Thursday, November 5, 2020

This Jobs Guarantee Policy Debate Got Me Thinking


Compare and contrast with the presidential debates this past cycle. Now, imagine Biden and Trump even trying to participate in this particular debate with anything like even one useful idea.

That's blog post; what follows is a super high-level pie-in-the-sky daydreaming I don't have time right now to flesh out with supporting links or anything to tether the dream to an actionable program.

It looks, as I write this, that Biden will win the election and Trump's legal challenges are baseless, so the threat to the outcome is primarily the fascist mobs trying to prevent the counting of ballots. Assuming our broken society can follow the process we can indulge ourselves by starting to look ahead to what a Biden administration will actually do when it owns the pandemic response and economic crisis. 

Knowing that the Biden response will be a disaster, I'd like to think about what I would do in his shoes. The immediate, pressing need is to stop the bleeding and address our economic woes and so the debate between Matt and Mark that heads this post, I think, is a useful starting point for deciding what big, bold policy we could be starting with straightaway. A robust unemployment benefits program is where I would start. Matt's proposal makes the most sense to me, though I appreciate some of Mark's points and may be suffering from some lingering Protestant work ethic brainwashing.

Universal basic housing, basic income, M4A, and food/water security is where I'd go from there. Free public education should be expanded from K-12 to pre-K - 16. A massive infrastructure program to phase out the fossil fuel industry and replace our energy grid with a Green alternative (Green New Deal, but better) would essentially fill the role of the JG, without being a JG, and would go hand-in-hand with a program to nationalize the utilities and the banks. 

Further, a set of initiatives to modernize and democratize our government by undoing Citizens United, addressing the EC, fixing our antiquated election system, and packing the SCOTUS to make it possible to start the larger process of undoing the damage done by the GOP over the last decades also have to start immediately. Much of what needs to be done involves amending the Constitution, but a piecemeal process of patching fixing seems inadequate, so we're talking about the laying the groundwork for a new Constitutional Convention to wholesale repeal and replace. 

Now these aren't goals that could be accomplished by a president alone, nor could they be done to completion in a single term. But, these are the needful things, as I see it, and every action I'd take as president would be to make progress on those fronts as the first priorities. (It goes without saying, I hope, that there's much more to be done, not the least of which is ending our wars, but also a complete overhaul of our foreign policy and addressing the legacies of American imperialism from Puerto Rico to Guam, and beyond, and reparations for slavery and the genocide of the First Nations ... )


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Remain in Love

Chris Frantz on Sound Opinions


Haven't listened to the Talking Heads much last several years but only because they are sort of like Squeeze, for me, in that I listened to them so much when young, I didn't really have to listen to them to hear them any longer. But listening to this episode brought back memories of borrowing and wearing out my library's VHS copy of Demme's Stop Making Sense. 



 

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Final ... Frontier?



"Did we really say that?"

We sure did, and do. Sometimes it just takes hearing someone point something out and you realize, again, how growing up in a settler colonial state bakes in some messed up shit.

The connection this episode made for me was with Stan Robinson's Aurora, where the dark side of Roddenberry's vision of the space exploration, and how closely we need to scrutinize how that vision informs our collective ideas about, and implementation of, the space program. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Battle of Blair Mountain

cryptonaut-in-exile: History we can ill afford to forget: The Battle of Blair Mountain

Still disheartened that I learned about the Battle of Blair Mountain about 10 years ago. Not in high school, not in college. There's a new podcast on Rev Left that prompted be circle back to the post above and to accelerate re-blogging it ahead of the "ten years later" string of re-blogs I periodically engage in.

Have a mind to eventually build this post out to a page but, for now, it's a bit of a link dump to more about the largest armed insurrection in America since the Civil War. 





Funny how we hear more about protecting Confederate statues than we ever did about the struggle to preserve the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Things Can Get Better

"Dystopias Now" by Kim Stanley Robinson | Commune
It’s crucial to keep imagining that things could get better, and furthermore to imagine how they might get better. Here no doubt one has to avoid Berlant’s “cruel optimism,” which is perhaps thinking and saying that things will get better without doing the work of imagining how. In avoiding that, it may be best to recall the Romain Rolland quote so often attributed to Gramsci, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” Or maybe we should just give up entirely on optimism or pessimism—we have to do this work no matter how we feel about it. So by force of will or the sheer default of emergency we make ourselves have utopian thoughts and ideas. This is the necessary next step following the dystopian moment, without which dystopia is stuck at a level of political quietism that can make it just another tool of control and of things-as-they-are. The situation is bad, yes, okay, enough of that; we know that already. Dystopia has done its job, it’s old news now, perhaps it’s self-indulgence to stay stuck in that place any more. Next thought: utopia. Realistic or not, and perhaps especially if not.
I'll be surprised if I haven't linked this previously, but hearing Hilary and Matt discuss it today in their preface to taking up Aurora brought it back to mind.
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