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Fiddlin Bill

Trump is a necessary and sufficient reason to vote for Hillary. As Bob Dylan sang once and Hillary can sing today, "can I help it if I'm lucky." Not voting is not a moral option. Therefore, reasonable people will vote for Hillary.

The problem Hillary Clinton has is the millions she made for giving speeches. It's not about finding some quid pro quo. There doesn't have to be such a thing. That's literalism. The other problem Hillary Clinton has is triangulation, and how over decades that strategy erodes one's reputation for honesty. I believe she won't try to put 12 million Latin American undocumented people in cattle cars. I don't believe she will continue to reject the trade agreement under discussion. And the other problem she has (that's three) is Bill Clinton, Impeached President. All these problems are really more the Democratic Party's than Hillary's. Why was Hillary Clinton a fait accompli when the election season began? Because deals were made. Bernie Sanders got "big" because he was so far outside the loop that he didn't make the deal. Rachel Maddow did. Melissa Harris Perry--remember her?

The other problem the Democratic Party has is, what happens after four years of a Clinton Administration. We don't know the answer to that yet. And let me assure you--I will vote for Hillary Clinton for President. Donald Trump is a gun to all our heads. I'll even say "Yes M'am," and dance.


I have never thought that Hillary Clinton is or would be corrupt in the sense that she would accept a payment of some kind to do something against her principles. This is not how I would generally define corruption. It seems especially odious to imagine such a case. Money causes people to define or redefine their principles in the interest of money. So my misgivings about her Presidency are that she is all to eager to be a friend to capital. As President Obama has done. As he has chosen to do, when there were other choices available. I consider public office to ideally be in the service of all the people. Therefore I view favoring capital to be corruption. I say this first, because, as you noted, capital is taken care of by virtue of their class membership. Second because capital is the enemy of labor. And that is me, and no doubt you, and many people who do not understand that if you aren't capital, you are labor. Perhaps there is a way to organize society so this is not so. But that is not where we are. We should take them at their word when they say that a corporation only exists to create shareholder value. We should take them at their word when they say 'I'll be gone. You'll be gone.' to distance themselves from the consequences of their actions. We should take them at their deed when they actively pursue or blithely ignore every atrocity from slavery, to rape, to destroying the planet in pursuit of a marginal increase in their profits. Capital is the enemy of the American people. Of the entire human race. We should seek to confiscate their wealth not for revenge, or redistribution, but simply to deprive them of the power to do harm. This is more than even Senator Sanders has proposed. And although I am encouraged by some things I have read about Hillary Clinton lately, I have no illusions that she accepts any of my premises. You would probably say no politician would. Not today, certainly. Bernie Sanders has proven that you can't scare the kids by yelling 'socialism'. You won't scare them with this either. Chris Hedges said our world will never get fixed until the wealthy are made to live in it, and not in the world that their class membership affords them. Hillary Clinton does not live in our world. When the planet is well and truly wrecked Chelsea and her friends from Davos and Aspen will be have what relief from it can be bought. My daughter and her children will starve in a desert war zone. And I am not suggesting for a moment that Hillary Clinton is some kind of sociopath who wants this outcome. I am suggesting that if preventing this future would inconvenience capital, she will not chose that path. And concerning the moral hazard of free stuff, that is slave morality. The wealthy do not work. Ever. They may have employment or partake in economic activity. But for them these things are hobbies. Amusements. I am well aware that many people, perhaps even most, benefit from the purpose that work gives them. But does the work we do have purpose or meaning anymore? I refer to the concept of 'bullshit jobs' with which you are no doubt familiar. Just as you could drop an awful lot of helicopter money on society and not cause (hyper)inflation, you could give people a great deal of leisure before we became paralyzed by ennui. How much of the problem is that people have internalized the message that ones worth is defined by money and work? It would at least have the virtue of being a new problem. The poor have been with us always. And how many times have I heard those words used to mean the opposite of what was intended? So of course I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton in November. And I hope I have been wrong about her.

Lance Mannion

Lawrence, by "Capital", do you mean the system, the synecdoche, people with money to invest, or money itself?

"I consider public office to ideally be in the service of all the people. Therefore I view favoring capital to be corruption.

Aren't people with capital and who build factories and run businesses and, you know, hire labor part of all the people?


"Why was Hillary Clinton a fait accompli when the election season began? Because deals were made"

You don't think that she came within a hair of beating Barack Obama for the nomination in 2008, served as Secretary of State since, and consistently made the lists of the world's most admired women had anything to do with it?


Honestly, I feel kind of bad for Clinton.

It isn't her fault that the zeitgeist seems to have completely done a 180 by the time she's finally got a real chance to make her run for the White House. It isn't her fault that her choice, when she was young, to try and work within the system is now seen as her capitulating to Moneyed Interests. (As I think I remember you writing some months back, Lance, as the senator from New York State, she's -- what? Supposed to ignore the financial industry?)

I don't agree with about half her policy ideas, conservatively (the half I do, I like very very much). I still don't think she's the best candidate to take on Trump (Pierce has a piece today at Esquire that speaks to some of my concerns), and that worries me (the fact that there are still people who seem excited about Trump worries me! I'd thought that by the time he attracted this level of scrutiny, he'd be becoming *less* popular, not more) -- but I'd still be perfectly satisfied with her becoming president. I don't want her to be my second choice, but... well, she is. I think you're right here, Lance -- if Clinton *is* corrupt (which I'm not sure I grant, but say I do) she's only corrupt in the way any other conventional politician is corrupt. I mean, I don't often call people out for being naive -- glass houses and all -- but... yeah.


Capital isn’t just money. A dollar or a trillion of them has to be used by a person to have agency. They give each other power. But it is also the desire to use power for exploitation. Exploitation with no range function or boundary. Exploitation with no end. Again, this is what they say quite plainly if you listen. FDR created the New Deal to save capitalism, and they hated him for it. Eisenhower remarked to his brother that no one would ever seriously attempt to destroy Social Security. And didn’t George W Bush attempt precisely that thing? And don’t we have that fight in Congress over every budget approval? Bill Clinton had already made the deal to privatize Social Security and it was only averted by a spat with Newt Gingrich and the breaking of the Lewinsky story. And for most of my entire life in the workforce I have listened to management tell me how lucky I am to be employed at all because of The Economic Crisis. Because there always is one. S&L in the eighties, recession in the early nineties, the .com bubble, Enron, and the one we’re still in. And every time wages and employment get suppressed and capital is made whole. We also now know that the carbon energy extraction industry knew about global warming long ago and engaged in active disinformation campaigns to protect their profits at the expense of the future of the human race. Capital is destructive. Left unregulated it cannot be otherwise.
As to the nice capitalists who invest and hire labor, and aren’t they part of the ‘all of the people’ I mentioned, yes, and also no. Technically yes, of course. No in the sense that they themselves do not often do not see themselves as citizens of any nation. No in the sense that, as you pointed out, membership in their class confers so much advantage that they do not require protection. Indeed, the national state has been so weakened that it must repair itself so that it can stand up to capital. Are there nice capitalists? It is my understanding that Costco and QT minimarts are labor friendly employers. I don’t know their positions on ethical supply chain sourcing, or whether worker safety and workplace harassment are more than cynical jokes that they employ HR personnel to affect concern for. Generally, late stage capitalism broadcasts a palpable contempt for labor. We aren’t people. We are a cost. And costs are to be controlled. The example of General Motors spending ruinous amounts of money on robots in an attempt to break the UAW comes to mind. To the extent that they can get rid of us, they will.
And of course it didn’t work. Haven’t you noticed that the ruling class can’t even make the trains run on time anymore? In the year I was born one of the greatest public private partnerships ever conceived put men on the moon. Today, the most expensive defense appropriations program in the history of the DOD can’t build a tactical fighter that performs as designed. Many of the contractors involved worked on both programs. The system is breaking down. We are where Rome was when they couldn’t secure the borders of the Empire anymore. And in Rome’s case, what our historians call the end was just a day nobody observed when the last Emperor ceded control to the German mercenaries who ran the army. It was this blog, if I remember correctly, where I read ‘If you’re not concerned with the care and feeding of millionaires, then you’re a leftist, not a liberal. And it’s a proud tradition.’ It was a couple of years ago, so I may not be exact. But I ask, what is the social use of a billionaire in a society where there is poverty?

Fiddlin Bill

"You don't think that she came within a hair of beating Barack Obama for the nomination in 2008, served as Secretary of State since, and consistently made the lists of the world's most admired women had anything to do with it?"

I think you make a fair point, Lance. Perhaps her resume cleared the field of all other "serious candidates," with the personal situation Biden faced also playing a role in his particular final decision.

Lance Mannion

Bill, I think you're right. Probably a bunch of them were daunted by the prospect of running against her. Fortunately, one of them was Andrew Cuomo. But Biden had nothing to worry about on the resume score. Someday we'll find out just what exactly was going on with him.

Lance Mannion


"Haven’t you noticed that the ruling class can’t even make the trains run on time anymore?"

I'm tempted to ask you when the trains ever ran on time, but, FWIW, Mrs M takes the train to work regular and it's almost always on time. The buses too.

"It was this blog, if I remember correctly, where I read ‘If you’re not concerned with the care and feeding of millionaires, then you’re a leftist, not a liberal."

Yep, it was here. But I've said it more than once. It's kind of a theme of mine. It's a sliding scale: how concerned a politician is with the care and feeding of millionaires is my measure of relative liberalism/conservatism. Too much care=conservative. None=far left. It's my way of saying that good governance requires more than just worrying about people getting rich. But a functioning economy needs to leave people free to get rich or else no one will do things like open restaurants or build houses or manufacture automobiles.

As for billionaires, I'm not sure their existence can be helped, but the Clintons have been very good at parting them from some of their billions through the Clinton Global Initiative and that money has gone to really helping alleviate poverty in parts of the world. So there's a use for them.

Lance Mannion


Agreed. I'm afraid Trump's becoming more popular isn't due to people actually liking him. I think he's more like an infection. People everywhere throughout time have caught similar infections and there's no predicting the course or outcome of the disease. Things would have been different, though, if everybody, Democrats and Republicans alike, had seen the initial infection and gone right to work on stopping it from spreading. That would have meant turning to different establishment candidates than HRC and Jeb. I'm writing about who I wish it had been for the Democrats today.

Phil Ebersole

I don't think Hillary Clinton is corrupt. I don't have any reason to think she is doing anything against her personal convictions.

I just believe that, based on her record, her sources of financial and political support and the people she hangs out with (the Bushes, the Trumps, Henry Kissinger, Lloyd Blankfein) that a vote for her is a vote for perpetual war and financial oligarchy.

Lance Mannion

Phil, I don't think it's quite right to say she hangs out with the Bushes and the Trumps, but never mind. I'm more influenced by the people she really has hung out with, like Marian Wright Edelman, John Lewis, Dolores Huerta, Gracha Machel, Gabby Giffords, Jennifer Granholm, and Barack Obama.

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