Donald Trump Does Not Believe the Market is Sentient, Twitter.

Donald Trump trolled the stock market on Twitter, and people are saying it’s proof that he doesn’t know how the stock market works. “Donald Trump thinks the Stock Market is sentient!” roared Twitter. Har har har!

Basically, Trump said it used to be that when economic news was good, the market went up.  Economic news is good, but the market went down.  Sad.  That’s a paraphrase, but you get the idea.

Meanwhile, a million other more important things hang in the balance.  So you go ahead and hit that low-hanging non-fruit, Twitter.  I get that we all need something to write about, and it’s hard to resist what must seem like an easy swipe, but does anyone really think Trump doesn’t know the fundamentals of the market?  Does anyone actually think these clap backs are clever?



For a few thousand bucks, Detroit police will give a business higher 911 priority / Boing Boing

The end of (Drag)net neutrality?

For a few thousand bucks, Detroit police will give a business higher 911 priority / Boing Boing

New Australian Flag Proposed

Most Americans’ knowledge of Australian politics and cultural norms start and end with Paul Hogan.  I’m basically no different.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Commonwealth of Nations, that group of countries that, though no longer formally part of the British empire as such, nonetheless continue to recognize the British monarch as their head of state.   Some nations feature the monarch on their money and/or other national emblems and flags.

Australia’s flag carries the Union Jack in its upper left field and has through almost every iteration.  For many, this is wholly appropriate reflection of Australian political history. For others, it’s an outdated pean to a colonialism: imperial design never reflects the stories of occupied peoples, nor does it project Australia as a modern, independent nation.  Empire loves to build dependency, so these are two-sides, really, of the same coin.

A group called Ausflag today unveiled a possible remedy (featured image).  It drops the Union Jack and preserves and enlarges the other classic elements.  As for timing, today is Australia Day, which celebrates the landing of the British in 1788.  It’s also worth noting that there are movements afoot to transform Australia from parliamentary constitutional monarchy to republic.


On the Failures of Liberal Democracy?

I first posted this on the sister blog, Food Truck Pastoral. I thought it was worth posting here because books are rad, and so is democracy. 

Has liberalism (not the modern American ideology identified with FDR, but the classical ideology all modern democracies are founded on)  failed? In a new book from Yale University Press, Patrick Deneen says yes, (and how).

“Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century—fascism, communism, and liberalism—only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. As Patrick Deneen argues in this provocative book, liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: it trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history. Here, Deneen offers an astringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.”

Source: Why Liberalism Failed | Yale University Press

I’ve been writing about the “end of history” recently in relation to contemporary Christian theology.  It’s important to note, as this blurb about Deneen’s book does, that so often, we really do “tend to forget that [Western liberal democracy] is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution.”

We forget it because we’re meant to.  We forget it because for most of the founders, liberalism wasthe natural end-state of human political evolution.  It was observable and empirically true, Jefferson said, written by the laws of nature and nature’s God.  The founders knew that the US Constitution was not the end-point, but most believed that political evolution in this vein would continue until all people everywhere were free.

That western liberalism is built on inherent contradictions isn’t breaking news.  It’s a scion of the Enlightenment, after all.  But Deneen’s juxtapositions seem particularly timely.

I’m afraid that he’s wrong about fascism being dead, and neither am I certain that non-fascist communism was ever on the table in any 20th-century regime.  With those caveats, this looks like a good read.


Maybe I’m Wrong About Russia, But…

…it seems to me that if elite Democrats and the corporate media would pursue Wall Street reform, affordable housing, student debt, the wealth gap, or restoring coverage to working people (many of them self-employed –trust me, I know something about this–) who lost health care coverage as a direct result of the ACA, or even some or even any of this with the same vigor with which they breathlessly push the kind of, maybe, no proof yet Russia allegations, maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t find themselves even less popular now than Donald Trump and Mike Pence (who, as you know, lost the popular vote).

Could it be that the Democratic elite have learned nothing from November?  Have learned nothing from the Sanders insurgency?  They learned nothing from Occupy Wall Street, so, really, we shouldn’t be surprised.

But what do I know?  I’m just a self-employed person watching thousands of self-employed people lose coverage.   Trumpcare or Ryancare or whatever you want to call it isn’t the answer. But the worst parts of Obamacare need to be addressed not just by Republicans, bit also by leading Democrats, and not just by Bill Clinton.  Admit the mistakes. Admit that the mandate is unpopular.  Admit that the people who lost coverage matter as much as the people who gained it.  Every last one of them matter every bit as as much.

Outspoken progressives refusing to swallow the Democratic party line, people like HA Goodman, Mike Tracy, and Tim Black, have been saying these things for a long time.  In return, they’re treated like outcasts by the Official Left.  They’re trolled as being crypto-fascists, Bernie Bros,  or whatever else.  Could it be, though, that the Democratic elite are focusing on Russia, or on Kellyanne Conway’s frivolities, or lashing out at progressives because it keeps them from having to push real policy agendas that people actually want?  That is to say, it keeps them from having to take on the interests that fund their (and Republican) campaigns and careers?

Like him or not, Donald Trump was elected because he represented a break from the status quo and from the status quo interests that control official Washington.  Democrats  (and Republicans) would do well to remember that.

Democrats Need to Try Harder

Yes, Republicans need to do some serious soul searching. But so do Democrats. I’m so tired of the Democratic trope about working class white people being bamboozled into voting against their economic self interest. I’m not asking for a civics or history lesson with this post. Trust me, I get it. I’ve studied these things at high levels for many years. So have many of you. What I am asking for, though, is a bold plan from Democrats to convince those white working class voters that Democrats have something better to offer than Republicans. Many rank-and-file working-class white people, especially in rural areas, don’t trust you, Democrats. Many of them trust plutocratic billionaires more. Why? Well, your nominee is a plutocratic millionaire, so there’s that. But they also just don’t believe that you’ll do anything for them economically, because they believe you haven’t so far. Some of you (and I stress “some”) are so busy deriding these people, referring to their communities as flyover country, and mocking them for not getting that you, and only you, care about helping them, that you never stop to consider that your party’s pathetic lack of traction with them might partially be on you. Then, when Republicans come along and say that you don’t care about them, that you’re out of touch with them and their values, you blame the Republicans for pandering. If you’re so great for working class white people, it should be easy to prove it. You should be winning this election easily. But people don’t trust you and they don’t trust Clinton. They also don’t trust the systems that you and your kissing Republican cousins have built for the last half-century. Those of them that support Trump get to swipe at you and at the establishment Republicans in one move. All of that said, I remain neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and cannot wait to vote for Jill Stein.