1. Removing the spending caps to enable larger deficit budgets without regular crises over threats to default was a major development that may have been an important trigger for the stock market “correction”. Wages already rising with inflation and interest rates widely expected to follow.
Not noticed any discussion of the coalition emerging in the House of Representatives. Democrat leader Pelosi spoke for 8 hours against avoiding another shutdown but only 119 Democrats voted no with her. Another 73 joined with 167 GOP yes votes, outnumbering the 67 GOP no votes (presumably Tea Party/Koch brothers but I haven’t checked).
This tends to confirm my expectation that the program of deficits Trump needs for 2020 will get through. Perhaps with more “noise” than this first major step, but with similar bipartisan majority that relies on Democrats to offset GOP fiscal hawks. Even the Atlantic can see it:
Interestingly all officers of the Sanders wing Progressive caucus (with the fascinating exception of their whip) voted no. I would expect them to be more inclined to support deficits for infrastructure, healthcare etc so bipartisan majority could be more comfortable than it currently looks. I haven’t checked the non-officer members.
Also of course the 8 hour drama from Pelosi was purely posturing about DACA and does not imply any serious intention for Democrats to block larger deficits. Presumably the Sanders wing officials also felt obliged to participate in the DACA posturing.
In fact Pelosi told the Democrat caucus they could vote their conscience and was “relieved” her no vote was defeated.
As the GOP Chief Deputy whip said:
“To me, it’s a fascinating display of a bipartisan win and at the same time Democrats ripping themselves apart about a bipartisan agreement. It doesn’t make any damn sense.”
2. But it does make sense, once you grasp that the Democrat leadership is absolutely paralysed and purely engaged in posturing. The above spectacular stupidity was actually exceeded in response to the FBI and DOJ requesting redactions from a Democrat memo. If they were only mildly incompetent they would simply undertake to make the necessary redactions, which have been provided to them by the FBI and DOJ, while repeating their theme that their memo is defending the FBI and DOJ from Trump. Embarassing, but what else could they do under the circumstances? Indeed the ranking Democrat responsible for their memo did just that:
But of course he couldn’t resist “blasting” Trump for “hypocrisy” and other Democrats could not resist joining in
According to Pelosi:
“President Trump’s refusal to release Intelligence Committee Democrats’ memo is a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“The President’s decision to block the Democratic memo from release is part of a dangerous and desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the President,” she added. “Clearly, the President has something to hide.”
“The Hill” has a whole stream of this stuff. Follow the links from above to sample the whole chorus. Then you can get more of the same from MSNBC et al.
Best one I noticed was Blumenthal saying Trump not releasing the memo provides the much needed evidence of Trump obstructing justice – “happening in real time”!
CNN’s Cilizza explicitly highlights that Trump ignored FBI complaints of “material omissions” from Democrat memo as proof of hypocrisy in accepting FBI requests for redactions on “national security” grounds of revealing sources and methods. Presumably assumes people who read him dont think about what he’s saying any more than he does. Basically the same mentality as a Trump rally chanting “build the wall” and “Mexico will pay”.
So not only have they enthusiastically continued helping Trump keep them tightly focused on “Russia” as usual. That is merely short sighted.
After all “the Russia thing” might not collapse in a heap for weeks, possibly months and no matter how stupid they end up looking, at this point they cannot really make things much worse by more carrying on this way.
But Trump will release their memo within DAYS, not weeks. So they aren’t just strategically and tactically inept and shortsighted but completely blindly, blitheringly stupid and just going through the motions of issuing press releases without any thought whatsoever.
Of course Trump cannot release the memo within days if the Democrats refuse to make the redactions requested by the FBI and DOJ or can only do so unilaterally while they present the omissions as political censorship. So one theory is that instead of blind stupidity the whole stunt could be a tactical ploy deliberately intended to prolong not releasing their memo so they can continue complaining about it:
Either way, this is not the behaviour of a party leadership that is confident of winning the mid-terms, but of panic stricken losers.
But it isn’t just Democrats, here’s some brilliant strategic calculation by an anti-Trump GOP staffer:
“The White House’s failure to declassify the House Intelligence Committee minority memo – particularly in the face of unanimous bipartisan vote by the committee – represents a massive strategic miscalculation,”
I really hate explanations of political developments that are based on implausible levels of stupidity on the part of participants.
But the only other theory I can think of would be some desperate attempt by the Democrats to avoid ending up with a majority after mid-terms and having to unsuccessfully impeach Trump in 2019 thus helping him get elected again in 2020. Nope I don’t believe that either. This whole situatiom is fascinating because it is all so completely inexplicable.
Here’s the Associated Press version which seems to be a reasonably accurate account of US politicians carrying on about nothing in particular:
Update: Just saw comment from Trump staff that suggests a less implausible level of stupidity:
“We believe that Congressman Schiff potentially put in there methods and sources that he knew would need to be redacted,” he said. “And if we redacted it, then there would be an outcry that said the White House is trying to edit it. So we said take it back, work with the FBI, clean it up, and we’ll release it.” Asked if Democrats drafted a memo they knew would be blocked, Schiff said “of course not”.
