purge those free radicals – eight years is not enough

By ann summers


Family resemblance in language is like relative autonomy in philosophy, because academic ideologies’ democracy is the Other to anti-intellectual reactionaries across the political spectrum, but are they the same as those of low-information voters (LIV), and more importantly, do their respective ideologies prevent one from in/direct action like civil obedience or disobedience. Will 8 November 2016 legitimate an illegitimate process at many levels or paint the future in blood, or neither. And in all that possible chaos, will you vote, or does it just encourage them. Sadly, one person’s denial is another’s failure of imagination.


The first was the limitations of its presidential nominee as a public speaker. Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings as an orator are not worth dwelling on at length, because, by this point in her public career, it is a fixed part of the equation. Her speech accepting the Democratic nomination was, in part, an attempt to work around that problem. In the film preceding the speech, a friend described her as a “workhorse, not a show horse.” And as she admitted, “Through all these years of public service, the ‘service’ part has always come easier to me than the ‘public’ part.”

and then there’s the amateur Left, consenting to governance and governmentality


The second problem was the determination by a faction of die-hard Bernie Sanders activists to disrupt the convention. The protesters began shouting on the first day, and despite urgent efforts to mollify them, their effect never fully disappeared.

The mostly friendly delegates were coached to break into chants to drown out the hecklers.

Whip it, whippet good!
Moar cowbell whistlers!


Republicans gleefully exploited the sometimes-awkward scenes…

Clinton showed that she is levelheaded, respectful of others, intelligent, well-informed, and very tough. In an election where sane and competent could form the basis for a rousing endorsement, she displayed more than enough.

People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? 


Some of us have never referred to ourselves as Independent voters and some are registered Democrats, and even vote straight line party votes (some of us can’t afford the time/money to be activists, and being here hopefully does sharpen the activist discourse). Fortunately, central tendency is not centrist tendency, as Blue-State voting allows for protest voting with less(sic) moral consequence, see vote swapping.

Some unfortunately have had some liberal(sic) education and actually like discussing “academic ideology” here and elsewhere, as if there was a non-academic version; oh wait…church. Darned praxis, the voting booth is still there… a closet for democratic process. The polls are not the polls.  Has representation made the promise of democracy even less direct as the scale increases and “money is the mother’s milk of politics”.

Some have even self-deported in social media in terms of GBCW exit/voice. Others have gone through a variety of actions that could be interpreted as resistance resulting in site access suspension. Others might be interpreted, however unfortunately, by the RWNJ media as Pelosi Democrats and euphemistically referred to in recent discourse as “Stalinist” by some using without PC irony, the anti-Communist rubric of pre-fall Reaganism.

Trump holding a razor at a WWE event
Trump would show up at several WrestleManias as a member of the audience, and was even interviewed in the crowd by Jesse “The Body” Ventura at WrestleMania XX in 2004. Ventura started things off by complimenting Donald’s hair (it should be noted “The Body” was wearing a bandana atop his head), then the former Minnesota governor teased a return to politics by asking Trump if he’d support him on a run for the White House. This prompted Jerry Lawler to wonder if we could someday see a ticket that included Trump. And we all just laughed.  www.rollingstone.com/…

The problem for some could be that one cannot be both against Third Way/DLC Democrats and be in favor of 2016 choices. OTOH, the threat to vote for any Republicans, however anathema, does raise some important academic ideology issues that led in earlier historical periods, to genocide(s) or worse. This is perhaps the Michael Moore position in thinking about a Jesse Ventura Effect, noting of course that prior to becoming Minnesota Governor, the latter was a WWE player no different than The Creamsicle.

Of course, those “independents” aren’t really independent, as Pew has consistently shown.

  • They are progressives who hate the Democratic Party, so call themselves “independent” even as they vote straight-ticket Democratic.
  • They are tea party conservatives who hate their party, so call themselves “independent” while they vote straight-party Republican.

So “independents” may be 41 percent of our traffic, but they are just as ideologically diverse as everyone else, and still mostly tied to one party or the other. 

