Sunday, October 8, 2017

Change

Despite everybody freaking out about what would happen when Trump was elected president, things haven't changed, according to two articles I came across today.

I've been going further, saying we're better off with Trump than Clinton and providing evidence, but for the sake of argument let us go with the words of Michael Dougherty of the mainstream, conservative National Review, who talks about how US foreign policy is the same under Trump and with those of independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone, who talks more about domestic politics.

You can come up with a long list off the top of your head. Our military is still involved in the same seven wars Obama was waging. Wealth and income inequality are getting worse, just as under Obama. Both major political parties are married to big business, the environment is getting worse, and racist cops still execute poor people, especially poor people of color, and get away with it virtually every time, all of which were the case under Obama, and the deep state is still there and our government is still spying in us.

Of course none of these things matter to those Hillary voters who still haven't accepted what happened to them. In their minds the world will end any day if it hasn't already. They think we've become a disgrace to the world, as if our government has suddenly flipped and done a 180 and as if we weren't already a warmongering bully of a nation that under Democrat and Republicans alike sucks the blood out of whatever place and whatever people we decide are too vulnerable to resist out mighty killing machine of a military that sucks more money from our pockets than do the next ten biggest militaries combined -- more than the combined total of Russia plus China plus eight more.

The disillusioned Hillary voters, being blind to the fact that the nation has been just as unequal and just as warmongering under Democrats as Republicans, cannot see and cannot admit that the betrayal of the Democrats make them the worse culprit. We depended on them and they let us down. We did  what we were told. Vote. We voted for Democrats and they sat silent while the Republicans said and did as they pleased.

There's another practical reason we're better off without Hillary. When a Democrat is president all the environmental and social justice groups shut down. The well paid people who run these organizations never say anything against the Liberals who invite them to the big beltway parties and have them out to their yacht on the Potomac, and the working class people who support the high living predators stop giving money because they think the Democrats have their backs when they don't.

But because Hillary lost, people are in the streets in record numbers. Outside groups of all kinds are starting up or growing rapidly, steadily building the power we need to bring about change, which, remember, always comes from outside the political system. We've been being distracted by the political infighting that goes under the guise of party politics. We're not taught and don't know that it wasn't the political system that brought change it was the Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, the Black and Brown and Red Power movements, the Environmental Movement. They forced change on the political-corporate system.

Government was set up to prevent significant change, so you can't blame Democrats and Republicans for doing what they were created to do which is to protect the interests of the ruling class. But change is afoot and you see already that Democrats and Republicans alike are changing their tunes. Republicans left Obamacare in place and Democrats are talking about universal health care. They know.

We are the ones who bring about change. Trump tried but he hasn't anywhere near the power the establishment does. But we do, much more, in fact. We, our outside pressure, brought about the New Deal and ended the Depression. We ended the Vietnam War and we made people respect minorities and women and the environment. If you don't know that yet you ought to.











Friday, October 6, 2017

The Race War And Capitalism

A reporter who writes for the snotty toned conservative web site Daily Wire posted a tweet about football player Marcus Peters along with a picture of Peters sitting on a bench. Below is his tweet, followed by a reply by actor/comedian Richie Loco that's been re-tweeted more than 100 times as much as the original tweet.



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Under Trump, racism is getting to be where it's not disguised behind code words as much. It's more out in the open. That's where it should be and it's another reason we're better off with Trump than we'd have been with Clinton. For many years Republicans used racism through code words while Democrats, like the Clintons, and the media looked the other way. They call it "dog whistle" politics because they still can't bring themselves to call it racism.

So far no one has really been called out to any degree for this monumental cowardice and complicity in racism on the part of the liberal establishment. On the other hand, Democrats and the media are being called out for their abandonment of the working class to become water boys for Wall Street.

The calling out, and the public's awareness and knowledge, is happening largely through social media, where things that "go viral" are often more widely seen and heard than the official propaganda put out through the media and official government and corporate channels.

But social media now is also spreading Marxism, an analysis that brings to light the interrelations between Capitalism and racism. Connections are being made, and as more people understand them, the role racism plays in furthering Capitalism is becoming better understood.

Besides being a simple and effective way of dividing the working class, racism helps justify a fundamental ideological pillar of Capitalism; that people posses different amounts of wealth because they have different amounts of natural ability.

This article fleshes out these and other connections between racism and Capitalism. A similar and shorter article by economist Richard Wolff also explains why prisons are so full of Black people -- it's how the consequences of making Black people bear the brunt of Capitalism's inequality are managed. All these connections will become better known as Socialism and the Marxist philosophy behind it gain in influence, and that will only bolster the struggle against racism.

These relationships between racism and Capitalism is new to some of these young Socialists and other converts from identity politics, but despite being rancorous at times, the discussions being had are helping educate everyone. Different Socialist and Communist sects have given different weight to the race question, some not enough, so even old Socialists like me are learning a thing or two.






Friday, September 29, 2017

Paul Craig Roberts

Some chilling words from Paul Craig Roberts, a former assistant secretary of the US Treasury and Wall Street Journal associate editor, about the future prospects for the American economy when there's no growth and no wage growth, as the case is now and has been for years. The unemployment rate is officially 4.4 percent. That "tight" of a labor market should be pushing wages up, but so many people have left the labor market -- some say the real unemployment rate could be as high as 20 or 25 percent -- that the upward pressure isn't there.

That explains the lack of wage growth. And of course the economy doesn't grow because of lack of demand. Ours. Not enough spare change to spend to keep the economy moving.

We the people have no say at all in any economic matters. Now the robots are coming to put more people out of work. With few workers paying in, programs like Social Security and Medicare will collapse, the now record wealth and income inequality is going to get ever worse, Roberts says, and the likely end point of the path we're headed down is not pretty.

Our political leaders have no clue as to what they're doing when it comes to the economy, but they've had a hand in getting us to this point by buying into that cockamamie Reaganomics aka Neoliberalism economic model we're under, one of the prime elements of which is that it drives down wages. Roberts has no faith in them because they answer to the ruling oligarchy -- i.e. the ruling class.

We are not without hope, however. Socialist sentiment is on the rise. The people might get it together enough to take control of government, the economy, all of it, and to one way of thinking that would be quite logical. It's a matter of survival.

Will you do your part? Will you support these mainly young people who are joining socialist organizations and parties in droves and who've had it with the establishment? They don't want advice, and they may screw it all up, but their way, whatever it turns out to be, might be the only way. You can weigh in with your knowledge, experience and wisdom and try to help them succeed. We may have no other choice.






Monday, September 25, 2017

JC Whitney

Anyone from my generation who worked on their own car probably knows about the JC Whitney catalog. You could get just about any part for any car — clutches, piston rings, even rebuilt engines -- and at a low price.

And then there were the accessories. Pages and pages of fancy hub caps, pages of car stereos, of car horns, just about any car accessory you could think of and many I'd never imagined. There were no photos in the catalog. Each item had a little pen and ink drawing of the part or accessory and they were a marvel, too.

