Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vive La

Today's French elections are being watched much more closely than usual. It's that after Brexit, and Trump, everybody's wondering, now what? What's next? Will we finally  start tracking back toward what we think of in hindsight as normalcy or continue spinning out of control.....

Ah, control of what and of whom? I say let's go.

But anyway, most news accounts refer to what's going on in France in a cursory manner if at all. Diana Johnstone lays out the main issue in Counterpunch and how the candidates relate to it.

Many in the US still can't comprehend what's going on here, or grasp the political sea change that's taken place with the Democrats' utter abandonment of the working class and Republicans becoming the populists with the Tea Party and now the fer-crissakes-Trump. It's easy to be misled by all the references to nazism and racism and all that which gets thrown up by the people in the media who are vainly trying to make sense of it themselves, but who have no reference for any of it and can only reference each other. Perhaps by looking at the French case you can see more readily what's happening here.





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

No Outrage Or Cruise Missile Attacks When US Backed "Rebels" Kill Children

This is a seven minute compilation of video clips from the car bombing in Rashideen, Syria on Friday of a group of buses that were picking up civilians being evacuated from two towns near Aleppo that are surrounded by US backed Sunni "rebels" that killed 155 people, mostly children. In one clip the US backed "rebels" celebrate killing the "Shia pigs" on behalf of God, according to the English translated subtitles.






Multiple witnesses have said the suicide bombers lured children from the waiting buses by passing out bags of potato chips.

The buses were parked in the same place as evacuation buses sent by the Syrian government were parked in December that were also blown up. In that attack the evacuees had not yet arrived and most of the victims were bus drivers. I wrote a blog post about it.

There's been no outpouring of outrage or grief from President Trumo or his daughter Ivanka who reportedly was so upset by an alleged Sarin gas attack she got her father to bomb Syria.

Likewise the US media and political class have expressed no concern for these children's murders. President Trump, citing children that were killed in an alleged Sarin gas attack in Idlib, Syria on April 4, ordered a massive cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base three days later and before any investigation was conducted to determine who carried out the attack, which bore many of the hallmarks of earlier gas attacks carried out by the US backed "rebels" and blamed on the Syrian government by US media and ruling elites. Those gas attacks take place when US support for the "rebels" appears to be waning. Trump's cruise missile attack effectively salvaged his fedgling presidency as the media and congressional Democrats, who have long advocated for war with Syria and its ally Russia, quickly dropped their resistance to Trump and lined up behind him.

Some 36 people were killed in that attack, according to "rebel" connected groups. The Rashideen bombing killed at least 80 children and 155 total. In one of the clips a witness to the bombing voices her support for Syrian president Bashar al Assad. An article I wrote about yesterday that summarizes the situation in the Middle East explains that Assad enjoys widespread support in large part because the US backed "rebels" are much worse. American media and ruling elites call the jihadist militias they back the "moderate rebels" but virtually all are either al Qaeda or Islamic fundamentalists with the same ideology. They install Sharia law in areas they control and have committed multiple atrocities against civilians including beheading children and massacring civilians who were taking advantage of escape corridors set up by agreement between the warring parties. Syria under Assad is a "secular" state meaning people are free to follow the religion of their choice or not follow any.







Monday, April 17, 2017

Today's Radical Reading List



Communist Party USA photo

 Middle East Explained

If you're anything like me you're not Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton or a career employee at the state department and you don't quite fully understand what's going on in the Middle East but kind of want to. Well, if you have some spare time on your hands here's your article; Middle East Chaos - Imperialism, Islamic Reaction & Syria's Civil War. It's the equivalent of a day long seminar, I'll venture, and answers the question of how the debacle over there came to be by tracing its roots in Western imperialism, laying out all the actors and what their interests are, explaining the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, and showing how all of it ties together, and in many ways is coming to a crux in Syria.

It's written by an unnamed author at an obscure web site called Bolshevik Tendency but it provides a very comprehensive and understandable history and analysis of the region and from a Marxist viewpoint, which isn't as out of the mainstream as you might have thought.



Likewise Palestine

Palestinian news Agency Ma'an News is publishing a three-part series titled Talking Palestine: What Frame of Analysis? Which Goals and Messages? that addresses the Palestinian question in a systematic and logical way by laying out the different lenses through which the Palestinian question can be viewed; the two most used being the settler colonial framework and the anti-apartheid framework, each of which has advantages and disadvantages and brings different aspects of the problem into focus.

Authors Nadia Hijab and Ingrid Jaradat Glassner of Al Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank, state in Part I, "The lack of consensus on a common framework of analysis to articulate the Palestinian condition prevents the adoption of clear messages to articulate both what has befallen the Palestinians and what we aspire to. It also obstructs the development of effective strategies for achieving these aspirations."

There you go. If everybody took that approach to every problem there wouldn't be many problems. There's a lot more like that at the Al Shabaka web site.

Note: Settler colonialism is a term used by academics to denote a particular type of colonialism in which the newly arrived immigrants want the people who were already there to go away. Basically they get rid of the indigenous population. The US and Israel are examples of settler colonial projects. They made/are making the native population "go away" by way of genocide and/or population transfer. The colonialism most associated with the British Empire and other European colonizers was different in that it entailed using the colonized population to administer the colony.



Periodic Daily Resurgence of Socialism Report

This one comes from the venerable old Communist Party USA in an article published on their web site March 21 titled Trump sparks communist growth surge.

It's a different take. I've been writing about the flood of new members into Socialist organizations and linking to articles that go into why these people are turning away from traditional party politics and toward Socialism, but in this article the author talks to party members about how they are reacting to the upsurge in growth; what they think about the upsurge, what new strategies and plans do they have in mind as a result of it, how they are incorporating these new people into the organization.

I call it the "venerable old Communist Party USA" because of the various Socialist groups that exist today that are directly descended from the old American Communist Party it's the only one that uses the name Communist, and that name has a glorious history and carries a lot of weight. Most of the key players and organizers who founded the American Labor Movement were Communist Party members; this was before the labor movement was co-opted by the Democratic Party and purged of all radicalism. The ones who had faced the hired guns and state militias who killed workers when they went out on strike were Communist Party members. They more than anyone or anything else gave you the standard of living you enjoy today and that many people including, amazingly, many Democrats, think was somehow always there and didn't result from many long hard years of bloody struggle.

And as thanks for giving American workers the purchasing power that propelled the United States economy to the top of the industrialized world, the American Communist Party bore the brunt of the brutal oppression that was waged upon Socialism by the American ruling class via the US government it controls, the media it controls and the many institutions it funds and has sway over. Through all these years that Socialism, and Communism especially, have been used as epithets and thought of as dirty words, the Communist Party USA never changed its name and its members were never ashamed to be Communists.



Note on the difference between Socialism and Communism: The two words are often used interchangeably and in practice it's no problem to do so, but technically, according to Marx and Engels, Socialism is the method, how you get there, and Communism is where you're going, the end state. The Communist state is the worker's state where workers, through the state, own the means of production and make all the decisions in a society that affect their lives, through a democratically governed state. The decisions that now are practically all made by Capitalists.







Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gerald Horne On Paul Robeson On Internationalism


"As I note in the concluding paragraphs of this biography, it is routine in the United States to announce that the real and imagined flaws of the socialist bloc have invalidated the very idea of socialism for all time. Yet despite the intimate tie between the enslavement of our ancestors and the rise of capitalism, there are few—even in our community—who have the gumption to announce that this horrendous tragedy invalidates the very idea of capitalism for all time."

That's Gerald Horne during an interview about his new book about Paul Robeson, the spectacularly talented singer, actor, Communist and Internationalist. It was conducted by Keisha Blaine who tried to get at what Horne thinks Robeson can teach the Left today, and according to Horne it was the globetrotting Robeson's emphasis on Internationalism, which he says Leftists of today by and large ignore.

