The Debate And The Election

The way I look at the election and in particular this debate is, “how the fuck is Trump even or ahead in the polls, and how does the voting public see things?” Not, “how do I see things?” How in the world does the voting public see their lives under Dems and Biden as worse than Trump?

So you look at the information environment that regular people are in. And you try to see what they see.

I know what the public saw in the first 15 minutes of the debate – which is all that matters. Impressions are set and no one cares after that.

I am of the belief that you have to vote for Biden anyway because of the existential threat of Trump or at this point any Republican. (I wavered because of Gaza but am still there.) And I was shaken by what I saw, wondering even if Biden can even stay alive until November, never mind another 4 years. And the brain was not functioning. I see no future in a Biden vote. No hope for more of what we saw that last four years, only a Harris ascension quite soon. But I still will vote Biden – only because of Trump.

Will the debate change things? The right-wing-dominated information environment regular people live in already had Biden as old and demented, so all that happened is that was confirmed. For people outside of that information environment, Trump is clearly understood as extremely dangerous, and that was confirmed if you could stomach even watching him which I could not and did not except for a bit.

Anyway what matters now is are the polls going to change? I think maybe not. I think enough people already had it in their mind that Biden is too old but Trump is too dangerous.

If we can change the information environment America could come back. At this point that means overcoming Murdoch, Sinclair, private equity, billionaires etc. Musk and his cohorts did not buy Twitter to make a profit.

Elections Everywhere

Two tweets:

Crushing Student Protest Just Like Crushing BLM

Note the sequence. Just like crushing BLM.

Strategic, coordinated “antisemitism” attacks on opponents of Israel’s Gaza massacre. Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Fox, etc all the usual suspects. The usual “mainstream” media amplification followed by Dem cowering and even piling on.

Strategic, coordinated right-wing nonsense “antisemitism” attack on university presidents. The usual media amplification and Dem cowering and even piling on. Some forced resignations. University leadership lesson learned.

Now a strategic coordinated right-wing attack on student protests. University leadership responding by calling in fascist enforcement squads (“police”).

It’s just so obvious and it’s what those of us here have been talking about for two or three DECADES now. We watched the SAME THING play out over “BLM.” It worked, it has become part of the standard playbook now.

The Coming US Election Will Not Be On A Battlefield We Understand

I have no idea what will happen in the 2024 US elections. I fear the coming election will not be fought and decided on a battleground we understand or control anymore. On January 6, 2020, the US came closer to a takeover than people understand. If Pence had done Trump’s bidding the election would have been decided by the House. But at the last second Pence went the other way.

In 2024 the world’s oligarchs (and OILigarchs) are backing the worldwide anti-democracy movement. Since 2020 they have strategically bought up and control much of the world’s information ecosystem. They can make a lot of people believe anything. (It works for China, Russia, Fox, etc.) It’s why Trump is doing so well in the polls right now.

The 2024 voters will be propagandized, hampered, suppressed, obstructed, distracted, misdirected and subjected to everything that billions of dollars can deliver. The lies and smears will be disgusting. The vote-counting will be contested at every turn. The certification will be fought to the death. 2020 was nothing now that they’ve had time to analyze where they went wrong in 2020 and how they can improve on the effort.

And In The End

And the final 2024 decision? The 2000 Brooks Brothers Riot was the model for the Jan 6, 2020 MAGA riot, which could be a model for a much larger-scale 2024 effort to take control if all else fails them. I have no doubt they’ll try it. I do not have any idea how it will turn out.

Easier Than Governing

Modern society is complex, vast, complicated. Governing modern society is hard. Getting it right requires a lot of hard work doing the managing, measuring, forecasting, planning, consulting, regulating, making & enforcing rules and all that boring hippie crap. Getting the details right is difficult. All of it means attending endless meetings. The skills needed take decades to master. And it all requires dedication and commitment.

Instead Of Doing The Actual Work

US Republicans and UK Tories have found a way around doing the actual, difficult work: Just don’t do it! Problem solved!

“Conservatives” espouse “The magic of the market.” Instead of governing, why not simply “unleash” the “market” to do everything.

Kill off the rules and regulations. Fire the enforcers. Skip the planning. Cancel the meetings. Demonize the “experts.” Turn it all over to “the magic of the market.”

Above all else, nurture the “market.” Allow any entity calling itself a “corporation” to engage in any scheme that can be imagined.

