Sunday, October 30, 2016

Did Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Break Up?






This would be an interesting development. I went to these Twitter feeds and went back several days and for that time span it's true. Bernie and/or his staff have been tweeting a lot about the Dakota Access pipeline and the AT&T-Time-Werner merger but aside from a few sideswipes at Trump not the presidential race. Sanders has taken some heat on the radical Left for campaigning for Clinton.

I only saw this tweet because I've been "followed" lately by a few Trump supporters on Twitter (it's like "friending" someone on Facebook) and I generally follow people back when they follow me. They may be seeing my Wikileaks retweets. Trump supporters have been following the leaks closely and using them for anti Hillary ammo. One of my new right wing Twitter friends re-tweeted this thing by the bikers and I re-tweeted it and a few minutes later the bikers followed me.




I think my Twitter logo makes pretty clear what my politics are. Maybe they are reaching out. I wrote the other day about how many white southerners had voted for Bernie. Maybe they only switched to Trump after Hillary beat Bernie. People like Ralph Nader on the Left have long said the working class has much more that it agrees on than it disagrees on and that alliances between the Left and Right should be pursued. I for my part have attempted now and then to talk to people on "the other side" without much success, but on social media I do discourage people from talking down to the working class right or making fun of them, not just for strategic purposes but as matter of principle. If you want a better world you've got to be better. I could follow the principle a little more closely myself.


Meanwhile, there's the New York Post.
















Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trumped





If she holds on and wins Hillary Clinton will rule over a very divided country and face Republicans in congress who will oppose her every single move because that's the only thing that will get them re-elected. Republicans who compromised with the Democrats have been going down and the ones in congress know it.

Bernie Sanders probably would have been much less divisive than Hillary, who is widely despised and distrusted. In the article by Connor Kilpatrick that I talked about in the previous post he points out that Bernie Sanders was bringing "Reagan Democrats" back into the Democratic party, getting, for example, three times more votes in West Virginia than Donald Trump did, and drawing large working class support in rust belt states like Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin "even as he repeatedly championed Black Lives Matter and the fight against racial discrimination," which means that racism doesn't trump economics. It's the other way around.

Rust belt states made up the Reagan Democrat heartland and go back and forth from Republican to Democrat, or, like Michigan and Wisconsin may vote Democratic in presidential elections but the state houses and governor's office are controlled by Republicans, and a lot of the conservative agenda has been put in places in those states. Think of Scott Walker's attack on public sector unions. Think of the Flint, MI water crises.

I made the above meme as a reaction to the crises that engulfed Hilary Clinton's campaign tonight with the emails on Anthony Weiner's computer, but I have no cause to say I told you so. I voted for Bernie Sanders but didn't campaign for him because I didn't care for his history of support for things like Israel and war. But I think people have supported Hillary Clinton for all the wrong reasons, and one of those was that they thought she had a better chance to beat Trump than Sanders did, and as tonight's news reminds us that wasn't necessarily the case.

But more importantly, as the analysis put forth by Kilpatrick, and others, makes clear, the Democrats could build a large majority in this country from the top to the bottom -- president, congress, state houses and governors -- if they ditched this Clinton, Gore, Heinrich, Grisham, Obama, Biden, Republican-lite politics for good old class based economics and policies on behalf of the working class -- people who work for a paycheck.

Class based economic policies aren't Bernie Sanders' policies. He just ran on them. Anybody could run on them if they had the guts, and the sense, and the compassion he has, and they could go further than he did and oppose the American imperial project and the warmongering, the dangerous belligerence against Russia and China and the 1,000 military bases around the world that go along with it and that causes so much of the rest of the world to suffer.






Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why Don't The Whites Vote For Democrats Any More?

Much has been written about this phenomenon over the years but a lot is being written about it now in an attempt to explain the rise of Donald Trump. Most takes on it have white working class voters abandoning the Democrats because they are racist, and/or stupid, i.e. too dumb to know what their economic interests are. Because they feel threatened by the rising numbers of other groups in the country.

It's not all whites. Dems get a lot of votes from among the "professional" classes, and along with the votes they get from women, African Americans and Latinos, and anyone who identifies with identity politics, they can (sometimes) cobble together a majority in a presidential election (but not in most congressional, senate, governorship and state house elections.) It's those older, non college educated white males who abandoned the Democrats for Ronald Reagan and the Bushes and are showing up at Donald Trump's rallies. Those are supposedly the uneducated racists who vote Republican.

Connor Kilpatrick, managing editor at Jacobin magazine, has another take on it. To get at this question, though, first you have to ask the question; When America is richer than ever, why are Democrats telling working class voters they have to settle for less? Why are incomes stagnant? Why has college gotten so expensive? Why are health care and other benefits going away? Why are all the income gains and productivity gains going to the 1 percent? Why have the all wealth gains during the current recovery gone to the 1 percent?

White males used to get a share of that, but no more. In that sense it may have something to do with their race, but that's not racism. Those same white working class males voted for Jimmy Carter and a lot of them voted for Barak Obama, especially the first time.

And why is it that most people don't even vote at all?

Democrats say, just wait. They think they have the demographic wind at their back. Just wait til Latinos become the majority.

But why, I'd ask, wouldn't Latinos eventually abandon the Democrats, too, for the same reasons white voters are abandoning them now?

