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2020 Vision

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi has a long history of knowing when to play it safe and when to rock the boat

✎  WAYNE K. SPEAR | JULY 12, 2019 • Politics

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N THE DAY Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born, 13 October 1989, Nancy Pelosi was two years into a Congressional career that would yield the highest ranking female politician of American history. Pelosi inherited a seat twice vacated by death, the first of Phillip Burton and the second of his wife Sala. From the former Pelosi also inherited a commitment to AIDS research and legislation, concerns which at the time set her apart from the Washington establishment and in particular the Reagan administration.

I begin here to remind the reader—should the reminder be necessary—there was a time Nancy Pelosi was something of an Ocasio-Cortez figure, pushing controversial and outside-the-box thinking on recalcitrant colleagues. As a San Francisco Democrat, Pelosi came to Washington from a district that had been consistently blue since she attended her first national convention in 1952. In the alchemy of these contradictory themes, of safety and boat-rocking, the career of Speaker Pelosi was forged.

No one survives even in the safest of districts without wits, and Pelosi is a sharp and shrewd politician. Obamacare could well and with good reason have been called Pelosicare, dependant as its passage was on her considerable skills. She is among the most competent and effective Speakers of the House of the past forty years. But longevity has its hazards. It wasn’t long ago that Pelosi held up the liberal end of the argument. Today we have the younger and more strident voices of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar—a fresh generation of Democrats keen to take on the President. Pelosi has now become the resistance, not of Trump but of the mavericks within her own party.

The President will not be removed from office by means of an impeachment vote. Pelosi’s calculation is that hearings will only aid Trump’s fortunes in 2020, by supplying fuel to his engine of paranoia and vindictiveness. She’s been around long enough to have noticed that impeachment is now (along with the special counsel) an all-weather political tool, drawn from the chest as a matter of routine business, a habit that does not exactly thrill the public. “You can’t impeach everybody,” she has said, when in fact her career seems to have taught her that you can’t impeach anybody—not even Bill Clinton, whose removal from office had the support of the House but not of the Senate.

The case for impeachment has two aspects, one political and one principle. On the political side one must calculate the electoral hazards, and who can doubt that Pelosi has done so. The principle aspect requires an answer to the question, Does the President merit impeachment? Pelosi’s rivals in the Democratic party have answered this question to their satisfaction. They want to exercise the oversight function of Congress and send a message that no President is above the law. Pelosi however appears interested only in the political calculation.

She believes the centre will hold and that Trump will succumb to something that she calls self-impeachment. The voters will decide. Perhaps in the meanwhile evangelicals will restrain the President in matters such as mass raids and deportations. Secretary Acosta’s illegal sweetheart deal with the child mass-rapist Jeffrey Epstein? The president’s call. There is no role for Congress. When presented a question touching upon the behaviour of the Trump administration, Pelosi spills the phrases I’m not focused on / don’t know much about / am not interested in that. “We have a great deal of work to do here for the good of the American people and we have to focus on that,” she says, without much by way of specifics. As for the mavericks in her party, “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.” Oof. Pelosi has gone beyond not wanting to rock the boat to not wanting to sit in it.

A year ago Joe Biden was the seasoned politician and the beloved Obama sidekick. He was untouchable until suddenly he wasn’t. Survive long enough and you will confront your own obsolescence. It may be that Pelosi is steps ahead of the rest of us, playing a Democratic version of Trump’s QAnon four-dimensional chess. Perhaps Trump will “self-impeach” and the world will be better for it. Perhaps the best course of action is to wait. Nancy Pelosi has a long history of knowing when to play it safe and when to rock the boat. She’s among the smartest politicians out there, until she isn’t. ⌾

We’re All Vampires Now

The Mercers Are Evil, Mark Zuckerberg Is a Bastard, and Facebook Is For Vampires

✎  Wayne K. Spear | March 20, 2018 • Politics

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HE DISEASE KILLING US is a goddam burrowing maggot, and you realize how deep it goes when you pull. At first it’s just this sick and sickening President, like a pustule on the body politic, but then it’s the media and money in politics and all the greedy bastards who aren’t going to yield until they’ve killed the oceans and your city is under water. And the sickness doesn’t stop there. Pull a little more, and it’s you and me, every day a little more insane, every day a little more lost, and you’re a fool if you don’t see it.

Bastards

We’re all going down, once again into the churning primal vortex, the mad chaos that’s never far away. Eventually we’ll reach that place where the gravitational pull exceeds our collective will, and there will be no turning back. Bricks and battle, baseball bats in the streets, knives under our shirts, a foot stomping on a face over and over until one side runs out of bodies and blood. Today some of us are putting bombs on porches, and some of us are cheering for the Nazis, but most of the decent among us have simply given up on politics and are looking for a good seat to watch the world burn. That’s the best news the evil bastards have had in a long time. Don’t worry, you’ll get a fire.

The President of the United States is a vicious racist bastard who’ll kill your children and hang them high for a cameo on Fox. He’s surrounded himself with operatives every bit as dead on the inside as he is himself, grifters and junkies who feel nothing except the pain they inflict on others to get themselves off. It’s already too late to save the Republic: this President knocked and the world let him in, not because we didn’t know he was a vampire but because we are all vampires now. The President survives by feeding on our worst characteristics, and every depraved mutation of the human gene works to his advantage. He is us and we’re him and it’s useless to argue otherwise.

Before Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, and the others of the vampire Trump nation, were White House sycophants, they were Mercernaries, part of a cult led by the misanthropic father-daughter team of Robert and Rebekah Mercer. Bannon was spreading his toxins on the Mercer-funded Breitbart News and hoping to burn everything to the ground. The Mercers are technocrats and data nerds, heavily invested around the world in “psychographic modeling,” which they hope to use to manipulate voter behaviour. Maybe they’re good at it, maybe not. Robert and Rebekah Mercer funded the theocrat Ted Cruz before they chose Trump, but the Cruz campaign wasn’t impressed with the work of the Mercer’s data firm, Cambridge Analytica. That’s how the falling-out began.

The Mercers prefer the dark—vampires usually do. They want to be in the background, not in the spotlight. Cambridge Analytica is in the news because a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, admitted that the company took private information from millions of Facebook users to help the Trump campaign and the Brexit referendum. Not long before that, Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, was taped discussing his company’s role in the Trump victory and the techniques Cambridge Analytica uses to destroy opposition candidates, including bribery and entrapment. The Mercers want to overturn governments in Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Americas—not for ideology or policy, but merely to cause revolutionary chaos and turmoil, because it makes them feel powerful. There shouldn’t be a place, anywhere in the world, where these misfits can sleep without keeping one eye open, and the same goes for their reptilian operatives, right up to the Corrupter-In-Chief.

Pay attention. You and I let the vampires in, and if we don’t want to become vampires ourselves, we have a responsibility to do something about it. The Mercers and Mark Zuckerberg have been working together for years, and there’s no reason to think it’s gotten better. Don’t ever forget that Facebook started out as FaceMash, a hot-or-not drinking game that Mark Zuckerberg created with student data stolen from the Harvard server. It’s a small step from there to selling us all on the dark web to fake-news nihilists and power-drunk extremists who want to burn up the world, like the Mercers do, because they can and because we let them.