Saturday, January 28, 2017

A List Of The Expanded Executive Powers Barak Obama Created And Left For Donald Trump

As Donald Trump issues executive orders one after another, a list of gifts Barak Obama left for Trump in the form of vast new powers Trump can now use as he pleases has been compiled by a Twitter user who goes by @onekade, a Twitter page that links to the ACLU of Massachusetts blog. Glenn Greenwald often retweets these posts and so tacitly endorses their veracity.

These expanded executive powers, which no president should have and which give a president unprecedented power to spy on US citizens, wage war without congressional approval and even provide a legal framework a president could use to implement a police state, all were put in place without protest from the Democratic Party establishment or from any Democratic Party aligned NGO or interest group, as when a Democrat is in office they sit on their hands. The media didn't say much about them either. We only know of these power grabs because of the vigilance of the most radical and well informed of what has become a very small true Left in this country.

The sad irony is that Republicans can rarely if ever get this kind of stuff passed. When they try, as we've seen in the early days of the Trump administration, opposition rises up immediately. But while Barak Obama was instituting these radical power grabs over the course of his eight years in office and submitting budgets every year that cut federal spending, and did so by cutting social programs, how many protests were called for? What Democrat office holder said something? The answers are none and none.

Consider the huge women's marches the day after Trump took office. Then consider that during Obama's eight years of the record transfer of wealth upward, and the erosion of our freedoms as listed below, he got a free pass from the entire Liberal establishment and from everyone who was out there marching. Not only that the same people were begging for more of the same from Hillary Clinton.

Obama's gifts to Donald Trump include:

 - The power to kill US citizens without due process.

- An executive army outside the chain of command that reports directly to the president. This existed before, but Obama continued it and greatly expanded it. It can do things the CIA can't even do and almost no one knows it exists.

- The most powerful surveillance apparatus in the world.

- A nationwide gulag archipelago of immigration detention centers where children and families are mistreated. Most are privately owned.

-  An FBI emboldened to persecute Muslims for speech and thought crimes under the guise of "protecting the homeland."

-  State and local police departments neatly woven into the ever growing national security state and armed to the teeth.

- Federal agents accustomed to violating civil rights and civil liberties, and Department of Justice lawyers well practiced in defending those violations.

- A robust state secrets doctrine.

- The precedent of using the "national security" exception as a legal argument practically every time the federal government is challenged in the courts. And Obama, remember, was a constitutional lawyer.

- Bipartisan legitimization of the "forever war," aka the War on Terror. At 15 years and counting it's the longest war in our history. Obama shifted the legal basis for it so that future presidents no longer need congressional approval for its perpetual renewal.

- A CIA unpunished for its Bush era war crimes and empowered to run a global murder machine of its own design.

- Domestic law authorizing government propaganda targeting US citizens.

- Domestic law authorizing the indefinite detention of suspects without trial.

-  Law making it easier for the Secret Service to arrest protesters. I don't know if you noticed but some 200 protesters were arrested on inauguration day and charged with felonies, making them, if convicted, ineligible to vote.

- Nationwide information sharing and face recognition systems amounting to the end of anonymity in public. And exempt from privacy laws, as are a host of other new laws that erode our constitutional right to privacy.

- Legitimization of the idea that seeking privacy is suspicious activity. If you use Skype, or try to protect your privacy on the internet by using things like TOR, you are on one of many, now, kinds of terrorist watch lists.

-  Legitimization of the idea that the FBI should be able to crack all encryption. This link is to Obama explaining that the only way law enforcement can do its job now is if they can hack into anything and everything. Which is not how the constitution laid it out and not how our courts have always said the balance between law enforcement and privacy should be. You might as well cancel the entire Bill of Rights and toss out 230 years worth of Supreme Court decisions.

 - Secret law. The Obama Department of Justice argued for and got from the courts more power to keep secret its legal justifications for what it was doing; one instance has to do with the legal memo that describes the FBI's surveillance powers. No one can see it so no one knows what the FBI can and can't legally do.


"Ultimately," the anonymous poster says, "the worst thing Obama did was normalize the forever war, the permanent state of emergency, the garrison state. A gift to Trump. I could go on and on with these examples all night, but my phone is getting hot in my hands and I need a beer. Resist now. It'll get worse."

"If you've read this thread and now feel hopeless, don't. Instead take the fight against these policies to your local police department. Get your local elected leadership to impose rules on the police. Don't let them conduct suspicionless investigations or surveillance.'

"Don't let them share info with the FBI unless it directly relates to suspicion of violation of federal laws. Require robust transparency."

"Require a public process for all surveillance equipment and information sharing system acquisitions. Require democratic approval of these."

