Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The U.S. feels like fascist Italy in 1922 because, as predicted, the 21st Century plebiscitary presidency has finally led to the establishment of caesarism



Most Americans recognize the name "Hitler" when you say it. Most Americans think you're talking about a singer-songwriter when you say "Lenin." Most Americans don't recognize the name "Mussolini" and that's a serious problem as it means they have no idea what "fascism" is.

It isn't completely their fault. As you can see from the explanation if you click on the image at the right, over a period of time "intellectual" political philosophers have turned "fascism" into a complicated political term - really far, far more complicated than was necessary.

Part of the problem is that fascism was a 20th Century ideology developed in Italy.  The term fascio literally refers to "a bundle" or "a sheaf" similar to the one shown in the image at the right, and figuratively "league" which was used in the late 19th century to refer to political groups of many different (and sometimes opposing) orientations.

In this post the subject is the 20th Century political phenomenon Italian Fascism, also known as Classical Fascism or simply fascism, as clearly explained in the linked Wikipedia entry. It is explored here because of marked similarities to what is occurring now in the United States.

The Fasci of Revolutionary Action (Fasci d'Azione Rivoluzionaria, FAR), was an Italian organization, created by Benito Mussolini in 1914. The term "Fascism" was first used in 1915 by members of Mussolini's movement.

In the first meeting of the Fasci d'Azione Rivoluzionaria held on January 24, 1915, Mussolini declared that it was necessary for Europe to resolve its national problems - including national borders - of Italy and elsewhere "for the ideals of justice and liberty for which oppressed peoples must acquire the right to belong to those national communities from which they descended." At that point, "nationalism" because the first continuing element of fascism.

At the end of World War I Italian Fascists identified their primary opponents as the majority of socialists on the left who had opposed intervention in the War. The Fascists could comfortably hold Marxism in contempt, and join the right discounting class consciousness and supporting in the rule of elites. The Fascists assisted the anti-socialist campaign by allying with the other parties and the conservative right in a mutual effort to destroy...
  1. the Italian Socialist Party and labor organizations committed to class identity and
  2. the cultural divisions of geographical areas around Italy committed to group identity
...both considered a threat to national identity.

Prior to Italian Fascism's accommodations to the political right, Fascism was a small, urban, northern Italian movement that had about a thousand members. After Fascism's accommodation of the political right, the Italian Fascist movement's membership soared to approximately 250,000 by 1921.

Italian Fascism sought to accommodate conservatives by making major alterations to its political agenda—abandoning its previous populism, republicanism and anticlericalism, adopting policies in support of free enterprise and accepting the Catholic Church and the monarchy as institutions in Italy.

To appeal to Italian conservatives, Fascism adopted policies such as promoting family values, including promotion policies designed to reduce the number of women in the workforce limiting the woman's role to that of a mother. The fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in 1926, declaring both crimes against the state. Fascism adopted a number of anti-modern positions designed to appeal to people upset with the new trends in sexuality and women's rights while seeking to secure law and order to appeal to conservatives, syndicalists, and corporatists.

In March 1921, French philosopher Georges Sorel wrote that Mussolini was "a man no less extraordinary than Lenin". After Sorel's death in 1922, Agostino Lanzillo, a one-time syndicalist leader who had become a fascist, wrote in the Italian fascist review Gerarchia, which was edited by Mussolini: "Perhaps fascism may have the good fortune to fulfill a mission that is the implicit aspiration of the whole oeuvre of the master of syndicalism: to tear away the proletariat from the domination of the Socialist party, to reconstitute it on the basis of spiritual liberty, and to animate it with the breath of creative violence. This would be the true revolution that would mold the forms of the Italy of tomorrow."

In 1921 Mussolini's organization became the National Fascist Party (Italian: Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF) winning 37 of 535 seats in the Italian Parliament.

Beginning in 1922, Fascist paramilitaries escalated their strategy from one of attacking socialist offices and homes of socialist leadership figures to one of violent occupation of cities. The Fascists met little serious resistance from authorities and proceeded to take over several northern Italian cities. The Fascists attacked the headquarters of socialist and Catholic labour unions in Cremona and imposed forced Italianization upon the German-speaking population of Trent and Bolzano. After seizing these cities, the Fascists made plans to take Rome.

On October 24, 1922, the Fascist party held its annual congress in Naples, where Mussolini ordered Blackshirts to take control of public buildings and trains and to converge on three points around Rome. The Fascists managed to seize control of several post offices and trains in northern Italy while the Italian government, led by a left-wing coalition, was internally divided and unable to respond to the Fascist advances.

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy perceived the risk of bloodshed in Rome in response to attempting to disperse the Fascists to be too high, so he appointed Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy and Mussolini arrived in Rome on 30 October to accept the appointment.

(To create a time context relative to Lenin and Hitler, when Vladimir Lenin died of a stroke on January 21, 1924, he had already headed the Soviet government for six years. At that time, Mussolini had headed the Italian Government for 15 months. Adolph Hitler was still a small-time rabble-rouser in jail awaiting trial in February at which he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison though he was pardoned after a year in prison.)

Mussolini's Fascist regime created a corporatist economic system in 1925 with creation of the Palazzo Vidioni Pact, in which the Italian employers' association Confindustria and Fascist trade unions agreed to recognize each other as the sole representatives of Italy's employers and employees, excluding non-Fascist trade unions.

A Ministry of Corporations was created that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers' strikes and lock-outs and in 1927 created the Charter of Labour, which established workers' rights and duties and created labour tribunals to arbitrate employer-employee disputes. In practice, the sectoral corporations exercised little independence and were largely controlled by the regime and employee organizations were rarely led by employees themselves, but instead by appointed Fascist party members.

By 1928 Mussolini's Fascist Party controlled the government, the military, and the economy of Italy.

Again, for time context  note that by 1928 Adolph Hitler's NSDAP held 12 seats of 490 in the Reichstag and he would not become Chancellor until 1933 after the Great Depression had demolished the German economy. But because he was leader of what we consider to be an essentially evil movement, Americans use Hitler's name regularly but know almost nothing about Mussolini's Italy and fascism. And that's unfortunate political ignorance.

Remember that fascism is an Italian creation built on the ideas of
The best explanation of Caesarism comes from Gerhard Casper's 2007 Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber which tell us Weber employed the term to stress the plebiscitary character of elections, disdain for legislatures, the non-toleration of autonomous powers within the government bureaucracy, and a failure to suffer independent political minds.

Ceasarism explains the concept of a plebiscitary presidency which relies on powers that exceed the Constitution and that is accountable only during elections or impeachment, rather than daily to the Congress, the press, and the public.

Casper provides the insight into the plebiscitary presidency in this interview of President Richard Nixon after he had resigned and left office:

    Frost: So what ... you’re saying is that there are certain situations, where the president can decide that it’s in the best interest of the nation or something, and do something illegal.
    Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.
    Frost: By definition.
    Nixon: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating the law.

