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Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 48,808

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Vocabulary for the Age of Trump #1: "state capture"


Get used to this term. You're gonna see a lot of it in the next 4 years and it'll be nice to be able to call it something.

from Wikipedia:
[font size="4"]State capture is a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state's decision-making processes to their own advantage through unobvious channels, that may not be illegal.

The influence may be through a range of state institutions, including the legislature, executive, ministries and the judiciary. It is thus similar to regulatory capture but differs through the wider variety of bodies through which it may be exercised and because, unlike regulatory capture, the influence is never overt.

Another distinguishing factor from corruption is while in case of corruption the outcome (of policy or regulatory decision) is not certain, in case of captured state the outcome of the decision is known and is to very high probability to be beneficial for captors of the state. Also in case of corruption (even rampant) there is plurality and competition of 'corruptors' to influence the outcome of the policy or distribution of resources. In case of captured state, those deciding are usually more in a position of agents to the principals (captors) who function either in monopolistic or oligopolistic (non-competitive) fashion.[/font]

"Captors" we should understand to mean the people who have captured the state. That is, people who didn't just assume offices of trust, but interred those offices with a specific intent to plunder the public wealth. A minor example is how Trump used his position as nominee of the Republican Party to put money in his pockets--renting out his private property (plane, Trump Tower office suites, resort hotel) to the GOP apparatus at highly inflated rates.

The looting of the GOP, of course, will pale in comparison to the looting of the federal treasury. This has already started with Secret Service needing to set up shop in Trump Tower. Of course it's perfectly reasonable and indeed necessary for the President's home to be protected. But Trump seems to be charging the government the same rates he was charging the RNC, a rate about 8 times higher than what he charged his own campaign organization before he got nominated.

So, yeah, corruption refers to using government authority to line the pockets of the office holders. State capture is when that's the whole point of entering government, rather than serving the public.

It's gonna get ugly, folks. Strap in.

I am from the Blutarsky wing of the Democratic party

I'm in the mood that I don't want Obama to pardon either of those fuckin' turkeys

Fry them both, I say. Pluck their little stupid feathers out, guillotine their stinkin' necks, and stuff 'em both. Grrrr....

The 96 year cycle

For devotees of American history, looking for a pattern of past events to judge and anticipate the incoming Trump Administration by, I'm going to suggest we look at the Harding Administration (1921-1923)

Tidbits from U-S-History.com. The parallels should just jump out at you

Domestic Affairs:
The undisputed goal of the Harding administration was to use governmental powers to assist American business and industry to prosper ó a trend that had begun during World War I and accelerated during the New Era of the 1920s.

Election of 1920:
The American electorate turned against Wilsonian idealism and interventionism and embraced a "return to normalcy" promised by Warren G. Harding.

A postwar economic downturn begun under Wilson continued into the early months of the Harding administration.

Emergency Tariff Act (May 1921).
Stop-gap aid was extended to U.S. farmers until a more comprehensive tariff measure could be written.

Immigration Restriction Act (May 1921).
Congressional immigration reform introduced the first use of a quota system.

Budget and Accounting Act (June 1921).
Congress granted broad powers over the preparation of annual federal budgets.

Revenue Act of 1921 (November 1921).
Treasury Secretary Mellon won only a partial victory in his quest for tax reduction.

Fordney-McCumber Tariff (September 1922).
A blatantly protective tariff answered the pleas of many American producers, but sharply reduced overall foreign trade.

Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan:
The reappearance of the Klan was evidence of some Americans' resistance to a fast-changing postwar world. The new organization targeted more groups and movements than had the original during Reconstruction.

Harding, of course, ended up running one of the three most corrupt administrations in US history (rivaling and possibly surpassing those of US Grant and George W. Bush). An essentially lazy and shallow man (with a weakness for the ladies) he may have gotten elected by promising to take things back to the way things used to be, but his real weakness was in relying on too small a pool of advisors who misdirected him and held too much sway over his final decisions. Or indecisions, more often than not. Warren Harding was in over his head.

His lack of hands on management and the time period's emphasis on wealth-as-success led to his appointment of a bunch of crooked and venial underlings who sought every opportunity to use high office to loot the country. They were far from being the Republican Party's best and brightest. Harding valued personal loyalty over actual competence (or maybe just lacked the mental acumen to tell who was competent and who wasn't). A lackadaisical press corps more or less played along, with a few exceptions, because a war-weary society, still jumpy after a series terrorism attacks by foreigners, was disinterested in following the details of the little scandals. The scandals just slowly piled up in the young administration's first two years.

In some places, the coincidences are uncanny. In other cases they don't quite play out in such parallel details. The bigger trend to look toward the future is the extent to which Trump's 3rd stringers and lobby jockeys go all Teapot Dome on us. His big projects like wall building, infrastructure rebuilding, immigrant monitoring and controlling, and deregulation of industry safety standards will be full of opportunities and temptations for official corruption. It will be a circus of corruption. It will take loads of poking from activists to get the mainstream media to pay attention to it.

This is where we at Du will be able to play a role. We must become an echo chamber to raise some noise--from here and then spreading out to all other parts of the internet and broadcast media--about the corruption in Washington.

