Category Archives: Politics

Our Democratic Process

Our Democratic Process

The United States of America
Is passionately committed
To democracy and the democratic process.

That is why

U.S. State Department and Intelligence officials
Manipulated Russian elections
To engineer the victory
Of its hand-picked candidate

Boris Yeltsin,

A result which the then President of the United States
William Jefferson Clinton
Bragged about having achieved.

The United States also deplores
Those who do not share
Our committment to democracy
And the democratic process.

That is why

The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Recently issued indictments
Of 13 Russian nationals
Who are believed to be implicated

In a plot to influence our elections.

Michael Brooks on the Dum-Dum Left

A while back, a friend suggested that I subscribe to the podcasts of Michael Brooks as one of the few on the left who combine a clear recognition of the wilderness we are now inhabiting with and understanding of the path that we must take to escape it.

He was right in his evaluation and I’m glad for the heads up to subscribe to Brook’s feed, which I did, albeit with some misgivings at the Patreon model Brooks and others are using to finance their media presence.

The particular reason for my friend’s referral was based on Brooks’ having referenced a “dum-dum left.” This, as my friend noticed, overlaps more or less exactly with what I have been categorizing here and elsewhere as the “idiot left.”

That we have both hit on two slightly different terms for the same thing is apparent at around 9’30″ in this recent segment where Brooks calmly and systematically defines what the dum dum left is and why it is deeply harmful to the left’s prospects:

There is, unfortunately still, a dum-dum left who confuse moral posturing with revolutionary fervor. Who confused ahistorical throwing anything at the wall and endless whining about the Democrats for a real radical stance towards politics and who confuse a couple of irrelevant protest votes for a marginal candidate for a serious committment to revitalizing power-to actually seizing power in this country. And I get why that’s emotionally appealing to people because we live in absolutely disgusting times and the governing class of this country and the globe is disgusting. It’s abusive, it’s cruel, it’s abusive, it’s stupid, it’s arrogant, it’s insular and they need to be mocked, ridiculed, debunked, and they need to be taken out, to keep it simple.

But not too simple.
We need to keep it as simple as it can be, but not simpler than that.”
Brooks then proceeds to examine a notable expression of “youtube dum-dumism,” an attack on Brooks defense of strategic voting issued by notable left dum-dum, comedian Jimmy Dore who asks incredulously “You should have voted for Hillary because of DACA? 
Dore continues:
How dumb can you be? Still defending voting for Hillary even though it was Hillary who propped up Donald Trump. She completely rigged the primary to make sure the only person who could have lost to Donald Trump lost the primary. And you still want us to vote for the person who cheated us out of Bernie. We got Donald Trump because Democrats got in power and fucked everyone over, you dummie. And if we didn’t get Trump this time, we were going to get a worse Trump next time. Because your inability to think past one election cycle is why you’re a dummie and no one listens to you.
Well, you could have voted for a third party and made a difference. But you voted like a stupid corporate neoliberal, you did the lesser of two evils.
As Brooks points out, among the “dummies” and “corporate neoliberals” Dore has in mind was Noam Chomsky who, as everyone should know, urged a vote for Clinton on the most elementary moral grounds: one should work to elect a lesser evil candidate because the lesser evil candidate will be . . . . less evil. Brooks cites a BBC interview with Chomsky stating what, after a year’s experience with “the most dangerous organization in human history” in unchallenged power, has by now become obvious to anyone who is not, well, an idiot.

 

As is generally the case, Dore’s addled conclusions are a reflection of shoddy reasoning or really none at all. The most obvious is, that as Brooks observes, Dore immediately runs away from the argument which provides the impetus for his rant. He correctly observes that those who support strategic voting point to the millions who will be deported by Trump as indicative of how quasi-fascism differs from Clintonite neoliberalism and will have tragic consequences for those millions. But after recognizing that that’s what Brooks and others say, Dore completely ignores it, obsessively returning to the only subject which he is able to focus on: hatred for Clinton and unnamed Democrats without even recognizing that by running away from it, he has effectively conceded Brook’s argument.

****
It would be interesting to know how Dore’s thousands of fans respond to this. Do they recognize his obvious failure to address the issue and recognize that, when they themselves confront those who aren’t already inclined to agree with them, that they will have to do better if they are to succeed in convincing them. Or do they simply assume that the absence of facts and logic don’t matter given the righteousness of their cause?

