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The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Our New Political Majority

(This is the last column for this week. We will resume on Sunday with cartoons. Everyone has reasons to be thankful, so take the time to talk about them with your loved ones, or your close friends this week.)

Last weekend, like most Americans, Wrongo spoke with friends and family about how we got to the disappointing political place where we are today.

Der Spiegel Online asked: If you think back ten years, could you have imagined in 2006 that America’s reality would be Donald Trump as president of the US? Probably not, but ten years ago:

  1. Economic growth and job growth both fell in 2006 as the residential housing boom came to an end.
  2. Wages were the smallest share of national income since the government began compiling the statistic in 1947.
  3. Consumer debt soared to new heights, while consumer debt payments rose to the highest on record.

Those were dispatches from the ongoing war that corporations and neoliberal economic elites made on our citizens. And it didn’t stop there. After 2006, we had the financial meltdown and the Great Recession. Banks had to be bailed out. Millions of people lost their jobs. Debt grew, and faith in government’s willingness and ability to improve the fortunes of their citizens evaporated.

The clear losers were workers in traditional economic sectors, particularly in manufacturing. According to a study by economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson, the increase in imports from China have resulted in the loss of 1.5 million manufacturing jobs since the early 1990s.

But automation had a greater impact: In total, some 6.9 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the US between the early 1990s and 2011. For those who have lost their jobs, it seems that their political representatives have forgotten them. Particularly when establishment Democrats and Republicans continue to push for more trade, by which they mean more imports from our global corporations who continue to export those jobs to lower-wage countries.

In 2016, despite substantially better economic times, many American still worried about losing their jobs and their financial security. They saw themselves as the losers in a game that only helps corporations and the elites. This domination of our politics by the economic elites has produced a defacto disenfranchisement of everyone else.

A new political map has emerged, one that doesn’t neatly fit into the Left vs. Right model of our politics. The new dividing line is between those who support, and those who oppose, America’s economic elites and their neoliberal policies. Those on both sides of the old ideologies who distrust the elites are connected by their fear of being left behind. This was clear in 2016 in those precincts where Trump outperformed Romney, and where Clinton underperformed Obama.

This is today’s landscape, but in 1998, Richard Rorty, an American philosopher who died in 2007, wrote “Achieving Our Country” which predicted our current political situation. According to the NYT, the following fragment of the book has been retweeted thousands of times since the election:

Members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots.

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past 40 years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion…All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.

Rorty’s basic contention is that the left abandoned its core philosophy in favor of a neo-liberal worldview that promoted globalism and corporatism. Rorty said in a lecture in 1997:

This world economy will soon be owned by a cosmopolitan upper class which has no more sense of community with any workers anywhere than the great American capitalists of the year 1900.

Mr. Rorty’s most prescient words:

The cultural Left has a vision of an America in which the white patriarchs have stopped voting and have left all the voting to be done by members of previously victimized groups.

Rorty said that in 1998. And in 2016, it was Hillary Clinton’s failed election strategy.

What’s so striking about “Achieving Our Country” is Rorty’s argument that both the cultural and political left abandoned economic justice in favor of identity politics, ignoring too many economically disadvantaged Americans.

According to voter turnout statistics from the 2016 election, 58.4% of eligible voters actually voted (135.2 million). Clinton received about 63.7 million votes (27.5% of eligible voters) to Trump’s 62 million, (26.8%) while 9.5 million votes went to others.

This means that 41.6% of America voted for nobody, far outweighing the votes cast for Trump or Clinton.

That the majority of Americans did not vote is not because they don’t care. They voted no confidence in a political system that forgot about them a long time ago.

A minority elected Trump. The majority voted against our neoliberal political system.

 

(BTW, Tuesday was the 53rd anniversary of JFK’s assassination. While it remains fresh in Wrongo’s mind, it hardly registers in the minds of the press or the public. A new idea on Oswald’s motives appeared in the LA Times. Take a look.)

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Monday Wake Up Call – November 14, 2016

We just can’t seem to stop talking about Trump winning the election. Pundits have sliced and diced the data from November 9, and so far, the major trend remains poor turnout.