"Require the police to produce policies to govern each type of surveillance equipment and info sharing system. Require robust oversight. Demand that your state DMV not share its drivers license image database with federal authorities. Require warrants for info sharing."

"Any bad policy or procedure currently in use was created by people. We, other people, can change these policies and procedures.  Dismantling the national security state can only work if we the people do it from the ground up. Lawyers will sue the agencies up top."






Friday, January 27, 2017

Via Campesina

Here's a 4 minute video put together by Venezuela Analysis about some people who on January 4 took possession of an unproductive ranch under provisions of the constitution passed when Hugo Chavez was president, and without the approval of and in defiance of the current Socialist government. The idea for it comes from the landless peoples' movement, which is worldwide. In Latin America it goes by Via Campesina and has been developed most thoroughly by the landless peasant movement in Brazil, once headed by Luis Ignacio De Silva who later became Brazil's president and whose successor Dilma Rouseff was ousted not long ago in a US backed coup.

This, the idea of it, the idea that poor people have a right to eat and to have land and to work it themselves for their own benefit and not for the benefit of rich people, is what the United States government, directly and through the old oligarchy in each country, has been trying to destroy.






The Monroe Doctrine established that the US government has the right to depose any Latin American government and install any right wing military dictatorship it wants to anywhere in Latin America. When I say "United States government" I mean Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, John Kerry, the people who've been in charge of US foreign policy the last eight years and I mean the entire Democratic Party establishment that backs all of it, none of whom, not one, not Bernie Sanders, not Elizabeth Warren, certainly no one from New Mexico, have any problem with any of this policy of the US government's crushing of democracy and outright trampling on the rights and lives of these peoples nor has any one of them uttered a single word of protest against it.





Monday, January 16, 2017

Hysterical Liberals Are Attacking Anything That Moves

It's bad enough seeing Democrats attack Donald Trump from the right for talking about having good relations with Russia, and now about nuclear arms reduction, but there's also the problem of Democrats accusing anyone who questions anything they say of being a "Kremlin stooge" and "Russian collaborator," of aiding and abetting the enemy.

I've never really had that kind of rhetoric hurled at me since I started identifying myself as a Socialist. This, now, however, sounds like something else. It's engulfed large parts of the liberal establishment.

I understand that they're deeply disappointed. I understand that nationalism is ingrained into them from birth, that it's the norm. It doesn't help that most Americans call it patriotism, as if it's not really nationalism.

A lot of hatred and invective has been emanating from the Republican voting working class since Barak Obama has been in office, some of which was racially tinged but a lot of it was because they felt like they were out of power and being run over by what the right wing media has been telling them for a long time was an evil ideology. But those people don't set the tone for social discourse in the country. That's done by the liberal establishment, that has gotten it to be accepted to be gay and lesbian, black, a woman. Now the liberal establishment is on the dark side.

The kind of caustic, McCarthyite language and thinking that's coming from them will eat away at the social fabric. The ones who were  holding the line on hatred and helping scale back the venom are now the ones ramping up the hostility and making hatred socially acceptable and are practically guaranteeing that others will do even worse.




Things Hillary Clinton Would Never Say


“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

So said Donald Trump this weekend. It was hard to find a conservative news outlet with that quote in it but it's all over Leftist media. I finally found it in the Washington Times.

Conservatives don't want everyone to be covered, but neither do Democrats. No establishment Democrat, not Barak Obama, not Hillary Clinton, certainly no one from New Mexico, has ever suggested that everyone should have health care coverage. If you'll recall, Obama himself explicitly took "single payer" and the public option "off the table" when Obamacare was being formulated by congress. Hillary has never called for either one.

Trump isn't calling for single payer but he is saying everyone will be covered and for less than Obamacare, the cost of which went up substantially this year for most people. Obamacare has insured an extra 20 million people but has left 30 million uninsured, and increasingly, employers are using it as an excuse to drop health care coverage for their employees.

Another thing Hillary Clinton, a warmongering Neocon when it comes to foreign policy who has led efforts to demonize Russian president Vladmir Putin and been one of the driving forces behind the unilateral launch of a new Cold War with Russia by the US, would never, ever have said she'd consider lifting sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear arms reduction deal.

But Trump did, in the same interview. According to Bloomberg, "Trump, in an hourlong discussion with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London published on Sunday, signaled a major shift in trans-Atlantic relations, including an interest in lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear weapons reduction deal."

 “They have sanctions on Russia," Trump said. "Let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.’’


Liberals, meanwhile, those people who don't want everyone to have health care insurance and who want to start a war with nuclear armed Russia, are looking for ways to de-legitimize Trump and can't shut up about Russia supposedly interfering in the election, by which they apparently mean that the Russians made sure Hillary won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Corey Booker's Pro Big Pharma Vote Means He's A Dead Duck. Could Martin Heinrich Be Next?