Finally, Casper notes this warning:

    ...One of its best known invocations is, of course, by Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West, a book that first came out in 1918, i.e., more or less contemporaneously with Weber’s essay. In a world history table on “political epochs” that accompanied The Decline of the West, Spengler identified the period from 1800 to 2000 as the period where, in the West, economic power permeates the political forms of “democracy” (a word he placed in quotes) to be followed in the years 2000 to 2100 by the formation of caesarism. The caesarism that Spengler predicted for the 21st century he described, inter alia, as “Increasing Primitiveness of Political Forms. Inward decline of the nations into a formless population, and constitution thereof as an Imperium of gradually-increasing crudity of despotism.”

Benito Mussolini said in Rome on September 24, 1928: "E' meglio vivere un giorno da leone che 100 anni da pecora" (it is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a lamb). Or as tweeted by Trump:

Perhaps in 2018 we are clearly seeing the caesarism that Spengler predicted for the 21st century. By proudly with gusto issuing numerous legally questionable Executive Orders, Donald Trump is acknowledging Nixon's statement "If the president, for example, approves something...then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating the law."

And one can certainly understand why Spengler would put "democracy" in quotes. No political body of the U.S. government represents the majority of the voters, not President Trump, not the U.S. Senate, not the U.S. House of Representatives, not the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of course, it remains to be seen how it all plays out. America in 2018 is different from Italy in 1922. But it does appear that a Faustian bargain has been made by Americans just as it was by Italians. And the fascist model is spreading again.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

As the midterm election approaches we should be in great fear of Climate Change. Why aren't we?

Beginning in posts here in 2011, the impacts on our grandchildren of governmental policy failures became the term used to create context about our failures as a people.

This grandchildren reference most pointedly has been used with regard to Climate Change.

Because agencies of the United States government and the Chinese government recently have accepted as inevitable a near-maximum catastrophic impact from Climate Change, the subject must be taken up again. The May 2018 Chinese study, which corresponds to the July official projections accepted and published by the Trump Administration, is unequivocal.

Of course, almost no living person in the Baby Boom generation (or older) will be alive to experience the full catastrophic impact even in the earliest year of the Chinese models - 2064. And at least half of the Gen X generation will be gone before the Chinese model "most likely" full catastrophic impact year - 2084.

That means Climate Change is still a somewhat abstract concept to the generations of people who will turnout in the greatest percentages in the upcoming Midterm Election. And too many of them keep telling themselves it is a lie as they try to figure out how to stay in their home until they die, in many cases despite regular flooding or wildfires or both.

And by "them" I must include "me" because as I wrote in 2016 Al Gore's campaign on climate policy beginning "40 years ago, he..., well, kids..., my generation failed him and you." 


We have already changed the world catastrophically

As explained in a previous post here, Elizabeth Kolbert is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who has won many awards for her extensive writings on Climate Change. In that post a quote from the 2015 update to her 2006 Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change summed up the situation (emphasis added):

    In the years since I wrote this book I’ve been asked hundreds of variations on the question: “What should I do?” What people seem to be looking for is both advice on concrete actions they can take and the assurance that what they do will make a difference. Given the paralysis of the political system, the time lag built into the climate system, and the high likelihood that the threshold of DAI [dangerous anthropogenic interference] has now been crossed, it’s difficult to offer such assurances. We have already changed the world dramatically, indeed quite probably catastrophically. But even when it comes to catastrophe, distinctions can be made. What we choose to do—or not to do—in the coming decades will determine the future both for our own kind and for the millions of other species with whom we share this planet. It is possible that we could still limit warming to around two degrees Celsius, and it is also possible that we could lock in warming of six degrees Celsius or more. These two possibilities represent radically different worlds.

In her 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History she explains that the Earth is in the midst of a man-made sixth extinction, chronicling previous mass extinction events, and comparing them to the accelerated, widespread extinctions of our present time. In a July 2014 interview on The Daily Show with John Stewart promoting the book at the end they both acknowledge a kind of despair:


Even by 2015 she still said: "But even when it comes to catastrophe, distinctions can be made." In this week's The New Yorker Kolbert expressed her frustrated outrage (emphasis added):

    Last week, the United Nations’ scientific advisory board delivered its assessment of those numbers. The findings of the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, were almost universally—and justifiably—described as “dire.” Even 1.5 degrees’ worth of warming, the I.P.C.C. warned, is likely to be disastrous, with consequences that include, but are not limited to, the loss of most of the world’s coral reefs, the displacement of millions of people by sea-level rise, and a decline in global crop yields. Meanwhile, at the current rate of emissions, the world will have run through the so-called carbon budget for 1.5 degrees within the next decade or so. “It’s like a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” Erik Solheim, the executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, told the Washington Post.
    But, if a smoke alarm rings in the kitchen and everyone’s watching “Fox & Friends” in the den, does it make a sound? Asked about the report last week, Donald Trump said, “I want to look at who drew it—you know, which group drew it.” The answer seemed to indicate that the President had never heard of the I.P.C.C., a level of cluelessness that, while hardly a surprise, was nevertheless dismaying. The next day, as a devastating hurricane hit Florida—one made that much more destructive by the warming that’s already occurred—the President flew to Pennsylvania to campaign for Lou Barletta, a climate-change-denying Republican congressman running for the Senate.
    Though the Administration often seems incapable of systematic action, it has spent the past eighteen months systematically targeting rules aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. One of these rules, which required greater fuel efficiency for cars and trucks, would have reduced CO2 emissions by an estimated six billion tons over the lifetime of the affected vehicles. In a recent filing intended to justify the rollback, the Administration predicted that, by the end of this century, global temperatures will have risen by almost four degrees Celsius (nearly seven degrees Fahrenheit). In this context, the Administration argued, why would anyone care about a mere six billion tons? Come the apocalypse, it seems, we’ll all want to be driving S.U.V.s.
    ...Meanwhile, two and a half degrees, three degrees, or even, per the Trump Administration, four degrees of warming are all realistic possibilities. Indeed, based on recent trends, the last figure seems the most likely. Globally, emissions rose last year, and they’re expected to rise still further this year. This disaster is going to be as bad—as very, very bad—as we make it.
 
Yes. "This disaster is going to be as bad—as very, very bad—as we make it." Unfortunately, in 2018 in both the U.S. and China formal findings have been made that we have "locked in warming" of 4°± Celsius most likely within 60 years.

Under the direction of the Trump Administration the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with the cooperation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Year 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks proposing reduced average fuel economy standards for those vehicles.

The DEIS has determined that the draft official policy of the United States government will be acceptance of a near worst case scenario, a 4.387°C (7.876°F) global temperature rise since 1880 by 2100. That is because any lesser scenario would require deep cuts in carbon emissions to avoid this drastic warming. A lesser scenario “would require substantial increases in technology innovation and adoption compared to today’s levels...which is not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible.”

