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US Government to build American ‘competitiveness’ atop socio-economic retrogression and misery.

Posted by Kumiko Oumae on Sunday, 12 March 2017 01:52.

Zebra Crossing Aesthetic v2

Before you complain

An American once said to me that whenever they see me post an article about the United States now, they just have to brace for a total assault on their morale, and that “it is almost like seeing something like Tokyo Rose’s work in written form.”

I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or not, since despite her best propaganda efforts, Iva Toguri D’Aquino was ultimately not able to convince the Americans to stop supporting the United States. Perhaps some of the Americans did have pause though, perhaps they did think occasionally, “You know, those things that Tokyo Rose is saying on the radio, could there be something to all that?

But really, it’s not like I have to go out of my way to come up with these socio-economic angles against the ‘Make America Great Again’ concept. They present themselves to the world daily in such a high volume that it’s almost like trying to catch a cup of water from a firehose of negative developments. One has to be very selective about which part of the non-stop blast of negative news one is going to select, interpret, and develop a piece on, on any given day.

Today’s selection is going to really induce a feeling like when you’re sparring with someone and they forget to hold back, and next thing you know their foot is trying to tickle your kidneys or something, and it’s just like, “Oh wow, this pain is real.” It’s pretty bad. I apologise for the pain that you’re going to feel in advance.

True to the tradition I’ll get things started by putting the music on.

How things reached this stage

When Donald Trump was inaugurated on an overcast day about two months ago, he stood in front of the lectern and in a stern voice spoke the words that initiated a miserable new trade war:

TIME, ‘Trump Inauguration: Transcript of Donald Trump Speech’, 20 Jan 2017 (emphasis added):

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

It may seem on the face of it that Donald Trump was saying that all the decisions he would make would be based on whether they will benefit American workers and American families. His mouth said that somewhere in there, but is that what protectionism actually does in the longrun?

We know that it does not benefit ‘workers and families’ in the longrun. 

There is widely understood empirical evidence which shows that in the present era, free trade is what benefits the broad mass of the people, not protectionism. Free trade is what enables wider access to products at a cheaper price. Free trade enables this indirectly by facilitating regional division and specialisation of production to enhance productivity on a planetary basis. 

Broadly speaking, tariff and non-barrier barriers are mostly retrogressive, as it is low income consumers who spend a greater percentage of their income on food, clothing, consumer electronics and vehicles, which tend to be most highly protected under the kind of tariff regime proposed by Donald Trump’s White House and supported by his Alt-Lite and Alt-Right supporters.

So if American ‘workers and families’ do not really stand to benefit, does this mean that I am saying that Donald Trump is not putting America ‘first’? By no means. The misunderstanding that many have is that they conflate rhetoric about a country’s interest with the interest of the broad mass of the people. Trump essentially tailored his speech to exploit that misunderstanding.

In fact, America is indeed being ‘put first’ by Trump, but that is not a positive thing. The policies which he is advocating ensure that those who really stand to benefit are primarily the American financiers and the upper-bourgeoisie stratum of big and middle-sized manufacturers, who feel themselves to be under stiff competition from their counterparts in Europe and Asia. This scenario comes at the end of a long cycle of a widening pattern of global investment during and after the Cold War environment, which had led to the repair and economic rehabilitation of that section of the world that America had razed to the ground in the process of destroying Axis. 

The repair and rehabilitation was possible because the leaders of various European and Asian economies opted to play the longest of long games, accommodating the liberal global order that the American victors had maintained for their own diplomatic and geostrategic benefit (to economically contain their next opponent, the Soviet Union), but which were used by the former Axis countries and other Third World countries to build something again from the ashes of the Second World War and to take advantage of the mutual benefits that came from having the economic vitality and thus the military wherewithall to deter the Soviet Union. 

A hegemon’s dilemma

The flourishing of any world order in which a hegemon has to allow power to devolve into the hands of outsiders, is a world order which will eventually unravel itself as the hegemon will come to fear its own deputies. Much as the Greek Empire unravelled itself when each of the governors, tribes, and exarchates which had been permitted to accrue power so as to encircle common enemies, suddenly realised that they had reached a stage where they could bid for global power in their own right, so too the American liberal world order is coming to a close as this cycle of capital accumulation draws to a close.

The productive capacity which had been offshored from the United States and implanted into the European and Asian periphery so as to reinforce economic containment and encirclement against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, now becomes in 2017 the potential weapon which the American high-bourgeoisie fears will be turned against it in a multipolar world, the first chapter of which is now opening. America’s old Cold War gendarmes of capital, are now gendarmes that are increasingly operating autonomously, and the United States is struggling to chart a course to address that new reality.

The American high-bourgeoisie wants what it views as ‘its wealth’ back. But they are not the actual owners of it. The wealth, limited though it is, and not without imperfection in its distribution, which is presently enjoyed by the peoples of Europe and Asia was re-built through hard years of work by the generation of people who survived the Second World War, and who, seeing their ideals crushed by the Americans, resolved to build their countries again during the Cold War.

The American high-bourgeoisie knows that it cannot fight the world alone, since it is only a small class of people, and therefore it must assert leadership and bind the other American classes to itself. They do this by appealing to a form of populism, where people like Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, knowing that they cannot appeal to a class consciousness, instead appeal to a civic nationalist mantra: “Make America Great Again.”