My strong suspicion that it is the latter is based on routinely receiving on my social media feed forwarded clips like that above. These are generally accompanied by comments along the lines of “Watch Jimmy Dore destroy corporate whore Noam Chomsky and other lesser-evil scum” entirely oblivious that Dore does nothing the kind but only hurls insults.

Of course, the inability to apply elementary logic, accept as fact what is self-evidentaly true and distinguish between good and bad arguments is not limited to Jimmy Dore fans. That elite high brow Marxists are as prone to idiocy as trailer park inhabitants of the left was apparent in a recent attack on right wing media phenom Jordan Peterson appearing in Jacobin. Its embarrassing lack of substance was noted by Peterson himself, who dispensed with it in a few words on twitter-to roars of approval. These derived, unfortunately, not just from tens of thousands of his followers. Also doing so were those who have not yet been won over to Peterson’s camp but simply value clear thinking, basic attention to factual accuracy and minimal standards of argumentation. It is that constituency which the left has been losing for generations now.

The presence and active promotion of idiot left elements will insure that it will keep doing so.

The New Normal: Homelessness and Who We Are

Often, I find myself trying to convey to my students and others in their age group that the way things are are not what they have always been.

The most glaring and disturbing example of that is homelessness. I try to explain to them that legions of desperate, disheveled, lost, sometimes crazy individuals begging for food in major cities are not an inevitable fact of nature-like thunderstorms or the changes of the season. During my childhood and teens, they simply didn’t exist. Yes, there were a few of what were then called “bums”, “drunks” or (in Paris) “clochards”, but the apocalyptic scenes which we are assaulted with in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, downtown Los Angeles and New York City were unimaginable to us then. While they generally don’t argue with me, I often detect a certain eye-rolling disbelief in that they can imagine that what I’m saying is true.

That I’m not making it up is attested to in the Google n-gram registering the number of appearances of the word “homeless” in all sources. Just as I would have predicted, it begins to explode in the year 1980. Of course, this just means people were talking about homelessness more-not necessarily that it was more common. For that there is other statistical evidence. But as far as I’m concerned, this tells us everything we need to know.

Or nearly everything. Also revealing is extending the n-gram window rightwards past the default setting 2000 up to 2008. The number of mentions drops.

This does not mean, of course, that homeless is any less prevalent but that we stopped talking about it. That is, it became normalized as a fact of life. In other words,  we reconciled ourselves to the “new reality.” And, I would suggest, that in doing so we became still  human.

But that it was not always this way also tells us everything we need to know: it does not have to be.

We can and we will someday return to something like decency.

I genuinely believe this.

 

How the Right Goes Viral: Jonathan Cook on Jordan Peterson

A useful piece by the always excellent Jonathan Cook shows how the alt-right icon Jordon Peterson was able to make mincemeat of a typically clueless British channel 4 interviewer in much the same way that Glenn Greenwald does: by exposing the bankruptcy of the premises of corporate media which all on air personalities reflexively accept. Channel 4’s response to their humiliation was to retrospectively “no platform” Peterson by disappearing the clip from their site.

Interestingly, this mirrors the approach which much of the Marxist/authoritarian left here is pursuing with Peterson: those giving him a platform are shunned and marginalized, an apparent social media fatwa having been declared on those engaging with him. The reason is likely the same as that of Channel 4. Those who would have to confront him lack the intellectual capacity to address his arguments and they know it. Doing so does not require that much beyond the ability to deploy basic logic and a minimal knowledge of the facts: as Cook notes, Chomsky would easily dispense with Peterson’s more outrageous claims but so would many other lesser profile leftists (e.g. Norman Finkelstein and Nathan Robinson).

But as Angela Nagel points out, much of the left, while congratulating itself on its command of Hegelian dialectic and cult stud “theory”, is incapable of holding its own when its core assumptions are interrogated. And so they flee from the challenge, insuring that Peterson’s frat house Nietzscheanism will continue to gain an increasingly solid footing in popular culture.

Marketing the Idiot Left Brand

Everyone would prefer to have more people rather than fewer pay attention to what they say. So by the same token, those of us who have not achieved large internet followings will find themselves asking of those who have: how do they do it? What’s the trick?

