Monday, November 21, 2016

Notes and comments from the recent campaign and election

Trump: … we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.

Clinton: We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lawns. … Part of our homeland security.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/2016-presidential-debate-transcript-229519

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Hillary Clinton reads from script during interview! WikiLeaks bombshell email Tax Chris Hayes MSNBC - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfN9aFnqNy4

(Her biggest claim to helping "women and children" is the (State) Children's Health Insurance Program after the fiasco of her universal health care plan attempt during Bill Clinton's presidency. In fact, she told her staff to find some means of salvaging their efforts and was told about the Kennedy-Hatch SCHIP plan. She latched on and almost destroyed that, too.)

More scripts as needed to spin negative positions:
Wall St: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/5512
TPP: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/5192
DOMA: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/2631
Bankruptcy bill: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/4394
Carbon tax (‘I don't recall any polling to guide us’): https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/8248

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From:brentbbi@webtv.net
To: john.podesta@gmail.com
Date: 2015-03-21 10:48
Subject: Warning to Hillary Clinton

It was not uplifting to learn in recent hours that problems with foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation continue, Hillary Clinton was still making paid speeches for hire this week, and Tony Rodham is hustling gold mining deals in Haiti.

From the minute the email story broke I have been out there publicly and unequivocally supporting Hillary Clinton in multiple ways in multiple media unlike many Democrats and unlike most in the media.

My mama taught me long ago that when I am seriously angry I should count to ten and choose my words carefully. In that spirit here is my toned down advice which I seriously doubt the Clintons are hearing from those close to them, and if they are hearing it, they are not understanding it.

If there is one thing that could well bring down a Hillary Clinton candidacy it is this cycle of money issues about which I am now feeling red alerts, loud bells, warning signals, and red flags and I am now seriously pissed off that there is a real chance that her candidacy and the Democratic Party could be destroyed by these self-created dangers that continue to proliferate the closer she gets to presumably announcing her candidacy. …

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/6900

(The most striking thing about the Podesta emails is the utter absence of Hillary Clinton from the discussions. She appears only as the product that the campaign is desperately trying to market, a product that most people don't really want or need.)

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There is no foreign policy difference between the establishment Dems and Repubs. But Trump, and even more so Johnson, challenge that consensus. [As did Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul, all of them ridiculed for that reason.]

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You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it …

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you

http://bobdylan.com/songs/positively-4th-street/

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Neera Tanden and Brent Budowsky appear to have recognized how flawed a candidate Hillary Clinton was and is, if not that she will always be. Podesta's emails have many incisive critiques by them:
https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/?q=&mfrom=ntanden
https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/?q=&mfrom=brentbbi

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Clinton is the right-winger – not radical, but rather a promise of continuity for the imperialist war-driven economy. That's why Republican neocons prefer her and fear Trump. I would fear her Supreme Court picks more than Trump's, if only because Democrats would never question hers. Clinton is the craven soul-less figurehead of a craven soul-less party.

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[Bill] Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall. Faced with its consequences, Obama only perpetuated, even aggrandized, the result. And following his silence, [Hillary] Clinton is adamant against restoring the separation of commercial and speculative banking.

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Hillary Clinton’s media flacks and assorted operatives and the partisan marks to whom they direct their campaign propaganda expend much feigned and fatuous outrage on the subject of Trump’s support among fringe-dwelling hate groups — yet it is crucial to remember (although Hillaryites strive to remain in belligerence enabled obtuseness about the fact) — HRC is connected with the worst, largest, and most deadly White Supremacist hate group on the planet -- the U.S. imperial war machine.

—Phil Rockstroh, https://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh/posts/1329055903794794

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A couple of things that apparently don't bother Michelle Obama et al on behalf of the children (or maybe the selectively expressed umbrage is indeed merely political):

"Turns out I'm pretty good at killing people." (her husband)

"We came, we saw, he died (cackle)." (her candidate)

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As a welcome respite to the groping-furor, been listening to Radio Stalingrad:
http://dom-druzhbi.ru/radio-stalingrad.php

Available via Tunein (among other services):
http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Stalingrad-s198038/

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‘The second idea[*] is a favorite of mine, as you know, but REALLY dicey territory for HRC, right?’

*‘Strengthen bribery laws to ensure that politicians don’ change legislation for political donations.’

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/14839


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Her "mastery of detail" is actually a clear example of imperial madness, the "great game", the idea that "we" can manipulate and control the myriad players and outcomes, particularly by means of the providing for and the threat of homicidal violence. It also tends to foster a neglect of one's own people except as revenue sources and cannon fodder.

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Those who posit that the far left and the far right are equally dangerous if not identical or making common cause, implying that that those making the assertion represent the moderate center and the greater good, invariably are themselves of the far right. They are in fact attempting to delegitimize popular action against the concentrated power and wealth which they have risen in defense of. In the name of fighting injustice and hatred, they persecute those who actually threaten the class and race divisions by which their power and wealth is held. Their rhetoric also invariably rises in defense of provoking and executing war, the consequences of which they are confident to be untouched by.

cf. Roger Cohen in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/opinion/anti-semitic-anti-zionism.html

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Apt that a picture of Al Gore accompanies this, because the Supreme Court ruled after the 2000 election that there is no right to have your vote counted, that the "peaceful" and timely transfer of power is more important. Which suggests that democracy is not at all an essential element of how our leaders are chosen. Which suggests that it is indeed fundamentally rigged.

(Donald Trump's 'Rigged' Rhetoric Is Damaging Even If He Loses - http://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/10/trump-time-capsule-143-rigged/504284/)

We have an electoral college system that essentially throws out half of each state's presidential votes. And we don't have proportional representation. Why vote if your voice is never heard?

Smaller parties don't have a chance in the US winner-takes-all arena that leaves the views of more than half of the electorate unrepresented.

