Saturday, June 25, 2016

Getting the Wanky Wonky Willies

 The world might be going to hell in a hand basket, but the battle royale  between the wealthy vulgarian and the wealthy elitist continues.

"I don't think anybody should listen to me, because I haven't really focused on it very much," bragged Donald Trump, preparing to cross the pond to play at his swanky Scottish country club. As he held court on the green, several swastika-emblazoned golf balls whizzed past his Secret Service detail, landing with laser-focused precision at his feet.

"Get em outta here," he growled, apparently mistaking the balls for the ballsy protester who threw them.

True, Trump had been unnecessarily restricting his vast and chronic ignorance to the ramifications of the Brexit vote. But how refreshing and rare for any presidential aspirant to admit to being as disengaged as the poor wanker next door.

Can you imagine Hillary Clinton ever advising voters not to listen to her? This woman is such a self-professed, hyper-focused wonk that her campaign has even started a fan club called Wonks for Hillary.

Whether you live in an ivory tower or only aspire to claw your way up to one, Hillary is here to help. Or at least a flack named Jacob Liebenluft, late of the Obama administration, is here to set you on a much easier glide path to Wonk Nirvana.

His email tells the whole snobby story: 
Friend --
 In an election that has often seemed like it’s about anything but policy -- Donald Trump seems to prefer name-calling and empty slogans -- I’m proud that Hillary is a bona fide policy buff. Yesterday, she even proudly declared the policies on our campaign's website to be “a little wonky,” and then she told us why that’s important to her:
“I actually sweat the specifics because they matter,” she said. “Whether one more kid gets health care may just be a detail in Washington -- but it’s all that matters to that family worrying about their child.”

Hillary thinks carefully about how best to solve the problems facing American families, and she’s not afraid to get in the weeds to figure out which policies will really make a difference.
If you’re a policy nerd like Hillary, we’d love to invite you to a special new group: Wonks for Hillary. Add your name now to be one of the first to join, and we’ll keep you updated on key policy rollouts throughout the campaign -- and even invite you to join exclusive calls with policy advisors like me.

From health care expansion to investing in our infrastructure to gun violence prevention, Hillary has specific plans that dive deep into the root causes of these issues, and propose smart, targeted fixes that will implement changes people can really see and feel in their communities.

We’re running against a dangerous opponent whose policy ideas include legalizing torture and banning immigrants based on their religion. Hillary is going to keep fighting him the best way she knows how: by rolling out plans that will actually help Americans. When you join Wonks for Hillary, you’ll be able to talk articulately about those plans to anyone who’s interested -- and learn in-depth exactly how Hillary will help Americans as our next president.

Add your name to join Wonks for Hillary today:
(whereupon they get right down in the noxious weeds and direct you to a very wankish Gimme page.)

Actually, it's as scary for Hillary to call herself a policy buff as it is for Donald to brag about his willful wanky ignorance. The dictionary definition of "buff" is a person who is very interested in something, not a person who is particularly accomplished at something. For example, you can be a jazz buff without knowing how to read music or play an instrument. In other words, Hillary is an obsessed fan. She's such a foreign policy buff that she convinced Obama to bomb Libya without first figuring out what would happen in the aftermath: like epic instability and the drowning deaths of thousands of refugees.

And the political definition of "wonk" is anything but flattering. According to Merriam-Webster, a wonk is "a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures." In plain, vulgarian English (Wanklish) we can thus surmise that Hillary Clinton can't see the forest for the trees. She's an annoying nitpicker, and proud of it. If you're with her, you might as well consider Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder a positive personality trait.

And she has obviously learned nothing from Brexit or examined the root causes of the rise of neofascism, both here and abroad:
 From health care expansion to investing in our infrastructure to gun violence prevention, Hillary has specific plans that dive deep into the root causes of these issues, and propose smart, targeted fixes that will implement changes people can really see and feel in their communities.
She won't actually dig out the twisted roots of neoliberalism, cause of the worst wealth and social inequality in modern history. Instead, she'll get out her dainty little can of Roundup and spritz a bug over here, a withered leaf over there. Instead of espousing true single-payer health care, she'll urge sick people to shop around on the marketplace and maybe, eventually, decades from now, allow 50-somethings to "buy into" Medicare. She'll forge ahead with such "smart, targeted fixes" as implementing Republican-inspired and Clinton/Obama administration-approved "Promise Zones" in  a pitifully few select blighted communities out of a whole country full of misery and despair. And she'll call it a buff, rousing success. 