It is not a symmetric pairing in that progressives are simply not structurally like ‘bagger conservatives in their LIV composition. The premise is that there is some ideological median established by some putative centrism. Assuming such a left/right dichotomy creates an equivalence fallacy of party hatred in a pluralistic, representational democracy based on district-level duopoly. In 2016 the winning POTUS majority could be based more on some normative version of self-governed decision-making in a voting booth. No one stays in their lane on these days of ideological diversity although perhaps (D)anger is defined by losing its “Defensiveness” more easily.



Darned swing states (like Colorado) are unfortunately divided by threes among other dynamics and of course this is an election with wacky third parties.

In late June, RCP Senior Elections Analyst Sean Trende noted an odd feature of state polling — that Trump was performing better than one might expect in swing states but fared worse in traditionally red states. This was really interesting for election wonks because most states have had relatively stable partisan leanings in recent elections. The Trump vs. Clinton matchup looked like it might loosen some of those divisions and maybe make for a more interesting map.

And then there are entire demographic groups that have been insulted by one candidate or another.

ex-communist & cult o’personality


Everywhere else, Republicans will likely need to win or turn out a higher percentage of whites, their best group, to make up for their decline as a share of the electorate. But Democrats and the Clinton campaign can’t take this favorable trend line for granted: Over the next four months, newly eligible non-whites will need to be registered and engaged for their potential impact to be realized. Trump may be the motivation these would-be voters need.

Hard to imagine any progressive who votes regularly also hates the Democratic party since we now know via well-timed useful idiocy, that DNC primary bias and cybersecurity incompetence is giving unfortunate GOP cover for the HRC email server meme, see the saga of DWS. So meta-bashing of Bernie supporters as well as ball-spiking seems pretty stupid, especially after the DNC, and only serves RWNJ interests.



Putin’s supporters include those who, in the words of one of Alexievich’s interlocutors, “feel like they were defeated twice over: The communist Idea was crushed,” then Russia was looted by a feral crony capitalism. PutinTrumpPenceLogoAnimation.gifPutinism is bitter nostalgia on the march, and Putin is as interested in the U.S. presidential election as Trump and some of his aides are in Russian wealth. Read Franklin Foer’s Slate essay “Putin’s Puppet”:

“We shouldn’t overstate Putin’s efforts, which will hardly determine the outcome of the election. Still, we should think of the Trump campaign as the moral equivalent of Henry Wallace’s communist-infiltrated campaign for president in 1948. . . . A foreign power that wishes ill upon the United States has attached itself to a major presidential campaign.”

This Oscar-nominated documentary offers a sympathetic portrait of American communists (mostly of the past but also some of the present) by New Left directors as a tribute to Old Left politics; it’s also entertaining due to testimonies by Reagan and others.
(it is a paean to the ComIntern and its negation in the US by anti-communism)


Philly did have the usual class-based hippie-punching, but in some ways there is a similarity to the politics of labor in the interwar period. And (neo-)Stalinists are still the bad guyz!

(Harry) Bridges hewed to the Communist Party line throughout the late 1930s and 1940s. After the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed in 1939, the party attacked Roosevelt and Churchill as warmongers and adopted the slogan “The Yanks Ain’t Coming.” Bridges denounced President Roosevelt for betraying labor and preparing for war. John L. Lewis, the head of the CIO, responded in October 1939 by abolishing the position of West Coast director of the CIO, limiting Bridges’ authority to California…

Bridges’ attitude changed sharply after the end of World War II. While he still advocated the post-war plan for industrial peace that the Communist Party, along with the leaders of the CIO, the AFL and the Chamber of Commerce, were advocating, he differed sharply with CIO leadership on Cold War politics. He had his own opinions about the Marshall Plan and the application of the Truman Doctrine in Greece and Turkey, as well as participation in the World Federation of Trade Unions, viewing every element from the point of how it would affect his constituents.