Capitalists, of course, know about Internationalism. When they do it we call it Globalism, and under its guise Neoliberal governments worldwide have cleared the way with laws and treaties to make it easy for capital to move across borders. To compete, to stop capital from constantly pitting one set of workers against another in it's never ending search for cheaper and cheaper labor, labor organizing and organizing on the basis of class has to be international, too.



By the way I'm familiar with Horne from his being a guest on Glenn Ford's Black Agenda Report several times to talk about one or another of his many books. The University of Houston professor is one radical academic, historian and thinker I recommend paying attention to. One thing he has done is remove the mask from the founding of the United States and shown with Marxist economic and historical analysis that rather than the great leap forward for humankind we think it to be it's a particularly unsavory form of Capitalist Imperialism that wouldn't even have been possible without the enslavement of millions of Africans and the genocide of the American Indian.





Friday, April 14, 2017

Thanks, Capitalism, For The Nice Retirement Gift!


“You had the Democrat mayor and a Democrat governor both trying to get injunctions against the union and that really was like the last straw for me with Democrats,”

Today's Resurgence of Socialism report comes from  Philadelphia, where the Philadelphia Weekly writes about the exponential growth of DSA's Philly chapter, the Democratic Socialists of America, and again, when they ask people swelling Socialism's ranks explain why they joined the DSA high on the list is the Democratic Party and how it sold out the working class. And, like it it says in the quote, have even turned on the unions and don't we know it in New Mexico where we've got a senator, Martin Heinrich and a representative, Michelle Grisham, Democrats both, who never utter the word union and refuse to back the Employee Free Choice Act and vote with the Republicans, who have never offered a single bill that would slow the flow of money to the top.


I know, it's been awhile since I posted about the rise of Socialism in the USA, more than 12 hours. Give me a break, I grew up during the McCarthy Era and believe me it was rough being a kid in diapers dealing with that, all the evil Socialism this and scary Communists that and it's been a long, lonely road what with Reagan and the Soviet Union breaking up and Democrats who are just like Republicans except for gay marriage and abortion and both parties bought off and saying yes sir and no sir to a ruling class that only gets more greedy and corrupt, strutting around, laughing, sneering, dancing on Socialism's grave.

Or so they thought. The fools never knew, couldn't have known that Capitalism was the best friend Socialism ever had, because when Capitalism could no longer deliver the goods and the Republicans and Democrats both said we can't afford the American dream any more and a few rich people had nearly all the money and we had nearly none, Socialism came roaring back.





Indications Of A False Flag Operation Continue To Pile Up In The Syrian "Gas Attack"


"It is noteworthy that the Russian government has repeatedly called for an objective, authoritative international investigation into what happened at Khan Sheikhoun. This is in sharp contrast to the conduct of the Trump administration, which has acted as judge, jury and executioner rolled into one—claiming to determine the facts, identify the perpetrators and carry out the punishment in a three-day period." (World Socialist Web Site)



Theodor Postol, professor emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted a thorough examination of the US government's statement purporting to provide evidence the Syrian government staged a chemical weapons attack in the city of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. Postol found that "the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack." His assessment goes on for 14 pages, goes into remarkable detail and leaves the US government's assertions in shreds.

Using Postol's report as its debarkation point the World Socialist Web Site deconstructs the propaganda tsunami by the US government and its media mouthpieces that followed the false flag attack and led to Donald Trump's order to fire $400 million worth of guided missile bombs into Syria.

While the Syrian government had absolutely nothing to gain by attacking its own people with nerve gas when it was routing the "moderate" US backed rebels, and the rebels, who were shown to be behind the same kinds of attack before, reaped a tremendous benefit from it, our media, our government, Republicans, Democrats, all act as if it's not even imaginable that Syria didn't commit the attack.

Being that the Iraq War was sold in precisely the same craven, despicable way, it's not hard to fathom why US citizens can be so gullible and the leaders and media they trust so disgustingly dishonest and immoral.





Socialism Goes Mainstream


Well, maybe not quite, but public radio is pretty mainstream, and on the east coast anyway has noticed that the Democratic Socialists of America are growing rapidly and devoted a seven minute segment to letting their audience know why. They went out and talked to some of the young people who've been swelling the DSA's ranks and I thought you might be interested in hearing them say why they've turned to the DSA and what their complaints about the Democratic Party are.

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I'd just add that this report was done in early February and put the DSA membership at 15,000 and I reported a couple weeks ago that it had gone over 20,000.

This report also suggests these DSA members had something to do with causing the Democrats  to start opposing Donald Trump's nominees when they were approving them before.

That was wishful thinking in light of the shameful way the Democrats rolled over and panted their approval at Donald Trump's reincarnation as warmonger in chief.

All except one, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who the Democratic Party establishment is now trying to destroy. That would be people like the Howard Dean, a pathetic weasel who has been running around trying to dissuade people from talking about single payer healthcare on behalf of big pharma clients who pay him big bucks to use his insider connections to lobby for them.












Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pipelineistan





Tim Canova, the Florida law professor who tried to unseat US representative Debbie Schultz in last August's primary, posted this map on Twitter as a reminder of just why the US and its allies are destroying Syria.

Existing pipelines and the routing of proposed ones are behind most of the warfare the US wages in the Middle East according to much of the serious analysis. Afghanistan is essentially about pipeline routes, and the US and its European allies attacked Syria because it's pivotal in whose natural gas reaches Europe. Europe would like to depend less on Russian natural gas and the US would like to prevent Russia from exporting any oil and gas at all and whoever wins in Syria wins control over pipelines and pipeline routes.

Donald Trump's been reversing himself on one thing after another and his about face on Syria and in the other cases is likely due to his being schooled on what's actually going on in the world, and of course on who's doing the schooling.

Canova's map portrays the situation in Syria generally, and Brazilian reporter Pepe Escobar, who coined the term Pipelineistan, wrote a coherent analysis in late 2015 in Counterpunch of the competing alliances at play there and why the US wants regime change and why Syria is being helped by Russia and Iran.













Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’


That's an actual headline from an actual article published in The Guardian the other day.

The disgusting situation it describes is the direct result of the US-led unprovoked war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and the people behind it were Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers and Barak Obama.

Before it was ruined by their so called humanitarian intervention Libya was the most prosperous, secular and liberal country in that entire Middle East-North Africa region. Now it's three separate lawless zones that constantly fight each other, two ruled over by warlords and one by ISIS.

Of course it would really be more accurate to say that the fact that there are slaves being bought and sold in a country that was minding its own business and not doing anyone any harm is the fault of Americans who could care less what the Democrats do overseas and to average Americans as long as women can get abortions and men can get married and their stock portfolios are increasing in value.

With Democrats leading the way, or if not cheerleading and helping the propaganda effort, the US has now ruined Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan and as a consequence ISIS controls large parts of all three. Now they're giving Syria the same treatment. They've ruined the place, now they just need to topple Bashar Assad and ISIS can move in and take over.

There was once a chance, after Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, that that wouldn't happen. Hillary, if you'll recall, had promised to escalate the US war against Syria but Trump wanted to get out. But the Democrats' constant conspiracy theories about Trump and Vladmir Putin put Trump in a position where the best thing he could do was do a 180 on Syria and start calling for regime change, too.

It was a very good political move. He was a whipped dog and now he's riding high. It was cynical of him, too. And of course he didn't have to do a 180. He could have stayed out of Syria and kept spending all his time and effort fighting Democrats baseless conspiracy theories. Either way, this is the Democrats fault. They could have let him end it, they could have helped him end it, they could have given him the backing he needed in congress. They didn't, and when he attacked Syria, they stood up and cheered.






Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flagged Falsely

There has been no evidence presented that there was a gas attack before Donald Trump declared war on Syria the other day, but when there have been gas attacks in Syria they're invariably carried out by the US backed Al Qaeda militias they call the "moderate rebels." They did the attack that almost drew Obama into direct combat against Syria in 2013, that like this one was immediately blamed on Syria by the warmongers in Washington and their propaganda wing the US media. Actual evidence of rebel and Pakistani involvement that came out later was ignored by the mainstream media.

This piece by Scott Ritter enumerates the dynamics of why it happens -- it's when the US starts talking about getting out of Syria, as Trump Administration officials Nikki Hayley, the UN ambassador, and Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, started doing March 30, a week before this latest attack is alleged to have occurred.

Recall that the media led the cheerleading for the war against Iraq and the one against Afghanistan before it by uncritically publishing every word of propaganda fed to them by the Bush Administration and its pro war Democrat allies.







Peace






Something happened to the colors on the blog last night and after an hour fooling around with it I finally managed to get it to look like a Hare Krishna incense store.

Meanwhile to save yourself some eye strain focus all your energy on this tweet by a graduate student who writes for the LA Review of Books which pretty much sums up my sentiments. Rama rama hare hare.








Saturday, April 8, 2017

Little Colin Powells

You probably remember when Colin Powell lied his ass off at the United Nations to sell us on a war against Iraq that's killed a million people, destroyed a country, made radical Islam explode, caused a destructive divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims and continues after 14 years, and that was started for no reason but to begin implementing the Neocon design for world domination by Imperial USA.

Now the Neocons are politicians like New Mexico's Steve Pearce, Martin Heinrich, Ben Lujan and Michelle Grisham. They are the Colin Powells of today as they pave the way for war by making accusations about frightening weapons for which they have no proof whatsoever.

These gods unto themselves confer upon themselves the right to intervene in another country's affairs, to rain deadly force upon a country halfway around the world that hasn't attacked the United States or caused it any harm.

And it's not the alleged perpetrators they give themselves the right to kill. It's ordinary people, who were out of a job, or trying to help their family out, or minding their own business when they were drafted into the Syrian army.

I've previously outlined that in this case, as in case after case before it, there's no reason to believe that what everyone is saying was a Sarin gas attack even happened, or that the photographs and videos being broadcast are anything but another staged propaganda event by the western intelligence created, US government funded White Helmets who exist only for the purpose of justifying a regime change war against Syria. Do our elected officials not know this?

The White Helmets have been exposed faking those rescues so many times it's laughable. In this latest case they took pictures of themselves tending to the supposed victims of a supposed Sarin gas attack while wearing no protective gear and only dust masks. If there had been Sarin gas they would be dead. Why then are Pearce, Heinrich, Lujan and Grisham, who have as much access to information as anyone, saying there was a poison gas attack or at the least not saying, as their comrade Tom Udall is saying, Wait, let's look into this and consider the consequences before we start blowing people to pieces. No, say Pearce, Heinrich, Lujan and Grisham, let the killing begin. Let the blood flow. There are no boots on the ground. It's just Muslims.




It's stunning to see people who were calling Donald Trump insane, inept, deranged and stupid, turn on a dime the minute he starts killing brown skinned Muslims. If you kill brown skinned Muslims suddenly you're decisive, courageous, measured and perfectly sane.

Congress was already in blood up to their eyeballs before this, providing time and again the needed funds and authority for the never ending war against the people of the Middle East. And they spread the propaganda that sells it to the American people.

On some level people become one when they participate in killing people portrayed as being of another group or nation or race or species. Whether you hear about in on the news and silently approve or kill them with your own hands or your own gun or whether it's by your consent, the savage within you stirs, the unconscious labyrinths from which ooze the noxious fuel that feeds the voracious, stupefying fires of nationalism excrete their putrid fluids and you secretly exult in the glorious sense of primacy embodied in the very lifestyle you think is your right. The unexpressed fears of the strange people with their strange religion and strange languages subsides and you enjoy your dinner and the company of your family. Your conscious is clear. A few Muslims are dead but your poll numbers, you're told, look good.




Friday, April 7, 2017

Redneck New Mexico

New Mexico's Republican Governor Susana Martinez vetoed bills yesterday that would have raised the state's minimum wage a little. No reason given. One would have raised it to $9, one to $9.25, so it remains at the federal minimum $7.25, which means that after taxes are taken out you spend almost your entire paycheck on rent.

In 2014 the Congressional Budget Office said that based on 2012 figures, if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation it should be $10.69. Others say that if had kept up with the increase in wages overall it should be $21.16, far more than the modest $15 per hour pushed through by Socialists in Seattle.






This map shows that New Mexico is on par with the red states, i.e. the South, plus places like Wisconsin and Indiana where there's total Republican legislative control and governors like Scott Walker and Mike Pence. The map is clickable if you go here, where you can also see things like when overtime kicks in -- is it for more than 8 hours per day, or 40 hours per week, etc. It's different by state -- and there's also a map and chart showing minimum wages around the world. No, we're not number one, or two, or three.



Note: That Congressional Budget Office link has a chart that shows fluctuations over time in the actual and real minimum wage (real = if you adjusted for inflation). But the chart also compares the minimum age to the average hourly wage over time so it shows exactly what people like me have been saying for a long time, that working people's wages haven't really changed in more than 30 years. They haven't changed under Republicans or Democrats. So again, except for gay marriage and abortion is there any difference between Democrats and Republicans? The answer is yes. Democrats are worse warmongers.





By The Way

It's very unlikely there was any "chemical weapons" attack. As soon as the pictures started showing up people began seeing signs of another clumsy propaganda effort by the western intelligence-created, US-funded funded White Helmets propaganda unit.

There's the fact that they just happened to be there, ready to start rescuing people, and get a lot of pictures of it. There's the fact that that the "rescuers" were wearing dust masks. I've seen several of those. One guy was wearing flip flops. If that was really Sarin gas they'd have to be wearing those head to toe protective suits.

One gas attack victim appears to be the same person who showed up in photos of an attack on a hospital in East Allepo where the White Helmets were also putting out propaganda every day trying to get the US to intervene militarily. That's the reason the White Helmets exist. They were formed to drum up support for intervention and regime change.

There's a whole hash tag on Twitter --  #Syriahoax -- where you can see the evidence that there was no gas attack. Just go to https://twitter.com and click on the search icon and type in #Syriahoax. You don't have to be registered with Twitter.

Finally, there's no logical reason for Syria to have done that. They're winning. Since the Russians intervened on their side they've had the US backed Al Quada rebels on the run and ISIS on the run.They took back the rebel headquarters Allepo and then started taking back other other key cities. They kicked ISIS out of their headquarters in the ancient city of Palmyra and they were driving the rebels out of the Damascus suburbs. Every day there was news of gains by the Syrian army.

People have put together graphics that show that every time it looks like the tide is turning toward the US getting out of Syria there's a fake chemical weapons attack. When the reports finally came out about that famous gas attack that Obama almost went to war over, that wasn't done by Syria. You probably didn't hear that on the evening news because it wasn't on the evening news.

For Trump, of course, this gave him a chance to recover from his 35 percent approval rating and to contrast himself against Obama, who was tagged with being weak for not bombing Syria. War is the classic way a leader unites a people.

By the way, if you recall, Obama had every intention of attacking Syria over that false flag gas attack, but Vladmir Putin stepped in and arranged for Syria to give up all its chemical weapons.

This will also be like a child versus a master. Within hours of Trump's attack Putin had knocked him out of the top spot on Google News, in other words, out of the headlines and had changed the narrative.










