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DirkGently's Journal
DirkGently's Journal
November 26, 2016

Saw that. Alternet also has a piece up re: gov't connections.

Washington Post Promotes Shadowy Website That Accuses 200 Publications of Being Russian Propaganda Plants
The anonymous PropOrNot is calling for investigations of websites including Wikileaks and major progressive publications.

Despite the Washington Post’s charitable description of PropOrNot as a group of independent-minded researchers dedicated to protecting the integrity of American democracy, the shadowy group bears many of the qualities of the red enemies it claims to be battling. In addition to its blacklist of Russian dupes, it lists a collection of outlets funded by the U.S. State Department, NATO and assorted tech and weapons companies as “allies.” PropOrNot’s methodology is so shabby it is able to peg widely read outlets like Naked Capitalism, a leading left-wing financial news blog, as Russian propaganda operations.


Although PropOrNot’s hidden authors claim, “we do not reach our conclusions lightly,” the group’s methodology leaves more than enough room to smear an outlet on political grounds. Among the criteria PropOrNot identifies as clear signs of Russian propaganda are, “Support for policies like Brexit, and the breakup of the EU and Eurozone” and, “Opposition to Ukrainian resistance to Russia and Syrian resistance to Assad.”

By these standards, any outlet that raises the alarm about the considerable presence of extreme right-wing elements among the post-Maidan Ukrainian government or that questions the Western- and Saudi-funded campaign for regime change in Syria can be designated a Russia dupe or a paid agent of the FSB. Indeed, while admitting that they have no idea whether any of the outlets they blacklisted are being paid by Russian intelligence or are even aware they are spreading Russian propaganda, PropOrNot’s authors concluded that any outlets that have met their highly politicized criteria “have effectively become tools of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further investigation.”

November 26, 2016

Yes. Cultural and economic progress aren't mutually exclusive.

I don't know why people are floating the idea that we can't pursue both, or that pursuing economic reform is counter to cultural reform.

Unless it's that there is a discrete effort to split liberals on behalf of business interests by arguing that financial reform or efforts that might benefit EVERYONE is counter to fighting for equality or against bigotry.

Which is a distinct possibility.

November 22, 2016

And if Mexico won't pay for that trillion-dollar magic anti-Mexican wall ...

... there's not going to be much left for anything else.

To the extent Trump makes any decisions himself (he doesn't have any apparent knowledge of or interest in world affairs or economics) I think he's just going to stick his fist in the till and steal.

There was an uncorroborated report his first conversation with one world leader was to demand permitting issues for a foreign Trump hotel be cleared up immediately. He has announced no plans to divest himself of foreign properties or investments.

I think it's going to be one scheme after another to line his own pockets and enrich his family. It's all about him, and money is the way he keeps score.

November 18, 2016

There is some merit to this. But will anyone pursue it?

No one caused Clinton to fall 7-12 million votes short of what Obama achieved, but voter suppression is real, and this is the first election under the stripped-down Voting Rights Act.

And interestingly, Trump persuaded Clinton and much of the press to box themselves in with his "fixed election" rant, causing them to loudly proclaim that the voting system was fair and reliable, and that the peaceful transition of power was the most important thing.

Now she has conceded.

I remember Trump accusing Clinton of being "on drugs" at a debate, at precisely the time he was sniffling and head-jerking and throat-clearing like ... someone on drugs.

Was he projecting? And did it work?
November 18, 2016

Seconded. Principles matter.

Not that Clinton lacked them entirely. But the endless drumbeat that all the "right" people supported her, and her middling policies were "pragmatic" is really just the monied interests explaining why you can't do anything without their support.

This election upended that thinking. Corporate dollars anointed someone, and she lost.

I think a lot of other candidates could have won for the Dems. Maybe even Biden. Thirty years of Republican enmity was too much to overcome.

But going forward, we don't need to hear a single thing about how we need to compromise with Wall Street, and the interests who are certain Social Security and Medicare must go, and all of the other citizen-crushing bullshit that amounts to nothing more than "We want all your money."

No more of this garbage about "progressive purity" and "pipe dreams." Pipe dreams are looking are lot more doable than hard-nosed, business friendly triangulation at the moment.

We can do better, and we have to do it fast.

November 18, 2016

I doubt progressive purity drove 3rd party votes.

I am on the idealist end of the Dem pool, and couldn't make head or tails out of the appeal of Stein or Johnson. They frankly sounded like idiots to me.

One area where maybe we could all intersect is the possibility voter suppression worked, or something even more crooked went down.

This was the first Presidential election with the stripped-down Voting Rights Act, and Trump set up the Dems perfectly to not raise a fuss. His "it's fixed" rant got everyone to insist that the system is safe and reliable, and that not accepting the results would be terrible.

And Clinton lost by dint of black and Latino votes; millions shy of Obama's. It's possible suppression and purging made the difference, but it doesn't appear Clinton will challenge anything now, having been boxed in to arguing for the sanctity of the process and the peaceful transition of power.

November 17, 2016

She signed off on Iraq and opposed

marriage equality for years. She called abortion "tragic," and argued it should be "safe, legal, and RARE."

I think her health care efforts overall were among her most admirable accomplishments, but those were not "left" in any way.

She ran right of Obama in the 2008 primary and lost. Obama won a second term and will maybe land as the most popular president in our lifetimes.

The theory that the Dems could slide back to the right was a mistake backed by hopeful corporatists who correctly saw Clinton as someone would never get in the way of monied interests.

That theory was wrong.

November 17, 2016

Yes, Bernie gets his terminology wrong.

He clearly means "Social democracy," that thing that maintains free enterprise and already works all around the world. I thought he was a little too limited in the way he articulated it, and focused too much on Scandanavia when talking about it.

Part of the issue may be that American conservatives routinely label any kind of governmemt work for the collective good as "socialism," so it's the language we all (mis) understand in the same way?

If it helps, I think Americans are wearying of military interventionism -- the cost and the chaos. The more reasonable conservative people I know --particularly veterans -- aren't itching to continue in that vein.

Unfortunately, war is both a trillion-dollar business proposition and an easy thing to talk fearful Americans into supporting.

I hope we can do better for all our sakes.

November 17, 2016

Gore was robbed by Republicans and the Supreme Court.

Good lord. The all-powerful Ralph Nader beat Al Gore? How do you even begin to reach that conclusion?

It is just plain silly to blame Nader or anyone else. Gore WON the popular and electoral votes in the eventual, not-counted recount.

To pick all of the things that should have gone differently and be angry at people who simply didn't want to vote for him on the basis they "should" have is the height of illogic. More than half of independents in this election said their second choice would have been to "stay home."

It's really odd, and a bit disturbing that anyone would let the Republicans, with their obstructionism in Florida and elsewhere, and fake "protests" of the recount (remember the picture of "angry Florida voters" full of Republican staffers?) and the b.s. Supreme Court decision skate out of rage that anyone would dare not vote within one of the two parties.

And yes, Gore himself should have spoken up. He would have been right to do so in that screwed up circumstance.

We're not entitled to anyone's vote, and just deciding that people are somehow worse for voting indie rather than Republican or "none of the above" is the height of logical fallacy and a strange sense of entitlement.

November 17, 2016

Neoliberalism is dead.

1. Progressives are not the problem. Progressivism stands for change, which wins Presidential elections.

2. Taking a position that we need some reform, but not too much reform, is not a viable message. Don't tell people that the minimum wage needs to go up some, but not too much, or that education should be more available, but not universally available. Even if it's "pragmatic," "hold on to your horses," is not a campaign plank.

3. Power brokers in New York and D.C. and on television do not know what the hell they're talking about. Don't let them tell you what's "inevitable." They do not understand the word.

4. Identity politics is not a game we want to play. An insensitive white man is not going to lose just because he's an insensitive white man, and black and Latino voters won't be giving the Dems a permanent majority anytime soon.

5. Wall Street sucks. Back them at your peril. Claiming to support reform while taking their checks will not work.

6. People want aspirational promises, which are not "pipe dreams" or "fairy tales," even if they are not immediately viable. Aim high, not for "the center." Stop telling people what they can't have and shouldn't hope for.

7. Health care is still a mess, and the ACA hasn't fixed it. We need a public option, because without it prices go up regardless of other reforms.

8. Don't write off everyone who disagrees with you as a racist or a sexist. It insults far more people than it actually applies to and makes you look smug.

9. Throw the Blue Dogs out. The Democratic Party didn't make its bones promising big business everything it wants, and saying nice things about reform while broadly winking at Wall Street and fracking interests and insane corporate treaties like the TPP. Find a way to live without their money. If anything lost this election, it was the supposed indomitable power of corporate approval.

10. No more Clintons. I don't want to hear that Chelsea is running for Congress or that Hillary has one more election in her. Whoever's fault it is, America has had all the Clintons it needs for the foreseeable future. And yes, I voted for her too, thank you very much.

11. Social democracy is a real thing that is not "communism" and has been embraced by the rest of the functioning Western democracies. It is not "impossible" in America, unless we make it so.

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