What is America that anyone should want to make it ‘great’ again? That is the most astounding development in this whole sequence, particularly in the context of the Alt-Right and other nationalist opinion-formers such as David Duke, who largely made themselves responsible for having enabled all of this. For example, Hunter Wallace at Altright.com said late last month: 

Hunter Wallace / Altright.com, ‘We Are The Vanguard’, 24 Feb 2017 (emphasis added):

[...]

The primary reason the media is so interested in us is because it is our ideas that have entered the political mainstream. For years now, we have been the ones calling for an America First trade policy, an America First foreign policy, an American First immigration policy, rapprochement with Russia, scrapping the refugee resettlement program, stressing our interests as opposed to liberal ideology, strong borders and a crackdown on immigration, assaulting political correctness, making peace with the labor movement, etc., etc. [...] Now, we are living in the digital world of social media and young people are watching us on YouTube and Periscope. They are interacting with us on Twitter. We don’t need the “mainstream” to network or spread our ideas.

[...]

We are the vanguard now. The world has changed, the “mainstream” is dead and the media is trying to catch up with the times. Rich Lowry’s National Review and Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard are at the nadir of their influence over the Right. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if flyover country conservatives are familiar with Richard Spencer and the Alt-Right. If our ideas are triumphing over David Frum’s ideas and Bill Kristol’s ideas, it doesn’t matter. If our discourse triumphs over and displaces “mainstream” discourse, then we are having a massive impact whether the “mainstream” cartel acknowledges it or not.

The same kind of people who for years had operated under the suspicion that the United States was possibly falling under a ‘Zionist Occupation Government’, are now the very same kind of people who are actually trying in these days and hours to fight as hard as they can to attempt to defend and perpetuate the global reach of the United States government and its centrality as a manufacturing centre now that it is  transparently going into openly-verifiable overdrive in that regard. Now that the ‘occupation’ is openly parading itself in their faces from the White House in verifiable statements that have been reproduced in mainstream media outlets, they suddenly and magically cannot seem to see it.

Perhaps it may be that it is difficult to understand why that contradiction exists until you look at the socio-economic class dimension. Perhaps they choose not to notice the Zionism issue now, because it’s the case that it is inconvenient for them financially, given that most Trump voters are middle class and may believe that they stand to gain from the Trump administration’s budgetary, financial and economic policy direction. Or perhaps it is the case that they are just really bad at politics and aren’t paying attention to what is happening, and are more interested in identitarian form and signalling, than in actual policy. Or maybe it is the case that there is a kind of ongoing entryism which is usually not visible to the public but which only is revealed in short glimpses, such as, for example, when it emerged that Heritage Foundation analyst Jason Richwine had actually been writing for the old AlternativeRight.com website in 2010. Or it could be some combination of all of these things.

Whatever the case happens to be, for all those who ever believed in anything that those people previously said, these present developments can only be seen as a betrayal. If they are ‘the vanguard’ and this is what they have produced, then they have a considerable amount of explaining to do.

Unfortunately with the situation as it is, I am not expecting that an explanation will be coming from them, but I am expecting that the Alt-Right and Alt-Lite opinion-formers will continue to act as a kind of grassroots support for the Trump administration, one which will have a high resilience and effectiveness because it couples a tacit support with a consistent pseudo-denial of actually being on the same side as the administration. We hear on the one hand the Alt-Right continually saying that they are ‘not Trump’, but then on the other hand they like the specific actions the administration is doing and its overall direction which they see as a ‘stepping stone’ (to where?), they just wish that that those actions would be done with more intensity.

The effective function of the Alt-Right internet presence is basically that they remain engaged on social media as a ‘grassroots’ presence which continually presents narratives and arguments that serve to socially legitimate Trump administration spokespersons, supporters and key cabinet figures and their policy preferences in a way that is completely independent of the state, as it is done at arms length, behind a veil of denial and disavowal by the White House itself. The bonus that the White House receives in all of this is that there is no-one who has to be paid or instructed to do this for them. The Alt-Right doesn’t need to be paid, they do it for free.

Introduction

Dossier Begins

Getting started: This article is about one facet in the process of the Trump administration making its programme operational. The first operational step that the American high-bourgeoisie are taking is that they are seeking to enhance their structural power, or to turn a phrase, they are seeking to make themselves great again, by weakening the efficacy of checks or dissents against their power domestically. This would place them in the best command position imaginable, which would allow them the ability to then turn their focus to foreign policy and trade policy as their second step, with minimal interference at home. That second step is outside the scope of this article and will be covered at a later date. The first step is what will now be described here today.

Enhanced dictatorship of the high-bourgeoisie

There are four major actions that the Trump administration is carrying out right now which would allow the American high-bourgeoisie to enhance their structural power domestically. These actions are as follows:

1. H.R.985 - Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017.
2. H.R.720 - Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act.
3. The appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.
4. The elimination of all federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation.

Let’s go through them in the order I’ve listed them. And in case you are trying to guess what the four items have in common, yes, what all of these things have in common is that they pertain to the ability to form a class so as to bring a class action lawsuit against companies or government agencies, and to raise funds to carry out that endeavour.

