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20170615

Doesn't anyone proofread anything any longer?




I know... I shouldn't let it get to me.

Just a couple of typos in Conn Hallinan’s otherwise well-written article, Europe: the Danger of the Center.

1. First paragraph:

Ought to read: “FIVE years from now”—and NOT “six” years from now.

The next presidential election in France is currently scheduled to take place in April 2022, with a second round of voting in the following May, if no candidate wins a majority in the first round.

2. 30th paragraph:

Ought to read: "Macron’s new centrist party, En Marche!, won, but mostly due to the anti-Le Pen vote. His program of austerity, restraints on unions, and corporate tax cuts is NOT popular with everyone...”, and most certainly not "is popular with everyone."

Duh! Like…obviously!

I am sure there are more typos, but those were the most glaring ones.

Great article, otherwise, by all accounts.

The author does take the time of explaining a lot about a not so simple situation (delving into some concepts, pretty basics, I am sure, to many informed readers, and possibly not so basics to Americentric readers when it comes to Europe in general and France in particular).

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20170504

Change We Can't Believe In

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I am bestowing the much coveted Honest Scrap award to Jon Schwarz for this witty and incisive oped at The Intercept:



It’s tough to imagine any two human beings more different than Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

...states the author.

One’s black. One’s white. One writes books. One doesn’t read books and may not be sure what books are. One grew up on the periphery of the U.S. empire and it made him deeply cosmopolitan. One grew up in New York City and it made him a provincial hick.

One has the self-control of a 1,000-year-old Zen monk. One responds to any stimulus like an amoeba. One’s a slender athlete. One’s a fleshy endomorph with whorls and folds in his face like a Shar Pei.

But their elections have one critical thing in common:

They both came out of NOWHERE to become president, with characteristics that previously would have throttled their chances before they delivered their first speech in Iowa.

There’s no need to recount everything from Trump’s florid life and campaign that sensible people were sure disqualified him. But we’ve forgotten how the sensible people at first saw Obama in much the same way, and for reasons that went far beyond him being African American. He’d been a senator for just two years when he started running and would have to beat the entire party establishment. His father was Muslim. He wasn’t just not named Henry Smith, his middle name was Hussein. He’d even used cocaine, and openly admitted it.

Yet both Obama and Trump vaulted over everyone and everything into the White House. Tens of millions of Americans were willing to place their lives in the hands of political anomalies whose central pitch was that they would deliver profound change. The rise of Bernie Sanders, who’s proven that you can become the most popular politician in the country without owning a comb, demonstrates the same thing.

"What does this mean?" Schwarz asks.

I’d say it means that something has gone incredibly wrong with this country’s political system, that large numbers of us are desperate, and are willing to hand over power to absolutely anyone. That brings us to the peculiar reality that it’s not just Obama and Trump’s elections that had something significant in common, it’s likely their presidencies.

Obama said American healthcare was in crisis and that "plans that tinker and halfway measures now belong to yesterday." Obama was also outraged by pharmaceutical companies gouging Medicare.

According to Trump, "People all across the country are devastated" by the healthcare system, but if we put him in charge, "Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now." Trump was also infuriated by Big Pharma and just like Obama vowed to crush them.

Yet Obama delivered a halfway measure that tinkered with the problem, and never went after drug manufacturers. Trump is now poised to give America … literally the same thing.

Obama called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake" in 2008. In 2016 Trump said NAFTA had caused "devastation" and was "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed." But Obama didn’t renegotiate NAFTA. Trump just announced he’s not going to pull out of it, and it seems clear the odds of any real renegotiation are slim.

Obama attacked Wall Street, and so did Trump. Both then stocked their administrations with bankers.

And Obama and Trump both ran against the Iraq War, and both of their constituencies understood them to mean they would rethink our entire policy toward the Middle East. Both Obama and Trump then faithfully continued the Afghanistan War, bombed Syria, and helped Saudi Arabia starve Yemen.

Of course, "this doesn’t make Obama and Trump the same," Schwarz amends. "Obama’s policies made life better for many regular people at the edges. Trump’s will unquestionably make them worse — and that’s the best case scenario, in which he doesn’t accidentally terminate human civilization."

But it does mean that on the core issues of politics — the ones about which the one percent/globalists/Bilderbergers/disguised space lizards truly care — Obama did not produce genuine change. And, it now seems more and more likely, neither will Trump.


Given Trump’s atrocious methods and goals, it’s impossible not to take joy in this. “Now that we have vanquished the Dhimmicrats and cuckservatives,” Steve Bannon proclaimed, “we shall —” and then tripped on his shoelaces and fell down 97 flights of stairs.

We can’t enjoy this for long, though. If left unaddressed, the anguish that Americans demonstrated by voting for both Obama and Trump will not evaporate. I once believed there could never be a worse, lazier, more frightening president than Ronald Reagan. Then I was sure of the same thing about George W. Bush. Now I’ve learned my lesson. We have to get busy creating a place for this country’s anger and despair to be used constructively, or it will eventually birth something even worse than Trump.

What happens to an American dream deferred? We lucked out once when it elected Obama. We may survive it electing Trump. But if we keep deferring it, it is absolutely certain that one day it’s going to explode and take the whole world with it.


In other News:

- Esquire (Matt Patches) 05.28.2015:
Shepard Fairey on the Future of Political Art and Whether Obama Lived Up to His 'Hope' Poster


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20170501

Major Hellstrom

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The resemblance is uncanny:



Not quite sure why that is—They both are sharp dressers?