So Many Good Things

Protect people from disease? The market will do that.
Protect people from fraud? The market will do that.
Make sure the food is safe? The market will do that.
Maintain and improve the standard of living? The market will do that.
Provide shelter? The market will do that.

The Invisible Hand Will Do The Work

After you have dismantled the entire governing process (“the Deep State”) you can just sit back and party while everything is taken care of by an invisible hand engaging in creative destruction. The Lord will work in mysterious ways. Disruption is the key.

It’s magic!

Cash Bonus

This approach comes with a huge bonus. “The Market” rewards those who “unleash” it.

And Here We Are

And here we are. Infrastructure falling apart. Health care systems in shambles. Education systems not educating. Etc. Etc. Etc. Everywhere you look everything in society is falling apart.

Don’t forget the big one: The planet’s climate is disintegrating and could very well wipe out society itself.

The Magic of the Market at work!

Any Corruption Quickly Becomes All Corruption

I see an inevitable course of corruption.

When a society allows corruption in its management, it necessarily drives out the non-corrupt because the corrupt have an advantage. Over time only corruption remains. The US is there. There is no “government” managing things and rule of law is fading fast. Society is not managed except as allowed by interests. Literally nothing is done for the benefit of the public unless powerful interests will benefit. The US is now a collection of competing interests with the public irrelevant, public interests ignored.

The UK is getting there fast. The corrupt government won’t have an election even as the people overwhelmingly want them out.

But Wait, There’s More

Interests compete for power over society’s resources. Ultimately the largest and most corrupt use the power of size – or violence – to drive the others out. Ultimately you end up with a central corrupt power that controls all for its own benefit. Putin is that. Kim Jun Un is that. Trump wants to be.

That is, if society tolerates corruption.

What Happened To Us?

Beginning in the 1970s a well-funded PR campaign convinced people to accept policies handing society’s seed corn and governance to the wealthy. It was called “neoliberalism.” People were told government is bad. They were told business & the wealthy were better at managing society. This campaign has been ongoing since.

Reagan & Thatcher were swept into power. The implemented “shock doctrine” tactics to transform their economies away from benefitting the public toward benefitting the wealthiest. Public assets were privatized – turned over to the wealthy. Investment in infrastructure, education, research & social betterment (society’s seed corn) was cut, and continued to be cut. Government protections of the public and the environment (“regulations”) were removed.

Taxes on the wealthy and their corporations were also dramatically cut, eventually resulting in massive inequality and division.

The political influence of massive wealth dramatically increased. Now governments are only able to operate if wealthy interests allow it.

And here we are.

UK “Conservatives” Killing the NHS for Private Profit

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Living With The NHS.

I live in the UK now. The “conservative” UK government is engaged in a pay-for-play operation to destroy then privatize the National Health Service (NHS) so big companies can make the kind of profits they make in the United States. (Expert tip for beginners: “Pay-for-play” is the definition of “conservative” policies, Every. Single. Time.)

The government is currently run by the Conservative Party, called “Tories”. They have been playing the standard “conservative” game for almost 15 years: cut taxes for the rich & their corporations, then complain about “deficits” and cut the things government does to make people’s lives better. Eventually things collapse, and public assets can be privatized so the wealthy get the return instead of the pubic. Here the cutting game is called “austerity” – cutting the budget of everything, every year. Things are so bad now in the UK that every single thing is breaking down.

The NHS in particular is in crisis. There are HUGE waiting lists for everything, even in emergency rooms. Facilities are not maintained – not even painted. There are 8,858 vacancies for doctors. The doctors and other workers in the system are not paid much, many are giving up and leaving. The conservatives running the government are doing what they can to keep the NHS from hiring new healthcare workers, including banning health care worker immigrants from bringing their families to the UK.

They previously had promised to address the shortage by increasing the number of places at medical schools from 7,500 to 15,000 and to target more new doctors to areas that need them the most.

And Then This

That was then. In today’s news, Government U-turn on plans to double number of medical students in England,

But a leaked letter written jointly by health minister Andrew Stephenson and the minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, Robert Halfon, to the independent regulator the Office for Students, says they will fund only 350 additional places for trainee doctors in 2025-26. This is less than a quarter of the annual number widely anticipated and there is no guarantee that even that level of resource will be repeated.

350 places, not 7,500. No guarantee on even the 350. So with this crisis at the NHS and this huge shortage of doctors the conservatives are cutting back the number of doctors to be trained.

And there it is.

