Monday, January 16, 2017

Hysterical Liberals Are Attacking Anything That Moves

It's bad enough seeing Democrats attack Donald Trump from the right for talking about having good relations with Russia, and now about nuclear arms reduction, but there's also the problem of Democrats accusing anyone who questions anything they say of being a "Kremlin stooge" and "Russian collaborator," of aiding and abetting the enemy.

I've never really had that kind of rhetoric hurled at me since I started identifying myself as a Socialist. This, now, however, sounds like something else. It's engulfed large parts of the liberal establishment.

I understand that they're deeply disappointed. I understand that nationalism is ingrained into them from birth, that it's the norm. It doesn't help that most Americans call it patriotism, as if it's not really nationalism.

A lot of hatred and invective has been emanating from the Republican voting working class since Barak Obama has been in office, some of which was racially tinged but a lot of it was because they felt like they were out of power and being run over by what the right wing media has been telling them for a long time was an evil ideology. But those people don't set the tone for social discourse in the country. That's done by the liberal establishment, that has gotten it to be accepted to be gay and lesbian, black, a woman. Now the liberal establishment is on the dark side.

The kind of caustic, McCarthyite language and thinking that's coming from them will eat away at the social fabric. The ones who were  holding the line on hatred and helping scale back the venom are now the ones ramping up the hostility and making hatred socially acceptable and are practically guaranteeing that others will do even worse.




Things Hillary Clinton Would Never Say


“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

So said Donald Trump this weekend. It was hard to find a conservative news outlet with that quote in it but it's all over Leftist media. I finally found it in the Washington Times.

Conservatives don't want everyone to be covered, but neither do Democrats. No establishment Democrat, not Barak Obama, not Hillary Clinton, certainly no one from New Mexico, has ever suggested that everyone should have health care coverage. If you'll recall, Obama himself explicitly took "single payer" and the public option "off the table" when Obamacare was being formulated by congress. Hillary has never called for either one.

Trump isn't calling for single payer but he is saying everyone will be covered and for less than Obamacare, the cost of which went up substantially this year for most people. Obamacare has insured an extra 20 million people but has left 30 million uninsured, and increasingly, employers are using it as an excuse to drop health care coverage for their employees.

Another thing Hillary Clinton, a warmongering Neocon when it comes to foreign policy who has led efforts to demonize Russian president Vladmir Putin and been one of the driving forces behind the unilateral launch of a new Cold War with Russia by the US, would never, ever have said she'd consider lifting sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear arms reduction deal.

But Trump did, in the same interview. According to Bloomberg, "Trump, in an hourlong discussion with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London published on Sunday, signaled a major shift in trans-Atlantic relations, including an interest in lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear weapons reduction deal."

 “They have sanctions on Russia," Trump said. "Let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.’’


Liberals, meanwhile, those people who don't want everyone to have health care insurance and who want to start a war with nuclear armed Russia, are looking for ways to de-legitimize Trump and can't shut up about Russia supposedly interfering in the election, by which they apparently mean that the Russians made sure Hillary won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Corey Booker's Pro Big Pharma Vote Means He's A Dead Duck. Could Martin Heinrich Be Next?

An intense social media assault on New Jersey Democratic senator Cory Booker continued over the weekend and picked up steam in Leftist media for his Wednesday vote to prevent Americans from buying Canadian prescription medicine. New Mexico's Martin Heinrich also voted no, i.e., with big pharma and against Americans struggling to afford their medicines. I wrote about it the other day.

Booker is drawing ire from the Left because he's being promoted by establishment Democrats as their 2020 presidential candidate of choice. However, the Democratic Party establishment's election rigging that gave Hillary Clinton the 2016 nomination hasn't been forgotten by Berniecrats, and they are promising that Booker's vote amounts to his political obituary. Example. Example.

The question that remains is what will become of lesser knowns like Heinrich and the other 12 Democrats who voted for big pharma and against working Americans. Theirs were the votes that sunk the amendment, because it had the support of 12 Republicans.

Heinrich was one of those establishment Democrats who endorsed Hillary Clinton before they even knew who was running, as did most party office holders and officials here. Even with that kind of backing, Hillary only won New Mexico's 2016 primary by a 51.5 to 48.5 margin over Bernie Sanders, 111,334 votes to 104,741.

