Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy Brave New World Year

In which we're about to find out what the country would have been like if it had been started by some of the founding fathers' cousins.

As we enter the new era our media will be of no help to us. It knows nothing but Neoliberalism and now it's gone berserk. Unable to accept the results of the election it's making wild claims about Russia every day that everyone buys into even though they're all retracted a few days later.

Nothing that's been written about Russian hacking has been true. None of it. There's no evidence for any of those so called CIA or any other spy agency conclusions whatsoever, and if you take the time to actually read what the spy agencies actually said, they only suggest things. They leave themselves a big fat out. The media printed it as if it was fact.

Russia didn't hack the election, it didn't hack the electric grid. That's all been retracted. What the media told us was Russian computer code, that was left in our computers, turned out to be common malware. It's nuts.

The good thing is that the Democrats lost the election. The long, slow, gradual, lesser of two evils decline during which people thought right up to the very end that the Democrats were on their side is finally over and done with. Hallueffinglujah.

Best Video Of 2016

I don't think I've posted this video here. I came across it back when I was still on Facebook and came across it again the other day. It's been re-posted a lot -- gone viral as they say. When I saw it first I seriously thought Moe Shama was a professional comedian or something but now I see that he's a truck driver in Chicago who just makes videos for fun - although they have gained him some notoriety in some parts of the media like Aljazeera.

Moe was born in the US but is of Palestinian descent. Note that his wife is wearing a hijab based on Palestinian flag; they're definitely making political statements, about Palestine and about Muslims, as does much of the work Moe has done that I've seen. Make sure you watch his kids in the video. Great kids. Great family.

Flint Sitdown Strike

Yesterday was its 80th anniversary and I wrote a long blog post that I ended up not posting expressing my anger that most Americans have no idea whatsoever what the Flint Sitdown Strike was or what its significance was in them having the living standard they have.

You can come up with some pretty good reasons for why that is, and that don't even cast Americans as damn fool idiots, but the fact that it's true means the living standard you have now won't be around when your grandchildren are your age. The anomaly that was the great golden age of the post World War II American and European working classes is finished and short of some miracle we'll return to the historical norms that Thomas Piketty and his colleagues have documented, where workers barely get by and wealth and income inequality remain massive generation after generation. 

As I say, the media will be of no help to us. Neither will any politician. It's all up to us, just like it always was. Voting, making signs, signing petitions, joining some organization, will do no good. We have to become entirely different people. Only when we do what those common everyday uneducated racist sexist workers who worked at the General Motors Flint Assembly Plant in 1936 did will we start to get ourselves out of this mess.

I don't think Americans have it in them. I could be wrong. I hope so, but I don't think so. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Dirtbag Left

In the previous post I referred to the Chapo Trap House podcast and posted a rant by one of its hosts. The New Yorker awhile back profiled the hosts and the podcast and "The Dirtbag Left," the moniker writer Amber A'Lea Frost gave to the segment of the radical Left the podcast speaks for - Bernie bros, you almost might call them.

You hear from them many of the criticisms of the Democratic Party from its left that I often make here. There's a big numeric and ideological overlap among the listeners of media like this and the readership of radical Left/Socialist media like Jaccobin and the younger members of Bernie Samders support base and writers like Frost, and out of this mileu will come a lot of the resistance and energy and ideas of the coming period.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

From Matt Christman

Someone transcsribed this rant by Matt Christman, one of the hosts of the Chapo Trap House podcast, a 'much listened to among certain segments' podcast by a group of young intellectually and politically engaged comics and writers who talk about the issues of the day, conduct interviews with interesting people, etc. I heard the episode this comes from the other night and when I got home transcribed a little of Christman's rant myself and was going to make a post out of it myself but someone has done the whole thing.

The Politico article Christman refers to is here. It tells how the Clinton campaign ignored warnings from people on the ground in Michigan, and other states, that she was in trouble there, but that an arrogance among top campaign officials who thought they had it all figured out and that Clinton would coast to an  easy victory caused them to ignore repeated pleas for assistance.

Christman, more importantly, by way of his rant, gets into why the Democratic Party itself is in so much trouble and why so many people who could be a vibrant part of it now openly loathe the party.

Later in the podcast they talked about how a person's economic security -- i.e. their work and their job and how they're doing and how they feel about the state of the economy and their own situation and so forth -- is easily the dominant factor in a person's life, and yet incredibly the Democratic Party has decided they can ignore all that and just run on identity politics.

Or, in the case of someone like Martin Heinrich, they can campaign on parks and recreation. It's all he talks about. Go look at his web site and his Facebook. You'll see nothing about economics. He's been making bravado proclamations about how Donald Trump will take away our parks over his dead body but he never says that about anyone taking away his constituents economic security, their jobs, their retirements. On all that, like almost every other Democrat, he's in effect saying, "You're on your own buddy."

They seem to be saying, "I've got my big salary, my fancy title, my gold plated retirement, my platinum plated health care that you will never, ever, dream of having. Four kids to feed? No husband? Working three or four piss poor jobs with no benefits? Glad I'm not you."

Monday, December 26, 2016

Israelis Talk About Greater Israel

I mention Greater Israel in the previous post. It's always been the unspoken aim of Zionism -- i.e., taking all of Palestine not just what was taken in 1948. Natasha Roth, one of the young Israelis who put out +972 magazine, talks about Greater Israel in light of the United Nations Security Council vote late last week that condemned Israel's settlements -- not the occupation only the settlements, she points out.

Roth mentions a Jewish settlement in occupied Palestine called Amona, also spelled Amonah. It's on Google maps. It's one of what are often referred to as illegal outposts, settlements Israelis began without official approval from the Israeli government. Some of them eventually gain official approval, a small handful have actually been dismantled. Amona has symbolic importance  within Israel because the Israeli government has tried to shut it down many times but it remains there, and also because because it was blatantly built on land the settlers stole from Palestinian farmers. Amona has been mentioned in several post-UN vote columns I've read in the Israeli press: here by well known writer Gideon Levy in his Ha'aretz column.

Here are two screen shots of it. Amona was begun by people from the official settlement of Ofra, which is in the lower center of the second map, with Amona about 3/4 mile directly above it. The other villages you see are Palestinian. The numbered roads are "settler only" roads built by the Israeli government. They are usually fenced their entire distance. Palestinians are arrested or shot if they go on them and in many places they hinder Palestinian travel and prevent access to their fields, orchards and olive groves. If you look near the lower left of the second map you can see where a Palestinian road curves to go through an underpass under a "settler only" road.

"Settlers" or colonizers as some call them include among them some of the most rabid Zionists, but also some young people who are attracted because they are low cost housing, subsidized by the Israeli government and by rich supporters of Israel in the US, but those too often become radicalized after living in a settlement. A woman whose podcast I sometimes listen to, Tamar Yonah, seems to fit that description. She works for a media outlet called Israel National News which is considered to be the voice of the settlers. Settlers often use vigilante violence against Palestinians in nearby villages and burn their fields and orchards, with the intent of getting them to leave. The Israeli Army, the occupying force, is stationed in outposts throughout Palestine and typically defends settlers as they make these attacks.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Way Too Late, Way Too Little

Screen shots from an interactive map by Israeli army veterans group Peace Now of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. To view the map click here: 

When the US abstained yesterday from a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israel's theft of Palestinian land via its settlement project, the US political and media establishment went berserk and cast President Obama as antisemitic and an Israel hater, an outlier of some type.

