Friday, August 11, 2017

What Do Foreigners Think of Ivanka?

This is from Raw Story about Ivanka Trump’s upcoming visit to India:
How do foreign leaders deal wth First Daughter Ivanka Trump? According to one anonymous diplomat quoted by Hindustan Times editor-in-chief Bobby Ghosh, the key is to flatter her and make her feel important — just as you would do with a visiting member of a royal family.

“We regard Ivanka Trump the way we do half-wit Saudi princes,” the diplomat told Ghosh. “It’s in our national interest to flatter them.”

The diplomat also told Ghosh that he found it “a shame” that the U.S. was now being ruled by what looked like a royal family — “but that is America’s shame, not Modi’s, or India’s.”
Remember, she’s the smart one of the family.

Can we file this under making America great again? 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I Already Miss The Mooch

On paper, Anthony Scaramucci is everything I despise: an arrogant, greedy, faux tough guy master-of-the-universe Wall Street hedge fund prick; a crassly materialistic, hyper-masculine adolescent man-child who brags about killing his enemies, skull-fucking his competition, and grabbing pussy; the kind of guy who uses terms like “cock block” and “front-stabber” and thinks he sounds bad ass doing it.  To top it off, he has the seedy, loquacious manner of a car salesman or a late night TV huckster selling oyster shell enemas or personal power DVDs. He’s just like Jordan Belfort, the guy portrayed by Leonardo di Caprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. They’re cut from the exact same piece of greasy wax paper. They thrive like gut flora in American culture and they always will because that is what we are and that is what we value.

Still, I just can’t bring myself to dislike the guy. He was just too goddamned entertaining, and I simply can’t hate anybody who makes me laugh that hard. Hearing this sleazy, cologne-drenched guido answer a BBC reporter that, in fact, he had “no idea what’s going on with chlorine-rinsed chicken” but he’d gladly get back to her about it is just too, too good. It’s more than the sternum can bear. (It’s at about the 1:32 point of the video here.). He told us Steve Bannon tries to suck his own c**k and that Reince Priebus is an effing paranoid schizophrenic. He threatened to fire the entire communications staff at the White House because youse guyz in the press wouldn’t give up the leakers. He was the funniest clown in the biggest clown show on earth, and we won’t see his like again for at least another week.

There’s an element of genuine tragedy in Mooch’s speedy rise and fall. This preening cock-of-the-walk thought he was going to be first minister to the king — Cardinal Wolsey to Henry VIII, Mark Antony to Caesar, Boo Boo to Yogi — and then, poof, just like that he was gone, cut down and publicly humiliated in a mere ten days by a bigger, badder, more loudmouthed jerk than himself. Poor Mooch. He gave up everything to serve Trump. He sold his house. He sold his hedge fund. He committed everything to his new life in Washington. Then, tragically, in what should have been the best week of his life, Mooch traversed the full spectrum of defeat: He lost his job, his wife, his pride, his dignity, and he even missed the birth of his child. What did the White House say about Mooch’s inglorious shit canning? “He served his purpose,” an aide said.

Mooch sold his soul for Trump, and Trump shivved him in the balls, loudly, gleefully and in full public view. There can only be one vulgar wannabe alpha-male in this house, Mooch, and you ain’t it.

“The President has really good karma,” the Mooch said of Trump in his maiden speech to the nation, “and the world turns back to him.” Indeed. Indeed it does, Mooch. Now go get your fuckin’ shine box.

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for him. Almost, but not quite. Will there be a book deal? A tell-all expose about his vertiginous ten days in the White House? Perhaps a biography, an investment guide, a get rich quick manual — Let the Mooch show you his ten easy tricks for making money, fulfilling your true potential, and living the America dream! An appearance on Dancing with the Stars? A regular gig on Fox and Friends? Perhaps a tearful moment of clarity with Whoopie Goldberg on The View. Then a reality TV show: Cruising with the Mooch or Being Scaramucci. A late night infomercial selling hair care products.  The possibilities are limitless. America always has a place at the table for guys like the Mooch.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Carl Sagan Predicted Us

Here’s quote from Carl Sagan’s book The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Not bad for 1995:
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Who’s Afraid of North Korea?