H.R.985

When people are facing systemic abuse from companies or from government agencies, class action lawsuits are a vital tool that is used to bring a halt to their behaviour. By bringing about a class action lawsuit, a few people can stand in for a larger number of people in a lawsuit against a perpetrator and seek either injunctive relief (where the perpetrator must cease a bad practice) or compensation (monetary damages).

The bill, H.R.985 which passed in the US House of Representatives by recorded vote 220 - 201 on Thursday 09 March 2017, and will next be placed before the US Senate, is a bill that makes it more difficult for people to bring class action lawsuits.

Bill H.R.985 makes it harder for people to form a ‘class’ by further restricting and constraining the criteria under which people may come together to bring a case, and placing various hurdles in the way of the collection of lawyers’ fees, thus decreasing the incentive for lawyers to take on class action lawsuits.

The net effect of this is that it will sharply reduce the ability of people to seek injunctive relief or compensation in any scenario where they are being harmed by a company or a government agency.

The architects of the bill and its proponents, such as Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), have tried to mask their intentions by presenting it to the media as a bill that is designed to prevent supposedly-existent ‘lawyer-driven litigation’, by which they mean a kind of ‘trolling’ litigation which is designed to enrich lawyers rather than address any actual grievance of the plaintiffs. By masking their intentions with such a cover story, the lawmakers have sought to conceal the actual reality of the attack which they themselves are conducting against working people and families.

The factor which exposes their cover story as a lie, is the simple fact that if they really thought that they needed to write a bill to prevent ‘lawyer-driven litigation’, then they wouldn’t have written a bill that attacks people’s ability to seek injunctive relief, in which money is not awarded but practices are changed, as well as compensation. However, that is precisely what they have done, and in doing so, their motive was revealed along with the effect.

On the issue of the hurdles placed in the way of the collection of lawyers’ fees, the bill deliberately limits lawyers’ fees in injunctive relief cases to “a reasonable percentage of the value” of the relief. This of course makes no sense, by design, because it is quite impossible for a court to determine what the monetary worth of a non-monetary action is, so as to calculate such a percentage. The effect is that lawyers would be disincentivised from taking the risk of bringing an injunctive class action case.

Furthermore, the bill also places a condition on the timing of the payment of lawyers’ fees to the date of full monetary recovery. This could even sometimes deny lawyers the ability to be paid their fees altogether, since some cases have a term of settlement that is longer than the remaining lifespan of the lawyers who are working on the case. For example, in a case where full settlement is expected to take fifty years, it would mean that the lawyers would not be paid until the end of those fifty years. Even with that potentially disastrous scenario aside, with regards to the duration of the litigation itself, the condition incentivises defendants to drag out and prolong litigation.

The possibility of never receiving lawyers’ fees or having to wait years to receive them, will act as an enormous deterrent for any law firm that absolutely requires those fees to pay their staff and keep their business running.

H.R.720

H.R.720 the so-called ‘Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act’ is a cunningly named bill which will actually require all federal judges to penalise any lawyer who brings what they consider to be a ‘frivolous lawsuit’. Up until now, it has up to the judge’s discretion to decide whether to do this.

The interesting thing about this is that for a lawsuit to actually make it to the point where it has come before a jury, it means that a judge clearly already considers it to be a valid lawsuit. Legislation like H.R.720, simply incentivises the behaviour where a defendant can continually protest that everything that is happening is ‘frivolous’, and it disincentivises lawyers from trying to bring a lawsuit to find out how it will be regarded.

In practice, this means that the legislative and executive branches of US government are seeking to attack lawyers for trying to help people to seek relief or compensation through the court system. After all, a corporate defendant would likely start out from the stance that any lawsuit brought against their esteemed selves is definitely ‘frivolous’.

The appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the SCOTUS

An ‘originalist’ Judge Neil Gorsuch, having previously been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by George W. Bush on 08 August 2006, has been nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Donald J. Trump. A decent summary of his background has been written at FiveThirtyEight.

Beltway conservatives immediately feted him as having come out of the mold of another now late ‘originalist’ Judge Antonin Scalia, or at least something close to that. Evangelicals celebrated Gorsuch’s statements about his belief in the ‘pro-life’ stance, as that is a pet issue of maximal all-consuming importance to them. 

The Alt-Lite and Alt-Right’s reaction to the nomination was in a sense no more sophisticated or diligent than that of any of the other groups. Hunter Wallace published a very strange article at Alt-Right.com which referred to Gorsuch as a “real American”, as though this were a reason for why he wanted to see Gorsuch nominated in and of itself. Richard Spencer produced an article which had a similarly strange central thrust, referring to Gorsuch as “America’s wise, WASPy dad—an avatar of the ruling class of days gone by.” Spencer’s view was echoed by James Edwards on the Political Cesspool, which carried Spencer’s article verbatim. 

In my view none of this matters anyway, but while ‘Gorsuch’ may be an old Anglo-Saxon name, the man himself is ancestrally Irish. Additionally, Gorsuch was raised as a Catholic, and then he converted to Episcopalianism later, so he is not a ‘WASP’. He’s also not America’s ‘dad’, he’s a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States, for goodness sake.

Unfortunately no real analysis of Gorsuch’s views on class action lawsuits has been done by anyone in the nationalist sphere. If anyone had chosen to do so, then some extremely meaningful patterns, all of which are negative, would have emerged into view immediately.