Thursday, April 6, 2017

#Resist

Alright! We're about to see what The Resistance is made of. Trump is going to go to war with Syria. They'll be resisting in the streets by the millions!

Oh wait. The Democrats already wanted war with Syria. Now they're on Trump's side.

Never mind.





Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Reminder

A huge trove of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks a couple years ago showed that there's massive intervention by our government in the internal affairs and elections of Latin American countries. Jacobin magazine had a nice summary. The media you follow barely mentioned the cables if at all. Go ahead, google "wikileaks diplomatic cables latin america" and see which media outlets come up.





Impossibility

Senator Bernie Sanders has reintroduced his Social Security Expansion Act. He introduced it in the last congress, too, and it died in committee. It's unlikely you've ever heard of it.

Sanders' bill would give retirees a "modest" raise, as the Economic Policy Institute puts it. To be honest, it would only start to undo the stealth cuts to Social Security congress has been making for several decades by not letting benefits keep up with inflation, raising the retirement age, taking out for Medicare, etc.

Sanders bill would start making people pay Social Security tax on income from investments, which is how rich people get most of their income.  It would also raise what they call the "cap" - the cap means that you only pay Social Security tax on the first $127,200 of your annual income. On anything you make above that you're home free. If you recall, during the campaign Hillary Clinton said she was against raising the cap because in some parts of the country $127,000 is Middle Class and she doesn't want to hurt the Middle Class. As if you're somehow hurting when you're hauling down $127,000 a year. As if people who make more than that much don't owe humanity anything.

New Mexico senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall aren't co-sponsors of Sanders' bill. That's completely unsurprising given that these men never sponsor any legislation that would improve the economic situation of working Americans. These two won't even come out and say they won't cut Social Security. They use that slight of hand phrase "we need to save Social Security" which is just code for we'll cut it if we want to.


So we have arrived at the place where we don't owe our fellow human beings anything and we're no longer a country where we take care of each other and it's Democrats who are saying this. It's Democrats who are saying we, the Democrats, aren't here to help you. We'll help billionaires triple their wealth but you're already getting everything you deserve.

This is what our $174,000 per year, top 2 percent income bracket with gold plated benefits US senators think about us, while they get together in a bipartisan fashion and give themselves even an bigger share of our pie. Only one other senator, Kristen Gillibrand,  signed on to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders' bill. Not Chuck Schumer, not Al Franken nor any other so called Liberal so called Democrat.

The Democrats are not on your side, people. If you vote for them, you're hurting yourself and you're hurting me. You're only helping those who are already doing well and could care less if the rest of us go to hell.

And if all you can think of to say is, yea but Republicans are worse, I don't know what to say to you. If your scope is so limited, if this Capitalist system has so thoroughly molded and formed your sense of possibilities that all you can think of to make things better is to go and vote, I can't advise you. If you think the solution for record economic inequality, for college kids with $50,000 debts working at McDonald's, for people dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor or buy their medicine is to let people who don't share your interests choose between the policies rich people allow them to choose from, you need more than I can give you.





Monday, April 3, 2017

A Government Devouring Itself

(Updated below)


What actually did happen during the 2016 election? Many Democrats, especially Hillary fans, swear that "the Russians hacked it" and that Russian president Vladmir Putin "intervened" to help Donald Trump win.

The same people are quite certain that the "intelligence community" has verified this despite the fact that no evidence has been put forth, and despite the fact that the same intelligence community routinely lies about almost everything -- remember when there were absolutely weapons of mass destruction, or when our spies absolutely didn't spy on Americans?

There have been statements issued by the intelligence community saying they think Russia did it, is all. There have been references made to "digital signatures" that point to this or that country, but as a trove of stolen "intelligence community" documents released by Wikileaks shows, whenever our intelligence community hacks something they leave behind "digital signatures" intended to point to someone else.

Legendary hacktivist Christopher Dolan has written an article in which he tells what happened during the 2016 election, and he should know, because he was in on it.

Dolan has no reason not to tell the truth and nothing to gain whether he does of doesn't. Wanted by the FBI, Dolan has been hiding in Canada since he fled bail on hacking charges. He say his only goal is for there to be justice in the world. In his article, published on a web site tied to Anonymous, he says that what went on during the 2016 election was part of an ongoing war between the black hat hacking community and the US government that began when the US government declared war on them in 2010.

The Russian government wasn't involved, Dolan says, although some Russian hackers were, but like all the black hat hackers they don't work for any government and in fact all but one of the Russian group has been arrested by the Russian government since the election on unrelated hacking charges.

Dolan says he's talked to some of the people involved -- probably over the internet via secure avenues hackers know about, I would imagine -- and he says he knows some of the people, and I don't doubt he does.

There were others involved including Dolan, Wikileaks, and Julian Assange. None of them were working together, per se, but they were working toward the same goal; to get Trump elected, because they knew what would happen. First, with Trump coming in, President Obama would be forced to commute Chelsea Manning's sentence. Second, with Trump coming into office the government would turn on itself, like the ancient mythic serpent that ate itself, the Ouroboros, and the resulting chaos would lessen its power and its deadly imperial reach.  If you don't know what I'm talking about by deadly imperial reach read my last post.

The Russian government does try to influence US elections and uses the internet for it, Dolan says, but is so inept and clumsy about it that it's funny, and it doesn't affect anything.

I'd add that compared to the American government the Russians are beginning amateurs when it comes to intervening in other countries. For all practical purposes the US government does anything it pleases in its relentless drive to benefit the Capitalist class it works for as I have document here numerous times.


Update

Matt Taibbi filed this column today talking about the mass hysteria that's developed over Russia and how anyone who isn't on board with the whole giant swirl of connect the dots conspiracy theories is a Russian agent, a traitor; in what Glen Greenwald has called a new McCarthyism of the Left. If you want to know how close we are to having to sign a loyalty oath to the next corporatist Democrat candidate read it.





It's Been An Interesting Day

Social Democrat Lenin Moreno won Ecuador's presidential runoff today defeating conservative Guillermo Lasso, a millionaire favored by the US ruling elite and US media.

Moreno was vice president under term-limited Rafael Correa and will continue Correa's Socialist/Democratic Socialist program. Whether he takes the courageous anti US Imperialists stands taken by Correa remains to be seen.

Correa came to office in 2006 by campaigning against US Imperialism and promising to end Neoliberalism in Ecuador and emphasizing his friendship with Venezuelan Socialist president Hugo Chavez. He closed the US Air Force base in Ecuador and became part of the coalition of Leftist Latin American leaders that fought on many fronts to extract Latin American from the Gringo Imperialist yoke.

Correa also defied the US by granting Julian Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and part of the story of Moreno's victory today involves Assange, who still directs Wikileaks from his embassy quarters.

Although Moreno had come in first in the first round of voting he did not get 50 percent, and with several opposition parties uniting behind Lasso for the runoff many observers didn't expect Moreno to win today.

Lasso had said that if elected he would end Assange's asylum, and if that happened Assange would be arrested by British law enforcement and deported to the US where he faces espionage charges, and where many, if not most, politicians and members of the ruling elite are eager to put him to death.

In a dramatic intervention the week before the election Wikileaks began releasing leaked cables showing that Lasso has been stashing millions in tax dodging offshore bank accounts, and whether that was the cause or not Lasso went from being a couple of points ahead in the polls to losing by a couple today.

During the campaign Lasso had said that on becoming president he'd "cordially" give Assange 30 days to leave the embassy.

Assange didn't wait long after the election results were announced.






Meanwhile back in a changing America someone posted some pictures from today's Seattle Socialism Conference hosted by the Socialist Alternative Party, the Democratic Socialists of America and the International Socialist Organization.




