Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Growing Up Hispanic

A trending topic on Twitter right now is #GrowingUpHispanic. I think you can read them even if you don't have a Twitter account.

People are talking about things like the ritual of greeting all their family members at parties and Vicks VapoRub.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton And The People Who Vote For Her

The real Hillary Clinton hiding behind the politically expedient populist rhetoric is beginning to show its fangs.

As reported by The Intercept, Clinton has been letting it be known that upon being elected she'll immediately forgive multi hundreds of billions in corporate taxes, owed by corporations now hiding their profits offshore, by lowering the tax rate on those profits to five percent, permanently -- which means corporations will start diverting even more of their profits to offshore shell companies in order to qualify for the five percent rate and avoid normal domestic taxes.

The free ride rich people have been getting from Democrats and Republicans under Reaganomics just a got a lot smoother.

As for our tax starved public education system, which has been in decline ever since Democrats and Republicans agreed that Reaganomics would be our official economic policy, well, that's where the little people send their kids to school.  The little people who put conservative Democrats like Hilary Clinton, Martin Heinrich, Michelle Grisham and Tom Udall in office. Conservative Democrats kids don't go to public schools -- those are just for the suckers' kids.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Elites Beware

The Brexit vote shows how Donald Trump will win the US presidency, writes James Hohmann this morning in the Washington Post. He contends that the mood is the same in the US as in the UK, where polls couldn't gauge the depth of the anger people feel toward elites. Elites like Hilary Clinton, who, I'll add, along with the rest of the political establishment have sold us down the river for Neoliberalism.

Along with that, because of that, anti immigrant sentiment and isolationism are increasing, Hohmann adds. Here are his reasons for why Trump will win:

1. Resentment of elites
2. Xenophobia
3. Isolationism
4. Flawed polling
5. Complacency

As to complacency, I've written before that Clinton is making a mistake by making the campaign about Donald Trump. She'll be giving voters no reason to vote for her. She's hasn't projected a vision, to speak of, and she's constitutionally incapable of backing the kind of policies that would interest the Sanders supporters she'd need to win. Furthermore, she wants worldwide warfare and voters want none at all.

I'd add that during the primaries Trump was underestimated from the very beginning right up until the minute he destroyed the last of the 16 establishment GOP candidates who started the race with him.

And just think of the thousands of people who won't be blown to bits if Hillary Clinton isn't the commander in chief of the massive US military.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Martin Commonsense Heinrich

Every time Martin Heinrich, one of my two New Mexico Democratic US senators, talks about gun control, which is only when absolutely necessary, he uses the word "comonsense" to describe the controls he approves of. Michelle Grisham, my US representative from New Mexico, does the same thing.

These people have been told by their political consultants to use the word commonsense to characterize what they say about about gun control. The word commonsense is a signal to the National Rifle Association that they don't have anything to fear from this politician. I wonder that it's a keyword that the NRA's computers look for as they troll the internet looking for potential threats to gun sales.

Heinrich and Grisham, two fiscally conservative Democrats, also, if they possibly can, include the words "bipartisan" or "bipartisanship" in every utterance. This is a signal to big business that says, 'I had to run as a Democrat but don't worry about your bottom line. You're free to drive down wages as low as they can go. I'm doing fine, my kids are set for college, so don't worry about paying any taxes.'

Heinrich has been taking heat from important supporters and funders because he's been dragging his heels on gun control as its being demanded by the Democratic Party base following the most recent mass slaughter by a crazed assault rifle toting maniac in Orlando, FL last week. I'm not one of those supporters or funders but I'm on his email list and I just got an email from Heinrich in which he outlines a gun control bill he's just co-sponsored with a Republican, about which he says:

"As a gun owner myself, I know this is a commonsense proposal..."


"...the good news is that I’ve been working across the aisle with Senator Susan Collins to put forward a bipartisan amendment to keep guns out of the wrong hands..."