Actually, precisely because of the state-by-state winner-takes-all Electoral College, roughly half of all votes in every state are wasted, thrown out, no longer counted. (‘Either way, a vote for a 3rd party candidate, is a wasted vote.’ - https://www.facebook.com/rusty.boersma/posts/10211148350054044?comment_id=10211148377334726)

In 2000, as everyone knows, Gore won in almost every state that Nader did well in. Only in NH might Nader have affected the outcome, but so did the greater number of Dems who voted for Bush. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court stopped the vote counting in Florida on Bush's request. It is always noteworthy that Dems endlessly complain about the Green Party, but Repubs never complain about, let alone blame their losses on, the Libertarian Party.

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As one of those Nader voters, I can say that my vote was thrown out by the Electoral College along with everyone's in the state that wasn't for Gore. The fact is that Gore did well in every state that Nader did well in. Only in NH might Nader votes have affected the outcome, but there were even more registered Dems who voted for Bush. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court stopped the vote counting in Florida. "Willfully ignorant" was a phrase I just read elsewhere and would apply to this tired canard.

One also wonders why Dems always blame someone else when they lose. You don't hear Republicans constantly whinging about the Libertarian Party.

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Videos Put Democrats on Defensive About Dirty Tricks - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/us/politics/video-dnc-trump-rallies.html

The Hawk on Russia Policy? Hillary Clinton, Not Donald Trump - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/us/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-putin-russia.html

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Falsely takes credit for SCHIP, denies support for DOMA and TPP and Keystone, has no problem with 3rd-trimester abortion bans, won't reinstate separation of commercial and investment banking, changed vote on anti-woman anti-everyone bankruptcy bill after credit card co donations, destroyed Honduras, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and plans for even more, provokes Iran and Russia and China …

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I just finished reading Nicholson Baker's "Human Smoke". It's a documentation of the build-up to World War II and the world of war that consumes us still today.

It's a disturbing and angering book, not only because of what happened that could easily have been avoided, but mostly because so much of the madness is echoed in today's news.

It reads like a dystopian thriller.

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I tried to watch Michael Moore's Trumpland (which is available via bittorrent for the less scrupulous of yous out there). Most of all, it's boring. And it seems to come down to his longstanding fixation that anybody who isn't a white man is good for that reason alone. The giant glamour shots of young Clinton behind Moore on the stage are sickening. (More appropriate is the mock-up missile in one corner.) His theme seems to be (from as much as I could stomach) that a Clinton presidency will benefit all of us more than a Trump presidency. He tries to warm the crowd to her by describing her conservative bonafides, and then tries to show how that is precisely what drives her purported liberalism. If anyone wanted to waste a few hours of their life, the whole monologue could be ripped apart as disingenuous (or pathetic) at every level.

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I guess she is modeling the "Christians" of the Crusades.
MM has lost every single one of his marbles, he is marble-less.

—Cindy Sheehan, https://www.facebook.com/cindyleesheehan/posts/1009859352473250

(Michael Moore: Clinton doesn't just talk about Christianity 'she lives it' - http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/302578-michael-moore-its-great-clinton-doesnt-talk-christianity)

Like George W. Bush?

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Rauch rather gives the game away with “In politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools. They can be used nefariously, illegally or for personal gain, … but they can also be used for legitimate public purposes”. For Clinton's sake – and the sake of her apologists – he tries to present the former as the latter.

Why Hillary Clinton Needs to Be Two-Faced - https://t.co/nmy3a0R5c8

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Neal Gabler says: "The fact is that Hillary Clinton wasn’t unpopular when she announced her decision to run in April 2015." She wasn't popular, either. In fact, her unpopularity had been steadily rising since 2012: http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/hillary-clinton-favorable-rating

(How the Media Manufactured Hatred of Hillary Clinton - http://billmoyers.com/story/last-night-3/)

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Yet Chomsky says it's important to elect Hillary Clinton, who virtually promises the aggressive pursuit of regime change in Syria. World War is better than having our liberal sensitivities offended by Trump as President?

(Noam Chomsky on Syria: A ''Grim'' Set of Alternatives - http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38133-noam-chomsky-on-syria-a-grim-set-of-alternatives)

It seems to be a pattern this week that after making Trump out to be an evil beyond reckon that requires supporting Clinton, everyone's now reckoning with the evil that is Clinton (oops!). Chomsky's comments evade even that. He says, even as the press and commentariat are are in full Syria war propaganda mode in support of Clinton and against Assad, that it won't happen.

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It is very unlikely that Trump would be worse than Clinton. The country (and other countries!) could probably survive a Trump presidency better than it could a Clinton one.

(https://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh/posts/1342933879073663?comment_id=1342936312406753&reply_comment_id=1342940595739658 — [M]y point is protecting SCOTUS for the next 30-40 years by not having trump replace 3 or 4 justices in the next 4 years.)

Which even Democrats would happily approve, as they did with Roberts.

Speaking of the Watergate break-in, one remembers that "Deep Throat" was FBI Associate Director Mark Felt. FBI agents probably don't like to see their work thrown under the bus of the political expediency of the boss. I suspect that Comey is trying to contain a rebellion by kicking the can a little farther down the road.

Roe v Wade, civil rights, and voting rights have already been shit-canned over the past 8 years.

1. Roe v Wade is a Supreme Court decision and therefore will not be overturned except by an amendment to the Constitution. 2. Actual access to abortion has plummeted under Obama, who let the murder of Dr George Tiller pass without comment. 3. Obama has expanded spying on us and has assassinated some of us for our speech. He has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous Presidents combined. 4. The Voting Rights Act has expired and the opportunity has been leapt on in many states to restrict voting. The Supreme Court, in Gore v Bush, said we do not have a right to have our vote counted. Clinton does not represent change from these trends, but rather emphatic continuation and escalation. At least there would be some resistance to Trump where there would be none to Clinton, who is in many ways well to the right of Trump.