An intense social media assault on New Jersey Democratic senator Cory Booker continued over the weekend and picked up steam in Leftist media for his Wednesday vote to prevent Americans from buying Canadian prescription medicine. New Mexico's Martin Heinrich also voted no, i.e., with big pharma and against Americans struggling to afford their medicines. I wrote about it the other day.

Booker is drawing ire from the Left because he's being promoted by establishment Democrats as their 2020 presidential candidate of choice. However, the Democratic Party establishment's election rigging that gave Hillary Clinton the 2016 nomination hasn't been forgotten by Berniecrats, and they are promising that Booker's vote amounts to his political obituary. Example. Example.

The question that remains is what will become of lesser knowns like Heinrich and the other 12 Democrats who voted for big pharma and against working Americans. Theirs were the votes that sunk the amendment, because it had the support of 12 Republicans.

Heinrich was one of those establishment Democrats who endorsed Hillary Clinton before they even knew who was running, as did most party office holders and officials here. Even with that kind of backing, Hillary only won New Mexico's 2016 primary by a 51.5 to 48.5 margin over Bernie Sanders, 111,334 votes to 104,741.

And that despite there not being any Leftist media in New Mexico and no organized Left. The Democratic Party here is controlled by fiscally conservative Democrats, which means that fiscal conservatives like former senator Jeff Bingamon, once in office, have had little trouble staying there. Also, the party establishment here, due to New Mexico's ballot access laws, tightly controls who is allowed to get on the ballot, so business friendly Democrats like former governor Bill Richardson, once they have the support of the party establishment, don't have to worry about challenges from the Left from candidates who might raise a different set of issues, issues that would mobilize public sentiment and lead to greater voter turnout. As it is, a minority of New Mexicans, who are for the most part doing well and are fine with economic conservatism, decide who wins primaries and who holds office.

I remarked the other day that a large majority of Americans, including those who vote Republican, favor economic policies far to the left of the policies establishment Democrats will support, such as single payer health care, raising taxes on the rich and corporations, and increasing the Social Security "cap"that harms the economic viability of that program. An article in Salon today goes through some of those polices and cites the public opinion figures. You'd probably be surprised. On economic matters Americans are way to the left of the political class.

And if there were free and fair elections here, during which policies people actually support could be brought forth and debated, conservative Democrats like Martin Heinrich, Michelle Grisham and Ben Lujan, who campaign largely on identity politics or diversionary issues like parks and recreation, and then vote, like Heinrich just did, for profit over peoples' lives, who issue fine sounding statements but have voted repeatedly to cut things like veteran's benefits, federal employees' retirements and Head Start, would soon be history. They'd either change their tunes or pack their bags.






Massive US-NATO Buildup In Estern Europe Continues

The 4,000 US troops that arrived in Poland today are part of a massive expansion of NATO eastward to Russia's borders that began long before the situations in Ukraine and Crimea being used to justify it.

Those situations, whatever you think of Vladmir Putin, were Russian reactions to US aggression. In Ukraine, the US engineered a coup in 2014 that ousted an elected government that opposed Ukraine joining NATO, after which the US installed a government it can bend to its imperialistic needs.

Crimea, annexed by Russia after Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine, was formerly part of Russia and is still inhabited largely by Russians. After the 2014 coup fascist mobs with the acquiescence of the new coup government began to threaten and in some instances attack Russian Crimeans, leading to the vote of succession after which Crimea again became part of Russia. Crimea also houses a Russian naval base, one of only two small warm water ports it has, i.e., that are accessible during winter.

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The fact that two of the parties behind the Ukraine coup and now in the quisling government are fascist was not a concern of the United States government and the Neocon dominated "deep state" foreign policy establishment that includes parts of the military and intelligence communities and which exerts domineering influence over US foreign policy and is the force behind the still expanding new Cold War the US has launched against nuclear armed Russia.

Poland is one of many European nations where governments with extreme right wing agendas, sometimes with fascist leanings, recently have come to power, largely because of what is commonly called the "refugee crises," a mass  exodus of refugees from the many ongoing US wars of aggression in the Middle East and North Africa.


This map from a masters thesis also shows NATO expansion. The numbered states were NATO members before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The lettered states are former Soviet states that have joined NATO since then. The black line shows the former demarcation between NATO and the USSR.








Saturday, January 14, 2017

フーダウン





Well, smallhole has uploaded some songs performed by some college kids, apparently, from Tohoku University or so Google translate has led me to believe. Prestigious Tohoku University has produced, besides these fine musicians, such noted alumni as mathemitician Shizuo Kakutani, creator of the Kakutani fixed-point theorem, Fujio Masuoka, developer of Flash Memory, and Shintaro Uda, inventor in 1926 of the Yagi-Uda television antenna. One probably floated above your house growing up.



