Monday Musings: On Russia, Helplessness, and Polls

W.J. Astore

A few items for this Monday:

1. A strategic analyst wrote to me about how America can improve relations with Russia. The gist of my response was this:

I totally agree on ending the “new” cold war. But the military-industrial complex (MIC) seems determined to use threat inflation to justify high Pentagon budgets. Meanwhile, establishment Democrats think they can use Trump’s alleged softness toward Russia against him. Hardline policies rule the day.

What is to be done? First, I suppose, is recognizing the vital importance of domestic politics — and profit and power — vis-a-vis our foreign relations with Russia. As long as the MIC keeps exaggerating the Russian threat, and as long as the Democrats keep exaggerating the Russian threat to the election while alleging Trump is a Putin-puppet, there’s little we can do. We simply need to work to change the narrative.

2. So many Americans have a sense of learned powerlessness. We simply think there’s nothing we can do to effect change. As I wrote to a friend this weekend: Lots of people have lost faith in government. But they’ve lost faith in collective action as well. They just don’t think they can do anything to fight corruption and a rigged system.

They feel powerless — then a Messiah-like candidate comes along offering hope and change. (In a strange way, Trump is the yang to Obama’s yin.) Trump said he’d drain the swamp — but it proved fetid and fertile land for his long con. His supporters just love the guy even as he hurts them — but at least he makes them feel good, empowered, liberated from the libtards …

A true confidence man, Trump poses as a helper. He’s going to drain the swamp, make things better, make us (you) great again. Turn back the clock — when America was America, men were men, women were women.

Interestingly, Trump has no vision for the future. His vision is relentlessly retrograde. The only way we can be great “again” is by rejecting change and today’s “kids” who support BLM, LGBTQ, and so on.

A new wrinkle is the reactionary and authoritarian “blue lives matter” narrative. Who could have guessed that American activism would culminate in societal militarization and the glorification of police forces?

I’ve seen a few of these on cars and trucks — and I live in an allegedly strong Democratic state

3. Recent polling suggests Joe Biden has a lead of up to 14%. Don’t believe it. As I wrote to a friend: My sense is that this election will be very close. Many people support Trump but they keep that support quiet. And his people show up to vote. Maybe twice if they follow Trump’s advice. Plus, of course, it’s the electoral college that matters, not the popular vote. And there’s still a lot that can happen in the next month.

Readers, what are your musings for this Monday?

24 thoughts on “Monday Musings: On Russia, Helplessness, and Polls

  1. I am a fan of all things Feynman, and I would like to believe that he might agree we are up against something at least as big as GAMICCCAIL (Great American Military Industrial Congressional Corporate Complex And Insurance Lobby) which is a lot more than a mere MIC.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yes, the polls, the polls my presidency for a poll. I have noticed here in Indiana a distinct lack of Trump signs and bumper stickers compared to 2016. There maybe other areas where they are like sprouting weeds.

    I have and my neighbors on either side of me have Biden signs. I know with some exceptions the majority here in my “hood” are Republicans. The question is will some of these people who voted for Trump in 2016, vote for him in the security and anonymity of the voting booth with being vocal about it or will they not vote at all for either Biden or Trump, yet vote for the GOP down ballot??

    I think there is some distress among the GOP that Trump has simply went way beyond what they were, i.e., they were in the Bush GOP fold. My own take is those that voted for Hillary in 2016, will vote for Biden. It is that percentage that voted for Trump or a third party not because they swallowed the MAGA Crap but could not stand Hillary – Will they vote for Biden???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re your last sentence: I’m in the percentage you mention: I loathe everything the Orange Monster stands for, so didn’t buy any of the MAGA crap in 2016, but couldn’t stand Hillary, either. I ended up voting for Jill Stein. So now, yes, I’m faced with the prospect of voting for someone I distrust and don’t respect, simply in the name of stopping the Orange Thing. As my state will most likely go red, my protest vote wouldn’t matter, anyway. It’s a tough choice, with no good options.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Denise, I agree. I voted for Stein also last time around, Democrats the rest of the way in 2016. Bernie or Elizabeth Warren were my choices. I feel a bit like Churchill must have felt, making common cause with Stalin to defeat Hitler. Biden and Harris are wholly owned subsidiaries of the 1%.