Who’s afraid of North Korea? Not me, at least not in the way we’re supposed to be. So Kim Jong-Un fired a single ICBM that might be able to hit Alaska. Are we supposed to believe that he’s just going wake up one morning and decide to bomb Anchorage, knowing that if he did so his country would be radioactive ash within minutes?

Then I remember yellow cake and aluminum tubes, the Axis of Evil, Saddam, cross-dressing Panamanian dictators, Gadaffi in his tent, ayatollahs, Russian commies, Chinese commies, mullahs, Cubans, Sandinistas, Somali pirates, bird flu and ecoli and anthrax, and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And then I realize that, well, yes, we are indeed supposed to think exactly that.

This map is only a slight exaggeration of how lots of Americans actually view the world (click to enlarge):
They’re encouraged in their ignorance by leaders who are equally dumb. Ronald Reagan once returned from a trip to Latin America and said with genuine astonishment: “You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries down there.” Not to be outdone, George Dubya once informed the world that Nigeria was an important continent and that border relations between Canada and Mexico were excellent. He once asked the Brazilian president: “Do you have blacks, too?”

And Trump, well, every day of the week Trump says something skull-smashingly stupid for the delectation of his moron base, and his most jarringly ignorant statements are usually sincere (i.e., nobody knew how complicated health care was. I get great intelligence, I have a great relationship with the blacks, etc. etc.)

It’s possible to meet successful, even college-educated, Americans, solid members of the middle class, who routinely confuse Sweden with Switzerland, still refer to Czechoslovakia, and can only vaguely distinguish between China and Japan. Sure, they’re different countries and all. Japan is kind of a good guy and China is kind of a bad guy, or at least that’s the impression they get from the trickle of images that come through their TV screens for a few minutes each week between commercials for Budweiser and Viagra. But at the end of the day they’re still, you know, Asians, who are all basically the same, right?

One must never forget, and perhaps never forgive, the fact that grown-ups in this country dress up like their favorite Star Wars characters and camp outside of movie theaters for days. They flock to see Wonder Woman. They wear neon spandex tights to go for bike rides. They trample each other to death on Black Friday. They fret over imaginary disorders that have no firm basis in medical science and will drop out of consciousness in a few months or years. They don’t read. Less than fifteen percent of them have passports. Seventy-seven percent of them believe in angels. One in four thinks the sun revolves around the earth. They plagiarize their words from television commercials and think they sound clever doing it: “You got this!” “Can you hear me now?”

We are the end result of a seventy year long laboratory experiment called “consumerism,” in which American culture has been almost totally drained of substance, intellect and value, and the resulting void was filled with wall-to-wall entertainment and cheap consumer goods. It has created a society of fearful, anxious children who demand instant gratification and lust after shiny objects. There is no past, there is no future, and there is no world outside of the plastic cornucopia of American commercialism worth seeing or knowing about. It is an airtight, hermetically sealed, self-enclosed system that exercises nearly totalitarian control over the minds of the American people.

We’re easy sport for the corporations, banks, Pentagon bureaucrats, CIA spooks, political hacks and demagogues who want to rob and deceive us. All they have to do is scream “Orange Alert” and all the bold flag wavers who sang so proudly last night will go scurrying to Walmart in order to buy duct tape and bottled water. If they told us that wearing underwear on our heads warded off brain eating rays from Pyongyang, people in this country would do it (and we would be told, no doubt, that buying Fruit-of-the-Loom was patriotic).

So, yeah, we are supposed to believe Kim Jong Un will risk his power and his life for the sheer stupid pleasure of flinging a missile at the US, because he’s a crazy and evil super villain who hates us for our freedom, and because we’re so effin’ good. Booyah.