Barack Obama in Kenya at 27 "A Journey in Black and White" (A Film by Auma Obama)

This is a film I've heard about, but never seen. It shows a young Barack and Michelle before they married visiting the Obama family in rural Kenya and exploring Luo and Kenyan culture. He's a thoughtful young man, an American abroad, and an experienced community organizer seeing the potential and impediments in a society struggling with its colonial legacy.

Sadly, the YouTube version has been watermarked by some western party. But it's well worth the 20 minutes out of your life to see this.

I hear the Flat Earth Society has members all around the world

When you fly from California to Japan, you get in an airplane, sure, but then what happens is that the plane flies up over the clouds and is then up in the air for a mysteriously long time. Have you ever wondered why that is? A VERY long time. See, you start to wonder--why are we up above the clouds, where we can't see the surface below? What are they trying to hide? Could it be that the whole time, the PLANE IS FLYING EASTWARD, over Europe and Asia, to create the illusion that we're going "around" the "globe", but they don't want you to see the TRUTH?!

And then, while you're up in that flight, if you go to see the compass in the pilot's cabin to prove the whole thing... what happens? They won't let you in! And if you bang and bang and bang on the cockpit door and DEMAND TO SEE THE TRUTH, they'll call security--and they're always dressed like stewardess but they always seem SURPRISINGLY STRONG!! and instead of simply letting you in and prove their so-called "westward" flight, they drag you back to your seat, humiliating you in front of the other passengers and YOUR OWN GRANDMOTHER and tie you to your chair with zip ties... and where did those zip ties come from? Why would they even have them if they didn't have something to hide? Have you ever noticed that?

Don't believe what they want you to believe, my friend. You've got to fight for your freedom. Vote Jill Stein!

WaPo: If you remind people they're going to die one day, they tend to like Trump better


This might be the darkest theory yet about why Donald Trump keeps winning

The reminders arenít explicit, and they probably arenít part of an intentional strategy. All the same, much of Trumpís rhetoric could have the effect of bringing his viewersí omnipresent fear of death closer to their conscious minds, according to Sheldon Solomon, a psychologist at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

That includes his emphasis on terrorism, unsurprisingly, but also his preoccupation with immigration. This focus might be helping Trump, since Solomonís recent research shows that people who are thinking about death are more likely to say they support him. Study subjects who were prompted to talk about their own death later rated their support for Trump 1.66 points higher on a five-point scale than those who were prompted to talk about pain generally.

ďIím not suggesting that any of this is calculated, but almost everything that he does is demonstrably effective for raising these non-conscious, existential concerns that in turn make his kind of candidacy all the more alluring,Ē Solomon said.

Remember when Sharon Angle in Nevada talked about "2nd Amendment Remedies" to oppression?

This is what Dallas was yesterday. Americans, following open carry laws and feeling under threat by their own government, gunned down 11 public servants, men who were only keeping the peace and protecting Dallas citizens, both protestors and their nearby fellow-citizens. Five of those police officers have died so far. A couple of others are in critical condition still.

This is what the gun nuts' scenario of a people's militia rising up against government oppression looks like. This is the NRA's fantasy brought to life. Almost certainly the upshot of this is that more people are going to be murdered. Maybe it'll be a copycat. Far far more likely it'll be a white cop with now intensified feelings of isolation and suspicion about all black Americans will over react to some nonviolent street encounter and gun down another black man. And then the NRA and the murderous extremists in Dallas will have won.

You cannot destroy all this hatred with more hatred. We can only fight it with active, engaged, and inclusively-minded love. The murderers in Dallas probably want to provoke a race war. We can only beat them by standing resiliently for peace and inclusion. The cops who killed Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile believed that all African Americans are suspect and need to be controlled by excessive violence. We can only beat them if we insist that there is equal protection for all Americans under the law.

We are taking dangerous steps down a broken road that leads to the destruction of our civil society. We need to deliberate together to find a different path. The first thing we need to do is break the voices pushing for more division and more escalation and more suspicion against one another. We need to defeat those voices by embracing even those we disagree with and accept them as fellow citizens. We can't fight suspicion and paranoia with accusations and rising tempers. We can only fight suspicion with the earning of trust and the demanding of an honest discourse on how to make our world a better place.

Honestly, this year I really do feel bad for people who consider themselves "sensible Republicans"

because apparently they don't know what the world "sensible" means.

My big fear: This is 1988 all over again.

I don't know how long you've been around politics. But I remember a guy in 1988 named Mike Dukakis. Competent, a little weak on the stump, but a proven performer in political administration. He started the Fall campaign with a 17 point polling lead over Poppy Bush (a universally ridiculed and idiosyncratic candidate), which is far better than Clinton's 9 points over Trumpenstein.

How did Bush win and reverse those numbers, winning with a 7% spread in November? He repaired relations with the conservative base and appealed to independents and hammered away at Dukakis's fundamental weaknesses as a candidate.

