Hos Before Schmoes?

During the first Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton relentlessly emphasized that she would become the first woman president if she wins. Ignored was the man next to her, Bernie Sanders. His election would also make history.

44 thoughts on “Hos Before Schmoes?

  1. “*true* socialism, comes down to fine definitions – but fairly close to zero. There’s never been a case where the government was completely successful in controlling the entire economy although some have come close. If you wish to include ‘equality’ as a criterion, then nobody’s ever achieved it.”

    No mention of the working class taking control of the state. When it comes to a definition of socialism, why not stick with Marx: The working class takes over the state and remakes it to fill its new role of working to build toward communism – a classless society without exploitation.

    “Ask the next Tibetan you see whether China is anti-imperialist. As for the USSR, ask someone from Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, etc.”

    The only Tibetan I have run into, as far as I know, owns a shop selling Tibetan wares. As a bourgeois exile living outside of Tibet, I imagine he is not a big fan of the People’s Republic of China. However, most Tibetans surely do not miss feudalism and the god-king Dalai Lama who ruled over them (or his brother who led a group of terrorists killing peasants and sabotaging the efforts to build socialism there).

    I do know someone from Czechoslovakia and he has a very favorable view of the USSR, but that’s because he’s a communist. He says when he was younger he pined away for some of the “material freedoms” of the West, but in retrospect he appreciates the social safety net, guaranteed employment and sense of community that he had under socialism.

    “Usually “socialism” has been an excuse to grab control and impose a totalitarian government, or as in the case of the USSR, a communist revolution gone sour. Trotsky and Lenin may have had high ideals, but Stalin had other ideas.”

    And how do you know all this? Have you ever read the works of Stalin? Have you ever taken the time to really get the other side of the story – from the source?

    “As you of course know, Marx saw socialism as an intermediate step between capitalism and communism. He never saw socialism as a desirable state in and of itself. A true communist society: exactly zero.”

    This much is true, for the most part.

    “Progressive is another thing entirely. Most countries of the world are freer today than they ever have been before. Even in the USA we are progressing on some fronts even as we regress on others.”

    This last comment pretty much leaves me speechless. I would ask though, what are the progressive things, and what are the regressive ones? Also, on balance, is the U.S. mostly progressive or mostly regressive?

    • > why not stick with Marx: The working class takes over the state and remakes it to fill its new role of working to build toward communism – a classless society without exploitation.

      Yes, that was indeed Marx’s dream. But “the working class” is busy working, and so you need a revolutionary committee or Politburo or such to coordinate the redistribution of wealth. You give a small group of people a large amount of power – and power corrupts. That’s what happened to the Bolsheviks.

      I’m much closer to being a communist than I am a socialist, FWIW. I just don’t think you’re likely get there through socialism in the real world.

      “I would ask though, what are the progressive things, and what are the regressive ones?”

      I could point you at various dictionaries …

      In general, more personal freedom is progressive, and more centralized power is regressive. More happiness / healthiness for all is progressive while restricting them to the few is regressive. It is progressive to distribute the wealth that society creates to the people who created it, and it is regressive for a small group to grab it for themselves.

      Specifics: Gay marriage is progressive, Citizens United is regressive, and the Great Firewall of China is extremely regressive. Highly-privileged 1%ers are regressive in both places, oppression of the worker class in both places is likewise regressive, but the workers in the USA do have safer workplaces and shorter hours.

      “Also, on balance, is the U.S. mostly progressive or mostly regressive?”

      Historically: very progressive. We’ve made a lot of progress since the days of feudalism.

      Today: going too far to the regressive side, even as we make social progress the true power is increasingly in the hands of the oligarchs.

      Same question back at you for China.

      • You have really drunk the Kool-Aid. If you can’t begin to see that the U.S. is the most reactionary, evil empire the world has ever seen, then you are probably beyond all help. If you can manage it, you should really try to break through all the propaganda and take an open and honest look at how the rest of the world sees your beloved “shining city on the hill.”

        Below is a primer on U.S. propaganda:

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/15/how-to-fight-western-propaganda/

      • Of fer chissake moron – I have a much more realistic view of the USA than you do of [insert name of theoretically socialist country] It is entirely possible to disbelieve “both sides” propaganda.

        I *know* the US is imperialistic & doesn’t live up to its ostensible ideals. I say so all the time. The fact that you have formed strong opinions about my supposed naivete says more about you than me. It also calls into question your other opinions – were they based on facts or wishful thinking?

        So how much are Russian shills paid nowadays?

      • If you’ve followed Trolecenter’s posts, you’ve noticed the pattern.

        He starts out quoting Pravda’s press releases and trashing the US. Ask him the obvious followup questions, and he responds with red herrings, non sequitors and evasions. Push, and he turns to the attack where he was formerly polite. It’s straight out of the Internet Shills’ Handbook.

