The “Who CARES Act”: Corporate Welfare Plus Reply

A reasonably decent article from Politico explaining what a joke the “stimulus” actually is. Basically, corporate welfare plus. Republicans and conventional conservatives have made much fun of the various “special interest” provisions that got tacked on to the bill. However, as usual, they fail to recognize that corporations, financial institutions, and businesses are the biggest special interests of all, but the kind Republicans love. So basically what happened is that the Republican and Democratic leadership collaborated to “bailout” the ruling class (as if the most powerful ruling class in history needs bailing out), with run-of-the-mill Democrats trying to bleed a little extra for the various bureaucracies they represent, and the supposed “left-wing” Democrats trying to get a little more for their favorite “progressive” causes (“gotta have that diversity, Planned Parenthood, and green whatever”). This crap was passed 96-0 in the Senate and as far as I know, as I haven’t been able to find a precise vote count, only one voice of dissent was raised in the House (this Massie guy that everyone is now hating on).  Read the article here.

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Kevin Michael Grace explains Trump’s presidency Reply

A paleoconservative commentator explains why Trumpism represents an insurgency by the old bourgeoisie and its allies against the managerial elite. I frequently find the work of reactionaries and traditional conservatives interesting because they offer many cogent critiques of the contemporary ruling class, given that their vantage point is that of outsiders, even if I reject their “turn back the clock” ethos.

Kevin Michael Grace elucidates Trump’s presidency through the prism of Sam Francis’ posthumous magnum opus: Leviathan and Its Enemies

April Fool! Reply

Just send the landlord an envelope with a note saying, “I bet you thought this envelope was going to contain my rent check. April Fool!”

What happens on the first of the month when residents, restaurants, and retail stores don’t pay rent?

By Henry Grabar

Slate

In a pandemic, the rent eats last.

That seems to be the desperate consensus as a growing number of residential tenants, small businesses, and national chains, in a game of chicken with nervous landlords, prepares to withhold rent for the month of April.

More than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, five times as many claims as the previous weekly record set in October 1982. Even so, that statistic understates how much money people aren’t making, because it doesn’t count undocumented workers, gig economy or freelance workers, or people who have been laid off but haven’t filed. Finally, all those numbers are from last week—before shelter-in-place orders had been issued in New York, California, and Illinois.

The astonishing job loss hints at the revenue crisis in restaurants, where data from Open Table shows restaurant reservations declining 100 percent in the United States since last year, and in retail, where many stores have been forced to close indefinitely. According to a 2016 JPMorgan study, the median independent retailer has enough cash to last 19 days; the median independent restaurant has enough for 16 days.

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Why Are Progressives Voting For Ultimate Screwing Of America? Reply

This is a must-watch.  Jimmie Dore and Max Blumenthal describe how the “stimulus bill” is to the economy/class relations what the PATRIOT Act was to civil liberties and what the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was to foreign policy. And the entire spectrum of the political class, from the most liberal Democrats to the most conservative Republicans, have done nothing to stop it. And “progressives” have simply rolled over and played dead.

Ben Shapiro Vs Tucker Carlson | Capitalism & Populism Reply

This video is over a year old, but it’s a good description of the neoliberal vs. populist division that is growing on the US right, just like there is a growing division between neoliberals and social democrats on the US left. The consequences of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama neoliberal paradigm are now obvious enough and have been since at least 2008, which is why populist-reformist movements have developed since then, e.g. Tea Party, Occupy, Sandernistas, Trumpians, AOC’s social democracy, Carlson’s “national conservatism,” etc. Regrettably, none of these movements have been able to get past the fixation on electoralism, reformism, statism, the capitalism/socialism false dichotomy, and culture war tribalism.

Some commentators, like the folks at Rising, keep calling for a realignment pitting left/right populists against left/right neoliberals, but that ain’t happening. Too much cultural tribal conflict is in the way. Instead, as the Democratic neoliberals and Republican neoliberals continue to try to out-scumbag each other, and left/right populists continue to fail, more extreme movements from the left and right will likely develop (for which creepy groups like the Antifa and Proud Boys are prototypes). I don’t think it will become a Weimar-like scenario with the liberal-capitalist center being threatened with outright communism from the left and fascism from the right. It will probably be more like Latin America or South Asia where the entrenched oligarchy holds its position against the impoverished masses, with left and right extremists engaging in terrorism on the margins. In other words, the US is becoming less of a modern post-scarcity middle-class oriented bourgeois society (as Sanders and Carlson are constantly lamenting), and more of a traditional society with a traditional class hierarchy in terms of wealth distribution.  The good news is that it will largely be the end of the US international empire in the long run as multipolarity continues to develop.

 

I Hate Leftist Economics Reply

Like many people, Styx is confused about what “leftist” economics actually is. As Murray Rothbard demonstrated, state-socialism was a reactionary effort that had its intellectual roots in Counter-Enlightenment thinkers like Jean Jacques Rousseau and G.W.F. Hegel. What Americans think of as “socialism” is really progressivism, i.e. the deification of the public administration state that was developed in Prussia in the 19th century, and imported into the US by intellectuals educated in German universities in opposition to America’s classical liberal tradition. English Fabianism is a comparable tradition, one based on the furtherance of supposed social reform through the enlightened management of the educated classes. As Noam Chomsky and Larry Gambone have argued, the central thrust of historic socialism was always something more like anarchism. It was in the 20th century that socialism came to be identified with statism due to its cooptation by progressives and Fabians (“social democrats”) in the Western countries, and its subversion by Bolshevism in the Eastern countries.

And not to sound like Dinesh D’souza here, but it could be argued that between the 1860s and 1960s, the Republicans were the more left-wing party in the US. Certainly, that was true in the Civil War era when the Republicans were the party of the liberal-capitalist industrial bourgeoisie with the Democrats being the party of the agrarian gentry and semi-feudal slavery.  Beginning in the Progressive Era, the Democrats were a coalition of Southern agrarian racialists and Northern progressives who admired the Prussian model, with the Republicans being a liberal bourgeois party that was often to the left of the Democrats on black civil rights issues, and that’s more or less how it was until the 1960s when the Democrats did an about-face on civil rights, and the Nixon Republicans brought the segregationists into their camp.

AOC Screams Against Stimulus Bill Then Votes For It Reply

In the end, social democrats always fail. This principle was originally demonstrated in 1914 when the parliamentary deputies of the German Social Democratic Party voted to grant war credits to the regime of Kaiser Wilhelm II (read the story here). To the degree that the state ever does anything good, it happens only as a result of massive external pressure from the outside. Electoralism is a complete waste of time unless it is done solely for propaganda purposes. Even if one sees value in electoral participation, it should never be anything other than an afterthought. The do-gooders who have spent countless energy and money promoting figures like Bernie Sanders would have done much better to develop dual power systems that are external to the state.

Media Suddenly Realizes Bernie Was Right Reply

I generally agree with Kyle’s criticisms of the Republicans and neoliberal Democrats, but this Berniebro ode to statism is a bit difficult to watch. No, Kyle, we don’t need more central planning in response to coronavirus. Actually, the trend has been that decentralized decision-making processes have been more effective than centralized ones. Individual countries have been more effective at controlling the virus than global or transnational institutions. Individual states have often been ahead of the feds, and some localities have been ahead of the states. The private sector has frequently been ahead of the government, and labor unions have often been ahead of both the private and public sectors. Non-state and non-commercial activist organizations have frequently been ahead of everyone. Quarantines and social distancing are largely being enforced through voluntary means or social pressures. Meanwhile, the central government has primarily responded by facilitating a ruling looting spree while throwing a few crumbs to the peasants.