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Crowd attacks homeless woman. But it's OK, even triumphantly crowed over, because she supports Trump and criticizes Obama.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhaTLfsbxbw
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSRBPQIeNn8
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njN75nJdCAk

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John Pilger: ‘[W]hat is clear is that Trump is considered a serious threat to the status quo maintained by the vast national security machine that runs the United States, regardless of who is in the White House.’

Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump - http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/28/inside-the-invisible-government-war-propaganda-clinton-trump/

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The fact is that as many Clinton voters are just as deplorable. Whereas Trump voters tend to criticize the other candidate, Clinton voters gleefully attack the other voters as far beneath them, not just different (in experience, outlook, lifestyle). They did the same thing with Sanders voters. In the name of inclusiveness they express only hatred. They have made language meaningless and argument impossible. That seems to present a greater danger than Trump's cable-show candidacy.

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I note that the Washington Post op-ed writers call it a "federal criminal investigation". It seems obvious that a candidate for President who is under "federal criminal investigation" is the one who is damaging our democracy.

(James Comey is damaging our democracy - http://wpo.st/Xqn92)

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Clinton is already fascist. A neocon neoliberal agent of Wall Street and war profiteers who considers herself utterly above the law.

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The Green Party obviously has to both challenge the Democrats' fear mongering about Trump and the belief that Clinton is at all progressive (while also pointing out that there is plenty to fear about her). Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign is so weak that they feel the need to smear Stein. As Scott Adams said, the Dems are the bully party.

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/152293480726/the-bully-party

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Neoliberalism is neocon imperialism directed toward the domestic population and our commons.

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‘Parallels to the incipient stages of Nazism are not an exaggeration, and it is not a loud-mouthed Trump who is necessarily the greatest danger. He is predominantly all-surface. It is Clinton who plumbs the depths of arrogance, ambition, congealed militarism.’ (Norman Pollack)

One Week, and Counting: Bottom-Fishing in America - http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/02/one-week-and-counting-bottom-fishing-in-america/

I would say that neoliberal lies (like, "despite neocons loving our candidate, we're progressive") are threatening to bring a proven fascist into power, ie Clinton. The extreme language used against not only Trump but also his supporters is in service to war and Wall Street. If Obama shut out progressives, then it is even more delusional to believe that Clinton could be influenced away from her war games and cat-food commissions. For voters in swing states, where they might actually feel a need to choose between the lesser of two evils, I would hope that it is increasingly clear that Trump would do far less harm, not only abroad but domestically as well. He might even do some good, whereas we can be sure that Clinton would be a disaster in everything, since that is her record.

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Hillarious! 1, 2, and 3 are questions that are more aptly asked of Clinton. 4: Neocons, the most destructive force on the planet, love Hillary. 5: It was Clinton who called a quarter of Americans deplorable, irredeemable, and "not America". 6: Hillary loves fracking and the growing oil independence of Obama's expansion of domestic drilling. Clinton would be a disaster. Trump would just be an embarrassment.

(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10102339388129620)

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As I referenced with "cat-food" commissions, Clinton is open to cutting Social Security. Clinton is open to banning 3rd-trimester abortions. Clinton defends trade arrangements like NAFTA and TPP that destroy jobs and the environment for the benefit of multinational companies. Clinton has said we will "never ever" have single-payer health insurance. Trump has expressed admiration for single-payer. Trump promises to serve the American people, not Wall Street. Except concerning Iran and Palestine, where both candidates are equally frightening, Trump promises to work with the world, not against it. Clinton promises more war, and that means continuing neglect of social policy.

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Calling people "uneducated" is a cop-out to avoid having to muster persuasive argument with someone who doesn't agree with you. It is telling that only Republican voters are described as "uneducated" – as if voting Democrat by definition makes one "educated". Yet Democratic voters are often blind to the fact that their "liberal" party has long been in service to neoliberal domestic policy and neocon foreign policy to an even greater extent than the Republican party. At least the libertarian aspect of the Republican party recognizes the utter failure of our government (though also helping to ensure it). But neither party actually helps the poor, the uneducated, the working man and woman beyond throwing a few scraps to their respective bases.

Call the other side "stupid", call your side "the truth" – pathetic avoidance of engaging with both.

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The neocons backing Clinton actually carry out what the KKK only dreams of doing.

Clinton on Qaddafi: We came, we saw, he died - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DXDU48RHLU

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Is the Clinton campaign honestly worried about losing even "blue" states? If that is indeed the case, then it is not because the "liberal" vote would be split, but because Clinton has moved so far to the right, leaving only one choice for "liberal" voters: Jill Stein.

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Obama expanded domestic drilling and Clinton promises more.
Not to mention the environmental destruction of endless war.

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The lack thereof would certainly explain the lame charge of sexism being used to explain opposition to Clinton. How does Obama explain support for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka? (‘We need more and better science education,scientists and training in critical thinking...’ https://www.facebook.com/Ecopolitidae/posts/10209229083756180?comment_id=10209255606899242)

‘Science tells us we double down on strongly held beliefs when confronted with strong evidence they are wrong.’ (https://www.facebook.com/Ecopolitidae/posts/10209229083756180?comment_id=10209247010284332) Hence Obama's comments.

There's no possibility that voters for Trump may actually be acting out of principle or hope or mere desperation (after Obama's neglect)? That Clinton is a horrible candidate with horrible positions that will only escalate the worst of Clinton (I)–Bush–Obama neoliberalism/neoconservativism? It all wreaks of mere snobbery. Resorting to elitist bullying.

What about women who reject Hillary? Special place in Hell?

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders (a year too late) acknowledges: ‘I do not believe that most of the people who are thinking about voting for Mr. Trump are racist or sexist’. https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/794941635931099136

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If it's necessary to vote for a "flawed" candidate, why not Trump? Clinton is clearly the more fascist in actual policy and deed.

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Everything said about Trump can be said more truthfully about Clinton. It is classic projection. Fascism has always made inroads with the hurrahs of liberals, who put appearances above everything. Clinton – neoliberal enemy of Keynesian economics [let alone socialism], neoconservative enthusiast for world domination – would clinch it.