Kilpatrick's article on this is the most interesting I've read in a long time. It has serious implications not only for understanding the problem but for how to unite the working class, which is sorely divided now in oh so many ways. I recommend it. Again, it's here. Jacobin has become an interesting magazine under his management. Keep tabs on it.





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Balllot Selfies

New Mexico law prohibits voters from showing their marked paper ballot "to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents."

This is according to the AP, which asserts that it makes ballot selfies illegal here. AP went around the country state by state to find out whether the increasingly popular practice is legal or illegal in each state.

They say NM is one of 17 states where it's illegal. Apparently controversy arose when pop star Justin Timberlake posted a picture of himself in the voting booth on social media and later deleted it when told it was illegal.

I don't know if I'll take a ballot selfie or not. Voting confuses me anyway. There are all those people there and it's so official and you have old ladies telling you to go this way and that way and I'm afraid if I go the wrong way I'll be sent to federal prison.





Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Hillary You Get

"Speaking at a rally in Pittsburgh on the weekend, Clinton said, “I’m not going to pretend that we can just snap our fingers and solve our problems… That doesn’t happen in the real world.”"

That's Hillary Clinton, confident of victory, starting to manage the expectations of her supporters, some of whom may have believed the liberal rhetoric she adopted to secure the Democratic Party nomination and win the support of former Sanders voters.

It's being reported that she is already contacting key Republicans to discuss how they will work together when she's in office. Cabinet posts and other positions in her administration are being discussed.

"Jeff Zeleny of CNN reported, “I’m told she’s been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern.” Clinton has told these Republicans that she will be more approachable than Obama, Zeleny said, adding, “She will work with them. She wants to have an open-door policy.”"

Donald Trump meanwhile is saying Clinton's policies in Syria could start World War III. This is unfortunate. Military figures have already said as much in congressional hearings, but now that Trump is saying this it gives the media an excuse to ridicule the idea. Clinton as recently as the final debate reaffirmed her desire to establish a "no fly zone" over Syria, which is tantamount to war with nuclear armed Russia. The Guardian goes into this in depth today.



Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Is To Be Done?

New Mexico Democrats never mention wealth and income inequality. They emit an occasional "dog whistle" directed at the principle of equality that used to govern their party; it usually contains the phrase "middle class" and is always devoid of any meaning and is never followed by any concrete mention of any bill or policy. They forever say they will fight like hell for you but never detail what that will consist of, leaving them free to do nothing for you at all, which is what they do. Now, with their Neoliberal champion about to win an election and you having supported her wholeheartedly, they have even less reason to do anything for you. You fell for it again.

How did this situation come to be? Thomas Franks, who wrote the watermark book What's The Matter With Kansas, has some ideas that he discusses with Truthdig editor Robert Scheer on Scheer's Pacifica radio program (link and transcript here.) Democrats, knowing that working people have nowhere else to go, have a new core constituency, Franks says, the"professional class." The term is sometimes "meritocracy." They are the upper socioeconomic classes and most elected Democrats now come from that class and so they naturally serve the interests of their class.

What is to be done about this? First is to get people out of the mode of thinking that Democrats are their only choice. As Frank explains and other have explained, the Democrats only served the interests of working people in the first place because of outside pressure from primarily the labor movement but also from civil rights groups, women's groups and environmental groups. The leaders of those kinds of groups still support the Democratic Party. In many cases they have moved into the higher socioeconomic strata themselves and have stopped serving the interests of their members.

There are plenty of options besides the Democratic Party, but first you have to know that you need another option. Most people think only in terms of Democrat and Republican, but even at that don't know that the Democrats' and Republicans' power comes from them, and that's the problem facing anyone who still wants social and economic justice. The problem of raising that consciousness in peoples' minds and imaginations.





Saturday, October 22, 2016

What's Next?

Donald Trump has the ability to get headlines written about him every day. According to Joel Silberman, writing in attn:, it doesn't matter to Trump whether he's getting attention with good news or bad news, and as the presidential race winds down Trump's behavior suggests he is actually preparing things for what he plans to do after the election, which is to catapult the anger and resentment that fueled his campaign, and will only get worse after the election, especially if his supporters think it was stolen, into a movement and/or some kind of media empire.

Trump's son in law, i.e. Ivanka Trump's husband, real estate investor Jared Kushner, owns the New York Observer and has been in touch recently with  investors who specialize in media deals, and former Fox News chief Roger Ailles might be part of the scheme, Silberman writes.

I'll add that it's been reported that Ailles has been informally advising Trump in his campaign and that The Observer is a New York City weekly described as being in the "upper minor leagues" of the media world by its former food critic, Joshua Stein, who resigned when the paper endorsed Trump.

There's a lot of anger out there alright, and the working class people on the right side of the  political spectrum aren't going to stop and think about the good of the country before they embark on their four to eight year mission to express their hatred of Hillary and undermine her legitimacy and her presidency. And Republicans in congress will aid and abet that as they try to block everything she puts forth, possibly even any Supreme Court nomination she might make, because, as I reported a few posts ago, it's what works for them electorally and allows them to hold on to the considerable power they wield.

You can't solve anger and hatred. You can't talk someone out of it. The only thing you can do is replace it with something else. Hillary Clinton has begun to try to unite the country, it's being reported. You could see it in some of her comments in the final debate the other night. Traditionally though, politicians and leaders have united people by getting them wrapped up in things like fear of invasion and war hysteria. Clinton has repeatedly said she wants to escalate the wars in the Middle East and has been in the forefront of starting the new Cold War against Russia. It's going to be a fun time coming up. A grim time.