But the resolution passed 14 to 0. All the other permanent Security Council members voted for it -- the UK, France, Russia and China -- and so did all the rotating members. Among them only Obama lacked the courage to vote for it and only in that sense is he an outlier.

Israel always uses the occasional "peace talks" it's dragged into, usually by the US, as a cover to greatly step up the pace of its settlement building/land theft. It has never had any intention of making peace with the Palestinians or of allowing a Palestinian state to be established, 

Incredibly, Obama's UN abstention is being met with with horror and disgust by US politicians and the media, who act as if not covering for Israel's theft of Palestinian land is somehow immoral. Nor are any of New Mexico's cowardly politicians stepping forward to say they approve of the vote or to show any support for the president.

It's worth noting that more Israeli housing buildings have been built on stolen Palestinian land during Obama's tenure than during the George W Bush administration. As Orly Azouay, columnist for Ynet News, Israel's largest media outlet, wrote about Obama after the vote, "Never has an American president embraced Israel like he had done with aid money, the Iron Dome and other forms of security cooperation that are best kept secret." Read her candid accounting of how Israel has lied repeatedly about its intentions regarding the "peace process." This isn't unusual for the Israeli press. In all the world it's only the US media and political establishment that outright lies about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, a national disgrace New Mexico's politicians are full participants in.

Note: Israel takes Palestinian land besides what it uses for settlements. Some land theft is for settler-only roadways intentionally placed to separate Palestinian areas from one another. Other land is taken for "military purposes." It's all part of Zionism's longstanding "greater Israel" project (see below) of getting rid of the Palestinians by making their land unliveable. The following maps show the fragmentation of Palestinian land more clearly than the one above.

For more context on the settlements see below.

Settlements In Context

What are called "settlements" are Jews only cities and towns with a combined population of more than 800,000 now, close to a fifth of Israel's Jewish population, that are built on Palestinian land; that is to say, the somewhat over half of Palestine that wasn't given to Zionist colonizers in 1948 and that was supposed to be reserved for a Palestinian state. Israel took over that remaining land in in 1967 and has been kicking Palestinians off of it ever since, acre by acre, farm by farm, hilltop by hilltop, and building settlement after settlement.

US taxpayers pay for settlement building not only by funding the Israeli military that enforces it but because most settlement building is funded by US "NGOs," groups that are tax exempt, that is, American citizens who donate to these organizations don't have to pay taxes on that money. It's all deductible, so it lowers their taxes and the rest of us have to make up the difference.

The 14,000 plus settlement buildings built during the Obama years are on stolen Palestinian land the media rather disingenuously refers to as "occupied" or as being in the "occupied West Bank" or simply in the "West Bank." It's land that is totally under the control of Israel. Palestinians can't build house there or even a shed without getting a permit from Israel, and the permits are always denied.

This "occupied West Bank," outlined in green in the maps above, is what most people mean when they say "Palestine." It's the land a supporter of Israel or a Zionist is talking about when they use the term "greater Israel," which is a wink and a nod reference to the fact that it was always the intent of Zionism to steal every bit of Palestinian land and either kill the Palestinians on it or make them go away by making daily life unbearable.

Zionists have always considered the 1948 borders as temporary. They accepted what land they got then and have been busy stealing the rest of it ever since, always with the approval and complicity of the US government, the US media, and US politicians including New Mexico's current federal delegation -- Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Michele Grisham, Ben Lujan and Steve Pearce.

While the whole world acknowledges the immorality of the settlements and mass murder of Palestinians, in the US our public figures pretend none of it is happening. Members of New Mexico's federal delegation never acknowledge it or try to do anything about it. They always vote for the massive aid to Israel that funds the "occupation" and for those resolutions that say Israel is defending itself when it periodically slaughters thousands of defenseless Palestinians who are trapped in Gaza by Israel and can't go anywhere -- the periodic massacres that Israels call "cutting the grass," meaning trim excess Palestinian population, the most recent of which in just a few weeks in 2014 killed 2,200 Palestinians including 550 children.

Obama's "No" vote yesterday does break with the precedence of the US vetoing any resolution that criticizes Israel or even hints at the truth of what Israel has done in Palestine, but it has to be seen in context. Israel had completed one of its periodic slaughters in Gaza days before Obama took office. To that Obama uttered a mild demur. Then, during it's most recent, 2014 slaughter in Gaza, when Israel started running short of bombs to drop on Palestinians, Obama had a planeload of them rushed over.

No politician from New Mexico ever says a word about any of this.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

US Imperialism

As'ad abu Kahlil, the University of California professor who authors the widely read Angry Arab blog, posted a link to this picture of a Syrian bus driver killed by US backed "rebels." You may have seen news reports of a row of buses that had been sent by the Syrian government to evacuate civilians from east Aleppo that had been burned by US backed "rebels"

The US government's and the US media's narrative about the Al Qaida "rebels" who the US is funding and arming and using as proxies in its attempt to overthrow Syrian president Bashar Assad has been kind of falling apart over the last few weeks due to social media accounts from civilians who have made it out of "rebel" held East Aleppo. It's hard for the US media to ignore first hand witness accounts by the kind of everyday people they have been using as propaganda tools for the last five years.

I clicked on that picture of the bus driver and it brought up the complete photograph. You can see that the driver is wearing gloves with the fingers cut out. I know truck drivers who wear such gloves. They help the palms of the hands absorb the jolts of the road and they make it easier to grip the steering wheel over long stretches of driving while leaving the fingers able to perform tasks that require dexterity like working the controls or the radio or lighting a cigarette.

They also keep your hands warm. This guy in the picture looks like he's dressed for driving something without much heat in it. He's got the heavy woven shirt under his outer dress shirt and he has a muffler around his neck. He's wearing an insulated corduroy jacket.

Just some poor schmuck trying to do his job, under less than comfortable conditions, another of the hundreds of thousands and probably millions of innocent victims of the ongoing endless mad rampage through the Middle East by the exceptional imperial United States.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Al Jazeera Imagines New Mexico

Pakastani immigrant Muhammad "Palomino" Malik at his motel in Tucamcari - Gabriela Campos/Al Jazeera

This photo is one of several by New Mexico photographer Gabriela Campos that ran with an article published the other day by Al Jazeera, the media conglomerate owned by the ruling family of the oil rich gulf emirate of Qatar. The Route 66 article centers on the New Mexican part of Route 66. It's one of a constant stream of Route 66 articles that get published, so people must love reading about Route 66.

There's an entire Route 66 travel industry made up of businesses, state and city tourist bureaus, historic places and a huge line of Route 66 souvenirs, but articles about Route 66, it seems to me, make up a separate industry. 

The two industries overlap but are distinct in that one has to do with thinking and one with doing. One with being and one with becoming.

We travel, and we imagine traveling. We need to do both. At any given time we may think we know who we are and what the world is, but when we go out into it we find something different, and think again. The continual interplay between what we think and what we experience, between being and becoming, keeps the light of our consciousnesses flickering and maintains the illusion of sanity.

We don't really see or touch or smell or hear things. We think "light" lights up the world when actually the universe exists in darkness. What happens is that through nerve endings in our eyeballs our brain detects certain wavelengths of a certain kind of energy -- what we think of as "light" -- and uses it to create images for our consciousness.

We think the world our brain creates for us is taking place in front of our eyes but only because that's where we imagine it to be. It's "taking place" if it takes place at all only in our imagination. This imagined world might be three dimensional, like the measurements and instruments we imagine are measuring it, or it might not be. It might be hot or cold or soft or hard.

But we enjoy, we derive pleasure, from imagining things like Route 66. We enjoy receiving these particular image stimuli, and we enjoy creating them. We all have our Route 66s, but this Route 66 works for a lot of people.

It's both being and becoming. As the article's author puts it, it represents both decay and resilience. It's solid and malleable. It's Palomino Malik and al Qaida, the flag and the fire. It's the world that's moving past us and the one we move through, one we see and one we dream. It's both the highway and the motel.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Godless Capitalist Dictatorship

It's been awhile since I've heard as good a take on the current state of affairs as that of British documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis who I heard interviewed last night while I was driving to Holbrook by the hosts of Chapo Trap House, one of the hottest podcasts going right now. With all this lying we hear from politicians and from the media, the fake news, the propaganda, we know things aren't as they're portrayed by the media and our leaders, and they know we know, and that's what's normal. You can listen to the interview here on Soundcloud or find the podcast on your podcaster app. It's a great podcast regardless, my favorite one right now.

Curtis calls our current condition Hyper Normalization and the Chapo guys mostly interviewed him about his recently released film by the same name. The documentary is in the present and goes into things like the rise of Donald Trump, but Curtis takes the term -- Hyper Normalization -- from University of California-Berkeley sociologist Alexi Yurchak who coined it for his book about the last years of the Soviet Union, when everyone knew the government was lying and the politicians knew everyone knew, and it was what was normal.

What interested me also in what Curtis said is that the man failing of The Left over its last 40 years of steady decline is that it refuses to acknowledge and confront power, which is also a theme of mine although maybe not in so many words.

He says power has moved away from government and has all been accumulated by Capitalism and primarily Finance Capitalism. That's those guys who robbed us blind during the financial crises of a few years ago, and everyone knew it and no one did anything about it, but that's normal now.

Hyper Normalization runs 2 hours and 40 minutes and was released by the BBC and is on YouTube.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Confused And Frightened, The American Establishment Is Reeling

Anti-Russia-anti-Vladmir Putin fever -- the best explanation for Hillary Clinton losing establishment types can come up with that doesn't involve indicting themselves -- has reached another shrieking crescendo following news articles based on anonymous sources purporting that Russia influenced the US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

Just a week or so ago it was at an all time high -- at least for this one sided US instigated New Cold War we've been drug into by the Neocon dominated US foreign policy establishment and its slavishly obedient media amplifiers -- when another anonymously sourced article that was widely reprinted in the mainstream media accused much of the alternative media of being under Kremlin control.

No evidence was put forth for either case, and in the most recent one we're being told we should believe what someone said someone said the CIA said -- this is the CIA that's been caught lying time after time after time. Constitutional lawyer turned investigative news site publisher Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept breaks it down nicely here and points out the dangers of what he calls the New McCarthyism, which isn't the work of Donald Trump but of his detractors.

Billionaire Democrats

Since the November 8 election of billionaire Donald Trump as US president there's a been slow drip of articles saying Democrats are mulling over the idea of getting rich liberals to run for political office. I think I first heard the suggestion from filmmaker Michael Moore.

It's hard for me to imagine how making members of the Capitalist ruling class the face of the Democratic Party will get it more votes from the millions of working people who are so fed up with the party that either they voted for Trump or boycotted the election.

Rather, I think, Democrats should think about how they came to be the party for which it's more important that two men can get married than it is for working class people to pay their bills and send their kids to college. Instead of getting further into bed with the ruling class Democrats should think about why they're OK with the fact that a gay man who makes his living panhandling is more likely to die of AIDS or Hepatitis than enjoy the right to a gay marriage.

Today's Democrats should think about how they got to the place where it's more important for a woman to have the option of having an abortion than it is for a poor woman to take her daughter to the doctor, a woman who won't be having an abortion because she can't afford to take off work and ride a bus for ten hours to the nearest abortion clinic. Before they get even further into bed with the rich they should think about why they don't seem care that because that woman can't afford to take her kid to the doctor or provide her with a decent diet the kid may well end up with a disability of some kind that will saddle her for the rest of her life.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Miami Mafia

In Cuba they call them the Miami Mafia. I, myself, always say that the Miami Cuban community that hated Fidel so much they spit up at the mention of his name are the whoremongers and mafioso and their descendants who the Castro brothers kicked out of Cuba in 1959, when their revolution overthrew the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista who ran Cuban like a whorehouse with gambling for rich Americans and was universally despised by all -- all but the Miami Mafia.

TeleSur has put together a very interesting short video that names some of the more prominent Miami Mafioso and tells who in the Batista regime they are related to; people like US House of Representatives member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. If you follow Cuba you know who she is. Her very soul has been disfigured by a lifetime of pure hared for Fidel Castro.

The video starts playing automatically when you click on this link:


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Battle Of Aleppo Is In Its Final Stages

The US war against Syria might be over before Donald Trump has a chance to end it. I don't know if that's irony or what, but it's good news for the people of Aleppo, who  are happy to see the US backed "rebels" being routed from their last strongholds, according to some Twitter accounts from Aleppo I've been monitoring that tell a completely different story of that war than the one we're given by the US media. I've seen videos of civilians coming from the "rebel" held eastern Aleppo overjoyed to be lined up at government run relief centers telling how they had been held prisoner by the jihadist US-backed "rebels" with anyone who tried to leave being shot.

US backed "rebel".
This situation wouldn't be unfolding if Hillary Clinton, who played the central role in starting that war when she was secretary of state and who had promised to continue and escalate it and would have brought with her many of the warmongers who surrounded her in the state department and the Neocons who supported her, had won the presidential election. The Obama Administration seems to have given up on  trying to win and is looking for ways to save face, aided in that endeavor by the US mainstream press which still refers to the US' proxy fighting force as the "moderate" rebels. People in Aleppo say they were Al Qaida Islamic fundamentalists who beheaded people in the streets and expected everyone to live according to Sharia law and who the US, like it has in other places such as Libya and Afghanistan, merely enlisted to carry out its regime change ambitions.

There's no doubt an element of propaganda to what the pro-Assad Syrians are putting out on Twitter and on news sites but one thing is for sure, the US has caused a lot of civilian deaths over there, probably 250,000, trying to overthrow the sovereign government of a country it had no business interfering in. Along the way it risked starting a war with nuclear armed Russia and caused a massive refugee crises that has led to the rise of right wing and fascist parties all over Europe, some of which have already taken power already and some of whom are about to.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

He Showed That It Was Possible

As the world continues to mourn the passing of Fidel Castro, one of the most admired and respected men of the modern era everywhere in the world except the USA, Cuban President Raul Castro gave the eulogy for his brother on Saturday in Santiago de Cuba, the town on the southern Cuban coast where the revolution they led began that brought socialism to Cuba and freed its people from the iron hand of US colonialism.