They'd put out a new catalog several times a year and when I got mine in the mail I'd spend hours going through it and dreaming of how I could gussy up my old hand me down family sedan. My favorite all time accessory was a compact little 45 rpm record player that mounted under the dashboard like a car stereo would, but I never got around to being able to afford one.

JC Whitney was actually the mail order division of an old Chicago parts dealer, Warshawsky and Company. They had a big store on the south side at State St and Archer Ave (an area just south of downtown that's been well gentrified since) where you could walk in and pick up any item they sold in the voluminous catalog. The Warshawsky & Co sign in the picture below used to hang out over the sidewalk.



Sometime after the 60s or 70s Warshawsky moved its operations 100 miles west of Chicago to LaSalle, IL. I hadn't been aware of that and had kind of lost track of them, but then in the late 90s I made a delivery to the place, and the old sign was sitting out back by the loading docks.

I'd first seen the sign in the late 1960s or thereabouts when I rode into Chicago from SW Michigan with my brother Bob, who if I'm not mistaken was picking up the parts to overhaul his VW Beetle. To enter the store you walked right under the big old sign. To me it was a marvel, but then 30 years later to be able to walk up and be close enough to touch it was simply bedazzling. The already ancient technology was a marvel, the bulk and weight of it was a marvel, the work and expertise that went into building a one of a kind, what was to me a masterpiece... It struck me the way one of those old steel bridges or old brick factory buildings do that are as much artistic expressions as utilitarian construction projects. I remember that it seemed like there were a hundred incandescent light bulb sockets in it.

I've always wanted to stop there again out of curiosity to see if the sign still existed but until a recent post retirement trip to Michigan I never did. I had come up from New Mexico and continued north all the way across I-80 to see the eclipse, and after the eclipse angled back down to catch I-80 at Omaha and so went right through La Salle. This time I had time to stop and see if the fabulous sign was still there, and there it was, standing out in front of the new store in a place of honor on big steel girder legs.










This last picture is looking back toward the loading dock driveway. The landing gear, what used to be called the dolly wheels, on that Fedex trailer is down so he's probably doing a drop and hook - drop your empty trailer, probably in a dock door, and find your loaded trailer parked somewhere nearby. In this case out on the street.

LaSalle is in that great Midwestern prairie. Mile upon mile of corn fields interrupted now and then by a soy bean field or small town. 




PS. After I got to Michigan I was helping Mom sort through some old boxes so she could have a garage sale and she held something up and asked if I wanted it. An old JC Whitney catalog. Of course I did!

This one is from the 1980s and is 278 pages long. They're still around -- I bought a cover for my old Chevy pickup last summer from their web site -- but apparently they've gone full internet because I don't even see where you can send for a catalog anymore.



















Ask And It Shall Be Given You

It's not too surprising that Germany's anti immigrant nationalist far right fascist leaning party Alternative for Germany (Alt Germany?), which got enough votes this weekend to win seats in parliament for the first time, receives most of its support from what was formerly East Germany. Since re-unification the former East Germans have been relegated to being a source of cheap labor for German industry.

Alternative for Germany marching - AFP photo
The far right has made headway all over Europe, taking over governments in some places, like Belgium, and in the US we hear about President Trump's "core" of prejudiced people and white nationalists. One thing the US and European countries have in common is that they've all adopted Neoliberal economics and its policies that drive down wages, shrink government social services and basically screw workers so rich Capitalists can get richer. And the economic gap between the 1 percent and 99 percent is growing at an increasingly rapid pace.

In America Socialist parties and organizations are growing and repeated polls indicate younger Americans favor Socialism over Capitalism. That's fine as far as I'm concerned, but it's the last thing the US ruling class and its political handmaids wanted to happen.

And while Socialism is regaining its foothold, white supremacists and neo Nazi Trump supporters are marching openly in the streets. The radical poles of the political spectrum are growing larger.

That's what you get when you pursue policies that have kept living standards level for 30 years and then they begin to fall. That's what you get when you abandon workers and unions and cater to Wall Street the way the Democrats did. You get Fascism and Socialism.






Thursday, September 21, 2017

This is Launch Pad Over

These are from a story about what Twitter has come up with for Rocket Man











I have entirely no beef with Kim Jong Un or North Korea. They have done nothing to me. They don't attack and destroy countries all over the world and slaughter hundreds of thousands of people. That would be my country. Kim Jong Un is sane compared to the average US citizen who is emotionally immune to the carnage we commit and sends a constant stream of politicians to Washington to spend our money to send the world's worst killing machine of all time on its never ending rampages.












Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Drenched In Blood

The US senators who didn't vote for the blood drenched military spending bill that passed 89-8 today:

Corker (R-TN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Sanders (I-VT)
Wyden (D-OR)


Both houses have now passed $700 billion annual 2018 warmongering budgets that they fattened by $30 billion over what even deranged President Trump had requested. Defense World has a little story about all the bipartisan crap congress members from both parties padded it with to make it $30 billion more than Trump asked for. Ajamu Baraka remarked:




The US is involved in seven wars and congress wants even more war. As you know the US was already spending more on its military than the next 10 countries combined, providing these same elected officials with permanent excuses for cutting social spending.

Republicans and Hillary supporters are saying we can't afford for everyone to have health care, but they're fine with Americans dying so we can use that money to kill innocent men, women and children all over the world. What a disgusting spectacle the United States must be to the rest of the world.









Sunday, September 17, 2017

We Are The Ninety-Nine Percent

It's the six year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, which made us aware that we're the 99 percent and against the 1 percent, and just that one little dose of class consciousness has transformed America and altered the political landscape beyond recognition.

Am I giving them too much credit?

It was demonstrated that Occupy changed the discourse in the following election and it's easy to argue that it led to Bernie Sanders, but before I go too far in praising it I think it's better to see Occupy as part of an overall trend that we're still in the middle of.

I can think of two good reasons why Occupy Wall Street was an important development in the current trend, a critical phase in it that has led us to the current political/social moment. First, while it was in operation, it provided the voice for the growing radicalism in the country. It caused it to grow and grow in certain directions. It's become more well organized and is now driving a political swing to the left.

But what allowed Occupy to do that has also caused the turmoil that has led to Trump.

The other reason Occupy was important is that it let people know they don't need the news media and the political parties to tell them what's going on and what to do about it.

They kept saying on the news that Occupy was organized by "social media." I didn't know what that was but eventually found out and signed up for Facebook so I could follow the local Occupy groups and see what they were doing. Social media caught on and millions of people came to use the Occupy Wall Street model and learned to create their own online communities.

This independence of thought and action has allowed the leftward swing to happen and also allowed Trump to happen because working people from the right, the left, young, old, all learned how to make and find online communities and it's left politics in an uproar.

Turmoil is the logical and healthy result of listening to everybody for the first time, but that's what we've needed in this country. A democracy's highest ideal should be that everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard. That's true for just humanity's sake, too.

Listening to everyone means hearing from people you haven't heard from before. You can hear things you don't like. It's up to us to decide what to do about it. We don't need anybody to tell us what's right. We can find our way to that.