Take it from someone who has prepared similar such documents - that DEIS is a thorough document.

One might wish to claim that if the Trump Administration would just get on board, things might be different. But in China, home to the world's second largest (and sooner or later, largest) economy, the same conclusion was reached.

In May a collaborative research team from China published a new analysis that shows the Earth's climate would increase by 4 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels, most likely by 2084. They found that most of the models projected an increase of 4°C as early as 2064 and as late as 2095, with 2084 appearing as the median year.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide a comprehensive picture of the mean and extreme climate changes associated with higher levels of global warming based on state-of-the art climate models, which is of high interest to the decision-makers and the public," said Dabang Jiang, a senior researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Perhaps some would want to dismiss both government agencies as being too pessimistic. The problem is in 1995, now 23 years ago,  then Vice-President Gore reflected on his experienced reality in a 1995 New York Times article:
"We are in an unusual predicament as a global civilization," Al Gore said when I interviewed him early in his Vice Presidency. "The maximum that is politically feasible, even the maximum that is politically imaginable right now, still falls short of the minimum that is scientifically and ecologically necessary."
In other words, as Kobert outlined in The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History various species have already gone extinct. Others are adapting, doing things like moving to higher elevations. But they haven't experienced anything close to the impacts of an increase of 4°C which will strain every species including humans.

The species that all living human beings on this planet belong to is Homo sapiens. During a time of dramatic climate change 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens (modern humans) evolved in Africa. We evolved out of a time of dramatic climate change and we could go extinct in a time dramatic climate change.

Unless, of course, we successfully adapt. But that would require a broad acceptance of what's coming - the impacts of an increase of 4°C, perhaps as early as 2064 but certainly no later than then end of the 21st Century.

The impacts in most presentations include discussions of sea water depths and temperature rises. In terms of human populations, in the popular American press usually we only read about people on some Pacific island or populations living in Trump's "shithole" countries.

In 2010 scientists noted that higher resolution modelling studies project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km (60 mi) of the storm centre. But it wasn't until this month, eight years later, we see the following headlines:
And yet no politician is adequately creating in the U.S. population fear of the coming impacts of Climate Change, unless you mistakenly consider migration from Central America an impact. The one American truth about Climate Change impacts as a subject is the complete lack of presentation focused on the geographic centers of Progressive populations compared to the Deplorables populations.

(And most certainly no one is mentioning the many, many American billionaires quietly investing in expensive homes on hundreds or thousands of acres of ranch land in the area of the Eastern Slope of the Continental divide. But that's another subject.)


Awareness has only begun with sea rise and a wildfire-mudslide cycle

To begin to understand the reality, watch this news feature video done by Australians limited to sea rise impacts, recognizing that it was done in 2017 before the new numbers:


Since two of the featured locales are on the Gulf of Mexico, take a look at these comparative maps - the right side is what not too long ago many thought would be the maximum impact, the left side is what we now project will happen in 60± years while the right side is maybe 20 years out (click on the image for a larger version):


Do look at the larger version particularly if you think you might want to invest now in what will be beach front real estate in Tallahassee, Florida, or Houston, Texas, or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It will be valuable property you can bequest to your descendants.

Not featured in the video are two U.S. West Coast locales that haven't experienced any visible sea rise impact because they aren't ocean front communities - Sacramento, California, and Portland Oregon. With the 4°± Celsius sea rise most likely within 60 years, folks there might want to consider these maps  (click on the image for a larger version):


As can be seen on the left, with a rise of 4°C all of Sacramento and much of its surrounds will be inundated. This is because the Sacramento and San Joaquin River confluence areas will be impacted by the rising waters in the San Francisco Bay. (What we know as "The Delta" will no longer exist except as a bay.)

And all of downtown Portland and large swaths of areas adjacent to the Columbia River will be inundated. This is because the waters in the Columbia River will discharge into a much higher ocean outlet, causing the water to rise inland as far as the Bonneville Dam.

(Anyone can use the tools offered at Surging Seas, part of the website.)

Rising seas along with the recent wildfire-mudslide cycles provide strong visual presentations. In the video above we even see the beginnings of the "migration from" patterns within the United States due to sea rise.

In California, we now read ‘Fire-floods’ are the new threat in California disasters. Where will they strike next? which offers this video:





Then comes agricultural production losses with eco-system changes

But this doesn't even begin to expore the impacts of eco-system changes and resulting changes in agricultural production.

With a 4°C of global warming the likelihood "substantial species extinctions" and "large risks to global and regional food security" is "extremely high" according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In other words, the ecosystem transformation will be unavoidable. And while you may not be concerned about that frog or cricket in the field down the road, you may want to eat.

Food production is a huge concern.  Now here's where communications skills were, and still are, lacking in Democrats. Consider this.
"A growing number of studies suggest it would become significantly more difficult for the world to grow food with 3°C or 4°C of global warming."
It's unfortunate. Scientific truths are saddled with terms like "extremely high", "growing number", "suggest" and "more difficult." Nonethless, climate science studies when tied to economic information indicate that not only will your grandchildren's diet look radically different they may not have enough to eat. What we know as the American middle-class and poorer families will struggle to fund three meals a day. Parents will have to join their kids for lunch using the school lunch program.

Ignoring all of the rest of the world, graphics like the one at the left are used to tell us that radical shifts in agricultural production will be required in the areas within the circles. This is how the threat to our grandchildren is communicated! Large broad strokes are offered which cause eyes to glaze over. It doesn't say to folks in Red States "your descendants will go hungry!"

That means substantial changes in production in the United States - as a nation the U.S. will become far less self-sufficient when it comes to obtaining food. But the average Trump supporter can't get that from the narrative offered at the right.

And that is what ultimately allowed people to ignore the Climate Change problem. Scientists don't assert a truth, they describe what might be the case, if.... In a case like this they do this because there is no exact experience, no mathematical absolute. There are data variations, chances, unknowns.

And if we all wait to see what will actually happen, we'll know all the frogs and crickets are dead just before we all starve, or die of heat, or flooding. Because like frogs, we need time to adapt, so unless we start now.....

U.S. production of corn, much of which is used to feed livestock could be cut in half by a 4˚C increase in global temperatures. A study by Purdue University note that warmer overnight temperatures in Indiana have contributed to reduced corn yields over the last decade. Elevated overnight temperatures increase plant respiration, reducing sugar availability for grain production, and it can affect the timing and success of pollination—resulting in lower crop yield. Observations show that Indiana corn yields are reduced by about 2 percent for every 1°F increase in overnight temperatures during July.

The study suggests such things as breeding corn for traits that improve factors contributing to yield in warmer conditions, may also help offset the effect of warming overnight temperatures. But we need to know that this takes time and money.

More than half of California's Central Valley is projected to be no longer suitable for growing crops like apricots, peaches, plums and walnuts sometime around the middle of the century. By the end of the century, that’s projected to grow to 90 percent or more of the valley!