Raul's message was that Fidel showed that it's possible. If your will is strong and your idealism is unwavering you can teach everyone to read, combat racism, have the best health care system in the world and have it serve everyone, have an infant mortality rate that's better than countries ten times as wealthy. The list went on and on. Fidel, he said, showed that it's possible to build socialism even as the most powerful imperial power in history is trying to destroy you.

"He showed that it was possible," Raul said, "that it can be done and that it will be possible to overcome any obstacle, threat or turbulence in our firm purpose to build socialism in Cuba."


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Indian Land And A Disgruntled Reader

A couple things. One, about that Dakota pipeline, the people there, the Sioux, say that pipeline was originally supposed to go through Bismark, ND, but the white people there didn't want it potentially messing up their water so it wasn't put there.

So what happened was, the army corp engineers and the pipeline company decided to put it through Indian land thinking there's nothing the Indians can do about it, unlike the white people in Bismark. It's pure and simple racism.

Meanwhile the police are out there at the pipeline site enforcing the Capitalists' profits and their right to ruin someone else's land like a private mafia and we're paying for and I've heard nothing about Bismark in the mainstream media, which is covering that after a fashion, which must be why Martin Heinrich decided to send me a mass fundraising email today that says nothing about Bismark either and basically says, whichever side you're on in that issue, I'm fighting hard for you.

He writes:

"There is a way to respect the Standing Rock Sioux and those that care deeply about these important resources, but setting a high stakes showdown with protesters is only going to create more provocation and violence."

"These important resources" is telling. What he's saying, if you read carefully, is that the people who own the rights to the "resources" have to be shown "respect". I.e., their right to profit from oil must be respected.

By all means. Glad you're on a side, senator.

He never says what should be done but wants you to sign his petition calling on the president to do something. I've read that those petitions never get delivered anywhere but are used for data collection by the professional fundraising companies these politicians hire.

Also, I've been criticized in a comment for being mean and venomous. I didn't publish it. I recently changed the blog so I have to approve of or "moderate" comments before I publish them to end being harassed by this same person.

I can tell you that as far as I know I've only been mean and venomous with people I have a history with and who have doublecrossed me in some way or in some other way conducted themselves like an asshole, and with whom I've run out of patience. I guess you can argue that I shouldn't be mean and vile to them on the blog. Go ahead, I don't care. But if you want the reason that's why.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a pretty generous person and free with my compliments on what people say on their blogs, but if you say you're going to do something for me and then when it's time to do it ignore my emails and don't answer my phone calls and leave me in a serious lurch, or if you come after me and constantly act like some self absorbed asshole who's always trying to repair your own injured little ego at my expense, you're probably going to hear something from me eventually.

My motto is, I give no shit and I take none.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fidel Plus One

I'm still, of course, mourning the death of Fidel, not made any easier by the venom and hatred toward him that's coming, exclusively, from the United States that land of the Venal and Home of the Hateful. A country that, despite being opened up to the entire world and world of ideas by the internet is still a pretty self referential, brainwashed place. As Benjamin Dixon said in response to a particularly vile and hateful comment about Fidel from the uniquely vile and hateful Ted Cruz, the depth of American discourse is this: "America good. Capitalism good. Castro bad. Anything other than laissez faire Capitalism bad."

Or as I put it in a little meme I made up with two photos of Fidel, in one joking around with Mohamed Ali and another with Nelson Mandela, "The insignificant and soon to be forgotten have all hated Fidel. The historic figures of our time, the moral giants, have all loved him."

Of course the immense contradiction in that never dawns on Americans who hold up people like Mandela and Ali as moral giants and disrespect the man who was respected by them.

And the fact that Fidel has always been admired worldwide has little to do with what actually became of the Cuban Revolution, about which there can be at least some legitimate debate as long as you take into account things like the suffocating 50 year US embargo, the repeated and continual attempts by the US to assassinate Fidel, and the actual accomplishments, in spite of those hindrances, of the Cuban Revolution, like universal free education through college and universal free healthcare, which the richest Capitalist country ever can't manage to provide for its own citizens.

No, Fidel was admired in large because he stood up to imperialism and colonialism, not just against Cuba but wherever it was taking place. He' s a towering historic figure and an inspiration to millions because he stood up to El Norte, the US, which never ceased to be infuriated by him from the moment he kicked it and its whoremongering and mafioso lackeys out of Cuba and then tried to make Cuba into a place where everyone benefited from the national wealth. In other words, the opposite of the US. The US ruling elite couldn't countenance an example of what it should be doing on its very border, while it never ceased to demonstrate astounding hypocrisy by fawning over and supporting regimes 10,000 times worse than anything that ever happened in Cuba, like Saudi Arabia to take just one which beheads and cuts the hands off its own people and where women aren't permitted to drive a car, or go out in public without a male family member chaperone.

Speaking of Syria and of US hypocrisy and imperialism, the situation with the illegal and immoral US regime change war against Syria is evolving rapidly right now and things aren't looking good for the US' al Quaida linked jihadist proxies, who our government and the compliant lapdogs in the US press almost laughingly refer to as the "moderate Syrian rebels." They are in mass retreat in Aleppo, and when the Syrian army finishes with them there it will turn to smaller remaining strongholds of the US proxy Islamic fundamentalist jihadists -- no wait -- moderate rebels.

It's ironic in a way because by the time he takes office there probably won't be a Syrian war for Donald Trump to end. A lot of us on the Left who refused to support Hillary Clinton and preferred Trump over her did it because she's a warmongering Neocon and not least because of Syria. When she was secretary of state she was instrumental in starting that war and promised -- it was a campaign promise on her web site -- to escalate that murderous debacle which has already caused 250,000 innocent civilian deaths and displaced millions more, which displacement has caused the European refugee crises that's facilitating the rise of right wingers and neo fascists all over Europe, who have already taken power in some places and are about to take power in others and who were instrumental in Brexit and will be in the probable breakup of the European Union.

Yes, it's ironic alright. As many have pointed out, despite everything the US empire threw at Fidel he went out on his own terms. And went out revered and respected around the globe.

And went out just as exceptional, record wealth and income inequality America, even as it indulges in its day of strutting around like banty roosters heaping disdain upon the Socialist Fidel Castro, is about to be ruled over by the Fascist Donald Trump.

Who says there's no justice in this world?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Adios Comrade

Working Class

Wouldn't you know it. The term "working class" is being widely used again, but it's because it's being used as shorthand for "those white trash subhuman misogynist racist idiots who voted for Donald Trump and who are completely different from enlightened, very well informed and highly intelligent me."

As in a sneering Washington Post blog in which Paul Waldmon, who is nowhere near getting over the defeat of Hillary Clinton, tees off on the slobbering morons who didn't vote for her so he can re-establish his own compensatory sense of superiority.

I often use the term "working class" in it's traditional "Marxist" meaning where it means everyone who works for a paycheck or a salary -- as opposed to people who live off invested capital and rent -- and as often as not I include that "paycheck" meaning in the sentence, because I think the more recently invented term "middle class" has everyone confused as to the meaning of the term "working class."