Having been barraged by thousands of viral postings over the past years, we all know that there is no trick: one sure way of getting people to pay attention to you on the internet is the same way you do it in a public place: you pull down your pants and shriek-or produce the electronic text equivalent of the same.

Left politics is no exception: you don’t attract attention by calmly evaluating strategies through which left candidates compete in and win Democratic primaries or run as third party candidates where they have potential to win while making sure that far right Republicans are ejected from power as soon as possible.

What will get attention is to scream “burn it down”, the “it” here being the Democratic Party, and to advocate active “sabotage” of its candidates, particularly in the presidential election, even when this will result in, as it did in 2016, four years of a living nightmare.

The arsonists associated with this tendency, Paul Street, Jeffrey St. Clair among others appearing at Counterpunch, advocated for just that and continue to do so now, though it’s worth noting that it’s not just establishment Democrats who they reject: Bernie Sanders failed to meet with their approval despite the fact that virtually every establishment institution hated and feared him-and did everything in their power to take him down.

Given that Sanders didn’t make it over the anti-establishment bar, their logic dictates that neither would other radicals who actually succeeded in getting elected to office as Democrats. For example, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner who is carrying forward a wholesale purge of the vicious prosecutors who have fueled the mass incarceration epidemic in one major city.

Or Chelsea Manning, now a newly declared Democratic candidate for senate from the state of Maryland would also deserve rejection as would Chokwe Lumumba, the newly elected Democratic mayor, now following through on his pledge to make Jackson, Mississippi “the most radical city on the planet.”

And they would also sabotage Democrats-anti-establishment, and in most cases otherwise-whose victories will be required to begin to remove from power the “most dangerous organization in human history”.

***

At this point, the nihilistic absurdity of their non-strategy becomes so obvious that it hardly merits comment.

But the question remains. What accounts for the thousands of clicks and hundreds of “likes” of their postings?

To understand why requires recognizing that they don’t go viral in spite of their being idiotic. Rather they go viral *because* they are idiotic.

And that’s because most of those reading idiot left content are not actively searching for ways in which they can effectively participate in politics using it to address the almost inconceivable suffering those in power are inflicting on those who don’t have it.

Rather, those waving a crufix at any consituency developing behind left wing Democratic like Sanders, Lumumba, Manning and Krasner have no interest in doing that. Ultimately, they look to politics as repository for their fantasies where they can inflict random violence, burn, rape and pillage without consequence.

Of course, it’s fun to engage in video game fantasies, as any parent of a 12 year old knows.

But doing so has nothing to do with advancing politics which has any chance of helping those who desperately need it.

If recognizing that means my posts don’t rack up thousands of likes, it’s a small price to pay.

Note: Thanks to FAIR’s Steve Rendall for noting mistakes on a draft version of this piece.

The News of the Day: Does it Matter?

Of today’s two big news stories, one of them, excerpts from Michael Wolff’s new book will be obsessively consumed as political junk food always is.

But it won’t tell us anything we didn’t know before.

We already knew Donald Trump is the worst person in the world.

If it tells us anything at all, it is something slightly different. That is that even those we already knew to be the worst people in the world can be even worse than we thought they were.

But this says more about us than it does about Trump.

In particular, what is shows is that we lack imagination.

This was painfully apparent during the election.

Again and again, those urging voting in swing states to make sure Clinton was elected were met with the completely obvious rejoinder that she was a terrible candidate-a lying, neoliberal warmonger in Adolph Reed’s words. It was also entirely irrelevant since anyone with minimal contact with the planet earth also knew that Trump was-and would be-worse, possibly even much worse as he has turned out to be.

But again and again, this simple logical fact-i.e. that X is terrible does not imply that Y can’t be worse-was dismissed or never even registered on the consciousness of more than a few leftists. Hence they, which is to say we, became a small but not insignificant part of the reason why we are currently living a nightmare.

***

The second news story is getting much less attention but is self-evidently far more serious and significant. This involves James Risen’s disclosures that New York Times editors Phil Taubman and and Bill Keller actively colluded with the Bush administration to spike Risen’s reporting on NSA spying in 2004, a decade before it was revealed by Edward Snowden.

Risen also details how the Obama administration, in the face of hopes that it would roll back some of the worst aspects of the police state imposed by the Bush administration worked to advance them and cement them in place.

