Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Drenched In Blood

The US senators who didn't vote for the blood drenched military spending bill that passed 89-8 today:

Corker (R-TN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Sanders (I-VT)
Wyden (D-OR)


Both houses have now passed $700 billion annual 2018 warmongering budgets that they fattened by $30 billion over what even deranged President Trump had requested. Defense World has a little story about all the bipartisan crap congress members from both parties padded it with to make it $30 billion more than Trump asked for. Ajamu Baraka remarked:




The US is involved in seven wars and congress wants even more war. As you know the US was already spending more on its military than the next 10 countries combined, providing these same elected officials with permanent excuses for cutting social spending.

Republicans and Hillary supporters are saying we can't afford for everyone to have health care, but they're fine with Americans dying so we can use that money to kill innocent men, women and children all over the world. What a disgusting spectacle the United States must be to the rest of the world.









Sunday, September 17, 2017

We Are The Ninety-Nine Percent

It's the six year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, which made us aware that we're the 99 percent and against the 1 percent, and just that one little dose of class consciousness has transformed America and altered the political landscape beyond recognition.

Am I giving them too much credit?

It was demonstrated that Occupy changed the discourse in the following election and it's easy to argue that it led to Bernie Sanders, but before I go too far in praising it I think it's better to see Occupy as part of an overall trend that we're still in the middle of.

I can think of two good reasons why Occupy Wall Street was an important development in the current trend, a critical phase in it that has led us to the current political/social moment. First, while it was in operation, it provided the voice for the growing radicalism in the country. It caused it to grow and grow in certain directions. It's become more well organized and is now driving a political swing to the left.

But what allowed Occupy to do that has also caused the turmoil that has led to Trump.

The other reason Occupy was important is that it let people know they don't need the news media and the political parties to tell them what's going on and what to do about it.

They kept saying on the news that Occupy was organized by "social media." I didn't know what that was but eventually found out and signed up for Facebook so I could follow the local Occupy groups and see what they were doing. Social media caught on and millions of people came to use the Occupy Wall Street model and learned to create their own online communities.

This independence of thought and action has allowed the leftward swing to happen and also allowed Trump to happen because working people from the right, the left, young, old, all learned how to make and find online communities and it's left politics in an uproar.

Turmoil is the logical and healthy result of listening to everybody for the first time, but that's what we've needed in this country. A democracy's highest ideal should be that everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard. That's true for just humanity's sake, too.

Listening to everyone means hearing from people you haven't heard from before. You can hear things you don't like. It's up to us to decide what to do about it. We don't need anybody to tell us what's right. We can find our way to that.

We are finding our way, and learning that we the people have some power, which will lead to more confidence and more self sufficiency. We've learned some things because Capitalism and the political system it owns abandoned us and we've had to fend for ourselves, but we're also learning we can run our own lives and run this country. We we have the power. and we know it. We are the 99 percent.








 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jeezus Effing Christ

This is unbelievable. I had to come in here and sit down. NM Political Report just tweeted out that both our senators, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, will sign on as co-sponsors of Bernie's Sanders' Medicare for all bill. Single payer health care.

The article is here.

"Just this week," writes Matthew Reichbach, "Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced they support the proposal by Sanders."

Add Heinrich and Udall and that's almost 1/3 of the Democratic senators and in a short period of time.

I won't say my constant criticism of these guys had anything to do with it but I did predict the other day it would happen eventually. Not that it's not pretty apparent that the tide is turning and the Democratic Party as a whole is beginning to shift to the left. I just never thought Heinrich and Udall would move this soon. You can argue, of course, that it will cost them nothing. No other conservative democrat will vote against them for this, and they will pick up a lot of the disaffected Bernie voters. Maybe even a Socialist or two who think even Bernie is too conservative. But these guys are on board pretty early and the weight they carry will make a difference to some of the politicians and media opinion leaders. Good for them. Pretty soon they'll stop backing Reaganomics economic policies and start getting more money into working peoples' pockets like good Democrats should. 