From 538: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

The raw number of votes rose: About 1.4 million MORE Americans voted in this year’s election than in 2012, a total which itself was down from 2008. But the electorate was growing in the meantime: About 57% of eligible voters cast ballots this year, down from 58.6% in 2012 and 61.6% in 2008, which was the highest mark in 40 years.

The total number of votes was up, but the percentage of actual voters to eligible voters was down. This says that, in 2016, people cared less about the outcome of the election than they did in 2012. 60% of Millennials failed to vote, 6% less than in 2012. The 65+ cohort dropped most dramatically, down 12% from 2012. From Carl Beijer:

The major trend in 2016 was one of increasingly apathy. Within that broader trend, the demographic patterns are muddy. Deviations in relative support from group to group don’t map well onto the standard media narratives that dominated this election; for example, apathy grew more among women and voters of color than among men and white voters. Among the candidates, Clinton either broke even or lost support among every single demographic group, while Trump won support among voters of color and boomers.

And if we look at states that were key to Trump’s victory – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, all but Pennsylvania and Florida had lower overall turnout. And in the case of Ohio and Wisconsin, turnout was much lower.

While it’s too early to say that we saw a populist revolt, it is clear that the slimy campaigns and the unattractive candidates probably depressed turnout.  And it isn’t clear yet whether voter suppression laws had a significant impact on the outcome of the election, but America’s gotta wake up.

When 43% of eligible voters don’t bother to vote, we risk surrendering our democracy to a well-organized minority of Americans. Nobody should be complaining if they failed to vote.

To help the non-voters wake up, we will listen today to Leonard Cohen. Wrongo mentioned Cohen’s death yesterday. His dying wasn’t a surprise, since he said in last month’s profile in the New Yorker that he was “ready to die.” Yet, on October 13th he told an LA audience:

I think I was exaggerating. I’ve always been into self-dramatization… I intend to stick around until 120.

That didn’t come to pass. His final album, “You Want It Darker” came out on three weeks ago. In it, he waves goodbye to us with grace. Asked often about his process for songwriting he usually replied:

I’ve often said if I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.

But we remember him today with “Everybody Knows”. It probably has been overplayed this week, but it is appropriate for the revolutionary week we had:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Sample lyrics:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Doesn’t that kind of sum up where we are heading for the next four years?

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Election Wrap-Up Linkage – Saturday Edition

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”George Orwell

Feeling blitzed by the election? Science has an answer. Research by neuroscientists have led to a list of 10 songs which reduce stress. According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, “Weightless” has been named as the most relaxing song ever, which reduces a person’s stress by 65%. Your mileage may vary.

The most interesting thing so far in the analysis of who voted is the number of Democrats that didn’t vote:

popular-vote
While America hasn’t counted all the votes yet, Clinton’s total vote is down significantly from both Obama elections. On the margin, people apparently thought that they didn’t have sufficient reason to show up for Clinton. Everybody knew what Donald Trump’s top three issues were. Despite an issue-laden website, nobody knew what Hillary Clinton’s’ top three issues were, they just knew she was against DT.

Krystal Ball (yes her real name) was a candidate for Congress in Virginia a half dozen years ago and has been writing since. She has a column up at HuffPo: The Democratic Party Deserved To Die in which she says the following:

In 29 states, truck driving is the number one job and it is one of the few jobs left that can provide a middle class living for high school grads. What will happen to the 1.5 million families who get their daily bread from a truck driver when all of those jobs are eliminated by driverless trucks? It’s not a matter of if but when. Are we going to teach all those drivers to code or retrofit windows or whatever other pathetic nonsense we’ve held up as a solution? This new reality is upon us. The markets are not going to magically fix it.

Stronger Together” meant nothing to all these people that felt that they were left behind by globalization, free trade agreements and technology. Democrats have been on an 8-year slide from electing a President with veto proof majorities in Congress to holding zero power in DC. Maybe this will reignite the revolt in the party to ditch its leadership and get back to its roots.

