Wanderthread

#1

I like to talk about US and global politics, and I think I have a decent record of accurate analysis over the last few years.

But I’m also a person of strong cynical, depressive and pessimistic tendencies, and at the moment both my personal circumstances and the world in general create a context that provides plenty of scope for those facets of my personality to be expressed.

Some folks find this to be, understandably, irritating. Cassandra ain’t the life of the party, especially when sustained.

So, this is the thread for myself (and anyone else who feels like commenting) to be gloomy about politics. If you don’t wanna read it, don’t.

WARNING: This thread contains discussion of heavy political issues, and some posts may contain images of war or other violence. Viewer discretion advised.

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Wanderthread Redux
#2

One important point that I think is worth noting is that the successful protests mentioned by Naomi were generally not the brief, symbolic street-theatre style of protest that have been the US norm since the 1960s.

They were non-violent direct action; take to the streets en masse, paralyse the normal operation of cities and industry, and stay there until the job is done.

Naomi’s recent Democracy Now interview is long but worthwhile:

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#3

This is being reported as a good thing, but I don’t think it is.

The GOP has been point-blank refusing to consider ending the 2001 AUMF ever since it was passed. Then, with no warning, they decide en masse last week that it should be revised.

The only plausible explanation to me is that they’re planning on replacing it with something worse.

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#4

if you really want something discouraging to think about, just ponder that around a third of the electorate seem to be willing to back 45 no matter what he does. NO MATTER WHAT.

there’s a thread back at bb that ponders “what would it take?”

i really don’t know at this point. anything i can think of that might shift the hard core would need to end with the words “the aristocrats!”

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#5

What would it take? Nothing that’s going to happen. The GOP base is locked in. Some because they’re stupid, some because they’re vicious.

Folks need to accept that about 1/5 of the country are fascists or fascist-enablers, and they aren’t going to spontaneously develop into decent people just because Trump is an arse. Trump didn’t change the GOP laity; he just gave expression to what they’ve been demanding for decades.

If the country was under majority rule, that 20% arsehole factor would be an unfortunate but tolerable problem. Most countries have a substantial dickhead minority to deal with, and they usually manage to do so to a sustainable degree.

But the USA isn’t under majority rule, and it is never going to return to majority rule while the opposition are relying upon business-as-usual marketing-based electoral campaigning. Opinion polls are irrelevant when corrupt fascists are counting the votes.

The only way to get them [1] out is to make the country ungovernable, for as long as it takes. Every day of delay makes that harder to do, and raises the eventual body count [2].

Masha was right. All of it.

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/11/10/trump-election-autocracy-rules-for-survival/

.

[1] And I mean them. Trump is not the problem; the entire GOP has gone toxic.

[2] The most ridiculously over-funded military in the history of the world is in the hands of a group of deluded, apocalyptic fascists. The damage Trump is doing to America is nothing compared to the slaughter that the US military delivers throughout the world. The people of the non-USAdian world, in a very literal sense, are forced to rely upon the courage of decent Americans to save their lives.

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#6

To be properly pessimistic…

I’ve said before that the current US political situation is sharply reminiscent of antebellum US history. The slaver’s revolt was preceded by a decade’s worth of increasingly overt attempts to subvert US democracy.

Back then, the abolitionists controlled the majority of US industry and military, as well as the executive; this was crucial to their eventual success. Later, 20th century conflicts emphasised the point that wars are won by logistics. Every soldier in the field is backed by ten support personnel working to feed them fuel, food and ammunition, and technology has the ability to massively amplify individual effectiveness.

So, what’s the balance of forces these days?

  1. Military and paramilitary (AKA police). Heavy advantage to the right; the majority of American armed forces (both military and civilian) are authoritarian extremists.

  2. Industry. Advantage to the left, although I’m not sure how strongly. California has a shitload more factories than Alabama, but offshoring has bled industrial capacity across the country.

  3. Economy. Heavy advantage to the left. Financially, the red states are mostly unproductive parasites on the industrialised regions.

  4. Technology. Heavy long-term advantage to the left, may not be relevant in the short term. The non-fascists have most of the scientists, but the fascists have plenty of engineers. And tech progression may not matter when both sides have nukes from day one.

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#7

Should food production be a category? (I basically agree with what you are saying and have been saying. The situation is not good in many ways.)

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#8

Probably, but I’m not sure where the balance is on that.

The grain/corn producing plains states are red, but California is a hefty agricultural producer in its own right…although possibly dependent on interstate water.

In the long term, climate change is going to desertify the grain belt, but that’s probably at least a few decades off.

There’s also the issue of imports; I’ve no idea how effective an embargo would be these days. How would they stop Mexican/Canadian/Australian/Chinese food from reaching California?

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#9

To me, the question is whether we can have fair elections. That’s the inflection point. If yes, then we can continue to have faith in the democratic process. If not, then … that’s different, and … yeah. Really hoping it’s the former.

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#10

To be even more pessimistic:

The capitalists in charge are likely to be on the right, as are the factory workers and truck drivers. The industrial sector tends toward red, regardless of the color of the state.

While the blue states may have the strongest economies, how many of the few at the top who call the shots and actually profit from it are hardcore red? I’d guess that the red/blue power dynamic is redder than it might otherwise appear.

I think if there were a significant enough conflict, the left could potentially shut the right down on tech grounds. But it wouldn’t be easy, with the right controlling utilities and such. That would be Messy with a capital M.

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#11

It’s inevitably a subjective judgement call, but I think that’s a horse that’s already bolted.

They don’t have to rig every vote to succeed; they just need to tilt the field enough to maintain their hold of the red states.

Which is a thing that is very obviously happening:

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#12

The last paragraph is particularly relevant:

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#13

As a leavening for the rest of this thread:

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#14

Two years old now, but still accurate:

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#15

There shouldn’t be a single Trump building in the country that isn’t smothered in protests 24/7.

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#16

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#17

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#18
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#19

Trump’s foreign policy behaviour isn’t just incompetence and corruption; it’s too consistent.

He’s fully under Putin’s control; I think he is literally, explicitly taking orders from Vlad on what to do.

Whatever they’ve got on him, it’s more than just a pee tape.

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#20

[quote=“mdh_AcerPlatanoides, post:35, topic:687, full:true”]

If you really think that is a plausible thing Trump could do, I encourage you to start a thread and lay out some thought through thoughts on how that could come to pass. Please reference previous successful invasions of Persia, ever. Consider NATOs response.[/quote]

The tactical difficulty of invading Persia isn’t particularly relevant. The scenario I foresee is Trump and Putin deliberately working to start a war between Iran and the Saudi-led Sunni alliance, with the intention of moving in to seize the entire Middle East once the two sides have fought each other to exhaustion.

NATO’s response is of limited relevance because NATO no longer exists. None of the European countries have any faith in the US honouring their commitments; the treaty is a dead piece of paper.

Germany and France could handle Russia on their own, but they don’t have the firepower to take on the US. So I expect them to hunker down and rearm as fast as possible while extending diplomatic contacts towards China.

The UK appears determined to be Trump’s lapdog, but the unstable government could change that rapidly. I don’t know enough about Spanish or Italian politics to predict their response.

Both Flynn and Mattis were very recently retired and very recently appointed to senior national security roles. And I don’t see any reason to believe that their attitudes were unique amongst US military commanders. The chorus of support for Mattis when he was appointed suggests that his views have wide popularity.

Trump has delegated much more operational authority to the field commanders than was previously the case. He’s doing it to provide himself with scapegoats when things go wrong, but for the moment the officer corps are delighted. They’re off the leash.

(I hope that continuing here is okay; let me know if not)

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