Then Donald Trump will get his excuse for a war, and with war will come all those juicy war powers we allow presidents to have. Then we’ll realize, too late, that the freakish little dictator of a starving medieval country was the least of our problems.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Looking Backward

The people crowded over the old man to hear his dying words. He was on his back, shriveled and bony and gray, like a dried-out lizard lying belly-up in the sun, gasping for breath and struggling to speak. Everyone quietly leaned forward to hear what he had to say.

The oldest man in the world, the only surviving link to the twentieth century, was about to speak his last, and the ragged people of 2110 were eager to hear his words. What wisdom did this fading relic of America’s final decades have to give? Surely this man who’d lived in better times had some something helpful to tell them?

Shivering and dirty, they huddled ever closer, afraid to touch him lest he dissolve like ancient parchment in their hands. He coughed, they jumped; he gurgled, they gasped; he moaned, they sighed. They feared it was too late.

Then, suddenly, the old man shot up and spoke. His ghostly voice broke out in song, and the people heard the glorious souls of their ancestors come to life:
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!

The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!

Nationwide is on your side!

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Don’t take your chronic migraine laying down. Stand up!

A Message From Ivanka

And now, a message from Ivanka Trump:
 In business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.
Now why don’t you all go and enjoy some champagne popsicles this Fourth of July?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

What’s Really Important To Us

We have well over a hundred synonyms for fraud, cheat and steal. American English captures every subtle nuance to every single form of theft ever devised. You’d almost think we worshiped it or something. Here are just a few examples, in alphabetical order:
Bait, bamboozle, bilk, betray, blackmail, bleed, bluff, buffalo, bullshit, burgle, burn, cheat. chicane, chisel, clip, con, cozen, credit default swap, deceit, deceive, defalcate, defraud, delude, diddle, dodge, double-cross, double-deal, dupe, embezzle, extort, fake, fast one, filch, finagle, fleece, flimflam, fool, fox, fractional reserve banking, free-market, fraud, gouge, grift, grifter, gull, gyp, heist, hoax, hold-up, hose, hoodwink, hornswoggle, hustle, imposture, inveigle, jerk- around, jimmy, jive, juke, lead-on, lie, long con, manipulate, milk, mislead, mulct, peculate, pilfer, pinch, play, play for a sucker, plot, ploy, Ponzi scheme, pull a fast one, purloin, put on, racket, racketeering, rifle, rip-off, rob, roll, rook, rope-in, run a game on, ruse, sandbag, scam, scheme, screw, sell a bill of goods, shaft, sham, shave, smoke, snare, snow, speculate, steal, subterfuge, sub-prime mortgage, swindle, swipe, take in, take to the cleaners, take for a ride, trick, wheedle, wheel and deal . . .
What do you think is really on our minds? Is it any wonder why you-know-who and his crooked offspring now rule over us? It’s a natural evolutionary development, something baked in our national DNA that was destined to emerge at some fateful point, like cystic fibrosis or hemophilia. After he’s gone there will just be another, then another, then another, on and on and on, year in, year out, until the Capitol Building lies in ruins and lichens grow in the Oval Office.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Our Destructive Lack Of Leadership

The Republican party is gleefully destroying health care in this country, climate change will soon spiral out of control, and we’re sleepwalking into a major catastrophe in Syria, but don’t tell the President: He’s busy tweeting insulting comments about Mika Brzezinski’s appearance. His petulance and immaturity is staggering. He has the mentality of an eighth grade mean girl with unlimited text messaging, and yet he dominates the political discourse. Every one of his puerile brain farts becomes topic A of the news cycle and shoves everything else into the background (exactly where Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan want it). I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this poses a serious existential threat to our country. We simply don’t have time for this childish nonsense. We simply don’t have time for fun and games. There are grave problems facing us that need to be addressed immediately by serious adults, but serious adults are nowhere to be found in American politics.

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for sixteen years at a cost of over a trillion dollars. Why are we still there? What are we trying to achieve? What is the goal of this endless and expensive war? Nobody knows and nobody seems to care. It’s not debated at all.  In fact, Trump wants to send four thousand more troops there. Isn’t it the job of our representatives in Congress to debate these kinds of issues? Isn’t that what democratic governments are supposed to do? Where are the serious adults who are willing to introduce this discussion?