Promise zones don't actually provide direct government cash aid or jobs to the targeted communities. That's up to the unaccountable private businesses getting the government aid, the generous tax breaks and other incentives to "invest" in poor people.

Mark Partridge, a professor of urban-rural poverty at Ohio State University, told The Christian Science Monitor that such programs are by their very nature difficult to assess and measure, given the variables involved. Even a policy buff finds it hard to compare Chicago to Appalachia. So maybe the feel-goody vagueness is the whole point.
A caveat for any good news is: How much of it was because of the program,” says Dr. Partridge. “Did the program work or was this place just poised for takeoff?”
Analysts have also express concern that it can be hard to tell whether a program’s benefits reach the poorest people, rather than flowing largely into the hands of the business owners who get the tax credits, says Partridge. Another concern is that one neighborhood’s program might in fact penalize surrounding communities, drawing jobs, investment, and people away from nearby places not incorporated into the initiative and effectively “shifting the problem around the map,” he says.
Being a Wonk for Hillary also means subjecting yourself to a rigorous re-education regimen. The first step is getting in touch with your feelings.
“I respect the fear, the anxiety, even the anger that a lot of people are feeling,” Clinton told The Washington Post in her first extended interview on economic issues since clinching the nomination, “because the advance of globalization and technology has really replaced or undermined the future for many jobs.”

What people are feeling,” she added, “is that the economy failed them, their government failed them. They just are looking for somebody who will explain, in a way they will accept, what’s happened. So Trump comes along and he blames immigrants and he blames minorities and he blames women, and people are responsive to that because these are hard times that folks are going through.”
The Wonksplainer forgot, however, to mention that it was she and Bill who implemented many of the policies (NAFTA, welfare reform, financial deregulation) that are driving people to Trump. She ascribes the problem to generic "globalization," a process akin to the weather. Technology also arrived on the oligarchic scene fully formed in the transnational governing scheme known as the Technocracy. 

The Clintonian appeal to wonkitude is so elitist and so headache-inducing that you can't really blame the desperate Trumpophiliac next door for embracing his simple sloganeering promise to Make America Great Again. No math skills, no white papers, no charts, no statistics are ever required. All you need is a chainsaw and a dream to tear up the whole Zone.

And unfortunately for Hillary, she's unwittingly opened herself right up for even more wanky Trumpian ridicule. Here's the dictionary definition of "wonky" --
adjective: wonky; comparative adjective: wonkier; superlative adjective: wonkiest
  1. crooked; off-center; askew.

    "you have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth"
    • (of a thing) unsteady; shaky.

      "they sat drinking, perched on the wonky stools"
    • not functioning correctly; faulty.

      "your sense of judgment is a bit wonky at the moment"


Pearl said...

Jay: I posted a comment at the end of Karen's previous column appropriate to the topic in it. I hope you will find it of interest.

Patricia M. said...

Thank you, Karen. This piece was interesting and informational. To the point . . . .

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

I posted this at the end of the last thread, so I hope it is OK to post it here as well. (I won't make a habit of it.)

This from Common Dreams By Lauren McCauley via Truthdig

"During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC’s platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.

"In a statement, Sanders said he was “disappointed and dismayed” that representatives of Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz rejected the proposal on trade put forth by Sanders appointee Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), despite the fact that the presumed nominee has herself come out against the 12-nation deal.

"“Inexplicable” was how Sanders described the move, adding: “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform.”

YEAH, RIGHT, Bernie! What a shocker that Hillary mouthing platitudes to get some of your supporters over to her camp is openly ignored by the DNC. Like anyone with a brain couldn't see that one coming!

I think this shows how much Bernie is going to move the Democratic Party to the Left. It ISN'T going to happen, people!

Bernie's supporters need to vote with the Green party. Writing in Bernie is a waste of a vote. The Green's may not be perfect but they are the only party out there that is remotely interested in changes that matter to me. We won't win, we aren't fooling ourselves. But we can get the matching funding if we get enough voters and the powers that be cannot continue to deny us access to the ballots if enough of us vote and kick up a stink. I don't love the Greens but if we are looking for a Lesser of Two Evils option, the Greens are it.