Orange County CA among the most Republican counties in CA, finally votes for a Democratic Presidential candidate, and the rest of the country pulls up the ladder. WTF?

On Election Day, most voters use electronic or optical-scan ballots. Nearly half of registered voters (47%) live in jurisdictions that use only optical-scan as their standard voting system, and about 28% live in DRE-only jurisdictions, according to Pew’s analysis of data from the Verified Voting Foundation, a nongovernmental organization concerned with the impact of new voting technologies on election integrity. Here is how votes are tallied in America:

type-of-voting-machine

 

 

 

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Election Day 2016: Closing Argument

“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” –  John F. Kennedy

JFK said that at Amherst College less than a month before he died. He wasn’t running for reelection yet, but that quote shows how he towers over the two presidential candidates in front of us today.

We could ask: “What does wisdom have to do with being president?” And our answer should be “everything”!

Some Americans are angry. Some are mainly angry with Washington. Many are impatient, unable to keep a long complicated idea in their heads to a conclusion, saying things like: “bottom line this for me” after less than a couple of minutes of talk. People are overwhelmed with information, much of which is patently false, so they do not know what to believe. The simply angry people will not help us solve anything, and they may not even accept a solution designed to help with some of their problems.

This is the context for today’s election.

The best case for Hillary Clinton is that she represents a continuation of Obama’s policies, with a few slightly more progressive ideas forced into the mix by Bernie. If Clinton is president, she will continue to have the same fights with Republicans in Congress that Obama had, but since Trump wants to enact policies that are destructive, some of which will be enthusiastically supported by Republicans in Congress, wisdom indicates Hillary is our best option this year.

Over the next four years Clinton is unlikely to do anything domestically that makes the lives of most Americans worse, and any Supreme Court justices she picks are likely to be reliably liberal on social issues, assuming Republicans are willing to confirm any nominee offered by a Democrat.

Her foreign policy is hawkish. This is the one place where Trump seems to be to the left of Clinton. How we handle Russia, China and the Middle East will be a huge challenge to the next president, but the leader of the free world cannot be an impulsive know-it-all.

What about the arguments against Clinton?

Emails are Hillary’s quicksand. Win or lose, Congress will keep worrying on that bone for a long, long time.

What about the paid speeches, the relationships with Wall Street and foreign governments? None of that is unique to Clinton. Her neoliberal positions and affiliations are common in both Parties. Obama, both Bushes, Bill Clinton, and Reagan have all taken money from most of these same groups through the campaign finance system.

Money and influence are the business plan for all American politicians. There’s nothing particularly revelatory about that, and it doesn’t make her any more corrupt than most other Democrats and Republicans who have run for president.

Arguments for Donald Trump:

The best argument for Donald Trump doesn’t rely on any of his policy positions, some of which are unclear and many of which are completely detached from evidence-based reality. Instead, the argument for him is that he will shake things up, and possibly, change some things.

Arguments against Trump:

A Trump presidency would be risky, since his ideas and temperament could easily make things worse than the current situation. He’s been called many names, his own ghostwriter for the book “The Art of the Deal” called him a sociopath. Many words describe Donald Trump, but here are a few that do not: Thoughtful. Serious. Presidential. So, wisdom argues that we not elect Trump.

People are looking for change. For them, it’s disheartening to settle for someone like Clinton who seeks gradual improvement, but is not a change agent.

America needs change, but it has to be a positive kind of change. That means it’s better to stick with the lower risk candidate unless there is a political alternative who really might make things better.

There will be better messengers for left-driven and right-driven populism down the road. When that happens, we will have more chances to pick a workable political alternative to the neoliberalism of both establishment parties.

Be patient, while we wait for a better alternative.

And vote today, if you haven’t yet.

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Monday Wake Up Call – Election Eve Edition

It is less than 36 hours until someone loses the 2016 presidential election, and the FBI has again cleared Hillary Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing related to her private email server.

But the damage is done. James Comey caused this and must resign, assuming Clinton is inaugurated. He tried to sabotage her campaign, he stalled her momentum, and caused quite a few people who planned to vote for her to have a false and negative impression of her honesty.