What we think of as the "middle class" is part of the working class. It's a subcategory that has some descriptive value. The term came into use when the American working class -- as a result of the Labor Movement and its influence on Capitalism and on politics -- had achieved a standard of living that was substantially higher than it had had from the advent of Capitalism until then.

The term also has value because it means a working class that is using its power such that it has raised its standard of living to a particular if not a precisely defined degree, but it's a harmful term also. After "middle class" began being used you'd still hear the term "working class" but it had come to mean, in popular parlance, the working poor, a kind of underclass, that part of the working class that had been left behind or hadn't made it yet. And, in peoples' imaginations and in the way they defined themselves, i.e. the way they identified, it divided the working class into two separate and distinct groups. Not in the traditional sense. Everyone thought of themselves as middle lass and no one thought of themselves as working class, but every member of the working class then felt superior to some vague, undefined grouping of others and not as if there were any bonds or even common interests between them.

I use the term working class a lot because I want to try to normalize it and to fix its meaning in the traditional Marxist sense. Those are are almost necessary conditions for the working class to see itself as a class -- i.e. to attain class consciousness. The ruling class has class consciousness. It thinks and acts as a class, that is, it thinks and acts in ways that further the interests of the class and by which it practices class solidarity. The working class doesn't because it doesn't have class consciousness. It doesn't practice solidarity as the ruling class does.

The introduction of the term "middle class" served to divide the working class, but identity politics divides it even further, and that's one of the ways in which identity politics is harmful. It divides us into ever small groupings.

That's why the Democratic Party, which has as its historic role the suppression of class consciousness and the prevention of a working class uprising, adopted it as its central pillar, and why, now, the Democratic Party and larger Liberal establishments are striving mightily to cast their recent election defeat in terms of identity politics -- it was because of misogyny, or it was because of racism or it was both, depending on who's talking. It wasn't about class but it was because of that deplorable white working class.

Besides serving the useful function of denigrating Trump voters and discrediting the real and tangible reasons they voted for him, the sullying of the term "working class" heads off a class consciousness that would occur under the working class banner; it discredits the working class anger and the profound  disillusionment with the Democratic Party that resulted in and drove the Bernie Sanders candidacy, and which still has the potential to result in and drive something more well organized, is independent of the party, and would be extremely powerful.

The struggle over the meaning of the election, like the struggle over the meaning of the working class, is literally the struggle of the working class to achieve class consciousness. The ruling class and its bourgeois handmaids in the Democratic Party and the Liberal establishment know that if and when the working class achieves class consciousness, as large segments of it did by way of the Labor Movement, it could mean the end to their perks and privileges and cushy lifestyles.

If the working class succeeds in defining the meaning of the election it will at the least mean more Socialism and less unregulated no holds barred neoliberal Clintonesque Capitalism, but it will mean, necessarily, Socialism in one form or another.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Emporer Has No Brains

This is a compilation of prominent politicians and celebrities saying that Donald Trump would never, ever be elected president. It was more of a shock to me than it was gratifying seeing this. I don't have a television so miss out on all this dazzling insight and analysis.

The liberal consensus, as represented in these video clips, has egg on its face, which can only be good news, as they are at the core of the terminal rot of our Capitalist system and one of the main reasons behind the election of Donald Trump, instead of a warmongering whore of Wall Street, as president, which is also good news for America and for hundreds of thousands of people in other countries who were in the way of its imperial ambition.

Not that they know they have egg on their faces. Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept has a piece on Maggie Haberman, the New York Times reporter shown in the video clip laughing in Democratic Rep Keith Ellison's face when he warned that Trump could win the election. Ellison is the left leaning Minnesota Muslim and Bernie Sanders supporter who wants to be the new chair of the Democratic National Committee. The Intercept piece shows how Haberman and the rest of the liberal consensus are undercutting Ellison and pushing for a conservative DNC chair. In other words, circling the wagons against the unwashed hoards who despite their every effort to rig the primaries almost propelled Bernie Sanders to power, and doubling down on the thinking that handed the election to Trump, the same thinking that has gutted the American working class and left young people staring into a bleak future of temporary employment at low wage jobs with no benefits. The rot leading to a future where increasing economic insecurity will ensure that the lesser parts of our natures only become more prominent and we'll be divided as a class into ever smaller groupings.

It's up to the American people to reverse this trend, working with workers in other countries and with workers of differing ideological persuasions in our country to wrest power from the elites in all nations. The election of Trump is good news in that it was a rejection of the system. It has given the people as sense of their power. But the wresting of power won't be accomplished through a political system but in the streets and in neighborhood meetings of citizens and civil society organizations like independent third parties, Arab-American cooperation leagues, Native American-Palestinian alliances and the like. As long as Republicans can divert working class anger into us loathing each other, and as long as Democrats are able to channel the basic human impulse to create a better world behind it's disastrous lesser of two evil-ism strategy and into identity politics, people will sit on their couches staring into TV screens thinking on some unconscious level that Republicans or Democrats are looking after them.

They aren't. Only we can do that. We have the power to do it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Chance For Peace

President elect Donald Trump met today with Democratic representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Bernie Sanders backer, to listen to her reasons for ending the US regime change war against Syria, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people for no reason and created the massive refugee crises that has propelled right wing and neo fascists to power all over Europe. Trump has already said he wants to end that war and have better relations with Russia and Syria. Gabbard is rumored to be under consideration for a cabinet position in a Trump administration.

Hilary Clinton, and presumably those who voted for her, wanted to escalate the war against Syria and further ramp up tensions with nuclear armed Russia. Clinton wouldn't have met with Gabbard or given her the time of day.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Martin Heiinrich: I'm For The Subaru Station Wagon Crowd And Not For You

This "tweet" on New Mexico US senator Martin Heinrich's twitter page is getting some attention.

It's a "pinned" tweet, meaning it stays at the top of his Twitter page even if he posts other tweets after it. Heinrich wants to make sure people see it.

Heinrich also wants to make sure people see that he posts nothing on his Twitter feed that indicates he's the least bit concerned about any of the other reactionary policies likely to result from a Trump administration that will affect less affluent New Mexicans' pocketbooks, their futures, their childrens' futures, their childrens' chances of ever going to college or living a decent life.

Martin Heinrich claims that he'll die for the sake of public lands, which are of interest primarily to a small segment of upper middle class white people. You can look up and down his Twitter feed and you won't find him proclaiming that he'll die to preserve Social Security or Medicare, or anything else that helps the less fortunate and that a Democrat ought to be concerned with, such as the decline in working peoples' living standards and wages over the past 40 years.

Twitter is the social media platform that's followed by the movers and shakers, the big time media, the rich and famous, the people who matter, the important people. Heinrich wants these people to know that even though he got elected as a Democrat he'll do nothing to interfere with their cushy lifestyles. He wants them to know that even though he's a senator from one of the poorest states in the country, one that's getting worse all the time, that doesn't concern him. He wants the upper crust to know that as long as they, his true constituency, do well and as long as he has a place to do his elk hunting, those poor working class suckers, who can't spare the gas to drive out to his precious public lands, who won't be wandering around out there sullying up his scenery, who vote him into office, can go straight to hell.