And don't worry, thinking Republicans are NOT going to vote along party lines for a buffoon like Trump. They will cross over and vote for the REAL Republican candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Neil said...

Thanks Karen, great post. "The dictionary definition of "buff" is a person who is very interested in something, not a person who is particularly accomplished at something."

HRC is only eligible for president: She is at least 35 years old, a natural born citizen, with 14 years residency, the only constitutional requirements. (Article II, Section I; 1787)

Professionally, HRC is a lawyer with an unremarkable career that includes corporate lawyering.

Politically, HRC married well, and owes everything political to Bill Clinton. Without Bill, HRC is just another lawyer with an unremarkable legal career. Does that account for her "stand by your man" policy on Bill’s infidelity with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office?

Does HRC have any political accomplishments in her own right? None that I can recall. HRC failed at healthcare policy during Bill Clinton’s presidency. As Secretary of State, HRC’s "hissy fit" response when questioned about Benghazi and the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others is an example of what the American people can expect from a future president Clinton: "what difference, at this point, does it make?"

Link to Hillary Clinton's Fiery Moment at Benghazi Hearing

Link to The Select Committee on Benghazi

What will HRC do if she gets the "3:00 AM call"? Will she spend time consulting policy briefs and hope the emergency blows over? Will Bill Clinton take over, if he is around?

Laura Secorun Palet of challenges the claim that HRC would be America’s first female president if elected.

"Sorry, Hillary Clinton, but America has already had its first (acting) female president. Three decades before Clinton was born, Edith Wilson, Woodrow Wilson’s second wife, ran the Oval Office for 17 months. Nobody voted for her, and she never actually referred to herself as president, but she did take charge of many executive duties after her husband was left incapacitated by a massive stroke."

The Daily Beast concurs.

HRC can take solace however, because "Sometimes its hard to be a woman..."

"Stand by Your Man", by Tammy Wynette

Neil said...

Re Valerie Long Tweedie said, "Republicans are NOT going to vote along party lines for a buffoon like Trump"

Fortunately some people are challenging the election process, see

Are Trump delegates bound to support Trump at the convention?
By Jonathan H. Adler, Washington Post/Volokh Conspiracy

Outtakes from the story:

"A lawsuit filed last week in federal court challenges the Virginia law that purports to bind Virginia delegates. According to the complaint and memorandum in support of the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order, insofar as Virginia law compels delegates to vote in accordance with the state primary results, it violates the First Amendment. The plaintiff, Carroll Boston Correll Jr., seeks an injunction barring prosecution so that he may vote his conscience at the convention."

"If Correll’s suit is successful, it would eliminate one of the legal obstacles to replacing Trump as the Republican nominee. Given the decline of Trump’s poll numbers, and the candidate’s continued insistence on saying things that alienate key portions of the electorate (including many lifelong Republicans), dumping Trump is an option GOP convention delegates might want to have."

Verified Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief

Memorandum Of Points And Authorities In Support Of Plaintiff’s Motion For Temporary Restraining Order And Preliminary Injunction

Valerie said...

Very interesting links, Neil. Thanks

Strange times.

This is a non-sequitur - Just read an article in TruthOut that Obama and his plutocratic backers are trying to have the TPP voted on in the lame duck session right after the election in November. So all those congress critters we want to punish for voting for the TPP, will be able to vote for it anyway. While those we elect to vote against the TPP, won't be able to vote.

Neil said...

Valerie, you wrote in Karen’s previous post, "Berxit" Begins, "We keep waiting for a leader or a movement to save us." Our two-party duopoly political system will not permit "a leader or a movement to save us". It’s up to you.

It’s time for individuals to take action. Here is a link to the Federal Election Commission page, Also the Registration Toolkits page

Our election process is unconstitutional, as I noted a few posts ago. The federal lawsuit filed last week shows some of the reasons. I believe grounds exist to legally stop, challenge, and postpone the 2016 elections for a year to correct the fatal constitutional defects in our election process.

Currently the party front-runners are HRC, an incompetent oligarch, and Trump, a literal wild card. What better evidence shows the fatal constitutional defects in our election process?