No American should have faith in Comey’s impartiality. But, once again, it is “mission accomplished” for the GOP, they used the go-to Republican tool of character assassination.

It works every time if it involves a Clinton, and the media is always happy to oblige.

In other news, the Pant Load just renewed his lease on the Trump Tower of Ignorance. On Saturday in Florida, he questioned the current mission to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS. He again criticized the US leaders involved in its planning. From CNN: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

The Republican presidential nominee knocked US officials as a “group of losers” for not launching a “surprise” attack and said he was convinced the offensive — which is led by the Iraqi military — was launched “for political reasons” to benefit his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He suggested she would get “credit” for its success.

This was after his Friday musing in Hersey PA, where he questioned the core rationale behind the military offensive, which is central to defeating the terrorist group in Iraq:

Who benefits by us getting Mosul? You know it’s going to benefit Iran. We’re not going to benefit. Because Iran is taking over Iraq.

Trump misunderstands the goals of the US program to defeat ISIS, which he claims to support. Retaking Iraqi territory from ISIS is key to that goal.

Trump also misunderstands military strategy and tactics. He says we shouldn’t announce plans to attack Mosul, but US military officials say it is impossible to move tens of thousands of troops and the associated materiel into position without alerting the enemy. They also stressed the importance of warning civilians of the coming battle.

And despite forces pushing ISIS back around Mosul, Trump said on Saturday that the offensive has been a “disaster,” directly contradicting accounts from our military leaders.

Trump’s ego tells him that he knows more than the generals about military operations, that he knows more than economists about economics, that he’s an incredibly virile 70 year old man, and that he was the greatest athlete in NYC during the 1960s.

If you haven’t voted yet, go vote, because otherwise, no one will want to hear your pathetic excuses about why you didn’t go to the polls. Please don’t talk about why you chose to cop out, or to cast a third party ballot, when the actual choice before us this week is as stark as we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes.

A popular rationale to justify not voting, or voting for a third party, is: “I don’t like either candidate, they’re both terrible.”

The thing is, there are no perfect leaders. We have never had a flawless president. There are always weaknesses, foibles and scandals. It takes decades before we really understand who the great leaders were, and even then, most had defects that would diminish them with today’s scandal-focused media.

So, undecided voters, look into your soul, and find that part of “us” that’s within you. Remember that while dystopian nightmares are fine in the movies, you really don’t want to actually experience one firsthand.

And, when you wake up on Wednesday morning in a country that hasn’t turned into a hellish wasteland overnight, pat yourself on the back for having done the right thing.

It’s time for America to wake the F up! With one candidate, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. With the other, you have no idea what you’re going to get, but, as his Mosul comments show, you can be sure he doesn’t know shit from Shinola about anything other than real estate.

To help America wake up, here is Sunnyland Slim with “Be Careful How You Vote”. Sunnyland was a patriarch of the Chicago blues scene from the 1940s to the mid-1990s when he died. Slim was in his mid-70s at the time of this recording:

Don’t be buying Trump’s lies about “building a wall” or “bringing back manufacturing jobs“. Neither will ever happen. Be careful how you vote.

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – Presidential Election Edition

Here we are, the Sunday before Tuesday’s presidential election, and the time change just added another hour to our long national nightmare.

The contest between Clinton and Trump has become uncomfortably close since the FBI’s intervened in our political process.

Can we build a wall around the FBI? It will be the best wall, and we’ll get James Comey to pay for it.

The WaPo reports that it has moved Ohio from “toss-up” to “leans Republican” and moved New Hampshire and Arizona from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up”. This leaves Clinton with 290 electoral votes. CNN, as of Friday morning had Clinton below 270 electoral votes for the first time in a long time.

This election reminds Wrongo of 1988. That was George H. W. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis. In July, Dukakis led Bush by 17 points in a Gallup poll. In fact, Dukakis led Bush by comfortable margins into August, but things went badly for the Democrat. A number of false rumors were reported, including the claim Dukakis had been treated for mental illness. Then came the ridiculous picture of Dukakis in a tank, and the Willie Horton ad, and Dukakis’ goose was cooked. Bush took the popular vote by nearly 8 points, winning 40 states and 426 electoral votes.