The sound in smallhole's videos is weak but this music is just so エス  and seemed a little like sanity after another week in the flaming kimono that is America.

I was looking for versions of Gone At Last. Mostly what you see are versions by Paul Simon. Here's one where the video isn't so hot but it's not Paul Simon.








Heinrich Sides With Big Pharma And Against Poor Americans

In a late night US senate vote this week New Mexico's Martin Heinrich joined with 40 Republicans and 12 other conservative "blue dog" Democrats to shoot down an amendment that would have allowed US citizens to buy much cheaper Canadian prescription medicine.

The amendment was sponsored by Minnesota's Amy Kloubacher and Bernie Sanders.

The vote was 46 for and 52 against with two not voting. Twelve Republicans actually voted for the amendment, which means it would have passed easily if not for the 13 Democrats who sided with "big pharma" over Americans who can't afford to buy their medicines.

So why vote no?

Leftists are making much of the fact that New Jersey senator Corey Booker voted against the amendment. The neoliberal, corporate friendly Booker is being promoted by establishment media as the Democratic Party rising star and 2020 opponent of Donald Trump. The Left is pointing out that Booker receives more money from big pharma than any other Democrat and more than all but two very high ranking Republicans.

In fairness to Heinrich I've looked around the media and his official and social media web sites and find nothing from him explaining his vote, so here are a few possibilities.

1. The money. Big pharma is is about number ten on the list of groups and industries that give money to Heinrich, according to my reading of his donation statistics at Open Secrets. If you go there you have to click on several tabs to isolate those figures.

2. Part of a deal? Heinrich is continually promoting the fact that he's "bipartisan" by sponsoring this or that "bipartisan" bill. (Google "Martin Heinrich bipartisan" and see how many different examples of this come up.) Perhaps he traded the big pharma vote for a vote for one of his "bipartisan" bills. About "bipartisanship." Republicans never say they are bipartisan or are working toward it or are sponsoring bipartisan bills. Only conservative Democrats like Heinrich and New Mexico's Michelle Grisham, my rep to congress, portray themselves as bipartisan, presumably to signal to big business that although they run as Democrats, big business has nothing to fear from them. That although to get elected they must occasionally give lip service to representing the working class and might have to come out for gay marriage and abortion because of the coalition of upper middle class voters the Democratic Party now  represents, where it matters they are behind the ruling class one hundred percent, as a quick look at their voting record demonstrates.

3. Booker first defended his vote by saying he doesn't want medicine being sold here that hasn't been tested by the US government, as if Canada doesn't do that, and as if it's not the exact same medicine being sold in both places. When no one bought that he switched to saying he voted against the amendment because it didn't go far enough. So one of these is unbelievable, and no living New Mexico Democrat has ever, to my knowledge, said "it didn't go far enough." Take your pick, Marty.



 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

While Americans Fixate on Donald Trump, Peace Prize Winning Obama Rearms Europe



"Among their equipment will be 87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 Paladin artillery vehicles and 136 Bradley fighting vehicles.

The equipment will be used by the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, arriving this month from Fort Carson, Colorado for the first of what Washington promises will be back-to-back nine-month rotations in the "foreseeable future."

Beginning in February, U.S. military units will spread out across Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for training, exercises and maintenance.


The Army is also sending its 10th Combat Aviation Brigade with about 50 Black Hawk and 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters."


A large contingent of armament, soldiers and war gear arrived in the German port of Bremerhaven today to begin overland convoys to various countries along Russia's borders, part of an ongoing and massive buildup of armament, troops, and missile batteries that have been streaming into Eastern Europe during peace prize winning Barak Obama's last six months in office.

The screenshot is from a Reuters article about the arrival whose headline mistakenly says the equipment and troops are there for exercises. The body of the story states accurately they will be stationed there permanently.
 
Obama has continued all the Bush wars and begun four of his own --  Libya, Syria, Yemen and North Africa -- all of which continue, and has established numerous executive precedents for using the military without constitutionally mandated congressional approval, from going to war on his own to assassinating anyone he chooses with drones including American citizens, and has overseen the relaunch of Newt Gingrich and the Neocon hawks' wet dream, a  new Cold War, all with the eager approval of the Democratic Party establishment.

The fact that this politician, who tried to force down our throats the TPP and TPIP by which he wanted to give massive new powers to global corporations and who did get the even more ominous General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade passed, who by design let 10 million Americans be foreclosed on while he lavished Wall Street banks with our billions and his adoring praise and who oversaw the most massive transfer of wealth upward in history, leaves office with high approval ratings and congratulations all around, a testament to his remarkable political skills and his ability to bamboozle masses of people right up to the very end.




Note: If you don't think I'm a credible source there's this.





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Just Hit Snooze

If one of US president-elect Donald Trump's primary objectives is to establish himself as the only reliable source of information, and a dangerous one it is, the mainstream media is his primary ally in that endeavor. No one trusts it and no one trusts anyone in the political class or the intelligence community: think of the selling of the Middle East wars with fabrications of yellow cake uranium and imminent massacres in Bengazi and the fake objeticve of "democracy building" and on and on that these three institutions have colluded in fabricating and propagandizing us with.

Two conclusions:

1. The primary culprit is us. Our lack of skepticism and lack of due diligence and laziness.

2. If Hillary Clinton had been elected no one who would be pointing any of this out. You'd have remained asleep for another eight years, thinking her and the liberal elite were taking care of things.

And things would just keep getting worse. One of the liberal elite's main social clubs, the Council on Foreign Relations, just announced that in 2016 your country, the United States, under it Nobel Peace Prize winning leader,  dropped more than 26,000 bombs on Middle Eastern countries. That's in addition to however many thousands of US made bombs Saudi Arabia using coordinates supplied by the US and flying US planes dropped on civilian targets in Yemen in 2016.




In case you're interested I copied an article by Gerald Steib from the Wall Street Journal: How Donald Trump gets past controversies that would sink most anyone else.

There have been other articles on this topic. Will anyone ever figure out how things came to be that he could get away with this? Stay tuned. And I don't mean just how the media works, how perception works, those are important but I mean also the question of why the public goes along with him. He's taking on the intelligence community, the media and the political establishment all at once, and they are neutralized because the masses, at least a majority of them, prefer Trump to them. It's we who the power comes from. Why do we always turn it over to someone else?



Capital Journal

The president-elect on Wednesday used the combination of frontal attacks and deft sidesteps that worked well for him during the campaign.

One of Donald Trump’s most valuable assets as a candidate was his ability to bluntly acknowledge and then simply walk past controversies and crises that would submerge other political figures.

It remains to be seen whether he will do the same as president—but he certainly did so as president-elect on Wednesday.

The main controversies at his one and only transition news conference centered, of course, on Russia. First, there was the intelligence community report that President Vladimir Putin had used Russian hacking efforts to try to benefit Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign, followed by new reports that Russian agents were in contact with his campaign and may possess compromising personal information on him.

So how did President-elect Trump handle it? With the same combination of frontal attacks and quick sidesteps that worked so well for him through all of 2016.

First, he dismissed the dossier containing the allegations of Russian influence as “fake news, phony stuff.” He directly attacked the news organizations that disclosed the dossier, while praising those that chose earlier not to do so. He also attacked the intelligence community for perhaps, maybe probably, being the reason the disclosure came about.

He then shifted to dismiss one of the principal claims in the dossier by saying he was too wise in the ways of the world to be caught in a compromising situation in a Russian hotel room—and was too much of a “germaphobe” to do so anyway. And he firmly and specifically rebutted as false the one detail he knew he could disprove, an assertion that his own lawyer had traveled to Prague to meet Russian representatives to discuss hacking of Democrats.

After the smoke had cleared, he had managed to shift much of the focus from the mysterious dossier itself to BuzzFeed and CNN, the news organizations that first disclosed its existence, and to the intelligence community that chose to take it seriously.

Less noticed was the fact that along the way he had changed course on a key point: He essentially agreed with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia appears to have been behind the hacking of political sites during the 2016 campaign, something he had declined to say previously.

Also little noticed was his sidestepping of a question about whether anybody else in his orbit had met with Russian representatives during the campaign, as well as a question on whether he would keep in place the sanctions President Barack Obama imposed on Russia to punish it for election-season hacking activities.

Finally, in classic Trump style, he offered one simple, withering declaration to rebut the suggestion he might be beholden to Mr. Putin: “Do you honestly believe that Hillary [Clinton] would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anybody in this room really believe that? Give me a break.”

In short, the news conference was a prime example of the confounding yet successful communications strategy Mr. Trump deployed throughout the presidential campaign. He doesn’t run from controversy but seems drawn to it—almost to relish it. He doesn’t fear chaos but seems to use it as an opportunity to disorient his foes.
As a result, conventions continue to fall when it comes to President-elect Trump, just as they did when he was Candidate Trump. Some previous presidents were wary of sounding too self-aggrandizing; George H.W. Bush often talked about how uncomfortable he was using the word “I.” Mr. Trump, by contrast, declared Wednesday: “I will be the greatest job producer that God ever created.”