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People think it's cute to tell people to vote, as long as it isn't for Trump. In fact it's presumptuous and antidemocratic. It's offensive and frankly a dangerous tendency.

Easy test: What if someone told you your vote is important, just as long as it's not for Clinton (or Stein or Johnson)?

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Different kinds of dumb. But the dumbest of these is that of the "educated".

I mean those who call other people uneducated as if a college degree makes you smart. In fact, it often seems to mean the opposite.

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Michael Moore has rightly noted that if anything puts Trump over the top, it will be the "fuck you" vote that is the only satisfaction that the powerless have.

What he neglects to note is that it is in response to the biggest "fuck you" campaign in history: the effort to make Hillary Clinton President. A Trump vote may be a "fuck you" by the people against the government that ignores them, whereas the Clinton campaign has been one long "fuck you" by that government against the people, not only ignoring them, but also mocking and deriding them.

“We are indeed drifting into the arena of the unwell. Making an enemy of our own future.”

Example: ‘Then, she was seen as the obnoxious teacher’s pet madly waving her hand with the right answer, the scheming careerist and résumé-stuffer who would stop at nothing to win. Now, the question is whether Americans’ perceptions of ambitious women have evolved enough to elect one as president.’ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/opinion/campaign-stops/the-triumph-of-tracy-flick.html (But the problem isn't ambition, it's the sense of entitlement and obvious disdain for the people in whose name, for whose benefit supposedly, she would serve. Voting for Hillary just to vindicate her ambition (to vindicate your own) is not a positive development. Again, it's a big "fuck you" to voters who are justifiably concerned about many other things.)

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“The revolutionary moment” by Paul Kingsnorth
http://paulkingsnorth.net/2016/11/07/the-revolutionary-moment/

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“The Dems Are Deluded.”
https://kirbymtn.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-dems-are-deluded.html

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[The election comes to pass.]

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A comment to “Regarding the upwelling of anti-Trump protest …” by Phil Rockstroh (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1355238767843174):

These protesters are beyond pathetic. I’d have some respect for them if they’d all been out there at some point during the last eight years of Obama’s tenure, while he steadily expanded Bush’s wars, pondered his Tuesday “kill list”, deliberately droned countless numbers of people to death (and still is), including Americans, one a 16 year old child, looked the other way while Israel stole land and butchered and imprisoned thousands of helpless Palestinians, many of them children, and then he just sent Israel another 38 billion of US taxpayer money as a reward. He rabidly pursued, persecuted and prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined, sits by while Chelsea Manning tries to kill herself and is thrown into solitary confinement, forced Assange to be a prisoner in the Ecuadorean embassy, forced Snowden to take refuge in Russia – these three are all an example of true heroism, yet are treated as dangerous pariahs by Obama. He increased arms sales to the most volatile areas of the world, passed out major weaponry to terrorists, promoted bloody coups leading to horrific death and destruction not to mention the creation of ISIS and terrorist havens in Libya, and Syria, and then there’s the mess in Honduras and Ukraine and the wildly irresponsible threats to Russia.

He never prosecuted the bankers responsible for destroying countless lives and creating misery and mayhem here and over the entire world. His first official visitor to the White House eight years ago was none other than Goldman Sachs itself, Lloyd Blankfein, and we now know, thanks to Wikileaks, that his cabinet was chosen by the banking industry. Then there’s his promoting fracking, oil drilling in pristine areas, pipelines, nuclear, Monsanto, etc etc.

And while he busied himself with this crap, he totally ignored the plight of the people he was elected to serve, many in desperate straits – Americans lost jobs hand over fist, rural areas left to fester and rot, descending into hopelessness, decrepitude and massive drug addiction, while the sneering urban Democrats mocked and blamed them for their own misery. Then there are the forgotten cities, Detroit, Flint, etc ... the rust belt areas still out there dying, the country’s infrastructure falling to bits, the US looks increasingly third world outside of the posher areas. Obama sold us down the river to the health insurance scammers, forcing people to buy that crap or else, now it’s an unaffordable mess for most people, he never even tried for a public option let alone single payer. He formed the infamous Simpson-Bowles “catfood commission” to try to cut Social Security and raise the age of eligibility. Under Obama, there’s been no cost of living increase for those living on SS. He refused to support unions when he had the chance. He never addressed the outrageous costs of college. A record number of abortion clinics closed down while he was president and he never said anything about it, never made a speech when the courageous Dr Tiller was murdered. So much for having a “pro-choice” president. Then there’s his insane promotion of the TPP, which gives corporations total power – fascism in its purest form. if that passes, it will be a disaster for the entire planet. He chose a corporatist as a replacement for Scalia, one who supports Citizens United! While Obama and Michelle hosted endless glamorous soirees with vulgarian rich celebrities, people were going hungry, sleeping on the streets, losing everything they had. Jobs went to H1B1 workers imported from India, etc, and more factories shut down and moved out of the country, leaving millions without any other avenue to employment. Gun violence increased horrifically. He hasn’t stood with the Native American nations who are courageously facing down the militarized police to protect our water. Quite the legacy! He’s a smooth con artist and a coward. Hillary Clinton ran on this record, believes in all of it, and would have continued all of the above, but even more so. But that was good enough for her fan club.

So during Obama’s time, here were no major protests, and no anti-war movement during the last eight years, it disappeared as soon as Bush left office. Invasions of other countries for corporate profits is just fine when a Democrat president is doing it, apparently. Imperialism and fascism is no longer a problem.