RIP 911

I guess 911 was yesterday -- it makes logical sense since this is 912 -- anyway I just spotted this on Twitter.





An article in Politico by Bill Scher says Hillary Clinton's new book has reignited the "civil war" in the Democratic Party and that the 2016 election is still being fought out. There is indeed a lot of bitterness on both sides between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that continues to fester on social media in general and Twitter in particular. (Note: the Democratic Party and the supporters of Clinton and Sanders are two different things. Voters have no say in what goes on in either major political party. Rich donors decide that.)

Some Democratic office holders have begun breaking toward the Bernie side for fear of losing those Bernie voters, according to Scher.

I know that all the people who are being mentioned as potential 2020 presidential candidates have endorsed Sanders' single payer health care bill -- Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand. The more fearful democrats will eventually feel its OK for them to endorse it, too, and the Bernie supporters will win the civil war because they reflect what the majority of Americans want and because they're right.

But so far most Democratic office holders, including every one of New Mexico's, still place Wall Street campaign donations -- i.e. holding onto their fancy titles with their gold plated retirements and health care -- above the lives of the thousands if not millions of Americans who will die for lack of adequate health care, just as these same politicians keep funding and voting for our brutal imperialist policies abroad having no regard for the countries they've been destroying one after another and the millions of people they have killed.







Friday, September 8, 2017

Here They Come

Last week CA Democratic senator Camela Harris signed on as a co-sponsor of Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for all" bill -- i.e. universal health care, single payer, i.e. socialized medicine like every other advanced and some not so advanced nation has  -- and now yesterday Elizabeth Warren senator from of CT did the same. Both are testing the waters for a 2020 run for president and are making this move to capture the "Bernie vote," the multi millions of people who are tired of conservative Democrats and rejected party establishment choice Hillary Clinton in 2016 and either voted for the Social Democrat Sanders during the primary or sat out the election.

The tide is turning. The country is moving to the Left. The growing class consciousness among working people -- that is causing Socialism to be on the rise once again in the country -- will determine what Democrats can get away with just as it did from the 1930s up to the 1980s. Eventually even anti worker, pro corporate Democrats like New Mexico's Martin Heinrich, Michelle Grisham and Ben Lujan will be forced to back single payer and other kinds of pro worker legislation. But don't worry. I'll be here to remind everyone that when we needed them most, Heinrich, Grisham, Lujan, Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party establishment left us high an dry while they served as handmaidens for Wall Street. Never once did they use the platform and power they were handed to advocate for single payer or anything else that would improve working peoples' living standards. Never did they themselves do anything to raise class consciousness or to even get people mobilized so that they could exert their tremendous inherent power. We won't forget it. It's on the record.





Thursday, September 7, 2017

As The US War Against Syria Winds Down It Wouldn't Be Winding Down Don't Forget Under Hillary

Columnists in leading newspapers are now declaring that Bashar Assad has all but won the war and thwarted US Neocons like Hillary who started that thing and Netanyahu Israelis who set out to bring about another of their famous regime changes in Syria, which, as you recall, when they tried that in Afghanistan and then Iraq and then Libya destroyed every one of them not to mention they criminally slaughtered a million to two million or more civilians.

Caitlin Johnstone, one of the better young writers on the Left,  has a piece in Medium titled Three Reasons Why I'm Still Very, Very Glad Hillary Lost that reminds us of how much better off we are with Trump than we'd have been with Hillary, who had promised to escalate Syria plus ratchett up the New Cold War that she and her fellow Neocons started when she was secretary of state. Johnstone's three reasons are Syria, the New Cold War against Russia and the noxious anti worker Neoliberal TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty, which Clinton introduced, pushed for and helped negotiate as secretary of state. Trump killed the TPP soon after taking office, has no interest in antogonizing Russia and is letting Syrian wind down.

I'd add a fourth main reason we're better off with Trump. Eight years of Clinton would have meant eight more years of no activism because activists stay home and watch TV whenever there's a Democratic president. Eight years of Hillary would have meant eight more years of the Democratic Party getting more conservative and suck uppity to Wall Street, while people faced each new round of indignations and tried to adapt to it like the frog who gets used to being in a pot of boiling water. Instead of that Socialism is making a comeback in the United States.