Socialist Alternative, as it's commonly called, famously got Kshama Sawant elected to the Seattle City council in 2013 and then pushed through the nations' first $15 minimum wage. It's put up candidates elsewhere including Ty Moore's strong 2013 run for the Minneapolis city council. Like most of these Socialist organizations, its largely made up of young people, but it's origins are as a remnant of one of the many fractures of the Socialist movement generally and the Communist Party particularly during their extreme repression during the Cold War.

Democratic Socialists of America, the nations' largest Socialist organization at around 20,000 members and quickly growing, most of them joining in the wake of the Bernie Sanders' candidacy although Sanders has no connection with DSA. It doesn't run candidates but backs some and advocates for issues and class consciousness.

Likewise the International Socialist Organization is the result of many fractures and subfractures of the Communist Party. Among its founders were 1960s college student radicals including a number of Canadians and many of its members today are academics in Canada and the US, and it publishes publishes a couple of journals.



And in Brazil there's about to be a general strike as the ongoing opposition to the US backed self-installed government of Michel Temer escalates. Temer and a large number of other legislators who were all under investigation for corruption impeached President Dilma Rouseff in September 2016 on fake charges of illegally transferring money from one government program to another and then immediately began dismantling the many social programs initiated by Rousefff and her Worker's Party predecessor Luiz Ignacio Lula de Silva.

A general strike is the most potent weapon the working class has short of armed insurrection. Everybody strikes. Capitalism completely ceases to function. It's hard to organize one let alone get people to believe in the idea, but if a general strike is widespread and holds fast, workers always win.


Incidentally, while Latin American leaders reacted angrily to the blatantly illegal "parliamentary coup" against Rouseff and pulled their ambassadors out of Brazil the Obama administration, whose secretary of state John Kerry had met with the coup plotters, quickly moved to solidify Temer's hold on power. “We are confident we will continue our strong bilateral relationship,” said the US State Department spokesman John Kirby. “This was a decision made by the Brazilian people and obviously we respect that ... Brazilian democratic institutions have acted within its constitutional framework.”

From Brazil to Ecuador to Honduras to  Venezuela to Cuba and you could name them all night long the US is on the side of of the oligarchy and against the people and any government and any leader that tries to improve their lot. The US is destroying the Middle East and killing millions of innocent people over there. It backed the coup and instillation of fascists in Ukraine and from the Middle East to Eurasia to Asia it uses its military to bully and intimidate and control for the purpose of making already filthy rich people more filthy and more rich.

When will the American people name the evil that is their country and is done in their name? I'll tell you when. Never. Not these Americans, the ones who have trailed in the wake of the Imperialist Capitalist monster living on its noxious fumes as they trudged to work for 40 years saying yes sir and no sir not because they knew nothing else but because there was and they were afraid to say so.








Friday, March 31, 2017

Why Trump Happened In A Nutshell


"Brexit was the model for showing that when you destroy the economic security of tens of millions of people in your middle class and working class through Neoliberal policies eventually you're gong to get serious instability and unpredictability in how they react and respond and I think the same political trends that explain Brexit were the ones that explain Trump's election as well and given how Brexit had just happened month's earlier we should not have been particularly surprised."

The always smart and insightful Glenn Greenwald was interviewed today about Trump, the deep state, the state of the media, how charlatans at MSNBC and CNN and on social media are enriching themselves by using the same playbook Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Bil O'Reilly and Glenn Beck did when the Clintons and Barak Obama came to Washington.






Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dip Some Ivanka Buns In This

The Zapatistas have launched "Fuck Trump" coffee and will use proceeds from its sale to help migrants persecuted by Donald Trump.

The Zapatistas, or Zapatista Army of National Liberation, are self governing Marxist Mayan Indians from Chiapas state in far southern Mexico who made international news and inspired radicals worldwide when they declared war on Mexico on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA took effect. Yes, they knew back then what Democrats still don't know and won't ever admit to. NAFTA like all these trade treaties was intended to make the rich richer and the poor poorer no matter which country you live in. The Zapatistas surprise revolt won for them semi autonomous status in Mexico and legendary status among radicals and they've been a presence on the Left ever since. They regularly release well thought out communiques including some great stuff on how to think about organizing.

This looks to me like a legitimate source for their coffee but it will cost you.

Meanwhile, Democratic senators are giving all kinds of reasons for why they're not voting for this Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court but none of them will be voting against him because of the dirty way Republicans held that seat open. Republicans are scaring them by threatening to change the senate rules. Democrats should make sure that seat stays open for as long as it takes for Republicans to stop cheating on things like this, on elections, on everything, but they have no balls. Zero. They need to go away and let someone else be the opposition.

That may happen sooner rather than later anyway. Someone posted a photo on social media tonight from a meeting of the New York City chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.



I've written several times lately about how quickly Socialism is growing in popularity in the US. Socialists are getting organized, and unlike Democrats, actually have arguments against conservatism and can put forth different solutions.

When Democrats agree with Republicans on everything but gay marriage and abortion all they can say is that they like gay marriage and abortion. Then they vote with Republicans to cut the budget, to kick kids off Head Start and to prevent seniors from buying medicines from Canada where it wouldn't cost them half their Social Security check.






President Bannon





Whoever's tweeting at @PRESIDENTBANNON is coming up with some god ones. Check it out.





Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yemen

I think this is the largest rally I've ever seen. The screen shot is a small section of it. Wait until the camera pans.




Yemen is experiencing thousands of bombing deaths and even more by massive starvation because it's being systematically destroyed by the US, Saudi Arabia and several of the gulf state monarchies, with almost no media notice until it was Donald Trump in the White House instead of Barak Obama and even now there's not much news about it in mainstream media.

The basic issue is power over the Arabian peninsula, particularly Sunni power. Yemen has always been kept impoverished and weak, but there was a rebellion in Yemen following the Arab Spring and a group called the Houthis took over. They are Shia and have the backing of Iran, which Saudi Arabia would also like to destroy because it's Shia and it threatens their Middle East supremacy.

The US backs Saudi Arabia because it uses its tremendous wealth to buy US arms and treasury notes and it's a reliable conservative ally for reliably conservative US foreign policy no matter which party is office.





Saturday, March 25, 2017

If Only

This sentiment was going around social media last night. Not where Democrats were gloating after having played no role in defeating Trumpcare but where Leftists meet.


We have an "opposition" that not only doesn't talk about single payer but tries to silence people who do, when single payer is what most Americans want and need. That's not opposition that's collusion.

On the right of this graph are two sets of data about Obamacare. The three bars on the left are about single payer. Most Democrats, most Americans, and a big chunk of Republicans, want it.



Elected Democrats, meanwhile, are making sure the pharmaceutical companies keep gouging us as much as they can for medicine. They make sure the insurance companies keep piling up mountains of our money and never say one goddamn word about single payer healthcare, which, in case you didn't now, every other industrialized country has -- every single one.

Here's another poll somebody put on social media last night that's makes elected Democrats look like scumbags. Instead of 75 percent of Democratic voters wanting single payer its 81 percent.


You think scumbags is too harsh of a word? While a lot of their constituents are going without healthcare and living miserable lives because of it, and dying because of it, these Democrats are enjoying the best healthcare in the world, paid for by the same constituents.

Here's how much money elected Democrats take from the people who profit from our misery and death.


If you vote for them or give them money you're in on it. We've got one here in New Mexico who takes a lot of that money and just voted with Republicans to keep us from buying medicine we might be able to afford from Canada. His excuse was "safety." It's the same goddamn medicine. He just thinks we don't deserve healthcare while he enjoys his fat salary and a gold plated retirement and platinum plated health care of the kind that no average American will ever see while we pay for it.

So why, again, do you vote for them? Have they frightened you with stories about the scary Republicans? The ones who just accomplished nothing?