Law And New Mexico Law

Bernalillo County, NM, has a feature on its web site that lets you see what your own specific ballot will look like on election day. (On this same page you can also check your voter registration status.)

The county web site explains that each precinct has a different ballot and there are more than 500 different ballot in Bernalillo County alone. It doesn't say why. There are obvious reason why ballots would differ from, say, one congressional district to another, but as to why they differ by precinct I can only guess that it's because each precinct has a different combination of ballot measures and of boards and bodies people are being elected to.

It's been pointed out that there's no way to write in someone's name for president this year. I'm not sure this is legal and I'm not sure it matters in New Mexico. There seems to me to be law, and New Mexico law. Rather, different localities here have their own ways of doing things and it's accepted that that's OK. I'm sure a native could give you quite a few examples of this. I'd think it's owing to our unique historical background and values and the fact that the federal government is looked upon differently here. A guess.

The first time I encountered this was the first time after moving here that I renewed the physical that's required for my commercial driver's license. Most of the physical -- eye test, urine test, blood pressure, etc. --  is conducted by nurses and then a doctor or nurse practitioner comes in and looks you over and pokes you, looks over the other results and then signs off on it, except that this particular nurse practitioner wrote on my physical card that I needed to wear eyeglasses even though I had passed the eye test, just not by enough for her satisfaction. These physicals are federally mandated and have federally mandated standards, but in New Mexico there are New Mexico standards.


For president, incidentally, I'll vote for the ticket of Gloria LaRiva and Dennis Banks running on the Party for Socialism and Liberation ticket. I'll have more to say about this later. It will be a disappointment to people like me that Hillary Clinton's victory will be so lopsided that not voting for her won't matter and that we can't spend the next eight years defending ourselves against accusations that we put Donald Trump in office. People still blame Ralph Nader for George W Bush getting into office, despite the fact that this has been disproven. Nader took votes equally from Bush and Gore, and more Democrats voted for Bush than for Nader, the Democrats being unable to come up with candidates people like, Hilary Clinton being a prime example of this. She's very disliked and will only be elected because people dislike Trump more.  Most Americans and especially young people won't even vote, they are so disillusioned by the candidates that get put up and by the way politics has come to serve only the ruling class. And people don't like candidates Democrats nominate because they're Republicans who are only liberal on gay rights and abortion, as Jim Hightower pointed out at the time.

There's also a ballot measure that would convert Bernalillo County to a "home rule" county. This would give the county board more independence from the sate legislature in various ways and is fairly common around the country, but the way it's done here is unique, too, owing to the right of local governments to rule themselves via home rule being enshrined in the state constitution, and then a vote of the people in 1970 that broadened that right. This ballot measure has been put before Bernalillo County voters twice before and has been defeated twice, so why it's being brought up again I don't know.

I've seen nothing about this ballot measure in the media save for a recent article in the Albuquerque Journal from the point of view of an attorney who helped draft the measure and is in favor of it passing. I have no particular reason to oppose the measure except for the fact that when something like this hasn't been publicized it raises concerns about why not. It's possible, for example, that the county board wants to do something it can't do unless this gets passed. Law and New Mexico law.

It's suggested in the Journal article that it's supporters might use home rule to change the size of the county board, or to change some county offices, like treasurer, from being elected to being appointed by a county executive. People might see these kinds of actions as "power grabs" and if so that's probably why it failed before.

But there might be more to it than appointing a treasurer who knows what they are doing instead of letting the people elect someone who doesn't. Think of the controversial  Santolina development, which was approved by the county board but may have not been done so legally if they didn't have home rule. Or, without home rule, it's possible the state legislature could overrule the county board's decision. I don't know if anything like this is the case but it doesn't hurt to ask or to wonder why we haven't heard very much about this ballot measure.







Friday, October 21, 2016

Clinton Foundation Pays Women Less Than Men

Is among the headlines generated today by today's batch of leaked Clinton campaign emails, which keep being released by the thousands almost daily by Wikileaks.

I'm having a blast reading one delicious surprise after another and hearing people come up with ridiculous reasons for why we need less information about the people who run our country and not more.

The Clinton campaign is trying to make the story be about Wikileaks and Russia -- to discredit the emails because of who hacked them, which isn't known and can't be discovered. According to multiple computer experts it's impossible to tell who hacked you. Another storyline, that the emails were doctored, has been drowned out by the sheer volume of the release -- tens of thousands.

And of course the source of the hack, while it may be interesting and a story in itself, doesn't matter as far as the truth contained in the emails and their significance. Using the Clinton campaign's logic, if Hitler told you to get out of the road because a bus is coming, you'd have to stay in the road.

The truth revealed by the leaked emails isn't that Hillary Clinton and those around her are cynical and dishonest or even that it's verified in writing now that Clinton is a warmongering servant of big Wall Street banks, big corporations and rich people. Most people know that about their elected officials and don't care. Which is another thing.

The truth revealed by the emails is in how they are being treated by Clinton supporters and a mainstream media that by and large favors Clinton over Donald Trump and is helping her to win.

It's that we pretend to be rational and fair and just when we are not.

It's that when there's news we don't like, that doesn't make it a bunch of lies. It's that when there's new we don't like we don't like it.








Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hillary Voters Vote For War

The Washington Post reports today that the "foreign policy elite" can't wait for a President Hillary Clinton so we can start killing more people again.

