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 they they were flat out gone as if they never saw a mini pickup before.









Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Democrats And A Healthy Economy

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My brother posted this on Facebook. Note what Perkins says about the importance of maintaining the standard of living for the working class to the maintenance of a healthy economy. They tell us that the US economy is growing. Obama was the first president in our history to never oversee a single year of more than three percent growth. That growth rate has been largely the result of printed money the federal reserve and treasury department have been pumping into the economy to prop up the stock market -- the so-called "quantitative easing" they talk about where the government buys up the bad assets on big banks' books and pays for it with new debt that we pay the interest on -- the gains of which go almost entirely to the one percent.

The new jobs added during the Obama administration and now are almost all part time or "contract" and for both kinds the employer doesn't have to pay for the employees' Workmen's Comp, Social Security or Unemployment Insurance so new workers no longer get those befits. Today's Democrats are promoting this type of economy as needed to make the US "competitive." Which only means that they want us to be down on the level or workers in places like China, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia. Democrats also do no want us to be guaranteed health care and more of us die as a result or if we live lead more miserable and insecure lives, while they do fine and can see a doctor any time they want to.

Democrats policies not only hurt Americans living standards but they hurt the overall economy. Frances Perkins knew this way back then, but these Democrats now know exactly what they're doing. They're intentionally hurting us. Whatever their excuse is, they are intentionally hurting Americans and America, and if you support them, you are, too.


Note; Democrats are now slightly modifying their propaganda output to try to head off the growing anger at them. This is after they've lost the presidency, both houses of congress, the balance on the courts and more than 2/3 of all state governments and governorships. When and if they do co-opt that anger and the growing Socialist sentiment in the country it will be back to business as usual for them. Back to photo ops in front of mountains and at local businesses and back to paying homage to the local Chamber of Commerce with the little private speech followed by the nice free banquet and handshakes all around.





Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Cannibal From The Amazon

Online behemoth Amazon (and now Washington Post) owner Jeff Bezos has become so rich that cabinet members come to his office, but he won't give the people who work for him at low wages in Amazon's warehouses -- where they spend long, hot days being driven hard to keep up with their order fulfillment quotas -- enough hours to qualify for Workmen's Comp, Social Security or health care, which means he doesn't have to pay for those benefits. Like most new jobs being created now, most Amazon workers are part time.

US secretary of defense visits Jeff Bezos this week

Forbes has just done a story about the "China-like wages" Bezos pays, but  the World Socialist Web Site has been covering this for a long time. The WSWS regularly interviews Amazon workers around the country who talk about what it's like to be treated like dogs while they barely get by and in some cases have to sign up for food stamps.












Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The North Korean Threat

Cable news presenters giddy with war hysteria are on a 24/7 mission to convince Americans that North Korea poses some kind of threat to them and so prepare them for the US government to wage war against that tiny impoverished nation, which poses no threat to the US whatsoever.

The only consolation is that cable news viewers are enjoying a break from 24/7 Russia-Putin hysteria and the endless repetition of evidence free claims leveled against Putin and Russia. That doesn't mean there's no reason to be concerned however as the US is also in the process of flooding eastern Europe with soldiers and military equipment, a summary of which provocations can be found here.

When I say North Korean threat I mean that in this instance the US media/governing elite is using North Korea as the bogeyman to excuse US global imperialism and its endless and expanding bipartisan Neocon wars. We are the threat.





Congress is doing its part to whip up war hysteria, overwhelmingly passing a bill that imposes new sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran. (Vote tallies here and here. The only two senators to vote against the bill were Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders.)

New Mexico's federal delegation all voted for the sanctions and is of course doing its part to bring the world closer to war. When it comes to waging war and spending our money on spying, so-called homeland security and the military, congress acts with bipartisan unity and the two parties are exactly the same.

As to how many Americans have forgotten how the media and political elites lied to them in the lead-ups to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and are gullible enough to believe what their government and the media tell them when it comes to war, I can't say.





Saturday, August 5, 2017

Class Consciousness Intensifies

While the Democratic Socialists of America are holding their annual convention in Chicago this weekend after passing the 25,000 member mark this week (compared to 8,000 and some a year ago) I came across a recent survey that shows that 37 percent of Americans now favor Socialism over Capitalism. The survey was conducted by the conservative Christian oriented American Culture & Faith Institute.

I've reported before (and often) that in repeated polling majorities of young people favor Socialism over Capitalism. That's startling enough but this latest survey is a real shocker in a country where a few short years ago you couldn't use the word Socialism in a sentence if you wanted to be taken seriously. Socialist was used as an epithet and an invective but the conservatives I interact with on social media these days don't ever mention the fact that my profile says I'm a retired Socialist truck driver.