Now these dolts who think they’re the center of the universe are out protesting Trump, who hasn’t even done anything yet. They are enraged because Clinton, a criminal and a warmonger far worse than Obama, didn’t win. Clinton is just a dull neocon hack out of her depth, who has been relentlessly over-promoted and given everything on a silver platter due to her being married to Bill Clinton – and yet every task she has been given has been almost unbelievably bungled, resulting in the deaths and displacement of millions of people. Everything Clinton stood for was poison, yet these people are upset that they aren’t going to get Henry Kissinger/Margaret Thatcher/Attila the Hun in an ugly pantsuit? They should be relieved. There were no big protests when Bernie was cheated out of the primaries by the DNC and Hillary Clinton, interestingly. These people represent neoliberalism on steroids, fascism is fine with them as long as they remain the fortunate ones. The Democrat party stands for raw corporate power, nothing more, just as does the Republican party – though the Repubs are more democratic than the democrats.

Bernie would be the president-elect now if not for Clinton’s cheating him out of what was rightfully his. That’s what enraging. It’s just kind of tragic that he capitulated to her and lost his credibility in promoting the vile Clinton, instead of taking the opportunity to help Jill Stein and using all of that anti-establishment energy out there to promote a real third party. So despite all of the establishment’s heavy lifting for Clinton, the MSM debasing itself for her, her Hollywood celebrities, billions spent, cheating and lying, none of it worked. That’s cause for celebration, one would think – the “little” people, whether Trump or third party voters, fought back and won. They made people take notice of them.

Who knows what Trump will do; it could be okay or awful – let’s hope for the best, anyway. The time for protests may well be coming, but doing it now just seems like a spoiled-brat, sore loser temper tantrum. It’s just a dream come true that with Clinton out, we’ve (hopefully) seen the last of that greedy, destructive family and World War 3 was averted.

Delicious to see her smug fans so shocked and in meltdown – how dare anyone defy them?! Amazing the MSM and her supporters are so in a bubble they never saw this coming – Trump always had a good chance of winning, but they never believed it, because they live in an echo chamber, sneering at their less fortunate fellow Americans, who they somehow imagined couldn’t find their way to the polling stations. A much-deserved comeuppance for these people who smeared Bernie supporters, third-party supporters, and now Trump supporters as being somehow less than human. It’s understandable that people are worried about Trump; but the reaction by Clinton cultists is way over the top. They have learned nothing ...

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So now all the people who were confident that Hillary Clinton was going to usher in a great awakening on top of the wonderful work of Barack Obama are now screaming about the horrors of a Trump Presidency. They rather lack credibility. These are the same people who called Bernie Sanders a gun-loving racist and sexist commie.

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I haven't put the following thoughts into good form yet, but by the time I might, they may be irrelevant (which would be a good thing, according to these thoughts), so here they are:

The protesters against Trump's election remind me of the "liberal" Egyptians who protested their first elected President and welcomed in a new military dictatorship, and of the "liberal" Ukrainians who protested their elected President, sparked a civil war, and welcomed in a government collaborating with neo-Nazis and promising EU-style austerity and a selling off of the country's resources. In other words, they are actually, on balance, illiberal.

It all seems more about self-image than political reality. Because one gets the sense that there would not have been such demonstrations, such fear and loathing, had Clinton won (and whose policies were generally well to the right of Trump, as has been well laid out elsewhere).

There it is.

[For the Cairo hipsters, Morsi was too religious; for the Kyiv hipsters, Yanukovich was too Russian. In both cases, as the "elites" of Britain would like to veto outcomes like "Brexit", and the "educated" of the USA would like to veto outcomes like Trump's election, they were anti-democratic actions against the voice of the people.]

+++++

Reminder: When the US #ElectoralCollege results don't reflect the overall popular vote, that is precisely its purpose.

Tyranny of the Majority (ie, mob rule) is why there is constitutional democracy, to protect the rights of Minority groups.

The Majority has not only numbers, but also money and media on their side: not a fair game.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

‘Not Our President’

A friend wrote to another friend:

These protesters are beyond pathetic. I’d have some respect for them if they’d all been out there at some point during the last eight years of Obama’s tenure, while he steadily expanded Bush’s wars, pondered his Tuesday “kill list”, deliberately droned countless numbers of people to death (and still is), including Americans, one a 16 year old child, looked the other way while Israel stole land and butchered and imprisoned thousands of helpless Palestinians, many of them children, and then he just sent Israel another 38 billion of US taxpayer money as a reward. He rabidly pursued, persecuted and prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined, sits by while Chelsea Manning tries to kill herself and is thrown into solitary confinement, forced Assange to be a prisoner in the Ecuadorean embassy, forced Snowden to take refuge in Russia – these three are all an example of true heroism, yet are treated as dangerous pariahs by Obama. He increased arms sales to the most volatile areas of the world, passed out major weaponry to terrorists, promoted bloody coups leading to horrific death and destruction not to mention the creation of ISIS and terrorist havens in Libya, and Syria, and then there’s the mess in Honduras and Ukraine and the wildly irresponsible threats to Russia.

He never prosecuted the bankers responsible for destroying countless lives and creating misery and mayhem here and over the entire world. His first official visitor to the White House eight years ago was none other than Goldman Sachs itself, Lloyd Blankfein, and we now know, thanks to Wikileaks, that his cabinet was chosen by the banking industry. Then there’s his promoting fracking, oil drilling in pristine areas, pipelines, nuclear, Monsanto, etc etc.

