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


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

Friday, March 3, 2017

New Mexico Democrats - Worse Than Safeway

Three New Mexico Democrats joined with statehouse Republicans and Republican Governor Martinez yesterday to defeat a bill that would have put a pause on granting charters for charter schools until the state finds out why they gobble up more of the little money the state has per student than public schools do but can't educate our kids any better. (Here's a hint: It might be the owners of charter schools take the money they get from the parents and the state and put it in their pockets instead of hiring good union teachers and buying books and the best instructional materials and taking field trips and all the things you need to do to educate kids. It just might be that when there has to be a profit taken it has to be taken from something.)

The Democrats who voted with Republicans and against public schools were Debbie Rodella, Patricio Ruiloba and Carl Trujillo.

Charter schools weaken public education which is why they are pushed by people who want to do away with public education like Trump education secretary Betsy Devoss. They're a back door privatization scheme and tests nationwide keep finding out what they found here which is that charter schools perform the same as or worse than public school even though they can cherry pick students and don't serve any special needs kids.

A betrayal of the people like this isn't unusual for New Mexico's sorry Democrats. They control the house and senate and yet in the current legislative session, besides this latest gift to conservatism, they've shot down a bill that would have capped payday loan interest rates and another that would have automatically registered people to vote when they got a driver's license or renewed one, and they've passed a bill to weaken legal protections for whistleblowers.

It's a pathetic record but killing a bill designed to get more people registered to vote is, to me, especially disgusting. For my entire life it's been the dream of progressives and the kind of Democrats we used to have to have automatic voter registration because it would immensely help Democrats but more to the point would give us government that represented the people instead of big business and people who have a lot of wealth but can never get enough of it.

Republicans know this full well which is exactly why they've always tried to suppress voter participation. Their refinement of it to a science is one big reason why they now control all three branches of the federal government and all three branches of state governments in 2/3 of the states, so to have Democrats help them keep people from voting is just nauseating.

Democrats like the ones we've got can't be tolerated any more. They just need to go.

Update: Heath Haussamen who edits one of the independent media I link to on the right that does a good job covering New Mexico politics has written an editorial on how legislation can't seem to pass here unless it gets the approval of the people who are soaking us while bribing out politicians.

Note: If you've read this far to find out why New Mexico Democrats are worse than Safeway I changed the title to that after coming across some comments people left about a Safeway supermarket a few blocks from the beach in Carmel, CA, at the web site Yelp, which it's Wikipedia article describes as a web site and mobile app "which publish crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses" and, among a surprising list of other things, "trains small businesses in how to respond to reviews." Talk about creating a demand and then fulfilling it.

You've probably come across Yelp after doing a Google search for a business or product. Anyway, some of the comments left at that Safeway in Carmel were pretty entertaining. People often comment about businesses when they've been angered by something and want to punish somebody but some of the comments were favorable and many were quite creative and revealed a lot about the commenter. Some of the people leaving these comments were apparently there because Carmel is a tourist destination and in one of those "wine county" areas. My favorite was written by someone who sounded like they were a snob but were living on a budget and who nonetheless had never really questioned the fact that you were lucky to be getting their opinion.