Some presidents have been reluctant to pick fights with the nation’s powerful spy community, or with leaders of their own party in Congress. Mr. Trump did both, first with his criticism of the intelligence agencies and then with a mocking reference to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is arguing for more sanctions on Russia.

While others are queasy about discussing their personal business dealings, Mr. Trump proudly declared he had just been offered, and had turned down, $2 billion from a business associate to do a deal in the Middle East.

In the process, one thing everybody learned is that while Mr. Trump has gone from candidate to president-elect, his style hasn’t changed. Wednesday’s event suggests there is little reason to think it will going forward.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com




Monday, January 9, 2017

I Forgot I Even Had These


Two months after the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the most cohesive message from congressional Democrats is: blame Russia. The party leaders have doubled down on an approach that got nowhere during the presidential campaign — trying to tie the Kremlin around Donald Trump’s neck.

Still more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency to Trump, top Democrats would much rather scapegoat Vladimir Putin than scrutinize how they’ve lost touch with working-class voters.

Says Norman Solomon writing in The Hill on the misguided and dangerous path Democrats are heading down. Because many powerful Republicans also want to revive the cold War and make Russia  our scary external enemy again a president Trump could be railroaded into actions that could lead to global human catastrophe, Solomon writes. Come to think of it, aren't these the same Democrats who warned us about Trump having his finger on the nuclear button?

And of course we hear nothing from our hapless Democrats here in New Mexico about the working class, working people, working families, Social Security, Medicare, massive and growing wealth and income inequality, the poor, their children, anyone's children, nothing about our economic well being at all even as they desperately try to hold onto their prestigious positions, fat paychecks and platinum plated health care. It's "Trump, Trump, Trump" from these self interested self promoters.

In all of the dozens of emails I've received from Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall, Michelle Grisham and Ben Lujan since the election there have been maybe two sideways references to working class interests thrown in as an afterthought. Certainly none of these guys is going to hold high the banner and lead the march down Central Avenue.

No, our Democrats represent the "we are morally superior to you" wing of the Democratic Party, which apparently actress Meyrl Streep spoke for at some kind of awards ceremony last night in a performance that got a lot of headlines and is deconstructed by Eileen Jones in Jacobin in a manner that makes you want to jump to your feet and shout.






Sunday, January 8, 2017

Jeepers


Jeep is coming out with a pickup again, says an article about one of these Trump effect announcements, this one from Fiat-Chrysler announcing plans to keep some jobs in the US. (Jobs where workers will start out at little more than minimum wage thanks to nominally Democratic president Barak Obama, in league with the union leadership, forcing a two tier pay scale down autoworkers' throats as a condition of his "government bailout" of Fiat Chrysler and GM.)

The new indentured servant-made pickups however will be made in beautiful Toledo, OH, not far from the little Ohio town in the cornfields where I was born, Norwalk. I first knew of Toledo of course because my dad, who was driving for Norwalk Truck Line, sometimes went to Toledo in the truck. If you're looking for Toledo on the map it's down the road from the town with my second all time favorite place name after Flatonia, TX,  Sandusky, OH.

The Jeep pickup announcement caught my eye and made me curious as to what it will look like because awhile back I had it in my head for a time that I wanted a Jeep pickup and only then did I learn that they didn't make them anymore. Not that I wanted a new one -- I've never bought a new car not having the desire to make a house payment for a sleazebag car salesman and another one for his sleazebag car dealer boss -- but there are usually a few used Jeep pickups for sale on Craigslist.

The fact that they no longer made them was one of those, maybe not milestones but bumps in the road. Despite not having ever had any interest in Jeep pickups before, they evidently are part of my American psychic landscape, the familiar river of patterns and shapes my unconscious floats down on its back while it looks up Marilyn Monroe's skirt which is similar to looking up at the Milky Way.


A 1974 for sale in Commerce, OK for $5,000


I see in Road and Track where the new Jeep pickup instead of being full sized like they were will be based on the Wrangler, which are those things you see running around with a canvas top and sides that look like what you'd think a Jeep looks like.


Maybe it will look something like this, a 2005 Concept model that was shown at auto shows that Jeep called “a lifestyle pick-up with all the capability of the famed Wrangler.” This had a four cylinder that allegedly had some torque, a six speed manual and GPS.








Zionist Hasbara/Fake News

Prominent New Mexico commentator Jim Baca writes today about New Mexico's Democratic congress members siding with Republicans, the Zionist lobby and president-elect Donald Trump and against President Obama when they voted for a US House resolution that condemns the recent US abstention from a vote in the United Nations Security Council that allowed a rare resolution criticizing Israel's settlement policies to pass. The US traditionally vetoes such resolutions even as they have overwhelming support from the rest of the world -- the recent Security Council vote was 14-0 against Israel with only the US abstaining.