Fun fact: Over the last decade, the Pentagon has wasted $28 million dollars buying the wrong kinds of uniforms for the Afghan army.  Bring that up the next time Republicans preach the need for spending cuts and austerity.

Man-made climate change is a fact. It is not a “theory” or a hoax cooked up by the Chinese or Al Gore. Exxon Mobile’s own scientists knew that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was heating the planet back in the seventies. The US military knows it as well. So does Miami Beach. If we stopped using fossil fuels today, the effects of climate change would still continue to intensify well into this century. This is a guaranteed crisis barreling right at us. Where are the leaders who will state this elementary scientific fact with force, confidence and conviction to the American people? They are absent. The Democrats issue feeble whimpers about how we should maybe, kinda, sorta do something about global warming while scientific illiterates dictate energy policy and stifle the debate.

We get Rick Perry as energy secretary, who doesn’t “believe” in the findings of climate science, which is tantamount to saying you don’t “believe” two plus two equals four. This is like putting a one-eyed drunken sixteen year old behind the wheel and telling him to get you home safely.

Eight men have more wealth than half of the entire population of the world. Regardless of your political affiliation, one has to acknowledge that this kind of wealth inequality is damaging and unsustainable. It simply cannot continue without producing serious social upheaval. Even free market fundamentalists must concede that this kind of monopolistic wealth concentration is unhealthy. It distorts markets, snuffs out competition and ultimately kills innovation. It prevents the beautiful equilibrium that exists in the daydreams of laissez-faire economists of the Milton Friedman/Austrian school. It’s corrupting influence over democratic government is, I trust, self-evident at this point.

I hear Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren mention this. I’ve even heard Barack Obama talk about it, but the issue isn’t really debated as the pressing matter that it is. The Republicans, of course, don’t care about it at all. In fact, they think it’s just dandy, but the Democrats aren’t much better. Nancy Pelosi is one of the richest people in Congress. Do you really think she lies in bed at night fretting over inequality in America? Even if she does care about it, it is a second tier issue, a distant problem that can be shoved under the floorboards and, if need be, patched over later.

Again, a serious issue with predictably negative results is flashing its high beams right in our windshield and we’re just looking the other way. There is no serious, rational discussion about the causes and consequences of inequality at all.

And then there’s Syria. I don’t profess to know about what’s happening there. Frankly, I don’t care. There is no real US interest at stake, and getting mired in that nightmare can have no positive outcome for this country.  Nevertheless, the foreign policy establishment, as well as the six-figure punditry, take it as axiomatic that the United States just has get involved, as if we have some divine, unquestionable imperative to insert ourselves in every conflict around the globe.

Liberalish  types justify it on vague and misty humanitarian grounds (i.e., spreading democracy or fighting terrorism); the more conservative, Kissingerian realpolitickers, I suspect, just want to beat back Russian influence: The U.S can’t let Russia be top dog in the region, period. All are transfixed by some nebulous concept called  “credibility,” which apparently can only be maintained by constantly involving ourselves in ruinous wars that achieve no tangible objective. One would think that continually losing wars — and bankrupting ourselves in the process — would be the greatest blow imaginable to our national credibility,  but lots and lots of Ph.Ds think otherwise, and given the sterling record of U.S. interventions over the past forty years, who can doubt them?

Democrat types want to spread democracy, right wingers want to flex our muscles. Either way, we’re bumbling towards war with Russia for no good reason at all. Both ends of our political spectrum more or less support some kind of intervention. No mainstream voices oppose it. Just the opposite, the pundit class is positively orgasmic over the prospect of war in Syria: Fareed Zakaria gushed that “Trump became president’ when he launched missiles into Syria, and six-figure hairdo Brian Williams wet himself about those “beautiful bombs”.  This is precisely the kind of arrogant folly that produced the First World War.

Why not just step back and allow Russia to drain its blood and treasure in the Syrian quagmire? Let Putin waste his seed in Damascus. The United States has more important to things to do.    

The only really serious issue being discussed is the health care bill, which will have an immediate impact on people’s lives. The fact that the Republican plan is so maliciously awful, so ostentatiously cruel and dishonest, also inspires people to perk up and take notice. The vote in the Senate has been postponed, but some slightly less atrocious form of the bill will eventually pass, like a tapeworm grinding itself through a dog’s intestines, and land on Trump’s desk, at which point he’ll sign it beneath the prurient grins of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other assorted ghouls.

None of the things I mentioned would be happening if we had a principled, vocal opposition, but we don’t. As the Republicans drag us into a plutocratic dystopia, the Democrats will offer nothing in response but stale platitudes and watered down neoliberalism.  Republicans will attack with knives and bicycle chains, and Democrats will cower in the corner and bleat about bipartisan consensus, hoping, like a shy, lovesick adolescent, that maybe, just maybe, a few hunky moderate Republicans will pass by and happen to notice their attractive high-mindedness, fall in love and vote for them. Pathetic doesn’t even begin to describe ithis

Trump and the Republicans win because the Democrats have no conviction, period. Until they figure this out, the same dismal state of affairs we find ourselves in will continue. Every single day these Republican bastards show the world what greedy and incompetent scoundrels they are, and the Democrats fail to capitalize. They’'ll sit on their thumbs, listening to millionaire consultants tell them that “We’re nicer than evil ogre Trump, so vote for us,” is a winning platform. They’'ll continue to lose and so will we.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The ‘Art’ Of Trump

Prepare to be shocked. It turns out that Trump’s great big tremendous Carrier deal that was going to ring in a new era of American greatness, um, hasn’t:
More than 600 employees at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis are bracing for layoffs beginning next month, despite being told by President Trump that nearly all the jobs at the plant had been saved. The deal, announced with great fanfare before Trump took office, was billed not only as a heroic move to keep jobs from going to Mexico but also as a seismic shift in the economic development landscape.

Nearly seven months later the deal has not worked out quite as originally advertised, and the landscape has barely budged.
Like everything else about Trump, it was all bullshit. In exchange for $7 million in ”incentives,” Carrier would agree to keep at least 1,069 people employed at its Indianapolis plant, It turns out that only 730 of the positions Trump ‘saved’ were the kind of manufacturing jobs that are going to make America great again. The rest were engineering and technical positions that weren’t going to be outsourced in the first place. Anyway, six hundred people are getting the ax in spite of Trump’s awesome deal-making skills. Go figure.     

Not to be outdone, Carrier spun some silky corporate bullshit of its own. They claim to have offered the workers other jobs in the company, the only trouble is that they forgot to tell the workers: 
… union officials say they have heard nothing from the company about any job offers elsewhere within the company. All they have received is the official notice, as required by federal law, that the first round of cuts — 338 jobs — will take place on July 20, with an additional 290 employees terminated on Dec. 22, three days before Christmas.
That last bit about 290 employees being canned on December 22nd is particularly charming in light of Trump’s boast about the workers that “They’re going to have a great Christmas!”

Pure Trumpian bullshit, like the mother of all bombs (MOAB) that he dropped in an empty patch of scrub in Afghanistan. It’s all theater designed to dupe his base and keep the punditry tweeting while he, Ivanka and Jared loot the country blind, our very own homegrown, all-American Duvalier family.

Charles Pierce uses this incident as an opportunity to make an observation about Trump’s cynical but shrewd modus operandi:
This, apparently, is the way things are going to go. He's going to lurch from photo op to rally to photo op, proclaim victory over something, celebrate his own greatness, and then move on to whatever the next thing is. It's the George Aiken Victory In Vietnam strategy toward governing the entire country: Declare victory and then get out. Nothing is real, except in the immediate moment, when the cameras are hot and the ovations, rapturous. Actual results are irrelevant.
But of course. He’s never been a success at anything other than empty self-promotion and reality TV. It’s what he is and what he does. He’s an ignorant fraud and a con-man taking advantage of the fact that the average American has a third grade knowledge of civics and the attention span of a squirrel monkey.

