16 February 2017

The wretched miasma of politics

People keep presuming diversely on the net that Putin has compromising pictures of Trump.

I think this is unlikely.

Trump is reputed to have done this -- surreptitiously take compromising pictures of guests -- in Trump's own hotels, Trump has never lacked for low cunning, and it's about impossible to make pictures or video really stick these days. Any state actor can fake just about anything, and that possibility makes any kind of blackmail image doubtfully effective. It might work, but it might not.  It probably won't, given the GOP unwillingness to stop going La La La so long as they stay in power and get their tax breaks.

Really tight proof of Trump's economic misdeeds -- it's not like Putin needs to be especially concerned for being prosecuted for any financial misdeeds on his own part -- is a possibility, but that can be disclaimed, too.  "State actor" calls into a great deal of question just what can be false-flagged about financial fraud claims.

What Putin can have on Trump relies on it being something Trump's staff wouldn't think of guarding against, which generally means something that requires a state actor; either the capability before it would have been generally known as a risk or to get away with doing it.  (Or both.) To be useful, it has to be an inescapable demonstrable material fact that's nigh-guaranteed to revolt Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell beyond any question of political calculation.  (Plus a sufficient fraction of the right-wing media.)

So either Putin's kiting Trump with no actual kompromat -- not impossible, by any means; that appears to be what Bannon's doing -- or it's something that fits those two criteria.  It has to be a demonstrable material fact and it has to revolt Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.   It also has to be something Putin could get, that Trump would believe Putin had, and that Trump can't correct, obscure, or dispose of once Trump knows Putin has it.

There really isn't much in that category.  The only obvious candidate is the paternity of Trump's grandchildren, which is a horrible thought to think.

14 February 2017

I think people miss the significance of the 1950s

The point to the fifties was that the 1940s -- and to a considerable extent the 1930s -- had seen a big upswing in women's agency, if not formal rights.  Running munitions factories lead to getting the vote after the Great War -- you just can't claim someone who handles picric acid isn't capable of political decisions, not if you have any self honesty at all -- but after Hitler's War, all the progress was undone.  Women were removed from jobs and financial independence; the collective child-care (utterly necessary to factories staffed by women) was abolished; a whole lot of "you must stay at home for your child" propaganda got produced.  And it worked, in that time and in that generation.

I think the American hard right; the supremacists, the fascists, the deplorable and demented and delusional with no just claim to the name of a man, are really really into the fifties as imagery because it is indescribably important to them to put "women, cattle, and slaves" back into operation.  An environment when women can tell them no hurts too much to live in, and they don't want it.  (Even the white supremacy has a whole lot of forced-birth nativism in the supremacist mix; it's white male supremacy.  White women aren't meant to be anything other than a particular class of chattel.)  The fifties were time when a long period of increase in women's agency and rights were reversed.  Perhaps that can be done again.

I don't think such a thing is possible this time; I think given the choice between being returned to a condition of reproductive slavery, and killing a lot of people until the demand ceases to be made, enough of the current generation of women are going to pick killing a lot of people.  (And a lot of the millennial men, too, but the politically crucial thing is what the middle aged women chose to do.)

I really, really hope this doesn't happen. (Though it would be a better thing than putting "women, cattle, and slaves" back into operation.)  I very much wish I could believe the Pence wing of the GOP (or pretty much any but perhaps two of the Canadian CPC leadership candidates) recognized this as a possibility.  (Or, if they do recognize it, could imagine losing.)