Those foreign policy issues became labor issues for the ILWU in 1948, when the employers claimed that the union was preparing to strike in order to cripple the Marshall Plan. Emboldened by the new provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which required union officers to sign an oath that they were not members of the Communist Party, outlawed the closed shop, and gave the President authority to seek an 80-day “cooling off” period before a strike that would imperil the national health or safety, the employers pushed for a strike. They hoped to rid themselves of Bridges and reclaim control over the hiring hall. As it turned out, their strategy was a failure. The employer group reached a new agreement with the union after replacing their bargaining representatives and enduring a ninety-five-day strike.

At the same time, Philip Murray, Lewis’ successor as head of the CIO, had started reducing Bridges’ power within the CIO, removing him from his position as the CIO’s California Regional Director in 1948. In 1950, after an internal trial, the CIO expelled the ILWU due to its communist leadership.

Seeing Red (1983)



The documentary film looks at the political activities and activism of Americans who were members or supporters of the American Communist Party. It is one of the first non-fiction films to examine the role of a third political party in the United States.

About 400 known and unknown American communists were interviewed during this five-year documentary project, and the results culled down to an intriguing 100 minutes of screen time. As secretaries, factory workers, farmers, and intellectuals discuss the past, their insights provide both humor and pathos, but most of all, the interviewees emerge as human beings whose main interest has remained in lowering the gap between the haves and have nots. The documentary notes that as a result of leftist agitation, the United States adopted programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance faster 


General John Allen, who I never met but spoke against me last night, failed badly in his fight against ISIS. His record = BAD

General John Allen may be a Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Democrat, whereas some pro-military progressives are more spitzer boat-tail ones. As I wrote in an earlier piece on military (post-)Keynesianism, you can’t resist drone warfare and condone maintaining existing or even expanding MIC/PIC budgets see new series of US aircraft carriers and the United States power projection strategy.

“War is a bourgeois institution a thousand times more powerful than all the other bourgeois institutions. We accept it as a fact like the bourgeois schools and try to utilise it.” He continues: “In the union I can say I am for the Fourth International. I am against war. But I am with you. I will not sabotage the war. I will be the best soldier just as I was the best and most skilled worker in the factory. At the same time I will try to convince you too that we should change society.” (Writings, 1939-40, p. 256).

But democratic activism has always been about love— love of country, love of humanity, love of self-determination, and not love of property, of power, of dominion…

 “The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.”


is positive/negative voting dialectic



An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps.

  • First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim).
  • Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of “argument” has the following form:
  1. Person A makes claim X.
  2. Person B makes an attack on person A.
  3. Therefore A’s claim is false.

The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).



None of the Above (NOTA), also known as “against all” or a “scratch” vote, is a ballot option in some jurisdictions or organizations, designed to allow the voter to indicate disapproval of all of the candidates in a voting system. It is based on the principle that consent requires the ability to withhold consent in an election, just as they can by voting no on ballot questions.

I know... I know. He wasn't gonna throw it.
Las Vegas


Entities that include “None of the Above” on ballots as standard procedure include India (“None of the above”), Greece (λευκό, white, but unrelated to a political party of the similarly sounding name-however it is symbolic only), the U.S. state of Nevada (None of These Candidates), Ukraine (Проти всіх), Spain (voto en blanco), and Colombia (voto en blanco). Russia had such an option on its ballots (Против всех) until it was abolished in 2006



Consent is central to the concept of democracy. But consent is only measurable if it is possible to withhold it. In the context of elections, this withholding of consent MUST be formal as consenting (voting) is formal. Yet it is currently impossible to do this.

Abstaining is not formally withholding consent, it is simply not participating and can be dismissed as voter apathy with no further analysis. Spoiling the ballot in protest is not formally withholding consent either as they are lumped in with those spoiled in error. Any spoiled vote count is therefore meaningless as a measure of voter discontent. And neither abstaining or ballot spoiling affects the election result in any way.

Having a formal ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option on ballot papers is the only way to formally withhold consent at an election.

For this reason, NOTA can be shown to be a democratic pre-requisite. As such, inclusion of it would be achievable, with enough understanding and support for it among the general public, because to argue against NOTA is to argue against the concept of democracy itself, once both ideas are properly understood. The powers-that-be must be seen to be pro-democracy at all times, even if they aren’t in practice. NOTA, essential in any true democracy, is therefore achievable. All other touted reforms, PR for example, are seen as desirable only, so can be paid lip service to and ignored by those in power.

