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Bearing in mind the current populist mood of the country, I think this is the key thing behind Bernie supporters right now: At least with him there’s HOPE for something radically different and HOPE for true change; change that promises to beat the donor class and predatory bankers and financiers with the large stick we’ve always been exhorted to carry. As anyone who’s truly honest with themselves would agree, Clinton is, for better or worse, a moderate incrementalist in a Democrat establishment that is still terrified of ever being called LIBERAL by anyone. (Don’t believe me? Just listen to any of Clinton’s recent speeches about health care.) As usual, it’s part of the tired “New Democrat” centrist bullshit of the 90s and 2000s. Republicans, aided and abetted by fearful centrist Democrats, have successfully stunted the incomes and livelihoods of middle income, working class and poor Americans and enabled a massive transfer of wealth to the donor class over the last 30+ years. None are blameless. People were bound to rise up eventually. (Look at what happens with austerity-stricken people in Greece for example.) But Americans haven’t risen up, because the frog has been slowly cooking in a boiling pot of cheap Wal-Mart goods and predatory Payday Loans, which has effectively gutted organized labor (who are, despite their many problems and scandals, the only true “lobbyists” dedicated to raising worker incomes) and helped create the illusion that our standards of prosperity and comfort haven’t diminished all that much.

As passion for Trump and Bernie demonstrates, this isn’t an election about moderate incrementalism. It’s an election driven by Americans finally expressing real fury over what both parties and the donor class have done to them. It’s also pent-up liberal rage at perceptions of Obama not really being as much of the change-agent he promised to be (even though, to be fair, a lot of what he tried to do was torpedoed by Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress).

In this election, it’s not enough to point out that the other side is crazy, when the alternative is four years of nibbling around the edges and making incremental improvements. This is what drives those supposedly baffling polls that show big portions of independent Bernie supporters prepared to vote for Trump if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination. Personally, I think that’s stupid and horrifying, but I understand the limited thinking and outrage behind it. (Notwithstanding the obvious fact that Republicans have been the main villains in fucking over American workers, and a vote for a Republican is a vote for our own self-immolation.)

I have no idea how this election will turn out. I do think this is the generational change people were hoping for during the Obama-Clinton primaries. But the outrage we see now hadn’t yet really fully boiled out of the pot the last time around.

I hope we can all soberly evaluate what is driving people during this election. And let’s at least be honest about what our candidates truly stand for. Will people flood to the polling booth for moderate incrementalism? Or will they instead rise up in the hope of finally sticking up an enormous middle finger and saying Fuck You to the system we’ve ultimately created for ourselves (because yes, at the end of the day, we’re the ones who voted for these assholes all of these years, and living in dubious denial is a load of bullshit too).

And, finally, let’s stop being so fucking dismissive of the chances of saying Fuck You winning the election. It’s tiresome and you need to back it up with facts and sober analysis, not sneering and high-minded derision. (For example, you need to intelligently describe what’s wrong with so many polls consistently showing Bernie beating Trump by larger margins than Clinton.) There have been a lot of successful radical Fuck You candidates in the history of this country. So stop it with the dismissal and condescension. We ignore the widespread party-agnostic rage in this country at our own peril.

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I do get why liberals say things like this. I really do. And on the surface level they are correct: someone with the issue positions and philosophy of governance of Ronald Reagan circa 1980 running in today’s Republican Party would not do well. It’s a very fair bit of concern trolling, so far as it goes. But let’s be honest: if the actual Ronald Reagan were alive and lucid today, there is absolutely no way he wouldn’t be a Tea Party enthusiast bemoaning about the supposed evils of Planned Parenthood, the EPA, illegal immigration, etc., in spite of amnesty, the Montreal Protocol and his support of PP in the past. Yes, on these things and others, Reagan in the 1980s was superior to today’s Republican Party. But the political context was very different in his time, particularly within the GOP, and it’s unlikely he could have gotten much more than he did by adopting more right-wing positions on those issues. It does not therefore stand to reason that Reagan would have been a permanent embodiment of the politics of that moment in time. This is bad logic. Had his mind not deteriorated, it’s almost certain he would have continued as a public figure to drift rightward along with the party. I defy anyone to construct a plausible argument why he would not have done so. And saying that Barry Goldwater wound up mildly dissenting from orthodox Republicanism as an elder statesman proves nothing. Different people.

My real pet peeve is in acting like Reagan’s comparatively moderate positions stand in contrast to today’s Republicans. In reality, nearly all Republicans see themselves as continuing Reagan’s tradition and they’re not entirely wrong. It was Reagan, not Goldwater or even Nixon, who brought the “print the legend” element into the Right. Barry Goldwater was an honest man, Richard Nixon was a near-pathological liar. But Reagan was neither: he was a serial fabulist who could say the most ridiculous things–that Black Navy cook Dorie Collins ended racism by shooting down a couple of Japanese Zeroes over Pearl Harbor, say, or that he personally liberated concentration camps–with utter, soulful conviction. And then sometimes he’d just flatly contradict them or say he never said them, often with a complete lack of self-awareness (he was often fond of defending Hollywood as having fewer divorces than the American average, in spite of his own history). Rick Perlstein thoroughly deconstructs all this, as does Garry Wills, in their respective books. So if Reagan were alive and lucid today, it’s easier to imagine him as a Cruz man than a Kasich man, for whatever that distinction is worth. I’ve been seeing this argument ad nauseam for the entire decade, and it’s become a cliche. Time to retire it, I think.