Living With The NHS

This was a stream of consciousness rant I sent to someone…

Last year I moved to England. The “Tories” (Conservative party) have been cutting the NHS’ budget for more than a decade as part of a strategy to privatize the UK healthcare system. The NHS is now almost completely collapsing. (They’ve been cutting the budgets of everything as part of a strategy to privatize everything. Now everything is collapsing.)

I have stories to tell about how terrible the collapse of the NHS is. You can’t get appointments to see a doctor for weeks and weeks now, and waiting times at the A&E (emergency room) can be up to 20 hours. Or more. The NHS is collapsed. Yesterday I fantasized about flying back to California and rejoining Medicare and Kaiser just so I can get my knees and hips looked at.

It’s not all bad. The NHS is, actually, wonderful except for being defunded. A couple of months ago I had a “strangulated hernia” which can be a life-or-death situation. I knew something was bad and I was fortunate to be able to see a GP the day I called because of a cancellation. Otherwise it would have been hours in the A&E. So the GP sent me to the big hospital, bypassing the A&E straight to surgical evaluation. But that took many hours, they admitted me to the hospital but there were no beds so I spent the night in a chair. They couldn’t get me into surgery for 3 more days but I was able to be home. The surgery was excellent. I’m completely recovered now. Everyone I talked to was caring and nice.

So if you do get a Medicare-for-All system in the US you must find a way to ensure that “conservatives” never, ever get back in government because their mission is to privatize everything and then get paid off by the corporations after they leave “public service.” “Smaller government” etc. Conservatism is not an ideology, it is just corruption. It is pay-for-play to destroy government for gain.

Not Just NHS Collapsing

Along those lines local (city) councils are collapsing, going or near bankrupt, across the UK. Their funding has been cut about 40% now. The privatized rail system is not doing well – owners siphoning the value out. The water systems are dumping raw sewage into rivers. I can go on about these things.

The “Tories” implemented austerity when they got in 14 years ago. You know the formula – cut taxes for the rich & their corporations, cut funding for everything. They are trying to force privatization of the NHS and force local governments to sell and privatize everything. They are succeeding.

Thatcher succeeded in shock-doctrine privatization of so much and now the rail systems are owned by foreign conglomerates. They charge through the roof, invest little, don’t pay their employees enough, resulting in constant strikes, etc. The Tories just killed of a big part of the in-progress high-speed rail line and immediately started selling off the land that had been purchased in order to prevent it from ever being built.

The water systems were privatized and stopped infrastructure maintenance. They borrowed, and all income and capital is distributed upwards. Now the systems have broken down and raw sewage is dumped into rivers.

Everything privatized is or already has been looted and is broken down. EVERYTHING that has been defunded is in collapse.

In the UK the governing party can call elections or wait out the 5 years limit. A system of perverse incentives. The Tories are waiting it out, and saying they are going to do tax cuts combined with bashing immigrants as an election strategy. Also I’m seeing huge amounts of money being poured into less visible information outlets as election time approaches. Right now Labour appears to be way ahead but just like Centrist Democrats they seem determined to blow it. They have fallen for the idea that the public is far more conservative than they really are.

Humans And Atrocities

People are people everywhere.

The US has its dark past. Slavery. Genocide of Native Americans. CIA coups overthrowing democracies. Invasions. Etc.

But there’s nothing special about the US and its various apartheids, genocides and atrocities. Right now it’s Israel, moving from apartheid to genocide. We all know the history of European colonialism, Germany’s genocide, the Balkans… There’s China and Tibet ad the Uyghurs. Look at Rwanda … it’s everywhere.

Human civilization is barely able to contain the underlying hatreds and violence. Certain types of people take advantage of this by inciting, stoking the hatreds to get what they want because they don’t care about the consequences to others. The current formula in the Western world is to use immigrants as the “other” to demonize. “Invasion” is the word the right is using to “other” immigrants now in the US, UK and EU. Hatred was mostly directed against Muslims for a while but now it is pretty much any immigrants. (If you think desperate, terrified people fleeing violence, extreme inequality and the climate crisis are the enemy you’d better realize that’s quite possibly you in a few years.)

Civilization doesn’t continue without leadership willing to fight that. And you can’t get and keep that kind of leadership if your system is open to corruption. This is because if corruption is enabled then the bad actors drive out the good ones who can’t compete because they won’t be corrupt. (That’s why progressives don’t win here.)

I’m not optimistic about the future.