SCOTUSblog gives us an interesting look in with the summary containing this excerpt:

Amy Howe / SCOTUSblog, ‘A closer look at Judge Neil Gorsuch and class actions’, 08 Mar 2017 (emphasis added):

[...]

Covering the Wal-Mart decision for this blog, Lyle Denniston described Scalia as the court’s “most dedicated skeptic about the class-action approach to litigation.” Whether Gorsuch, if confirmed, would follow in Scalia’s footsteps remains to be seen. During his decade on the bench, Gorsuch has participated in relatively few class action cases. In the cases involving class action issues in which he has participated, he has generally, but not always, ruled for the defense. Notably, both in cases in which he has ruled for the defense and those in which he has ruled for the plaintiffs, Gorsuch has emphasized the need for courts to stay in their lane, so to speak – that is, not to exceed their authority, particularly when it comes to decisions that are in his view best left to Congress.

[...]

The Bazelon Center has a review which also contains some example of cases that were not class action lawsuits, but seem to give some idea of how Gorsuch interprets civil rights law in general:

Bazelon Center, ‘Review of Disability Cases Involving Judge Neil Gorsuch’, 17 Feb 2017:

In Hwang v. Kansas State University, 753 F.3d 1159 (10th Cir. 2014), Judge Gorsuch wrote an opinion ruling against a longtime professor at a state university who had taken a six-month leave of absence to recover from her cancer treatment. At the end of that period, she requested a short period of additional leave at the advice of her doctor in order to avoid a severe flu outbreak on campus that could endanger her already compromised immune system. The university refused to grant additional leave. Judge Gorsuch began his analysis of Professor Hwang’s claim by asking: “Must an employer allow employees more than six months’ sick leave or face liability under the Rehabilitation Act? Unsurprisingly, the answer is almost always no.” Although the ADA and Rehabilitation Act say nothing about the length of leaves granted by employers and specifically require that that such accommodation requests be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, Judge Gorsuch held that a leave of absence as long as six months would “turn employers into safety net providers for those who cannot work.” He also described Professor Hwang as “a problem other forms of social security aim to address”—even though the professor was willing and able to resume her duties through online classes immediately, or through in-class teaching after the additional short leave. Judge Gorsuch also rejected her argument that the university’s inflexible six-month leave policy was discriminatory, instead reasoning that applying the same leave policies to all employees, without providing reasonable accommodations for qualified employees with a disability, would protect employees with disabilities from being “secretly singled out for discriminatory treatment.” Judge Gorsuch thus concluded that the six-month leave policy was “more than sufficient to comply” with the Rehabilitation Act. [...]

I’m sure everyone can guess where these examples are going. Here’s another:

Bazelon Center, ‘Review of Disability Cases Involving Judge Neil Gorsuch’, 17 Feb 2017:

In Wehrley v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, 513 F. App’x 733 (10th Cir. 2013), a panel including Judge Gorsuch found that the plaintiff had not established that he had a disability that entitled him to the ADA’s protections. Wehrley, an insurance field claim adjuster, injured his knee and back in a workplace accident, and his employer fired him because of his inability to work on claims that involved going onto roofs. At trial, Wehrley introduced evidence of significant limitations in major life activities, including a medical report stating that he could not walk or stand for prolonged periods, that his pain disrupted his sleep, and that he had to change positions every 30 minutes while sitting. Judge Gorsuch and the panel concluded, however, that Wehrley had not shown that these impairments were substantial because the report did not say that he was unable to “walk or stand in the ordinary course of a day,” nor did it describe the extent or severity of the disruption to his sleep. Without sufficient evidence of a substantial impairment in a major life activity, the panel found that he did not meet the definition of a person with a disability.

And one more:

Bazelon Center, ‘Review of Disability Cases Involving Judge Neil Gorsuch’, 17 Feb 2017:

In Adair v. City of Muskogee, 823 F.3d 1297 (10th Cir. 2016), Judge Gorsuch joined an opinion affirming summary judgment against the plaintiff after finding that he was unable to perform an essential function of his position. The plaintiff, a firefighter who held the position of HazMat Director, injured his back during a training exercise. The city required that he complete a functional-capacity evaluation, which showed that he had some restrictions on his lifting ability. He sued the city under the ADA for disability discrimination, alleging that he was constructively discharged when the city encouraged him to retire rather than be terminated because it regarded him as disabled. The plaintiff argued that he was capable of performing the essential functions of the HazMat Director position even with the lifting restrictions, testifying that he did not need to lift in his position and had never performed regular firefighter duties during his four years as HazMat Director. However, Judge Gorsuch and the panel discounted the plaintiff’s testimony and instead deferred to a state law listing the ability to lift up to 200 pounds as an essential function for all firefighters, regardless of specialized roles. Since the plaintiff suggested no potential accommodations other than being relieved of the lifting duty, the panel concluded that he was not a qualified individual under the ADA.

Being an ‘originalist’ and a ‘textualist’ seems to involve being deliberately absurd in ways that happen to be generally convenient for the defence. The addition of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States meshes with the thrust of the pieces of legislation, H.R.985 and H.R.720, which were described earlier and which are presently making their way though the US Congress, in a way that enhances their effect.