One example was Risen’s own prosecution by the Bush administration justice department for refusing to reveal his sources. This was, as Risen reports, intentionally delayed by the presiding judge Leonie Brinkema based on the expectation that it would be dropped under a Democratic administration. As we now know, Eric Holder moved forward threatening Risen with many years of imprisonment only dropping the case in Obama’s final months when it was clear it was not sustainable.

***
But as important as all this is, it is also, like Wolff’s book, mostly irrelevant to what needs to be our major if not exclusive goal from now until November 2018 and then November 2020: to remove from all positions of institutional power the Republican Party, “the most dangerous organization in human history” as Chomsky referred to it.

The Wolff bombshells, if they are believed, (regardless of whether they are true), only matter in that they are likely to further drag down the Republicans’ prospects. But this will only increase the pressure for Republicans to accede to an impeachment resulting in a President Pence with a return to “normal” Republican rule-no less dangerous than Trump, but only less flamboyant, and more competitive. If this is to materialize, there is nothing to celebrate about Wolff’s book-as dadaistically amusing as some might find it.

The Risen story raises a different category of problems in that it shows how, when it comes to matters of national security and the military budgets which are required to support an increasingly aggressive international posture, how little difference there has been between the Republicans and Clinton/Obama neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party. It is unlikely that their anointed candidate will depart from this suicidal path.

This is one of many indications that if it is to have any chance of reversing its string of losses, the DP will need to fundamentally change course in the direction which the Sanders wing is pointing. While far from ideal, Sanders has a long record of opposing the worst excesses of militarism having during the campaign, for example, denounced Henry Kissinger and Benjamin Netanyahu, brought up the U.S. support for dictators such as Pinochet while running on his opposition the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.

While Sanders’s foreign policy shortcomings are significant, everything that does not involve fighting for the course change his wing of the party are trying to effect against neoliberal elites dead set on maintaining it is a distraction.

We should consume, and for that matter make, our news with that in mind.

A (Dissenting) Left Top Ten

Ten pieces from the last year expressing left views much of the official left evidently doesn’t want to hear. Or, to use their words (albeit usually behind my back), these are the views of a “crank.”

Whether that’s so I’ll leave that for you to judge.

Thanks to all who have read this blog and for the occasional encouragement which I have received over the year.

1) The left is correct in comparing where we find ourselves to the Weimar Republic, but they apply the wrong analogy: The tragedy of a greater evil far right victory, here now and in Germany then, resulted from their and our failure to make use of the ballot box to head it off.

2) Of what is now easily over 100 men taken down by #metoo activism, only one or two are Bernie Sanders supporters.  The great majority were in the Clinton camp.  This is not a coincidence.

3) Contrary to Naomi Klein and Opal Tometi’s assertion,  advocacy for reparations (as Adolph Reed insists), is entirely consonant with the objectives of neoliberalism and hostile to those of the left.

4)  Clinton’s nomination, while correctly described as “rigged”, was not a foregone conclusion. Unions could have pushed Sanders over the top.  They chose not to.

5) Despite its defining itself vis a vis its contempt for them, the radical left mirrors Clintonite neoliberal technocrats in their shared hatred and fear of working class whites.  This is not their only similarity.

6) The Vietnam War was not  “begun in good faith, by decent people” as Ken Burns claims now, nor were they engaged in “blundering efforts to do good” as Anthony Lewis suggested then.

7) Denouncing and/or ridiculing others for their taste in music is neoliberalism applied to the aesthetic realm.

8) Some left celebrities owe their celebrity status to their being fools and opportunists, and then make the left look ridiculous by their antics. This is a problem we need to address.

9) The major difference between Clinton 1992 and 2016 inheres in the group designated as “deplorables.”  Then it was “super-predators”.  in 2016 it was working class whites from the flyover states.

10) The number 187 should be kept in mind by MSNBC talking heads uncritically passing on repeatedly debunked stories of Russian hacking.

Reparations, Solidarity and The Shock Troops of Neoliberalism: Adolph Reed Answers Klein and Tometi

Image result for Adolph Reed

In an Intercept piece attempting to moderate the recent dispute between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West, Naomi Klein and Opal Tometi make two significant errors, both of which raise questions about their understanding of the nature of the disagreement between these two “brilliant men of the left”, as they refer to them.

