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The Trump Election by Christoph Hermann

The Trump Election by Christoph Hermann


The democracy crisis, the neoliberalism crisis, and the crisis of the Democratic Party led to the victory of Trump. Capitalism is largely deregulated with a comparatively meager public sector except for the defense industry.

Appointing former generals suggests a militarization of the border and domestic security is coming. The greatest unknown is the announced infrastructure investment package of billions of dollars. The legitimation crisis of neoliberalism will create new possibilities for an emancipatory left.

Posted in Essays, Political Theory | 1 Comment

Celebration, abundance and resistance are part of our nature!

One day in Vancity is equal to about 300 days in Portland!
Celebration, cooperation, abundance and resistance are part of our nature as antibodies are part of our bodies!
Here are links to “Philosophical Reflections on the Economic Crisis” and “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation.” Enjoy the feast! Celebrate your independence!
Marc Batko



Posted in Alternative Economics, Neoliberalism | Leave a comment

Death and taxes. The global tax race to the bottom is about to begin

Death and taxes. The global tax race to the bottom is about to begin
by James S. Henry, The American Interest, Dec 21, 2017

t may be a long time before we fully understand all the implications of the complex Trump/Goldman tax law, as I like to call the recently passed tax “reform.” This 1,079-page monstrosity contains at least 121 tax code changes that will affect more than $8 trillion of gross Federal tax revenues over the next decade. The bill was drafted by the Trump Administration and the Republican majority entirely in secret and crammed through Congress in less than a week with no hearings or debate and no independent evaluations. We now know what all this opacity was really all about: Overall, Trump/Goldman bill amounts to a massive “tax heist,” one of the largest transfers of public wealth to private elites and corporations in U.S. history—at least since the massive taxpayer-funded bailouts of Goldman Sachs and other giant Wall Street banks in 2008–09.

Most criticisms of the bill to date have focused on its domestic implications. These are indeed formidable. They include increased inequality, soaring budget deficits, poorer health coverage for many Americans, and a fire sale of the country’s strategic oil reserves, mineral rights in national parks, and drilling rights in the Arctic wilderness. All these domestic harms are further aggravated by the total lack of any requirements for multinational corporations like Apple and Google to actually invest any of the $2.6 trillions of never-taxed U.S. royalties and profits that they managed to cook up and stash offshore to create any jobs back home, before they get to repatriate it all at less than half the original tax rates and stuff it in their back pockets.1 A very Merry Christmas indeed!

States are fighting back!

Posted in Articles, Financial Market Capitalism, Thomas Piketty | Leave a comment

Judge Orrick on Sanctuary Cities, Nov 2017, 28 pp

Judge Orrick on Sanctuary Cities, Nov 2017, 28 pp

Thanks to California Federal District Judge Orrick we can breath again!
The constitutional state is not the security state. Trump cannot punish sanctuary cities.
Toward a civilization of shared sufficiency


Posted in Human Rights, Political Theory | Leave a comment

The Perfect Totalitarian Rule: Orwell

The security state is different from the constitutional state and is marked by generalized fear, de-politization and forms without substance. In 1984, Orwell warned of totalitarianism where the past was erased and the Party created a new language. The Party alone decided two plus two equals five, dissent was not allowed and chidlren informed on their parents for thought crimes.

Whoever controls the past controls the future. Whoever controls the present controls the past.

The German philosopher Jurgen Habermas urged a “post-national constitutional patriotism” with the holocaust as the dividing line for constitutionalism and barbarism. Grin.com and linguee.com make researching and translating viable for everyone. We can be on the way to a culture of sufficiency and lifelong learning. Happy reading! The more you read, the wider is your world.

Posted in Articles, Political Theory | Leave a comment

Video: “Franklin D. Roosevelt,” 1 hr 17 min

to watch the interview with historian Robert Dallek from Dec 5, 2017, click on


A Political Life
By Robert Dallek
679 pp. Viking. $40

Franklin Roosevelt’s Story Is Worth Telling Again and Again

Dec. 8, 2017

Americans have been avid readers of presidential biographies since the birth of the nation. The first was written by Mason Weems, a traveling bookseller and preacher, and published in 1800, three years after George Washington left office. It was an immediate best seller. In the years to come, another 1,900 Washington biographies would be published. Since 1960, the number of presidential biographies has mushroomed: more than 2,200 of Abraham Lincoln, almost 1,200 of John F. Kennedy, 800 of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Of them all, it is perhaps Roosevelt who has been best served by his biographers, though the task of telling his life story has never been an easy one. He occupied office too long, accomplished too much, failed too often and was confronted by not only the greatest domestic crisis since the Civil War, but also the greatest foreign crisis since the Revolution.