The addition of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court returns it to the balance that existed when Judge Antonin Scalia was still alive. It is not beyond possibility that sometime in the next four years another judge will be replaced, and at that point Donald Trump may even be able to appoint an additional ‘originalist’ and ‘textualist’ to the court, such as for example Judge William Pryor.

But it is sad that no one is paying any attention to these developments. Choices made during the Trump administration will shape the character of the American system for a generation or longer.

The elimination of all federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation

They suggested that it was going to happen, and now they are moving toward doing it. See here:

New York Times, ‘Popular Domestic Programs Face Ax Under First Trump Budget’, 17 Feb 2017 (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON — The White House budget office has drafted a hit list of programs that President Trump could eliminate to trim domestic spending, including longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Work on the first Trump administration budget has been delayed as the budget office awaited Senate confirmation of former Representative Mick Mulvaney, a spending hard-liner, as budget director. Now that he is in place, his office is ready to move ahead with a list of nine programs to eliminate, an opening salvo in the Trump administration’s effort to reorder the government and increase spending on defense and infrastructure.

[...]

Eliminating all funding for the Legal Services Corporation is the same thing as abolishing it. Some people may be wondering what it does, and such people would now be wondering about that at a time when it is too late to make a difference. Although the United States Constitution contains language that promises equality in the provision of justice, the language is operationally meaningless unless it can also be said that all people have the ability to access legal services and legal remedies.

Defendants in criminal cases are guaranteed the right to have a lawyer because of the outcome of the United States Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), but the same right to a lawyer does not actually exist for civil cases.

The beginning of the United States government’s effort to provide legal assistance Americans with low-income for civil cases, emerged during Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’, which gave rise to the creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1964. In 1965, the office created the Legal Services Program, which provided assistance all over the United States.

However, the Legal Services Program was up for White House review in 1969, and the Office of Economic Opportunity itself was in existence because of the Economic Opportunity Act which was scheduled to expire in 1970.

President Richard M. Nixon, who took office in January 1969, asked the US Congress in February 1969 to extend appropriations for the Office of Economic Opportunity. The Ash Commission, headed by former United States Army Air Corps Captain Roy Ash, found “virtual unanimity that organizational improvement of the Executive Office of the President is needed.” Among the recommendations made on this issue, the Ash Commission advocated that Nixon ought to create an independent corporation which would receive funds from the US Congress to disburse to local legal aid organisations.

Nixon made the memo public in February 1971 and in May 1971 he sent a special message to the US Congress proposing the establishment of the Legal Services Corporation.

On 25 July 1974, Richard M. Nixon signed the Legal Services Corporation Act.

The Legal Services Corporation has not been without controversy during its existence, and several unsuccessful attempts to abolish it have been attempted over the years. The most recent unsuccessful attempt to abolish it was in 2005:

TexasLawyersHelp.org, ‘Eliminate LSC and Other Programs, Says Republican Study Committee in “Operation Offset” Budget Report’, 30 Sep 2005 (emphasis added):

A recent report issued by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of nearly 100 conservative House members, calls for the elimination of all federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation. U.S. Representatives Mike Pence (R-IN), RSC’s chairman, and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), RSC’s budget and spending task force chairman, issued the 23-page report on September 21, 2005. The report—called “Operation Offset: RSC Budget Options 2005”—urges Congress and the President to eliminate federal expenditures as far-ranging as Medicaid and Medicare, graduate school student loan subsidies, foreign aid, the National Endowment for the Arts, matching grants for presidential candidates, and LSC. [...]

Yes, that is the same Mike Pence who is presently the Vice-President of the United States. It’s interesting how that has happened to work out.

Another interesting fact is that the Heritage Foundation which submitted the list from which Donald Trump selected Judge Neil Gorsuch’s name to nominate him to the United States Supreme Court, is also visibly active in crafting and giving legitimation to the budget which will abolish the Legal Services Corporation:

New York Times, ‘Popular Domestic Programs Face Ax Under First Trump Budget’, 17 Feb 2017:

[...]

Stephen Moore, another Heritage Foundation economist who advised Mr. Trump during his campaign, acknowledged that powerful constituencies were behind many of the programs that are on the chopping block. But he said now that Republicans are finally in control of the government, they must make a valiant effort to fulfill the promises they have been making to voters for years.

“I think it’s an important endeavor to try to get rid of things that are unnecessary,” Mr. Moore said. “The American public has a lot of contempt for how government is run in Washington, in no small part because there is so much waste.”

If you know anyone who seriously believes that the Heritage Foundation along with all the other personalities I’ve mentioned here are just innocently trying to ‘get rid of things that are unnecessary’, send that person to me, because I have a bridge to sell them — and it’s on the moon.

Conclusion

Particular factions among the American ruling class are seeking to enhance their structural power, or to turn a phrase, they are seeking to make themselves great again, by weakening the efficacy of checks or dissents against their power domestically in an environment in which they have total power over all branches of the government and are receiving virtually no criticism from their own constituency on any economic issues. This would place them in the best command position imaginable, which would allow them the ability to then turn their focus to foreign policy and trade policy.

Everything that the American ruling class is doing to pacify and constrict the power of their own constituents at home, is a preparation and a prerequisite for them being able to efficiently conduct a trade war against European, Asian, and Latin American states.