The first resides in their claim that West “accuses (Coates) of silence on some subjects where he has, in fact, been vocal (like the financial sector’s role in entrenching Black poverty).” In fact, West’s criticism has to do not with the “financial sector’s” role in the immiseration of Black people but with Obama’s role. Specifically, Obama was not coerced, but chose to enrich the financial sector effectively rewarding them for their years of marketing fraudulent mortgages, disproportionately to African Americans. The result was not only a massive transfer of wealth to the top, but, more tragically, the largest decline in African American wealth in U.S.  history. If this is what “eight years in power” represents to Coates, is hard to see on what basis the adjectives “brilliant” or “left” are applied.

The second has to do with Klein and Tometi’s characterization of Coates as “The man who has done more to revive the debate about Black reparations than any writer of his generation.” Based on his role, Klein and Tometi conclude that Coates “cannot blithely be written off as a neoliberal tool. ”

In fact, there is considerable basis for categorizing Coates’s views as neoliberal. That we are not familiar with it has to do with it having been provided by an African American intellectual whose views are routinely and systematically excluded when these topics arise, namely, Adolph Reed. For years, Reed has been arguing that the advocacy of reparations is entirely consistent with neoliberalism-Coates’s restatement of it different only in the same contents being delivered in new, arguably more authentic, packaging.

The basic logic, as Reed construed it in his column in The Progressive in 2002, proceeds from the recognition that “the reparations idea spreads. when common circumstances of economic and social insecurity have strengthened the potential for building broad solidarity across race, gender and other identities around shared concerns of daily life . . . like access to quality health care, the right to a decent and dignified livelihood, affordable housing, quality education for all.”

It is precisely these universalist remedies which are at the core of the left agenda. And, predictably when these are ascendent,  Reed continues, “the corporate-dominated opinion-shaping media discover and project a demand for racially defined reparations that cuts precisely against building such solidarity.”

Finally, Reed noted as a point of “interest” that “Randall Robinson, mainstream poster boy for reparations advocacy, is a member of the Rockefeller family’s Council on Foreign Relations.”

All that is required to update the passages to 2017 is to alter the affiliations: “Isn’t it interesting that Coates’s has been provided a blogging platform by the leading organ of neoliberalism, The Atlantic. his books published, and receiving the editorial and marketing resources of mainstream publishing houses, invariably receiving glowing reviews in the pages of the agenda setting media.”

While Reed would not apply the banal phrase “neoliberal tool” to describe Coates, when pressed to deliver one, his unsurprisingly harsh assessment includes Coates as among “the black shock troops for neoliberalism.”

As other have noted, the problem isn’t so much Coates, but rather the failure of the left to recognize, yet again, how what Nancy Fraser refers to as “progressive neoliberalism” routinely deploys multiculturalism as a delivery vehicle for injecting its reactionary program. Rather than accepting it as unchallengeable conventional wisdom, the left which should be resisting it at every turn.

It’s particularly disappointing to find Klein and Tometi, normally capable of requisite skepticism, taken in by the savvy marketing and wide circulation of Coates’s goods.

They should be the first to call it out for what it is.

Nancy Fraser on Progressive Neoliberalism

While some might find the academic style of Nancy Fraser’s recent piece slightly offputting, I recommend that everyone make the effort to read through what is one of the more perceptive and useful guides to where we are, how we have gotten there, and where we need to go.

As is required of any informed and rational discussion of these topics, Fraser recognizes the major force which is responsible for our current plight, namely, the set of political and economic assumptions categorized by the term neoliberalism.

Fraser’s main insight is to recognize a distinction between two variants of neoliberalism referred to by her as progressive and reactionary . The former, according to her, derives from an alliance of “mainstream liberal currents of the new social movements (feminism, antiracism, multiculturalism, environmentalism, and LGBTQ rights)” with “the most dynamic, ‘high-end symbolic’ and financial sectors of the U.S. economy (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood).”  The latter designates the more familiar combination of “unshackl(ing) market forces from the heavy hand of the state and from the millstone of ‘tax and spend,’ . . .  the liberaliz(ing) and globaliz(ing of) the capitalist economy . . .   the dismantling of barriers to, and protections from, the free movement of capital; the deregulation of banking and the ballooning of predatory debt; deindustrialization, the weakening of unions, and the spread of precarious, badly paid work.”