Tapan Pathak, a scientist and climate adaptation extension specialist at the University of California, Merced, who was the lead author of a 2018 study Climate Change Trends and Impacts on California Agriculture: A Detailed Review explained: “There is a clear need and urgency for adaptation research to make California agriculture resilient to future climate risks,”  In that localized research, he said, “priority should be given to crops and commodities that are most vulnerable to climate impacts."

Other studies of the U.S. indicate that some crop production can be shift northward, much like the animals and plants moving to higher elevations, though volume will be reduced without other adaptation breakthroughs.

Hopefully, the Climate Change hoax bluster of the Republicans will not keep agricultural research unfunded.

Regarding Al Gore's campaign on climate policy beginning 40 years ago, he..., well, kids..., my generation failed him and you. But then I said that before....

Monday, October 22, 2018

The lack of comprehensive political economy goals will create concurrent pecuniary and environmental disasters for the U.S. Gen X and later generations
                                                                                                                      

Part 5.   Whither the future of an America
directed by technology semi-literate voters

In 2018 spending time on a hand-held device texting, posting on social media, reading fake news, and watching cat videos on YouTube is not an indication that American voters aren't technology semi-literate.

Nor does it mean they have any idea how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) affects their economic future and the economic future of their grandchildren.

But that ignorance will permit 40% of Americans from consistently embracing the interests of large telecommunications corporations in the voting booth because they think immigrants and transgenders are a threat to their children's "way of life."

And so we have these folks doing what the federal government really does:


This week those folks will likely end an Obama-era policy before it could be implemented. Three years ago, when there were three Democrats sitting in those chairs, the Commissioners decided to offer airwave licenses for small areas so factories, ports and power plants could set up their own wireless networks without relying on commercial carriers.

The three Republicans are expected to vote Tuesday to abandon the small-area plan known in Europe and Asia as "tiny wireless."

Democrat Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in an email: “Imagine being at the dawn of the Uber age and doubling down on taxicab medallions. That’s what this agency is doing.”

Whether Republican, Democrat, or no preference independent, the average voter has no idea what this is about. As discussed in previous posts in the series, the German and other European governments, along with the Chinese government are implementing Industrie 4.0.

The average American voter will begin to feel the real impacts of these policies in about 2025. This is why the Chinese have titled their program Made in China 2025 as they understand it will take time for their people to see the benefits of the effort. That will be two Presidential elections and four Congressional elections to late to act to make our economy competitive for our grandchildren.

General Electric noted that virtually the only parties that favor a shift to PEA-based licensing in the 3.5 GHz band are the major wireless carriers and their main trade association, CTIA. Under the proposed changes, carriers would be in a position to outbid any other parties for PEA or other large geographic-area licenses, according to GE, and once they get the spectrum, the major carriers would turn CBRS into just another generic, commercial wireless band to be integrated into their multiband networks to bolster wide-area mobile offerings in select locations where additional capacity is needed.

GE's comments focused on industrial IoT, saying it wants to keep the existing plan for the benefit of localized, secure private LTE networks in industrial and critical-infrastructure environments and other enterprise settings.

Californian's also have tried. When the deplorable change in the rules was proposed, the Port of Los Angeles,  the nation’s largest and busiest container port handling 9.3 million container units in 2017, filed comment letter objecting to the proposal.

The letter noted that the shipping industry is looking to leverage big data and industrial IoT platforms to achieve better efficiencies. The Port said it’s pioneering the use of advanced data sharing across port stakeholders and having predictable access to 3.5 GHz spectrum is key to developing and deploying these technologies.

“We ask that you do not change the CBRS rules by increasing the geographic areas covered by Priority Access Licenses (PALs) from census tracts to Partial Economic Areas (PEAs),” the Port of Los Angeles wrote. “Furthermore, we are concerned with a proposed increase in license terms to 10 years. Such changes would impede industrial loT utilization and delay the innovation that ports and the shipping industry are on the cusp of delivering.”

The Port of Los Angeles was not the only port to offer such comments.

The City of Los Angeles, objecting to the change, said the existing smaller license areas allow for more focused uses of spectrum. The proposal would “drastically increase the prices of licenses exponentially,” from covering neighborhoods and single-site locations of several thousand people to one of the largest metro areas in the nation.

“Instead of providing affordable access to high-capacity spectrum for schools, hospitals, industrial facilities and competitive wireless broadband providers, among other applications, PALs in the Los Angeles area would cover millions of individuals, even at the county level, making licensed spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band entirely inaccessible to all but the deepest of pockets,” the city said.

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) argues that current licensing by census tracts, rather than the Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) that mobile carriers want, will help bridge the digital divide in rural America.

Rural America is, of course, a part of the nation that has been unable to recover from the last two economic downturns. "Tiny wireless" within industrial IoT production platforms is critical to Industrie 4.0 which, as noted in a previous post, represents a paradigm shift from centralized to decentralized smart manufacturing and production.

But the United States government operates with a lack of comprehensive political economy goals which will make the country unable to compete in the economic environment of the 21st Century resulting in a pecuniary disaster for the U.S. Gen X and later generations.

                                                   

This is Part 5 of the series of posts beginning with:



The lack of comprehensive political economy goals
will create concurrent pecuniary and environmental
disasters for U.S. Gen X and all future generations
.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation is revising the definition of sex under the federal civil rights law Title IX

Today's New York Times includes an article which chooses to focus on "transgender" that tells us (emphasis added):

    For the last year, the Department of Health and Human Services has privately argued that the term “sex” was never meant to include gender identity or even homosexuality, and that the lack of clarity allowed the Obama administration to wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them.
    Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the department, declined to answer detailed questions about the memo or his role in interagency discussions about how to revise the definition of sex under Title IX.
    But officials at the department confirmed that their push to limit the definition of sex for the purpose of federal civil rights laws resulted from their own reading of the laws and from a court decision.
    Mr. Severino, while serving as the head of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, was among the conservatives who blanched at the Obama administration’s expansion of sex to include gender identity, which he called “radical gender ideology.”
    In one commentary piece, he called the policies a “culmination of a series of unilateral, and frequently lawless, administration attempts to impose a new definition of what it means to be a man or a woman on the entire nation.”

The article explains that it was the arguments over bathroom use, etc., related to transgender persons that is the current focus.

Sure. The DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation....

While trying to explain in this blog that Neoliberal ideologues are taking, or rather have taken, over the United States, the Heritage Foundation has been mentioned in eight of those posts. In one of those posts, the size of the Neoliberal organization in the United States is explained in detail.

In the post here More is at risk than abortion and gay marriage - California must protect itself from the rise of "A Handmaid's Tale" theonomist judiciary the following quote was offered: "Theonomists use Biblical moral pronouncements as the standard by which the laws of governments may be measured."

In that post it was noted:

In the map below, the dark grey states are those that adopted certain theonomist laws in the years between 2011-2016, the years leading up to the 2016 elections in which the Republicans won the majority of U.S. House of Representatives, the majority of the U.S. Senate, and the office of  U.S. President, which will lead to a solid Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court:

The issue these maps present isn't whether anyone has the right to believe in words in the Bible or rules of personal behavior pronounced by men based on those words. Rather it is what determines the proper role of a state in regulating the personal lives of its people, most particularly when large numbers of people disagree.

Per Wikipedia: "Theonomists hold that divine law, including the judicial laws of the Old Testament, should be observed by modern societies."

Now that the federal judicial system has been packed with theonomy-leaning judges, the theonomists placed in the Trump Administration by the theonomy-leaning elements of those Neoliberal organizations will try to implement theonomy at the federal level.

In case nobody's noticed, Progressive ideology lost the non-violent civil war in the United States that began in 1947, reached its peak in 1981, and ended in January 2017. The only question is whether California and any of the other light gray states on that map above actually decide to secede.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The lack of comprehensive political economy goals will create concurrent pecuniary and environmental disasters for the U.S. Gen X and later generations
 
                                                                                                                        

Part 4.  The 2018 Huawei Porche is the warning
"canary" in the American political economy "mine"
 


Since 2012, the canary in that American gold mine known as our tech sector has become less alive and cheerful. Consider this:

  • "We must…deal quickly with the fusion of the online world and the world of industrial production. In Germany, we call it Industrie 4.0. Because otherwise, those who are the leaders in the digital domain will take the lead in industrial production." - German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos explaining German government investment in technological research and innovation that began in 2012.
     
  • “We will implement the 'Made in China 2025' strategy, seek innovation-driven development, apply smart technologies, strengthen foundations, pursue green development and redouble our efforts to upgrade China from a manufacturer of quantity to one of quality.” - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2015 explaining Chinese government investment in technological research and innovation in the context of achieving the Chinese Dream announced in 2012.
     
  • "We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There's nobody like you in the world. There's nobody like the people in this room. Anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you. You can call my people, you'll call me -- it doesn't make any difference -- we have no formal chain of command around here." - U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016 to a room full of tech leaders including, among others, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet/Google CEO Larry Page, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

In those few brief moments by the end of 2016, the views of the chosen German and Chinese leaders in glaring contrast to chosen U.S. leader summarized the threat to the 21st Century American political economy. Not understanding the importance and complexity of 21st Century political economics is a level of ignorance the United States cannot afford to accept in its leaders. That ignorance is preferred by Americans will assure concurrent pecuniary and environmental disasters for the American generations following the baby boomers.

In this week of 2018 we were reminded again that the canary in our technology mine is nearing death.


Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, announced its Mate 20 series of "phablet" smartphone devices. (As Wikipedia explains: "The phablet is a class of mobile devices combining or straddling the size format of smartphones and tablets.")

To replace the six month old Mate 10 model, the Mate 20 series includes the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Of course its stylish design is the result one of Huawei's continuing German partnerships - in this case Porche. As with all the new Mate 20 Pro line, its three cameras on the back - a 40-megapixel main camera, a 20-megapixel wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera - is the result of Huawei's other continuing German partnership - in this case Leica.

At a whopping $2,000 one might think Huawei devices might not be popular. But that Porsche version is the just the flashy top of a very large line of significant devices. Huawei this year surpassed Apple to become the second largest smartphone maker even though the company’s best phones aren’t officially sold in the U.S.

Now, the company’s new homegrown Kirin 980 chipset doubles down on the whole Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning hype with not one, with two built-in neural processing units (NPUs) which, among the cool things it does (most of which we don't yet know about), gives the phone is the ability to try out new AI-powered camera tricks like predictive auto-focus which uses the NPU to help better anticipate the movement of your subject, or selective color mode which uses the NPU to detect people and automatically change the pictures background to black-and-white while keeping the person in full color, all in real-time.

The Kirin 980 chipset performs AI-assisted image recognition tasks at a rate of 4,500 images per minute, compared to the Snapdragon 845 at 2,371 and Apple’s A11at 1,458. It's important even though we know the others will catch up.

There's other seemingly unnecessary cool stuff like the Mate 20 Pro has a beefed up battery system goes a step further by also offering reverse wireless charging to wirelessly charge devices like a Note 9 or an iPhone X/XS.

Not that I want to spend my money on any of this computing power in my smartphone, yet. Then again, Huawei intends to put the Kirin 982 through its far less costly sub-brand Honor with the release of the Magic 2.

But hey, my point here is these phones are the canary-killing methane in the American technology innovation mine. Because its all in the AI.

Our use of a phablet or smart phone with AI isn't the issue. It's what Trump's favorite female world leader German Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to (click on the image to see the official website) - .

The term "Industrie 4.0", sometimes shortened to I4.0 or simply I4, originates from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government which, as explained in Wikipedia, promotes the automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies including cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 is commonly referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is an early 21st Century phenomenon. It is also a portent of significant economic change as humanity confronts the exigencies of adaptation to climate change in the mid-to-late 21st Century.

Germany, with its 82,293,457 people (equal to 25% of the U.S. population), is not the future concern. It is China by virtue of its 1,415,045,928 people (equal to 4.3 times the U.S. population) that the Koch Bros funded Neoliberals see as the future concern should the Chinese successfully incorporate the principles of Industrie 4.0 into their economy.

The Neoliberal concern is that both Germany's and China's political economies, to different degrees, are structured to "share the wealth" while the U.S. political economy is structured to "hoard the wealth."

As pointed out in other posts in this series, after an economic period of relying on low-cost exports and transforming the peasantry into a modern work force in manufacturing and service industries, China's goals are the Two 100s:
  • the poverty-elimination goal of China becoming a “moderately well-off society” by about 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and 
  • the modernization goal of China becoming a fully developed nation by about 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic.
And the Chinese Dream has four parts:
  1. a Strong China (economically, politically, diplomatically, scientifically, militarily); 
  2. a Civilized China (equity and fairness, rich culture, high morals); 
  3. a Harmonious China (amity among social classes); 
  4. a Beautiful China (healthy environment, low pollution).
The curious question is what kind of American would find this threatening enough to start a trade war with China?

Those Huawei phones represent the 2015 Made in China 2025 plan based upon Industrie 4.0 which is a “strategic initiative to establish Germany as a lead market and provider of advanced manufacturing solutions. Industrie 4.0 represents a paradigm shift from centralized to decentralized smart manufacturing and production. Smart production becomes the norm in a world where intelligent ICT-based machines, systems and networks are capable of independently exchanging and responding to information to manage industrial production processes.”

The German government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Industrie 4.0-related activities including academic research and industrial trials. The Chinese government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Made in China 2025 including academic research and industrial trials. As noted in this series, the United States has nothing the equivalent of Industrie 4.0 or Made in China 2025 (go to the linked page and read the numerous in-depth articles on the Chinese effort).

What we have is one American-branded Huawei retail competitor, Apple. For well over a decade Apple "phablets" have not been manufactured in the United States. And Apple, as a good-by-Neoliberal-standards corporation, has stored hundreds of billions of dollars of income offshore to avoid paying federal and state taxes and neither distributing the profits to investors nor employees.

The American Not-Very-Deep State - the FBI, CIA, NSA and The Director of National intelligence - have been warning American's not to buy from Huawei. In February FBI Director Chris Wray said the government was “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.”
 
In 2008 the U.S. government blocked bids by Huawei to buy U.S. telecommunications companies. They claim that the company has demonstrable links to the Chinese government noting that Huawei's founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, held a high rank in the engineer corps of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).

You be the judge.

Ren attended the Chongqing University in the 1960s, and then joined the People's Liberation Army (PLA) research institute to work as a military technologist reportedly in the PLA's Information Technology research unit. During most of his time in the PLA, Ren was excluded from joining the Communist Party of China, due to his parents' social background and their ties to the Kuomintang (the pre-1949 opposition to the Communist Party).

As a soldier Ren was tasked to establish the Liao Yang Chemical Fiber Factory. Subsequently, he held positions as a Technician, an Engineer, and was lastly promoted as a Deputy Director, which was a professional role equivalent to a Deputy Regimental Chief, but without military rank.

During this time, Ren was responsible for a number of technology achievements that were recognized at various levels. For this reason, Ren was selected as a delegate from PLA to attend the National Science Conference in 1978.

In 1982, due to a large PLA reduction-in-force (RIF) which impacted 500,000 active duty personnel, Ren left the army. In 1983, after becoming a civilian, Ren moved to Shenzhen and worked in the electronics business.

In 1987, Ren founded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd with 21,000 yuan, around US$ 5,000 at the time. Initially Huawei mostly sold telephone exchange equipment from Hong Kong. He now serves as a deputy chairman of the Board of Directors, but he is not among the current three rotating CEOs.
 
Here's the problem with Huawei. It's employee owned.

Our billionaire-oriented Not-Very-Deep State and some of the business press started challenging that early on. Finally, as reported in 2014 by the Financial Times in Huawei pulls back the curtain on ownership details

    Inside a glass case in a private room in Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, are 10 blue books that help answer a question that has vexed the US government: who really owns the huge Chinese telecoms equipment company?
    The centimetre-thick volumes contain the names, ID numbers and other details on the roughly 80,000 employees that Huawei says own almost 99 per cent of the company under an “employee stock option plan”.
    During a tour of the Shenzhen campus, Jiang Xisheng, chief secretary of the board, allowed the Financial Times to examine the books to see the holdings of the staff who own Huawei, through what is called the “Union”, along with founder Ren Zhengfei.
    Leafing through the thousands of pages, it appeared that the vast majority of staff had tens of thousands of shares, while a small group had holdings in the millions. After the FT pointed to an entry with 2.65m shares, Mr Jiang ordered a file from the next room where the contracts are stored to shed light on how shares are awarded.
    The move to show a foreign journalist the books for the first time is part of an effort to rebut criticism that Huawei has been less than transparent about its ownership.
    The company has repeatedly dismissed claims about possible links to the Chinese government as baseless, and the US government has not made public any solid evidence to back up its concerns. But to try to refute such suggestions, Huawei has started gradually pulling back the curtain on its ownership structure.
    Duncan Clark, chairman of telecoms consultancy BDA China, says providing access to the shareholding books is a positive step, but that it will not satisfy critics.
    “It is like a child that tries hard but the results aren’t there. They think it’s unfair, and there is probably an element of that,” says Mr Clark, before adding that the best way for Huawei to answer its critics would be to go public. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, but they are pulling back the blinds halfway.”

In other words, the United States government will not be happy until American billionaire investment groups can own a significant piece of Huawei. The idea of employee ownership scares our Not-Very-Deep State and business press because it is considered in their Neoliberal minds a form of socialism - ordinary workers sharing in the profits.

Even more scary to our Not-Very-Deep State and some of our billionaire-oriented business press is the realization that that Porsche model "phablet" and the rest of the Huawei line will have the top AI system that ordinary folks can carry around in their hand - admittedly only until Apple and Samsung come up with their next system. But it is AI that will determine who will win the economic race in the 21st Century.

Why it is scary was summarized by Trump's favorite female world leader German Chancellor Angela Merkel  in 2015: "...Those who are the leaders in the digital domain will take the lead in industrial production."

The German Government and the Chinese Government have engaged aggressively in this piece of the political economy. This engagement is something in the United States the Neoliberal-brainwashed deplorable taxpayers/voters wouldn't permit.

Oh, and their President's Administration has officially declared there will be an unavoidable environmental disaster at the end of the 21st Century because most people simply don't care enough to do something about it. But Trump's available for phone calls from America's tech leaders

In the meantime, the headlines are Tesla secures Shanghai site for $2 billion China Gigafactory and Why Google might return to China, even if it means censorship.

Hence the concurrent pecuniary and environmental disasters for U.S. Gen X'ers and later generations. The canary is dying....

                                                   

This is Part 4 of the series of posts beginning with:


The lack of comprehensive political economy goals
will create concurrent pecuniary and environmental
disasters for U.S. Gen X and all future generations
.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Trump's nominees for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are members of a Neoliberal, Koch Bros funded, organization - the Federalist Society
                                                                                                                      

Californian's face a judiciary which has been approved by
people who think a Californian is worth 3/20ths of a person.


We Americans live in a country in which not a majority of the nation's voters but a late-18th-Century-Constitutional system selected...
  • President Donald Trump, 
  • the Republican Congressional majority, and 
  • the right-wing Supreme Court majority.
Because of this selection system Americans have a government locked into Victorian 19th Century
  1. cultural values regarding regulating the personal behavior of the American people and 
  2. laissez-faire attitudes regarding regulating American individual business and corporate efforts to concentrate wealth.

The 18th Century, when our "elected" officials selection system was established, was a time when there was no electricity, no steam or combustion engines, no natural nor propane gas, no nuclear fission nor fusion; and therefore no telegraphs, telephones, radio, television, computers, electronic devices, internet, railroads, buses, cars, steamships, airplanes, space-travel rockets, nor nuclear weapons; and no tall buildings nor buildings of any height with heating, electric lights, treated water, or sewage disposal systems.

At that time up through the mid-19th Century the perilous transatlantic crossing from England to the former Colonies took at least six weeks and could take as long as two or three months. In the first half of the 19th Century it took six months to sail from New York to San Francisco and about the same length of time for a wagon train to go from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon or California. While using either method of transportation, there were no telegraphs, telephones, radios, or internet to communicate to people at your starting point or destination to, you know, tell them you ran out of food and couldn't find a McDonald's.

Aware of the reality of a changing world, at the end of the Constitutional Convention George Washington said, "I do not expect the Constitution to last for more than 20 years." Twenty-five years later in an 1816 letter Thomas Jefferson stated that a constitution should be revised every 19 to 20 years. Since a majority of adults at any point in time would likely be dead in approximately 19 years, he reasoned, a new generation should have the right to adapt its government to changing circumstances instead of being ruled by the past. On the other hand, in a letter written shortly before his death in 1824 Jefferson stated that the U.S. Constitution could last perpetually if it were regularly amended to reflect new developments in science and society.

Of course, Washington and Jefferson notwithstanding,our 1789 Constitution has not been revised every 20 years nor has it been regularly amended to reflect new developments in science and society. Apparently neither Washington nor Jefferson read it. As regarding amendments it provides:


It hasn't been revised because 12 states, which today could include as little as 4% of the population, can block any proposed amendment, something the largest 10 states with 54% of the population cannot do. Simply new developments in science and society, which generally are reflected in the culture of larger urban areas in the United States, can be suppressed by 18th ideas embraced by land in 12 states containing prairie voles and soybean plants.

Which leads us to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:


As indicated in a Sacramento Bee article:

    After months of negotiations and delays, the White House is moving to fill California’s three vacancies on the influential 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — over the strenuous objections of the state’s two Democratic senators.
    White House officials had been negotiating with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, earlier in the year about filling these and other federal court vacancies in the state. But that dialogue collapsed this past summer, Senate aides said.
    On Wednesday night, the Trump administration announced it was nominating three attorneys to the 9th Circuit, the largest and busiest federal appeals court in the country. Among the thorny issues the court has tackled or could decide on are the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program for undocumented young people brought to the country as children, the president’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries, and a lawsuit challenging the White House’s attempts to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.
    President Trump’s nominees for the appeals court — litigators Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee and Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Bumatay — are all based in Southern California, are prominent members of the conservative Federalist Society, and have worked for Republican administrations. None of the three were approved by Feinstein or Harris via a process known as a “blue slip,” the senators’ offices confirmed Thursday.

In other words, Trump found three attorneys in Southern California who are members of the Federalist Society. For those who have enjoyed the protection of the 9th Circuit, you may want to read Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary. Or not.

The reality of the federal court system is that the Supreme Court typically only hears 100 to 150 each year. Per its annual report, new appeals filed with the Ninth Circuit numbered 11,096 in FY 2017. Of those 5,358 were Immigration Offenses.

The Koch Brothers Neoliberal network has had limited success in the Pacific states. Needless to say, Trump's impact on California and the other Pacific states will last the longest in the judicial system. It is the Neoliberal wedge to disrupt Progressive policy dominance.

Also needless to say California cannot thrive locked into a late-18th-Century-Constitutional system attempting to impose a Victorian 19th Century social system and a Gilded Age economic system.

Which raises the Calexit issue. When the problem was just Neoliberals in Congress, one could delude oneself into thinking hard work and time could bring about a change in the attitude of the electorate across the nation. The election of Trump made that a bit harder to maintain that delusion. But now its the federal courts. It could take many decades to restore the Progressive Ninth Circuit as well as the Supreme Court, assuming it is even possible.

Our problem is, of course, the Democracy Delusion.

Pictured at the beginning of this post is a fully descriptive 18th Century statement regarding the then newly created United States government - the Preamble to the Constitution. The meaning was a clear statement to the elite members of our 18th Century "Founding Fathers" who understood the terms of the Constitution that followed that Preamble. For those of us in the 21st Century, as well as the general population of 18th Century America, it might seem misleading without the following clarifications
  • We the People of the United States, referring to the citizens of the states who could vote who generally were white male property owners (about 10 to 16 percent of the nation's citizens);
  • in Order to form a more perfect Union, because the the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union of the United States of America,which came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states, wasn't working out;
  • establish Justice, which referred to United States law and to the related court system in the Constitution;
  • insure domestic Tranquility, which meant to assure through force if necessary the absence of riots, rebellions, and similar symptoms of social disorder;
  • provide for the common defense, which meant as specified further therein provide for a military to defend all the states from external enemies;
  • promote the general Welfare, meaning as specified further therein creating a positive economic environment for interstate and international commerce; and
  • secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, which meant assuring free citizens - mostly white people - the continuation of individual liberty, free of national government interference;
  • do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America as soon as the legislatures of 10 states, not the voters, ratified the new constitution.
Day-to-day governing by government, if it impacted on you at all, was done by the states, which in the 18th Century - and in the 21st Century - were/are run by a relatively few elected officials, and the political subdivisions of the states such as cities and counties which in the 18th Century - and in the 21st Century - were/are also run by a relatively few elected officials (except for some "town meeting" towns in New England states).

And the thing is true Conservatives prefer we stick as close as we can to that model of government run, of course, by Conservatives. Progressives thought they wanted a strong national government run, of course, by Progressives.

But none of this is true direct democracy, except maybe in some New England towns. And even then, as explained in a March article in The Atlantic the town meeting form of government doesn't always work out too well.

Power in the United States lies in the legislatures of the states which create the legal framework for most of the laws that affect us on a daily basis and which, in most cases, draw the boundaries of Congressional Districts every 10 years, as they will in the year following the 2020 census. Suffice it to say, the most important elections this year and in 2020 will  be the elections of state legislators.

Generally speaking, the national press barely, if ever, covers those elections. But the very conservative Koch Brothers funded Neoliberal organizations focus mostly on those elections.

Now if you think our Founding Fathers had the right view as explained in that Atlantic article...

    To some degree, of course, the unresponsiveness of America’s political system is by design. The United States was founded as a republic, not a democracy. As Alexander Hamilton and James Madison made clear in the Federalist Papers, the essence of this republic would consist—their emphasis—“IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share” in the government. Instead, popular views would be translated into public policy through the election of representatives “whose wisdom may,” in Madison’s words, “best discern the true interest of their country.” That this radically curtailed the degree to which the people could directly influence the government was no accident.

...then you're really not uncomfortable with the reality of American government at all levels.

Which then should make informed people puzzle at the cover of this month's Atlantic. No, "democracy" is not dying. Nothing "dies" that never existed. That is simply the biggest of the American lies - that we have a democracy that could be in trouble.

We really need to reconsider our core American fantasy about government. Now I don't want to repeat what I wrote here in the May 1, 2016, post What uninformed person told you the United States is a democracy? It has never been one. It is a union while each of the states is a republic or in the June 17, 2018, post Why factually these United States is a more perfect Union, not a country, nation, or state but it is worth exploring how in our daily language we have reduced our expectations.

Let's begin by considering an attempt to provide the modern definition of the term:
By this definition the idea begins to fall apart in the first line with "by the whole population or all eligible members of a state." At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the "eligible members" were mostly white male property owners. Now, even back then there were already grumbles about the eligibility requirements. But suffice it to say that democracy in America has always meant participation by only those folks the currently eligible participants are willing to accept. And that is also fundamentally true around the world.