I don't think we should ever, ever underestimate the conservative populace's earnest willingness to rally round their One Strong Man. The wingnuts did it for Poppy Bush in 1988 (and cashed in their chips throughout the first Bush White House--mostly with SCOTUS nominees and killing condom-based AIDS prevention programs in Africa--fuck all yall conservative motherfuckers very much). Did they like him? No. Did they trust him? No.

But they pinched their noses and voted for him because if there's one thing a conservative has a talent for, it's willingly suspending doubts about a flawed man in service of a higher cause, and then marching along with the crowd. I'm sure there's some evangelists out there already figuring out how to convince their flocks that Donald Trump is just like that adulterous, murdering, corrupt, vainglorious King David. Hell, he's already married to Bathsheba.

(Yes, in this analogy, Goliath would be Howard Stern--do not trouble the minds of the Right or question the mysteries of the Lord)

But I digress. Well.

In our corner, apparently (and give me a minute here, guys, sniff) we've got our establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton. Now, I respect Clinton. She's done great service for the nation. But she's never provided that spark of inspiration that unites broad groups of people. Her negative are high--something Dukakis in his 24 point drop never had to contend with. She doesn't give the sort of inspiring speech that gradually or even temporarily wins over her opponents. Bubba had it. Godfuckhim, even Dubya had it, though to be fair, only when he had 9/11 at his back (it never worked on me or you, of course, but he quite deftly managed to parley his passing popularity into getting his Congressional agenda passed--and frequently he personally was more popular than his atrocious policy agenda). Obama, obviously, has that inspirational spark by the bucketloads.

By contrast, Secretary Clinton has been just barely able to beat Bernie Sanders for the nomination in a fight that has, unfortunately, exposed a lot of fundamental fissures within our party. Yet look at all her advantages. She had millions of dollars just drop into her lap--so many millions that she hardly made an effort to do real grass roots fundraising. The corporate media all but shut down all coverage of Sanders, a crotchety old septuagenarian with a harsh regional accent most associated with cranky misanthropic neighbors on sitcoms, a man who wasn't even a Democrat a full year ago, a man from a tiny state that even other New Englanders think is idiosyncratic, and on top of that he calls himself a Socialist. And this is the guy she's barely able to beat, even with the endorsements of practically every politician on Capital Hill and every state house? Oy.

Don't get me wrong. I love Bernie. But I won't kid myself that he's only ever been a stand-in for Elizabeth Warren.

Let me diagnose the problem right now, my beloved fellow Democrats. We suffer from overconfidence. We suffer from hubris. All this chatter about the Republican Party breaking up misses one key point. Republicans and conservatives are followers. They are by nature hungry to belong to something bigger than themselves. They want a big daddy to tell them what to do. They worship at the altar of Mammon and are about to nominate the golden-haired living son of Mammon... and they will do and believe anything to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. They will even swallow Donald Trump's outright mockery of the Bible as straight Gospel quotations just to believe that they're voting for the right side.

The time for Democratic Party in-fighting is just about over. I acknowledge my imminent defeat. But the people among the Hillary supporters who are crowing victory and now demanding that we all concede the day and fall in line behind the nominee are talking to the wrong fucking party. Republicans fall in line. How else do you explain Rednecks for Romney or College Graduates for George W. Bush? Democrats are cats; we won't be herded. You gotta open up a can of tuna fish if you want us to come to your kitchen. The job isn't of the losers to fall in. The job is of the winning side, the leaders of the party, to give us something to believe in. You've GOT to win the Bernie voters over--which is how it should be in a democracy. Hell, half the Bernie voters aren't even Democrats. He's pulling his votes from independents and new voters who are still developing their political philosophies. That's exactly who you have to win over to beat Trump. Don't think for a second he doesn't have a plan to win over pro-reform voters. Clinton has got to get there first with a bigger offer.

Berners can be won over, but the appeal has to be genuine. This would be unexplored country for Secretary Clinton. She's been so scrutinized, so abused by so many powerful, hate-filled people over the years, that she's simply not inclined to be open and generous of spirit even on the eve of victory. She's not just inexperienced at keeping it real; she's quite bad at it. She plays that "I'm an outsider cause I'm a woman" card as if it's fooling anyone. No, Mrs-heir-apparent-to-the-president-of-the-United-States, you're not an outsider. You make a quarter of a million dollars telling something secret to Goldman Sachs; you're not an outsider. You had most of the Superdelegates in your pocket before a single vote was cast. You keep an enemies list with numerical rankings, confident that you'll be able to do payback on anyone who crosses you. I'm not stupid. I fucking know you don't have a bottle of hot sauce in your purse. You're not an outsider. Don't insult me.

The biggest complaint among us Sandernistas is that we're losing our democracy. In a democracy, the voters are sovereign and the leaders are simply public servants. This is how it should be. Clinton needs to approach us, give us concessions, bargain with us, pitch her cause to us in terms we understand and will believe. Don't pull up in a limo and talk about how hard your struggles are. You caved on $15/hour. Cave to us again--not on every issue; you did win, after all--but give us a reason to come into the fold. This is how bargaining and compromise work in a democracy. That is how leaders lead, at least among Democrats. That is how you win.
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