Don't listen to me. Read these critiques of today's Democratic Party.

Matt Stoller writes in The Nation, a traditional voice of the party's Left wing, an article called After The Fumble, in which he critiques the idea of a "meritocracy" that was central pillar of the Clinton-Gore regime. That's when the major shift took place and they stripped the party of its "traditional class politics," Stoller says. Thanks to the retired Minnesota teacher who blogs as Troutbirder for alerting me to this.

Paul Heidman has another take in Jacobin. In Politicking Without Politics he critiques Democrats for keeping up the pretense of not being ideological, while on economic matters Democrats and Republicans are virtually the same thing.

That's an aspect of the problem that's lost on people who still cling to 'Democrats good Republicans bad' binary thinking. They see that Dems are liberal on gay marriage and abortion but forget somehow or never heard about their votes on taxes and budget cuts. They see Democrats talking about immigration but didn't notice them saying nothing while Obama deported a record number of people and conducted one large workplace raid after another and left kids come home to empty houses while their parents were on a plane out of the country.

As a Capitalist party, Democrats necessarily embrace all the inequality and injustice inherent in the Capitalist system, and fully support the imperialist foreign policy -- the search for new markets and cheap raw materials needed for Capitalism to grow -- that have always been the policy of every Capitalist nation. Look it up.

Little details like that won't ever be pointed out on corporate owned MSNBC and are only referred to obliquely in places like The Nation. You need to read things like the Socialist leaning Jacobin. It's a quickly rising voice coming out of the quickly rising Leftist milieu that encompasses the half of Millennials who are anti-Capitalist, and the more radical of the Bernie Sanders supporters and the rising tide of Blacks and other minorities who identify as Socialists and reject the identity politics of Black Lives Matter, Feminism and today's Democrats that only serves a few and keeps the Capitalist order entrenched generationally.

Another person with insightful takes on the current situation is David Brin, a writer whose posts are recommended now and then by prominent New Mexico political guru and now blogger Jim Baca. Like Clinton and Gore, Brin believes smart and well educated people, scientists and so forth, can save us, but he wants everybody to be smart and be able to afford college and be whatever. In an essay called Economics Under Trump Brin writes:

"Here's an impudent notion. Ponder that perhaps the Greatest Generation - just maybe - knew what they were doing, back when their program of strong unions and high taxes on the rich led to the greatest boom in the history of our species. Back when the GGs (Greatest Generation - ed) built continent-spanning highways and universities, defeated Hitler, overcame Depression, contained Stalinism, went to the moon and began our forward progress against racism, sexism and environmental neglect. Might they have known their stuff? And perhaps the fanatic voodoo doctors Chicago School - subsidized by the beneficiaries of those massive tax cuts - did not?"


When Brin says "Chicago School" he's referring to the University of Chicago economics department faculty were, under the leadership of Milton Friedman, the academic arguments for Neoliberalism were concocted, that were then disseminated by the billionaire funded Think Tanks and sold as Reaganite/Thatcherite sound bite economic policies that Democrats like Bill Clinton talked about when they used the term "third way."

Those policies are the economic policies of Barak Obama, Martin Heinrich, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of today's Democrats, who never in their public utterances and writings use the word union, never say anything the pharmaceutical companies or Wall Street might mistake as supporting any policy that might improve the wages and living standards of we the people who pay their fat salaries and provide them with the best health care in the world while they themselves go without health care and struggle to make ends meet.

I keep saying that it's up to us, and it is. We can name the tune. But first we need to know what the problem is. We need need to know that it's our economic system, and the politicians who serve it, and who do everything they can to keep you powerless to do anything about it. 





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Those 81 Times The US Interfered In Other Countries' Elections. Not Counting Coups And Regime Change Operations.


National Public Radio's interview of a  researcher who found 81 cases of US interference in other countries' elections between 1946 and 2000 is making the rounds on social media. It's something you might want to mention to your local Democratic elected official when they start bloviating about Russia causing Hillary Clinton to lose to a semi literate reality show host. More specifically, to lose the electoral vote but win the popular vote, a spectacular feat of precision election interference for a country that still uses propeller driven bombers.

The researcher, Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University, who used US government records, also found that the former Soviet Union intervened in elections but less than half as often, 36 times, and that other countries also do it.

Links to the NPR piece and to Levin's research are in a write-up at Mint Press News, which by the way is a feisty little Left leaning online news site begun and operated by a Muslim woman from Minnesota, former TV newswoman Mnar Muhawesh. Mint Press has been doing more and more original reporting and I'm even starting to see its articles reproduced elsewhere.

By the way, anyone who's half followed Venezuelan Socialism for the past decade or so knows US covert and overt interference in that country's elections is a full time occupation of the US state department.



Since the government's share of its funding started to become politicized during the GW Bush administration PBS, which NPR is a division of, has had a de facto editorial policy of not offending anybody in congress, but now the Trump Administration wants to eliminate the government's share of public broadcasting funding. For this piece to weigh in on the ongoing controversy about foreign election interference can only be seen as NPR taking sides with President Trump against the hapless Liberal Democrats who want to blame election interference by Russian president Vladmir Putin for their failings and who don't have the power to do anything for public broadcasting.




Monday, March 20, 2017

The Art Of You Damn Well Better


"If politics is the art of the possible, what do supposedly progressive politicians and political organizations fight for after they decide that jobs, justice and peace are impossible?  Do they fight for their positions and prerogatives?  For the biggest campaign contributions?  It's not hard to tell who is on the side of the people.  There are after all, bright lines."

This quote from a piece by Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon is meant to sum up the Democratic Party. It especially pertains to the meek and self serving Democrats who win New Mexico's beauty contest elections with the votes of 10 to 15 percent of the voting age population.

It must be emphasized, however, that you can't blame the politicians. We elect them with our votes and non votes. Polls consistently show Americans want universal health care, expanded Medicaid, Medicare, and other social programs that help the less fortunate, want the rich and corporations to be taxed adequately and don't want any of the endless wars the politicians wage. We the people could easily make sure our will is done, or we could sweep those pathetic, frightened, mealy mouthed deadbeats aside and govern ourselves.





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Franny State

This tweet posted in August showed up a couple times the other night in the realm of Twitterists I currently associate myself with.




It's a reply to another tweet so appears in the comments area on another person's page and so it was seen by few, if any, of Drescher's 226,000 followers or by anyone who happens to scroll her main feed where she mostly posts tweets that relate to her work with Cancer Schmancer, a foundation the cancer surviving actress started and makes frequent media appearances to promote that gives free cancer screenings, promotes a healthy diet and lifestyle, hosts seminars around the country with expert and celebrity panels and so on.

Besides the stir Drescher's tweet caused among my circle of Socialist/Communist social media comrades it doesn't seem to have created any media ripple. Where it was noticed it evoked a typically misinformed almost hysterical mis-reading of Drescher's occasional posts about politics, which come from the left side of the mainstream liberal point of view.

For reasons obvious to any radical and anyone really who grew up in America during the Cold War it's common for someone to downplay any Marxist and Socialist sentiment they might have out of a wish to maintain their credibility and commercial viability, i.e., their ability to get a job or acting work or to raise money for  foundation or get yourself on TV to promote one.

Still, the post is there. It's on the internet. She hasn't deleted it, which is the fate of millions of tweets and posts per day posted in passion or anger and quickly deleted, always, however, after multiple social media savvy people have recognized the need to take an immediate screen shot of it.

Once you've said something on the internet it's there. It's either on your own page unto perpetuity or its a screen shot somebody has already posted or if it was posted on any other kind of web pages it's publicly archived somewhere waiting for anybody who knows how to find such things to find it and reveal to the world something you'd rather hide from the world.