Heinrich's attitude, by the way, which most establishment Democrats have, is what handed the election to Donald Trump. Working people, the few who bothered to drag themselves to the polls after working for peanuts for eight, ten, twelve hours not knowing if they'd even have job the next day, would rather the system go down in flames. Their silent desperation, which yes, they often express in racist or sexist terms, having no other outlet left to them for their fear and anger, has become so acute that they think anything will be better than the way things are now. Martin Heinrich isn't concerned about them or their futures. He and his constituency will get through a Trump administration just fine. They're all set up, and doing well.

And Who, You Ask, Is David Ortiz?

David Ortiz is a Dominican Republic born baseball player who retired from the Boston Red Sox this year at 40. He hit 38 homes runs in his final season and 541 during his career placing him 17th on the all time list. He was known as a clutch hitter and was much loved in Boston. Here he explains what baseball has meant to him. He had announced his retirement before the season ended and his final game was a Red Sox loss that knocked them out of the playoffs. After the game thousands of fans remained in Fenway Park and began chanting his nickname, Papi, Papi. Ortiz came back onto the field and stood on the pitcher's mound for about a minute and, surrounded by photographers, waved farewell to the fans.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Blood And Propaganda

There's a flurry of articles today saying the "last hospital" in Aleppo has just been bombed by the Syrian government. Some articles say it's "the last four hospitals." This is a screen shot from Google News today that shows the headlines for some of the recent articles:

In response, someone I've been following on Twitter who goes by the handle "Tweets From Aleppo" tweeted a montage of previous announcements about the last hospital in Aleppo having just been bombed.

I don't know how well these screen shots show up on your computer, but they have the last remaining hospital in Aleppo being destroyed in June, July, August, October and November. The person who posted them this morning wrote, "Ok, so now the real question has to be, how many more "last hospital in Aleppo" stories before people realise it's total bullshit".

On social media there has also been circulated exposes of the so-called '"white helmets" as little more than paid propagandists created to further the US regime change agenda. Since the white helmets are supposed to be helping injured civillians in areas controlled by the so-called "moderate" US backed "rebels" it was surprising to see a video posted on social media of one of them at the scene of a beheading. Social media has also been responsible for the dissemination of articles that show the US backed "rebels" aren't moderate at all but are Islamic jihadists.

The internet has much potential, but it's parts are developing unevenly. Social media with its ability to deliver fast, unfiltered news and information, is arguably the most well developed part. It's made possible Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the Bernie Sanders quasi insurgency and the election of Donald Trump. Without it the ruling class would have simply appointed the warmonger and handmaid of Wall Street Hillary Clinton as president.

Thanks to social media the US narrative about the good Syrian "rebels" now holed up in East Aleppo is being overtaken by the fact that the Islamic jihadists who our government organized and is funding and supplying and giving logistics assistance to are every bit as savage as the Assad regime. Twitter has apprised us, for example, that the bombings of aid convoys attributed to Syria were conducted by the US backed rebels and that the good, moderate Syrian rebels mowed down with automatic weapon fire scores of civilians who were trying to flee East Aleppo via safe corridors set up by Russia.

Of course, this oppositional counter narrative might be just as full of propaganda as the one that furthers the imperial regime change designs of the US government. The point is that they are now on a more or less equal footing because of social media, in the same way a Donald Trump with a cell phone sending out tweets that were reproduced by the millions put him on an equal footing with the entire ruling class with its billions and its mainstream media megaphone.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why? What?

Dan O'Sullivan has written the best commentary on and analysis of the election I've read, by far. I'm not the only one who thinks this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hubert Horatio Humphrey - The Future Lies Behind Us

I've written several posts since the election, about the election and about the future of the Democratic Party. I've read many, many articles and columns that weigh in on the ongoing debate over what happened -- how did Hillary Clinton lose to Donald Trump and what should be done now. In my last post I broadened the focus and made my standard arguments about the need to organize outside the political system and about the likelihood that change will occur sooner or later, based on the fact of countless historic examples of revolution and uprising, which are in our nature as human beings.

On that last post, the Minnesota teacher, coach, sportsman and good Democrat whose internet handle is Troutbirder and whose blog I link to in the right hand column, left this comment:

Karl Marx must be smiling somewhere. That is if Trumps ascendance fosters The Revolution. Still, I wonder what the man, and my hero, H.H.H. who began the break with the Southern racists for the Democrats, would say now about it all. I'd listen very carefully....:) 

OK, so let's listen. This is Humphrey accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at the fabled 1968 convention in Chicago, where Chicago police famously beat anti Vietnam war protesters on live television outside the convention hall in what a subsequent investigation termed a police riot. In the previous year Martin Luther King had been assassinated and there had been riots across the nation. There was widespread worry, there was backlash, and massive, ongoing protests against the war. Republican Richard Nixon would run on a law and order, dog whistle qausi racist platform, the spiritual and factual template for how Donald Trump ran. Sitting president Lyndon Johnson had decided not to run for re-election and two people who opposed Johnson on the war, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, were running in the Democratic primaries. When Kennedy seemed to be on the verge of winning he was assassinated and Vice President Humphrey entered the primaries late, and was propelled to the nomination by the machinations of party insiders who backed him in all the caucus states. So at the convention the party was deeply divided, on the war, the nomination itself, and significantly, on the race issue, over which southern Democrats had already begun bolting the party. 

This is the situation Humphrey faced when he made this acceptance speech. He had to try to unite the party and appeal to the widest possible voting public while putting forth the principled stands he was known for. Sitting in the audience was Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whose police were ruthlessly beating demonstrators outside the convention but whose support Humphrey needed to win. Trying to address these myriad conflicting streams takes up the first part of Humphrey's speech.

But at about 29 minutes into the speech Humphrey starts showing the real HHH and laying out his vision for America, which, as I say was, like the party, in turmoil and deeply divided on the war, race and on what to do.

Humphrey says emphatically that every public official has the responsibility to guarantee basic rights like racial equality. "There can be no compromise," he says, on the right to a good education, the right to decent housing, the  right to a job "It is to these rights that I pledge my life and whatever capacity and ability I have."

Think of today's Democrats. Is there one who even comes close to this? The right to an education, to housing? To anything? The right to a job? Are you kidding? Today's Democrats don't believe anyone has a right to a job. You've never heard those words from the vast majority of today's Democrats. They believe in the right of the already filthy rich to get even richer and that's about it.

With the exception, maybe, of a few, like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom at the moment, along with President Obama, instead of pledging to fight Donald Trump with every fiber of their being are groveling before Trump and pledging to work with him and ensure he's successful.

And New Mexico's Democrats? Not one word. Not a word of encouragement, no leadership, no ideas about what to do next, on how we might get to a better future. They are in their usual places at times like these, cowering under their desks in their offices, quivering in fear, hoping everything blows over and that this doesn't impinge on their fancy job and big salary and gold plated benefits, or their status, or on their lucrative future prospects.

Far, far from the ideal of a public official put forth by Hubert H Humphrey as guarantor of rights and a better life, far from the principled stands he took that probably cost him the presidency, New Mexico Democrats put themselves before their constituents, before the people of New Mexico and before their country.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Only Bernie Sanders Can Save the Democratic Party Now

That's the headline for a prominently placed article at the New York Observer, the weekly paper owned by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, the real estate investor husband of Ivanka Trump.

The article is by freelance writer Michael Sainato, whose credits include the liberal Huffington Post. Sanders, Sainato writes, is widely trusted, free of scandal, currently the most popular politician in the country and carries none of the baggage the Democratic Party establishment caries because of its ties to wealthy donors and its disastrous error of forcing Hillary Clinton's nomination on the party, which, I might add, New Mexico Democrats participated in fully: many top elected officials here endorsed Clinton before the primaries even began and before they knew who else would be running. Hillary's going to be your nominee, they were saying, because we say so. To hell with democracy. It's also come to light that many of those early endorsements were bought by Clinton in exchange for money, campaign money, which with her Wall Street ties she was flush with.

Sanaito closes with: "The only hope Democrats have now in recouping the losses of these voters is Sanders leading a truly progressive movement. Whether that is done within the Democratic Party or a new third party remains to be seen, and depends on whether those leaders responsible for Hillary Clinton actually learn from their mistakes."

I make note of this article because it appears in the Observer, one of the first papers to endorse Trump, and with Kushner being in the Trump family and having played a central role in Trump's campaign, although according to his Wikipedia article Kushner donated exclusively to Democrats in the past. But Trump donated to Democrats, too. Maybe that's what it takes to do business in New York City, which is also known as being a place where, even today, you have to pay off the mob in some way to do business.

I also note this article because it's the first place I've seen Sanders held forth in this way, as savior of the party. He only joined it recently in order to run in the primary and stands for everything most Democrats nowadays do not, being, as Sainato rightly says, "the candidate of the people" whereas Clinton was "the candidate of the Democratic Party’s wealthy donors."

But can the Democratic Party be reformed? I've gone back and forth on this question. It went from being a liberal party to being a party that's fiscally conservative and only liberal on gay marriage and abortion, is how I always put it, and that's pretty close to the conventional wisdom on the Left, which usually sees the solution being in third parties, or in somehow changing our system of voting to proportional representation or something like a parliamentary system, both of which result in more ideological diversity than the two party "winner take all" system the US has.

But you can argue, as I have, that since the party changed to what it is, it can be changed to something else, or changed back.

But what was it, really? Was it really a liberal party? When I was growing up it was actually a coalition of liberals from the East and Midwest and conservative Southerners, a coalition based on the grand bargain that the Southerners would go along with things like the New Deal if the liberals went along with Jim Crow segregation.

When that bargain was called off is when the party began its long slow decent that has led it to the state of affairs of today, where Democrats can't win either house of the federal government, have lost most state legislatures and governorships and more or less trade the presidency with an increasingly conservative Republican Party.

What about Hispanics who will soon be the majority ethnic grouping, and who disproportionately vote Democratic? The conventional wisdom in the Democratic Party establishment is that when that happens the party will be sitting pretty.

But Hispanics are by no means homogeneous, as far as I can see. They range from liberals in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles to conservatives in places like New Mexico and Florida, and as they become the majority, and presumably more affluent, they will presumably become more conservative overall. They have no obligation to the Democratic Party and will decide their own political futures.

The solution lies in movement building, movements that are based on economic class interests. Our political system, as are most poitical systems, is set up to protect the establishment and to prevent radical change. When it does change it's largely because it's been forced to change by movements outside "official" channels-- the Labor Movement, Civil Rights Movement, Environmental Movement, Gay Rights Movement, Women's Movement.

Those people who are in the streets now protesting Donald Trump's election have the capacity and potential to do more to thwart the radical agenda Trump campaigned on than the Democratic Party will ever have. It must be noted, too, however, that we have to come up with another way besides Capitalism of organizing our economy or else we'll always end up in the same conundrum that has led to the rise of Trump, and here's why.

So grab a placard. Attend a meeting. Agitate. Organize. Talk to your neighbors. And don't lose hope. It's in us to rise up, to rebel. There have always been revolutions and always will be. It's in our nature. Even us Americans. We were born in revolution.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Good News Parts I and II

Goodbye TPP. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama Administration today said it's giving up on trying to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty. The big mess of a treaty was negotiated secretly between the US, its Pacific Rim allies and hundreds of corporations and was an attempt to cut China out of trade in its own neighborhood, as part of the Obama-Hillary Clinton "pivot to Asia" that seeks to subdue China and counter the threat it poses to unchecked US global hegemony with a combination of diplomatic, economic and military intimidation.

The TPP was negotiated to a large extent under Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state and was almost rammed through congress on "fast track" authority by President Obama. Among other things it would have given foreign companies the ability to sue local governments in the US if they passed any laws or regulations, such as to protect the environment, if they would harm the company's "anticipated future profits". The lawsuits would have been decided by "tribunals" consisting of three corporate lawyers.

And some people still think the Democrats are on their side. A rapidly declining number of people, I think.

In more good news, The New York Times today reported on dramatic changes to US foreign policy regarding Syria that look to be in the works under a president Donald Trump. He'll essentially do what Leftists and Progressives and peace loving people have been calling for for a long time, which is to stop arming, financing and militarily supporting Islamic jihadists, which the US government refers to as "rebels", in the rouge attempt by the US to overthrow Syria's government.

Syria is another mess created in large part by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state and she had campaigned on the promise to escalate the conflict.

Besides saving countless lives, drawing back from Syria will help wind down the New Cold War the US has unilaterally launched against Russia. In fact, the article says, Trump wants to align with Syria and Russia to fight ISIS.

It's hard not to picture heads exploding throughout the Neocon dominated US foreign policy establishment and their propaganda arm, our foreign policy press. During the election campaign almost all members of these groups either backed Hillary Clinton or remained silent. She was their girl. Based on her record and statements she may well have been the most dangerous and deadly US president in a long time if not ever.

Here It Comes

In the Albuquerque paper this morning is a report of a female University of New Mexico student being attacked and called a terrorist by a male classmate wearing a Donald Trump shirt. The girl says he tried to tear her hijab off and that when she demanded to know what he was doing he said he'd better sit down before she threw a grenade at him. The university says it's investigating that and several other similar incidents. Why the university hasn't turned it over to law enforcement I don't know. Like many colleges UNM has been lax in reporting sexual assaults to the police. It's about the image, the endowment. Careers are at stake.

I've seen on the internet where a group that tracks hate crimes reports seeing an uptick in them since Trump was elected president on Tuesday. A friend of mine said this morning that he's seen that, too, and he's uneasy. He's a Mexican citizen in his early 30s who has lived here since he was four years old and has a green card.

He says his wife, also from Mexico, told him that their daughter, who was born here, came home from kindergarten yesterday and asked her, "Are we Mexican?" Yes, the mother said. "Why does he hate us?" the daughter asked, and she told her that the election of Donald Trump and the possible consequences was being talked about by her classmates.

It upset me to hear this, and all the more, I think, because I've argued that the world, overall, is better off with Donald Trump as president than with Hillary Clinton. I still feel that way despite these hate crimes, which are some serious business, I admit, and I don't doubt that racists have been emboldened by Trump's election and that we'll see more of this. It was to be expected.

