I feel pretty lousy watching the affluent, educated wonks drooling over a bill because it throws some cash at people to keep them afloat. It does *nothing* to change power dynamics & give people meaning in life beyond avoiding pure desperation.
Is this progress? Some cash from up top to avoid chaos? I just can't celebrate this dynamic.
I'm not arguing for austerity. Direct cash isn't a bad thing, especially in a crisis. But it's a sliver. It's not designed to revive communities & end exploitation.
I don't want the Singapore model to be something we're actually celebrating & aiming toward.
We had a big, unwieldy primary where everyone was tripping over themselves making promises about changing this country's course and now, you get a bill that only repairs *some* of the damage cause by the recent pandemic despite a clear will from voters to do far more.
The COVID bill does continue to subsidize private insurance to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. So that's something.
You can't build a sustained political movement appealing to working people AND the affluent. Occasionally, a candidate will be superficially charismatic enough to excite both groups (Reagan, Obama) but it never lasts.
Transformative politics has to go through labor. 1/
Democrats saw major gains in 2018 with appeals to affluent suburbanites backed by big money from Silicon Valley & Wall Street. The material interests of this base are different & often directly contradictory to those of working class Americans. 2/
Democrats aren't stupid; they know they need SOME labor support to remain viable on the national stage. But their interests make *meaningful* political action on labors' behalf impossible & the lies they tell to justify inaction fall apart. The problem is class, not ideology. 3/3
Yang ran for president on cutting 20% of the federal workforce. His housing plan encouraged the private development of micro-apartments. His non-profit united elite college graduates with billionaires to create jobs. It failed.
And to "progressives" who think Yang is some populist outsider: He took a job on CNN & endorsed Biden. He's a Neoliberal opportunist who pretends to stand for whatever will whip up a crowd and commits to nothing except the advancement of his own career.
New York deserves better.
Lol, Yang wants to reinstate the SALT deduction, which disproportionately benefits affluent homeowners.
There you go. He'll drone on about "a people's economy" but he's aiming his pitch right at gentrifiers.
Power's "humane & principled engagement":
-Hawking for regime change in Libya
-Arming al-Qaeda in Syria & demanding an invasion
-Explicitly demanding striking Syria *without* Congressional approval
-Supporting arming the Saudis in the Yemeni genocide
-Supporting NATO expansion
Not only does this not even come close to shrinking the racial wealth gap (which, uh...is not something Booker & Pressley should be casually lying about) but the plan itself is means tested & won't activate itself for another 18 years. 1/
And the fact that it only benefits strivers in a position to buy homes or go to college means it will disproportionately benefit the budding professional class. If you get a working class job & just need help paying your bills, what? Are you SOL?
The Cult of Higher Education & Entrepreneurship is an under-remarked upon strain of Neoliberalism. It ignores that there are only so many professional & entrepreneurial jobs available at any given time.
What's paramount is creating better conditions in *working class* jobs. 3/
This short documentary on Afghanistan from @AbbyMartin & @EmpireFiles is one of the best foreign policy works out there. Please share widely; The Iraq invasion is largely regarded as a disaster but Afghanistan remains misunderstood in far too many corners:
Propaganda pieces like CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR portrayed U.S. support for the Mujahideen as worthwhile aid to "freedom fighters" undermined only by our abandoning them with time.
The Mujahideen were repressive extremists & we aided them strictly to undermine the Soviet Union.
Aaron Sorkin's script was praised by Reagan-era officials for showing how America defeated the Soviets. Left unsaid: the Soviets were on the side of the existing government committed to literacy programs & ending forced child marriages.
Daniel Bessner's point about liberalism being a greater threat to democracy than the far-right is about power & hegemony.
Since the affluent media class is a beneficiary of this liberalism, they see any repudiation of it, left & right, as the real danger to democracy.
This dynamic is why Anne Applebaum decries "Populism," lumping together left & right versions of it because she assumes both threaten the technocratic liberalism that elevates her even as she represents Elite interests & advances destructive foreign policy.
Neocons are liberals. Dubya, Bill Kristol, David Frum. We miss this reality because we associate "liberalism" with the Democratic Party. But liberalism's about free trade, global capital flows, Imperial foreign policy, expanding International institutions & corporations...
Joe Biden will (try to?) raise taxes & spend on certain jobs & infrastructure programs. If his bills or Executive Orders pass, the PR will be very good, people will praise the transition from "Trumpism" and much of it will have a "Green" sheen.
And inequality will keep growing.
Keep your eye on concrete realities, not the spin generated by the Neoliberal administration or the media that serves power. Biden's fiscal plans will *slow* growing inequality, not reverse it. And his spending will include a lot of federal subsidies to investors.
U.S. businesses are leveraged heavily with debt and floated by venture capital & private equity firms trying to get federal subsidies to back their investment.
They're moving huge sums of money into "green" companies because they know it's a target for liberal deficit spending.
There are 2 reasons to support censorship: 1. You think your position can’t hold up under scrutiny 2. You believe you’re smarter than the rest of the country and they need protection from “bad” ideas you’re too good to fall for
These are not good reasons.
The measure of someone’s commitment to civil rights isn’t whether or not they defend their allies but instead whether they’re willing to defend the liberties of fierce adversaries.
Worth noting: Trump pardoning Blackwater thugs could give his supporters the impression that committing acts of violence in Trump's name are justified.
But the Blackwater massacre happened in 2007, under Bush. Going down that road requires implicating *every* Iraq War hawk.
Hank Paulson recently joined a private equity "climate fund" to show how "green" can be profitable.
Paulson, Al Gore, John Kerry & Jen Granholm's job is to use federal funding to subsidize private investors. "Climate" is just a branding device to keep "the left" satiated.
The firm is called TPG. TPG co-CEO Jon Winkelreid was Paulson's protege at Goldman Sachs as they were getting rich riding the mortgage bubble together.
The left is so gullible that they think finance vipers slapping the words "Green" on their business model means it's good.
The Sunrise Movement cheered on John Kerry being named climate czar, this despite Kerry being an advisor to Bank of America, supporting disgusting climate-destroying militarism abroad & aligning himself with corporate interests at every stage of his career.
It's absolutely wild that the most celebrated columnist in America defended a fascist, homicidal regime propped up by Henry Kissinger after a coup deposed his democratically-elected predecessor. Wild, wild stuff.
I found the above article because the late Stephen F. Cohen was blown away by Kristof expressing disappointment for Putin *not* being a "sober Yeltsin," galling enough considering how awful Yeltsin was for the Russian people.