And while he busied himself with this crap, he totally ignored the plight of the people he was elected to serve, many in desperate straits – Americans lost jobs hand over fist, rural areas left to fester and rot, descending into hopelessness, decrepitude and massive drug addiction, while the sneering urban Democrats mocked and blamed them for their own misery. Then there are the forgotten cities, Detroit, Flint, etc ... the rust belt areas still out there dying, the country’s infrastructure falling to bits, the US looks increasingly third world outside of the posher areas. Obama sold us down the river to the health insurance scammers, forcing people to buy that crap or else, now it’s an unaffordable mess for most people, he never even tried for a public option let alone single payer. He formed the infamous Simpson-Bowles “catfood commission” to try to cut Social Security and raise the age of eligibility. Under Obama, there’s been no cost of living increase for those living on SS. He refused to support unions when he had the chance. He never addressed the outrageous costs of college. A record number of abortion clinics closed down while he was president and he never said anything about it, never made a speech when the courageous Dr Tiller was murdered. So much for having a “pro-choice” president. Then there’s his insane promotion of the TPP, which gives corporations total power – fascism in its purest form. if that passes, it will be a disaster for the entire planet. He chose a corporatist as a replacement for Scalia, one who supports Citizens United! While Obama and Michelle hosted endless glamorous soirees with vulgarian rich celebrities, people were going hungry, sleeping on the streets, losing everything they had. Jobs went to H1B1 workers imported from India, etc, and more factories shut down and moved out of the country, leaving millions without any other avenue to employment. Gun violence increased horrifically. He hasn’t stood with the Native American nations who are courageously facing down the militarized police to protect our water. Quite the legacy! He’s a smooth con artist and a coward. Hillary Clinton ran on this record, believes in all of it, and would have continued all of the above, but even more so. But that was good enough for her fan club.

So during Obama’s time, here were no major protests, and no anti-war movement during the last eight years, it disappeared as soon as Bush left office. Invasions of other countries for corporate profits is just fine when a Democrat president is doing it, apparently. Imperialism and fascism is no longer a problem.

Now these dolts who think they’re the center of the universe are out protesting Trump, who hasn’t even done anything yet. They are enraged because Clinton, a criminal and a warmonger far worse than Obama, didn’t win. Clinton is just a dull neocon hack out of her depth, who has been relentlessly over-promoted and given everything on a silver platter due to her being married to Bill Clinton – and yet every task she has been given has been almost unbelievably bungled, resulting in the deaths and displacement of millions of people. Everything Clinton stood for was poison, yet these people are upset that they aren’t going to get Henry Kissinger/Margaret Thatcher/Attila the Hun in an ugly pantsuit? They should be relieved. There were no big protests when Bernie was cheated out of the primaries by the DNC and Hillary Clinton, interestingly. These people represent neoliberalism on steroids, fascism is fine with them as long as they remain the fortunate ones. The Democrat party stands for raw corporate power, nothing more, just as does the Republican party – though the Repubs are more democratic than the democrats.

Bernie would be the president-elect now if not for Clinton’s cheating him out of what was rightfully his. That’s what enraging. It’s just kind of tragic that he capitulated to her and lost his credibility in promoting the vile Clinton, instead of taking the opportunity to help Jill Stein and using all of that anti-establishment energy out there to promote a real third party. So despite all of the establishment’s heavy lifting for Clinton, the MSM debasing itself for her, her Hollywood celebrities, billions spent, cheating and lying, none of it worked. That’s cause for celebration, one would think – the “little” people, whether Trump or third party voters, fought back and won. They made people take notice of them.

Who knows what Trump will do; it could be okay or awful – let’s hope for the best, anyway. The time for protests may well be coming, but doing it now just seems like a spoiled-brat, sore loser temper tantrum. It’s just a dream come true that with Clinton out, we’ve (hopefully) seen the last of that greedy, destructive family and World War 3 was averted.

Delicious to see her smug fans so shocked and in meltdown – how dare anyone defy them?! Amazing the MSM and her supporters are so in a bubble they never saw this coming – Trump always had a good chance of winning, but they never believed it, because they live in an echo chamber, sneering at their less fortunate fellow Americans, who they somehow imagined couldn’t find their way to the polling stations. A much-deserved comeuppance for these people who smeared Bernie supporters, third-party supporters, and now Trump supporters as being somehow less than human. It’s understandable that people are worried about Trump; but the reaction by Clinton cultists is way over the top. They have learned nothing ...

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street firms and other corporatist insiders

The 80-page attachment in the Podesta emails of Clinton's Wall St speech excerpts is at https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails//fileid/927/180 [Note: The page numbers in the Table of Contents of the attachment (a Word file) are not all accurate.] Update: Three complete transcripts are now available as Word file attachments at https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/11011

‘Saudis have exported more extreme ideology than any other place on earth over the course of the last 30 years’ p16

‘capture of oil and gas … from hydraulic fracturing … has created this enormous opportunity for us’ p20

‘with the new discoveries, with the new techniques for extracting oil and gas, the US & Canada are going to be powerhouses …’ p21

‘I am an all-in kind of person, all-of-the-above kind of person when it comes to America's energy and environmental future’ p24

‘I'm all for privacy, believe me.’ p26

‘the collection of the metadata is something that has proven to be very useful’ p28

‘You know, on healthcare we are the prisoner of our past. The way we got to develop any kind of medical insurance program was during World War II when companies facing shortages of workers began to offer healthcare benefits as an inducement for employment. So from the early 1940s healthcare was seen as a privilege connected to employment. And after the war when soldiers came back and went back into the market there was a lot of competition, because the economy was so heated up. So that model continued. And then of course our large labor unions bargained for healthcare with the employers that their members worked for. So from the early 1940s until the early 1960s we did not have any Medicare, or our program for the poor called Medicaid until President Johnson was able to get both passed in 1965. So the employer model continued as the primary means by which working people got health insurance. People over 65 were eligible for Medicare. Medicaid, which was a partnership, a funding partnership between the federal government and state governments, provided some, but by no means all poor people with access to healthcare. So what we've been struggling with certainly Harry Truman, then Johnson was successful on Medicare and Medicaid, but didn't touch the employer based system, then actually Richard Nixon made a proposal that didn't go anywhere, but was quite far reaching. Then with my husband's administration we worked very hard to come up with a system, but we were very much constricted by the political realities that if you had your insurance from your employer you were reluctant to try anything else. And so we were trying to build a universal system around the employer-based system. And indeed now with President Obama's legislative success in getting the Affordable Care Act passed that is what we've done. We still have primarily an employer-based system, but we now have people able to get subsidized insurance. So we have health insurance companies playing a major role in the provision of healthcare, both to the employed whose employers provide health insurance, and to those who are working but on their own are not able to afford it and their employers either don't provide it, or don't provide it at an affordable price. We are still struggling. We've made a lot of progress. Ten million Americans now have insurance who didn't have it before the Affordable Care Act, and that is a great step forward. (Applause.) And what we're going to have to continue to do is monitor what the costs are and watch closely to see whether employers drop more people from insurance so that they go into what we call the health exchange system. So we're really just at the beginning. But we do have Medicare for people over 65. And you couldn't, I don't think, take it away if you tried, because people are very satisfied with it, but we also have a lot of political and financial resistance to expanding that system to more people. So we're in a learning period as we move forward with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And I'm hoping that whatever the shortfalls or the glitches have been, which in a big piece of legislation you're going to have, those will be remedied and we can really take a hard look at what's succeeding, fix what isn't, and keep moving forward to get to affordable universal healthcare coverage like you have here in Canada.’ [Clinton Speech For tinePublic – Saskatoon, CA, 1/21/15]
[cf Clinton campaign rally at Grand View University – Des Moines, IA, 1/29/16: angrily characterizing Bernie Sanders’ plan to pursue single-payer health insurance as ‘some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.’]

