Saturday, April 29, 2017

May Day Comes To America

Monday, May Day, International Workers Day, 1 de Mayo, is the Marxist labor day, the day of celebrating the idea of the working class, and it's always been the biggest holiday of the year in Socialist countries. Here in tightly Capitalist controlled, conservative United States, it's been quietly observed by the small cadre of perennial Leftists and you might have seen a small march here and there, but this year there are going to be more celebrations, parades, protests and calls for general strikes taking place, by far, than in any other year in my lifetime.

May Day 2016 in Havana, Cuba - Workers World photo
May Day actually originated right here in the USA. As the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) web site explains, it was started in the late 1800s by workers who were agitating for things like the eight hour day, the struggles that began the great upsurge of the American Labor Movement that reached its peak in the middle of the 20th Century and brought you the standard of living you enjoy today.

People of Latin American background have celebrated May Day in the US for years without it being visible to the general Anglo public. Many of the May Day posters you'll see this year are in both English and Spanish or in Spanish only, an indication of the fact that, like the previous wave of American labor activity this one is being fueled by immigrants. And now, in the wake of the rapid growth of Socialist and Communist organizations and parties in the US, May Day celebrations are exploding also.

Not all of this May Day's actions are entirely or specifically about labor. This is a reflection of how splintered the American working class has become with the Democratic Party having played the role of co-opting, dividing and diverting working class energy and with the rise of identity politics associated with that, which is why the rise of a Socialist movement, and in opposition to the Democratic Party, is so important.

Marxism has the capacity to unite workers of all ethnicities, genders and nationalities under a common anti Imperialist, pro worker, economic critique of Capitalism, in a struggle that will liberate all workers at once. When that unity comes about the amount of power that movement will have will easily dwarf that of the Capitalist state, which may be able to rely on the loyalty of some of the police, but no American politician living today has the guts to order the mighty US military to attack Americans, even if it's conceivable that members of today's military would obey an order to attack their own mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses and and children. Perhaps in some 1950s type era of blind nationalism, aka patriotism, but not, I don't believe, today. The military is peopled by too many people who don't buy into the founding Pilgrim narrative or who haven't shared in the country's material wealth and who know very well why not.

Following are a few of the posters different groups have made for their May Day actions. Some of these are on the May1.org web site that lists many of the actions taking place around the country and some from Telesur, the CNN (i. e. state propaganda news service) of Venezuela, which seldom misses an opportunity to remind the Gringo Imperialist state of its weaknesses.















































Friday, April 28, 2017

Socialism Is Taking Over The United States Daily Update

Of the Socialist parties and organizations undergoing rapid growth the Democratic Socialists of America is experiencing the most. This is from their social media postings tonight.





Notice that more than half of these new chapters are in the South.






Thursday, April 27, 2017

Socialism Will Save Us Update

Just as Socialists immigrants from Europe and Latin America started the American Labor Movement that gave American workers the buying power that propelled the US economy to its preeminent position in the world, and just as their Socialists ideas created the working class that compelled our inherently conservative political system to enact Social Security, Medicare, Workmens Comp, the WPA, REA, EPA and everything else that's good and progressive about America, Socialism is rising again to save the county from the inevitable consequences of Capitalism.

Over past weeks I've been pointing out examples of Socialism's rising popularity as manifested by the rapid growth of Socialist organizations and parties, even the Communist Part, and we all know about the success of the presidential campaign of Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders campaign. This week The Nation, the longtime voice of the left wing of the Democratic Party, has an article saying that members of the Democratic Socialists of America have won 12 recent local elections and not only in places like the union town of Rock Island, IL, but also in places like deep red state Georgia. And twelve doesn't sound like much except when you consider that a year ago there was no measurable Socialist movement in this country.



Socialism's rising popularity comes more at the expense of Democrats than Republicans and yet Democrats show no signs of correcting their course or even that they're aware they need to. Just take a look at the just the first few seconds of these two video clips of Bernie Sanders being interviewed alongside Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez. First, Perez passes on an invitation to endorse Medicare for all and then he says that Sanders' calling out of the ruling class, for things like amassing mountains of wealth at the expense of workers, is a "false choice." That is the language of class warfare from above, which is of course what the Neoliberal economic policies Democrats have adapted are all about, but it's hard for me to imagine someone being more blatantly dismissive of worker's interests or policy preferences.




















Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vive La

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

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

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

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





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

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






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

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

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

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

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







Monday, April 17, 2017

Today's Radical Reading List



Communist Party USA photo

 Middle East Explained

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

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



Likewise Palestine

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

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

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

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



Periodic Daily Resurgence of Socialism Report

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

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

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

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



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







Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gerald Horne On Paul Robeson On Internationalism


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

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

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



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





Friday, April 14, 2017

Thanks, Capitalism, For The Nice Retirement Gift!


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

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


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

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





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


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



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

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

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

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





Socialism Goes Mainstream


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

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

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

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

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












Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pipelineistan





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

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

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

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













Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flagged Falsely

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

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

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







Peace






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

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








Saturday, April 8, 2017

Little Colin Powells

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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




Friday, April 7, 2017

Redneck New Mexico

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

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






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



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





By The Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










Thursday, April 6, 2017

#Resist

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

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

Never mind.





Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Reminder

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





Impossibility

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





Monday, April 3, 2017

A Government Devouring Itself

(Updated below)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Update

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





It's Been An Interesting Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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




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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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