The Post's interviews with these people, along with the recently leaked transcripts of Clinton's $250K Goldman Sachs speeches, confirmed the fact that, knowingly or not, if you vote for Clinton you're voting for escalation in Syria and against Russia and Iran. You're voting to kill a lot of people. A lot of them. And throw a lot more money down the toilet that is the foreign policy consensus.

This elite, a "bipartisan" cabal of former state department officials, think tank members, consultants and the like, who rotate from one place to the other in a revolving door I might add, laments that President Obama hasn't been aggressive enough toward Iran, Russia and Syria, among other things they dislike him for. This is despite Obama having expanded the Middle East killing spree begun by the GW Bush Neocons to Libya, Syria, Yemen and North Africa and become the drone assassinator in chief and provoked nuclear armed Russia and China in various ways like instigating a coup in Ukraine and surrounding them both with military alliances and missiles. This foreign policy elite wants more direct confrontation than that. They want war, which, as the head of the joint chiefs of staff told congress recently, is what the no fly zone Hillary and this elite both favor will amount to. War with Russia.

This elite cares little that, as I read the other day, the US military, since Bosnia, has killed, depending on the estimates you use, between 1.5 and 2 million people, and you can add in that terrorism has exploded because of it. This goes back before 9/11, and it's gotten worse since then.

The same elite panicked when it looked like Donald Trump might be president, the Post reports, not because he says gross things or isn't smart enough or qualified enough or abuses women but because he wants to be less aggressive and kill fewer people and pull back some of our vast military death machine that spans the globe with over 1,000 instillations and consumes more than half of federal spending, while things like food stamps and Head Start are being cut.

The Post article ends with soothing assurances that Clinton won't kill as many people as Bush did -- we'll see about that -- but one thing is certain, a vote for Hillary is a vote for more death and a vote to feed fewer Americans and educate fewer of the children who are our future.






Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hillary's Emails

Wikileaks is still releasing thousands of emails a day from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta and they confirm the view of her already held by people like me on the radical left that she's a warmongering whore of Wall Street. That's a polemical statement, of course. Translated into everyday American it means she's way too quick to use the US military and she thinks government is supposed to help create a climate where business can profit so that workers can have jobs, which is basic truckle down Reaganomics. In other words she's at the center to center-right of where the American political spectrum today which is further to the right than it was 10, 20 and 30 years ago.

There are also the kind of revelations, like when she told the Goldman Sachs upper crust in one of those $250K speeches that you have to have a "public and a private position" on issues. The polemical translation for this is that she lies her ass off in her public statements. But all politicians talk like she does. They "spin" everything. Anyone who has been in the politics business for awhile knows you have to be careful of what you say and not give your opponents any ammunition. You promote what you want as much as you can because you know it will get torn down by opponents. It's another version of what we do in our own conversations where we're not very honest at all, and it's why we keep some distance between ourselves and almost everyone except maybe one close intimate, usually a spouse, and even then we have secrets.

Maybe the most serious revelations from the emails are what they reveal about the press in the US. There are emails from reporters from big time publications like Politico and the New York Times who want are showing the Clinton campaign their articles before they publish them and letting them take out what they don't like. The Free Thought Project has an article citing ten such emails that's worth a look, I think.

The mainstream media of course is largely ignoring the whole stream of leaks, because they favor Clinton but also because they want to be seen by their sources and peers as staying within the bonds of conduct approved of by the power establishment. It's the old wink and a nod thing that has always been with us. Wikileaks has been successfully demonized within that establishment and the Clinton campaign has been defending itself by attacking Wikileaks and suggesting it's in collusion with Russia and wants Trump to win.

The younger generation, fortunately for American democracy, pays more heed to things like Wikileaks than they do to mainstream figures like Hillary; in fact the media has been putting out articles saying that Millennials aren't getting excited about Clinton, which means they won't vote. Twitter is used predominately by the younger generations and a quick glance at the Twitter pages demonstrates their preferences for sources of information. Everything Wikileaks posts is "re-tweeted" between 7 and 12  thousand times. Everything Hillary posts is re-tweeted 3 or 4 thousand times.

The leaks won't affect the outcome of this election. Donald Trump has made sure of that. But historians are much more interested in primary documents, like emails, than they are in daily news articles. The books they write won't influence this election but will be read by the leaders of tomorrow.











Sunday, October 16, 2016

He Was Here Just A Minute Ago












Two images, each, I think, beautiful in its own way, and in many ways.

I came across the second while trying to find out some information on the first. The first, by Reuters photographer Carlo Allegri, is a woman who called herself Sista Soul Love. She was protesting something -- possibly forgiving white people, according to one person who posted video of her on YouTube, but I'm not really sure -- outside the Charleston, SC, AME church the Sunday after the massacre there in 2015 of 12 Black church members by a white supremacist, according to the caption when the photo was used by The Guardian. They used it with a gut wrenching essay by Kiese Laymon, a professor of English and African American studies at the University of Mississippi, about being Black in the USA and about what the grandmother who raised him thinks about being Black in the USA that he wrote after the Charleston church massacre.

I liked these images because they were visually appealing to me, and part of that was because their content, visual and symbolic, in each case set my synapses to popping, they just struck so many conscious and unconscious cords at once, and finally because they made me wonder, if America gives up on Jesus, what will it turn to?