Fraser’s perspective runs counter some of the best known left critiques of neoliberalism, for example, those of David Harvey and Phillip Mirowski. They and their followers, most notably verticalist elements within the Jacobin circle, see neoliberalism as an exclusively reactionary project having its roots in the Mt. Pelerin society then gradually insinuating itself into the political mainstream creating a globalized, international consensus around a core of what are traditional reactionary right wing economic assumptions.

What this leaves out is progressive neoliberalism, or, more specifically, an understanding of its key role within the political trajectory required for neoliberalism to be established.   Why was it that labor based social democratic parties both here and in Europe capitulated to neoliberal policy prescriptions, accepting them as consistent with their core values even when it was clear that they were an attack on their fundamental essence?  How could an ostensibly left political formation advance these policies? Progressive neoliberalism provides the answer.

The most conspicuous domestic variant of this dynamic was the coup which took place in the Democratic Party following the McGovern defeat in 1972.  As recounted by Thomas Frank and Matt Stoller (whom I discussed here), among others, this involved labor unions and other traditional liberal interest groups being displaced from leadership positions in the party. Progressive neoliberalism added the crucial element of replacing these with what Fraser refers to as “the new social movements.” These simultaneously provided a smokescreen for the takeover of the party by Wall Street, business and finance while also conferring legitimacy on the enlightened wings of capital, most notably the high tech industries which were characterized by diverse hiring practices based on meritocratic advancement.

 

Those following Harvey and Mirowski in viewing neoliberalism as a reactionary monolith tend to ignore this history.  For them, the Democratic party was never an active site of class conflict. The New Deal gains, rather than as product of active struggle by activist organizations, are no more than temporary concessions by elites always firmly in control of the party agenda. Never seriously committed to social democracy, that they would roll back welfare state protections when they were in a position to do so was predictable.

With respect to the current opposition to neoliberalism now assuming the form of the Sanders insurgency,  attempts to re-establish the aspirations of the 99% at the center of the Democratic Party are seen as, at best, misguided and politically naive, easily manipulated by party elites.  At worst, those doing so are derided as opportunistic, mainly concerned with exploiting the political system for self-advancement at the expense of the constituencies they claim to represent.

Extending this analysis internationally, the left tendencies within social democratic parties serve mainly to corral opposition to neoliberalism into an organizational structure where they will be ignored and marginalized.

Of course, there is some evidence for this cynical view, most conspicuously in the capitulations of Syriza on which the left had placed hopes.  But while recognizing Greece as a defeat, it is becoming increasingly apparent that neoliberalism can be challenged. Most notably, within the British Labor party, the site of one of its major triumphs, neoliberalism has been effectively erased, with the likelihood that a return to something like traditional social democratic governance will materialize within the next years.

Similarly, within the Democratic Party, the near victory of the Sanders campaign showed the underlying tenuousness of party elites’ hold on power.  They will, needless to say, deploy every weapon at their disposal to defeat it in 2018 and 2020, as they did in 2016. Just as a unified front in the British Left is supporting Corbyn so too should there be a similar left consensus that the Sanders campaign and its offshoots provides the main, and perhaps only, vehicle through which neoliberalism can be dislodged.
But assuming this is in the cards, what will replace it?  Fraser proposes what she refers to as progressive populism centered around “combining egalitarian redistribution with nonhierarchical recognition.”  Fraser contends that “this option has at least a fighting chance of uniting the whole working class. More than that, it could position that class, understood expansively, as the leading force in an alliance that also includes substantial segments of youth, the middle class, and the professional-managerial stratum.”
Fraser does not hold out hope for an explicity anti-capitalist politics to emerge from it any time soon, even if Sanders forces begin to exert significant influence in 2018 and 2020.  What does seem reasonable is the prospect for an “anti-neoliberal” politics eliding into some sort of progressive populism as “a way station en route to some new, post-capitalist form of society.”
While there’s much to be alarmed by in the present political climate, it has been many years since anything similarly hopeful appeared on the political horizon.
Installing progressive populism and progressive populists at the heart of the national Democratic Party, possibly supported by local and even state level third party efforts where viable, appears to be where we need to place our hopes for this transformation to be achieved.
One could do worse for a New Year’s resolution to commit to devoting as much time and energy as one has available towards beginning to make it a reality.