‘we’re still living in too uncertain a world to make radical changes right now’ p40
[translation: this is precisely when radical change is possible and why we must be vigilant to prevent it]

‘So if you look at a recent study that just actually was posted today, if you're in the middle class in Canada, you're better off in general than if you're in the middle class in the United States today. And if you're poorer in the United States, you are worse off than the poor in Canada and Europe. […] So yeah, we've done some very necessary and good things but we've also, in my view, not adequately addressed the challenges that have come in the last 20, 25 years. They've slowly crept up on us like all of us are the frogs in the giant pot and the heat's been slowly turned up and we haven't jumped out, and if we even started to thinking about it, we weren't sure what we'd find if we did. So we're all wondering around saying, what's going on, why is it happening? And it has certainly economic effects because as people's standard of living stalls, if they believe that their children are not going to be better off -- and remember, ever since we have done polling in this country, back to the Great Depression, no matter how poor the vast majority of Americans were, they believed it would be better in the future and they believed it would be better for their children. That no longer is the case. People are quite concerned that their livelihoods, their lives are not going to get any better, and they're even now worried that neither will their children. So this deserves the kind of thoughtful discussion, not the us versus them, finger pointing, blame placing, because that's not going to get us anywhere, but if we do not address and figure out how we're going to revitalize the middle class and begin the process of once again encouraging more people to rise up, then what I fear is that our politics and our social fabric are going to be dramatically altered.’ [Clinton Speech For JP Morgan, 4/22/14]

‘… there are rich people everywhere. And there are poor people everywhere’ p44

Clinton's remarks on Iran are creepy & unhinged. p44-46

‘the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ p47

legalization of pot?
CLINTON: Short [ie, I don’t support] in all senses of the word
p48

Clinton praises Wal-Mart as model for politics p52

‘we are in a worse position than we were in the 90s’ p53

BLANKFEIN: … the financial services industry has been the one unifying theme that binds everybody [R/D] together in common. p54
[cf Huey Long (1932): ‘They've got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen.’

Clinton endorsed recommendations of Obama's Simpson-Bowles “cat-food commission”, which included cuts to Social Security. p63-65

‘So we now have what everybody warned we would have, and I am very concerned about the spillover effects. And there is still an argument that goes on inside the administration and inside our friends at NATO and the Europeans. How do intervene—my view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene. We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can’t help themselves. They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters and somebody else: Look what we’re doing and I want credit for it, and all the rest of it’ [Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]

‘To have a no fly zone … you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians’ p67

‘And with political people, again, I would say the same thing, you know, there was a lot of complaining about Dodd-Frank, but there was also a need to do something because for political reasons, if you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it's all the fault of Wall Street, you can't sit idly by and do nothing, but what you do is really important. And I think the jury is still out on that because it was very difficult to sort of sort through it all.’ [Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium, 10/24/13]

‘Sam Walton was a cheerleader for Walmart but also a great patriot, because he knew that he was able to build this company in this country, and it might not, if ever, have been possible anywhere else.’ [Hillary Clinton remarks at Sanford Bernstein, 5/29/13]

Sunday, October 02, 2016

William Blum on the US election

From The Anti-Empire Report #145:

On more than one occasion during the recent US primary campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders was asked if he would run on a third-party ticket if he failed to win the Democratic nomination. His reply was a form of the following: “If it happens that I do not win that process, would I run outside of the system? No, I made the promise that I would not, and I’ll keep that promise. And let me add to that: And the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be president of the United States of America.”

So instead he’s going to be responsible for electing some right-wing Democrat to be president of the United States of America. It’s certainly debatable who’s more right wing, Clinton or Trump. Clinton surely earns that honor on foreign policy. Think of Syria, Iraq, Honduras, Yugoslavia, Libya … et al.

The revelation that the Democratic Party was secretly favoring Clinton over Sanders is reason enough for Sanders to have broken his promise and accepted the offer of the Green Party to be their candidate.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Social, economic, and environmental justice are not just words.

State Representative Mike Mrowicki writes in The (Brattleboro, Vt.) Commons …

In this coming election, Donald Trump is only the tip of the iceberg.

The bigger problem we face in this election are all the Donald Trumps, who collectively tanked the economy in 2007 by behaviors that (as the presidential candidate Trump said) represented a good way to make money. In his words, it was “good business.”

It sure says something when trashing the world economy is thought of selfishly as “good business.”

[But who is the candidate of Wall Street, as reflected in her close – and personally very lucrative – relationship with Goldman Sachs and others?]

Similarly, it is all the Donald Trumps who use war and the military-industrial complex as the biggest drain on our economy and sense of safety.

[But who is the candidate of Endless War, as reflected by her overwhelming support by imperialist neocons? Which candidate is demonizing Russia in a throwback to McCarthyist jingoism?]

It is all the Donald Trumps of this country (and world) who are the real welfare cheats. If you look at tax breaks or tax expenditures for the wealthy, what just one of them withholds from tax and hides offshore would probably cover any aid to needy families for this whole state.

[But what candidate’s campaign does not depend on the riches available from those (legal) arrangements? And which candidate runs a “charity” (with its tax benefits) as a bribe-laundering service?]

It is all the Donald Trumps of the world who maintain the current medical system that profits on those who can afford it least and, in essence, creates rationing of health care and a two-tiered system of care: one for the wealthy and the other for those who can’t quite afford insurance, co-pays, deductibles, or medicines.

[But which candidate consistently mocks the idea of single-payer (while Trump has expressed support)?]

And it is all the Donald Trumps of the world who reinforce the current status quo of economic, social, and environmental injustice. In that way, they maintain their oligarchic, neo-Calvinist stranglehold on the inequities that allow them to hold the power of the pocketbook and keep the system as is.

[But which candidate is running precisely on continuing that status quo, on expanding those injustices, who defends NAFTA and praises the TPP and similar trade treaties, who promotes fracking, who (after promoting welfare and crime and bankruptcy “reforms” that particularly harmed minorities and women) exploits identity politics to divide people from each other, whose supporters attack and demean everyone who doesn't fall into step behind her?]

When now-Sen. Bernie Sanders started his Vermont campaign for justice back in the 1980s, he spoke of the same inequities and injustices that he carried forth into his presidential campaign this year.

His influence on changing and growing the Democratic platform has moved the mainstream to recognize those injustices. He is keeping the effort moving toward real progress on these issues that all the Donald Trumps are fighting against.

[Along with his supporters, Sanders was smeared and mocked and derided by the Clinton campaign. Whereas Trump is squarely against NAFTA-like trade deals that harm the middle class, and is squarely against imperialist military escapades that squander our common wealth to benefit only the military industry (and their investors [see Wall Street]). There was more in common between Trump and Sanders than between Sanders and Clinton, but Sanders, too, derided Trump and betrayed a shameful snobbery.]

I will be voting for those issues of social, economic, and environmental justice as I cast a vote for Hillary Clinton and down-ticket Democrats. ...

[With every election cycle since Bill Clinton’s first year as President, the Democrats provide more reason not to vote for them. Any of them. Social, economic, and environmental justice are not just words. And the actions of Democrats betray them. (See Obama and whistleblowers, drones, pipelines, arctic drilling.)]

[How would Mike Mrowicki respond to this Justin Raimondo piece at antiwar.com, “Trump’s Three Points for Peace”?]

[The iceberg of deplorable government includes Democrats as well as Republicans.]

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The (self-described) educated and artistic class is as deplorable as everyone else. USA.

A couple of of outbursts from the intelligentsia on Facebook, Sept. 25:

From poet Doug Anderson

A standard right wing strategy is to create a false binary, or "straw man", to attempt to discredit the opposition:

If you object to blanket generalizations about Muslims they call you pro-terrorist.

If you object to the way police are treating black people, you must be anti-police.

If you object to the way corporations are crushing whole groups of human beings in favor of profits, you must be a communist.

The use of this logical fallacy is made possible by an education system that repeatedly fails at teaching critical thinking. The right's war on critical thinking is increasing in high school administrations and universities.

[As his replies to the comments also make clear, he objects to these as a straw man version of Trump’s campaign. He does not even hint at the cynical manipulations (let alone the implicit fascism) of the Clinton machine.]

1 hour later, from musician Pamela Allen

Alright then, my little pals, I'm going to hand out a piece of advice in an effort to keep us all alive and not in jail on assault charges before election day. People who are going to vote for Trump are going to vote for him. Their values are different from yours and they will not be convinced by any daring acts of logic or fact. They love his vision and hate yours just as you do theirs. End of story. Those who are going to vote for Gary Johnson are beyond the reach of reason. They erroneously believe that they are making a meaningful gesture of protest. If they've read up on him and still support him, you will not change their minds or influence their thinking. If they have not, they're just being contrarian and the same applies. Those who are voting for Jill Stein are the same nut, different basket. It is completely pointless to argue with or attempt to educate them. They know exactly what they are doing and will joyfully celebrate their moral superiority over you pathetic, brainwashed dupes should the worst happen. Those who are choosing not to vote at all are singled out for a particularly hot circle of hell. Their reasoning is beyond the ken of any thinking adult. What I'm trying to tell you, as I take my morning BP medication, is to spare yourself the aggro. No minds will be changed but you will give yourself an aneurysm and those fools will either head to the polls or they won't. Just a little Handy Hint For Election Survival from Miss Ex.

[Is this not an example of the very antidemocratic—and anti-intellectual—zealotry that she rails against? Sheesh.]

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Mao Tse-Tung Quotation

Many things may become baggage, may become encumbrances if we cling to them blindly and uncritically. Let us take some illustrations. Having made mistakes, you may feel that, come what may, you are saddled with them and so become dispirited; if you have not made mistakes, you may feel that you are free from error and so become conceited. Lack of achievement in work may breed pessimism and depression, while achievement may breed pride and arrogance. A comrade with a short record of struggle may shirk responsibility on this account, while a veteran may become opinionated because of his long record of struggle. Worker and peasant comrades, because of pride in their class origin, may look down upon intellectuals, while intellectuals, because they have a certain amount of knowledge, may look down upon worker and peasant comrades. Any specialized skill may be capitalized on and so may lead to arrogance and contempt of others. Even one's age may become ground for conceit. The young, because they are bright and capable, may look down upon the old; and the old, because they are rich in experience, may look down upon the young. All such things become encumbrances or baggage if there is no critical awareness.

—"Our Study and the Current Situation" (April 12, 1944), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 173 (from Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1966)