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Saturday, October 15, 2016

FBI Entrapment

We'll see if the three men arrested by the FBI in Kansas for "plotting to bomb a Garden City apartment complex where about 120 Somalis live" following a "major" 8-month investigation turns out to be another case of entrapment. Several studies have been done about this and one found as many as 95 percent of domestic terrorism cases the FBI brings are cases of entrapment. This article talks about other studies that find that well over half were entrapment.

Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle
What the FBI does is, agents or paid informants find some low life idiots, often through online social media now, gradually befriend them, gain their confidence, and then suggest bombing something. Sometimes the FBI even gives them fake bombs to plant. Then they move in for the big arrests and then it's the choreographed press conference where they tell the media how they saved America from great harm after a "major" 8-month investigation and give themselves lot of credit using vague and meaningless terms like "conducted an investigation" and never say just what that means or entails.

It's hard to say if they do this because they need to justify their budgets or themselves, but it's an insight into the mind of law enforcement people.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

In The US, Gridlock Has Been The Norm

There have been but a few brief periods in US history when partisan gridlock wasn't the rule and when the congress cooperated and made deals, Vanderbilt University professor Marc Hetherington maintains.

Hetherington says that decades of polling data show that US citizens aren't very ideologically different from each other, not even the ones who are engaged and vote, but that that latter group is very partisan -- which essentially means they hate the other side, and voting isn't based on ideology so much as  distrust of what the other side would do if they got into power.

The party members and elected officials themselves are ideological, however, and he's in agreement with frequent commenter to this blog New Mexican in saying that both parties have been captured by their ideological extremes. But the general public votes not on the basis of ideology but on the basis of their distrust of the other party.

Gridlock and obstructionism, he says,  are engaged in because they work in terms of sitting members being re-elected. Distrust of government and of "the other side" are so high among the public that voters expect their representative to oppose anything the other party attempts. But again, it's not about ideology but about distrust.

Hetherington spoke at a presentation for the London School of Economics Public Lectures and Events series which are made into a podcast and steamed in various formats. Hetherington also has written a book about on this topic with fellow political scientist Thomas Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis, published last year. The London School of Economics has quite a few Americans teaching there and the talk series features quite a few Americans. I'm not sure what that's about but I do listen to one of the talks now and then during my nightly drive to Holbrook and back.

Hetherington says his father was an advisor to Republican congress members of the 1950s and 60s and and he describes himself as left of center. He expects partisan gridlock to get worse over the coming period because it works, in the electoral sense, for the party out of power. He says Democrats were as obstructionist to GW Bush as Republicans have been to Obama. Those of us who are partisan may not remember it what way but Hetherington is very data driven. If you want to disagree you'll need statistics.

He also says that the much talked about demise of the Republican Party is just not accurate. They are in good shape,  controlling more state houses and governorships than Democrats -- more than they have since the 1920s (and New Mexico's house for the first time in a long time) -- and control the US house now, which for the past 50 years had been controlled by Democrats, and sometimes control the US senate, too. It's only with the presidency that the Democrats have a demographic advantage because Democrats have the electoral votes of the bigger states -- Democrats narrowly outnumber Republicans in those states whereas Republicans have big numerical advantages across wide swaths of the nation -- the so called red states.

This map from Wikipedia which, through the use of shading, shows the average margin of victory in presidential elections from 1992-2008, is a visual representation of what he's saying.




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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Clinton Emails And The Road Ahead

Leaked emails between Hillary Clinton and longtime campaign official and adviser John Podesta wherein strategies are formulated by her campaign on how it would handle the political fallout if transcripts or videos of her $250,000 a shot private speeches to Wall Street tycoons ever got leaked necessarily detail much of the content of the speeches and they simply confirm what many millennials and Bernie Sanders supporters already knew about Clinton; that she's a very Wall Street and corporation friendly "New Democrat" who as soon as the votes are counted will look after ruling class interests and leave her working class supporters to rot, just like her husband did, and like Barak Obama has done and fiscally conservative Democrats like we elect in New Mexico always do. Some of the emails confirm her positions about her desires to escalate the wars in the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq, and to send many more US troops over there. Others talk about more directly confronting Russia and China, two nuclear superpowers already feeling backed into a corner by increasingly aggressive, increasingly Neocon US Imperialism.

Positions, votes and remarks by Clinton that had already confirmed that kind of view of her have been circulating on social media and small internet news outlets for years but haven't been in the mainstream media that much, and the timely release this past weekend of the video that has caused Donald Trump's latest meltdown ensured that Friday's leaks stayed out of the mainstream media this time. What has been in the news is being attacked by Clinton surrogates as being a Russian plot, or they're saying the emails have been doctored, and the mainstream media has obliged those takes on them.

This stuff isn't going away and will haunt the entire presidency of this woman, who is already reviled and distrusted by a majority of Americans and who will sail into power on the votes of about one-quarter of eligible voters. I'm afraid the polarization we've seen so far will seem like nothing. Very few Americans are going to feel at home here and our democracy and our sense of nationhood will fray even further.

Whether the world survives an increasingly likely nuclear confrontation between the US and the other nuclear armed powers is another question. As for the hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners who will join the hundreds of thousands already killed by the US war machine and the terrorism that has mushroomed because of it, oh well. Black lives matter, white lives matter, but those lives don't. Not to Americans, not to Hillary supporters.

The entire Wikileaks trove is online and has already been saved, printed out and stashed away in many different places, no doubt.





Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Gallery In Damascus

I saw this picture of a small art gallery in Damascus in the Wikipedia article on Syria, an ancient country full of architectural and artistic treasures that's suffered a lot of damage since the US blew up the Middle East by invading Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria for no good reason and caused the current explosion of militant Islamic fundamentalism. Between the US military and the Islamists they've destroyed those countries, their economies and caused millions of deaths and even more serious injuries.

If you click on the link for that picture or go to the Syria article and click on that picture you get a high density version and can zoom in on the detail -- filigrees in the little stone arch, old wiring, the clamps they put in the stone to hold up the strings and chains that hold up the pictures, garments and tapestries. A cigarette butt. Old woodwork. Evidence of the lives, the stories, the personal histories that, oblivious to most Americans, get pissed away and blown away by our ruling class betters as they rampage across the world seeking more and more profits.

Another picture in that article shows a Syrian soldier wearing Russian gear and holding a Chinese automatic rifle. Yes, they're involved, because the US ruling elite is out of control and trying to push them back to their borders with aggression in the pipeline rich Middle East, Ukraine, the South China Sea and from its 1,000 bases around the world. They, China and Russia, aren't starting any wars, are simply trying to get by and make a buck, too, but no, we have to have it all, the US ruling class does, and Hilary and her lackey class are trying mightily to help them have it in exchange for a mansion and a few servants of their own.

Meanwhile the editor of The Nation magazine, the standard bearer of "progressive" ideals in the US, is posting links to the Democratic Party's platform and calling it the most progressive in its history. The thing is full of allusions to what I've just been talking about, and anti BDS and anti Venezuelan and anti this and that people allusions that promise full speed ahead imperialism, all of it smothered in idiotic identity politics platitudes designed to make the party's identity politics base believe that they'll soon be moving up the power hierarchy and enjoying more of the proceeds of those imperial profits without ever mentioning that with identity politics the current system, with its hierarchy of power and profits, is left in place. When they move up somebody else will necessarily have to move down a notch or two.

That base and almost the entire media and political establishments are today howling about Donald Trump talking like men and women do all over the US, China, Russia and Syria and pretending that they aren't like those men and women and in so doing are expressing the same instinctual urges we all express but in ways they've all agreed are socially acceptable, and doing it in terms that make them sound as cool and attractive as possible before they look in the mirror to make sure they look as sexy as can be.







Saturday, October 8, 2016

HP Instant Ink

I've been meaning to say something about this printer ink replacement program I'm on, HP Instant Ink, which might work for some of you. When I bought a new Hewlitt Packard "Envy" series printer a few months ago, at the end of the conversation the person pitched a program Hewlitt Packard has where for a monthly fee they mail you ink cartridges when your printer needs them. You pay per month, not by how much ink you use.

 
It sounded like it might be good for me because with my night working schedule I'm pressed for time during the day to do things like run around and buy ink cartridges. This same dynamic has led me to to do more and more of my shopping online. I don't dislike shopping but I'm not inclined to go shopping when I'm sitting at home thinking about it and my imagination balances doing more sitting at home with fighting wild maniac traffic. Some people might confuse this with laziness.

Anyway, HP instant Ink, as they call it, has been working well for me. I'm on the 100 pages per month plan. They debit my checking account $4.99 a month ($5.25 with tax) and I get to make 100 copies a month and all the ink is included. (I still have to buy paper.) To start off with they sent me the special ink cartridges that they say hold about twice as much as a normal cartridge. I still had ink in my printer and billing didn't start until I'd installed one of the new cartridges. When they notified me billing had begun I just went ahead and installed the other new cartridge.

The cartridges apparently send the HP company information about my ink level. HP also keeps track of the pages I print. I had to sign up for the program at the HP web site (where my current status is is represented by this screen shot.) Maybe they get some of the information that way, some from the printer, some from the cartridges, but yes, they are watching me and know my printing habits. So the NSA and FBI do, too.

I've been on it for four months now and so far I haven't even received any new cartridges and my printer tells me it's only used about half the ink in each cartridge, so HP seems to be getting a good deal on this but so am I, I think. Oh yes, you must send the cartridges back when they're empty. They give you the prepaid envelopes. I hope I can keep track of them.

As you can see I have some rollover credits. I've gotten close to my 100 page limit once or twice and it caused me to be more careful abut what I print, but most months I don't come close to my 100 page limit.

In the past, when I was buying those $30 something replacement cartridges, I would tend to print what I wanted to print because I was afraid the cartridges would dry out if I didn't use them, which has happened to me. This program has probably made me more frugal in printing overall, although I don't pay that much attention, and when I do think of it I go to the web site and sign in and it shows me where I'm at.

My innate frugality though still has me habitually printing everything in draft mode to save ink when I could be printing everything in high quality mode and it wouldn't cost me any more than I'm paying now, $4.99 per month, $5.25 with tax.





Baracoa

A notice in Cuban official media said recovery efforts are underway in the beautiful little city of Barbacoa, which surrounds the twin bays on the far southeastern tip of Cuba where Columbus landed. Baracoa was hit by the hurricane, Matthew, that pounded Haiti badly and is now drenching the US southeast. (More Cuban media hurricane coverage and photos here.)



If you look up Baracoa on Google maps there are some nice still photographs of the town there, of which this of the lobby of the Hotel Porto Santo is one.