The pamphlet Socialism: Utopian and Scientific written in 1880 by Karl Marx' collaborator Frederich Engles explains the Marxist conception of what Socialism is. This work and one or two others would make for a nice primer on Marxism, I think. It clarifies what is meant by Socialism under Marxism, and it also provides a sense of the central tenet of Marxism ,which is that our particular material world is what creates the reality we know and experience and live in. Remember the old nature-nurture question? Marxism takes the nurture side. Another old question phrases the same thing this way: Are we primarily products of our environment or of our genetic makeup?

Capitalism is what creates our reality for us. Capitalism also creates Socialism, in a manner of speaking. It creates the conditions from which Socialism arises. More simply put: Push people too far and they'll push back.





Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Finally














Swamp Overflowing

NM Fishbowl photo
NM Fishbowl, a web based investigative news site that focuses on the University of New Mexico, yesterday published an article about how politics affects nearly every aspect of how the university is run. A teaser from the day before said, "How did the University of New Mexico become such a festering political swamp, which has consumed everything from UNM Hospital to Lobo basketball?"

The article by Daniel Libit is titled "The Petty Politics of Loboland" and begins by talking about the Susana Martinez administration but then goes back through several previous administrations. In other words, it's pretty revealing about how New Mexico politics is run, which is that NM politicians apparently consider the part of state government under their control to be their own private plantation. Going by the many examples cited, a NM politician's reasons for being in office have little to do with serving the public and everything to do with increasing their wealth, power and prestige, plus the related matter of settling grudges.

Even the furthering of personal careers seems to be an afterthought - the key things are the power and the wealth and the score settling, and prestige -- know that I've staked out some territory and settled some scores -- within a small closed world of politicians and political donors the average NM citizen probably knows nothing about.






Monday, September 4, 2017

Workers Day

I often criticize those New Mexico Democrats (Michelle Grisham, Martin Heinrich and Ben Lujan, for example) who have ceased uttering the word "union," but state senator Joe Cervantes from Las Cruces isn't among them. I received the below reproduced email solicitation from him a day or two ago. Cervantes is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. The front runner is presumably US Rep Grisham, who almost never releases a press release in which she doesn't in some way use the term "bipartisan," i.e. gives away half the farm before she even sits down at the bargaining table. Republicans almost never use the word "bipartisan" because a., it's a stupid way to do politics, unless you intend to give away half the farm, and b., if they did their supporters would crucify them, whereas left leaning working class voters went to sleep long ago and demand nothing of their candidates.





Cervantes isn't exactly putting forth radical Communism here and what he says is the least any Democrat worthy of being called a Democrat should be saying, so it's remarkable how far right the Democratic Party has veered.











Friday, August 18, 2017

AbandonĂ³





There are lots of places in the country where the highways are relatively free of traffic and one is the Great Plains. US 160 is a little highway that leaves Dodge City in southwest Kansas in a southwesterly direction and passes through a corner of Colorado ending up at the northeast corner of New Mexico. It's 300 miles of plains farmland transitioning into dryer and dryer rangeland. The few towns are far apart and the last one is Pritchett, CO, where I took the above picture. The last 200 miles you're all alone. The car or pickup that passes every half hour barely puts a ripple in the serenity.




That corner of the Great Plains is pretty much all magnificent to drive through. Before you get to the mountains you begin descending, toward the fault line that runs up and down the east side of the Rockies, such that mile high cities like Denver and Albuquerque that are on the fault line are actually at a lower elevation than the far edge of the Great Plains you're coming out of.

As you come down US 160 you're coming down to the dark, far off Sangre de Christos of northern New Mexico. Sometimes they really appear to be moving further away.



On my last trip through there I had a hundred miles of grassland to go when a couple of bears crossed the road a couple hundred feet ahead. By the time I got up to them they were far back in the junipers and then they were flat out gone as if they never saw a mini pickup before.