You heard it here first (way back in December!): Ted Cruz, the far right religious conservative from Texas, has won Iowa with about 27% of the vote. Even more notable is Trump's weak 2nd place showing, barely defeating Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (about 24% to 22%--no polls had predicted such a strong showing for Rubio). 75% of Republican caucus goers in Iowa preferred someone other than Trump. I suspect this means Trump is finished, though he may hang on a bit longer, though his ego is going to have a tough time with this humiliating result. We can at least thank Trump for having destroyed Jeb Bush, who may get 2 or 3% of the Iowa vote when it's all over.
Meanwhile, in the actual contest between candidates who do not belong in an asylum, the 1970s Republican Hillary Clinton is neck and neck with the run-of-the-mill social democrat Bernie Sanders: with about 85% of the vote, she is ahead by only a half a percentage point and her lead has been shrinking all evening. I'd be delighted if Bernie pulls out a victory, but for it to be this close is already a victory for Sanders, and will secure his triumph in New Hampshire. The real action will then be South Carolina and Nevada on the Democratic side.
Being an early riser, I'll have to wait until morning to see the final result!
UPDATE 2/2 7:30 AM: So it's still a tie between Clinton and Sanders, with Clinton holding a very small lead of about a quarter of a percentage point. As even The New York Times, the house organ for the prudent wing of the ruling class, acknowledges, this is a victory for Sanders, and the Clintons are nervous. Meanwhile, here's Sanders's "victory" speech; open class war on behalf of the vast majority hasn't been waged like this in the U.S. since FDR. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Trump trailed Cruz by 3.5 percentage points, and only leads Rubio by about a point. Rubio, just to be clear, is as much a deranged reactionary as the other two (maybe even more so than Trump), but unlike Trump and Cruz, he's better at keeping it under wraps. So the longer Cruz and Trump continue in the campaign, the better for the Democrats, even if they nominate Clinton.
AND IN CASE YOU THOUGHT IT WASN'T A CIRCUS this story is amazing.
What makes the surging presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont so unusual is that he is the first serious contender since Reagan's election in 1980 who really wants to change the fundamental terms of debate and of politics, to repudiate once and for all the Reagan consensus which, through Republican and Democratic Administrations, has now delivered us the America of 2016, one with massive economic inequality, crippled labor unions, and economic stagnation for most Americans.
Sanders embraces the old Roosevelt consensus with a vengeance, and echoes Roosevelt's own campaign against "government by organized money," a power which, as Roosevelt famously said in 1936, was "unanimous in their hatred" of him--to which Roosevelt famously replied: "I welcome their hatred." The Clintons, with their long track record of commitment to the Reagan consensus, could never be as bold as FDR, which explains, of course, why they too are beloved by "organized money" ; nor can Obama, with his only modest deviations from the Reagan consensus and his apparently personal incapacity for genuine conflict with the forces of "organized money" that dominate his own party (let alone the reactionary class warriors on the Republican Right).
UPDATE, 2/1: Thanks to the readers who helped propel this to the "Front Page" of the Huffington Post this morning. And I've asked them to fix the typo (48 years not 38!).
A band from Wales, the album recorded in Norway. If you hold my view (idiosyncratic and indefensible, but nonetheless true) that the best rock 'n' roll was recorded between 1967 and 1973 and, in particular, if you are a fan of Jethro Tull's early Stand Up album, you will dig this.
A sensible statement by the chair of Amherst College's Board of Trustees, in the wake of the decision to rename the school's controversial mascot:
A statement issued by Cullen Murphy, chair of the college's board, said that while the college would prefer that people not use the Lord Jeff nickname or mascot, the college will take no action against those who -- as individuals -- do so. "The college has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period," Murphy said. He added, "To those who argue that stepping back from Lord Jeff as an unofficial mascot takes us down some sort of slippery slope that calls into question the name of the town or the college, the board would respond that you can find slippery slopes anywhere you look, that real life isn’t a philosophy class or court of law, and that people long ago figured out the commonsense way to deal with slippery slopes: just draw the line. Amherst College will always be the name of the school."