Sadly, in an Albuquerque Journal article posted this weekend in which the members of New Mexico's federal delegation were asked about this issue, every one of them, and the Journal reporter who wrote the article, discuss Israel-Palestine as if they're reading from a script written by an Israeli government Hasbara department.

Hasbara, explained here in an article in +972, a magazine published by young Israelis who oppose their nation's treatment of Palestinians and theft of Palestinian land, is Hebrew for propaganda, which is passed on without question by the US media and has been instrumental in keeping most Americans from knowing anything that remotely resembles the truth about what goes on in Israel-Palestine -- like the continual and ongoing theft of Palestinian land by Israel through the settlement building the UN resolution criticizes, by confiscating land for military purposes and so-called nature reserves and for the building of the apartheid wall that separates the remaining Palestinian enclaves from the land Israel has stolen; as it snakes across the landscape, separating Palestinians towns from each other and sometimes Palestinians from their own orchards and fields, the wall is being built well into Palestinian territory and gobbles up thousands of acres of Palestinian land. Like the settlements the wall is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit making changes to militarily occupied land and expelling populations from it.

Besides their land being stolen, Palestinians are subjected to continual and often deadly harassment by the Israeli occupying army, and more and more from the "settlers" themselves who have been coming down from their hilltop towns and cities, or "settlements," in gangs to attack Palestinians, burn Palestinian fields, uproot centuries old Palestinian olive groves, kill Palestinian farm animals and otherwise commit what Israelis refer to as "Price Tag" attacks, which the UN puts at one per day.

Weekly reports on Israeli human rights violations are listed in the Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from the Palestinian Center For Human Rights whose web site I link to at the right. This week's report is unusual in that it lists no Palestinian deaths; it's usually portrayed in the US that there's some kind of equivalency of violence or that Palestinians are the terrorists, but Palestinians are killed at almost ten times the rate Israelis are as recorded by If Americans Knew, one of several US-based Jewish groups that oppose Israel's policies.

Baca is absolutely right in saying that the unconditional support by US politicians for Israel and its "settlement" i.e. land theft policies has to do with the tremendous amount of money supporters of Zionism funnel into US politics.

In other words, for a few pieces of silver our representatives in congress like Michelle Grisham and Ben Lujan can overlook Israel's continual land theft, its violent occupation of Palestine, its apartheid legal system and its decades long record of violence against Palestinians,.

And they can get away with it redhanded because of the wholly dishonest way the US media, to its eternal shame, tells the Israel-Palestine story.








Saturday, January 7, 2017

Of Course Russia Tried To Influence The US Election. Why Wouldn't It?


The accusation that Russia intervened in the 2016 US presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump has been repackaged several different ways now. Many in the Leftist media have focused on the lack of proof offered, on the fact that the government spy agencies making the accusations have a history of lying and the media has a history of treating their lies like the truth, sometimes using them to whip up war hysteria but always propagating them as a way of helping achieve the ambitions of the ruling elite.

Which is all true and important. We should be wary of what our government says and does and there's ample historic evidence for our skepticism, but focusing entirely on the legitimacy of the claims about Russian hacking the US election misses the larger point about why the ruling elite is whipping up anti Russia frenzy.

Russia, knowing what has happened to countries around the world, and most recently to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, when people like Clinton headed the US government, certainly tried to influence the US election. Vladmir Putin knows full well what can happen after the US pubic has been prepared for war by reports and accusation against other governments and their leaders.

Putin would have neglected his duty to Russia and its citizens if he didn't try to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president in any way he could. Clinton has literally led the US establishment's demonizing of him that began in earnest when she was secretary of state. She's been a central figure in the one sided "new Cold War" that's been unilaterally reignited by the US foreign affairs establishment assisted by segments of the military, intelligence community and much of the media, which has led to Russia being virtually surrounded by newly admitted NATO countries in which US missiles have been deployed and into which, as I write this, US troops and armaments are flooding.

Whereas Donal Trump, Clinton's opponent in the election and the beneficiary of Russia's meddling, says he wants to de-escalate this costly and entirely unnecessary US aggression and try to get along with Russia, Clinton promised to increase US aggression against Russia. She wanted to establish a "no fly zone" in Syria, which at least two high ranking US military chiefs said would in essence mean going to war against Russia.

Whether you like Putin or not doesn't affect the fact that the policies and goals Clinton champions, which are highly unpopular among the American public, are insane. You can make a case that they are why she lost the election. Instead of making her campaign about the economic well being of Americans and the future of their children, the central pillar of it, at least until Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, was demonizing Vladmir Putin.

No one in the media or who can get their opinion in the media and who are now preaching about Russian interference in what's misleadingly called "US democracy"  ever mentions that the US regularly does precisely what Putin is accused of doing. And more, much more.