        It’s kinda like reading reviews on Amazon – you quickly learn to spot the shills. And boy, oh, boy is this one ever a shill. Most Russian expats will happily discuss some of the things wrong with their former country, Trolecenter won’t even admit they exist. Nope, it’s all rainbows and unicorns behind the iron curtain, a true communist workers’ paradise and everyone gets their own pony.

      • Gee whillikers, derlehrer – I disagreed with you on one whole issue. Don’t you think it’s about time you got over it?

      • But CrazyH, is the issue here really a disagreement between yourself and mein verehrter Lehrer with respect to a single question ? As I read the thread, the primary disagreement here lies between yourself and prolecenter, whom you accuse of argumenta ad hominem, while at the same allowing yourself to refer to him or her with epithets like «moron», «Russian shill», «Trolecenter», etc….

        In this case, is it so very surprising that mein verehrter Lehrer has permitted himself to point out that ad hominem attacks have been flying on this thread and that certain pots have decried the calignosity of certain kettles ?…

        Henri

      • The argument with derlehrer to which I am referring happened a few days ago, he’s had his panties in a bunch ever since.

        As for transparent shills like Trolecenter, I make no apologies for berating them whatsoever. But if you would read the exchanges in this column in chronological order, you will note that I refrained from personal attacks until after he initiated them.

        Should you read more of his posts, you’ll notice the exact pattern I stated. It’s like trying to have a conversation with a spambot.

      • Ah, here you go Henri –

        You’ll note that I tried to have a polite conversation on a subject where we disagreed. derlehrer got more & more shrill and insulting with each reply, until I finally smacked him back in kind. Frankly, I cut him a lot more slack than I would have most people.

      • In the event, CrazyH, that your argument with mein vererhter Lehrer took place on another thread, it would perhaps have been wise to mention that fact when responding to him on this one, for the elucidation of those less familiar with the matter than yourself. But be that as it may, I note that his comment on the type of argumentation used in this thread was not inaccurate ; indeed, such locutions as having one’s «panties in a bunch» might well be considered to be a further demonstration of the accuracy of his observation….

        I’m not certain what the classical rhetorical term for «he did it first» is, but the device being so common, I’m rather sure there is one 😉

        Henri

      • I’ve been discussing politics on the internet since the first Bush admin. I used to be one of those guys who was always asking others to tone it down and be nice.

        I gave it up sometime during the Clinton admin. Political discussion has always been heated, but during that period the GOPranos went full-on attack mode for even the slightest disagreement.

        But I seem to recall you making some mocking & insulting posts yourself. Ain’t nobody here but us kettles.

      • «But I seem to recall you making some mocking & insulting posts yourself. Ain’t nobody here but us kettles.» Indeed not. But then, perhaps, we needn’t become quite so incensed when one of our interlocutors points it out… 🙂

        Henri

      • @ mhenriday

        Now, if you (et al) will take a look at the recent comments on the thread entitled “In Which I Say Things About Ben Carson” there will be no doubt whatsoever with regard to the activities of a certain TROLL and his efforts to derail intelligent conversation. Such posts as “NYAH!” say it all, don’t they? No further response to a TROLL is needed. CASE CLOSED! 😀

      • Any time you want to put on your big girl panties and quite acting like a sulky school girl, I’m game.

        You want to discuss politics, you’ll occasionally run into someone who disagrees with you – even when they usually agree with you.

      • mhenriday –

        Any reasonably intelligent person will recognize that my “attacks” have been against the lack of rationale involved in the discussions, rather than against the person who presented the arguments. That is, until it was proven to be a TROLL who proved himself to be such and deserved to be called out as trolling. Only when the TROLL persisted in “ad hominem” and “non sequitur” did I challenge the presenter as being such.

      • If you dislike ad hominem attacks so much – why do you indulge in them?

        In the spirit of school children everywhere, “HE HIT ME FIRST!”

        NYAH NYAH!

  2. Maybe when Bernie is elected president the U.S. can become the very first socialist country and lead the world to a bright, new future!

    Yaaay, I can’t wait!

  3. Ted, you can’t possibly be a Sandernista can you? The guy is a charlatan. His job is to bring back into the Democratic Party fold those who have left out of disgust with the Democrats’ complicity in constant war and exploitation at home and abroad. He said so himself at the debates that he is trying to turn out the vote for the Democrats!

    Also, he is not a socialist. What kind of socialist would vote for the bombing of a socialist country (Yugoslavia)? What kind of socialist would disavow any notion of internationalism and criticize socialist or at least progressive and anti-imperialist countries like China and Russia?

    • > What kind of socialist would disavow any notion of internationalism and criticize socialist or at least progressive and anti-imperialist countries like China and Russia?

      One who realizes that those countries are neither progressive nor socialist.

      • Please name as many socialist and/or progressive countries that you know of (existing now or in the past century).

      • *true* socialism, comes down to fine definitions – but fairly close to zero.

        There’s never been a case where the government was completely successful in controlling the entire economy although some have come close. If you wish to include ‘equality’ as a criterion, then nobody’s ever achieved it.