Lots of sensible stuff here, and much of it amusing too. Krugman's anti-Sanders commentary, in particular, is a disgrace; the awfulness of Bush redeemed Krugman, but in the beginning he was a tiresome apologist for the status quo, and he's come back home to his true calling now that the 36th year of Ronald Reagan's Presidency may actually come to an end.
Marvin Krislov, the president, said that while some of the demands "resonate with me and many members of our community, including our trustees," he would not respond directly to the proposals from black students, which were termed non-negotiable.
"[S]ome of the solutions it proposes are deeply troubling," Krislov wrote in a response posted on Oberlin's website. "I will not respond directly to any document that explicitly rejects the notion of collaborative engagement. Many of its demands contravene principles of shared governance. And it contains personal attacks on a number of faculty and staff members who are dedicated and valued members of this community."
The 14-page list of demands at Oberlin was detailed and contained many controversial items. Among other things, it demanded the immediate firing of some Oberlin employees, the immediate tenuring of some faculty members, specific curricular changes, a review and possible revision of the grading system (to be overseen by students), the creation of "safe spaces" for black students in at least three buildings on campus, the creation of a program to enroll recently released prisoners from a nearby prison as undergraduates, divestment from Israel, and a requirement that black student leaders be paid $8.20 an hour for their organizing efforts.
The students also demanded changes at Oberlin's noted conservatory. For instance, the list of demands said that students should not be required to take "heavily based classical courses that have minimal relevance to their jazz interests." Stating that classical music students are not required to study jazz, the list of demands says that students of jazz "should not be forced to take courses rooted in whiteness."
As we noted in December, the Oberlin student "demands" set a new low for their unreasonableness, demanding actions that were plainly illegal. It's a oood thing the President drew a firm line on this nonsense.
Contra Rupert Murdoch’s assertion about Trump having crossover appeal, Trump is extraordinarily unpopular with independent voters and Democrats. Gallup polling conducted over the past six weeks found Trump with a -27-percentage-point net favorability rating among independent voters, and a -70-point net rating among Democrats; both marks are easily the worst in the GOP field. (Trump also has less-than-spectacular favorable ratings among his fellow Republicans.)...
We’ve got an unpopular set of presidential candidates this year– Bernie Sanders is the only candidate in either party with a net-positive favorability rating — but Trump is the most unpopular of all. His favorability rating is 33 percent, as compared with an unfavorable rating of 58 percent, for a net rating of -25 percentage points. By comparison Hillary Clinton, whose favorability ratings are notoriously poor, has a 42 percent favorable rating against a 50 percent unfavorable rating, for a net of -8 points. Those are bad numbers, but nowhere near as bad as Trump’s.
This is not just a recent phenomenon; Trump’s favorability ratings have been consistently poor. It’s true that his favorability numbers improved quite a bit among Republicans once he began running for president. But those gains were almost exactly offset by declines among independents and Democrats. In fact, his overall favorability ratings have been just about unchanged since he began running for president in June.
UPDATE: Speaking of those with an "unfavorable" view of Trump, this seems right.
It's MLK day in America, so to mark the occasion, let's remember this fine speech. There is no one on the public stage today in this benighted country who can match his rhetorical and oratorical skill.
It is no laughing matter for the United States, and especially for the rest of the world, that one of the two viable political parties, the Republicans, do not have a single plausible candidate who isn't a threat to civilization. But do not worry! I stand by my earlier prediction that Ted Cruz will win Iowa (by a big margin) and South Carolina. Trump will probably win New Hampshire, but not my the margins the polls predict. Various other Repug candidates will drop out, Trump will go increasingly ballistic, and Cruz, a madman with slightly more self-control, will cruise to the nomination. Cruz is Trump with some self-restraint, and, in fact, he's far to the right of Trump, who is an opportunistic posturer, whereas Cruz is genuinely committed to his reactionary views. Either guarantees a Democratic victory. Meanwhile, the only candidate in the race who actually is focused on substance, Bernie Sanders, is, despite the concerted opposition of the prudent wing of the ruling class party (commonly known as the Democrats) is poised to upset things even more: if Sanders wins Iowa (which he could) and wins New Hampshire (which he will, even if he loses Iowa), then the braindead media will have to start covering him as much as they cover the fascist clown show called "Donald Trump." And then all bets are off, since large numbers of ordinary Republican voters will support Sanders on the substance of the issues he is running on. If Sanders then makes an early announcement of a female running mate, well, who knows, America might even rejoin the league of civilized countries? One can dream...
There's some interesting material in this piece from The Guardian, though it quotes too many Freud-hating charlatans, and says too little about the other empirical literature in support of many distinctively Freudian hypotheses. But its main focus is on the findings about serious depression in a study by the NHS in Britain.
I'm glad he's making it an issue this year, and I hope everyone will follow this recommendation in particular:
I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.
It's past time for civilized people to be as single-minded about this issue as the gun crazies.
This time in The Guardian. Here's a simpler proposal: the fortunes of Zuckerberg, the Koch Brothers, Gates, Buffett, Soros et al. should be confiscated (well, only 98% of their fortunes, let them enjoy a bit) and used to meet human needs. This will spare us the dance of the philanthropists as they entertain each other.
He's now slightly ahead of Trump among California Republican voters. I expect he will win Iowa and South Carolina, two of the first three primaries, and that will give him the momentum needed. As with Trump, Cruz is a gift to the Democrats.
It's certainly hard to disagree with this. Starting with his attempt to destroy the public school system and screw the teachers, he's been in freefall, though the coverup of police killing(s?) is what will probably finish him.
I'm not sure this is my favorite recording, but it is undoubtedly the best video of the piece, which allows one to see the demandingness of performing this Rhapsody (Lisitsa, like Liszt, has very long hands).
...who has been doing everything possible to make sure that no one challenges Hillary Clinton. For the first time in several decades we have a serious Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, who challenges the neoliberal, Reaganesque status quo that has ruled through both the Clinton and Obama Administrations. By holding very few debates, and scheduling them on Saturday evenings no less, the DNC is trying to make sure that the preferred candidate of the Democratic Plutocrats gets the nomination. It's an unbelievable display of contempt for democracy. (Ironically, almost all the polls on head-to-head match-ups shows Sanders leading Trump, and by a wider margin than Clinton!)
Although fewer than 1% of survey participants reported that their institution had adopted a policy on trigger warnings, 7.5% reported that students had initiated efforts to require trigger warnings on campus, twice as many (15%) reported that students had requested warnings in their courses, and 12% reported that students had complained about the absence of trigger warnings. Despite a media narrative of "political correctness," student requests concerned a diverse range of subjects from across the ideological spectrum.
The report is here (the authors include two former colleagues of mine from the Law School). Their task was a difficult one, given the law, and most of their recommendations seem sensible and judicious. Permitting concealed carry in classrooms is going to be met with a lot of unhappiness, to put it mildly, but the reasons they give for that prohibition, given the law and given the safety issues, are not foolish ones. I guess my inclination would have been to bar carrying weapons in classrooms, and let the matter be resolved by legal challenge or subsequent legislative action. I imagine the other proposed prohibitions will all survive challenge or scrutiny. I do not envy the situation my former colleagues now face.
Today’s Democrats are what used to be called moderate Republicans. The Republicans have just drifted off the spectrum. They’re so committed to extreme wealth and power that they cannot get votes ... So what has happened is that they’ve mobilized sectors of the population that have been around for a long time. ... Trump may be comic relief, but it’s not that different from the mainstream, which I think is more important.
Because there are only two viable political parties in the U.S., the fact that one of them is dominated by crazies of various stripes is a serious matter, for the U.S. and the world.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)