Friday, March 19, 2021

Sorry, friends, for not getting back to my blog writing place sooner.

More Ian Welsh goodness today.

Everyone should signup at his site so they don't miss any of his marvelously insightful essays. Always read Ian first.

nihil obstet (responds)

January 20, 2021

I’d push the idea that Trump killed 400,000 Americans by his stupid or evil or both handling of the covid plague if I could just get anyone to apply the same standard to the American political class over the last 30 years. We know that 45,000 Americans were dying each year for lack of medical insurance back in the early aughts. Most recently the number is up to around 67,000 a year. There’s no mystery about what to do. We are the only so-called advanced country without universal health care. We could copy any of their health care structures or use their experiences to design our own. I tend to react to anyone pushing the “Trump killed 400,000 Americans in one year” argument who has not called Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, et al. murderers for their stupid and evil handling of the deaths of more than a million Americans hypocritical.

I would also note that the dismantling of a not-bad public health infrastructure since the late 70s made the reaction to a health crisis more difficult.

We have different ideas about how bad Trump has been. We can probably communicate better if we use the same standards to measure.

Ché Pasa (responds)

January 20, 2021

For a nation tearing itself apart, the US is in pretty good shape all things considered. The decadence of the Republic is manifest in practically every way, and the disconnect of the brutal and misbegotten American Empire from the rotting hulk of the Republic merely means “more of the same” — because the ruling class doesn’t know anything else to do.

The carcereal state will continue unmolested, of course. Too many people are dependent on it for their power, pelf and wherewithal. The pandemic will be partially controlled sometime in the future. But not before there’s a higher death and disability toll than from the 1918-20 flu pandemic. Still, it won’t be enough dead to significantly lower population here and abroad, so the health care crisis will get worse, as it was bound to anyway. No universal health care, no rebuilt public health infrastructure. More death concentrated among the old, sick, brown, black, and poor.

Will we get “checks?” Not soon, anyway. Maybe never. The triggering factors that led to the failed insurrection will become institutionalized. “White supremacy” will be consigned to the dustbin, though male whites will continue to be in charge of nearly everything.

The rich will get richer, the poor will suffer, and everyone else will scramble to stay in place.

Nothing significant will change, but the face of power will be a slight bit gentler.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Ian Welsh's essays always provide the most light around (not to overlook his commenters who flesh things out nicely, so to speak).

Mark Pontin

January 20, 2021

Hugh wrote: ‘We should take a moment to consider Trump’s accomplishments. He killed 400,000 Americans, as many as died in World War II, and he did it in one year not the 3 1/2 the war took.’ We should take more than a moment. In the UK, Brits complaining about the incompetence and venality of the current crop of Tories were told by some of their fellow citizens of Indian and African extraction, “Now you know what it’s like to be ruled by the British.” So, too, with Trump.

Now Americans have a little idea of how it is to be ruled by the U.S. empire, which has murdered some 20 million people around the planet in recent decades.

Well, thank God for ordinary Americans that at least the rest of the empire’s methods won’t be re-imported back into the homeland and we’ll never see measures like a Green Zone erected in the nation’s capitol and …. Oh, wait. Biden explained his administration’s intentions: “Nothing’s going to change.” In other words, the empire will take those measures it considers necessary to maintain itself and, as Ian warns you here, an anti-terrorism meat-grinder will be built out.

I’ll go further than Ian. Constructing the apparatus of meat-grinder promises to be enormously _profitable_ for the usual suspects. Thus, it will grow ever-larger, and more mindlessly destructive and oppressive to increasing numbers of Americans, further feeding ‘terrorist’ anti-government, anti-elite feelings among them and growing the numbers of Americans who hate ‘their’ government. Recall, too, that some 22-23 percent of the population are _already_ like Thomas G. here, in that they consider the current administration an illegitimate construct foisted upon the country by the Deep State and Wall Street. They’re not wrong about that, either.

Furthermore, all this is _fine_ for those who profit from building the meat grinder because increases in anti-government hostility will constitute a rationale for further building it out and so more profits. To put this in perspective, the U.S. military-industrial complex has often been described as a self-licking ice cream cone, in that the destruction and repression it creates as it flails around overseas feeds the hostility of populations there towards the U.S. and their resistance, which in turn provides a rationale for further funding of the U.S. military to try and maintain ‘battlespace supremacy.’

Now that self-licking ice cream cone is coming home. Because it’s profitable to certain parties, the anti-terrorism machinery will be built ever-larger, and flail around ever-more heedlessly. What will that look like? Well, for one instance, the U.S. already has the largest population of imprisoned people of any nation on Earth, for instance. That population will increase. Similarly, technology and methods to surveil and repress the U.S. population will be developed further and deployed.

This will mean not just homegrown U.S. technology from Silicon Valley, but the importation of the more advanced technology the regime in China has already developed along those lines. In this scenario, the U.S. will essentially get CCP-style repression but not the relative competence of the CCP, only the psychopathic, short-term grifting of the current neoliberal U.S. elite. You’re welcome.