And that despite there not being any Leftist media in New Mexico and no organized Left. The Democratic Party here is controlled by fiscally conservative Democrats, which means that fiscal conservatives like former senator Jeff Bingamon, once in office, have had little trouble staying there. Also, the party establishment here, due to New Mexico's ballot access laws, tightly controls who is allowed to get on the ballot, so business friendly Democrats like former governor Bill Richardson, once they have the support of the party establishment, don't have to worry about challenges from the Left from candidates who might raise a different set of issues, issues that would mobilize public sentiment and lead to greater voter turnout. As it is, a minority of New Mexicans, who are for the most part doing well and are fine with economic conservatism, decide who wins primaries and who holds office.

I remarked the other day that a large majority of Americans, including those who vote Republican, favor economic policies far to the left of the policies establishment Democrats will support, such as single payer health care, raising taxes on the rich and corporations, and increasing the Social Security "cap"that harms the economic viability of that program. An article in Salon today goes through some of those polices and cites the public opinion figures. You'd probably be surprised. On economic matters Americans are way to the left of the political class.

And if there were free and fair elections here, during which policies people actually support could be brought forth and debated, conservative Democrats like Martin Heinrich, Michelle Grisham and Ben Lujan, who campaign largely on identity politics or diversionary issues like parks and recreation, and then vote, like Heinrich just did, for profit over peoples' lives, who issue fine sounding statements but have voted repeatedly to cut things like veteran's benefits, federal employees' retirements and Head Start, would soon be history. They'd either change their tunes or pack their bags.






Massive US-NATO Buildup In Estern Europe Continues

The 4,000 US troops that arrived in Poland today are part of a massive expansion of NATO eastward to Russia's borders that began long before the situations in Ukraine and Crimea being used to justify it.

Those situations, whatever you think of Vladmir Putin, were Russian reactions to US aggression. In Ukraine, the US engineered a coup in 2014 that ousted an elected government that opposed Ukraine joining NATO, after which the US installed a government it can bend to its imperialistic needs.

Crimea, annexed by Russia after Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine, was formerly part of Russia and is still inhabited largely by Russians. After the 2014 coup fascist mobs with the acquiescence of the new coup government began to threaten and in some instances attack Russian Crimeans, leading to the vote of succession after which Crimea again became part of Russia. Crimea also houses a Russian naval base, one of only two small warm water ports it has, i.e., that are accessible during winter.

.


The fact that two of the parties behind the Ukraine coup and now in the quisling government are fascist was not a concern of the United States government and the Neocon dominated "deep state" foreign policy establishment that includes parts of the military and intelligence communities and which exerts domineering influence over US foreign policy and is the force behind the still expanding new Cold War the US has launched against nuclear armed Russia.

Poland is one of many European nations where governments with extreme right wing agendas, sometimes with fascist leanings, recently have come to power, largely because of what is commonly called the "refugee crises," a mass  exodus of refugees from the many ongoing US wars of aggression in the Middle East and North Africa.


This map from a masters thesis also shows NATO expansion. The numbered states were NATO members before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The lettered states are former Soviet states that have joined NATO since then. The black line shows the former demarcation between NATO and the USSR.








Saturday, January 14, 2017

フーダウン





Well, smallhole has uploaded some songs performed by some college kids, apparently, from Tohoku University or so Google translate has led me to believe. Prestigious Tohoku University has produced, besides these fine musicians, such noted alumni as mathemitician Shizuo Kakutani, creator of the Kakutani fixed-point theorem, Fujio Masuoka, developer of Flash Memory, and Shintaro Uda, inventor in 1926 of the Yagi-Uda television antenna. One probably floated above your house growing up.



The sound in smallhole's videos is weak but this music is just so エス  and seemed a little like sanity after another week in the flaming kimono that is America.

I was looking for versions of Gone At Last. Mostly what you see are versions by Paul Simon. Here's one where the video isn't so hot but it's not Paul Simon.








Heinrich Sides With Big Pharma And Against Poor Americans

In a late night US senate vote this week New Mexico's Martin Heinrich joined with 40 Republicans and 12 other conservative "blue dog" Democrats to shoot down an amendment that would have allowed US citizens to buy much cheaper Canadian prescription medicine.

The amendment was sponsored by Minnesota's Amy Kloubacher and Bernie Sanders.

The vote was 46 for and 52 against with two not voting. Twelve Republicans actually voted for the amendment, which means it would have passed easily if not for the 13 Democrats who sided with "big pharma" over Americans who can't afford to buy their medicines.

So why vote no?