Let’s hope we are not witnessing the second coming of a Dukakis loss in Hillary’s inability to close out Donald Trump.

This means we need an extra helping of cartoons. Something has to give us a smile before the crying starts on Tuesday. Face it, one team or the other will be crying.

Cubs win, Cubs WIN:

cow-cubs-win-2

Some voters will definitely have some ‘splaining to do:

cow-answer-to-st-pete

When you think that all the choices are bad, what are ya gonna do?

cow-vote-anyway

Views differ on Comey:

cow-comey-is-wonderful

FBI Director takes on a new meaning:

cow-the-director

If Trump wins, some are going to Canada, others are just going:

cow-advance-directive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it’s all over, we’ll call it a “Wave Election”:

cow-wave-election

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clinton Is (Not) The Issue

As we go down the stretch to Tuesday’s election, the political dynamic has switched from being a referendum on Donald Trump to a referendum on Hillary Clinton.

It seems fitting that in the final stretch of a presidential campaign that has been completely indifferent to policy issues, from Russia, China, and the Middle East, to jobs and income inequality at home. Our news outlets are now focused on an apparently impregnable story about the Pant Suit’s private e-mail server, and the Clintons generally.

Since FBI Director James Comey’s announcement, we’ve seen the drip, drip of musings by the cableistas about whether Clinton can hang on to her lead, or if Trump can win on Tuesday.

There have also been a series of leaks by the FBI that appear to be designed to damage Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump. An anonymous source leaked to the Wall Street Journal that there was an FBI investigation  — including “secret recordings” —  into the Clinton Foundation.

Fox News reported on Wednesday that the FBI is intensifying an investigation into the Clinton Foundation over allegations that it traded donations for access to Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.

And there’s more. Judd Legum reports that the FBI’s Inspection Division is launching an investigation into why its FBI Records Vault Twitter bot re-released the files on Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich.

The FBI Twitter account was inactive from September 2015 until October 8th. Then there were a flurry of tweets, concluding with the Marc Rich tidbit. It has not been active since that tweet, so:

Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI’s Inspection Division for an “investigation.” Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.”

According to Marcy Wheeler, the Inspection Division and the Office of Professional Responsibility doesn’t have statutory independence from the rest of the FBI, which means their investigation can be influenced (or quashed) by FBI executives. So, nothing will be done, despite the fact that Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.

Now, we read this in the Guardian:

Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.

This was also confirmed to Wrongo recently by an in-law who used to work for the FBI. It’s as if the ghost of ole J. Edgar showed up early in October, and has decided to hang around for a while, even though Halloween is over.

The FBI has now entered parlous political territory. This is law enforcement trying to force its will on civil authority. We need to put a choke collar on this dog, before it tries to bite us all.

We all should care about how FBI’s apparent misconduct is affecting the election.And if the FBI is this politicized, it is an enemy of We the People, and will remain an enemy, even if Comey is ousted as Director.

Wrongo is now beginning to think of Comey as another John Boehner, a guy with decent instincts who is completely ineffective at controlling his team, with disastrous results for the country.

Imagine how The Donald as president, would use a vast public police force that is comprised of Trump true believers.

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The World Series and the Election

From Bob Lefsetz, who all of you should read: (brackets by the Wrongologist)

…tonight’s game was an epic finish that not only rekindled your belief in the game, but America too….The most valuable player was a Jewish egghead who never took the field. Theo Epstein reversed the [World Series] curse in Boston and then brought a championship to Chicago.

Maybe Theo should be a candidate for president. After all, he has fixed two underperforming organizations, and the US certainly underperforms. Sadly, Epstein’s success is based on using analytics and a plan to achieve a goal.