(By the way, Wills’s book is amazing not only in its sophistication and content but also in that the author and publisher clearly had different ideas about what the book was about–Wills’s book is as searching, ambivalent and frustrated as can be in trying to understand Reagan, but the back cover seems to think it’s a Peggy Noonan-level hagiography. It’s one of the most hilarious disconnects ever. You can check the cover out through the link.)

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Image retrieved from the City of San Jose website.

I would actually go further than this and say that San Jose is not merely the country’s most literally forgettable city, it’s forgettable in every sense. As a lifelong Northern California resident (save my college years in the Central Coast, which I consider neutral territory in the eternal war between North and South, will it never end?), I’ve been to San Jose many times. There are some interesting things there: the old Spanish mission, the Winchester Mystery House, a nifty downtown Cathedral. It’s a fine day trip once in your life. But it’s not really that great a city, to visit or to live in. Urban planning is about choices, and some choices after being done cannot be undone. San Jose is a perfect example of bad choices dooming urban living. People often complain about airports being too far away from cities, but San Jose has the opposite problem and has its airport adjacent to downtown–no doubt convenient for financiers and tech executives wanting to quickly get to downtown hotels and conference centers, but obviously the #1 factor in hampering any sort of dense urban living downtown as skyscrapers tend not to be located next to airports for obvious reasons, not to mention the pollution and noise from it that make being downtown a less appealing option. In addition, downtown also includes the campuses of San Jose State University and the Exploratorium Museum, which if you know your Jane Jacobs writing on urban planning (and if you don’t, you should), serves to even further hamper urban living by turning large portions of the city into single-use dead zones. There are ways to do these things–Portland, Oregon has done a beautiful job of integrating PSU into downtown such that it just seems to be another piece of the puzzle. And cities obviously can have tourist-friendly sites of little interest to long-term residents while still not being tourist theme parks–sucky as Times Square is, it provides a containment solution for the least-adventurous tourists. San Jose gets so much of it wrong, though. It is not a dismal downtown like, say, Atlanta or Los Angeles, but pretty negligible. Beyond that, you have suburbs, and even significant “urban” neighborhoods outside downtown feel suburban. Just look at the picture. It’s a very suburban city, and quite a lot of the suburbs (particularly to the south) are quite ugly and forlorn. But, on the other hand, they’re also insanely expensive to live in, so there’s that.

Why would anyone go there? I find this amusing:

[V]isitors tour garages where tech companies were born, and go to visitor centers at the nearby headquarters of Google and, soon, Apple.

I actually wasn’t aware that Apple was moving closer to San Jose. I’m sure residents there are thrilled that their already absurdly expensive housing costs are about to get kicked up a couple dozen more notches. Anyway, this seems like such a bizarre thing to build a vacation around, but if it floats your boat, to quote the pope, who am I to judge? But it’s not really a mystery as to why San Jose isn’t a place people go to, or much think about. They fundamentally failed to create the conditions necessary for enjoyable urban living. In fact, they didn’t even try.

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reagan-aidsgateThis is one of the most bizarre things I’ve heard about recently.  Hillary Clinton spoke at Nancy Reagan’s funeral and bafflingly launched into a bit on how the Reagans were anything but craven, irredeemable sociopaths when it came to the 1980s AIDS crisis.

“It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular, Mrs. Reagan, we started national conversation when before no one would talk about it, no one wanted to do anything about it, and that too is something that really appreciated.”

Um, yeah, the Reagans were big bleeding hearts for the thousands of sinful, depraved gays dying in agony across the country:

In honor of World AIDS Day, Vanity Fair debuted “When AIDS Was Funny,” a new documentary short by filmmaker Scott Calonico that shows how the administration shrugged off the spread of HIV in the mid-1980s.

Featured in the movie are never-before-heard audio tapes from three separate press conferences in 1982, 1983 and 1984 in which White House Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes can be heard laughing and even cracking homophobic jokes at reporters’ questions about the crisis…

When asked about President Ronald Reagan’s take on the crisis in 1984, Speakes responded, “I haven’t heard him express concern.” When the reporter pressed further, he added, “I must confess I haven’t asked him about it.”

B3yv8XLIgAA-ZnpAs Igor Volsky wrote in 2011:

Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan’s surgeon general, later explained that “intradepartmental politics” kept Reagan out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the administration “because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs.” The president’s advisers, Koop said, “took the stand, ‘They are only getting what they justly deserve.'”

To further baffle you, this is the head-scratcher put out by the Clinton campaign after her baffling Reagan-praise:

While the Reagans were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS. For that, I’m sorry.

People — including, in particular, many of my LGBT compatriots — give me shit for being such a Hillary-hater, but Jesus Tapdancing Crazeballs…  What supposed champion of LGBT rights doesn’t know that the Reagans were craven, irredeemable sociopaths when it came to the 1980s AIDS crisis???  This is like someone praising Stalin for his passion for feeding starving people in the Ukraine.

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Jack smash!

Jack smash!

I know lots of business fetishists worship Jack Welch as the never-ending font of all those delicious corporate wisdoms.  In spite of, or perhaps more likely because, he’s a loony wingnut.  Por exemplo:

[Welch] has stated that the idea of global warming is “the attack on capitalism that socialism couldn’t bring”, and that it is a form of “mass neurosis”.[47]

Charming.  So, I’m reading around the blogs today, minding my own business, when I stumbled upon a Jack Welch doozy, which is probably the most out-of-touch post I’ve read in a long time, on how it’s very important to be ballsy and talk freely about politics at work.

I myself am a political junkie (some might use the term “animal” and I wouldn’t correct them.)  I couldn’t not talk about politics at work if I tried.

But that’s not the reason I’m going to urge you to talk about politics at the office. I’m going to urge you to do it because I’m a huge believer that you should always bring your whole self to work. You should bring your interests and your passions. You should bring your authenticity. Being real is the only way to be… So, bring your political views to work.

Everyone says they support “diversity,” and they wish their workplaces had more of it. That viewpoint, which I’ll assume you hold, includes political diversity. So when someone has a different stance than you do on a particular politician or policy, put your money where your mouth is. Embrace their differences, or accept that you’re a hypocrite.

And it goes on and on.  I think the always-insufferable “tolerate the intolerant” bit at the end was a nice touch.  Especially considering that we’re talking about a top corporate executive, immersed for decades in a sea of sycophants, whose every word is met with hushed breaths of awe and reverence.  Of course Jack Welch loves talking about politics at work!  All the SVP toadies in the room couldn’t be more terrified of disagreeing with him.

Shit, where is he?

But how does that work for Carol in Accounting, whose manager is a wingnut tyrant who pipes up about how much he loves Trump’s plan to ban Muslims?  Probably doesn’t go so well for her when she makes a passing mention of Bernie Sanders in the break room when she thinks (incorrectly) that her boss isn’t listening.

Hmm, is Jack’s post perhaps directed at the wingnut tyrant managers of the world, rather than the Carols in Accounting? Jackass.

There were some poignant comments along the lines of: hmm, maybe you’re full of shit, dickhole.  (They’re on LinkedIn so it’s the usual type of “If I comment all over the place, I gets all the networkings!”; Just sayin’.)

Mr. Welch, perhaps you should have consulted with HR before writing this. Despite what we believe about free speech, uttering political views at the office can get a person fired – quite legally. I love the concept of bringing one’s whole self to work, and I also believe in being one’s authentic self, but this blanket advice without proffering any of the caveats is faulty Influencer leadership.

Also:

What does a political discussion or debate add to the actual work that needs to be done? It’s not neutral, people rarely abide by these standards that you list, if ever. It’s alienating and that knowledge of what a person’s beliefs are sticks with a person and lurks in the back of their mind adding fuel to any potential existing office politics already in motion. I disagree with this on the grounds that people won’t stick to these standards no matter how hard they try. These are discussions that take on lives of their own & what’s the point? To change minds? Get more personal information on your co-workers? It’s in the same category as religion etc. I say no go on politics discussions at work.

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I predicted back in December that Ted Cruz would be the Republican nominee. I’m not so sure of it anymore, but he’s kept it competitive so far and might finally be emerging as the non-Trump of choice. Though I don’t think he’s going to win Florida, let alone Ohio (Missouri remains a strong possibility), he’s bubbling back up again, and Trump doesn’t have any new discernible angle (I suppose he could try to sue to get Cruz off the ballot, maybe). Trump or Cruz is a real Sophie’s Choice to the Republican establishment, in the sense that it’s ultimately an irrelevant choice.

It seems insane to me that much of the establishment is pulling for a contested convention. Without brokers, I’m not sure how this avoids becoming a complete debacle if it happens. It’s true that the GOP has taken the nomination from someone who has rightly earned it before, but that time they had someone to give it to that nobody really disapproved of. Marco Rubio is no Dwight Eisenhower. Neither is John Kasich. Mitt Romney is like an anti-Eisenhower. Absent brokers, it’s easy to imagine the thing going from one ballot to another, delegates shuffling back and forth desperately with no plan and nobody in charge. After all that’s how it’s been up to this point, why should it stop now?

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I’d keep an eye on this:

Iowa’s always struck me as an odd place: a lot of very progressive Democrats and very conservative Republicans, who nonetheless had the same two dudes from different parties representing them in the Senate for 30 years. Then the disgraceful Joni Ernst won a seat in 2014 (most likely a rental until 2020) and now Grassley has decided to make himself into the public face of the “Hell, no!” Supreme Court brigade. Essentially, pretty much the last place where collegial bipartisanship and widespread swing voting seemed to hold sway has broken down entirely. Anything can happen.

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