Enacting a tariff regime as a necessary centre-piece of the trade war is an action which will raise the cost of inputs for all American manufacturers. One of the ways that they will offset that cost will be to enable American companies to act in cost-cutting ways that disregard the interests of American workers and families without having to worry about being subjected to lawsuits brought by those workers and families.

Passing H.R.985 and H.R.720, as well as appointing Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court and abolishing the Legal Services Corporation, are four key actions that are part of the process of them ‘moving the ball down the playing field’ in that regard.

Evidence has been presented here which illustrates that the entire edifice of ‘Make America Great Again’ is going to be constructed atop a foundation of socio-economic retrogression and misery.

Kumiko Oumae works in the defence and security sector in the UK. Her opinions here are entirely her own.


A Few More Words Added to a Grammar of Motives Might Transform Counterproductive Reaction

Posted by DanielS on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 04:55.


Dido: White Flag

It is my experience and my hypothesis that there is a pattern of Jo Cox types who are in an increased one up position of female predilection as a result of the disorder of modernity - a disorder created by the disruption of racial and other social classificatory bounds - with that, they are pandered to from all directions (particularly by the YKW) and they become more articulate and confident, more prone to not move beyond a liberal propensity to gratuitous prerogative and incitement to genetic competition - more able to dismiss as “losers” those who question their judgment (who conversely, become more inarticulate); these increased one up females act as gate keepers, letting through only men (like Jo Cox’s husband Brandon) who maintain the liberal disorder that empowers them - never mind the expense to others in their historical, systemic pattern: “it’s nature” ...at least it serves their narrow personal interests to believe in this powerful determinism.


The Cox

Sell-out couples like Jo and Brandon Cox operate with a contextual force to quell voices in objection to the liberal destruction they visit upon our people - White men often squelched first for liberal abandonment and invitations to interlopers.

The voice that liberals would silence is meaningful of a pattern - not to be treated uncritically or with perfect sympathy, but certainly not to be dismissed as having no possible reason to be angry with the status quo - looking upon it as hideously and unnecessarily unjust - so much so as to contemplate it as actionable.

Again, this position of ordinary White males can become quite inarticulate within the disorder of modernity, as they are ostracized, shunned and altercast by the YKW into right wing anti-social aloofness and ultimate alienation - inarticulate and without perceived recourse to this alteracst, they can act into its dangerous and counterproductive role.

How to correct that, to hear these White voices that liberals would silence and engage them such that their grievances can lend corrective aid and be channeled into effective activism - a more productive means than murdering a Jo Cox: who, for her professed compassion, may have been compelled to account for compassion to Whites?

It is precisely because White men are evolved in more sublimated and circumspect patterns of interaction that their reproductive paths require the “prosthesis” of place holding grammars to lend social support against the myriad of occasions that modernity affords for the opportunistic to seize-upon their more protracted biological constituents.

It is with a notion such as this, “just a few more words added to his grammar of motives might change a sociopath into a merely neurotic sort”  (Kenneth Burke) that we make an ongoing reference place for our good and loyal women - hopefully, more than merely staving off misogyny, an extended grammar of motives can transform him, lending sufficient alternative range of functional autonomy for him to become an articulate spokesman for our people otherwise terribly manipulated and pandered-to by those in power…

It will do no good to deny the capacity for the terrible treachery that exists among our co-evolutionary females as well - and in service of systemic correction there needs to be capacity for criticism as such - to rupture imperviously destructive denial; an honest platform that will provide a place for anger to go and be channeled into further correction, as violations of our more sublimated patterns are difficult to express - depending on our NOT having to seize every opportunity, to play “game” a la Roosh V. Nevertheless, support and reconstruction of a protracted grammar of White motives allows for emergence of attention to the more quiet, loyal ones. In these circumstances rife with treachery and traitors, European men need reminders of our loyal women.

With that in mind, I start this thread of videos or just plain music that expresses loyalty and sensitive concern from our co-evolutionaries.

This one is a good start - Dido showing loyalty to what appears to be an ordinary, working class White man.

I will be adding more videos of this kind and, of course, welcome others to contribute their favorite videos of this kind to this thread


The poet of the piano in the Romantic age of Nationalism

Posted by Guessedworker on Sunday, 11 May 2008 18:24.

image

As it did with Beethoven and Bach, so BBC Radio 3 is dedicating a period of unbroken play-time to the greatest of piano composers, Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849).  The Chopin Experience will last be broadcast over 17-18 May 2008.  It will include all his compositional output, about which a fellow genius wrote:-

He did not task himself, nor study to be a national musician. Like all truly national poets he sang spontaneously without premeditated design or preconceived choice all that inspiration dictated to him, as we hear it gushing forth in his songs without labor, almost without effort. He repeated in the most idealized form the emotions which had animated and embellished his youth; under the magic delicacy of his pen he displayed the Ideal, which is, if we may be permitted so to speak, the Real among his people; an Ideal really in existence among them, which every one in general and each one in particular approaches by the one or the other of its many sides. Without assuming to do so, he collected in luminous sheaves the impressions felt everywhere throughout his country - vaguely felt it is true, yet in fragments pervading all hearts. Is it not by this power of reproducing in a poetic formula, enchanting to the imagination of all nations, the indefinite shades of feeling widely scattered but frequently met among their compatriots, that the artists truly national are distinguished?