        Ask the next Tibetan you see whether China is anti-imperialist. As for the USSR, ask someone from Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, etc.

        Usually “socialism” has been an excuse to grab control and impose a totalitarian government, or as in the case of the USSR, a communist revolution gone sour. Trotsky and Lenin may have had high ideals, but Stalin had other ideas.

        As you of course know, Marx saw socialism as an intermediate step between capitalism and communism. He never saw socialism as a desirable state in and of itself.

        A true communist society: exactly zero.

        Progressive is another thing entirely. Most countries of the world are freer today than they ever have been before. Even in the USA we are progressing on some fronts even as we regress on others.

  4. Bernie would ALSO be the second of-a-socialist-bent carpenter to become significant in the political world. I can only hope he doesn’t end up the same way as the first. …

    • But falco, we’re discussing meaningful labels here, like being a woman or a Jew, both of which are of the greatest importance when it comes to the policies a new US president might be expected to implement (under the unlikely assumption that he or she would, on being elected, actually attempt to implement the policies on which he or she ran). How could a paltry little label like «socialist» (pace, Eugen Victor Debs !) hold a candle to the ones mentioned above ?…

      Henri

      • But Henri, “self-avowed” is the meaningful label here! After all, we’ve had several socialist presidents in practice.

      • It would seem, «Jack Heart», that your knowledge of history is on a par with your knowledge of socialism. Quelle surprise !….

        Henri

      • To mhenriday,

        I will assume you have been unable to find the “tongue-in-cheek” emoticon that has also eluded me on more than one occasion.

        The “socialist” label will increase in (detrimental) meaningfulness in direct proportion to Sanders’s success in his campaign.

        I assume the drooling monsters of hate media are having a difficult time deciding who they prefer to trash in 2016: the Generalisssima or Sanders.

        Depending how desperate Sanders’s success makes the powerful, there may also be attacks based on his de-facto/avowed religion.

      • Henri,

        Although I am often complimented on my encyclopedic knowledge, it never gets old. Thanks.

      • I note, «Jack Heart», that in addition to being ignorant, you are delusional as well. Many happy returns of the day !…

        Henri

      • Well, falco, there’s always «:-J», but I must admit it doesn’t really possess the pizzazz I should like to see…. 😉

        Henri

  5. Identity politics’ own version of the race to the bottom. As Mr Sanders said : «Let’s talk about the real issues facing America [and, I might, add, the rest of the world, as the US government seems determined to blow up the whole shebang, if its global hegemony is seriously questioned].»

    Henri

  6. Napoleon is supposed to have said it first. “Never interrupt an opponent who is in the middle of making a mistake.”

    Bernie’s “to hell with the e-mails”? I think it was a brilliant move that coincided with his own attitudes.

    HRC’s e-mail scandal will either metastasize into a Watergate-sized “it’s the coverup, stupid.” In which case, it will torpedo her campaign.

    Or, it will amount to nothing, in which case, Bernie Sanders was the first to take the high road. And frankly, he’s right. Not about it being trivial. On that, he’s wrong. But the issue simply isn’t “sexy” enough. HRC can damage-control the e-mail issue for long enough to solidify her “inevitability.” Get her off the safe scandal and back onto the rocky ground of trying to explain why she keeps “evolving” right in step with whatever the polls say. She was against gay marriage until the moment it became politically expedient. She thinks Snowden’s a traitor. If the polls finally start showing people realizing what he did was necessary and patriotic? HRC would suddenly “realize” she was wrong, and she’d explain it exactly like her handlers told her to. It wouldn’t sound genuine, but she’d be convinced she was telling the truth.

    • Well, I’ve watched her change her mind (“flip-flop,” if you will) on a few things, including the TPP — but I would REALLY appreciate her coming out against glyphosate (read “Roundup” or “Monsanto”) so that I, as a Founding Member of “Ready for Hillary” could consider re-joining after my defection.

    • That part that makes me grind my teeth is that the Bush admin used private email for government correspondence as well … yet somehow the wingnuts didn’t see that as a big deal.

      Same diff with the biggest terrorist act that ever occurred on American soil; but Benghazi is somehow worth wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.

      Yeah, the VRWC is alive and well. I got nothing against torpedoing HRC, but at least make it something relevant.

      On the good news: Sanders & Clinton are neck-n-neck in the latest NH polls. The pundits say Clinton ‘won’ – but it seems like Bernie picked up more momentum out in the real world.

      • Polls are as useful in creating public opinion as they are in measuring public opinion.

        If Sanders wins 40 % of the vote and opinion polls say has only 15 %, the winners will cheat Sander’s vote totals down to squelch public outrage at vote theft.

        Recent elections have had great disparity between exit polling and vote counts, where these two measures previously had high correlations.

        Digital computerized elections are easily stolen with proprietary software. See how many state lotteries have been fraudulently manipulated after being changed from the televised drawing of numbered balls to being computerized.

        Both data and software can change the “reality” of the elections because changes are easily made en masse without being subjected to human scrutiny.

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