The Houston Lesson

AYK, what the citizens of Houston are enduring as a result of Harvey is unprecedented and horrific beyond imagining.  No amount of preparation could have been sufficient to deal with what follows.  That it happened to Houston is in one way fortunate (they are the only people left who know how to build things) and in another unfortunate (fascist Libertarians and Christofascists impose austerity on the poor).

Houston is capable of much.  But it does not have a record of being good stewards to “the least of us.”  Indeed, threats of Texas secession have concerned those capable of concern for the lives of the marginalized sans the protections of the US Constitution.

This disaster is such that all responders will be exhausted of energy and funding.  Quite simply, Houston, if responded to effectively, represents a significant lurch toward socialism.  Absent permanent war, we can afford it.

Climate change turns out to favor nationalism.  We’re gonna need all our energy to deal with Houston and what else may come after.  Odds are, despite all our saber rattling abroad, that black swans associated with weather events will spell our doom.

That new vehicle is about to become a lot more expensive to drive.

This couldn’t come at a worse time for the auto industry.

Texas, already a Banana Republic, will never recover.

This single weather event could devastate the economy.    The stock market is not the economy.

But I voted for Trump, so I can’t blame climate change.

Regardless, the auto loan and home mortgage security markets are about to be destabilized.

Millions of acres will be brown fields.

We’ll be lucky to escape a nuclear event.

This will provide the excuse for domestic military mobilization.

Tens of thousands of the worst White people you’ve ever met are coming our way.

Denied privileged entitlement for the first time in generations, they will be murderously insane.

The Walking Dead will be Texans.

Of course, a Federal Job Guarantee/Universal Basic Income/$15 Minimum Wage would end all of this. Instead, we’ll have dystopia.

Cheap gas offered an unprecedented financial opp to pay down debt. Instead, everybody bought a pickup truck.

The good news is the Koch brothers are probably ruined.

This is not Katrina. Hundreds of billions of asset value has been erased overnight.

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Fearrington Village

The Wife and I had the day off, yesterday and took Darth Beetle to Pittsboro, looking for a clothing store she’s heard about.

We parked in a blighted area behind the restaurant, walked in, sat down at the bar and began sampling the fare.  I had no interest in their selections on tap and ordered a Blue Moon.  The Antifa fascists running the place put me off, so we left.

We travel around in a convertible, trying to find things with a $85 smartphone.  The Wife can’t see the phone and when she gets a glimpse, the GPS is mocking us.  So, we end up going the wrong was on 64, 87 and 15-501.

I’ve done this enough to find Fearrington Village.  If you can find the entrance, then you continue to be faced with minimal signage.  I’m not yet in my dotage and my corrected eyesight is perfect.  I can’t imagine how oldsters find anything here.

So, you park and walk.  But nearly everything is closed by now.

So, you go to the deli, the only thing open.

Antifa fascists running the place.  A bunch of guys.  Slow, untrained and don’t know anything about the food they’re serving.

That’s the thing about college.  A degree does not abolish the need to be educated.

This is why we keep going back to Chilis.  Responsible restaurants keep Blue Moon on tap.

And why would I want to waste my time on swill made in Bear Creek?

The place she was looking for was actually in Apex.  We’ll get’er next time.

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Trump’s Authoritarians

From Rush Limbaugh, Thursday:

Bannon is conveying here that he is the decision-maker and strategist on these foreign policy subjects or questions and that Trump is just along for the ride…

[T]he overall flavor of the interview is that Trump is not president, Bannon is…

There are people all over Washington, D.C., who think that Steve Bannon made Trump, that Trump didn’t have anything to do with it. And they think that Trump has words put in his mouth by Bannon…

They really believe that Trump will not fire Bannon because Trump knows that Bannon can destroy him because they think that all that has to happen is for Bannon to go on TV and tell Trump’s voters that Trump’s a phony and Trump’s this and that Trump’s voters will abandon him…

That Bannon is the creator of populism, for example. That Bannon is the creator of Trump Nationalism. That Bannon is the guy who created the Alt-Right, who is Trump’s base. All of that is just total BS.

It was mainstream Americans that signed up and voted for Donald Trump…

So inside the Beltway, the Washington establishment, Trump is a buffoon.

Would someone please tell me how Trump is not a buffoon.  Time will tell.

People who had never voted before were encouraged by promises of jobs and an end to wars, both of which are Nationalist planks which I doubt Trump came up with.  Of course, both are turning out to be lies.

From Nick Hanauer:

Manufacturing as a percentage of the overall economy, and of jobs, has been declining globally for decades. This trend will not reverse. Trump cannot restore the middle class with empty promises to bring manufacturing jobs back from the dead.

No, the only realistic near term way to insure Americans do better is to make existing jobs into good jobs by requiring they be paid adequately.

No matter what anyone says, the real reason Bannon left is because Trump has not kept these promises.  In fact, Trump lies all the time and always has.  It’s who he is.

And who’s behind the slight-of-hand vaporware Saudi arms deal, which emboldened them to attack gas-rich Qatar, and their ally, Iran?  This was foreign policy strategy on a grand scale.  Even Bannon’s enemies on the Left claim he’s the most politically savvy operator at the White House.

From Michael Lewis:

Allegedly, between the election and the inauguration not a single Trump representative set foot inside the Department of Agriculture, for example. The Department of Agriculture has employees or contractors in every county in the United States, and the Trump people seemed simply to be ignoring the place. Where they did turn up inside the federal government, they appeared confused and unprepared. A small group attended a briefing at the State Department, for instance, only to learn that the briefings they needed to hear were classified. None of the Trump people had security clearance—or, for that matter, any experience in foreign policy—and so they weren’t allowed to receive an education.

This is how the neophyte Trump admin actually behaves.  Slick foreign policy deals aren’t possible if you’re ignorant.

From Ron Maxwell:

While prominent neocon and establishment luminaries who derided Trump from the beginning couldn’t expect seats at the Trump table, their lesser known minions infiltrated key precincts of Trump’s transition teams. Their astute sponsors, the neocon bigwigs, knew the neophyte president could not know who was who in the political and policy firmament of Washington. Neocon cadres had had at least a quarter century to embed themselves into every nook and cranny of the federal bureaucracy—at State, Defense, national security agencies, congressional offices, think tanks, nongovernment organizations, and the national media.

Within weeks a pattern emerged in the new administration. Covert Never Trump Republicans were getting hired; proven and loyal Trump supporters were blocked.

Removal of Bannon is the last straw.  Deep State has crushed whatever promises Trump made during the campaign.  Rush contends Trump supporters have a personal connection with the man.  Preposterous.  Trump supporters have a personal connection with their pocket books and he is failing to deliver.

Limbaugh was pretty much consigned to the political wilderness during the Obama admin, and Trump came out of nowhere to re-energize his career.  Authoritarians like Rush are likely to suffer the consequences of their delusion.

I contend Steve Bannon was the chief architect of Trump’s campaign.  The removal of Bannon puts an end to hopes Trump will keep those promises.  The next few weeks, starting with the Afghan deal, should prove that the deep state coup against Trump has been entirely successful.

Bannon’s return to Breitbart simply puts him back whence he came.  I think he propelled the worst possible candidate into the White House and I suspect he plans to do it again in 2020, sans Trump.

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We’re Not Going to the Stars

From John Michael Greer:

As tenured academics stopped turning up their noses at “all that Buck Rogers stuff,” as a handful of the more literary SF authors found their work being reviewed in highbrow periodicals and the genre as a whole found itself afflicted with creeping respectability, the US space program began winding down, and a galaxy of technological breakthroughs that were supposed to happen sometime very soon—commercially viable fusion power comes first to mind—faded into that dim realm where might-have-beens spend their time…

[T]he late 1970s, the era when science fiction went mainstream, was also the era in which it started to become brutally clear that the splendid universe that science fiction writers and readers had built for their genre didn’t actually exist…

[A]s the genre ripened, transit times shrank, and gimmicks such as the “warp drive” that allowed the Star Trek franchise to squish the galaxy to lunchbox size supplanted realistic visions of just what it would cost to get to other planets or other stars…

It wasn’t until space probes with increasingly elaborate technology brought back hard data from our neighboring planets that the whole grand dream came crashing down at last…

[I]t’s pretty clear to anybody who does the math that even if there happen to be inhabitable worlds circling other stars, getting just one ship there is going to take an energy supply of the same rough order of magnitude as the world’s total consumption of energy at present, if not more—and that as far as we know, the universe doesn’t offer us any energy source sufficiently concentrated and abundant enough to make that an option…

We’re not going to the stars. That’s the unspeakable reality that a great many people in the industrial world are trying to evade right now, with increasingly limited success…

[O]nce a species reaches the industrial level of technology, it uses up its home planet’s available supplies of concentrated energy resources and nonrenewable resources within a few centuries at most, and then drops permanently to a nonindustrial level of technology because that’s what it has the resources left to sustain.

Greer’s old blog is now closed and resulting in, among other things, Retrotopia, which describes a post-apocalyptic world more hopeful than dystopic.  It had a dramatic effect on me.

Jeremy Grantham says our industrial society encompasses a two hundred-year period of cheap energy, which is coming to a close.  He says we missed the opp to develop safe nuclear energy and other alternatives to fossil fuels.  Instead, we continue to foul the air  with hydrocarbons and poison the earth with batteries and nuclear waste.

Of immediate concern is neoliberal capitalism and the concentration of wealth among the few to the detriment of the many.  $1T per year of wages is appropriated by corporations. There may indeed be an apocalypse for the wealthy in the future, but for the poor it is happening right now.

We need look no further than Raleigh for an example of the cruel austerity being legislated on behalf of the Koch brothers against the poor.  What was once a vibrant state has been turned, by privatization and budget cuts, into a lamentable Mississippi.  Even South Carolina, once mocked for its public paucity, has used tax incentives to court lots of industry.  North Carolina, which disdains incentives, languishes.

The worship of materialism and absence of education renders the populace apathetic and ignorant of our corporatized democracy.  This inverted totalitarianism, cemented with alcohol and drugs, insures the populace is too preoccupied to participate in rebellion.

Those few of us who are holding our heads up get lost in the details of possible change and fail to form significant cohorts against the status quo.  A singular exception is the election of Donald Trump, where millions voted for the first time in resounding opposition to Hillary Clinton.

Regardless, we don’t know our neighbors and are unprepared for a civil emergency, much less political action.  So, while Greer’s Retrotopia is great dystopic fiction, I’m afraid that’s all it is.  Whereas we lack the technology to slip the surly bonds of space, we also probably lack the means to escape crushing poverty.

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Socialism or Barbarism

From Chris Hedges in 2015:

“Bourgeois society faces a dilemma,” socialist Rosa Luxemburg writes, “either a transition to Socialism, or a return to barbarism … we face the choice: either the victory of imperialism and the decline of all culture, as in ancient Rome—annihilation, devastation, degeneration, a yawning graveyard; or the victory of Socialism—the victory of the international working class consciously assaulting imperialism and its method: war. This is the dilemma of world history, either-or; the die will be cast by the class-conscious proletariat.”…

Military muscle exists to permit global corporations to expand markets and plunder oil, minerals and other natural resources while keeping subjugated populations impoverished by corrupt and brutal puppet regimes. The masters of war are the scum of the earth…

Those who are desperate to secure a place in society are easy fodder for the military and ready candidates for underpaid jobs without benefits or job security. Our corporate, neofeudal society is by design.

Notice who’s gathered generals around him.

What do these military officers know about domestic politics?

Trump has an Ashkenazi married to the apple of his eye.

We are at war with Zionism.

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National Socialism

From Anne Applebaum at the WaPo in May, 2016:

It’s been highly amusing to watch the international press struggle to describe Norbert Hofer, the candidate who has just lost, by a tiny handful of votes, the Austrian presidential election. Hofer bitterly opposes immigration and uses nostalgic language about “pan-German” culture, views which place him in the “far-right” category of European politics. At the same time, he and his Freedom Party denounce the “neoliberal” economic consensus and deplore the evils of international capitalism — views that place him in the “far-left” category of European politics.