Born to wealth, with a cousin in the White House while he was at Harvard, Roosevelt was a natural politician: physically attractive, intellectually quick and witty, with a fine speaking voice, upright posture, charisma and charm. At 28, he was elected to the New York State Senate; at 31, appointed assistant secretary of the Navy; at 38, nominated by the Democratic Party for the vice presidency. A year later, having contracted polio, he lost the use of his legs, forever. He could not hide his disability, but he could and did shield its severity and effects from the public and, perhaps, from himself. He was elected governor of New York in 1928, re-elected in 1930. He would win election to the presidency in 1932 and re-election in 1936, 1940 and 1944.

Such are the outlines of the public life. But what of the private? His marriage was a disaster. In September 1918, Eleanor, unpacking his luggage after a trip abroad, discovered love letters from Lucy Mercer, her social secretary. She offered Franklin a divorce, but did not demand one. The two would remain together — as political partners, but not as husband and wife. There would be several other women in his life, including Daisy Suckley, his cousin, closest companion and confidante during his years as president. At her death in 1991, at age 99, a trove of personal diaries and letters from Franklin were found under her bed. Until these materials were made available to researchers, the portrait that Roosevelt had cultivated during his life, one largely accepted by his biographers, was of a man gilded with optimism, unflappable, self-composed, self-confident. His letters to Daisy — and her diary entries — portray someone quite different: a man tired and weary, disheartened by the virulence of his critics, dismayed by the enormousness of the challenges he faced, unsure of his capacities to bear the burdens of office.

How to make sense of this life? How does one connect the dots, find the through-line, locate the man beneath the carefully constructed public persona? Several of his greatest biographers set out to tell the full story, but were nearly overcome by the immensity of the task. Frank Freidel completed five volumes, taking the story up to 1933. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. finished three volumes, but only got as far as the 1936 re-election. James MacGregor Burns completed the first of his volumes in 1956, but it took him until 1970 to publish the second. Kenneth Davis died in 1999 with four of his five volumes in print; the last would be published in 2000.

Either because publishers demand it or authors prefer it, recent biographers have tried to squeeze the story into one extended volume. Robert Dallek, the author of an earlier book on Roosevelt’s foreign policy and several presidential biographies, is the latest to take this route.

There are many strengths to “Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life.” Dallek fully incorporates into his narrative Roosevelt’s complicated, conflicted relationship with the several women in his life and is especially good on the role Eleanor played, as goad and political adviser. He also makes it clear, in a way other biographers do not, that almost from the moment he entered office, Roosevelt set out to educate the nation to the fact that the United States was threatened not only by economic depression at home, but also by fascist aggressions abroad. He did not counsel war, but neither did he counsel isolation from the world beyond our shores. “The maintenance of international peace is a matter in which we are deeply and unselfishly concerned,” he told Congress as early as January 1935, in his State of the Union address.

Dallek reminds us that Roosevelt took office knowing full well that while as president he bore ultimate responsibility for the nation, he did so with limited powers. Congress was in control of foreign policy and the Supreme Court could and would overturn domestic policies it considered unconstitutional. Only after his enormous second-term landslide victory in 1936, when he was worried and frightened that constraints on his executive powers would hinder, if not block, his efforts to right the economy and protect international peace, did Roosevelt uncharacteristically, almost perversely, attempt to alter the balance of powers by packing the Supreme Court with his appointees and purging his Democratic majority of incumbents, mostly Southerners, who opposed his policies. Both initiatives failed — and failed badly, leaving him with a diminished capacity to extend the New Deal or intervene to deter German, Italian and Japanese aggressions.

Book Review

One of the perks of being a reader of history is time travel. Pick up a presidential biography and, for an hour or so, you can leave the present behind and enjoy an almost visceral comfort in visiting another world. The catch is that you remain tethered to the present, incapable of looking at the past without comparing it to the present.