A huge change has taken place already and things are still in a great deal of flux. The powers that be aren't prepared to counteract it, although the rising tide of anti Capitalist sentiment has led the corporate owned Democratic Party to quickly try to re-brand itself as something other than neocon corporate shills. They're out with a new PR campaign that talks about things like raising the minimum wage to $15 and doing something about the nation's vast and rapidly growing inequality in wealth and income although they don't say what because that might unsettle a few billionaire donors or lead to unreasonable expectations by us. Katrina Vanden Huevel, the editor at The Nation, the voice of the Democratic Party's left wing, has written a column in the Washington Post pointing out the good and bad pointsof the Democrats' scheme. Recall that as late as this fall Hillary Clinton wouldn't endorse a $15 minimum wage. We didn't deserve it. Remember?

Of course no one I know is fooled by this naked attempt to co-opt the increasing anger of the working class, and actual Democrat politicians like the ones we have here in New Mexico aren't talking about improving the lot of their working constituents at all and none of them has ever said anything leads me to think they'd ever endorse any of it. These corporate toadies endless campaign donation solicitations still pump out consultant driven messages that try to pump up fear of President Trump and the Koch Bothers and never say one word that would ever commit any of them to doing anything that might improve the plight of working Americans. The class war is heating up but they've already chosen sides and it's not ours.







Saturday, July 29, 2017

Taryl The Lawn Mower Whisperer






Mom's riding mower has been cutting out once in awhile so I went on YouTube where there are many lawn mower repair videos but the first couple minutes of this one rocketed Taryl to the top of my favorite lawn mower repairman list.






Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Russia and Putin And Trump And Russia And Putin

I hear Democrats talk endlessly about Russia and Putin and how Donald Trump is about to do this or that scary thing

I haven't heard one Democrat talk about:

Fixing Obamacare
Single payer health care, you know, that thing the American people want
The increasing income inequality
The decreasing living standards
Stagnant wages
The lack of good jobs among the newly created ones
The lack of full time jobs among the newly created ones
The lack of jobs with benefits
The hurdles to union organizing that have been erected over the years
The Employee Free Choice Act that would remove some of them but which Democrats themselves have tabled
College students graduating with $25,000 average debt
Public education's lack of money due to tax breaks for the rich (that Democrats voted for)

Meanwhile Democrats continue to provide unwavering backing for a military on a global rampage of destroying countries and killing civilians by the thousands in the seven countries it's bombing and droning in your name.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Venezuela

You don't see much coverage of Venezuela in the corporation owned "mainstream media" but what is there universally supports the illicit efforts by the US government at regime and therefore is necessarily inaccurate.

The US via state department departments like USAID has spent millions of our money organizing and training the Venezuelan "opposition," i.e. the old oligarchy and it's upper middle class beneficiaries and hangers on. This is never mentioned by our mainstream media which often cites the number of people killed during the latest round of violent, US backed opposition street protests but never once mentions that most of them are being killed by opposition protestors, who have made it part of their strategy to destabilizethe country to set supporters of the government on fire and string wire across roads to behead government supporters on motorcycles. Although the oligarchy owns almost all the media in Venezuela and uses it daily to trash the Maduro government, the US media claims that Maduro has cracked down on and controls the media. And on and on.

I can't think of one area in which the US media is so blatantly dishonest, even as regards Russia and before that Cuba and before that the USSR and the pre-Capitalist Commuist China but I can't really explain it. Our media, owned and controlled by corporations, traditionally has seen its role as boosterism for US foreign policy -- a different ethic pertains there versus its domestic coverage -- but in Venezuela it goes far beyond that. If you're interested in knowing what's going on in Venezuela, the web site Venezuela Analysis is good. It supports Venezuela's efforts to implement Socialism but pulls no punches in pointing out the errors of the government. I decided to write this post after seeing an article there about a reliable poll that shows an overwhelming number of Venezuelans, 71 percent, still support the Maduro government. To read the US media you'd think the entire population was in revolt against it.

Trump Chokes On Skittles

The Democratic Party's policy nowadays is that Donald Trump is evil. That's it. They occasionally toss out buzzwords like "income inequality" but never offer any ideas or legislation to address it. Never. It's not that their wall Street funders wouldn't like it, which they wouldn't, it's that Democrats don't believe in addressing income inequality, or those other things they never mention like declining working class living standards, stagnant wages, health care that's slipping toward third world levels, and so on.

