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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

WHEW

Well, now that we know who is going to be the Democratic Party's nominee for VP, what do I think? Mainly, I am relieved. Biden avoided several really bad choices which at the present moment is what matters most. Harris will make mincemeat of Pence.  That won't change many votes but will be fun to watch. More to the point, really progressive House candidates continue to win primaries, so the Democratic caucus will move further to the left.

I sit here in safe isolation watching what is happening in this country with genuine horror. All I can do is keep giving money to the Poor People's Campaign and hope that Nancy Pelosi's hardball negotiating tactics are successful.

I don't even have any good jokes today.

29 comments:

David Zimmerman said...

Just out of curiosity, Professor: Who do you think would have been the truly bad choices for VP spot?

Anonymous said...

How is watching a Corporate Democrat debate a Christian Fascist "fun"?

Both sides are immoral, unjust, and philosophically shallow, possibly even hollow.

Anonymous said...

"How is watching a Corporate Democrat debate a Christian Fascist "fun"?

Both sides are immoral, unjust, and philosophically shallow, possibly even hollow."

Yea. And 'debate' is a questionable word for it, since they basically just sling mud and argue over trivialities anyway. Will any discussion of any policies that represent real change even be allowed?

It's fun like watching an episode of Jerry Springer or The Jersey Shore. Theater to keep the masses distracted and disoriented.

s. wallerstein said...

I agree with Professor Wolff. Kamala Harris will be fun to watch debate Pence.

No, it's not a debate like what happens in the Oxford Union, but it was fun watching Harris
attack Biden for his segregationist pals in the first (I believe) debate of the Democratic pre-candidates. She hits hard, controls her timing well, her body language, her rhetoric: she's a skillful prosecuting attorney and it will be fun to watch her prosecuting
Pence, even if she's no saint nor hero.



LFC said...

Yup, agree with s. wallerstein on this one.

Also, both sides may be "unjust," but one side is somewhat less unjust than the other. Or rather, you've got a "corporate" Democrat vs. a "corporate" Republican, but the corporate Republican (Pence in this case) has also a record of being a reactionary governor of Indiana, reactionary on equal-rights issues, "cultural" (in the broad sense) issues, and economics. So while the Dem ticket will not send leftists swooning in joy to the barricades, there is actually something that separates the two tickets: the prospect of four more years of reactionary packing of the federal bench w right-wing judges, rolling back of environmental regs, incoherent/inconsistent foreign policy, attacks on the press, spreading of misinformation about public health etc., versus ordinary "corporate" Democrats who will open a space, possibly, for progressive initiatives that fall short of what many would like but will at least be in dialogue w social movements and (non-violent) protests in the streets, without which sweeping progressive reform is not all that likely to happen anyway.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Re: Anonymous and Anonymous -
I'm glad I don't live in the same universe as unknown ones. A couple of things off the bat: I have never watched Jersey Shore or Jerry Springer. I assume that you have since you know the 'debate' will just as bad.

I fail to understand how seeing a christian fascist sliced and diced by Sen. Harris will not be edifying, to say the least, and I suspect the event will generate significant quantities of humor (i.e., will his voice slowly rise during the debate?). Anybody who opposes as fascist has my support, however tentative and conditional it may be.

For the first time in what seems forever the Democrats are a party with two factions - center and left/corporate and socialist or however you wish to characterize them. The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities? You can be sure they will be debated.

Just out of curiosity, what political group is unqualifiedly moral, just, and philosophically substantial. Please don't keep it a secret.

David Palmeter said...

I firmly agree with the last three posts. I restrained from commenting to the anonymati myself, as I've harped plenty of times on this blog about the importance of getting half a loaf rather than none. The question I was tempted to ask was one that Barney Frank once used in reply to a constituent's question: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"

Jerry Fresia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

" The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities?"

Why do you believe them about this? Basic fact of history: politicians say stuff they don't believe all the time. Lesson: pay attention to what they do, not what they say. In regards to what Harris and Biden have done, they have been detriments to access to universal health care, and made forgiveness of debt, harder, not easier for people.

Moreover, Biden has made it clear that he basically rejects all Sanders provisions from their supposed pow-wow / unity coalition. And now he has picked a candidate who is the opposite of progressive.

I'm copying this from someone else, but it's clear if you go through the list that despite progressive rheotic, Harris's actions are progressive:

-She supported a law that forces schools to turn undocumented students over to ICE, separating them from their parents. source:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kamala-harris-san-francisco-immigrant-policy_n_5c758153e4b0bf166204509b

-Supported and funded a bill that would criminalize truancy, disproportionately harming single parent households, the poor, families of color and homeless mothers. source:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kamala-harris-truancy-arrests-2020-progressive-prosecutor_n_5c995789e4b0f7bfa1b57d2e
https://twitter.com/WalkerBragman/status/1089974205284798464?s=20

-Declined to prosecute Steven Mnuchin after his bank’s predatory lending and foreclosure fraud broke the law “over a thousand” times and ruined the lives of thousands of homeowners. source:
https://theintercept.com/2017/01/03/treasury-nominee-steve-mnuchins-bank-accused-of-widespread-misconduct-in-leaked-memo/

…he later donated to her campaign source:
https://www.rollcall.com/2017/02/14/harris-was-only-2016-senate-democratic-candidate-to-get-cash-from-mnuchin/

-She spent years jailing disproportionately black nonviolent cannabis users source:
https://afropunk.com/2019/01/kamala-harris-has-been-tough-on-black-people-not-crime/

Anonymous said...

she then tried to pander by admitting to smoking herself despite prosecuting others source:
https://www.marijuanamoment.net/kamala-harriss-snoopgate-is-what-a-political-marijuana-controversy-looks-like-in-2019/

-Stopped the release of a man serving 27 years-to-life after being wrongfully convicted of possession of a knife under the three-strikes law she supported. source:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/08/kamala-harris-trump-obama-california-attorney-general

…and when civil rights groups and nearly 100,000 petition signatures got him released after 14 years she took him back to court again for a crime he didn’t commit source:
https://www.scpr.org/news/2013/07/31/38460/san-fernando-valley-man-s-freedom-hangs-in-appeal/

-Opposed reforming California’s three-strikes law, which is the only one in the country to impose life sentences for minor felonies and incarcerates black people at 12x the rate as white people source:
https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/reforming-three-strikes/

…she opposed the law THREE different times source:
https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/reforming-three-strikes/

-Protected serial child rapists by refusing to prosecute in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal source:
https://theintercept.com/2019/06/09/kamala-harris-san-francisco-catholic-church-child-abuse/

-Tried to deny a transgender inmate healthcare and endangered trans women by forcing them into mens prisons. source:
https://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/05/05/harris-renews-effort-to-block-gender-reassignment-for-trans-inmate/

-Stood by silently as $730 million was spent on moving inmates to for-profit private prisons source:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2013/08/29/mercury-news-editorial-kamala-harris-needs-to-tackle-prison-standoff/

-Voted two different times to block federal funding for abortions source:
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/06/guess-who-else-voted-against-federal-funding-for-abortion-443667

Anonymous said...

-Supports foreign right-wing influences Netanyahu and AIPAC
https://theintercept.com/2018/03/07/kamala-harris-israel-aipac/

-Systematically violated defendants’ civil and constitutional rights” in crime lab scandal source:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/crime-lab-scandal-rocked-kamala-harriss-term-as-san-francisco-district-attorney/2019/03/06/825df094-392b-11e9-a06c-3ec8ed509d15_story.html

-Co-sponsored the bill that let Trump impose sanctions on Iran source:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/722/cosponsors?searchResultViewType=expanded

…which violated the nuclear deal and lead to the currently rising tensions source:
https://archive.thinkprogress.org/media-outlets-lawmakers-us-violated-iran-nuclear-deal-5907a0e5743a/

David Palmeter said...

Anonymous,

So what? Biden and Harris aren't Trump and Pence. That's enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Well you're a an established capitulating moron whose entire worldview just IS the corporate media. A completely interpolated subject in the Althusserian sense.

I wasn't talking about your politics or views, since there's nothing to discuss with such a dupe, instead I was addressing STRICTLY this point by CJM:

" The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities?"

Anonymous said...

" The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities?"

Yea...haven't seen any evidence of any of this really being supported by the dems. Try again.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Anonymous, you wasted your time copying all the things that prove Harris is the scum of the earth. I am aware of it all. You might also want to consider me a dupe and a moron, perhaps just a left Hegelian like Marcuse, Adorno and Horkheimer were alleged to be by the orthodox Marxists of the day. That said, I don’t continue discussions with persons who resort to ad hominem attacks and rely on ideological rigidity.

Anonymous said...

CJM, there were no ad hominem attacks directed at you, only DP. Re-read what I wrote. I simply stated that platforms should not be believed over politicians actions. Why? History as inductive evidence.

So I ask again, why do you believe:

" The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities?"

Notice my response is NOT accusing you of being a dupe, or a moron (something I said DP was), nor does it contain ad hominems.

See:

"Why do you believe them about this? Basic fact of history: politicians say stuff they don't believe all the time. Lesson: pay attention to what they do, not what they say. In regards to what Harris and Biden have done, they have been detriments to access to universal health care, and made forgiveness of debt, harder, not easier for people.

Moreover, Biden has made it clear that he basically rejects all Sanders provisions from their supposed pow-wow / unity coalition. And now he has picked a candidate who is the opposite of progressive."

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

That your incivility was not directed to me is not the issue, as I thought was clear in the last sentence of my last post.

Anonymous said...

Feels like a dodge to avoid admitting your claim is unsubstantiated, especially since DP really is just a mouth piece for the news, and seems genuinely incapable of independent thought or basic forms of critical self reflection. That's not an ad hominem, in the sense of negating his arguments in favor of attacking his character. He has no arguments, and he only has naive character.

You, however, can argue, understand, reflect, etc., so that's why I'm curious as to why you would publicly state:

"" The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities?""

WHEN A LOT OF READERS OF THIS BLOG DON'T SEE THAT.

Since A LOT OF READERS DON'T, just ignore the fact that I'm a 'rigid ideologue' (somehow when you call me that, it's not an ad hominem? maybe you have a double standard?), and explain to THEM, NOT ME, why they should believe you about the party, especially AFTER picking Harris, whose record, as I showed, does not back your claim.

Or don't answer the question, so you don't have to reflect, and continue to call me a rigid ideologue, while you publicly demonstrate your own rigid ideological beliefs about the democratic party *eyes fucking rolling hard*

LFC said...

Anonymous @7:21 a.m.

Harris's record as California attorney general is probably a less than perfect predictor of how she will act, and what measures she will push, as v.p. The offices have different pressures acting on them, and what a state a.g. is called on to do, in terms of setting policy on how prosecutors working for her will treat various crimes etc., is not something a vice president is concerned with. Her job, should the ticket be elected, will basically be to do what Biden asks her to do.

There is no certainty that Biden will make any particular issue or legislative initiative a priority simply b.c the party is officially committed to it. Biden's actions will be determined by a mixture of 1)events over which he has little or no control, 2)his own preferences, and 3)the balance of political forces within and outside the party. With respect to (3), it is relevant to note, as CJM did, that the Democratic party has a progressive or social-democratic wing whose views have to be taken into account by the president as head of the party. That does not mean that Biden and Harris will act in a way that always pleases that wing of the party but it does mean that they can't ignore it either. Biden wd not be the nominee were it not for African American voters in the South Carolina primary. That is something he must be aware of. It will not be enough for those voters just to see him as president; rather they will want to see actual changes in policy. Obama could to some extent satisfy that constituency simply by being the first black president. Biden, by contrast, will feel pressure to deliver on the implied promises of change that he has been making. None of which is a guarantee of anything, but it does give some provisional reasons for a tentative and qualified optimism. In the imperfect U.S. political system, awash as it is in money donated by powerful private interests, progress will always be partial and difficult. Legislative gridlock resulting partly from the increasingly partisan (in the sense of party-line discipline) context makes things still more difficult. The question is whether there is reason to expect *some* different outcomes depending on who is president and which parties control the chambers of Congress, as well as state legislatures. If you think the answer to that is yes, however qualified, you will vote accordingly. If you think the answer is no, you won't bother voting or will vote for a third-party candidate. Readers of the blog will presumably make their own judgments on this score. Mine is largely in agreement with CJM's.

Anonymous said...

LFC, I don't disagree with anything in your post, but despite saying you're in agreement with CJM, you are not.

CJM said:


"" The party is supporting a liveable wage, free college tuition and college debt forgiveness, and will certainly make health insurance universal sometime in the near future. Are these trivialities?""

Your claim is more hesitant, softer, and skeptical:

"There is no certainty that Biden will make any particular issue or legislative initiative a priority simply b.c the party is officially committed to it...that the Democratic party has a progressive or social-democratic wing whose views have to be taken into account by the president as head of the party. That does not mean that Biden and Harris will act in a way that always pleases that wing of the party...
None of which is a guarantee of anything, but it does give some provisional reasons for a tentative and qualified optimism"

I have absolutely no issue with your views whatsoever, specifically because they're qualified, and skeptical. Whereas CJM's claims were categorical. "The party *is*..."

F Lengyel said...

There is little point responding to Anonymous.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Enam el Brux,
Amen.

s. wallerstein said...

Why?

He or she appears to be well-informed and has a coherent and debatable point of view, which does not go against any normal ethical canons. By the way, that it's not exactly my point of view is clear from my comment at the beginning of the thread on August 12.

Anonymous said...

Correct, Wallerstein. We don't even have a disagreement though, just a different reaction to Democratic vs Republican debates. Since you're of the left, I know your pleasure in watching Pence lose is not derived from seeing the DEMOCRATIC PARTY win.

EeB and CJM, you two are publicly shoving your heads straight into the sand.

Anyone can read through this thread and see my ad hominem attacks were reserved for only one poster: DP. EVERYONE ELSE that has responded to me I have responded to in kind, without a hint of invective.

s. wallerstein said...

I like to see hegemonic common sense challenged, be it conservative, liberal or leftie common sense. That's an aesthetic or maybe ethical value for me.

One of the things that has kept me relatively sane during these 150 days of strict lockdown (much stricter than in the U.S.) has been discovering the Argentinian philosopher Dario
Sztajnszrajber, listening to his many talks in Youtube and reading his three published books. I don't believe that there is any of his writing in English.

Sztajnszrajber, who is a semi-star in Argentina, says that the role of philosophy is to challenge hegemonic common sense, to question the consensus of received wisdom, joder (an obscene Spanish word could be translated as "to fuck with", "to get on people's nerves"). He uses a lot of Marx, with more emphasis on the young Marx than on the mature Marx and a few people who are probably not beloved here, Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida and Judith Butler.

Anyway, Anonymous, as far as I can see, is challenging the hegemonic common sense in this blog. That's great. That's philosophy as I see, although, as I'm sure is evident, I'm not a philosopher.

jeffrey g kessen said...

S. Wallerstein, some people are just not worth the effort. Anyone bent on CAPITALIZING so many of his sentiments is beyond hope of rational discussion.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone bent on CAPITALIZING so many of his sentiments is beyond hope of rational discussion."

Interesting theory, but you offer no explanation for its veracity. Theories need explanations. Why do you believe people who CAPITALIZE are necessarily, and categorically, incapable of rational discussion?

As a counter example, when the internet first came out, I had lots of family and friends who were senior citizens, and for whatever reason, only wrote e-mails in all caps. It was aesthetically unpleasing, but I still responded to those people, since they were sane, reasonable, and coherent.

Seeing as you didn't target the actual reasons in my discussion, only the style of some words, you'll need a compelling argument as to why style alone dictates that all the nested reasons within the argument are necessarily and categorically unsustainable. This is doubly important since across the canon, everyone has different styles, but we do share common forms of reason (e.g., deduction, induction etc).

Notice:
Premise 1: AlL M3n R m0rtaL
Premise 2: S0cratES Iz a malE
Conclusion: SOCRATES IS MORTAL

Pleasing to look at? No. A reasonable argument? Of course.

By your standard the entire argument is categorically rejected on style alone.
That's transparently irrational.


-------------

Wallerstein, we completely agree, again. Socrates, the father of Western Philosophy is known for the fact the only thing he knew is that he knew nothing. Since he knew he knew nothing, he asked those who claims to know stuff, specifically those in power who had hegemonic common sense views, to explain themselves. Quickly we found out that just asking for explanations was corrupting the youth, challenging the state, and harming organized established religion. So yes, you're dead right, the basis of philosophy is challenging hegemonic common sense.

The posters of this blog, however, are not philosophers, if style alone makes them avoid counter arguments, and cling to hegemonic common sense.

Anonymous said...

This is a devastating and urgently necessary conclusion.

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