This is why NOTA should be the ground zero of electoral reform.

OTOH when you have Don Lemon, make Don Lemonade:

Here are 50 actual excerpts from the GOP platform spelled out by Steven Rosenfeld, Alternet | July 21, 2016:

Here are 50 shockingly extreme right-wing proposals in the 2016 GOP platform

The sections covered (with excepts and explanations @ Steven Rosenfelds post)

1. Tax cuts for the rich 2. Deregulate the banks 3. Stop consumer protection  4. Start repealing environmental laws  5. Start shrinking unions and union labor  6. Privatize federal railway service  7. No change in federal minimum wage  8. Cut government salaries and benefits  9. Appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices  10. Appoint anti-LGBT and anti-Obamacare justices  11. Legalize anti-LGBT discrimination  12. Make Christianity a national religion  13. Loosen campaign finance loopholes and dark money  14. Loosen gun controls nationwide  15. Pass an anti-choice constitutional amendment  16. End federal funding for Planned Parenthood  17. Allow states to shut down abortion Clinics  18. Oppose stem cell scientific research  19. Oppose executive branch policy making  20. Oppose efforts to end the electoral college  21. Require citizenship documents to register to vote  22. Ignore undocumented immigrants when drawing congressional districts  23. No labeling of GMO ingredients in food products  24. Add work requirements to welfare and cut food stamps  25. Open America’s shores to more oil and gas drilling  26. Build the Keystone XL Pipeline  27. Expand fracking and burying nuclear waste  28. No tax on carbon products  29. Ignore global climate change agreements  30. Privatize Medicare, the health plan for seniors  31. Turn Medicaid, the poor’s health plan, over to states  32. No increasing Social Security benefits by taxing the rich  33. Repeal Obamacare  34. Give internet service providers monopoly control  35. Make English the official U.S. language  36. No amnesty for undocumented immigrants  37. Build a border wall to keep immigrants out  38. Require government verification of citizenship of all workers  39. Penalize cities that give sanctuary to migrants  40. Puerto Rico should be a state but not Washington DC  41. Support traditional marriage but no other families  42. Privatize government services in the name of fighting poverty  43. Require bible study in public schools  44. Replace traditional public schools with privatized options  45. Replace sex education with abstinence-only approaches  46. Privatize student loans instead of lowering interest rates  47. Restore the death penalty  48. Dramatically increase Pentagon budget  49. Cancel Iran nuclear treaty and expand nuclear arsenal  50. Reaffirm support for Israel and slam sanctions movement

 — a dystopian nightmare of a platform


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4 Responses to purge those free radicals – eight years is not enough

  1. pete says:

    Not to be too crude, but the “T” should be directly over the “U” in the Putin/Trump/Pence? logo. The visuals would be more direct.

    I try to get my news from as many sources as possible, it helps to show how different groups can see and interpret one action. One of the sources I check regularly is RT (Russia Today), on some stories they provide depth and an alternate view. You do, however, have to remember who ultimately controls their point of view. Nowhere has this been more evident than on their reporting of the DNC/wikileaks story.
    Sometimes I even watch the “news” part of FoxNews. Fox and Friends, O’Rielly and Hannity are a bit much for me, though. To me the scary part of Fox is that they make no distinction between news and commentary.

  2. ann summers says:

    actually, what Putin is doing is no different than Fidel Castro offering to send election observers during the 2000 US elections, OTOH there is some evidence that the GOP platform was “influenced” by contact with the GOP prior to its drafting

  3. Rosenfeld’s compilation of the fifty GOP platform planks is scary when you see it condensed all in one place.

  4. wordcloud9 says:

    I’ve been advocating NOTA for decades – it’s the only way I can see to get more people to register and vote. I’ve run into far too many people who say they don’t bother to vote because “it won’t make any difference,” or “both parties are the same.”

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