Political parties, our two-party duopoly, is the unconstitutional elephant/donkey in the room. It’s time to challenge our unconstitutional election process. See below, "The United States Constitution has never formally addressed the issue of political parties."

"Americans vote for a specific candidate instead of directly selecting a particular political party. The United States Constitution has never formally addressed the issue of political parties. The Founding Fathers such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison did not support domestic political factions at the time the Constitution was written.[15] In addition, the first President of the United States, George Washington, was not a member of any political party at the time of his election or throughout his tenure as president. Furthermore, he hoped that political parties would not be formed, fearing conflict and stagnation.[16] Nevertheless, the beginnings of the American two-party system emerged from his immediate circle of advisers, with Hamilton and Madison ending up being the core leaders in this emerging party system."

So Valerie, as you can see, this is a long-standing constitutional problem.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Hi, Pearl. Thanks for the heads-up. I did go back to your comment from the previous thread.

I understand how much hope and trust you've invested in Bernie, but with all due respect and in light of events that have been amply reviewed here and elsewhere, I believe you're grasping at straws and trusting in weak reeds when it comes to Bernie Sanders or Tim Canova serving as measurable influences for good inside the Democratic Party.

Bernie did some really fine things during the campaign. He made it pretty clear that a great many registered Democrats are disgusted with their own party and wanted a complete overhaul (revolution?) within that party. Well, he lost. Fair or not fair, Bernie lost. But in supporting Hillary now, Bernie has scandalized a good number of his supporters and allowed himself to be bottled up in a club that can do nothing else but to muffle and silence his message.

As a resident of Canada, you've probably heard Leonard Cohen sing these lines again and again:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

The war/revolution/whatever within Democratic ranks is OVER. The good guy lost. Everybody knows. And there is even a smidgen of doubt in the air about Bernie's creds as a progressive, a reformer, a revolutionary.

As for the new knight on the scene, Tim Canova, he's risking the same diminishment by remaining within Democratic ranks. As it could have been with Sanders, so it is now with Canova: they would have done much better in helping themselves and the country by loudly switching to the Greens. Somehow, in big old parties––in too big anything, the dice always end up loaded. That's how it goes.

The Greens greatly need the influence and following of people like Sanders and Canova to succeed. That's where the future lies in good politics, if there is any future.

And there you are, voting for the Greens, yes––the very pale and anemic Greens in need of a transfusion, but still hoping with your bottomless hope in the future of the Dems, even though your hero, Bernie, made the forbidden compromise and is now at peace with our enemies.

Pearl said...

From Tim Canova:

'Now, we’ve built a powerful grassroots campaign with nearly 100,000 individual contributions this quarter and four volunteer offices overflowing with people from all walks of life who are calling voters to tell them the truth about our opponent’s pro-corporate record in Washington.'

I feel it is important to get rid of Debbie W.Schultz in Congress and am sending a few dollars to Tim whose efforts might create an upset in the Democratic party.

Pearl said...

Re: "Exit Polls and why the Primary was not stolen from Bernie Sanders" in the NYTimes and my comment:

Burlington, Ontario 24 minutes ago
It is sad that the highest recommendations were for the commenters vilifying Bernie Sanders in strong terms. The many who recognized the corruption that has engulfed the United States got the lowest marks. Regardless of how Bernie Sanders is viewed, ignoring the long agonizing disgraceful history of voting irregularities in the country and the true conspiracy involved by the establishment has doomed us.

Valerie said...

Reading in Australia how much of a Regrexit there is concerning the Brexit. Those in favour of not allowing the plutocracy to offshore all of their working class jobs are seen as racist and ignorant while the "enlightened Lefties" can appreciate the advantages to the economy of Free Trade with Europe. Suddenly, there is a move for a second referendum as the plutocracy works frantically to undermine Democracy. Leaders of the Brexit movement are vilified. The plutocracy in the EU is running scared and I imagine spending billions to get this Regrexit thing going. Hope Britons stick to their guns.

Jay–Ottawa said...

More good news. Headlines here and there say Elizabeth Warren has now begun campaigning enthusiastically with Hillary. Videos available to prove it's so.

Let this not disgust you, ye of little faith and hope. Look at it this way: with Bernie and Liz both working from THE INSIDE of the Democratic Party, we could be on the verge of New Progressive Era.