... Chopin must be ranked among the first musicians thus individualizing in themselves the poetic sense of an entire nation, not because he adopted the rhythm of POLONAISES, MAZOURKAS, and CRACOVIENNES, and called many of his works by such names, for in so doing he would have limited himself to the multiplication of such works alone, and would always have given us the same mode, the remembrance of the same thing; a reproduction which would soon have grown wearisome, serving but to multiply compositions of similar form, which must have soon grown more or less monotonous. It is because he filled these forms with the feelings peculiar to his country, because the expression of the national heart may be found under all the modes in which he has written, that he is entitled to be considered a poet essentially Polish. His PRELUDES, his NOCTURNES, his SCHERZOS, his CONCERTOS, his shortest as well as his longest compositions, are all filled with the national sensibility, expressed indeed in different degrees, modified and varied in a thousand ways, but always bearing the same character.

From Franz Liszt’s Life of Chopin.

The Chopin Experience can be appreciated on-line, of course, and for 7 days after broadcast.


Not a gift, exactly.

Posted by Guessedworker on Monday, 25 December 2006 06:25.

Because this will cost you money.  $19.95 a year, in fact.  But for that you get full access to the entire and most wide-ranging serious music back-catalogue in the world.  And to me that’s as near to a gift as one can get.

Naxos decided to open its doors in this way to the internet listener in 2003.  I don’t think it has precipitated the other giants to follow suit - no doubt because they cannot make money doing it.  But then they can’t make money at all.  The music industry in general, and not just the serious side, is in growing difficulties, and where it will all end is not yet foreseeable. 

But the corpus of Western music will stand as long as Western Man survives. And, certainly, the quality of music-making is as strong as ever.  There’s enough of it to explore at Naxos to last at least the year of the life of the subscription.

The catalogue includes a very nearly full representation of late romantic nationalist composition, which is the subject of this post.

There was a golden period for nationalistic composers lasting arguably from the operatic exploits of Michael Glinka (1804-1857) until deep into the 20th century.  It was made possible in no small measure because the compositional dependency on the patronage of great churchmen and petty princes was withering.  Artistically, however, the Age of Enlightenment did not provide sufficient answers.  The roots of the nation and its meaning for its people were not matters of interest to the old or new elites of Europe.  But the people themselves were another matter.  With the obvious exception of France, most of the European nations produced men desirous of expressing the soul of their homelands in sound.

In the music world descriptions of nationalist music tend, as one might expect, to be a trifle circumspect.  Much emphasis tends to be placed upon the composer’s conceivably non-political search for the national soul in ancient folk tales, traditions and songs.  It was a natural enough place to look, of course.  The question remains, however, as to how nationalism then fits with nationalism now.  My answer is that that special reverence which informed the best nationalist composition, and which was answered by all those who loved it so long ago, still obtains among listeners today.  Nothing has changed, beyond the fact that the race issue has been thrust upon us where once such a pass would have been unimaginable.  Reaching down into the lives of our ancestors and finding there a reflection of our collective selves is no less proper now than before, and probable more necessary than ever.  Marxism, anyway, makes crap art.

The following list, should you wish to explore the Naxos option, might be worth your time.  It is not complete by any means There is no song, for example.  I have not included Glinka’s successors in Mother Russia: that loose association of like-minded composers who came to be called The Mighty Handful.  Likewise Norway’s most famous composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) and the great Czecks Leoš Janá?ek and (1854-1928)) Antonín Leopold Dvo?ák (1841-1904) have been left off.  I would have liked to reference the Slovak, Vitezlav Novák (1870-1949). But his Moravian & Slovak Suite is not catalogued by Naxos.  The lesser known Scot, Alexander Mackenzie (1847-1935), is also not catalogued but deserves a mention here.  Anyway, here’s my list, much of it rather obvious I know ... but not all.  Some you may care to challenge.  That and any other ommissions will be most carefully studied by me in the thread.

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Bath and Bach, via Le Chat Noir

Posted by Guessedworker on Thursday, 25 May 2006 02:21.

One evening last November I took my daughter to a concert given in Brighton by the English classical pianist, Joanna MacGregor.  The evening and Miss MacGregor were provocative and inspiring in roughly equal proportions, and I wrote about it and her here.

Last Sunday afternoon BBC Radio 3 broadcast a concert which Miss MacGregor gave the previous night in the Assembly Rooms, Bath.  It was her recital contribution to the opening night of the

2006 Bath International Music Festival, and featured much the same content and the same contrasts I blogged about - Professor Longhair staring across the platform at J S Bach, for example.  For the next three or four days the curious can still hear a programme repeat here.  It lasts about 90 minutes (and if you use IE you can pause/advance it - but not with Mozilla).

I put “recital contribution” in italics because Miss MacGregor also makes a weighty administrative contribution to this year’s Festival, being its new Artistic Director.  She speaks about this part of her role at the beginning of the programme:-

When I came to the Bath Festival I was struck, obviously, by the existing core customer audience which is very loyal, and they love chamber music –high quality chamber music – and you’ve got these wonderful venues like the Assembly Rooms, the Guild Hall.