Leftists are making much of the fact that New Jersey senator Corey Booker voted against the amendment. The neoliberal, corporate friendly Booker is being promoted by establishment media as the Democratic Party rising star and 2020 opponent of Donald Trump. The Left is pointing out that Booker receives more money from big pharma than any other Democrat and more than all but two very high ranking Republicans.

In fairness to Heinrich I've looked around the media and his official and social media web sites and find nothing from him explaining his vote, so here are a few possibilities.

1. The money. Big pharma is is about number ten on the list of groups and industries that give money to Heinrich, according to my reading of his donation statistics at Open Secrets. If you go there you have to click on several tabs to isolate those figures.

2. Part of a deal? Heinrich is continually promoting the fact that he's "bipartisan" by sponsoring this or that "bipartisan" bill. (Google "Martin Heinrich bipartisan" and see how many different examples of this come up.) Perhaps he traded the big pharma vote for a vote for one of his "bipartisan" bills. About "bipartisanship." Republicans never say they are bipartisan or are working toward it or are sponsoring bipartisan bills. Only conservative Democrats like Heinrich and New Mexico's Michelle Grisham, my rep to congress, portray themselves as bipartisan, presumably to signal to big business that although they run as Democrats, big business has nothing to fear from them. That although to get elected they must occasionally give lip service to representing the working class and might have to come out for gay marriage and abortion because of the coalition of upper middle class voters the Democratic Party now  represents, where it matters they are behind the ruling class one hundred percent, as a quick look at their voting record demonstrates.

3. Booker first defended his vote by saying he doesn't want medicine being sold here that hasn't been tested by the US government, as if Canada doesn't do that, and as if it's not the exact same medicine being sold in both places. When no one bought that he switched to saying he voted against the amendment because it didn't go far enough. So one of these is unbelievable, and no living New Mexico Democrat has ever, to my knowledge, said "it didn't go far enough." Take your pick, Marty.



 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

While Americans Fixate on Donald Trump, Peace Prize Winning Obama Rearms Europe



"Among their equipment will be 87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 Paladin artillery vehicles and 136 Bradley fighting vehicles.

The equipment will be used by the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, arriving this month from Fort Carson, Colorado for the first of what Washington promises will be back-to-back nine-month rotations in the "foreseeable future."

Beginning in February, U.S. military units will spread out across Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for training, exercises and maintenance.


The Army is also sending its 10th Combat Aviation Brigade with about 50 Black Hawk and 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters."


A large contingent of armament, soldiers and war gear arrived in the German port of Bremerhaven today to begin overland convoys to various countries along Russia's borders, part of an ongoing and massive buildup of armament, troops, and missile batteries that have been streaming into Eastern Europe during peace prize winning Barak Obama's last six months in office.

The screenshot is from a Reuters article about the arrival whose headline mistakenly says the equipment and troops are there for exercises. The body of the story states accurately they will be stationed there permanently.
 
Obama has continued all the Bush wars and begun four of his own --  Libya, Syria, Yemen and North Africa -- all of which continue, and has established numerous executive precedents for using the military without constitutionally mandated congressional approval, from going to war on his own to assassinating anyone he chooses with drones including American citizens, and has overseen the relaunch of Newt Gingrich and the Neocon hawks' wet dream, a  new Cold War, all with the eager approval of the Democratic Party establishment.

The fact that this politician, who tried to force down our throats the TPP and TPIP by which he wanted to give massive new powers to global corporations and who did get the even more ominous General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade passed, who by design let 10 million Americans be foreclosed on while he lavished Wall Street banks with our billions and his adoring praise and who oversaw the most massive transfer of wealth upward in history, leaves office with high approval ratings and congratulations all around, a testament to his remarkable political skills and his ability to bamboozle masses of people right up to the very end.




Note: If you don't think I'm a credible source there's this.





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Just Hit Snooze

If one of US president-elect Donald Trump's primary objectives is to establish himself as the only reliable source of information, and a dangerous one it is, the mainstream media is his primary ally in that endeavor. No one trusts it and no one trusts anyone in the political class or the intelligence community: think of the selling of the Middle East wars with fabrications of yellow cake uranium and imminent massacres in Bengazi and the fake objeticve of "democracy building" and on and on that these three institutions have colluded in fabricating and propagandizing us with.

Two conclusions:

1. The primary culprit is us. Our lack of skepticism and lack of due diligence and laziness.

2. If Hillary Clinton had been elected no one who would be pointing any of this out. You'd have remained asleep for another eight years, thinking her and the liberal elite were taking care of things.