Even more ominously the party of war is also realigning itself with the infamous Neocon movement, which actually originated in the Democratic Party as told by Glenn Greenwald in writing about a new think tank that will push anti Russia and anti Iran policies by bringing together some of the main Neocon figures with some of the top Democrats from the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The Neocon's basic premise is that the US should use its military might to cement US world hegemony and spread US Capitalism through imperialism. They were anti Trump and pro Hillary during the campaign because Trump wasn't a warmonger and Hillary was. I shudder to think where the world would be if Hillary had won. Likely at war with Iran or Russia or both. It might might have started out as the intervention Clinton promised in Syria, or in Crimea and Ukraine which she also promoted, and we might be buying fallout shelters again.

And if Hillary had won Democrats would be trying to stem the rising tide of discontent among its base by re-introducing a bill to raise the minimum wage a token amount, and you can bet your final dollar that there'd be absolutely no effort by Democrats to redistribute wealth back to the millions of people whose labor crated it in the first place but are hurting for lack of it. Democrats don't believe in that any more, especially Democrats from New Mexico.





Saturday, July 15, 2017

Young Socialists.2

Among these young Socialists are writers like Caitlin Johnstone and Holly Wood. Johnstone got a lot of people talking this week with an article in which she recommended working with the working class Right to bring down the US government's propaganda wing, the mainstream media. She says the time is ripe and the media is vulnerable and points to the way the mainstream media lost control of the narrative in the 2016 election.


In "The Kids are Socialist Because Capitalism is Dickslapping the Planet" Holly Wood makes the case for dumping Capitalism for its ruthless, deadly, amoral, unthinking logic.

More of their work at Medium. Search by their name and you get their article page.







Friday, July 14, 2017

Pizza And Class Struggle - The Young Socialists


Here's the Twitter page of the Democratic Socialists of America group at Hay High school in Buda, TX.




Their Twitter handle is @HaysSocialists. Here's what they wrote as their tag line:






With 25,000 or so members the Democratic Socialists of America is the largest Socialist organization in the US, but two-thirds of the new members have joined since the election, which conceivably could have ended with a Democratic Socialist as president.

The Socialism of these new members is largely undefined. They don't know that much about Socialism but they do know they don't like Capitalism and they want a more just and equitable system.



The mere fact that the use of the word Socialism in this country has become widespread and people aren't afraid to identify as Socialists, considering that not long ago Socialism was essentially a dirty word, must seem discouraging to the people who had been fantasizing that they had eradicated Socialism, but I don't hear them complaining about it. Although I identify myself on Twitter as a retired Socialist truck driver I even have some Twitter followers who are out and out conservatives and none of the conservatives I interact with on social media hurls epithets at me about my Socialism. They accept the fact and have moved on.

And in the  former Soviet states majorities wish they had Communism back.



Socialist Malala Yousafzai graduated from high school this week in Afghanistan, where attending school almost got her killed. Surviving that murder attempt and standing up to radical Islam makes her a darling of the US media and she spends that social capital on advocating for the education of girls, but she hasn't disavowed or tried to obscure her Socialism in order to further her career as people like Amy Goodman who produces and hosts the Democracy Now program do. In this picture Ms Yousafzai was speaking at a Socialism conference in Pakistan in 2012.






Along with the upsurge in Socialism there's a rejuvenation of ingenious and bold thinking going on. One example is this argument for why the Left needs to arm itself.

The concept dovetails nicely with the story of how protestors beat the cops at last week's big G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany. The article is written by and for anarchists but applies to the broad Left. A third of all the cops in Germany were in Hamburg to protect the ruling class from the peasantry but the cops had to retreat as the protestors took control of a big part of Hamburg. I saw live TV shots showing a large contingent of protestors roaming the streets breaking windows at will. The cops and shop owners had left.

The matter of who has the upper hand and who doesn't is decided by public consensus which usually changes slowly but can change all in an instant, too. It's agreed upon that the authorities are to be left in charge of things and handed enough power to keep things under control. The protestors reversed the usual dynamic at the point at which the police collectively feared the people. The article explains how it was accomplished and also how this particular incident can be universalized. (Note: Socialism and Anarchism are close ideological cousins. Both are Marxist in analysis but whereas Socialism attempts to seize the power of the state to implement its program Anarchism seeks to eliminate the state and return power directly to the people.)

The actions of a few demonstrated what a fine line there is between them having the upper hand and us having it, and how tenuous their hold on their power is. It's only power we've ceded to them, after all, and we can easily take it back.

Not a cop in sight:


itsgoingdown.org