Facts and a plan. How could THAT possibly work for the country? Where would Trump and/or his boy, Mitch McConnell, fit within that concept? Trump speaks in broad generalities and platitudes, inflaming the passions of his followers, and obliterating any possibility of reasoned discourse or debate. He’s done nothing to inform America of the details of how he plans to make America a better and stronger place.

More from Bob:

And the teams are a rainbow coalition of ethnicities. It’s a white supremacist’s nightmare, not only are there various colors, but immigrants too! And somehow they all get along, they come together as a team, they’ve got a common goal, victory!

Ain’t that America?

But, one candidate thinks that he can win by scapegoating many of the kinds of people that were on the field last night. How can so many Americans support a candidate steeped in racism, religious bigotry, Islamophobia, homophobia, sexism, and misogyny, when we just saw such a great example of winning by working together?

And Lefsetz makes a final great point:

What is the common goal in America today? The telecast was riddled with political ads that made one wince. Duplicitous candidates utilizing subterfuge to try and win. Whereas the baseball players had shaggy haircuts, some tattoos, and had to play by their wits, there was little time for thinking, you had to make decisions.

The metaphor can be extended further. The Series went to the full seven games, and then into extra innings before a narrow one-run victory. The 2016 presidential election will go down to the wire, and who will win isn’t very clear. Both candidates have flaws, and yet, both are able to score points against the opposition.

We hope the election doesn’t go into overtime, but we need to understand that regardless of which candidate wins, it is just the restart of a protracted contest.

Unlike baseball, where the season ended last night.

A final word on Trump and his supporters. The Pant Load talks a good game, but his policies will not help his supporters. He promises to bring their jobs back. But, as Tom Friedman says: most of their jobs didn’t go to a Mexican. They went to a microchip: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

The idea that large numbers of factory jobs can be returned to America if we put up a wall with Mexico or renegotiate our trade deals is a fantasy. Trump ignores the fact that manufacturing is still by far the largest sector of the US economy. That our factories now produce twice what they did in 1984 — but with one-third fewer workers.

This trend in robotics and intelligent machines is well under way worldwide since the 1990’s, and no world leader, including Donald Trump is going to stop it. More from Friedman:

I understand why many Trump supporters have lost faith in Washington and want to just “shake things up.” When you shake things up with a studied plan and a clear idea of where you want to get to, you can open new futures. But when you shake things up, guided by one-liners and no moral compass, you can cause enormous instability and systemic vertigo.

Baseball is over for this year, but America’s need for leadership and teamwork based on a vision and a plan continues.

How can so many Americans willingly settle for a candidate who is more caricature than qualified or capable in a world where only talent and vision matter?

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – October 30, 2016

Enough already about your damned emails Hillary!

Apparently not. This, from Booman: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

FBI Director James Comey just angered everyone in the country by sending a letter to key Republican committee members in Congress:

1) eleven days before Election Day
2) that implies that Hillary Clinton may have committed a criminal act
3) that doesn’t provide any details
4) that makes no commitment to shed any further light on the issue before the voting is over

For Democrats, they wonder why Comey would impugn Clinton’s character while voting is already going on when he can’t even say with certainty that the information is pertinent to the investigation of Clinton’s emails or whether it involves any classified information.

For Republicans, they wonder why the FBI cannot commit to giving the American people more clarity before the election is over. If the information is indeed damning then isn’t it a little late to find that out after Clinton has already become president-elect?

We all need to take a cold shower and help break our fever. Why do the scandals keep proliferating? Because the media loves them. They attract lots of eyeballs for very little work.  Partisans love them because they can take their opponent completely out of the political game.

The Senate becomes even more important now, regardless of the outcome of this investigation of the Abudin/Weiner emails.

If Congress is under divided control, there will not be a purely partisan impeachment action, and at least the Senate will not be running nonstop bullshit investigations in its various Committees. OTOH, If Clinton wins and the GOP retains control of the Senate, we will have an immediate, full-blown constitutional crisis on our hands, and bullshit investigations may be the least of our worries. This cartoon says it all about James Comey and her damned emails:

cow-comey-kiss

In cases like this, it would require the wisdom of Solomon to determine the precise ratio of malevolence-to-incompetence involved in Comey’s action.

Amon Bundy and friends were acquitted of conspiracy for their white guy, “guns and god” takeover of the Malheur wildlife refuge. The question that must now be addressed is: What does “peaceful protest” mean in America?

cow-bundy-2

Our eyes are blind to what must be seen:

cow-bundy-3The Pant Load hates what’s on TV:

cow-baldwin

In October, the witch isn’t always Hillary, and the pumpkin head isn’t always Trump:

cow-halloween-hillary

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The Pant Suit’s Scary Foreign Policy

There may be reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton, but there are no reasons at all to vote for Donald Trump — except for pure nihilism. For the Trumpets, there is little coherence about why he is their choice. Two threads emerge: First, that Trump will shake things up, that DC is its own bubble that must be burst. The current two party system is fraudulent and corrupt. Second, that rage against Hillary is sufficient reason to vote for the Donald. Neither idea, nor are both ideas, sufficient reason to elect the Pant Load.

So, Hillary has to be the choice for this election. She has a track record, and the only things you have to go by with respect to Trump are his mostly appalling business practices, and his appalling character, neither of which should inspire voter confidence.

However, Clinton’s track record and policies are not without concern. In particular, her foreign policy positions are frightening. It is clear that Clinton proposes to pursue a more militaristic version of the policies that have brought us where we are in the world. She would:

  • Enforce a “no-fly” zone inside Syria, with or without Syrian and Russian agreement
  • Issue an even larger blank check to Israel
  • Treat Russia as a military problem rather than a factor in the European balance to be managed
  • Try to tie China down in East Asia

We have little idea about what would she would do differently in Afghanistan or Iraq. What would she do differently about North Korea, Iran, or Turkey? We don’t know, but this should be frightening:

In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama’s departure from the White House — and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton — is being met with quiet relief. The Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the groundwork for a more assertive American foreign policy…

And there is more: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

The studies, which reflect Clinton’s stated views, break most forcefully with Obama on Syria. Virtually all these efforts…call for stepped-up military action to deter President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Russian forces in Syria.

The proposed military measures include…safe zones to protect moderate rebels from Syrian and Russian forces. Most of the studies propose limited American airstrikes with cruise missiles to punish Assad if he continues to attack civilians with barrel bombs…

Obama has staunchly resisted any military action against the Assad regime.

Apparently, the Iraq war was such a success that these policy experts want to repeat it in Syria. But, we are not as popular as we used to be, what with our drones droning all over the Middle East.

It is important to remember that when the Arab Spring erupted in 2010, the total Arab ME population was 348 million (World Bank data); today, it is 400 million. In the past six years, 52 million new Arab citizens were born in the ME, few of whom know a world without war, many who have limited education, schooling and economic prospects.

Should our next president be making new enemies in the ME?

We have a yuuge problem if our so-called foreign policy “elites” think the most “dovish” policy available is Obama’s current foreign policy. If this is the best that our serious policy thinkers can come up with, maybe we should just burn down the Kennedy School and Georgetown.

Wrongo thinks that 2016 is reminiscent of 1964, when LBJ ran against Goldwater. We had an anti-communist foreign policy elite looking for a fight with the USSR, and Goldwater was their man. America chose LBJ, because it was impossible to conceive of Goldwater having his finger on the nuclear button. LBJ was solid on domestic policy, but he listened to the elites, and launched us into Vietnam for no good reason, and with little public enthusiasm.

Today our anti-Russian foreign policy elites have Hillary’s ear, and there is a potential that she will mirror LBJ, getting us into another calamitous foreign policy adventure.

Wrongo will vote for her despite these concerns, as there is no alternative.

Bush’s policy should not be the starting point, with Obama’s foreign policy being the end point in terms of Hillary Clinton’s possible foreign policy options. If Bush’s policy was a complete failure, why on earth would she rely on a variant of it as the basis for our foreign policy?

Sadly, we are having this discussion less than two weeks before the election.

We have to hope that Hillary Clinton can be a good listener to options other than what the Neo-Cons are proposing.

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