In other words, "democracy" doesn't mean "government of the people by the people" but rather "government rule over the people by the eligible people."

Then we run into "typically through elected representatives." In the United States, we have the United States Senate, half of the legislative branch, made up of 100 Senators each of whom casts one vote on any legislative matters and casts one vote on confirming both:
  1. high level executive branch officials and 
  2. all judges in the U.S. Judiciary nominated by the President.
A U.S. Senator from Wyoming represents a state with a population of 580,000± and the last Senator elected, Mike Enzi, received 121,554 votes out of 164,242 votes cast.

A U.S. Senator from California represents a state with a population of 39,780,000± and the last Senator elected, Kamala Harris, received 7,542,753 votes out of 12,244,170 votes cast.

This is "a system of government...by all the eligible members of a state...through elected representatives" and therefore meets the commonly accepted definition of "democracy." But it does not mean equality for even the eligible members.

In the United States elected representative system of government, an eligible member (voter) in California has 1.3% of the ability to affect legislation or appointments through the U.S. Senate as an eligible member (voter) in Wyoming.

Or to put it another way, for representation in American democratic government it is acceptable that a person in California is equal to 3/20ths of a person in Wyoming which ironically is less than a slave in 1789 which in the Constitution was assigned a representation value of 3/5ths or 12/20ths of a free person.

Keep in mind that if you object to comparing Wyoming to California, Vermont is next smallest state to Wyoming and a person in Vermont is worth half a Wyoming person in terms of representation.

Now one has to acknowledge that in 1789 a person in Virginia was worth only 2/20ths of a person in Delaware in terms of representation in the U.S. Senate, so perhaps we Californians shouldn't find it objectionable.

But in this writer's confused mind as a child, "democracy" began in the United States with "equality" - either in a direct democracy or a representative democracy. And the United States doesn't even resemble that. Perhaps we need to stop teaching our kids that biggest of lies.

And California is going to have to do something about facing a judiciary which has been approved by people who think it is right that a Californian is worth 3/20ths of a person.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

"We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal" to save the word of Jesus, Pence warns China and the world at the Koch funded Dr. Strangelove institute

In a speech on Thursday at the right-wing Hudson Institute Vice-President Mike Pence said:

    Last month, Beijing shut down one of China’s largest underground churches. Across the country, authorities are tearing down crosses, burning bibles, and imprisoning believers. And Beijing has now reached a deal with the Vatican that gives the avowedly atheist Communist Party a direct role in appointing Catholic bishops. For China’s Christians, these are desperate times.
    We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal. We’re fielding and developing new cutting-edge fighters and bombers....

Now, of course, that isn't all he said. Regarding his remarks as pointed out by a progressive institute Who was Mike Pence really addressing in his speech on China?:

    In the case of Vice President Mike Pence’s October 4, 2018 speech, the key audience was a domestic American one, and the clear objectives were to lay the basis for an adversarial posture toward China and to justify President Trump’s accusation that China is interfering in America’s electoral process.
    ...He also sent a stark warning to American companies, urging them not to abet Beijing’s oppression. On the subject of election meddling, the vice president attempted to shift public scrutiny from Russia to China.
    ...Since the administration has little to show thus far for how its escalatory instincts on China will deliver material benefits for the American people, the vice president chose instead to highlight how U.S.-China tensions are hurting China....
    While there appears to be support among President Trump’s base for a tougher approach toward China, it remains an open question whether the American public will come to support a policy of unvarnished rivalry.

Of course, most Americans don't know that the Hudson Institute was founded by Herman Kahn, the physicist, nuclear-war strategist, and Cold War “scenario planner” who inspired Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb as explained in Fat Man: Herman Kahn and the nuclear age:

    Herman Kahn was the heavyweight of the Megadeath Intellectuals, the men who, in the early years of the Cold War, made it their business to think about the unthinkable, and to design the game plan for nuclear war—how to prevent it, or, if it could not be prevented, how to win it, or, if it could not be won, how to survive it. The collective combat experience of these men was close to nil; their diplomatic experience was smaller. Their training was in physics, engineering, political science, mathematics, and logic, and they worked with the latest in assessment technologies: operational research, computer science, systems analysis, and game theory. The type of war they contemplated was, of course, never waged, but whether this was because of their work or in spite of it has always been a matter of dispute. Exhibit A in the case against them is a book by Kahn, published in 1960, “On Thermonuclear War.”
    Kahn was a creature of the rand Corporation, and rand was a creature of the Air Force. In 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs nicknamed Little Boy and Fat Man on Japan, the Air Force was still a branch of the Army. The bomb changed that. An independent Department of the Air Force was created in 1947; the nation’s nuclear arsenal was put under its command; and the Air Force displaced the Army as the prima donna of national defense. Whatever it wanted, it mostly got. One of the things it wanted was a research arm, and rand was the result. (rand stands for research and development.) rand was a line item in the Air Force budget; its offices were on a beach in Santa Monica. Kahn joined in 1947.

The Hudson Institute is among the many such organizations receiving funding from the Koch Family Foundations (David H. Koch Foundation) which is part of the broader Neoliberal network explained in this blog in the post The critical civics lesson America & Trump needed - 21st Century Ideologies in America & the Government$ of the United States.

No doubt exists that the Trump Administration is aggressively engaged in an ideological conflict with China. That was explored in the previous series of posts. But in Why you should fear Trumpism's Steve Bannon: war with China within 8 years and other reasons it was noted here that in March 2016 Bannon said on his radio show in a discussion with Neoliberal Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation: "We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years. There’s no doubt about that."

One could always dismiss that as Alt-Right campaign rhetoric. But five months later Bannon was named the chief executive officer of Trump's 2016 presidential bid. It was recently noted in a news story:

    In his very first meeting with Trump in 2015 to prepare for the presidential campaign, China was among the topics they discussed, Bannon said.
    “I told him China has been engaging in an economic war against us for the past 20 or 25 years,” he said, adding that Trump agreed with him.

Again, one might wish to dismiss those comments as some kind of effort by Bannon to make himself important. But on Thursday the Vice-President of the United States said:

    China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.
    Beijing is also using its power like never before. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015 and said that his country had, and I quote, “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands.
    China’s aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision. Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated and we will not stand down. (Applause.)
    America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world. Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Again, this speech was given at an organization which at its founding had a focus dictated by Herman Kahn's own interests such as military uses of nuclear power.

There is an old half-joke "I may be paranoid, but that doesn't mean they aren't out to get me." Pence's speech made the leadership of China feel that way. And it most certainly should worry everyone who lives in the Progressive Pacific states which definitely are an ideological target of the Neoliberals, have the closest economic ties to Asia, and are the physically closest to China, as can be seen on this map (click on the map to see a larger version):