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20170426

There is no cure for deluded

I read a Facebook post from an old high school friend that is selling his expensive boots for $100 cause apparently he needs the money.
The poor guy lives in Oklahoma now. He lived in Texas after leaving Illinois. Her was always deluded as all hell. We argued over his voting for that idiot charlatan Ronald Reagan. He was a big supporter this last election of the even more shitheaded Ben Carson.  Once Carson dropped out he became a Trump supporter. So all his adult life he's been a diehard republican.
 This guy doesn't have, and never had had much more than a pot to piss in. His parents never had much more than a pot to piss in and it was always a rental pot since they to my knowledge never owned a home. They would be homeless and destitute were it not for Medicaid and Social Security but they hate FDR.
 My old buddy a few months ago needed money to send his daughter on a trip with her drill team, I guess it was her drill team, to Disneyworld to perform.  He was scared she couldn't go cause he didn't have the money so he, like with his boots, went to Facebook calling for donations. I sent him a check for 75 or $100. Don't remember but I did get a nice thank you from his daughter. Truth was I would have paid for her trip if I had to. And I am fortunate enough, or smart enough, whatever, with my money to be able to pay for her $800 trip. I did good Democrat things. Was a union negotiating committee member and with support from my fellow comrades achieved pretty good pay and benefits so my brothers, sisters and I could pay for an $800 trip to Disney World.  Voted for people I believed had the best interests of Working Americans in mind. My friend did neither of these things. He hates Unions and Democrats. Repeats the tired republican bullshit about them destroying America and they're "Socialist."  Even though his parents would have starved or froze to death years ago were it not for that "Socialist" FDR and Social Security.
 Even living in the republican bastion of Oklahoma and still having to ask for help to pay his bills and give his daughter something he still blames Democrats for his lack of financial independence.
 I was more than happy to help my old friend out. By the way, he is an evangelical nutjob as well. But I do wonder if he would do the same for me, or anyone else. As a republican he could justify his lack of charity as tough love. No doubt he would do that. No doubt like his parents that profess hatred of socialism, he will cash his Social Security check and sign up for Medicaid. Quite frankly, after nearly 40 years of friendship with this guy. Being the one he could turn to. Raising three kids that talk to me. I didn't mention his Christian divorce and the children that don't talk to him. While certainly not wealthy I am financially secure enough to give an old friend $800 to send his daughter on a once in a lifetime trip while he can't. I figured my example and commitment to progressive policies would help him see the light.  But it hasn't. I am pretty confident my fellow Wulfsheaders that read this are wondering why I am still friends with this guy. I'm wondering that myself.  Unfortunately there are at least 50 million people like him. Diehard republican voting fools still waiting for trickle down to work for them. But counting on Social Security to keep them afloat till it does. But it's not socialism when a good Christian republican American cashes the Social Security check. At least that's what they tell themselves. These people lie to themselves to validate their blissful ignorance. There is no convincing them. Next time he needs money I think I'll send him a message telling him Trump and the spirit of Reagan want him to stand on his own two feet. It's all about personal responsibility. But I will send him the pictures of my kids at Disney World and look forward to his being able to pay his bills as soon as trickle down economics starts working for him.
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20170425

Centrism is Bogus

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The best critique of centrism you'll ever read is a Twitter conversation, says John Aziz.

In the words of Jim Hightower:



The fact of the matter is Centrism is indefensible.

This is not to say that some—politicians, of course— have not made their career out of it, and highly successful ones too, at that, in their bid for office.

Of recent date, the ongoing French presidential election comes to mind:



There are those who have tried to defend it...



Tony Blair is right about one thing: It is indeed quite mistakenly that centrism is perceived "as a sort of splitting the difference between right and left."

It makes it seem innocuous in a misleading kind of a "fair and balanced" sort of a way. Which is the reason why political demagogues have found it so easy to sell as a bill of good.

Centrism is nothing of the sort, of course.

It is, in fact, much more violent and way more pernicious.



French writer and essayist, Éric Zemmour, commenting on the current French presidential election and the centrist campaign of presidential contender Emmanuel Macron, speaks of it as a "return to the Orleanism of the July Monarchy."



The video, a segment of content intended for broadcast on radio,  is in French (subtitled in French).



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20170419

Réfléchissez ! (Political Remix)




The captions read:

IN ORDER TO DEFEAT TRUMP
WHAT WAS NEEDED WAS TO SUPPORT SANDERS

LET US NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!

Hat tip to Zaid Jilany, who wrote a very thorough paper on the surging campaign of French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.





Jean-Luc Mélenchon famously told French télévision last year that were he the president of France, he would give citizenship and the Legion of Honor (France's highest order of merit) to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

It has been catching...


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20170417

Good folks, lock up your sons and daughters

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For a good laugh in the morning, read the Washington Post.

Case in point, this hilarious article, just published yesterday:



LOL! Reading WaPo's take on the upcoming French election, one would think that Jean-Luc Mélenchon is Atilla the Hun.

It is kind of amusing, come to think of it, how the same dynamic we had, here, in the U.S., is now playing in France.

Basically, the establishment, or the party of the status-quo (for lack of a better term) would rather, if it came to that, lose the election to the candidate on the right that they have been maligning as Satan incarnate (Donald Trump on our side of the Atlantic, or Marine Lepen, in France) than win with a "leftist", like Bernie Sanders in the U.S., or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in France. (The headline on the WaPo article originally described Mélenchon incorrectly as a communist. It was changed to reflect that he is a "leftist.")

And the reason is plain: propaganda-wise, for the apostles of the status-quo, a victory of the far right (or of, say, someone of a sulfurous reputation, such as Donald Trump) is always easier to explain away and dismiss: the establishment can blame the defeat of their candidate on the racists (and/or the misogynists), I suppose.

If a "leftist" wins, well then, how are they going to spin that? "The Martians did it"?

Besides, the unspoken secret (known to all), here, is that, ideologically, the establishment (all the so-called "centrists") has always felt more at home with the far right than with the "leftists".

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