We are finding our way, and learning that we the people have some power, which will lead to more confidence and more self sufficiency. We've learned some things because Capitalism and the political system it owns abandoned us and we've had to fend for ourselves, but we're also learning we can run our own lives and run this country. We we have the power. and we know it. We are the 99 percent.








 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jeezus Effing Christ

This is unbelievable. I had to come in here and sit down. NM Political Report just tweeted out that both our senators, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, will sign on as co-sponsors of Bernie's Sanders' Medicare for all bill. Single payer health care.

The article is here.

"Just this week," writes Matthew Reichbach, "Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced they support the proposal by Sanders."

Add Heinrich and Udall and that's almost 1/3 of the Democratic senators and in a short period of time.

I won't say my constant criticism of these guys had anything to do with it but I did predict the other day it would happen eventually. Not that it's not pretty apparent that the tide is turning and the Democratic Party as a whole is beginning to shift to the left. I just never thought Heinrich and Udall would move this soon. You can argue, of course, that it will cost them nothing. No other conservative democrat will vote against them for this, and they will pick up a lot of the disaffected Bernie voters. Maybe even a Socialist or two who think even Bernie is too conservative. But these guys are on board pretty early and the weight they carry will make a difference to some of the politicians and media opinion leaders. Good for them. Pretty soon they'll stop backing Reaganomics economic policies and start getting more money into working peoples' pockets like good Democrats should. 






RIP 911

I guess 911 was yesterday -- it makes logical sense since this is 912 -- anyway I just spotted this on Twitter.





An article in Politico by Bill Scher says Hillary Clinton's new book has reignited the "civil war" in the Democratic Party and that the 2016 election is still being fought out. There is indeed a lot of bitterness on both sides between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that continues to fester on social media in general and Twitter in particular. (Note: the Democratic Party and the supporters of Clinton and Sanders are two different things. Voters have no say in what goes on in either major political party. Rich donors decide that.)

Some Democratic office holders have begun breaking toward the Bernie side for fear of losing those Bernie voters, according to Scher.

I know that all the people who are being mentioned as potential 2020 presidential candidates have endorsed Sanders' single payer health care bill -- Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand. The more fearful democrats will eventually feel its OK for them to endorse it, too, and the Bernie supporters will win the civil war because they reflect what the majority of Americans want and because they're right.

But so far most Democratic office holders, including every one of New Mexico's, still place Wall Street campaign donations -- i.e. holding onto their fancy titles with their gold plated retirements and health care -- above the lives of the thousands if not millions of Americans who will die for lack of adequate health care, just as these same politicians keep funding and voting for our brutal imperialist policies abroad having no regard for the countries they've been destroying one after another and the millions of people they have killed.







Friday, September 8, 2017

Here They Come

Last week CA Democratic senator Camela Harris signed on as a co-sponsor of Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for all" bill -- i.e. universal health care, single payer, i.e. socialized medicine like every other advanced and some not so advanced nation has  -- and now yesterday Elizabeth Warren senator from of CT did the same. Both are testing the waters for a 2020 run for president and are making this move to capture the "Bernie vote," the multi millions of people who are tired of conservative Democrats and rejected party establishment choice Hillary Clinton in 2016 and either voted for the Social Democrat Sanders during the primary or sat out the election.

The tide is turning. The country is moving to the Left. The growing class consciousness among working people -- that is causing Socialism to be on the rise once again in the country -- will determine what Democrats can get away with just as it did from the 1930s up to the 1980s. Eventually even anti worker, pro corporate Democrats like New Mexico's Martin Heinrich, Michelle Grisham and Ben Lujan will be forced to back single payer and other kinds of pro worker legislation. But don't worry. I'll be here to remind everyone that when we needed them most, Heinrich, Grisham, Lujan, Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party establishment left us high an dry while they served as handmaidens for Wall Street. Never once did they use the platform and power they were handed to advocate for single payer or anything else that would improve working peoples' living standards. Never did they themselves do anything to raise class consciousness or to even get people mobilized so that they could exert their tremendous inherent power. We won't forget it. It's on the record.





Thursday, September 7, 2017

As The US War Against Syria Winds Down It Wouldn't Be Winding Down Don't Forget Under Hillary

Columnists in leading newspapers are now declaring that Bashar Assad has all but won the war and thwarted US Neocons like Hillary who started that thing and Netanyahu Israelis who set out to bring about another of their famous regime changes in Syria, which, as you recall, when they tried that in Afghanistan and then Iraq and then Libya destroyed every one of them not to mention they criminally slaughtered a million to two million or more civilians.

Caitlin Johnstone, one of the better young writers on the Left,  has a piece in Medium titled Three Reasons Why I'm Still Very, Very Glad Hillary Lost that reminds us of how much better off we are with Trump than we'd have been with Hillary, who had promised to escalate Syria plus ratchett up the New Cold War that she and her fellow Neocons started when she was secretary of state. Johnstone's three reasons are Syria, the New Cold War against Russia and the noxious anti worker Neoliberal TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty, which Clinton introduced, pushed for and helped negotiate as secretary of state. Trump killed the TPP soon after taking office, has no interest in antogonizing Russia and is letting Syrian wind down.

I'd add a fourth main reason we're better off with Trump. Eight years of Clinton would have meant eight more years of no activism because activists stay home and watch TV whenever there's a Democratic president. Eight years of Hillary would have meant eight more years of the Democratic Party getting more conservative and suck uppity to Wall Street, while people faced each new round of indignations and tried to adapt to it like the frog who gets used to being in a pot of boiling water. Instead of that Socialism is making a comeback in the United States.




The pamphlet Socialism: Utopian and Scientific written in 1880 by Karl Marx' collaborator Frederich Engles explains the Marxist conception of what Socialism is. This work and one or two others would make for a nice primer on Marxism, I think. It clarifies what is meant by Socialism under Marxism, and it also provides a sense of the central tenet of Marxism ,which is that our particular material world is what creates the reality we know and experience and live in. Remember the old nature-nurture question? Marxism takes the nurture side. Another old question phrases the same thing this way: Are we primarily products of our environment or of our genetic makeup?

Capitalism is what creates our reality for us. Capitalism also creates Socialism, in a manner of speaking. It creates the conditions from which Socialism arises. More simply put: Push people too far and they'll push back.





Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Finally














Swamp Overflowing

NM Fishbowl photo
NM Fishbowl, a web based investigative news site that focuses on the University of New Mexico, yesterday published an article about how politics affects nearly every aspect of how the university is run. A teaser from the day before said, "How did the University of New Mexico become such a festering political swamp, which has consumed everything from UNM Hospital to Lobo basketball?"

The article by Daniel Libit is titled "The Petty Politics of Loboland" and begins by talking about the Susana Martinez administration but then goes back through several previous administrations. In other words, it's pretty revealing about how New Mexico politics is run, which is that NM politicians apparently consider the part of state government under their control to be their own private plantation. Going by the many examples cited, a NM politician's reasons for being in office have little to do with serving the public and everything to do with increasing their wealth, power and prestige, plus the related matter of settling grudges.