It would, he writes in his email:

  • Block gun sales to individuals on the No Fly List and Selectee List,
  • Notify the FBI when anyone suspected of terrorism in the past five years tries to purchase a firearm,
  • And, allow for due process appeals for anyone who may wrongly be on these watch lists.

In other words, 99.9 percent of people -- citizen and non citizen, felon and non felon, sane or completely crazy -- can still stop at any gun store or gun show and buy a pickup truck full of guns and ammunition, not to mention the dozens of online gun sale sites where private parties sell registered and unregistered guns. Heinrich's bill just makes it harder for someone with a bomb strapped to their chest to buy a gun that fires more than 900 rounds a minute, and if they do someone should tell the FBI about it.

It's a very bipartisan, very commonsense bill.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Making America Again

Neoliberal Capitalism, or Neoliberalism, is the name commonly used by Leftists to describe the current incarnation of Capitalism that was popularized by Margeret Thatcher and Ronald and currently holds sway in most of the world, including among the US political class, and in leading financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund by which the developing or third world is being exploited.

Being so entrenched, Neoliberalism doesn't take kindly to reform and its owners and practitioners in governments and board rooms aggressively fight any attempt to reform it or roll it back, and are successfully doing so as we're seeing in the cases of Latin America and Greece. Another such attempt, the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, has been successfully thwarted and is in the process of being corralled and co-opted by the US Democratic Party. Earlier, the Occupy movement was violently subdued by the Obama Administration and the Black Lives Matter movement with its subversive undertones of anarchist horizontalism was bought off and co-opted.

The struggle against Neoliberalism, however, propelled by human nature and the constant renewal of society by uncorrupted and idealistic youth, continues on may fronts. In one such instance, in Spain, a Leftist political party, Podemos, which grew out of massive 2011 street protests fueled largely by young people who had close to a 50 percent unemployment rate, is poised in this coming Sunday's national elections to emerge as one of the three leading forces in Spanish governance and even has a realistic chance to win enough seats to form the next government.

Podemos has succeeded, according to Aaron Bustani of Novara Media, by reclaiming "a progressive idea of what Spain is," that is, a country of inclusion. Unlike in other European countries and in the US, he says, where because of Neoliberalism there has also been economic stagnation and austerity, in Spain, a nativist, racist right wing hasn't risen in reaction to it. The political space for it has been taken up by Podemos.

The future of America is forecast to be and and promises to be a brown one, and in many aspects a Hispanic one. In that America, what will the vision of America be?

The current, Caucasian dominated vision of America as a land of opportunity for white pilgrims, pioneers and settlers will give way to something else. Donald Trump supporters and other nativists can see this coming and are reacting by trying to preserve their privileges and perquisites.

The current vision of America exists because it benefits its proponents, as will the next version. That's just human nature. But is there any hope that the coming America will be more progressive than the current one? As is unfolding in Spain? Under Hispanics?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mayonnaise Sandwich

Remember all that stuff I said about the West Side being so great? Forget it.

I'm in the process of moving about four miles from the soon to be fashionable Tierre Pointe apartments on Los Volcanes Road to a little 1949 stucco house with a big south facing back yard on San Ygnacio Road in the muy de moda South Valley, which Google translate tells me means very fashionable South Valley.

Most of what I own is in boxes or at the wrong home when I need it. There's no peanut butter so I'm enjoying a mayonnaise sandwich for lunch or rather breakfast. I spent the morning helping the CenturyLink guy drag laddders and equipment over fences and accumulated back corner of the lot piled up stuff into the utility right of way behind the neighbor's back yard so he could install a new DSL cable from the telephone pole to my house.

A mayonnaise sandwich tastes great when you've been eating nothing but Bob's Burgers and McDonald's for two weeks. Last night I had one of those new miniature watermelons that have been showing up in the supermarkets that were probably designed in a laboratory in Connecticut. I could find no knives or silverware are but I did have my hand saw handy.