Reading a Roosevelt biography today, one is struck head-on by the deadly seriousness, the moral purpose with which Franklin Roosevelt prepared for and assumed the office of president of the United States. His respect for the dignity of the presidency was unwavering through his 12 years and one month in the White House. You can hear it in his fireside addresses and radio talks, read it in his formal speeches to Congress and the nation, watch it in the newsreel clips. He stands near ramrod straight, gripping the podium. He speaks plainly, but never less than eloquently. Every word is carefully chosen, articulated with force and precision, but never snidely, sarcastically or dismissively, and never with rancor or condescension. His purpose was not to stir up his supporters — though he managed to do so — but to educate the larger public, friends and foes, to his concerns, which he hoped would become their concerns.

Dallek’s is a workmanlike addition to the literature on Roosevelt and covers all the bases. There is, regrettably, little to distinguish it from the many excellent biographies that came before it and on which it draws. The prose is clean, but flat, with little sparkle or literary grace. There are no new analytic thrusts or parries, no new sources or imaginative reinterpretations of old ones. Those who have read other Roosevelt biographies will learn little from this one. Still, this is a story worth telling, again and again. And there is much to be gained, at this moment in our history, from having one more Roosevelt biography in our electronic devices and on our bookstore and library shelves.

Posted in Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Roosevelt and New Deal | Leave a comment

Video: “Super Amigos,” (2007), 1 hr 15 min

In Mexico City, five real-life “social wrestlers” have capitalized on the popularity of Mexico’s larger than life Lucha Libre wrestlers to fight for social justice rather than trophies. Wearing custom masks, costumes and capes like the wrestlers who inspired them, these anonymous grassroots superheroes protect their metropolis against injustice. Super Animal challenges bullfighters to leave the bulls alone and fight him instead. After a savage beating kills his boyfriend, Super Gay becomes a champion of gay rights, fighting rampant homophobia. Ecologista Universal battles environmental destruction of every kind, all on foot. Super Barrio is the defender of poor tenants, helping them resist evictions by slumlords cashing in on gentrification. With a mixture of live action, comic book-style animation and a surf guitar soundtrack inspired equally by mariachi music and Batman, SUPER AMIGOS shows that with a little imagination, a good heart and the right mask, anyone can activate their communities to triumph over evil.

Posted in Liberation theology, Political Theory | Leave a comment

So the Yoke Becomes Easier and Capitalism Criticism 2.0

So the Yoke Becomes Easier and Capitalism Criticism 2.0
by Bernhard Emunds and Volkhard Mosler


God has decreed definitively: salvation and life in abundance for people – not punishment and destruction. This new life begins with the emaciated and exhausted. It begins with those who are exploited by their employees and must work damn hard day after day. God’s reign is the new life.

more at www.openculture.com, www.grin.com, www.linguee.com, www.onthecommons.org and www.citizen.org

Posted in Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Reducing Working Hours | Leave a comment

May the New Year be full of good surprises!

Arguing with a Trump supporter is like arguing with a pigeon who leaves its dropping on the plate, flies away and says it’s made America great again!

Polish saying: You can make fish soup out of an aquarium but can’t make an aquarium out of fish soup.

Chinese saying: Whoever says it can’t be done should not interrupt the one already doing it.

Language and democracy are under attack under the Twitterer. HUD, CHIPs, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, WIC food assistance, SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and UN financial support should be strengthened, not cut.

Trump is attacking the substance and procedure of our democratic system. The state should represent the public interest and yet has become the “errand boy of the banks” (Bill Moyers). Compromises, concessions, negotiations and counter-measures are necessary like community centers.

The ego must die for the self to be born. The light shines in the darkness, in the cabinet of millionaires and generals!

Kierkegaard once said faith was the death of the ego and the celebration of the infinite transcendent and selfless God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said our life is inevitably fragmentary and that the ultimate is the model and strength of the penultimate. He was preaching when his country and its institutions became obedient to Hitler and darkness was normalized.

Thanks for your passion and light! We will take our country back!
May the New Year be full of good surprises!

Marc B.
www.openculture.com, www.therealnews.com, www.grin.com, www.linguee.com, www.citizen.org, www.submedia.tv, www.onthecommons.org, www.truth-out.org, www.commondreams.org

Posted in Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

Sharing, not Killing

Sharing, not Killing
by Friedhelm Hengsbach

Refused sharing and rediscovery of sharing are signs of this time. “This economy kills.” So Pope Francis judges socio-economic conditions.

Immigrants aren’t the cause of inequality or trickle-down mythology. Taxing the rich is vital. With additional resources, workers would not feel threatened by immigrants. Eugene’s all-volunteer Burrito Brigade recently passed its 100K burrito milestone

Posted in Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment