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Sunday, December 3, 2017


I have often observed that in this world I am a Tigger, not an Eeyore.  Let me offer a bit of wreckage for you to grab on to in this tsunami of bad economic news from the Senate.  You can cling to this for nine days, barely keeping your head above water.  If Roy Moore loses the Senate race in Alabama [deo volente], then a single Republican defection during the vote on the compromise emerging from the House-Senate conference will sink the tax bill.  Since the Senate version is loaded with ad hoc additions, each designed to snag a particular recalcitrant Republican senator, McConnell may not be able to carry the conference report across the finish line.

At my age, nine days of hope is not to be sneezed at.


Howie said...

Deo Volente? Why not Be Ezrat HaShem, I'm not so sure Bibi or the Rebbe like Trump either.

Unknown said...

That is an optimistic reading of the situation. A gloomier one is that there will be no conference, and that the House will simply pass the Senate bill. After all, the important thing is to pass something with a tax cut for the rich in it, and that certainly is the case with the Senate bill.

The Repubs then can go home and enjoy the holidays and come back all refreshed and ready to go to work on Social Security and Medicare.

It's days like this that lead me to fantasize about taking everyone who voted for Jill Stein out and shoot them.

The encouraging thing in the day's news is the possibility that Mike Flynn, in his chats with his former colleagues, has been wearing wire.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Sigh. To each his or her bit of flotam after a shipwreck.

Howie said...

Kurts Anderson wrote about Fantasy Land about everyone living in an alternate reality, believing they could go their own way and vote for Trump or Jill Stein and not face the real world consequences.
Does the Fantasy Land thesis connect in any way as the American version of false consciousness?

Jerry Fresia said...

David Palmeter, I wouldn't be so hard on the Jill Stein voters, especially those who voted 3rd party in non-swing states. I think we would be better served if our animus were directed at our illustrious Framers and their undemocratic designs: Electoral College, single-member districts, plurality elections, etc. - and voter suppression which the Dems don't seem to be particularly interested in.

I'm thinking of interstate cross-checking which may have disenfranchised millions of Democrats in 2016 (yes millions!).

That our mainstream media ignored it all (and that progressives are ignorant of it) suggests to me that the election-fraud engineers deserved far more criticism and wrath than do Stein voters.

To wit:

s. wallerstein said...

It was Hillary Clinton who lost to Trump. Maybe she should have adopted Bernie Sander's platform 100%, maybe she should have asked Sanders to be her running-mate, maybe she should have stepped down at the convention and asked them to ratify Sanders, who had a better chance of beating Trump. The responsibility is hers and that of the Democratic Party bosses who did their best to eliminate Sanders, not Jill Stein's or her voters.

I myself didn't vote and I haven't vote in a U.S. president election since 1972 (for McGovern). I left the U.S. in 1977 and I vote in Chile.

David said...

The Senate version of the tax bill passed 51-49. If Doug Jones wins and if the compromise bill is considered after he is seated, then the vote could end up 50-50, at which point Pence will break the tie.

Unknown said...

Jerry Fresia, I agree with you on third party voters in non-swing states. However, until someone comes up with a politically possible better idea, we have to live with system we have.

s.wallerstein, yes Hillary lost the election by many blunders, as well as baggage from Bill's eight years. But the lost swing votes didn't help. I don't recall the numbers now, but I believe that they too cost her the election in the "but for" sense--but for the Stein voters, or but for ignoring Pa, Ohio, Mich. and Wisc, and but for the stupid decision to waste resources on Georgia and Arizona, and but for the emails, and but for the Comey letters--but for any one of these, Trump would not be president and we wouldn't be faced with an ignorant maniac holding the nuclear codes.

s. wallerstein said...

David Palmeter,

Let me describe the current Chilean political situation, which has some analogies to what we are talking about.

The presidential (and congressional election) was two weeks ago, and there is a run-off in two weeks more between Alejandro Guillier (let's call him "Hillary") and Sebastian Piñera (more like Romney than Trump, a billionaire stock-market speculator, less vulgar than Trump).

My candidate was Beatriz Sanchez, a mix of Sanders and Stein. She got 20% of the vote in the first-round, much more than the experts and the polls predicted, and some say that if the polls had been more accurate (and not rigged, some claim) and the experts less scornful of her and her backers (inexperienced college kids, according to the media), she would now be facing Piñera in the run-off.

Guillier sparks no enthusiasm (a bit like Hillary). His political life has been marked by opportunism and a tendency to stand up for the social and political status quo, including doing TV commercials for private health plans for the upper middle class. He was chosen as a candidate (not in a primary) because he was a TV news anchor and popular in that role.

Now we, who backed Sanchez, are being barraged by the same experts and pundits calling us to vote for Guillier in the run-off and accusing us, if we don't vote for Guillier, of being complicit in the election of Piñera. The Frente Amplio, the coalition of parties, which backed Sanchez has called for Guillier to make some moves to court their supporters, for example, to promise as president to introduce legislation ending the much-hated AFP system, the social security system of individual saving accounts privatized by the Pinochet dictatorship and fiercely defended by big business. Guillier has not made those moves and yet he and his supporters claim that if we Sanchez people don't vote for him, we are responsible for electing Piñera (none of us are going to vote for Piñera, obviously).

I probably will end up voting for Guillier, but it seems to me that Guillier, in not moving to the left in order to court Sanchez voters, is responsible for his own possible defeat. It is clear that Guillier knows which side is bread is buttered on, and it is undoubtedly buttered by the AFP industry who can be very generous with campaign contributions.

I could go on: there is a long list of left issues (none of them revolutionary or Marxist), which the Sanchez people are asking Guillier to endorse, but which he refuses to take a stand on. If the guy loses, it's his fault, not that of the "college-kids" from the Sanchez campaign who don't bother to vote in the run-off.

LFC said...

@s wallerstein

Interesting. Regrettably I don't follow Chilean politics, or Latin American politics generally, to any very close extent. I have a digital sub to the WaPo, so there's no excuse for my not reading the int'l news pages except indolence, which of course is not an excuse.

(I've also subscribed to Foreign Affairs for a number of years, but I recently decided not to renew my sub b/c they kept jacking up the rates and I decided I cdn't justify shelling out -- what was it, close to $70, as I recall -- for a periodical that I was always behind on reading and only read very selectively. Their coverage of Latin America, in any case, seemed spotty at best, though they do apparently have a Spanish-language edition. And of course it's a 'mainstream' establishment, not leftish, periodical. The capsule book reviews were about 60 percent of the reason I subscribed -- it was a good way to keep up w new English-language (and occasionally non-English) bks on int'l affairs.)

s. wallerstein said...


I don't read the Washington Post, but the New York Times coverage of Chile is generally very superficial. They don't make an effort to understand the deeper social currents behind political phenomena, they focus on personalities, they don't get or even try to get Chilean political culture. The Guardian isn't much better. At times the Economist, in spite of its rightwing perspective, seems to have more sense of Chile, but I don't follow the Economist closely enough to be able to recommend it.

As you probably know, if you come to another culture, expecting that it follow the same unwritten rules and cultural codes as your own does, you don't learn anything about that culture, you just say something about yourself.

LFC said...

Point taken, but superficial knowledge might be preferable to none. ;)

WashPost coverage of, e.g., India, Pakistan, and to some extent Afghanistan and Iraq and M. East generally, has sometimes been good in recent years, though I'm sure it's uneven. Don't really know about its coverage of Chile.

In any case, thanks for your info on the Chilean elections.

s. wallerstein said...


A little learning is a dangerous thing, it is said.

If you're interested in Chile, I'll keep you posted here. At present no one dares to predict the outcome of the run-off (in two more weeks). Piñera was considered a sure winner before the first-round, but the polls were way off and no one trusts them now.

For the first time, Piñera seems desperate and is throwing low blows at Guillier, and that allows Guillier to come on like a statesman. We might be lucky and avoid having Piñera as president for a second time (he was president from 2010 to 2014, but Chilean law does not allow immediate re-election). He's a crook, has been found guilty of insider trading and is known for his incredible greed and unethical (although not technically illegal) business practices.

LFC said...

If you're interested in Chile, I'll keep you posted here

Thanks, and I assume some others may be interested as well.