Even the furthering of personal careers seems to be an afterthought - the key things are the power and the wealth and the score settling, and prestige -- know that I've staked out some territory and settled some scores -- within a small closed world of politicians and political donors the average NM citizen probably knows nothing about.






Monday, September 4, 2017

Workers Day

I often criticize those New Mexico Democrats (Michelle Grisham, Martin Heinrich and Ben Lujan, for example) who have ceased uttering the word "union," but state senator Joe Cervantes from Las Cruces isn't among them. I received the below reproduced email solicitation from him a day or two ago. Cervantes is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. The front runner is presumably US Rep Grisham, who almost never releases a press release in which she doesn't in some way use the term "bipartisan," i.e. gives away half the farm before she even sits down at the bargaining table. Republicans almost never use the word "bipartisan" because a., it's a stupid way to do politics, unless you intend to give away half the farm, and b., if they did their supporters would crucify them, whereas left leaning working class voters went to sleep long ago and demand nothing of their candidates.





Cervantes isn't exactly putting forth radical Communism here and what he says is the least any Democrat worthy of being called a Democrat should be saying, so it's remarkable how far right the Democratic Party has veered.











Friday, August 18, 2017

Abandonó





There are lots of places in the country where the highways are relatively free of traffic and one is the Great Plains. US 160 is a little highway that leaves Dodge City in southwest Kansas in a southwesterly direction and passes through a corner of Colorado ending up at the northeast corner of New Mexico. It's 300 miles of plains farmland transitioning into dryer and dryer rangeland. The few towns are far apart and the last one is Pritchett, CO, where I took the above picture. The last 200 miles you're all alone. The car or pickup that passes every half hour barely puts a ripple in the serenity.




That corner of the Great Plains is pretty much all magnificent to drive through. Before you get to the mountains you begin descending, toward the fault line that runs up and down the east side of the Rockies, such that mile high cities like Denver and Albuquerque that are on the fault line are actually at a lower elevation than the far edge of the Great Plains you're coming out of.

As you come down US 160 you're coming down to the dark, far off Sangre de Christos of northern New Mexico. Sometimes they really appear to be moving further away.



On my last trip through there I had a hundred miles of grassland to go when a couple of bears crossed the road a couple hundred feet ahead. By the time I got up to them they were far back in the junipers and then they were flat out gone as if they never saw a mini pickup before.









Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Democrats And A Healthy Economy

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My brother posted this on Facebook. Note what Perkins says about the importance of maintaining the standard of living for the working class to the maintenance of a healthy economy. They tell us that the US economy is growing. Obama was the first president in our history to never oversee a single year of more than three percent growth. That growth rate has been largely the result of printed money the federal reserve and treasury department have been pumping into the economy to prop up the stock market -- the so-called "quantitative easing" they talk about where the government buys up the bad assets on big banks' books and pays for it with new debt that we pay the interest on -- the gains of which go almost entirely to the one percent.

The new jobs added during the Obama administration and now are almost all part time or "contract" and for both kinds the employer doesn't have to pay for the employees' Workmen's Comp, Social Security or Unemployment Insurance so new workers no longer get those befits. Today's Democrats are promoting this type of economy as needed to make the US "competitive." Which only means that they want us to be down on the level or workers in places like China, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia. Democrats also do no want us to be guaranteed health care and more of us die as a result or if we live lead more miserable and insecure lives, while they do fine and can see a doctor any time they want to.

Democrats policies not only hurt Americans living standards but they hurt the overall economy. Frances Perkins knew this way back then, but these Democrats now know exactly what they're doing. They're intentionally hurting us. Whatever their excuse is, they are intentionally hurting Americans and America, and if you support them, you are, too.


Note; Democrats are now slightly modifying their propaganda output to try to head off the growing anger at them. This is after they've lost the presidency, both houses of congress, the balance on the courts and more than 2/3 of all state governments and governorships. When and if they do co-opt that anger and the growing Socialist sentiment in the country it will be back to business as usual for them. Back to photo ops in front of mountains and at local businesses and back to paying homage to the local Chamber of Commerce with the little private speech followed by the nice free banquet and handshakes all around.





Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Cannibal From The Amazon

Online behemoth Amazon (and now Washington Post) owner Jeff Bezos has become so rich that cabinet members come to his office, but he won't give the people who work for him at low wages in Amazon's warehouses -- where they spend long, hot days being driven hard to keep up with their order fulfillment quotas -- enough hours to qualify for Workmen's Comp, Social Security or health care, which means he doesn't have to pay for those benefits. Like most new jobs being created now, most Amazon workers are part time.

US secretary of defense visits Jeff Bezos this week

Forbes has just done a story about the "China-like wages" Bezos pays, but  the World Socialist Web Site has been covering this for a long time. The WSWS regularly interviews Amazon workers around the country who talk about what it's like to be treated like dogs while they barely get by and in some cases have to sign up for food stamps.












Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The North Korean Threat

Cable news presenters giddy with war hysteria are on a 24/7 mission to convince Americans that North Korea poses some kind of threat to them and so prepare them for the US government to wage war against that tiny impoverished nation, which poses no threat to the US whatsoever.

The only consolation is that cable news viewers are enjoying a break from 24/7 Russia-Putin hysteria and the endless repetition of evidence free claims leveled against Putin and Russia. That doesn't mean there's no reason to be concerned however as the US is also in the process of flooding eastern Europe with soldiers and military equipment, a summary of which provocations can be found here.

When I say North Korean threat I mean that in this instance the US media/governing elite is using North Korea as the bogeyman to excuse US global imperialism and its endless and expanding bipartisan Neocon wars. We are the threat.





Congress is doing its part to whip up war hysteria, overwhelmingly passing a bill that imposes new sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran. (Vote tallies here and here. The only two senators to vote against the bill were Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders.)

New Mexico's federal delegation all voted for the sanctions and is of course doing its part to bring the world closer to war. When it comes to waging war and spending our money on spying, so-called homeland security and the military, congress acts with bipartisan unity and the two parties are exactly the same.

As to how many Americans have forgotten how the media and political elites lied to them in the lead-ups to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and are gullible enough to believe what their government and the media tell them when it comes to war, I can't say.





Saturday, August 5, 2017

Class Consciousness Intensifies

While the Democratic Socialists of America are holding their annual convention in Chicago this weekend after passing the 25,000 member mark this week (compared to 8,000 and some a year ago) I came across a recent survey that shows that 37 percent of Americans now favor Socialism over Capitalism. The survey was conducted by the conservative Christian oriented American Culture & Faith Institute.

I've reported before (and often) that in repeated polling majorities of young people favor Socialism over Capitalism. That's startling enough but this latest survey is a real shocker in a country where a few short years ago you couldn't use the word Socialism in a sentence if you wanted to be taken seriously. Socialist was used as an epithet and an invective but the conservatives I interact with on social media these days don't ever mention the fact that my profile says I'm a retired Socialist truck driver.