Baracoa is surrounded by mountains and the waterfalls of the many rivers that flow toward the bays, and for centuries it could only be reached by sea. Recovery efforts will be quicker because of the road that now reaches Baracoa that was one of the first accomplishments of the Cuban Revolution. Baracoa is said not to be overrun by tourists because of that inaccessibility. There's just the one small road and a small airport that gets occasional flights from Havana.

Barbacoa is in Guantanamo Province. We've heard of "Guantanamo Bay," the Yankee name for the US military base and its notorious prison and CIA torture site, but Guantanamo is actually a Cuban province.

Earnest Hemingway, as you may know, hung out in Cuba quite a bit. He eventually had a small rented estate there, but it was outside Havana, a long way from Baracoa.

You wouldn't see Hemingway in Baracoa. No corespondents, literary agents, no writers of reviews. I can see myself spending my days lounging in the Hotel Porto Santo lobby, where no one would ask me why I haven't published any novels or short stories, not even me.






Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Intercept

This is just a plug for for Glenn Greenwald's news magazine The Intercept. Just take a moment to scan the stories on their front page today like a four-part expose on a criminal gang within the Chicago police department that protected some drug dealers and went after their rivals. It's a very important story not least because of Rahm Emanual, former Obama chief of staff and Chicago's current mayor and an architect of the Wall Street friendly, union busting "New Democrat" model and probable future presidential contender.

I say Glenn Greenwald. The constitutional attorney turned journalist runs The Intercept but it's funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. This is one way of doing it. When I lived in Berkeley County, SC, six guys with some money got together and started a paper and had a former high school principal run it, and after a few years it drove the existing paper out of business. In that case they were Republicans and the old paper backed the old Democratic Party establishment, and the area as a whole, the populace, had transitioned from traditional southern Democrat to Republican, but although the new paper had a conservative spin it did a good job of reporting and it was fair. Both sides had their say.

The model worked, is my point. I think you could run the Albuquerque Journal out of business if you came up with something that captured peoples' imagination. One reason is that a paper with no competition gets fat and lazy in the journalistic sense. TV news offers them nominal competition but the nature of that business makes them focus on rescued cats and car crashes, and things they have video footage of, and they have mostly a non ending succession of first year reporters who may have heard of city hall but don't really know what that's all about.






Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Crime Of Being Human

This news about Yahoo giving the NSA access to the complete content of every single email to or from a Yahoo email address, emails sent by Americans and everyone else, got me thinking about how our government has become a military intelligence state where if something is against the constitution they try make an exception for it and if they can't they just go ahead and do it anyway, as in this Yahoo case.

What is the end of it? Why did they do it? There's no terrorism in the US. What few instances that occur are statistically insignificant, especially when compared to the way terrorism is used to hike up fear and justify government policy. The only terrorism, practically speaking, is is in countries the US has destroyed, and the few homegrown instances are a direct result of that destruction.

I'm reminded of the many cases where the FBI has entrapped working class, gullible, troubled youths into violating these new terrorism laws. Not using their spy information but using informants, snitches who are paid for the information or are trying to get out of their own trouble, they find some people, no more than kids sometimes, and either FBI agents themselves or informants make friends with them, get their confidence, and then suggest they do some terrorist act, even supplying them with things like fakes bombs. It's kids who are devoid of purpose and who latch onto an idea implanted in their vacant minds by more world wise, older, cooler individuals. It's why these kids join gangs, why they do all kinds of strange things like tattoo their faces as they seek desperately for an identity..

So the lawmen, the FBI or whoever, entirely set them up, then make their arrests, take their photographs, and most importantly release their big press releases saying how they uncovered and stopped a terrorist plot. It's sick. Almost all, 95 percent by some accounts, of the "terrorist" cases the FBI has brought since 9/11 have been entrapment. Instead of minding their own business, or reaching out to these troubled kids, maybe helping them get on the right track, get a job, have a life, they utterly and completely destroy their lives, forever.

And for what? Their own personal aggrandizement? In order to justify themselves and their budgets? There's a complex interplay between those things and the way institutions work, and much of an institution's efforts is spent justifying its existence and the need for it. Just look at the clergy. Look at electricians and architects who get laws passed so that only they can do the work. This isn't as insidious as it just is human nature. The need of any group to protect itself is just the individual human survival instinct playing itself out though a social group and determining the rules and norms of the group, which then reinforce individual behavior in a cycle, a complex.

This is what happens, though, when you create institutions like the police and give them policing powers and let them police themselves, when you heed the calls of people who glorify the police and say you shouldn't question them.

This is what happens when we vote for people and won't demand that they police the police and the NSA and the FBI. These people will naturally then see the police as allies, and extensions of their own power. This is what happens when we vote for people, and don't hold them accountable, and who then naturally put personal ambition before the constitution, the country, and the people they're supposed to serve.



https://www.rt.com/usa/174484-hrw-fbi-sting-entrapment/

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/07/21/fbi-entrapment-created-illusion-terrorist-plots-report



Driving Around The Back Roads Eating

A Los Angeles Times travel writer on the best places in New Mexico for green chile cheeseburgers.

Patricia Moya (Eric Draper/LA Times)





See If You're Email Has Been Hacked

While reading comments on Twitter about a story that broke today about Yahoo giving the NSA complete access to every Yahoo email I came across a comment about a web site an internet security guy has created -- Have I Been Pwned -- that lets you know if your email has ever been the victim of one of those massive data breaches. I tried it and it said my Yahoo email address has been stolen three times.


