I tried to imagine if Hillary employed the same angry grandpa style — didn’t pay particular attention to how she looked, etc. — and realized that she’d most likely be pilloried/ridiculed for it. But the audience clearly loved it.

— His message in some ways is the flip side of Trump’s. No hope agenda. Asking nothing of the audience. Just hammering on all the problems and saying that the entire government, GOP and Dem alike, have completely failed. And the answer is to let him handle it and the rich and corporations will pay for it. No mention of anyone working together to solve problems. Most of all, he came across as someone who is absolutely convinced that he’s right, and doesn’t have time for anyone who disagrees with him.

— And while he didn’t say it directly, he had very little good to say about Obama. No mention that anything positive happened over the last 8 years. The clear implication was that Obama’s vision is not much better than the Republicans'.

— Harshly attacked income disparity in New Haven, and no mention of Mayor Harp, our popular black woman progressive mayor or the fact that New Haven itself is actually a very union friendly town (maybe sometimes too union friendly). Of course, Harp is supporting Clinton.


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Obviously a red meat event for the faithful, but I found myself wondering what comes next for him. This didn’t seem like a guy who’d be at all interested in helping the larger Democratic effort if/when he loses. And his rigidity and the fact that he’s proud that he’s never changed his core beliefs for his entire life is what the audience found very appealing, so I’m not sure whether he will be able to figure out a way to encourage at least some of his supporters to support Hillary, or even wants to try.

If I were a Clinton person trying to figure out what to do with Bernie at the convention, I’d be very worried. I certainly wouldn’t want him to deliver his stump speech as is in a prominent spot. Before I was feeling like Sanders had performed a really important function by forcing Hillary to be a better candidate. I still think this is true, but now I’m pretty worried that he might undo some of this positive effect and end up hurting Dem prospects in the general.

Yours, Mike
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:35 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Elections | Political Commentary | Presidential Hopefuls
April 24, 2016
Today’s Must-read

From Fox News:

“It’s my first time ever recovering a monkey from a prostitute,” Detective Rick Lowe told FOX12.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:15 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Animal blogging | Reveling in the Weird
April 23, 2016
Beautiful Naked Blonde

Going through old files just now, I came across one called “Jokes.” Why did I keep them? Did I think they might come in handy some day? When, though? Oh, what the hell, why not? Here’s a couple:

Eva Peron mocked by hecklers at some public event, they calling out, “Prostitute, prostitute.” An elderly man on the platform comforts her: “Don’t let them bother you, my dear. I retired from the army seventeen years ago, and people still call me general.”

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Mickey Spillane, at Mystery Writers of America Edgar banquet, April of 1995, being honored as a grand master, says after he wrote, I, the Jury, people kept coming up to him and saying, “How could Mike Hammer possibly have shot that beautiful naked blonde in the navel with a forty-five?” “Simple,” I’d say. “He missed.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:40 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Arts and Literature | Crime Fiction
Satire is Dead

From The Onion:

In the case of the Baltimore shooting, however, the bureau took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the group did not fault the two agents who killed Mr. Harrison. Instead, it chastised only the agent who shot the tire, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay, according to documents obtained by The Times in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The review group’s reasoning was that the bureau’s policy on using lethal force forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle, and it concluded that this had been the agent’s motive in shooting the tire. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, and the panel decided that the two agents who shot Mr. Harrison were trying to keep him from driving into bystanders.

Only it isn’t, sadly, from The Onion at all. It’s from The New York Times.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:54 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Civil Liberties | Legal Absurdities | Police State