And things would just keep getting worse. One of the liberal elite's main social clubs, the Council on Foreign Relations, just announced that in 2016 your country, the United States, under it Nobel Peace Prize winning leader,  dropped more than 26,000 bombs on Middle Eastern countries. That's in addition to however many thousands of US made bombs Saudi Arabia using coordinates supplied by the US and flying US planes dropped on civilian targets in Yemen in 2016.




In case you're interested I copied an article by Gerald Steib from the Wall Street Journal: How Donald Trump gets past controversies that would sink most anyone else.

There have been other articles on this topic. Will anyone ever figure out how things came to be that he could get away with this? Stay tuned. And I don't mean just how the media works, how perception works, those are important but I mean also the question of why the public goes along with him. He's taking on the intelligence community, the media and the political establishment all at once, and they are neutralized because the masses, at least a majority of them, prefer Trump to them. It's we who the power comes from. Why do we always turn it over to someone else?



Capital Journal

The president-elect on Wednesday used the combination of frontal attacks and deft sidesteps that worked well for him during the campaign.

One of Donald Trump’s most valuable assets as a candidate was his ability to bluntly acknowledge and then simply walk past controversies and crises that would submerge other political figures.

It remains to be seen whether he will do the same as president—but he certainly did so as president-elect on Wednesday.

The main controversies at his one and only transition news conference centered, of course, on Russia. First, there was the intelligence community report that President Vladimir Putin had used Russian hacking efforts to try to benefit Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign, followed by new reports that Russian agents were in contact with his campaign and may possess compromising personal information on him.

So how did President-elect Trump handle it? With the same combination of frontal attacks and quick sidesteps that worked so well for him through all of 2016.

First, he dismissed the dossier containing the allegations of Russian influence as “fake news, phony stuff.” He directly attacked the news organizations that disclosed the dossier, while praising those that chose earlier not to do so. He also attacked the intelligence community for perhaps, maybe probably, being the reason the disclosure came about.

He then shifted to dismiss one of the principal claims in the dossier by saying he was too wise in the ways of the world to be caught in a compromising situation in a Russian hotel room—and was too much of a “germaphobe” to do so anyway. And he firmly and specifically rebutted as false the one detail he knew he could disprove, an assertion that his own lawyer had traveled to Prague to meet Russian representatives to discuss hacking of Democrats.

After the smoke had cleared, he had managed to shift much of the focus from the mysterious dossier itself to BuzzFeed and CNN, the news organizations that first disclosed its existence, and to the intelligence community that chose to take it seriously.

Less noticed was the fact that along the way he had changed course on a key point: He essentially agreed with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia appears to have been behind the hacking of political sites during the 2016 campaign, something he had declined to say previously.

Also little noticed was his sidestepping of a question about whether anybody else in his orbit had met with Russian representatives during the campaign, as well as a question on whether he would keep in place the sanctions President Barack Obama imposed on Russia to punish it for election-season hacking activities.

Finally, in classic Trump style, he offered one simple, withering declaration to rebut the suggestion he might be beholden to Mr. Putin: “Do you honestly believe that Hillary [Clinton] would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anybody in this room really believe that? Give me a break.”

In short, the news conference was a prime example of the confounding yet successful communications strategy Mr. Trump deployed throughout the presidential campaign. He doesn’t run from controversy but seems drawn to it—almost to relish it. He doesn’t fear chaos but seems to use it as an opportunity to disorient his foes.
As a result, conventions continue to fall when it comes to President-elect Trump, just as they did when he was Candidate Trump. Some previous presidents were wary of sounding too self-aggrandizing; George H.W. Bush often talked about how uncomfortable he was using the word “I.” Mr. Trump, by contrast, declared Wednesday: “I will be the greatest job producer that God ever created.”

Some presidents have been reluctant to pick fights with the nation’s powerful spy community, or with leaders of their own party in Congress. Mr. Trump did both, first with his criticism of the intelligence agencies and then with a mocking reference to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is arguing for more sanctions on Russia.

While others are queasy about discussing their personal business dealings, Mr. Trump proudly declared he had just been offered, and had turned down, $2 billion from a business associate to do a deal in the Middle East.

In the process, one thing everybody learned is that while Mr. Trump has gone from candidate to president-elect, his style hasn’t changed. Wednesday’s event suggests there is little reason to think it will going forward.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com