But I knew I wanted to sort of open it up, and I knew I needed to open it up to other audiences.  And I also needed to bring my personality into all this - and, of course, I’m so interested in so many different kinds of music.

So straight away I knew I was going to invent a new focus on traditional music, a new focus on electronica, maintain and expand the jazz programme and let the jazz programme completely burst its banks, you know … and invade the rest of the programme, all this kind of thing.  And, of course, my big thing is “never putting anybody in boxes”.  So I would never ever say, “OK, it’s world music and it’s cool, and it’s classical music over here everybody.  And in the blue corner it’s jazz, you know.”  It’s just never gonna happen like that with me.  And I think this recital programme is an example of that.

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Another high culture expedition

Posted by jonjayray on Saturday, 01 April 2006 11:21.

Seeing it is the weekend, I thought I might be forgiven for an even more discursive post than usual

Having become something of a recluse in my old age, I rarely go out these days.  Only my addiction to classical music occasionally gets me moving.  As Mozart is my second favourite to Bach and as this year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, however, I decided (or Anne decided) that it would be a good time for me to go to a Mozart concert.  So we   went this evening to a performance of the famous Requiem (in the Beyer realization).

To help get us in the mood for some of the greatest of German music, we had some good German peasant food for tea before going to the concert. For starters we had some excellent Zwiebelfisch (raw herring pickled with onions, peppercorns etc) followed simply by ham and mustard on Roggenbrot (black bread).  The ham was the strong-tasting Gypsy ham, which I got from our local Croatian delicatessen.

When we arrived at Brisbane’s newish and first class concert hall, I was amazed at the crush of people.  Every seat was booked.  I was of course delighted to see such a robust following for Kunst und Kultur so far from its homeland.  The Requiem is rather sombre by Mozart’s standards, so had I thought it might not attract a big audience.

The audience was of course overwhelmingly of Northern European appearance,  though there was also a good scattering of North Asians—mostly Han, I think. 

We had the overture from Zauberfloete for starters followed by piano concerto 27 (his last).  While I was listening to the concerto I kept thinking that it sounded more like Kammermusik than something for a full orchestra so I was rather pleased to note later that the program notes also decribed it as having “a chamber-music mood”.

When we got to the Requiem after intermission, the forces available were excellent.  There was a huge choir and a strong string section—including 4 double basses and six celli.  Other than that however there was only a few brass players.  The big traditional pipe organ (much acclaimed when it was built) supplied the wind sounds.

Slightly suprisingly, the conductor was European—Estonian in fact.  Half a world away from Europe we still needed European talent.  Since by far the greatest part of classical music is of Northern European origin, however, I suppose it stands to reason that Northern Europeans should have the best feel for it.

The Requiem itself was so absorbing that it seemed to me to take only 15 minutes, though I believe it took more like an hour.  I greatly enjoyed the complex music of my Volk (using that term somewhat broadly) and I was nearly as pleased to see that many others of the Volk still do too.


A birthday concert

Posted by jonjayray on Tuesday, 21 March 2006 07:18.

Today is of course the birthday of J.S. Bach—of whom I am a great afficianado.  So Anne and I went to an organ concert at a nearby Lutheran church to celebrate the occasion.  Both the organ and the organist were excellent and Bach’s ringingly self-confident music grabbed me from the very first notes.

The thing that inspired this post however was the prominence of East Asians on the occasion.  The man selling tickets at the door was Chinese in fact.  It reminded me that I have often read that the great Western classical music has a proportionately much bigger following in China and Japan than it does in the West.

I am very grateful for that.  It could well be that Western culture is now decadent and much of our glorious cultural heritage stands in danger of being largely lost.  I was for instance horrified to find out that, at the end of his high school years,  my son had never heard of such great English poets as Wordsworth and Coleridge.  I promptly sat down and read him some of course.  The only introduction to poetry that his school gave him was to a very minor black poet!  I happen to have known the black poet concerned (Kath Walker) and can tell you that she was essentially a whiner and little more.

So our kids are being de-educated and de-acculturated and it seems possible that there will one day be very few of our Volk left who will know enough to carry on the knowledge and appreciation of past wonders and attainments.  That Asians may keep alive what we do not is therefore some comfort to me.  While there is life there is hope.

When I first heard the music of Bach at age 13 it was an electrifying experience for me.  It would be sad indeed if the generations to come never got the exposure that would introduce them also to our crowning musical achievements.  But I think that lack of exposure is probably already happening in far too many cases.  So if Asians keep alive our great cultural traditions it will all be to the good.


Portrait of an artist

Posted by Guessedworker on Thursday, 10 November 2005 21:33.

Yesterday evening I took my daughter to Brighton College to see the inimitable and wholly entertaining Joanna MacGregor in concert.  The experience, both visceral and cerebral, left me pondering – and that, in turn, left me searching all today for a quiet moment in which to fix some of those thoughts.

A Joanna MacGregor concert is, within the small, refined world of classical piano performance, an event.  She brings to the platform so many conflicting qualities – thorough-going unconventionality, inner simplicity and warmth, a distinct impression of personal frailty, a quite awesome power when called upon, a high cerebral capacity, utterly eclectic tastes – one can only call her, in contemplation of the fusion of these things, an artist.  Quite probably, she is a unique artist.  Certainly, she is a unique individual.

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