        My hope is The Squad and others like them will shift the party to the Left. At least where I live for the first time we could shift a House from GOP to Democrat.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Could not agree more with all the points you make. The Squad is our only hope now. Bernie….I was 100% behind him all the way, and I do, sort of, understand why he’s so gung-ho for Biden at this point, but I wish he’d fought on longer, and my blood pressure goes up 10 points every time he praises Uncle Joe. I realize he’s putting aside his own inclinations to stand behind Biden (at least, I would certainly hope that’s the case), but I don’t like it.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I heard last night that up to 50% will refuse the vaccine. Of course this vaccine can’t be tested for safety. How do we measure long term effects in less than one year? The public knows which party is the mandatory party, and it scares them more than anything. It is also becoming common knowledge that the medical leadership (Fauci and Gates) is malicious. And we all know the party of follow the “science”.


    1. I am a very firm believer in Science (I even accord it that upper-case ‘s’), but at this point, personally, I would not get a vaccine that hasn’t been tested thru a large enough sample of the population or sample of time. I have the “luxury” of living in a rural setting, and I’ve never been one to seek out crowds to feel like I “belong.” Conspiracy theorists had already done a lot of damage to the vaccination process in general (against childhood diseases, etc.) before Trump poured his usual fuel on that fire. Despite his personal bout with this “novel coronavirus,” I imagine most of his followers will continue to harbor anti-vaccination (in general) sentiments.,

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m glad I don’t live in America. An interesting thing here in Victoria, Australia, recently poll results showed only 42% support the police. Down from 70% it has dropped dramatically due revelations of corruption involving police using a prominent barrister as ain informer and the way they have sought to suppress and lose as much information as possible during the royal commission process. Added to the the government instigated high levels of fines to enforce the COVID restrictions which the police have executed liberally. I note that the majority of the population of my state still support the restrictions but there is fraying at the edges. Personally the Pompeo guy frightens the crap out of me and I hope he gets sick and has to stay home rather than come out here and create a war in Asia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Astute perception on your part, Helen. Pompeo is a particularly ugly American, though as far as I’m concerned, any Secretary of State representing the US Empire is just a thug in an expensive suit. I can’t think of a single person in that post in my adult life I could admire.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Toadying is of surpassing importance, though. Personal Loyalty! “Thou shalt have no god but me, Donald J. Trump.” After all, there’s no shortage of bullies willing to work for the US Gov’t.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Holy crap, RS! According to Wikipedia, CUFI has 7.1 million U.S. members! I’d never heard of it before. Wiki also says that the organization states it does NOT support Israel because of its connection with the Rapture. Hmmm….not sure I buy that. But the whole idea of such an organization sounds a bit bizarre. No wonder they’re in the Resident’s pocket.


      1. I imagine the leadership of CUFI rakes in a nice income from the Zionist Lobby, but the rank and file membership–IF we accept this figure of some seven million–I suspect sort of get signed up automatically. It’s part and parcel of becoming a “professional” Born-Again type, part of the toxic grab bag of beliefs. Not related to wishing for The Rapture? Ha! Preachers and politicians are about on the same level when it comes to honesty!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And now add that very nasty piece of work, Mr. Stephen Miller (unofficially Top Trump Adviser on White Nationalism), to the list of White House personnel testing positive!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We know that, by definition, if the group contains establishment Dems, there’s no chance of progressive goals. But their stated agenda re Israel, as you said, seems to have been written by AIPAC. It’s a carefully worded set of principles that basically says, “Give Israel a boatload of American money with no strings attached.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s always struck me as odd when U.S. politicians wear a lapel pin featuring the flags of the USA and Israel. I don’t think I’ve seen this for any other country — only Israel has this special status.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. It is a very sad fact that being pro-Israel is now a litmus test for any mainstream politician in the US. Just as I maintain that being a member of the Modern Republican Party = support for Racist Supreme Trump, so it is that support for Israel now = support for their Racist Apartheid system. A supporter of these entities can dance around all they want, finely parsing things to try to show THEY aren’t racists personally, but I’ll not be impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

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