Sunday, May 15, 2016

Get It Together

Okay, so hopefully by now it should be clear that you're never ever going to tune in here and see me engage in cheap Nader-baiting, or smugly lecturing STOOPID LEFTIES how they "owe" their vote to this or that candidate. But this sort of behavior has to stop. This is nuts.

Nobody has any illusions about how this election is going down. This is going to be a soul-sucking, mind-numbing, interminable blatherfest between a cynical corporate Republican hack, and Donald DrumpfJohn Miller.

But it's also a showdown between people who have stayed active and informed and concerned about their country, and the gaggle of ignorant maroons mindlessly supporting Drumpf-Miller. Many of Drumpf-Miller's flock have proudly attested that they had never or rarely voted in the past. And as much as one might ideally wish that everyone would show up to exercise their sacred right, we're finding out the hard way that there are in fact some folks who, if they're not going to bother to inform themselves or think logically and rationally about serious issues, we're all better off if they stay home on election day.

Unfortunately they are showing up, and they feel empowered by Drumpf-Miller-Barron's lies and incoherent jabber. They have legitimate grievances regarding their economic prospects, and how two generations of "establishment" pols -- you know, the very same individuals who their hero brags that he rented or bought for that entire time -- screwed them over. But they are proposing to make a bad situation worse. So far Miller's proposals seem to revolve around the following ideas:

  1. Throw out all the meskins, build a wall and make them pay for it.
  2. Start trade wars with China and Mexico, by slapping tariffs on everything, in direct violation of every free-trade treaty we have signed and pushed on the rest of the world for the last quarter-century.
  3. Negotiate a write-down of the national debt; in other words, tell bond-holders that they're going to take a haircut on their investments.

Each of these proposals would be economically devastating, in ascending order. The last one in particular would be ruinous to the national and world economy. When we talk about "bonds" and "securities", particular attention should be paid to the meaning of those words themselves. These are documented arrangements that establish a level of trust, and when the leader of the country underwriting that trust wants to change the rules of that trust after the bonds and securities have been bought, he is saying that he -- and the United States financial system -- cannot be trusted. Our word is no longer our bond; your investment is no longer secure.

Say you have a twenty-dollar bill in your pocket. Take it out and give it a look. Forget the "In God We Trust" crap. Think about the "Federal Reserve Note" and "Legal Tender for all Debts, Public and Private" areas. The bill is backed, underwritten by a Federal entity for a single purpose. You got that piece of paper in exchange for some agreed-upon measure of time, whether it was an hour or two hours or ten minutes. When you received the piece of paper, the exchange was complete; you invested your time, someone else gave you that in return.

Now, say Fuckface Von Clownstick comes along and tells you that your twenty-dollar bill -- all such bills, in fact -- is now worth only nineteen dollars, or fifteen dollars, or fifteen cents, simply because he, Clownstick, has "negotiated" it and made it so. That's exactly what he's proposing to do to bond-holders, institutional investors.

Does the national debt suck, is it way too high? Yes and yes. But all debt is someone else's equity, and this particular debt is the equity of central banks and sovereign nations, entities that make or lose billions of dollars when the interest rate increases or decreases by a tenth of a point. They are not negotiating over things they already purchased. They are not going to take a write-down from a fat, bitter old man who doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about, on pretty much every subject.

Miller-Barron-Drumpf does not understand any of this because he really is a dumbass. Whenever we look back on this ugly, awful campaign, one of the more baffling features of it is bound to be how so many people bought into the idea that this guy was a good or even competent businessman. He thinks he can fuck over institutional investors the way he fucked over his backers and partners in his multiple bankruptcies, that the entire nation can just fuck over everyone else and go back to Chump Tower and reload with their trophy wives.

That's what we're up against, an aggressively ignorant cult leader and his desperate flock, ready to burn the village in order to save it, ready to take it all down with them if need be. It's a suicide pact. They should hold the GOP convention in Waco.

I've supported Bernie Sanders since the very start. I like him a great deal, and I believe his ability to hang in this long will have a positive effect on the party platform, and on Clinton's campaigning and (hopefully) governance. And I'm not saying he needs to get off the playing field right this second; there is plenty of time until the convention and of course the election.

But the protesters, the screamers, the foreign flags -- all of these things play straight into the opposition's hands. The disunity, the incoherence, the rage, there is nothing productive or useful about any of it. The Democratic delegate process is a bad joke, no doubt about it. You could even make a decent argument that Sanders is getting hosed in some -- many -- respects. But he's also been hosed by the media -- Sanders draws crowds equal in size or larger than Miller's, and you don't hear jack shit about it.

Miller's rise, more than anything, is not the "fault" of liberals, or conservatives, or working-class rubes, but of the corporate media. Drumpf-Miller-Barron (DMB, if you like) is the crack they can't give up. The media revenue model has imploded over the last decade, obviously, and suddenly here comes Bozo the Preznitential Candidate, and it's irresistible clickbait. And they have failed to confront or challenge him in any meaningful way, at any point in this process.

Hell, the fucker's lived rent-free in here for most of the past year, much to my eternal chagrin. But what interests me is the sociological phenomenon as much as the political one. I think we are in the process of watching the country lose its collective mind, as a direct result of two generations of wage stagnation and job outsourcing, and a full generation of massive productivity gains going exclusively to the top. The problem is mathematical as much as sociological or political.

And now that the Republican Party, which has long championed (albeit cynically) the cause of Conservatism, has as its nominee someone who is neither a Republican nor a conservative, they have an identity crisis. The death throes consist of ginned-up nonsense such as Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, small businesses being forced at gunpoint to bake wedding cakes for gay couples, and the apparently rampant use of public restrooms by transgendered individuals (who of course just want to victimize your children). Anything and everything to distract the rubes from their ongoing plight, and who's really causing it.

On the one hand, you almost want to dare the universe by asking rhetorically if they could come up with even more ludicrous "causes" around which to stake their putative political incorrectness, but then it was a mere eight years ago that we asked how much worse it could get than Sarah Palin.

Turns out it can get a lot worse. Pull your shit together, people. Stop protesting, stop whining, start putting that time and effort into making sure you vote, that your friends and neighbors vote. HRC is (to put it mildly) a less-than-ideal candidate, hopelessly corrupted in many ways. But DMB is by the day proving to be a far worse option, a dangerously ignorant fool who is almost guaranteed to fuck everything up that he touches.

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