NSA wasn't among the results. I wonder why. The ones that are are web sites I gave my email to so I could either read their articles or use their service or to get newsletters from them. (Stratfor, the big private spy agency that even the US government uses, has some interesting free articles I was reading for awhile.) Anyway, sometimes companies will alert all the users whose data has been hacked but I can't recall ever recall hearing anything from these people, nor from the NSA, FBI or CIA.

I wondered at first if Have I Been Pwned was someone trying to get my email address but I Googled it and some of the legitimate tech sites have had articles about it and said it was OK. There's a Wikipedia article, too. Of course. (I like Wikipedia more and more all the time. If there's anything negative about someone or something it's almost always in the Wikipedia article because it's run democratically.)

I say "Google". I use the word as a verb, as is common practice, I think. Google turns over a lot of data to the spy agencies so my primary search engine is Duck Duck Go, which does your searches for you anonymously by forwarding your search request to Google and other search engines and giving you back the results. On the Firefox browser you can set it to be the search engine that's used when you type a search into the little search box. It's as quick as Google but doesn't return as many results, so sometimes I use Google anyway, so the government knows about those searches.

Our elected representatives, by the way, have given up on protecting our privacy from government snoops. A few, namely one of my senators, Martin Heinrich, gave it a try when it first came to light, but the reforms he and Ron Wyden got passed were feeble and the spying has increased immensely since then, as you will learn if you read up on this latest Yahoo fiasco that came out today. It's not just Yahoo, either, Glenn Greenwald supposes.




Remember this guy?









Monday, October 3, 2016

Neocon (and Clinton?) Dreams Of World War III Closer By The Day

With, that is, today's news that the US is suspending bilateral efforts with Russia to achieve peace in Syria and Russia's announcement it will suspend an agreement with the US to round up nuclear materials spread around the former Soviet republics, and with new major advances in Afghanistan by the Taliban which we went to war to force from power more than a decade ago, remember, and in Iraq a major offensive against the ISIS stronghold of Mosul by the US and its proxies about to begin. Not to mention the ongoing US wars in Libya, Yemen and Somalia among others.

None of which would be happening but for the imperialist ambitions of the United States which instead of simply defending its borders has more than 1,000 military instillations around the world and spends more of our taxes on its military than the next seven countries, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India and Germany, combined.

And all of which is the doing of the Neocon foreign policy establishment and military-industrial complex Hillary Clinton is now the standard bearer of, the prominent leaders of which have already endorsed her, and much of which is the direct result of her actions while she was secretary of state.

If you haven't been following this, don't start now. Just vote for Clinton and enjoy these last days of what will probably someday be considered to have been relative normalcy.

You might want to get yourself a geiger counter before there's a run on them.






Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Blaze Of Infamy

This iconic 1962 photograph of James Meredith, flanked by US Marshall James McShane and Justice Department lawyer John Doar as they walked across the segregated University of Mississippi campus when Meredith first attempted to enroll there, which I came across today after reading comment after comment on Twitter about how racist and how everything else Donald Trump is, made me wonder about the racial progress the US has made in my lifetime.

Trump's support is said to come from older whites who are fearful about the lower standards of living brought about by the current Neoliberal brand of Capitalism, but who also resent losing the racial privileges that used to at least guarantee them better jobs and futures than racial minorities.

But young people are credited with having much less racial prejudice and with being more accepting of Blacks, gays, transgenders and everyone else and presumably will run a much better country if the geezer generation just hurries up and dies of embarrassment.

We'll see. Someone will see. Because those older Trump supporters, of course, are the Baby Boomers. We were the ones who were going to change the world and make it a better place, but we ended up putting Ronald Reagan in office and turning the political landscape of the country inside out, and when we got in charge starting with Bill Clinton is when the bottom really started falling out: we killed the American dream, not to mention dragging the country into the endless war that started around 25 years ago and probably won't end until the last of us babymongering warboomers is dead along with a good portion of the population of the Middle East and who knows who else, because we are very close this weekend to direct military conflict with Russia, and China, too, also has recently sent troops into Syria and both are nuclear superpowers and Hillary and her Neocon friends, remember, refuse to take the nuclear first strike off the table and some of them have even written articles recommending we start using battlefield nukes now.

So let's just hope our stupid, senseless, blind ignominy turns out to be merely our most serious failing and not our eternal crime and the same goes for the millennials, too.







Hacked Audio: Clinton Tells Wealthy Donors How She'll Trick Young People Into Voting For Her

Audio of Hillary Clinton talking to well heeled donors at a private fundraiser in Virginia in February is making the rounds on the internet.




At the time Clinton was trying to fend off her somewhat Leftist challenger Bernie Sanders. The high quality audio file was attached to an email sent by a Clinton staffer that was somehow hacked by someone. It's clearly Clinton and in this clip she explains how they can trick young Sanders supporters into accepting a life of working at Starbucks in the new vastly unequal economy her husband and other conservative Democrats have helped to create. Clinton tells her well off donors she's in the "center-left, center-right" part of the political spectrum; in other words she's not the "progressive," i.e. liberal, she's pretending to be to win the nomination. In other words, our comfy lifestyles won't be inconvenienced by any of that unseemly wealth redistribution stuff Democrats used to go along with. Young people, poor people, can go to hell. Let's open up a bottle of wine.

The 49 minute audio file was released by the conservative web site The Washington Free Beacon. The part I used was one of two short clips posted by The Intercept, the left leaning online magazine published by attorney Glenn Greenwald.