He knows with the unerring sense of a predator that all he has to do is bluster and howl and tweet about any minor accomplishment and the media and Big Public will be fooled and distracted just long enough for him to make tracks to his next con.

And it will always, always, always work because Trump knows what every successful con man knows. People want to believe in the bullshit they’re selling. All he has to do is set up the scam and his victim’s wishful thinking and self-delusion will do the rest. Even if his swindles are exposed it doesn’t really matter. His cultists will just insist it’s fake news and the whole cycle will begin anew. Of course, the fact that the opposition party is run by inept weaklings who can’t even tie their own goddamned shoes doesn’t hurt either.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Democrats Are Coming To The Rescue

Fear not, brothers and sisters, for in these dark days of Trumpism, of unrestrained corporate power, of environmental ruin and possible nuclear war, there is a ray of hope. The Democratic party, led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, is riding to the rescue:
Democrats are beginning to craft an economic message for 2018 that goes beyond the tempting, single-minded strategy of demonizing Donald Trump.

Licking their wounds after an embarrassing showing in November, Democrats vowed to charge into next year’s midterms with a proactive sales pitch to voters. While many, including party leaders, have fallen right back into the same anti-Trump pattern they say cost them 2016 in the first place, top Democrats now say they’re working on “a strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it Tuesday.
I don’t know about you, but when Chuck Schumer promises a “strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” I get a tingle up my leg. It’s almost as inspiring as Nancy Pelosi saying, “We’re all capitalists.”

But let’s be fair: After leading us to a string of humiliating defeats since 2010, culminating in the slaughter of 2016 and the victory of Donald Trump, the Democratic party is acting decisively to craft a broad economic agenda that will “unite both caucuses” of the Party. It’s “expected to emerge by early summer.”

“We’re spending a lot of time on this,” says Chuck Schumer.

Just when you need the cavalry the most: six months after the battle has been lost.

At issue is a deep philosophical divide: One branch of the Democratic party wants to do more of the same plus family leave, while the other branch wants to do absolutely nothing at all. One branch wants to throw some populist window dressing around, kinda, sorta, by the dark of the moon; the other wants to sit on their thumbs and wait for Trump to fail, because that strategy worked so well in 2016.

“We have no message right now,” says one House Democrat, “and we don’t need one.”

The trouble is, the Democrats don’t know how to pack “more of the same plus family leave” and “do absolutely nothing” into inspiring, easily digestible soundbites.  But don’t worry, they will. Chuck Schumer promises that they’re going to “hammer” this agenda leading up to the midterms. I hope they’ve hired John Podesta, Robby Mook and Bob Shrum to help them iron out the details.

Meanwhile, Republican congressmen are being assailed at town hall meetings all over the country by progressives with a very simple message: Single payer now.

How’s that for an easily digestible soundbite that conveys the Democratic way of thinking? Chuck, Nancy, are you listening?

Bernie Sanders is polling as the most popular politician in America, the leader of a populist upsurge that nearly toppled Hillary Clinton in the primaries. What does that tell you? Chuck, Nancy, are you listening?

Many Trump  supporters are souring on his recent conversion to neo-conservatism and war. The little people, even some of Trump’s deplorables, don’t want any more fucking war. Are you listening Chuck, Nancy? Hello?

 This suggests a very simple set of soundbites that the Democrats could use, as they say, going forward: Single payer, raise the minimum wage, end the wars.

Single payer, raise the minimum wage, end the wars. Give the people healthcare, a little more money, and save them from dying in a nuclear war.