But compare our situation to that of the thousands, hundreds of thousands if recent history holds true, of people in other countries who would have died if Clinton had been elected. In debates and on her campaign web site she promised to escalate our already extremely bloody war against Syria, where an estimated 200,000 have died already. She was instrumental in starting that war, and our war against Libya where 60,000 have died so far, people who would not have died if then secretary of state Clinton and assistant secretary of state Samantha Powers, currently our UN ambassador and an almost certain H Clinton administration player, hadn't pushed for that war. Not to mention Clinton's central role in America's unilateral resumption of the Cold War against Russia or it's provocations against China that started after the Obama Administration's "pivot to Asia," which then secretary Clinton played a central role in bringing about. Both of them are entirely unnecessary provocations taking place not in our backyard but in theirs and against countries each of which has enough nuclear weapons to fry the world several times over.

There's really no comparison. There's no argument to be made here. If you think there is you'd better do some introspection and try to figure out why you care nothing about several hundreds of thousands of dead people in the Middle East, who happened to get in the way of our government's bloody imperial projects. You need to try to understand why you get so riled up about the prospect of Americans going through some troubled times, that are really insignificant compared to what's being experienced by parents in Syria and Libya and Iraq and all those places who have been and still are putting their children into coffins in pieces.

I've been thinking about this. Someone who voted for Hillary Clinton knowing all this, which most people who half pay attention do, isn't just complicit by default in mass murder. On some level they must want it, and want more of it.

I suspect it has something to do with wanting America to remain number one, the supreme world power, dominant over the rest of the world. Our dominance is inextricably tied to us always having had the most, the best, and was at the heart of us thinking the prosperity would be never ending. It's about the bank accounts and the nice houses and the nice cars. It's just like this mythic Trump supporter who on some level can't accept not having a higher standard of living than black and brown people.

Those people being blown to bits over there are dark skinned. They're a little strange, unfamiliar. It's not really a life being lost, on some level. You see the headlines. You scan right past them. You know. You keep going. On some level they frighten you. They are a threat. You'd prefer they not be there, that they be vaporized, disappear, and they are, going away, disappearing into coffins, one after another. The more they do the better you sleep at night, and you sleep well.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Battle For The DNC - Where Are New Mexico Dems?

(Update: Bernie Sanders is circulating a petition that urges the DNC to choose Keith Ellison as its chairman. Howard Dean is also interested.)

The (a) battle for the soul of the Democratic Party (see post below), the (b) battle over the narrative of why Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton and the (c) battle over who will head the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are all running along parallel paths.

The narrative promoted by the mainstream media and Democratic Party establishment, both of which are heavily invested in identity politics, a narrative established before the election, really, is that uneducated white working class racists came out of the woodwork to vote for Trump, despite evidence that paints a different picture -- i.e., Trump's supporters were actually more affluent than Clinton's, and many white working class voters who came out for Barak Obama voted for Trump this time, which lends credence to the argument that the election was about class, not race.

There's also turnout. It may have been the main thing that swung the election. Hillary got 8 million fewer votes than Obama did last time, while Trump got about the same amount as Mitt Romney did. These two charts break the turnout down somewhat.

Keith Ellison, the Black Muslim congressman from Minnesota who supported Bernie Sanders and is one of the most principled and left leaning Democrats in congress, is being promoted by some on the left to be the new DNC chair. During the election campaign the DNC under Debbie Schultz worked actively to undermine the candidacy of Sanders and to promote Hillary Clinton. There was a lot of circumstantial evidence for this during the primary that later was confirmed in the leaked so called "Podesta emails" from the email account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Connor Kilpatrick is the editor of Jacobin magazine. Park Slope is an upscale neighborhood in Brooklyn and home to such Democrats as New York mayor Bill deBlasio, who backed Clinton. Park Slope is known both for being very liberal and for being a highly gentrified neighborhood where working class people can't afford to live any more.

I don't expect a favorable outcome to this struggle. A case in point is New Mexico. There were actually some bright spots in the election for Democrats, such as the election of the first Latina to the US Senate, and there were other significant "down ballot" victories which are being used in places like The Nation magazine to talk about what direction the Democratic Party might go from here, but in New Mexico, the flood of emails I was getting from our Clinton backing, conservative Democratic establishment before the election -- i.e. from party headquarters, Tom Udall, Ben Lujan, Martin Heinrich and Michelle Grisham -- has ceased entirely. When leadership, inspiration and new ideas are most needed the state's Democrats are on their own.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Late Great Democrats

They didn't wait long. As soon as Florida started looking doubtful, pretty early, they went looking for scapegoats. They started blaming people. And they'll be doing that endlessly, until the day they die. Bet on it. Never once will they look at themselves.

It's funny. Not long ago they were talking about the Republican Party being toast. Finished. Now it's the Democrats who look finished. A regional, rump party, is what they'll become. They've lost most of the state houses, most governorships, they've lost the House of Representatives after they used to own it lock stock and barrel, they've lost the Senate, now they've lost the presidency, to a con man. How inept can one party be? The courts will be Republican for generations. But it's not their fault. No, it's those stupid Jill Stein voters. It's those stupid protests voters. It's those stupid Bernie Sanders supporters. They're all just too goddamn stupid.

Some of them will even try to say the party has to get even more conservative, like the Clintons, who were among those whose idea it was in the first place to turn the party into whores for Wall Street. They'll say we need to tell the working class to go screw themselves even harder, because they're stupid idiots anyway.

Bernie, who always polled better against all the Republicans than Hillary, wanted a $15 minimum wage. We could have been talking about a president elect Sanders today, but no, the DNC and the elected officials and the big shots decided we're too stupid to pick a nominee. It's right there in the emails. We'll tell you who your candidate will be. We'll rig these primaries in her favor and treat you like crap at the convention and you'll shut up and put up and vote for Hillary. Unless you want to be called stupid. Fifteen dollars? Where did you come up with that? You don't deserve $15. You ought to be happy with what what you're getting. College for your kids? Why? You want to feed your kids decent food? Pay all your bills? Why? You're stupid. You don't deserve to sit home with your stupid kids at night. You need to be out there working those two and three crap part time jobs we created. You'll get the candidate who thinks you're only worth $12 an hour because you're just too damn stupid, and you were too stupid in the 90s, in 2000, in 2004, in 2008, in 2012. If you don't want the Republicans you'll vote for who we say to vote for. Why? Because you're stupid, and you have no place else to go.

Except the voting booth, and that's where working class people went yesterday and gave the Democrats the biggest middle finger in history. The once great Democrats -- with their supreme arrogance, their moral superiority, their we know what's best attitude -- got the big eff you. And it's exactly what they deserve.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Put It In Neutral

Making Hysteria

Within five minutes of our meeting my feminist ex wife was ranting about the sexist origins of the word hysteria. Har.

I hadn't thought about her until I started casting about for a play on words for the title to this post. Seriously, I hope she and all the other feminists are happy tonight.

Asad Abukhalil, the University of California-Stanislaus professor who writes the much read blog The Angry Arab, has this Voting Day Top Ten, or Eleven:

And from one of the 3,300 people I'll be meeting at the barricades.