The US is continually intervening in the internal affairs of other countries, including in their elections, and that should be of concern to every US citizen. A prime example of US interference in the democratic process of another country is its funding of and training of Venezuelan opposition groups who've opposed the Socialist governments of first Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro. The training, which specifically is for helping the opposition win elections, is funded by dark CIA money but also with funds congress openly budgets for the USAID division of the state department, which has been going on openly for years.

There's been the decades long effort by the US to overthrow the Cuban government, the meddling in Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, etc., etc., etc. Vietnam. The coup in Ukraine in 2014. It goes back decades and has caused the destruction of entire countries and countless lives. The CIA overthrow of Iran's elected president in 1953 is still remembered there and helps prop up the ayatollahs, and like everything I've listed here is never mentioned by the US media and political class as they wail against Russia and Vladmir Putin, who by comparison to the US imperial juggernaught has minded his own business. Russia doesn't nearly 1,000 military installations spread around the world and eight wars going outside its borders. The US does.

The US has also tried to influence elections, and many other internal matters, in Russia. The US has a long, inglorious history of interventionism, often a bloody one. Vladmir Putin knows all about it. He knew that if she was elected Hillary Clinton would aim the guns of the US global empire at him and at his country. Of course he wanted her to lose and of course he tried to make that happen.

For the sake of the world and the sake of the United States, for the sake of me and for the sake of you, so did I. Whatever you think of Putin, for the sake of the victims of US imperialism, you should have opposed Hillary Clinton's election and tried to prevent it, too.





Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Update









Ah  yes, The president we could have had if the Democratic Party hadn't pushed the highly unpopular Hillary Clinton on us. Sanders for decades has won re-election in conservative Vermont, a red state that just elected a Republican governor. I just read that his approval rating there is 86 percent.

Of course that's water over the damn, as they say. The question is, what now? Did anybody learn anything? I see no push anywhere, least of all here in here in New Mexico, to get rid of the elected officials who endorsed Clinton before they even knew who was gong to run, who give us nothing but palbum while they vote for Clintonite conervsative economic policies, who boast that they would lay down their life to save a nature preserve but never utter a peep about Social Security or Medicare. Who enjoy platinum plated health care for themselves and their families while their fellow New Mexicans can't afford to go to a doctor and die early deaths.





Mainstream Fake Media

Editor of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald, who is now one of the few remaining voices of sanity among top media figures, this morning goes into the ramifications of the two recent blockbuster fake news stories about Russia published by the Washington Post that have both been retracted because they were entirely false.

Few Americans are aware the articles were untrue and have been retracted. Both were disseminated far and wide on social media by top figures in the news business, including reporters and editors of the nation's top newspapers the Post and the New York Times, all of whom have many thousands of social media followers but who, when the stories quickly fell apart, didn't follow up and inform their followers that the articles were false.

These kind of fake news stories coming from the mainstream media represent a strange and disheartening confluence of several things. Democrats are fueling the fake news because it furthers the narrative they are promoting that they lost the election because of Putin and not because they rigged the nominating process in order to nominate highly flawed, extremely unpopular, unelectable Hillary Clinton, who then campaigned on the same identity politics, anti worker, pro Wall Street platform that has caused support for the party to collapse at all levels of government.

Democrats are also the primary force behind the ongoing, one-sided and dangerous re-launch of the Cold War. President Obama is as responsible as anyone as he recklessly endorses and furthers the fake news narrative and rather stupidly heightens tensions with nuclear armed Russia.

Defense contractors are of course overjoyed as they stand to benefit richly, and the money that will be funneled to them by the truck load means even less for programs that help we the people, who, because of the Democrats' tax policies, will pay practically the entire bill.









Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How Russia Hacked Our Economy

The liberal Economic Policy Institute has a list of their top charts for 2016, some of which I've published here before.



This one that shows what has happened to way wealth that's been added to the US economy by workers has been divided up. "Productivity" means the amount of value produced during a given unit of time. They collect data that shows this economy-wide. Productivity goes up because of things like efficiency from mechanization and lower costs - which could be lower transportation or raw materials cost, or lower labor costs. When productivity rises, there's more profit. The dark line shows how much of it there has been since 1948 and the lighter line shows how much of it we got. So there's a lot more profit now and we get less and less as time goes by.

I read the other day that 94 percent of the jobs that have been added during the Obama Administration have been either part time, contract, or temporary. Between that and the charts you can conclude that while people were freaking out about Republicans, Trump and Russia, their future, their country, their economic security was being sold off by Democrats.

Click here to see the charts, that, as the Economic Policy Institute puts it, show what kind of economy we could have.