Commies everywhere!

I’ve just discovered the literary works of Mildred Houghton Comfort, a woman who wrote a number of biographies of Important Men of American Capitalism, back in the good old days of the 1950s. William L. Knight, Industrialist. Walt Disney, Master of Fantasy. John Foster Dulles, Peacemaker. Little Punk, the Baby Elephant. She was a prolific supporter of the conservative status quo.

These aren’t exactly popular books any more, but you can still find a few old used copies for sale. She also wrote J. Edgar Hoover, Modern Knight Errant, and there are a few pages from that scanned and available on the interwebs. It’s horrifying.

jedgar

Disclaimer: I was born in the 1950s, but I was tiny and innocent and unaware and had no idea what was going on. I became conscious in the late 1960s, a much more copacetic decade. This kind of crap was more the product of The Greatest Generation, which I’ve heard was perfect and admirable in all ways, unlike all other generations of Americans.

I haven’t been able to find out much about Ms Houghton Comfort, other than when she lived: 1886-. That emptiness after the en dash is rather disquieting, and lacking in closure.

#VoteBlueNoMatterWho

I am not happy to see Sanders sliding further away from the nomination — and I am not enthusiastic about Clinton. But I have to agree with George Takei.

I am not saying that Sanders should surrender — he should keep fighting for his cause as long as possible, and he should be doing his damnedest to shape the party platform (and maybe, as hope keeps whispering in my ear, maybe he’ll make a miraculous victory), but we have to focus on crushing the Republican party in all branches of government, and also on keeping the pressure on a certain conservative Democrat who is likely to be the nominee.

Cruz picks Fiorina for VP?

What is he thinking? This is an act of desperation, but I don’t get what she brings to the ticket. It’s as if he went looking for an unpleasant, unpopular person to complement his own unpopular unpleasantness. Or maybe he thinks McCain set a precedent.

Sure, it’ll bring more attention to his campaign, but it’s the kind of attention dog poop on a sidewalk brings — you make sure not to step in it.

None of this money portraiture stuff makes any sense

I’m picturing an army of bureaucrats at the Treasury Department, all waiting on the decisions of a smaller collection of old, cranky, conservative banker-types before they can do anything. Kind of like a slimy wad of used condoms clogging up a sewer line.

They say it’ll be 2030 before they can change anything, and they’re making all these weird compromises. Why, I don’t know. I think it’s all because Rich Uncle Pennybags is a colossal douche.

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Sanders is definitely trying to win me over

Have you seen his academic proposals?

The plan Sanders proposed in Congress calls for providing “an assurance that not later than five years after the date of enactment of this act, not less than 75 percent of instruction at public institutions of higher education in the state is provided by tenured or tenure-track faculty.” This use of federal funds to restore tenure represents one of the many policies that one does not find in Clinton’s proposal.

Well, that would staunch the hemorrhaging of qualified faculty into low-paying adjunct positions. I approve, emphatically. There’s also this delightful requirement for where federal money goes.

Sanders also wants to make sure that more money ends up in the classroom: “a state that receives a grant under this section shall use any remaining grant funds and matching funds required under this section to increase the quality of instruction and student support services by carrying out the following: A) Expanding academic course offerings to students. (B) Increasing the number and percentage of full-time instructional faculty. (C) Providing all faculty with professional supports to help students succeed, such as professional development opportunities, office space and shared governance in the institution. (D) Compensating part-time faculty for work done outside of the classroom relating to instruction, such as holding office hours….”

Spend the money on education? Shocking. And then you get the bit where he tells us what you may not spend the money on.

In perhaps his most radical and needed proposal, Sanders pushes these institutions to return to their core missions: “A state that receives a grant under this section may not use grant funds or matching funds required under this section (A) for the construction of nonacademic facilities, such as student centers or stadiums; (B) for merit-based student financial aid; or (C) to pay the salaries or benefits of school administrators.” Sanders’s plan would thus decrease the cost of making public higher education free by decreasing the costs associated with administration, athletics and merit-based aid that goes mostly to the wealthiest students.

Oh, swoon. Make it so, please.

And before you start telling me that Sanders doesn’t stand a chance of getting the nomination, I know. But I will continue to support him in the hope that his policies might be advanced beyond his campaign. I’ll also suggest that Clinton would win me over if she adopted some of these ideas.

I ♥ Elizabeth Warren

Ted Cruz was whining about how rough his life is, with all the sacrifices he’s had to make to campaign for president of the United States. So Warren replied.

Exactly right.

She is going to be a fantastic president in 2020.

The Dork Endorkenment

moldbug

I probably shouldn’t make fun of what they call themselves — these people are dangerously wrong. An in-depth article on Vox dissects the Alt-Right, the Dark Enlightenment, the Neo-Reactionaries, or whatever the heck they call themselves today. There’s Mencius Moldbug, and Nick Land, and HBD Chick, and 4-chan, and anti-semitism, and Milo Yiannopoulous, and Donald Trump, and Gamergate — all different flavors of shit mixed into the ugliest ice cream cone ever.

There isn’t much glue holding this conglomeration together, other than elitism and hatred of others and a mass of privilege that allows them to afford being insufferable douchebuckets.

It’s Confederate History Month?

KansasKKKpainting

It really is! The governor of Mississippi says so, and a Republican in that fine state would never lie to you.

Fortunately, David Neiwert has been honoring the Confederacy appropriately. You should go read the whole series, it’s very enlightening.

Day 1: Strange Fruit
It Was About Slavery
That Peculiar Institution
How Poor Whites Got Suckered
The First American War Criminals
‘The River Was Dyed’
War By Other Means
Carpetbaggers, Scalawags, and the Liars Who Named Them

It was very kind of Mississippi to invite this kind of inspection of their history.

Hasn’t neoliberalism done enough damage?

ronald-reagan

Time for it to die, and for the corpses of von Mises and Hayek to be dug up, paraded through the streets, and thrown into the Tiber. Every once in a while, I get some ass who snootily tells me that his (strangely, it’s always been a man) brand of liberalism is superior to mine, and then proceeds to announce that he is a true “classical liberal” (translation: he’s a flaming Libertarian) or more rarely, that he is a “neoliberal”, although that species of conservative prefers to hide the term under a fog of economic buzzwords. I detest them all.

Now George Monbiot has written a wonderful summary of the crimes of neoliberalism, that poisonous doctrine of St Reagan and St Thatcher. It’s one of those essays where I do a disservice to it by quoting only a small portion of it — but I’ll do it anyway, just so I can tell you to go read the whole thing.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

It is the most pernicious and pervasive ideology of our time. I’ve been hearing a lot of it in complaints about tenure and teachers’ unions lately — “these are just efforts to give teachers job security“, as if that were some horrible abomination. Shouldn’t we aspire to give everyone job security? Isn’t it a good thing when people can rely on stable employment and income? But no, much of the public has absorbed this notion that chaos and fragility are virtues, that we need to be able to, for instance, fire people as punishment for inefficiency.

They never seem to care that the beneficiaries of that ruthlessness all seem to be the most useless parasites, the profiteers and rent-seekers and exploiters of the market. The punishment is the thing. We’re all getting screwed over, but hey, at least we get the vicarious thrill of seeing someone else screwed over even more.