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)

Friday, September 02, 2016

A comment about a comment about Trump supporters

A friend writes:

This vile comment from Nancy in Corinth, Kentucky: a real mental giant and portrait of human compassion: managing in every single sentence to lie, distort, sneer, caricature and demean; she is the very face of the Clintonian Democrats. This irresponsible nonstop hate-fest from the Democrats is a real phenomenon which may be studied in years to come; they are infected by an ugly mass hysteria, a cult, so many comments deeply unhinged and it's the same thing day after day – they have become creepily threatening and have been so since Bernie came on the scene to challenge their gruesome idol. Charles Blow has written his daily "be afraid!" column on how evil Trump is, as if we didn't already get his boring one-note message about 500 columns ago. He goes on about how Trump is a bully, yet it's the Dems who are the raging bullies. It's like the Salem witch trials. The Dems are fatally infected with an illusion of their own superiority ("how DARE they accuse us of elitism; we can't help it if we're just better than they are!"), spitting on anyone who refuses to go along with their stunted neoliberal/neocon visions, and openly reviling those they consider beneath them, namely, white poor rural southern people and, weirdly, those without a college degree, since their so-worshiped college degrees did not impart the ability to think critically; to discern truth from propaganda.

Just as Reagan made unfettered Darwinian greed acceptable, the spineless Dems have made self-serving peace with that, and now tout their own raging classism, racism, McCarthyism, and war-loving jingoism as de rigueur. Will they, when Clinton is "elected" and predictably makes a massive, terrifying mess of everything, look back at their bloody feeding frenzy in shame, or have they always longed to tear off the mask and just come out of the closet as the fascists they really are? Outrageously elitist comments are coming along fast and furious on the pages of The Times, and have been for months on end. These prissy, pushy Dems are unwittingly offering their own smug throats to be slit, with their relentless taunting, stereotyping, and shaming of millions of their fellow Americans. You can only push people so far, and these types like ole Nancy in Kentucky are so delusional, and brainwashed, they can't see what's coming down the road. If Clinton is pushed onto the throne, the peasants they so look down upon aren't just going to disappear; they are going to be very, very angry.