1. Is it Biden vs Sanders?
Not long ago Slate was blaming Biden for messing up the selection of a Democratic Party presidential candidate in The “Establishment” Probably Could Have Made a Regular Democrat the Nominee if It Hadn’t Gotten So Stuck on Biden.
Some senior Democrats are going ballistic about Sanders comparing his Nevada win to Nazi Germany’s successful invasion of France, for example. The article says that if you thought Sanders was electoral poison:
- what should you have been doing for the past year to actually prevent the socialist from winning the nomination? Probably finding and supporting a nonsocialist nominee who’s shown themselves ready to run a dynamic general-election presidential campaign, right? Perhaps one like Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, or even Elizabeth Warren?
Instead they supported the has-been Biden, who is preventing the anti-Sanders vote from consolidating.
They yelled and tore strips off each other in the South Carolina debate, and the outcome was a solid win for Biden. Everyone else lost, make no mistake. It was the first state with a significant African American representation:
- Biden may have one man in particular to thank for his success: Congressman James Clyburn, a powerful voice in the state’s black community, who endorsed the vice-president on Wednesday.
Sanders had trouble with their vote in 2016.
Does this mean that the rest should pack it in and back Biden? Pete Buttigieg and now Amy Klobuchar appear to have done just that.Super Tuesday may may shake out Elizabeth Warren and Bloomberg.
Meanwhile the worst that can happen is that Biden wins the nomination and either Sanders of Bloomberg or both run as independents. That would be treason, but I understand is possible.
Sanders recently had a heart attack and refuses to release his medical report. That alone causes concern.
2. Trump bumps into reality
Trump has now called the coronavirus the Democrats’ ‘new hoax’, with Mother Jones reporting:
- “I don’t want to say this, I don’t relish the reality, but you start to feel—watch the Democrats, watch the media—like they’re rooting for coronavirus to spread,” Hegseth said on Friday. “I don’t say that flippantly, but they’re rooting for it to grow, they’re rooting for the problem to get worse, they’re rooting for mysteries, unknown cases, quarantines, towns, for it to become an absolute national crisis for one reason and one reason alone.”
He is worried about the economy tanking. I heard that presidents running for re-election are a shoe-in if the economy is running well. Not so much if it’s running badly.
Matt Stoller at WIRED says it is a serious interruption to production and the end of affluence. He likens the current situation to 1932.
3. Richard Denniss gems
Richard Denniss, together with shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers told us the other night what was wrong with the economy, or rather with economics, and how to fix it.
I should attempt a full post.
One thing he told us was that 300,000 people change jobs every month in Australia. That is 3.6 million. The workforce is amazingly fluid.
He also told us the dollar value of a human life in Oz. It’s $195,000 per annum. That’s how far the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will go. If a drug treatment costs more than that it is “too expensive”.
He also said that authorities had been trying to keep wages down to make our nation competitive. They should now celebrate their success.
As for small government and low taxes he had a nasty surprise. All the countries that are happier than we are, and are as wealthy or wealthier, have two things in common – they pay more tax, and have greater union density.
Our elites are chasing a land with gleaming uplands that is a mirage. In other words, we are being sold a pup. (Those are not his words, but it’s what he meant.) The question is why?
He did answer that question. No surprise, it is so that the elites can maintain their privileged position.
Jim Chalmers gave a short talk by way of introduction, and then conducted a conversation with Denniss following the main talk, based on questions which had been emailed in by participants. Chalmers is open to new ideas which go beyond the orthodox. The closing speech by the main man from The Australia Institute was startling and disappointing. He told us about the simplistic one-line Tweets from the likes of Josh Frydenberg dumping on the speech while it was being delivered, with scant relevance to what was actually being said.
4. The shocking case of Hannah Clarke
The UK Daily Mail gives a detailed account of what happened to Hannah Clarke and her three children. In short her estranged husband, Rowan Baxter, in spite of a DVO, stalked her and their three children, threw petrol on them inside a car, then set it alight, effectively incinerating them. He then died by his own hand on the footpath nearby.
This would have required detailed planning on Baxter’s part.
Anonymous, writing at the ABC, tells from personal experience the inadequacies of protection measures in Australia.
She tells us:
- On average, the life of one woman per week (and about one man each month) is deliberately ended by a current or ex-partner. A child is killed by a parent every two weeks.
Amanda Gearing at The Guardian argues that coercive control as such by the perpetrator rather than physical violence should be criminalised. In Hannah Clarke’s case there was no physical violence.
By contrast Paul Barclay spoke to Leigh Goodmark, Professor of law at the University of Maryland about her research, her experience and her views. She has written a book Decriminalizing Domestic Violence. She believes that criminalising domestic violence invariably makes matters worse. She also says it is not all about power and control, not all.
However, when violence threatens and the potential perpetrator is not open to help, she simply does not know what to do. Her main thrust is that we need to change the perpetrator into a prosocial person who treats members of the other sex with respect and recognition of their equality and autonomy.
There are many reports, and many examples of laws in other countries that we could learn from.
I would only make two statements. First, whoever takes another human’s life should forfeit their own freedom for the rest of theirs. No exceptions.
Secondly, the problems involved in domestic violence are deeply embedded in our culture. In tried Deep origins: patriarchy I tried to outline some of the antecedents.
At the end I said:
- Although the social sediments of patriarchy developed over the last 10 millennia persist, the making of a truly egalitarian society along the dimension of gender should not be beyond us, as there are no longer any fundamental impediments. Egalitarianism along the dimensions of wealth, power and class may take longer.
This while true is frankly hopelessly simplistic. For example, society always looks to schools to change deep social attitudes. However, each child is embedded in a social setting largely determined by the home, social group, peers, and now social media.
Nevertheless we all should do what we can. The Sydney teenager who jumped off the bus to intervene in a case where a woman was apparently being attacked deserves the plaudits he got. There should be more like him.