It’s a confusing mix. Which is why, in order to explain Hofer and his soziale Heimatpartei — social homeland party — I propose to rescue the term “national socialism” from the ashes of the Second World War. By national socialism I don’t mean Hitler, and I’m not talking about the Holocaust. I don’t even mean fascism, although of course we could eventually get there. I’m talking instead about a political philosophy which combines “nationalism” — a strong belief in the significance or even superiority of one’s own ethnic group or nation-state — with “socialism,” the belief that the state should intervene very heavily in the national economy, and maybe in other realms, too…

All across Europe, the parties that used to be known as “far right” are rapidly remodeling themselves, adopting policy and language that once would have sounded Marxist. Marine Le Pen’s National Front party now holds annual rallies on May 1, the old international socialists’ holiday. At these events, she also attacks “neoliberal” policies and “globalized elites.” In their place, she wants a “muscular state,” which taxes imports, advocates protectionism and nationalizes foreign companies and banks. Not coincidentally, she also wants to withdraw from both the European Union and NATO.

And Putin, having fought the central bankers to a stand still and then some, bestrides them all, as champion over the oligarchs.  Wherever a Wells Fargo filches its customers or Goldman Sachs shorts its own advice, there Putin and Bannon, if not Trump, will be.

Revolutions need new vocabularies and I’ve been going on about neoliberalism for years.  Sheldon Wolin’s corporatized democracy or inverted totalitarianism has been another big one.

Revolutions also need new heroes and none come better than the Russian people, having clandestinely marshaled the defense of Donbass after Vickie “Fuck the EU” Nuland and her neo-nazis fired on a crowd of police and protesters, in the Kiev Maidan coup of 2014.

Since then they weathered our attempts to crash their currency and ruin their economy with sanctions.  In reaction, they’ve diversified the economy and now provide the major part of Europe’s GMO-free produce.

Seventy years of our nuclear threats have resulted in preeminence on the battlefield.  Whereas, we tend to think more about offense, Russia’s defensive electronic countermeasures continue to defeat the Ukrainians.

Syria is the best display of Russian policies and tactics.  As we saw in Novorussia, Russians send humanitarian supplies regularly and have an excellent record of re-patriating recovered neighborhoods.

So follow Bannon, but he is not the master.  Another is, about which you’ve been told many bad things, all lies.  But now everything is a lie.


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I Am a Nazi

No, I don’t brandish a shield or engage in racist violence.  In fact, I pretty much despise Christofascists and privileged White people in general.  I don’t know about God, but the gospels seem like a pretty good idea.

I’m a capitalist who has spent his working life helping new and emerging businesses.  At the end of the day, I’m increasingly concerned with the plight of the poor I encounter.  Therefore, I’m a supporter of a national job guarantee, expanded Medicaid and a Universal Basic Income.

I voted for Anybody But Hillary, but was encouraged by Trump’s appeals to Nationalism.  I’ve been a Republican since 1978 and don’t plan on changing.  But I will follow Steve Bannon out the door and become a member of the AltRight.

Since I’m a socialist who believes Libertarians are evil and a nationalist, I am literally a  Nazi.  The Left can’t order lunch without fucking it up, so the real threat are the warmongering Zionists.  That’s right: I support education, labor and peace.

Hitler gave Nazis a bad name and calling racists Nazis is a misnomer.  Fascism comes primarily from the Zionists with domestic neoliberal austerity and warmongering abroad.  National Socialism is paleocon without Libertarian austerity or white supremacist dead enders.

From Donald Trump in April, 2016:

The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies…

We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism…

America will continually play the role of peacemaker.

He lied, succumbing to Zionists and the Deep State.

So far, I’ve avoided Breitbart like the plague.  I suspect that is about to change.

Regardless, Trump has his warmongering Zionist Christofascists and their darlings, the Libertarian GOP establishment with their austerity.  They are false Christians and false conservatives, but they’ve taken over a bunch of state house and control Congress.

As ever, I find myself opposed to the establishment, of which Trump is now a member.

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