That does seem plausible. It could have just not occurred to them that the natural response to this ploy would be to not comply with their hopes of Trump issuing redacted version while they bleated that he was hiding something and instead send it back for them to make the redactions requested by FBI and DOJ themselves. All the indignant press statements from both Democrats and GOP anti-Trumpers were ready to roll so they just issued them anyway, relying on fact that media would still report it as Trump refusing to release (which they did).
That would just reflect the ordinary level of Democrat and media stupidity and tactical ineptitude that we have become used to rather than the implausible “completely blindly, blitheringly stupid” explanation I was worried about.
Story seems to have promptly disappeared from the headlines. Only noticed this guy today who hadn’t got the memo to move on:
Meanwhile Trump is happily tweeting that even the New York Times has run a story on US intelligence agents paying Russian hackers to return hacked NSA tools plus “unsolicited” kompromat on Trump.
CIA denies that US intelligence paid Russian scam artists for Trump kompromat. Some hint in reports that others did.
3. Resistance broadens. Snowflakes and butterflies form coalition against wall:
4. Collapse of mainstream media into total incoherence is not confined to USA with Trump.
Just seen in today’s Sunday Age p29:
There can be few greater examples of the double standard of reporting in Australian politics than that of Barnaby Joyce’s “love child”.
If it were, say Barbara – or Joyce – Joyce, a married female party leader and deputy prime minister who impregnated a younger staffer, the story would have been pursued with great vigour and determination months ago.
Indeed the first impregnation by any female would no doubt have been headline news worldwide. Even proofreaders at Fairfax would have noticed it.
SMH has a slightly different version:
If it were, say Barbara – or Joyce – Joyce, a married female party leader and deputy prime minister who became pregnant to a younger staffer, the story would have been pursued with great vigour and determination months ago.
5. Some hint of gap opening between Trump and Netanyahu
(Separate reports indicate Netanyahu could be charged with corruption soon)
6. Psychological explanation of why Trump core supporters don’t care what he actually delivers:
Some plausability. Irresistible comparisons with similar phenomena among liberals. But misses key point that bigger factor for both is how much they despise each other.
7. Fox preparing for efforts to increase Hispanic support for Trump or at least reduce their mobilization for Democrats:
Seems plausible to me that if (when) Trump actually delivers some comprehensive immigration reform while Democrats posture about it they will lose a lot from their “identity” based strategy. (Ditto for both blacks and hispanics with employment and wages improving).
8. Sound advice that Democrats should shut up about impeachment at least until after the mid-terms:
Doubt that they are capable of enforcing it.
9. Brookings institute offers some comfort for those worried about decreased levels of dysfunctionality – “Trump is becoming irrelevant”:
They are also correctly confirming that public opinion doesn’t support the nativist hostility Trump promoted in campaign but not registering that he can easily adapt to that and shows every sign of doing so (and would need to for any reduction in Hispanic mobilization for Democrats):
Lots more open windows to close but I will just post this.
I am. We are.
That is enough. Now it is time to begin.
So wrote Bloch in the opening lines of “Spirit of Utopia”. With these words perhaps it is time to begin again.
Lichteim’s words that Engels fault was “to read an element of purposive striving into the structure of reality: in other words, to revert to romanticism” were not wrong because they were wrong, they were wrong because they were right (apart from fact that the reversion is a progression).
The Dialectic is now at a stage where Nature is imputed with the striving dynamism and subjectivity it already had – striving towards perfection, with utopia being a step along the way.
Similarly Habermas’s depiction of Bloch as the “Marxist Schelling” is no longer the insult it once was, but is now the highest compliment.
Of course, the days of iron necessity and absolute truth are long gone.
All that is required is simple hope, based on the following premises:
1. The concept of hope is an appropriate starting point for philosophy
2. Hope consists of a desire for an outcome and a belief in the outcome’s possibility
3. The best thing that can be hoped for is Universal Perfection
4. Hoping for Universal Perfection entails hoping for Utopia
5. Hoping for Utopia entails striving for Utopia
6. Striving for Utopia provides grounds for assessing appropriate actions, beliefs and theories
7. In deciding what actions to take to realise Utopia, theoretical analysis, speculation and interpretation are essential
8. However, the objective of analysis is not to provide an indubitable foundation for knowledge or action
9. Rather, the objective of analysis is to provide a reasonable basis for actions, the efficacy of which is assessed by their effects on the progression towards Utopia
10. The point is not to interpret the world, but to change it.
“Bright Future” is a seed that cannot sprout until the weeds around it have been trampled down and uprooted.
And what are the biggest enemies of hope today – Postmodernism and Neo-Darwinism.