I'd signed the papers and paid my money and was looking on the internet to see who my new city council member will be when I found out I won't be in the city limits, which came as a shock. I've gotten used to living in Albuquerque and having the mayor and aggressive drivers to criticize. I'd just assumed this new place was in the city. I just never knew that so much of what's known of as the South Valley isn't really part of Albuquerque despite it consisting of some of the oldest parts of town. I'm already getting used to the informality, the more leisurely pace of life and to understanding less of what I read on signs and menus.

Where I live, a couple blocks from the intersection of Bridge Boulevard and Goff Road, seems to have been farmland until it was subdivided in 1947 during a big post war building boom to accommodate returning WWII veterans looking to buy houses with their GI Bill VA loans and an influx of population having to do with a buildup of US government facilities in Albuquerque -- namely the moving of part of Los Alamos labs to the new Sandia labs on the air force base and the expansion of the base itself.

Younger readers may not know what I'm talking about when I say "GI Bill" and "VA loans" and older readers seem to have forgotten them. These were government programs passed back when Democrats were the party of the people and not the party of Wall Street, when we had politicians like Dennis Chavez and not like Hillary Clinton, Martin Heinrich, Michelle Grisham and Barak Obama, none of whom have ever even considered proposing a program like those, if indeed they've ever heard of them.

I'll have more to say about the new place as time goes by and if and when the myriad and varied projects that are flooding my imagination these days come to fruition.

Note: Hopefully the future site of one fantastic garden... Does anyone know what that bush is?

Update: A closeup of the plant. It's a pretty high resolution taken with my iPhone but I don't know if Google will leave it that high. You can see dried out flowers in the background, but the ends of the stalks look to me to be budding. I didn't feel any stickiness when I crushed leaves or buds between my fingers.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Populism Now

With the success of the 2016 Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns new attention is being given to the concept of Populism, with elites such in and through the mainstream media expressing their disapproval of Populism. Currently being thrown up as examples of why Populism is s a bad thing. are figures like George Wallace and Father Coughlin, and by implication Trump and Sanders.

Populism is nothing but democracy at work. In the US there's of course a history of distrust of democracy that goes back to the "founding fathers" who put in places things like the unelected senate, the electoral college and the grant of voting rights to only property owning "free" males to guard against having too much democracy.

Populism is governance that's slipped from the control of the elites. There's a widely held belief among elites that there's a class of "experts" -- among whom they count themselves -- who should be left to run government, and elite disapproval of Populism stems as much from the fact that people who haven't received "official approval" from the elites are encroaching on their prerogatives.

There was recently a very good discussion at Novara Media about Populism and there's a new  article in the Washington Monthly that makes the case that the America we know and love wouldn't exit without it.

In the instances of the Trump and Sanders phenomena, although I haven't supported either of them, I can't see anything bad about the rise of either of them. Sanders of course has exposed the Democratic Party for what it is, the handmaid of Wall Street and a group of people who consider gay marriage and a women's right to have an abortion to be far more important than the living standards of the vast majority of Americans and more important than the very lives of anyone who doesn't happen to live within the arbitrary boundary of the American nations state. It's a sick set of values but the Sanders campaign has helped to expose and bring them into the open.

Trump has almost singlehandeldy destroyed the Republican Party. He's prevented people like Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz from becoming president. He's stripped away the pretense for conservatives' use of white supremacy and exposed it for what it is.

And by saying he would consider abandoning some of the ongoing projects of US Imperialism Trump has removed the Republican Party as an option for Neoconservatives and forced them to admit that a Capitalist Imperialist Democratic like Hillary Clinton is acceptable to them, is, in fact, one of them; as in effect are the  millions of who support of elite warmongers like Clinton.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Clinton Coasting To Victory

"They're willing to make it a referendum on Trump"

Says Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, about the Hillary Clinton campaign's general election strategy, and indeed, a little over a week ago in San Diego in what was supposed to be a major foreign policy speech Clinton spent most of it attacking Donald Trump for things like his willingness to talk to nuclear armed countries like Russia and North Korea, which Clinton, who is supported by the leading Neocon warmongers, sees as irresponsible.