A huge change has taken place already and things are still in a great deal of flux. The powers that be aren't prepared to counteract it, although the rising tide of anti Capitalist sentiment has led the corporate owned Democratic Party to quickly try to re-brand itself as something other than neocon corporate shills. They're out with a new PR campaign that talks about things like raising the minimum wage to $15 and doing something about the nation's vast and rapidly growing inequality in wealth and income although they don't say what because that might unsettle a few billionaire donors or lead to unreasonable expectations by us. Katrina Vanden Huevel, the editor at The Nation, the voice of the Democratic Party's left wing, has written a column in the Washington Post pointing out the good and bad pointsof the Democrats' scheme. Recall that as late as this fall Hillary Clinton wouldn't endorse a $15 minimum wage. We didn't deserve it. Remember?

Of course no one I know is fooled by this naked attempt to co-opt the increasing anger of the working class, and actual Democrat politicians like the ones we have here in New Mexico aren't talking about improving the lot of their working constituents at all and none of them has ever said anything leads me to think they'd ever endorse any of it. These corporate toadies endless campaign donation solicitations still pump out consultant driven messages that try to pump up fear of President Trump and the Koch Bothers and never say one word that would ever commit any of them to doing anything that might improve the plight of working Americans. The class war is heating up but they've already chosen sides and it's not ours.







Saturday, July 29, 2017

Taryl The Lawn Mower Whisperer






Mom's riding mower has been cutting out once in awhile so I went on YouTube where there are many lawn mower repair videos but the first couple minutes of this one rocketed Taryl to the top of my favorite lawn mower repairman list.






Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Russia and Putin And Trump And Russia And Putin

I hear Democrats talk endlessly about Russia and Putin and how Donald Trump is about to do this or that scary thing

I haven't heard one Democrat talk about:

Fixing Obamacare
Single payer health care, you know, that thing the American people want
The increasing income inequality
The decreasing living standards
Stagnant wages
The lack of good jobs among the newly created ones
The lack of full time jobs among the newly created ones
The lack of jobs with benefits
The hurdles to union organizing that have been erected over the years
The Employee Free Choice Act that would remove some of them but which Democrats themselves have tabled
College students graduating with $25,000 average debt
Public education's lack of money due to tax breaks for the rich (that Democrats voted for)

Meanwhile Democrats continue to provide unwavering backing for a military on a global rampage of destroying countries and killing civilians by the thousands in the seven countries it's bombing and droning in your name.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Venezuela

You don't see much coverage of Venezuela in the corporation owned "mainstream media" but what is there universally supports the illicit efforts by the US government at regime and therefore is necessarily inaccurate.

The US via state department departments like USAID has spent millions of our money organizing and training the Venezuelan "opposition," i.e. the old oligarchy and it's upper middle class beneficiaries and hangers on. This is never mentioned by our mainstream media which often cites the number of people killed during the latest round of violent, US backed opposition street protests but never once mentions that most of them are being killed by opposition protestors, who have made it part of their strategy to destabilizethe country to set supporters of the government on fire and string wire across roads to behead government supporters on motorcycles. Although the oligarchy owns almost all the media in Venezuela and uses it daily to trash the Maduro government, the US media claims that Maduro has cracked down on and controls the media. And on and on.

I can't think of one area in which the US media is so blatantly dishonest, even as regards Russia and before that Cuba and before that the USSR and the pre-Capitalist Commuist China but I can't really explain it. Our media, owned and controlled by corporations, traditionally has seen its role as boosterism for US foreign policy -- a different ethic pertains there versus its domestic coverage -- but in Venezuela it goes far beyond that. If you're interested in knowing what's going on in Venezuela, the web site Venezuela Analysis is good. It supports Venezuela's efforts to implement Socialism but pulls no punches in pointing out the errors of the government. I decided to write this post after seeing an article there about a reliable poll that shows an overwhelming number of Venezuelans, 71 percent, still support the Maduro government. To read the US media you'd think the entire population was in revolt against it.

Trump Chokes On Skittles

The Democratic Party's policy nowadays is that Donald Trump is evil. That's it. They occasionally toss out buzzwords like "income inequality" but never offer any ideas or legislation to address it. Never. It's not that their wall Street funders wouldn't like it, which they wouldn't, it's that Democrats don't believe in addressing income inequality, or those other things they never mention like declining working class living standards, stagnant wages, health care that's slipping toward third world levels, and so on.

Even more ominously the party of war is also realigning itself with the infamous Neocon movement, which actually originated in the Democratic Party as told by Glenn Greenwald in writing about a new think tank that will push anti Russia and anti Iran policies by bringing together some of the main Neocon figures with some of the top Democrats from the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The Neocon's basic premise is that the US should use its military might to cement US world hegemony and spread US Capitalism through imperialism. They were anti Trump and pro Hillary during the campaign because Trump wasn't a warmonger and Hillary was. I shudder to think where the world would be if Hillary had won. Likely at war with Iran or Russia or both. It might might have started out as the intervention Clinton promised in Syria, or in Crimea and Ukraine which she also promoted, and we might be buying fallout shelters again.

And if Hillary had won Democrats would be trying to stem the rising tide of discontent among its base by re-introducing a bill to raise the minimum wage a token amount, and you can bet your final dollar that there'd be absolutely no effort by Democrats to redistribute wealth back to the millions of people whose labor crated it in the first place but are hurting for lack of it. Democrats don't believe in that any more, especially Democrats from New Mexico.





Saturday, July 15, 2017

Young Socialists.2

Among these young Socialists are writers like Caitlin Johnstone and Holly Wood. Johnstone got a lot of people talking this week with an article in which she recommended working with the working class Right to bring down the US government's propaganda wing, the mainstream media. She says the time is ripe and the media is vulnerable and points to the way the mainstream media lost control of the narrative in the 2016 election.


In "The Kids are Socialist Because Capitalism is Dickslapping the Planet" Holly Wood makes the case for dumping Capitalism for its ruthless, deadly, amoral, unthinking logic.

More of their work at Medium. Search by their name and you get their article page.







Friday, July 14, 2017

Pizza And Class Struggle - The Young Socialists


Here's the Twitter page of the Democratic Socialists of America group at Hay High school in Buda, TX.




Their Twitter handle is @HaysSocialists. Here's what they wrote as their tag line:






With 25,000 or so members the Democratic Socialists of America is the largest Socialist organization in the US, but two-thirds of the new members have joined since the election, which conceivably could have ended with a Democratic Socialist as president.

The Socialism of these new members is largely undefined. They don't know that much about Socialism but they do know they don't like Capitalism and they want a more just and equitable system.



The mere fact that the use of the word Socialism in this country has become widespread and people aren't afraid to identify as Socialists, considering that not long ago Socialism was essentially a dirty word, must seem discouraging to the people who had been fantasizing that they had eradicated Socialism, but I don't hear them complaining about it. Although I identify myself on Twitter as a retired Socialist truck driver I even have some Twitter followers who are out and out conservatives and none of the conservatives I interact with on social media hurls epithets at me about my Socialism. They accept the fact and have moved on.

And in the  former Soviet states majorities wish they had Communism back.



Socialist Malala Yousafzai graduated from high school this week in Afghanistan, where attending school almost got her killed. Surviving that murder attempt and standing up to radical Islam makes her a darling of the US media and she spends that social capital on advocating for the education of girls, but she hasn't disavowed or tried to obscure her Socialism in order to further her career as people like Amy Goodman who produces and hosts the Democracy Now program do. In this picture Ms Yousafzai was speaking at a Socialism conference in Pakistan in 2012.






Along with the upsurge in Socialism there's a rejuvenation of ingenious and bold thinking going on. One example is this argument for why the Left needs to arm itself.

The concept dovetails nicely with the story of how protestors beat the cops at last week's big G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany. The article is written by and for anarchists but applies to the broad Left. A third of all the cops in Germany were in Hamburg to protect the ruling class from the peasantry but the cops had to retreat as the protestors took control of a big part of Hamburg. I saw live TV shots showing a large contingent of protestors roaming the streets breaking windows at will. The cops and shop owners had left.

The matter of who has the upper hand and who doesn't is decided by public consensus which usually changes slowly but can change all in an instant, too. It's agreed upon that the authorities are to be left in charge of things and handed enough power to keep things under control. The protestors reversed the usual dynamic at the point at which the police collectively feared the people. The article explains how it was accomplished and also how this particular incident can be universalized. (Note: Socialism and Anarchism are close ideological cousins. Both are Marxist in analysis but whereas Socialism attempts to seize the power of the state to implement its program Anarchism seeks to eliminate the state and return power directly to the people.)

The actions of a few demonstrated what a fine line there is between them having the upper hand and us having it, and how tenuous their hold on their power is. It's only power we've ceded to them, after all, and we can easily take it back.

Not a cop in sight:


itsgoingdown.org





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lost Generation II

Is this live or is it Memorex?

https://archive.org/details/Schizoidopshandofgodaugust2013/10+LODI.wav









Lost Generation


Musical creation plays a big role in creating generational identity but then as a generation progresses progressive music eventually comes to be seen as obtrusive noise, even subversive. Without music's subversive influence a default conservatism takes hold almost unawares. And now one of my favorite melodies:














Monday, July 10, 2017

The People Want Single Payer Helthcare But Democrats Won't Allow It To Be Discussed Or Voted On

Democrats steadfastly refuse to  get behind a single payer healthcare system, but that's exactly what people want. They want what every European country has, what Canada has, what Russia and China have. In fact not only do Democrats not promote single payer they actively oppose it including the "Medicare For All" version of universal health care proposed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.




If you need more proof Democrats aren't the "party of the people" there are many. Here's a couple: They vote for lower taxes for the rich, they vote for budgets that cut social services, they take huge campaign bribes from the rich, they've adopted Neoliberal economics -- i.e. Reaganomics -- Supply Side Economics, it used to be called.

Now I read that Democrats made a "strategic calculation" to throw health care for people fortunate than they are, Medicaid, under the bus, meaning thousands of people will die. But all of their policies mean more people will die, especially brown skinned people in other countries who've been blown into small pieces in the many ongoing US imperial wars, which Democrats always help promote and always vote to pay for. Party of the people indeed.


The following picture is of some of the people who attended a fancy party in "the Hamptons" hosted by the owner of the presumably liberal Washington Post.



Top left is major Democrat funder George Soros. Top right top US senate Democrat Charles Schumer.


If you're unsure what the Hamptons are that's where the multimillionaire Obamas hang ou when they're not vacationing on Martha's Vineyard or Mali or private billionaire owned islands. 






Friday, July 7, 2017

Which Side Are You On?





The small but rapidly growing Left has more or less coalesced around the idea of using the Trumpcare/Obamacare debate to press the Democratic Party about its stance on single payer healthcare, i.e. universal coverage -- that thing every other developed country in the world has some form of where if you need to see a doctor you can, regardless. It's socialized medicine, actually, just like Social Security is socialized retirement income. To each according to their need, from each according to their means. It's called being humane.

The Left's efforts have meant that random Democrats have been forced to explicitly state they are against single payer health care and forced a lot of working people to face up to the fact that Democrats aren't on their side.

It's up to us to fill in the blanks and point out that today's Democrats, all of them, especially the ones here in New Mexico, don't really care if thousands of their fellow Americans die every year because they can't afford to get checkups and receive the medical help they need. It's up to us to point out that these people die completely needlessly because there's easily 100 times the wealth in the country it would require to see to it that everyone had good health care. It's up to us to say that it's completely unconscionable, disgusting really, that Democrats are more interested in helping people who've managed to accumulate wealth hold on to every penny of it and are more interested in being re-elected, in maintaining whatever power they have left by kowtowing to the big businesses that finance their campaigns. It's up to us to point out that people die because of Democrats.



The man pictured above, by the way, is Dennis Chavez, a US senator from New Mexico from 1935-1962 and before that our representative in the US house. He wrote some of the most important New Deal legislation, the bill creating the Rural Electrification Administration, and voted for the act that established the Social Security Administration. Chavez gained some sway in his more than 30 years in Washington and got New Mexico the big military contracts that we still rely on and that have supported generations of New Mexicans. Dennis Chavez wrote pioneering civil rights legislation that laid out a lot of the legal framework on which the landmark civil rights legislation that would come a few years later was based.

Dennis Chavez knew which side he was on, the side of the people. If Dennis Chavez was a Democrat, these people in office now who call themselves Democrats are something else. If Dennis Chavez was a Democrat these people who go around calling themselves Democrats don't deserve to call themselves that. Not while people are living miserable lives and wasting away with untreated illnesses and dying because of them.







Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Marxist Theory

You won't come across the term "Marxist analysis" very often unless you spend a lot of your time reading radical Leftist literature, but to celebrate Independence Day Jacobin Magazine published a Marxist analysis of the US constitution written in 1990 by Bertell Ollman, who teaches Marxist theory at New York University.

When Marxism is mentioned its usually in terms of Socialism, even though that's just one aspect of Marxism. There are also the theories Marx and Engels laid out in their many writings that established new ways of analyzing many things -- art, music, literature, society, and in this case a historical document.

As you read through it and see what kinds of things it takes into account, how it weighs different aspects of its subject, the assumptions and values it makes use of, you'll notice that although it's pretty "radical" sounding, a lot of it isn't that far different from a lot of what you'd read in mainstream academia. That's because  mainstream academia has been heavily influenced by Marxism -- Marxist theory and Marxist academics. It's just not widely recognized as such.







Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Buffalo

This nice little video of Lake Michigan at New Buffalo, MI, where I grew up, was taken by my brother Bob on Tuesday.




The lake on that day was what I'd call mildly displeased. It can get pretty angry with waves of twenty feet and more that occasionally sink the ships that traverse the Great Lakes -- ocean going ships that come up the St Lawrence River and even the huge ore boats that carry iron from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to the steel mills that line the lake near Chicago.

New Buffalo's population was 1,883 in 2010, according to Wikipedia, where I found this picture of the beach on a sunnier day. It was taken from almost the same place as Bob was standing to shoot his video.



We always said New Buffalo's population was 2,500 so I don't know what's caused the decline. A lot of people have left there like I did. Also, being across the bottom of the lake from Chicago it's a resort town. People from the Chicago area and northern Indiana have summer homes there but 20 or 30 years ago began buying homes in New Buffalo and the surrounding countryside. Perhaps they've displaced some of the permanent residents. "Chicago people" as we called them once owned primarily the houses along or near the lake, which now sell more than one million dollars.

Those big gray rocks in the left part of Bob's video extend from either side of the mouth of the Galien River and form a little manmade harbor. It was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers just before I graduated from NBHS in 1971 and was a big deal.

Before, every year the mouth of the river would fill up with sand washed up by waves until it was only a few feet deep and would have to dredged out so motor boats from the marina that stretches along the river and a couple of the creeks that empty into it could reach the lake.






Sunday, June 11, 2017

Next Blog >> gems



Contd










Why Corbyn Won


"For too long now the rich have got ever richer whilst those struggling have had no hope of improving their lot. That’s just wrong as well. We cannot continue along this path. There is a new movement in Britain demanding social change and the millions who voted for the Labour Party cannot and should not be denied." Jeremy Corbyn



Corbyn campaigned on an explicitly Socialist platform of free college tuition, saving Britian's universal health care system and re-nationalizing industries that had been privatized by Margaret Thatcher and her successor, the architect of "New Labour" -- the UK's Bill Clinton -- Tony Blair.

In America the rich still get richer and the poor poorer and Democrats show zero inclination to do anything about it. Read through their public utterances in the press and on social media and see for yourself that they post absolutely nothing, ever, about wealth and income inequality in the US. It's pathetic. We're going down and they're attending LGBT and green energy photo ops with people who are doing pretty well. A wave of public revulsion over how the Democratic Party has sold out the working class may yet drive it back to its roots, but Neoliberal, Reaganomics Democrats are still in control of all party mechanisms so there's no reason to think it will be any time soon.

In any event, change originates outside the political system and it will require an uprising of the people, and it must be an informed, class conscious people or we'll end up right back where we are now.






Saturday, June 10, 2017

Again Number One In Badness

Atzlan Entrepreneurs Turn Dusty Settlement Into Bustling Business Center

Albuquerque Free Press has a story about our surge to becoming number one in the country in car thefts, but it never once mentions the titans of the industry, Mexicano entrepreneurs who masterminded big, profitable business enterprises, that support thousands of well-paid professional jobs. From CEO to crack car liberator to people spread across an international distribution network to the grandmother who makes a deposit on the other side from time to time. These are bad ass Mexicanos. They made us number one and are due their proper due.












Friday, June 2, 2017

The West West

My house seems like it was designed in such a way that if you stand in the hallway you have a good, clear rifle shot at the front doorway.


Anyone coming into the house from a sun lit outdoors wouldn't see you standing in the shadow and you could get off several rounds before they knew what hit them.

Was the house designed that way? It's the basic tract house of a type built in 1949. Whether you needed that defensive feature in New Mexico in 1949, I don't know. In other ways, however, the house is exactly suited for its environment and its environment shaped how the house was designed and built. It has inch thick concrete walls covered with an insulating fiberboard and then stucco that stay cool practically all day and warm pretty much all night. A slight breeze will ventilate the entire house. Air flowing over the flat roof creates a vacuum on the leeward side windows and the layout of the rooms and opening between them aids in the circulation process. The people who designed and built it knew what they were doing. Would they have also put some thought into making the house easy to defend if need be?

I like to say New Mexico is the last remnant of the wild, wild west. That's a play on the name of the old TV series The Wild, Wild West, but I say it because of the close connection between present day New Mexico and its past, which, after all, represents the real American West that was here centuries before the Anglo west of dime store novels and Hollywood movies got conjured up in creative 20th century minds. 

The actual West of New Mexico's past is carried on in the culture here. The past remains in force in many ways and compared to many places remains relatively undiluted. Much of New Mexico has remained relatively physically isolated. The closest big cities, that might have been the source of other cultural influences, are at least 500 miles in any direction and probably more than a week's travel away before paved roads became common.

Those strong cultural influences may explain why Native and Native Hispanic New Mexico are wild, or untamed you might say, in another sense; people here never submitted and became servile to an outside government. That's also true in parts of the US South, but the prevailing culture here has been in place much longer and is not so much a reaction to the prevailing American culture as it predates it by several centuries.









409.org

I assume everyone has heard by now that the "Paris Climate Accord" President Trump announced he is pulling out of was actually nothing but a publicity stunt engineered by Barak Obama that didn't obligate the United States or any other country to reduce greenhouse gasses by one iota.

Although Obama left office with a reputation as an environmental president, during his tenure the concentration of Co2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increased at the same rate it had been increasing before that, and if anything sped up, and a big reason is that every year Obama would go to that climate summit in Paris and make sure the final declaration didn't contain any language that obligated anybody to do anything to reduce greenhouse gasses. They agreed instead that each country would voluntarily come up with their own greenhouse gas and pollution "targets."

The conventional wisdom for why Obama did that is that since he knew he'd be judged by how the economy did while he was in office and not by the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, he wasn't going to do anything that would hurt the economy such as impose regulations on the business world. That's correct except that Obama did it not so much to help the economy as to make sure he didn't interrupt the flow of campaign cash from Wall Street and big corporations into the accounts of the Democratic Party, the same reason he did everything else, the same reason he never allowed any legislation to be introduced that would increase wages or strengthen unions or in any other way redistribute any wealth back into the accounts of the people whose labor had originally created it. Conservative Democrats like Obama, the Clintons, and the kind we have in New Mexico decided a long time ago that they'd try to cling to power by doing the bidding of the wealthy, and an affluent layer of  feminists, Blacks, gays and other identity politics adherents, instead of serving the interests of the mass of working class Americans.



Note: One of the big environmental groups is 350.org. They want to decrease the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere until it's down to 350 parts per million, or 350 ppm. As of now it's at 409 ppm. Below are two graphs that show how CO2 concentration has increased in recent years and over the long haul.














 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Anything But A Democrat


"There is now a sizable list of election results involving Republican candidates who survived seemingly unsurvivable scandals to win higher office."

"The lesson in almost all of these instances seems to be that enormous numbers of voters would rather elect an openly corrupt or mentally deranged Republican than vote for a Democrat."

Rolling Stone magazine's Matt Taibbi makes this point in a new article with the understated title The Democrats Need A New Message.





Friday, May 26, 2017

How Many Votes Does The Working Class Have?






The thinking on the Left is that the Democratic Party establishment has forgone the notion that the party represents the working class (people who live off paychecks and not investment income or rent) and has made a conscious effort to redefine its base in a way that doesn't include the working class or at least not most of it; namely that the party sees its base as being a multi racial milleau of upper middle class socially liberal professionals (including people who have "made it" and those who hope and expect to "make it") and people who identify with some type of identity politics such as many feminists, Blacks and gays do.

That scenario matches the reality that the Democratic Party has become more business friendly and seeks out and receives more campaign money from "Wall Street" - i.e. big banks, hedge fund managers, corporate CEOs, law firms and the like. I often say today's Democrats are Republicans who are in favor of gay marriage and abortion and ours in New Mexico are prime examples. The never talk about, or put forth legislation to promote, economic equality, better working class pay and benefits, or to remove the formidable barriers to union organizing that have been erected over the years. On economic matters they vote with Republicans and they vote to cut social spending and to hike military spending.

Many radicals and many of the thousands of people flocking to Socialist organizations have sworn off the Democratic Party and will not vote for a Democrat, and there are those whom you might call Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren Democrats, i.e., the party's left wing, who only vote Democratic because they fear Republicans more and would vote for a viable alternative if there was one.

All this raises questions like how many actual votes are in the working class., and would a class based Democratic Party attract many working class Republicans? What if it campaigned on economic issues and let people make up their own minds about abortion, gay marriage, women's rights and civil rights?







Look at the top right pie chart that shows that almost everyone makes $60k or less. These graphics say families that take in $50 to $60,000 per year and less, are, by a wide margin the majority in America.

But what about civil rights, women's rights, gay rights? Those peoples lives matter certainly. They vote, and if you removed them from the graphs above the $50K and under families would probably no longer be a majority by itself.

That's the kind of calculation that has led the Democrats, their consultants and polling firms to where they are, beholden to big business and with living standards for the majority in decline, and unable to win elections like the one last night in Montana and the one Donald Trump won in November.














Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Good News, Love On A Picket Line, Trolls

It's good to be back home in New Mexico after spending time up in Michigan helping Mom out and celebrating her 91st birthday with brothers and sisters, their kids and kids' kids and some close family friends. Below is a picture of Mom, Agnes May (Stull) Conway, with brothers Bob, Bill and Frank behind her and flanked by sisters Jackie Poff and Sandra Mortenson. The pretty brunette next to me is artist Kathy Goldstein of Jackson, MI, a good fiend of the family who I got to come down and surprise Mom.




Hometown New Buffalo is on the lake in the state's southwest corner and was once a big port town. It was named by its founder, Buffalo, New York merchant marine captain Wessell Whittaker, who turned developer in not long after he shipwrecked in 1834 on what is now New Buffalo's beach. The main street, which Whittaker named for himself, ends at Lake Michigan, next to the mouth of a beautiful, lush estuary that winds through the wooded sand dunes where I romped and tromped and sometimes hunted and fished as I went through that process where everything becomes less and less certain that we know of as growing up. 

Properties on and near the lake sell for more than a million dollars. Those are the "Chicago people." The working class of New Buffalo, including some in my family, do the Chicago peoples' carpentry, remodeling, painting and wallpapering, mow their yards, do their plumbing, electrical work and lay their carpeting. While I was home I spent a few days helping Bill paint a house a few miles up the lake in Bridgman.

The picture below is of a little creek that runs through Mom's seven acres, which is across the New York Central passenger tracks from the lake. You might be able to pick out the gravel embankment of the C&O freight switching yard. I grew up to the rumbling of switch engines and the banging of rail cars as they were shunted off to different tracks, but the yard isn't used any more. Michigan has been de-industrialized by Capitalism and its Democrat and Republican handmaids.






.
The above picture shows where the estuary I mentioned empties into Lake Michigan at a nice little US Army Corps of Engineers built taxpayer funded harbor. One river bend away from there is the beginning of a lush duneland ecosystem supported by a marsh populated with deer, ducks, geese, herons, foxes, cougars and all kinds of birds and critters.


Photo by Kevin Dooley - flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/




Love On A Picket Line

One of the long conversations I had with Mom during my visit led to her telling the tale of how she and Dad met. I'd never heard before and am very glad to have now. It goes like this: One morning in 1944 she was on her way to work in the office at the big Oliver Farm Equipment company in South Bend, IN, and there was a picket line in front of the plant. Mom did the "foreign billing." Lots of farm equipment was being sold to Cuba.

There was a man  in a suit and tie there who represented the International -- union headquarters in Washington -- and who also operated a steam powered crane in the plant's foundry, my dad, Maurice Conway. She asked him what she should do and he said she should go down to the union hall and have a doughnut and coffee.

What he meant was, 'Don't cross the picket line.' This is something you don't do in union country. My Mom knew about such things. Her family had fled the potato famine that followed the Revolution of 1848 along with millions of other Germans who helped build the American Labor Movement and who spread prairie populism through US farm country, built Grange halls, formed grain and milk cooperatives and burned their crops and dumped their milk on the ground in fights with the big distributors. She went down to the union hall and he came down later, sat across from her, they started chatting, one thing led to another.

The union my Dad was a member of, Mom said, the United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers Of America, would soon be disbanded by the government because it's leaders were Communists, and after that the workers were represented by the United Autoworkers Union.

I searched for more details about that and they weren't readily available, but I did come across a web site that talked about the Farm Equipment union becoming the subject "raids" by the United Auto Workers and the UAW forcing the Farm Equipment union out of some workplaces.

Both stories are in keeping with the history of the major industrial union leaders' collaboration with the US and state governments in their McCarthyite witch hunts for Communists and their suppression of Socialism in the Labor Movement. Most of the big unions at the time conducted well publicized purges of their Communist members. Recall also that the then president of the actor's union, the Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan, was giving the names of friends and colleagues who he suspected of being Communists to the FBI, leading to them being blackballed and usually ending of their careers.



And Not Even A Trot Line Was Thrown Out

A retired male nurse trolls my blog and leaves comments that I delete without even reading because they never vary in tone or content. He concocts arguments against me by saying I said this or that when I never said this or that and is seemingly obsessed with getting his version of what I said into print. At one point he tried commenting anonymously using a John Wayne-like alter ego he slips into now and then.

He wanted Hillary Clinton to be president and like many people simply can't wrap his head around the fact that her and her brand of conservative, corporate friendly Democrat, who completely control the party apparatus,  have been nothing but one big disaster for the American working class, even worse for working people in other countries.

People really do need to get a grip. For all the horror and panic about Donald Trump you hear he's accomplished nothing and his prospects for getting anything accomplished diminish every day and with each gaffe, overreach, tweet and ignorant misstep his bumbling administration takes the opposition to him grows, enabled by massive working class resistance to everything Trump tries to do that affects working peoples' bottom line.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, there would be no resistance. Government would be working smoothly and relentlessly on behalf of corporations and the wealthy and no one would even notice because the media would be going about business as usual, willfully oblivious as Clinton and her $250,000 per paid speech Wall Street benefactors further eviscerated American living standards and murdered countless innocent brown skinned people abroad with complete impunity.

No one makes an argument against that. There isn't one. The argument people use is that they can't believe anyone would ever want Donald Trump to be president and not Hillary and they stew in childish anger until they find an object for it that they can lash out at.