First, briefly: Another international levy that could be a win-win-win (for all except oligarchs… and a titan exporter) … pushed by among others Emanuel Macron, would be a shipping emissions tax that could raise about $100 Billion while helping Biden to encourage the already underway resurrection of U.S. home-based manufacturing. Oh, and helping save the planet. (Also encouraging development of wind-assisted freighters!)
Somewhat related: a recent NYT article by David Leonhardt talks about “...the class inversion of American politics. “Most professionals now vote for Democrats, which is a stark change from past decades. Most working-class voters vote Republican, partly because they see Democrats as an elite party dominated by socially liberal and secular college graduates.”
And yes, that reverses the Roosevelt-era social contract that Made America Great. The essence of today’s MAGA movement is now hostility toward almost all professions that deal in ‘facts’ – toward nerds and “Hi-IQ stupid people” – now including even the FBI/intel/military officer corps and civil servants who won the Cold War and the War on Terror.
Hatred of nerds is a theme that’s far more central to the movement than racism, fluxing openly and without let-up through every neo-confederate narrative about snooty-pushy-intellectual-elites…
… narratives that are exacerbated – never-countered – by execrable leftist tactics, like lectury finger-waggings over symbolism-pronouns and trigger-fragility. DUmb tactics that have nothing at all to do with the kinds of progress achieved by ML King & allies, who preached the very opposite – growing a thick skin in order to outlast and overcome adversity.
Take the 2022 Pelosi bills – a wave of legislation that helped the poor and middle class and their kids and the planet and U.S. manufacturing… and should’ve rendered the foxites’ cult incantations almost extinct. As Leonhardt puts it:
“When Democrats can flip the script on elitism and paint a Republican candidate as an out-of-touch protector of the rich, the Democratic candidate can often draw enough blue-collar support to win. John Fetterman used this approach to beat Mehmet Oz last year in Pennsylvania, the only state where a Senate seat switched parties.”
Alas, though. Instead of the smart-and-good side showing tactical agility, it seems that trait is being shown by some elements of the oligarchy party! For example: I can’t believe there’s some GOP support for a financial transaction tax, meant to reduce the high frequency Wall Street trading that makes parasites rich without making the economy more productive.
The transaction tax has another hugely important justification. It might stymie the very worst and most dangerous form of AI – predatory, insatiable quant HFT bots. But that’s a topic for another time. (If those bots – upon reading this paragraph – don’t order a hit on me.)
But I fear the world oligarchy-mafiosi have darker designs.
== Threats and more ==
Regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine, I won’t comment on today’s sudden, active civil war between the Muscovy War Ministry and the Wagner mercenary army, except to note that is sounds a bit like 1917.
My main suggestion remains – as you might expect – polemical, to undermine support for this obscene war among the Russian people, the one constituency that could decisively end it.
I’d do that by demanding that a commission be formed to investigate all sides’ claims and justifications. Including all the complete set of absurd cassus belli that Vlad used, to excuse his blatant aggression.
How to constitute such a thing, or make sure it has credibility?
I’d summon 500 Russians, randomly-chosen from old utility records. Offer a free, extensive and press-covered junket. To have them join 500 Ukrainians and Finns and 500 neutrals from all over the globe, in a go-anywhere, ask anything commission.
Okay, I can see you shaking your head, because obviously Putin would refuse…
… and that’s the point! His refusal would penetrate, as an insult to average Russians! And yes, they’d hear of it. Today’s version of despotic info-uniformity is not like the old days of hermetically-sealed iron curtains. It is imposed less by purely sealed censorship (though that exists somewhat) and more by masturbatory-circle-jerk rote-incantations (much like our own MAGA right and (yes) certain other U.S. non MAGA groups). Self-isolating Nuremberg rallies are terrible… and terribly effective. And yet… extremely simple news and memes do get through. And this one would be a doozy! And Vlad’s cowardly refusal of such a simple Truth Commission Challenge would be harsh on him, revealing contempt for his own citizens.
But there is something even simpler. Dare Putin to create a video, making his case to the U.S. public for 30 minutes on Fox & MSNBC… in exchange for us getting to do the same with 30 minutes verifiably accessible to all RF citizens.
Again, he is guaranteed to refuse. And it is that refusal which will penetrate to Russians and smash the props from under him.
Though who knows if this suggestion is already rendered obsolete by fast-moving events.
== Actually notice the Dems’ Very Good Year ==
Despite infighting, 2021-2022 was a surprisingly productive two years for Democrats.
Truly epic legislation shifted the U.S. from one utterly failed method of ‘economic stimulation’ – under the Bushes and Trump – to another method that blatantly worked. Shifting from roughly $10 trillions in “Supply Side” tax grifts for aristocracy (that never once delivered even a single promised benefit, across 30 years of experiments), to about $5 trillions that included tax reforms to pay for it all… including (at long last) infrastructure repairs and insourcing major manufacturing back to the U.S.
Let’s reiterate that last bit. Manufacturing is moving back to U.S. shores, in a huge wave. And cause/effect is profoundly clear. Democrats did that.
The part of those Pelosi bills that the oligarchy hated most? $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service to hire new agents, modernize its technology, audit the wealthy and more. Crippling the IRS has been a top Republican priority for four decades, allowing not just American but world oligarchies to run wild. Visit any MAGA/Foxite site and you’ll find stoked-up fury at both the IRS and FBI, with screeches that agents will focus on the middle class.
Bets? Right now… let’s do wagers with major stakes over who the zillionaire talking heads at Fox fear will be audited?
This is why House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and most of the Republicans in the House ‘caved’ to settle the recent debt limit crisis. They got a sop to show to the oligarch masters, cutting $10 billion from the IRS. Though that money over ten years can be made up by getting other agencies to help with the desperately-needed software upgrades, leaving those new agents still free to go after the Cayman accounts of cheater-traitors.
Note. Already metrics of IRS service to the public, including help line wait times, have improved hugely.
“Democrats hammer GOP plan to impose national sales tax, abolish IRS.” Oh they are back with this garbage. The Republican plan would do away with income, payroll, estate and gift taxes, and instead impose a 23 percent national sales tax. Across the board, there are no aspects to the GOP plan that don’t grovel before world oligarchy, the would-be feudal lords in the 0.001%, who Adam Smith, Tom Paine and the American Founders rebelled against, then Lincoln & Douglass, then the Greatest Generation who adored FDR for good reasons.
Nothing could better prove the IQ decline of world aristocracy, than their listening to sycophant flatterers and building prepper hidey-holes, and now this doubling-down on their war vs. a modernity that gave them everything.
Old Joe Kennedy supported the Rooseveltean Compact for a simple, obvious reason: “I’d rather half my wealth be taxed to raise up a contented middle class, than lose it all to revolution.”
Oligarchs should heed Old Joe, or learn the word “tumbrels.”