Libya today
Never mind that this seems like a risky, even foolhardy strategy. It is, in essence, playing defense for the next six months. It allows Trump to set the agenda, and in the article I'm referring to neither Miringoff or Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, are convinced it will work. Trump is Trump. He's a salesman. Clinton isn't.

And think of what it portends for the future of the nation. Professor Miringoff and Clinton's actions are basically telling us that Clinton intends to get around the problem of her sky high disapproval ratings and the fact that most Americans' don't trust her by simply by shifting the focus to Donald Trump. Don't expect her to tell Americans about the wars she has planned or about her plans to continue the Neoliberal economic policies causing the American Middle Class to disappear.

If you ask Clinton about massive wealth and income inequality her answer will be: "Trump."

Ask her about Social Security and Medicare: "Trump."

What about all these mass shootings: "Trump."

Hey Ms Clinton, what about those dead children that keep washing up on the beach in that country you destroyed, Libya.

She'll stare at you for a moment, swallow, then smile and say: "Donald Trump."

And in case you haven't heard.

The headlines have all been about the prostitutes Goldman-Sachs hired to entertain Libyan officials whose sovereign wealth fund the New York investment bankers was handling, but much worse is that Goldman-Sachs was fleecing Libya for hundreds of millions in fees while losing billions for Libya by making bad investments on its behalf, the same investments that torpedoed the US economy at the time.

Don't expect much about this from Hillary Clinton, who has taken hundred of thousands of dollars a shot for brief speeches at Goldman-Sachs meetings and who's best friends with Goldman-Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Clinton has taken hundreds thousand more from Goldman Sachs through the Clinton Foundation.

Lloyd Blankfein - Hillary Clinton

Monday, June 13, 2016

We're 21st!

Here's a list New Mexico isn't at the bottom of -- posted on Twitter by Sandra Fluke who became famous when she was "slut shamed" by Rush Limbaugh.

According to the study this chart comes from, on a national average US women are paid 79 cents for every dollar men are paid. Michelle Grisham talks about the wage gap a lot but uses a figure of 77 cents for every dollar men make. In New Mexico it's 78 cents.

It's argued that these kinds of figures are misleading because women on average take different kinds of jobs than men do. That's true to some extent but that's often a result of sexism, too.

Equality should be our hallmark. Unfortunately it's not. Empowerment is what we like. Empowerment and equality are two different things.

Identity Politics tend to be about empowerment, rearranging places on a hierarchy. That is, the way we do things now, if women got more higher paying jobs it just means men would have more lower paying jobs. Identity Politics don't address the fact of the hierarchy or strive to create a world where you don't need power to get what you need, a world of equality.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I'm Not Saying

My brother Bob, in Michigan, posted this graphic on Facebook and asked me if it's true. I wasn't sure. I know those foods are popular here and some have cultural significance but I'm not qualified to pass judgement on whether this graphic is something a New Mexican would agree with so I answered the question indirectly by saying, "If you order at least one of these items in a restaurant you'll get more respect from your waitress, that is, you'll be treated with less contempt."

A day before I'd had lunch at Mac's La Sierra, a nice West Side family restaurant on Central Avenue on the edge of the West Mesa not from from where I live and where I eat now and then. It's a friendly and often busy place with old wood paneling and dark wooden booths, and to me has a lot of New Mexican ambiance of the Route 66 variety. Central is old Route 66 and is where you'll find many iconic symbols of old Albuquerque.

The waitress at Mac's had given me a choice of bread or sopapilla and when I said sopapillas her attitude toward me become a little more friendly. Less suspicious, perhaps. This happens to me once in awhile here. The way I dress and comport myself and talk marks me as an outsider but to ask for sopapillas may be a signal that I at least know something, and who knows, maybe I had validated something in her Hispanic identity.

The picture, by the way, was posted on a web site called I Am New Mexico, which has a web site and Facebook page. It's one of those anonymously published web sites; whoever is putting it out there is playing it close to the vest. New Mexicans aren't the only people who play it close to the vest but it's a central part of the culture here.