This awful Syria escalation

It’s reckless and irresponsible for the United States to launch missiles at a Russian air base in Syria, as we did today on President Trump’s orders. That’s really an understatement, too. And it’s ridiculous that former Secretary of State Clinton endorsed this plan publicly earlier today.

There are three realities, beyond the risks of attacking Russia, that have to be acknowledged regardless of the use of chemical weapons:
1) The US does not have the capacity to lead a successful regime change in Syria and it’s wildly foolish to “Just Do Something” with zero plan and zero capacity to execute it beyond the opening shot.

2) Chemical weapons are repugnant, but it is not a “proportional response” to risk a war on this scale, particularly considering that far more people have been killed already (and will be killed by escalation) by conventional arms, which are also horrible. Dead is dead, as Stephen Walt said.

3) This war would have been over years ago (with far fewer deaths or calamities and without the use of chemical weapons) if the United States (and allies) had not supplied dangerous and deadly major conventional weapons systems and light arms to extremist insurgents, many if not most of whom are not Syrian, thereby keeping the war going but with no one able to prevail definitively.

Getting involved further in the Syrian war than we already are, instead of pulling back and cutting off aid to the insurgents, can only increase the catastrophe.

Wall Street for Trump

Wall Street is so publicly overjoyed, on the record and in the numbers, with the Trump reign of terror so far — and still Democrats are going out of their way to make excuses and defenses of Wall Street and to object to any criticism or push for very deep regulation (let alone dismantling). If they’re not paying you to do it, ask yourself why you want to shield them.

It’s a sector that has long since outgrown its investment money-raising purposes relative to the real economy and has disappeared down a rabbit hole of hypercapitalism divorced from any real function or good practice. That’s not even a socialist perspective or anything. That’s just backed up by decades of data and research. It has become a massive useless casino that distorts our economic and political governance.

It should be shoved back into a little box until it is so small that it can only do what it’s supposed to do: raise private money for real investments in the material economy. Not whatever this monopoly money bullshit is wherein the politicians are purchased, the pensions are purloined, the small-dollar investors are taken advantage of, and the massively wealthy shareholder supermajority in the country diverts loans into profits, instead of into projects.

Zeal

There is a vast gulf between those who think politics is a sporting joust where fair play is an individual (not state) responsibility and those who think winning an election will stop the imagined home invasion of millions, a baby genocide, and the programmatic conversion of the economy to a road to serfdom. The biggest difference is that the latter are not perennial losers. The ferocity of their agenda powers them to repeated electoral wins on the narrowest of coalitions, while the opposing majority opts out of participation in the absence of any motivating zeal. The zealotry of the conservative agenda kills people, but quietly so does the mercilessly grinding and bloodless status quo. Our task now is to mount an opposing social and democratic agenda that would move us forward and to sell it to the populace with an urgent conviction befitting a platform of rescuing millions from the horrors of unchecked and unmitigated market tyranny over their humanity. Our task is not to collaborate with our own undoing nor to offer a helpful hand in the unparalleled rollback of our modern society. Our task is to obstruct, however we can, every step of their inhumane agenda while offering our own worthy program of social improvement that we can rightly be proud to campaign upon with a galvanizing and mobilizing zeal.

Beware the pragmatists who promise power without politics

We are in the political fight of our lives to stop what little we have left from being swept away, and yet we’re still being tone-policed by the centrists who lost us everything on how to win in a political climate they do not recognize, do not understand, and are utterly unprepared to deal with. Every concession to an arbitrary middle instead of towards justice is another constituency that we leave behind, weakening our solidarity, weakening our electoral coalition, and weakening our ability to take and retain power.

Those afraid to Engage in Politics will preside over very little of it.


Further reading from Arsenal For Democracy…
A world without politics (would be bad)

The politics of compromise

No politics without choices

Early thoughts

Horrific outcome tonight. Mass collective action is probably the only path ahead for the next year or two at least. Early thoughts: The number one contingent most responsible for Donald Trump winning is people (not necessarily whom the media expected) who voted for Donald Trump. Don’t blame others first. (This wasn’t third parties and wasn’t about young people.) Second most responsible: All who systematically disenfranchised and suppressed voters over decades or didn’t do much to stop it.

I’ll leave for another time the rest of my reaction but the third most responsible group are the people whose strategy failed tonight as it has failed so many downballot races over the past 22 years. I don’t know what the future direction of the Democratic Party is – but it can’t be more of this. The environment, the economy, and our democracy (including human rights and civil liberties) seem to have gone off a cliff tonight, and I guess we’ll have to assess what the hell happens next to resist that.

Displaced anger

Pretty weird how many non-Millennials who support Clinton have decided to attack Millennials for their presidential voting preferences when Millennials are literally the only age demographic with more than 50% support for Clinton across most polling. Maybe first go figure out why 35-48% of your own generations are voting for the candidate of the white supremacists and *then* come back and talk to us about this / apologize. (If you’re 50 years or older, more of your peers outright plan to vote for Trump than for Clinton, by varying margins by generation.) This attitude is not a productive way to garner Millennial votes … or even get young voters to show up for any of our candidates this November.

Anyway, folks, Arsenal for Democracy is back in production — because the entire rest of political media is hostile to our generation.

Conditional cash

Last night I attended the Newton MA School Committee final hearing and vote on Massachusetts ballot question 2. The committee voted to endorse “No on 2” (my position as well). Question 2 would vastly expand (without additional revenues) charter schools in Massachusetts.

Pretty interesting that the New York & California money only rolls in to promote charter schools in Massachusetts – supposedly because public schools are failing to educate kids in low-income districts – and never to replace the huge annual funding cuts in the budgets of those districts when revenues run low. It’s almost as if the big donors actually have an agenda more concerned with diverting public dollars to private operators and breaking up unions than with any substantive assistance to struggling districts.

5000-dollar-bill-madison-slider