I came up with that in two minutes, without the benefit of a consulting firm, a Gallup poll, a Rolodex full of Beltway insiders, or lunch with Robby Mook, Bob Shrum and John Podesta. I didn’t need to phone up Frank Luntz in his cave to come up with a few Orwellian jargon words to makes these ideas palatable to the masses. People need health insurance, they need more money, and nobody, but nobody outside of neocon circles, wants a nuclear war. We want to be healthy, we want to have enough money to pay the bills, and we don’t want to be incinerated. Wow. How revolutionary.

Are these doable? No, not right away, but they are a practical set of aims, easily communicated in a soundbite media culture, that a party can build on. Or substitute the minimum wage for something else. Student loan forgiveness? We bail out banks, why not students? Pick one, Democrats, and mean it. Then hammer the message over and over an over again.

Oh, sayeth the wise Democratic centrists, those positions ignore the hard political realities. Well, at one time, cutting Social Security went against the hard political realities. It was the “third rail” of politics. Now, after decades of Republican hammering, it’s right there on the chopping block, a hard new political reality that ice cream cone Democrats, in their weak-kneed zeal for divine bipartisanship, offer up in their ‘grand bargains’ with Republican butchers.

Hard political realities can, and must, be changed. The American Revolution went against the hard political realities of the day. So did abolishing slavery, the forty-hour work week, the New Deal, civil rights. They all went against the hard political realities and, wait for it, changed them.

Now it’s the Republican party who changes the hard political realities, and then imposes them on us with blood and iron. Meanwhile, the Democrats cluck around the barnyard like gutless chickens, praying the ax will slip out of Trump’s hand before he cuts their necks.

There is a ready-made populist constituency just waiting to be led. They are thirsting for leadership, for someone to articulate these basic positions. But the Democrats, in their centrist wisdom, have decided to wait and see.

They will consult their donors and all the Important People in order to manufacture some bland, safe, poll-tested, focus-grouped agenda. It ill be carefully designed to appeal to the fiscally conservative yet socially liberal attitudes of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. They will offer it up like it’s the most super fantastic thing since the New Deal even though everyone will know it’s a sham, and it’s most progressive aspects will be immediately jettisoned at the first sign of opposition. Then they’ll be trampled to death in another Republican rout, which they’ll blame on Russia, a third party candidate, or some other external factor. That way they never have to trouble their beautiful little minds with such hard things as reflection, self-criticism or change.

There is a luscious women waiting with her legs spread, beckoning, and Chuck Schumer is standing there with his pants around his ankles, his spectacles perched on the end of his nose, calling over his shoulder to Nancy Pelosi about what to do with the cocoa butter.

“Hey Nancy, what are you suppoesed to do with this stuff? ”

“Hold on, Chuck, my pearls are slipping.”

Nancy Pelosi recently said to a gathering that single payer was a really swell idea. The right idea, the popular one, and everyone supported it. If we were starting from scratch, she said, a “tabula rasa,” we would put it in place immediately, but it’s just too late: We already have a system in place and we have to work within it.

That sums up the Democratic approach perfectly. Politics consists of extracting piecemeal reforms within the established order, as defined by corporate, banking and military interests (and enforced by Republican bullying). You can’t implement any policy, no matter how popular, if the donor class doesn’t want it. They set the agenda and you must be happy for any crumbs they choose to give you. You must not fight. You must not shout. Shut up and be happy at the back of the bus. We’ll let you know when we decide to do something for you. It’s timid and conformist. It’s passive and obedient, and it always leads to defeat, as the recent history of the Democratic party amply demonstrates.

Martin Luther King they ain’t.

The piece concludes:
The task ahead for Democrats, then, may be to bait Trump into swinging and missing on bread-and-butter economic issues just as he did on health care, while simultaneously plugging their own plan.

“On every issue the president talked about — on the wall, on tearing up the Iran deal, on immediate health care repeal — [Republicans] are coming face-to-face with reality in a very painful way,” Himes said. “And we don’t want to slow down that learning process.”
In other words, let the Republicans set the agenda. Do nothing. Hope Trump “swings and misses,” and occasionally, you know, mention some possible alternatives.

Why not? It’s worked wonders since 2010.