"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Yemen, farm bill, Planned Parenthood

Bad news about Yemen, but surprisingly good news about the Farm bill and Planned Parenthood. Senate Democrats kept Republicans from cutting SNAP from the Farm bill and prevented them from attaching work requirements. The Supreme Court (really Roberts and Kavanaugh) decided to let a lower court ruling stand that would allow Planned Parenthood to receive Medicaid funds.

"Lawmakers in Louisiana and Kansas had sought to defund the group. Planned Parenthood then brought suit to overturn state laws in an effort to preserve its Medicaid services."

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

multiverse a third time

Another post about the multiverse. I found a new podcast (for me) by Chalie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz - both writers whose writing I've enjoyed before - called Our Opinions are Correct.

non-evangelical white working class

The foundation of Trump's coalition is cracking 

by Ronald Brownstein, CNN

(CNN) -- Cracks have emerged in Donald Trump's hold on his core constituency of white working class voters, new data from the 2018 election reveal. 
Though Republican candidates almost everywhere registered large margins among white voters without a college degree, Democrats ran much more competitively among the roughly half of that group who are not evangelical Christians, according to previously unpublished results from the 2018 exit poll conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, a consortium of media organizations including CNN. 
Democrats, the analysis found, ran particularly well this year among white working-class women who are not evangelicals, a group that also displayed substantial disenchantment in the exit poll with Trump's performance. Those women could be a key constituency for Democrats in 2020 in pivotal Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where relatively fewer blue-collar whites are also evangelical Christians. 
Nationwide, nearly three-fifths of blue-collar white women who are not evangelicals voted Democratic in last month's House races, while an equal number said they disapproved of Trump's performance in office, the analysis of exit poll results found. That was well over double the Democratic share of the vote among non-college white women who are evangelical Christians. And while Republicans last month still carried a majority among working-class white men who are not evangelicals, Democrats attracted about twice as much support from them as they did among the equivalent men who are evangelicals. 
"It's another overlay to the conclusion that there are some parts of the white non-college population that are open to Democrats and can be moved a few points in your direction," says Ruy Teixeira, a long-time Democratic analyst of voting trends who now serves as a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress. 
Though these distinctions sound like fodder for a cocktail hour argument at a political science faculty lounge, they actually inform a backstage debate simmering among Democratic strategists about 2020. This debate has clear implications for the message the party develops over the next two years and the kind of nominee it chooses against Trump in the next presidential election. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sunday, December 09, 2018

multiverse again

In October I had a post about the Multiverse and it's growing use in popular culture.

Counterpart is beginning its second season on Starz tonight and it's another show in which there is more than one universe. On Counterpart, there are two parallel universes which are in a state of Cold War and have diplomatic relations. The second Earth is different in various ways, but similar in many.

Now that the midterm elections are over and the Law is closing in on our President - Federal prosecutors allege that he committed a number of felonies - people of a more liberal or progressive temperament may feel that the universe is righting itself again.

Macron raised taxes on fuel and sparked the yellow vest movement which rioted and burned cars. Macron backed down.

Leftist AMLO is now President of Mexico. 

Still, scientists and most on the Left are very worried about impending climate disaster. Only a Green New Deal can save us. So politics has become very serious and very depressing.

One good way in which we seemed to have slipped into a different universe is the way socialists are mainstreaming. After I graduated college in the early nineties, I identified as and became a socialist or leftist as I believe the Democrats and Bill Clinton were too rightwing. I wanted America to be more like Europe and the Scandinavian countries. I agreed with prominent leftists of the time like Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Christopher Hitchens, Alexander Cockburn, Noam Chomsky, etc. (many of whom are still around.)

So it's weird to see democratic socialists being elected to Congress and to state legislatures and funny to watch the corporate media report on it. With Trump's victory, it's apparent things aren't working. Then there's Brexit, etc. Here's NBC reporting from the above link:
"We're working under the ideology of what’s best for the working class. What’s the most human. We organize for social democratic reform," she continued. "We're organizing for reform — we want to transform the status quo, because what we know of the status quo isn't working." 
Members, who self-identify as everything from communists to liberals to Marxists to socialists, vote on a platform during the organization's biennial national convention. At the most recent convention in Houston in 2016, members pushed for a focus on Medicare For All and strengthening unions — and also emphasized gaining more elected representation.
The DSA saw membership surge after Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., beat longtime incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary in June, Cohn said. It was 44,000 members strong prior to her victory, and 4,000 more people joined within a week of her win. Now, the organization has 55,000 members, Cohn said.
Back to the Multiverse. The CW's DC world uses it a lot. Flash, Supergirl, Green Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow. (Guilty pleasures.) Tonight three of them have a crossover event in which they travel to another different universe.

It would be nice to see more alternate universes where things are a little better. I guess that's what many TV shows actually present in order to entertain and distract. They hide the really bad stuff. The unsaid painful truths.

Still, seems like many shows are set in worse universes. The Handmaid's Tail. In SyFy's Nightflyers, Earth's civilization is headed for collapse and our only hope is a Hail Mary-pass space mission to try to catch the attention of a passing alien ship which has so far ignored all communications.

The National Geographic channel has a dramatization of the colonization and exploration of Mars. It's pretty realistic as there are competing corporate-commercial and scientific interests.

Ready Player One was on cable and set its story in a dystopian future where people spend most of their time in a virtual reality. The plot involves a corporation's attempt to gain control of it.

As Theresa May's government falls apart in the UK over Brexit, there's a good chance a real socialist - Jeremy Corbyn - may come to power in an advanced nation for the first time in the Neoliberal Age. And it looks like Bernie may run again in 2020.

If either or both win, it would be very weird, like we were in a different universe. Of course many of us glum leftists expect Capital won't sit back gracefully - like we saw with Syriza in Greece. Still it would be a glorious victory a Corbyn win could embolden America's Left even more.

I wonder if the growing interest in the multiverse and alternate realities is - along with the need for more storylines for TV - a result with the growing acknowledgement that luck has a lot to do with where people end up in life. Our elite and conservatives, as Chris Dillow points out, seem blissfully unaware of this fact.

Better or worse luck may change things enormously for someone.

Hope Punk on NPR

While Trump's use of the ancient forces of fear and greed to win the Republican primary and beat Hillary was scary and blew a lot of minds, the reaction in the midterms was good to see as well. People got politically active and supposedly it was the largest turnout since World War I. Also the way the way the alt right has been deplatformed and pushed back by antifa, etc has been good to see. Although we should work to prevent the condition conducive to the rise of the populist right from occurring in the first place.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

recession calls

Bruce Bartlett
Third, it is beginning to look almost certain that there will be a recession before 2020. 

Monday, November 19, 2018