If you haven't deleted something it means you haven't deleted it. You might not have the courage to advertise the sentiment but you'll stand by it if you have to. You're taking a risk to bolster someone else's courage. You're leaving a sign, a secret handshake for those who will come along after you and understand the significance of what you said. But mainly you're reminding yourself that there are worse things than for people who have more power than you to find out who you really are. You're telling yourself that you, yourself, have the courage to believe you aren't beholden anyone and won't be someday soon.






Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You Load 16 Tons, What Do You Get?











The only person I can see who's keeping the Democratic Party from becoming irrelevant is Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The Social Democrat was down in West Virginia tonight showing the leaderless, disappearing Democrats how to win red states and I can guarantee you Democrats were sitting around sipping vermouth with their filthy rich patrons and didn't notice.

According to Dave Mistich who comments above, one way is to talk about unions. Pretty hard to do when Democrats themselves killed the Employee Free Choice Act and I've been documenting for years how no New Mexico Democrat ever utters the word union. If you walked yp behind one and shouted union these wooses would faint. I was at  NM US Senator Martin Heinrich's web site looking through statement's he's released and a couple years ago he even stopped using the word union in his annual Labor Day message. Yes, Labor Day the day especially set aside to recognize unions for goddsakes. I know, it's hard to believe but go to his web site and see; click on Newsroom and he has all his news releases and statements there.



As you can see in this graphic Sanders got a lot of votes in the West Virginia primary with his economic equality message that Democrats used to run on but have abandoned in favor of an identity politics that's designed first and foremost not to offend their billionaire donors.

Trump promised to reopen the coal mines down there and got more votes than Sanders, but if Democrats (a) hadn't rigged the primaries and (b) didn't all have cold feet about Sanders, he would have beaten Trump. You can assume that in the general election the top primary vote getters will get the votes that went to their runners up, so if you add all the votes on each side together Sanders wins the red state of West Virginia 201,214 to 188,138.

You an come up with hypotheticals to argue that but you can't argue the fact that Hillary was clobbered in West Virginia. Trump got almost 70 percent of the vote against her.

Meanwhile, Adam Johnson, who writes for Fairness and Accuracy in Media, The Nation and Alternet, posted this tonight, a hypothetical question voters might be asking Democrats about now.




 In other words, these hapless Democrats deserve no pity whatsoever. Fake news, Putin, FBI, Russia, Sanders voters, Stein voters, on and on. But do something for workers?You've got to be kidding. Where are those dumb suckers gonna go anyway?
 
While I was writing this, this comment about identity politics was left on a previous post by my brother Bob, a computer programmer and musician in Michigan:

Much has been written over the past decade or so about so-called identity politics. Democrats have used it to try to get women, black people, and other oppressed groups to vote for them. Republicans have used it to get working-class white nationalists, male white supremacists, conservative evangelical Christians, and "the poorly educated" to vote for them. This divide and conquer tactic works to get some people elected, but it does nothing for most voters except to make them increasingly cynical about politicians and government.

Regardless of which party is using it (both of them do it), identity politics is used to mask the fact that politicians of both major political parties in the United States work not for them -- the people who think of themselves in terms of these various identities -- but for the ruling capitalist oligarchy. The real "deep state" in the USA isn't the Democrats or the Republicans, but those who pull the strings of Democrats and Republicans alike -- the big donors who buy their services. As Deep Throat so succinctly put it: "Follow the money."







Friday, March 10, 2017

Poll: Democrats Fall Further Behind



“I don’t think people want a new direction."

 Pronounced house minority leader Nancy Pelosi a month after a November election in which her party had lost a presidential race it couldn't lose to a used car salesman and lost both houses of congress, apparently wanting to see if she could give a remote orgasm to her billionare donors and the entire Republican Party all at once.

Think of the federal court appointments. Plus, Republicans entirely control 2/3 of the  states - governor, house and senate, a supermajority that gives you the power to amend the US constitution to make it say anything you want to. Any Thing. You could repeal the part where president and congress are elected and make them hereditary. You could make god the president. You could replace the constitution with the Bible.

So naturally a new poll shows Democrats falling even further behind in favorability ratings to the least popular president in modern history and even further behind his extreme right wing evangelical vice president who looks like a corpse.

Author Thomas Frank, who wrote what was kind of a landmark book in terms of how Republicans took over the country, What's The Matter With Kansas, has a column in the Guardian where he inveighs on the current paradigm and warns the millions of newly energized anti Trump activists why it's critical to not let Democrats co-opt and neuter their movements. Amen.

Millions who, if Hillary had won, would be sitting on their keisters oblivious to their living standards declining and people dying in the Middle East because well off women like themselves could still get an abortion.















Thursday, March 9, 2017

Good Morning, CIA

It's been asked and I'd sure like to know if Russia can hack a US election and change the results of it what are we paying the FBI, NSA and CIA for?

There have been quite a few massive data breaches now, compounded by the mind boggling revelation that the CIA lost control of its entire massive arsenal of hacking programs over a year ago and they were passed around for months before someone gave them to Wikileaks.

It's pretty egregious that they told no one because the only way software  companies can make patches for vulnerabilities in their software is if they know about them.

I've heard nothing about any of this from any New Mexico elected official yet. One of them, senator Martin Heinrich, took a stand against NSA domestic spying after Edward Snowden busted them but it's come to light that they're spying on us more than ever now.

Mint Press News has an overview of what this latest CIA leak amounts to. The upshot is that the CIA spies on everything and everyone and is even worse than the NSA now. They're actually in competition to see who can spy on us more. Maybe that's why whenever I turn my computer I see this.






Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International (Revolutionary) Women's Day





Reuters published this photograph today with an article saying that in conjunction with International Women's Day a Wall Street fund managing company put this statue of a little girl in front of the iconic bull sculpture on Wall Street to call attention to "the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards and the pay gap of women working in financial services."

I can't argue with that or with International Women's Day.

But the symbolism in that photograph. 

There are many inspiring things in the news and on social media today about International Women's Day. Much of it is from the perspective of identity politics feminism, the dead end that the -- what's sometimes called mainstream -- feminist movement has found itself on, wherein people who are doing alright seem to assume that if the barriers they face are removed every woman can magically achieve their potential and live a good life whether they can afford to pay the rent or not, whether they can feed the kids or not, whether they can afford daycare or not, whether they can afford to take time off from their three part time jobs and ride a bus ten hours to the nearest abortion clinic or not.

Liberation will come for all of us when we are all free from want. White women, Black women, Brown women, American, Russian, Chinese, South Korean, North Korean women. And men.

But my god, the symbolism.


Note: The Party for Socialism and Liberation is running a nice series of articles about radical women heroes you may not have been told about in your history class.

 


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Democrats And Uncle Joe

A 1986 report by the CIA's "Foreign Subversion and Instability Center" that was declassified today outlined different ways the US might overthrow the Syrian government. It's proof that the Syria regime change plans enacted by bloody Hillary and blood soaked Obama go back at least a quarter century and probably further.

Of course this news won't phase these Democrats and hypocrites obsessing about Russia trying to influence a US election. They already know their government does things like that.


Obamacare and Socialism

It's too bad Obamacare was so flawed or the people who want to retain it might have had a chance. On the other hand, Obamacare seems to have permanently changed peoples' expectations about health care. Instead of their traditional health plan -- do nothing -- Republicans put out a plan today that does something.

Of course it might be disastrous. What's really too bad is that when Democrats had the chance they didn't enact a single payer system. If they had we'd have socialized medicine now and it would be like Social Security and Medicare, the socialized retirement benefits that are so popular no congress will ever overturn them.

Democrats have done some good, being the main engine that's driving people into the open arms of Socialism by the thousands, more of them by the day and by the hour.

In the past few posts I've written about the burgeoning numbers of people who openly identify as Socialists on social media, and as Communists and of the rapid growth of Democratic Socialists of America.

All of these people are sharing their criticisms of Capitalism and the political system, passing around the writings of Socialists and radicals and spreading far and wide the history of Socialism that was always hidden from them.

Last night I came upon another part of social media I didn't know existed. It was opened up to me because some of the Socialists and Communists I've followed recently follow the people who inhabit it, people who are rehabilitating Stalinism, and Stalin, and the Democratic Republic of Korea, i.e. North Korea which has a more or less Stalinist system.

These people, who are far beyond the reach of US government Capitalist propaganda, and especially the smiling face of it we call Liberalism, might be destroying the most cherished and widely believed anti Socialist stereotypes of all.

The stain put on Stalinism and by extension Socialism was the greatest triumph of US Capitalist propaganda. The horror stories about the USSR under Joseph Stalin seemed like they might discredit Soviet style Communism forever. Remember how US senator Claire McCaskill put the pause on Bernie Sanders presidential campaign by saying the Republicans "can't wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle"? That got to many people who grew up ingesting non stop Cold War propaganda, and they didn't consider voting for Sanders again. He was kept competitive from then on primarily by masses of young people who'd never heard of a hammer and sickle.

But was there nothing bad about Stalinism? Anti Soviet propaganda, after all, was so pervasive that many US Socialists and Communists disavowed the Soviet Union and wouldn't give it any credit despite its record of providing free education through college, universal health care, a guaranteed income and a rich cultural life for everyone.

It's too early to say with any confidence what actually did happen in the Soviet Union, under Stalin or before and after, but answers might be forthcoming. The Soviet archives are gradually being opened to researchers. The first tidbits I've heard about Stalinism suggest that things like the gulags and purges were nowhere near as bad as we've been told.

More archives are being opened every year under Putin and we should know soon enough. What you can say now, though, is that it's safe to say that everything we were told about the Soviet Union was baseless American propaganda, that with each passing year, or maybe with each day, is of less and less consequence.






Saturday, March 4, 2017

Weekend Roundup Or Globetrotting For The Masses


More Democrat Than A Democrat

Bernie Sanders is Vermont's senator but he's in Mississippi this weekend meeting with autoworkers who are trying to organize a Nissan plant but can't get the company to hold an election as law requires.

Danny Glover and the head of the NAACP will be there too but you won't see a nationally known Democrat within 500 miles of the place and there won't be a New Mexico Democrat at the scene of this or any worker's struggle ever. We've got these so called Democrats here who won't even utter the word union and I know because I've been documenting it for years. A couple of of them used to whisper the word union but not any more. They sure as hell use the word bipartisan a lot and vote with Republicans a lot but they never say or do anything that anybody might mistake for trying to improve the incomes and living standards of their working class constituents. These self serving twits already have theirs. They get elected anyway. Why should they care about workers?


A Revolution

Not two weeks ago, 2/21/17, I mentioned the rapid growth of the Democratic Socialists of America, DSA, and quoted a recent Rolling Stone article that put DSA's membership at 15,000. They put on their Twitter feed night before last that they'd just gone over 18,000.



DSA isn't a political party and doesn't run candidates but works to organize people so that they can influence elections including local elections and influence policy. They educate people in ways that raise class consciousness. They engage with politics in the way unions and the tea party or any advocacy group does that wants to retain its independence and maximize its power.


I also mentioned in that post that I've been coming across many African American Socialists on social media. Well there are more than I thought and many of them have thousands of followers, which is the equivalent of a Facebook friend.

It's very critical to have Black, Brown, Asian all kinds of people in the socialist movement but especially Black people at this point in time because they can be a bridge to the to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The membership of that group overlaps that of Black Twitter, which is what they call the whole of Black social media collectively, and in both there's a wide vein of mistrust of White Leftists and of Bernie and resentment of the people who were associated with the Sanders candidacy in particular.


The Cootie Strategy


Republicans hammered Barak Obama for eight solid years so no one can complain about the fact that Democrats are giving a good hammering to Donald Trump. The way they're doing it though by reviving McCarthyism is just idiotic, and caustic. It's pitting working people against each other. It's stupid. It's the Democrats, never ones to be swayed by losing.

Democrats, though, really have nothing else.  Have you heard their alternative vision? No. And they can't hammer Trump for favoring the rich because they do it, too. They can't mobilize the working class in opposition to Trump because they have nothing to say to the working class after they've so callously sold them down the river.

Not only won't the Democrats' new McCarthyism do anything to help the working class, it's juvenile. When I was in the early elementary grades someone would touch you and say "You've got cooties" and you had to hurry up and pass them on to someone else or it was just terrible. There was a girl in my school, Joanie Turley, who everyone said had cooties. No one would play with her or sit next to her on the bus or even touch her. Democrats are acting like if you speak to a Russian you'll get cooties, and now millions of people who didn't care about Russia one way or the other are thinking about Russia the way people used to think about the Soviet Union. It's the same thing Trump's done with Muslims and Mexicans.

The news media is being stupid, too, and unethical, on this Russia/Putin demonization. The Washington Post and New York Times have been leading the way, publishing one fake news story after another that consist entirely of rumor and innuendo.

Michael Tracy at the Young Turks Network lays out the routine in The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation.


Tierra del Fuego

Have you gotten into exploring the world with Google maps yet? I've been enjoying the hell out if for a couple months now. The camera cars that take the pictures that give you the street view haven't been everywhere yet but they've been in some surprising places. There are some islands along the coast of southern Chile. Being so remote and so far south I assumed they'd be largely uninhabited. I zoomed in on one and noticed it was divided up into rectangles -- fields.

The camera cars have covered quite a bit of the island and I went down to street level and was "cruising" down a country dirt road through well established farmland checking out how they build farmhouses and sheds and fences and gates and every once on awhile you'd pass one of those little school bus waiting shelters like people put up here for their kids to wait for the bus in bad weather.

Then the road went down a hill and you were on a bay. It was low tide and there was a fishing boat sitting in the mud, very picturesque. From there the road went along the bay and through that little village. All of a sudden you're following a woman -- who of course had been walking ahead of the camera car -- and then passing a man who's down on his knees working on a truck. He stopped to watch the camera car go by, and then this woman turned into a gate and stopped and watched it go by, too.

Later I found the Straights of Magellan. There's a ferry crossing and there were semi trucks waiting, and then ten miles south on a paved highway there was a damn truck stop, way down there, south of the Straights of Magellan. I was stunned.

It's actually not as far south as I thought it was. The latitude at those farming islands is the latitude of mid Oregon, and the latitude of the truck stop and the towns at the very end of the continent is the equivalent of being one or two hundred miles above Vancouver, BC. Not even to Alaska. Or it's like Maine up to Newfoundland.

I would have thought there might be a sheep herder down there and not much else but there are good sized towns. I never could figure out what those trucks were hauling. There are some remote stretches but then you'll come to a ranch house or a road that leads over hill and dale and ends up at a lighthouse. There are lighthouses all along the winding straight, which is fairly narrow in places, although a few years ago the US took an aircraft carrier through it accompanied by guide boats that are stationed down there.

About ten years ago, I almost took off for Tierra del Fuego on a motorcycle. I was between jobs and had a little money n the bank.  It's a place that's always fascinated me. I didn't do it, of course. Maybe if I'd been younger. Of course when I was younger I was always broke, but I'd hitchhike, and a motorcycle is really a pretty cheap way to travel. Now, though, there's Google maps. World, here I come.



Quicavi, Chile





Straight of Magellan ferry landing









Tolhuin, Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina