AMERICA NEEDS A MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY

Occupy Deathstar

TO ANYONE WITH EARS TO HEAR AND EYES TO SEE, THE 2016 PSEUDO-ELECTION DEMONSTRATED THAT FOR OUR REPUBLIC TO REMAIN FREE AND A DEMOCRACY, WE NEED MORE THAN TWO PARTIES TO CHOOSE FROM IN ELECTIONS.

 

In the 2016 Democratic Party primaries, the level of vote-rigging, voter fraud and general hacking of machines and votes reached an unprecedented level that would have put even Boss Tweed to shame. It was not the Russians, as the CIA and the Corporate Media would have you believe who did it–it was the corrupt Neo-Liberals of the DNC who were guilty.

There were numerous online bloggers and a few remaining honest journalists present to document that fact, if one were willing to hunt these sources down online. Of course, if your source of news is the Corporate Media–the so-called Mainstream Media–you would have heard or seen none of this primary fraud. Thanks to Bill Clinton’s “reform” of the laws governing media ownership in the ’90’s, the United States went from about fifty different news and media sources down to five. The information highway, so-called, is controlled by a handful of Corporate conglomerates, who in turn have the fingers in the military-industrial government pie.

Stuffing-The-Ballot-Box

Case in point: the Washington Post, currently being lionized in the movies for releasing the Pentagon Papers in the 70’s, (which exposed the lies, collusion and fraud which the Pentagon and CIA engaged in to gin up the Vietnam War), was bought by Jeff Bezos with money obtained from a lucrative contract with the CIA. The WaPo then proceeded to shill for Hill and when Bernie Sanders became a serious threat to her coronation, began churning out attack pieces on Sanders, propaganda disguised as news, at a furious pace. In one day alone they vomited 18 attacks. Hillary, Wall Street’s choice for Democratic Party candidate, had the money, the power and the media behind her, as well as the CIA pulling propaganda strings behind the scenes. Yet still she lost to what is generally agreed as the worst POTUS in US history (sorry Millard Fillmore & James Buchanan you were bad, just not this awful). With the WaPo in the back pocket of the CIA, don’t look for it to ever do an expose such as they did with Watergate and the Pentagon Papers in the ’70’s.

trump_wedding_clintons 2006

As the DNC and Podesta emails proved beyond a reasonable doubt, not only was the Democratic primary rigged in advance, the Clinton machine–with Mainstream Media collusion–actually promoted the Trump candidacy in the GOP primaries. They called it “the Pied Piper” strategy: engineer the worst possible candidate into the role of GOP presidential candidate and the voters of the United States will be forced to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

Kevin & Bill sexperts in league together
Pervs of a feather fly the Lolita Express together to Jeff Epstein’s Under-Age Fantasy Island. The one with the hidden video cameras to use to blackmail the rich and famous later.

Despite many non Clinton dems urging for HER to go out and campaign in the contested states, Hillary and her acolytes were so sure she would win by a landslide they not only did not actively campaign in the field where it was most needed, they went out of their way to insult and degrade the Sanders wing of the party, which arguably was more than 50% of Democratic Party stalwarts. Well, as we know too well, the American electorate, given the choice of two evils, chose what they perceived was the lesser evil–Trump!

 

Bill Clinton & Harvey Weinstein
Two sexual predators compare notes and gloats.

I would like to gloat over the monstrous hubris of the Clintonites, but unfortunately the entire country–the entire world–is having to suffer the consequences. The Clintons, with their billions of graft and “donations” extorted from third world strongmen and dictators (including Vladimir Putin), can sit back and roll in their ill gotten money; most Americans however will suffer from the dangerous incompetency, the meanness and arrogance of Bill Clinton’s golfing buddy and fellow sex perv, Donald, “grab pussy” Trump.

Thomas Nast dead elephant and Donkey over cliff

There are many causes of how the American political system became so dysfunctional and in future articles I will delve into some aspects of the decline of Democracy and death spiral our Republic seems to be in. But for the present, let me just state the obvious: had the American public been presented with viable alternatives to the Hillary-Trump axis–or Wall Street Blue vs Wall Street Red as one pundit framed it–we would certainly be far better off for the next four to eight years.

Clowns to the left Jokers to the right

Third parties have arisen, but generally they have never attempted to build a party infrastructure county by county that can deliver votes in congressional elections. Once every four years for a charismatic candidate is not enough to turn the Republic’s death spiral around.

What America needs to restore democracy is not three, but at least four and perhaps even six legitimate parties, each of which would appeal to a broad swath of the American electorate. Most issues today are framed in a left vs right duopoly, as if there were no middle ground between either camp.

How many right to life advocates would argue that, if a woman’s life were in immanent danger due to a pregnancy, that she should be made to die rather than to save her life? Conversely, it is estimated that as many as 80% of all gun owners are for reasonable restrictions to keep guns out of the mentally ill, career criminals and terrorists. What they are not for is to have their constitutional rights taken away.

Most Americans, no matter what their declared party affiliation is, often take a variety of stands on a variety of issues: yet the two oligarchic parties restrict our choice to Column A and Column B. Bernie Sanders, a self avowed Socialist, was able to work with Ron Paul, a Libertarian, to force the Federal Reserve to do an audit of its holdings, revealing millions of dollars unaccounted for. That is an example of how independent politicians with different political philosophies can work together for the common good.

Ron & Bernie the political Odd Couple
politics makes for strange bedfellow, but at least they’re not underage.

It may be hard to fathom today, but the Republican Party started as a party whose rank and file were composed of Socialists of one ilk or another. Karl & Abe Book

The Republicans of the 1850’s and 1860’s not only abolished slavery, but redistributed millions of acres of land to the landless, set up a system of FREE higher education, had government intervene in building a transcontinental transportation system (a socialistic program if ever there was one) and many other reforms we now take for granted and don’t even recognize their socialistic origins.

 

 

The Democratic Party used to be the party of the working man and woman and under FDR and the New Deal, farmers, laborers and common folk in all parts of the country looked to the party of Jefferson and Jackson to defend their rights and expand democracy.

Since the mid-eighties, however, that party has been taken over by plutocrats disguised as liberals–the so-called Neo-Liberals–who are definitely NOT Liberals but who are basically Wall Street operatives in sheep’s clothing. More and more, Neo-Liberals’ main goal is to maintain control of the party–and the flood of money coming in from lobbyists and special interests–and less and less with actually winning elections. After all, their logic goes, who are union workers and minorities going to vote for–the Republicans?  With at least 40% of the electorate now identifying themselves as independent, clearly the answer is: NONE OF THE ABOVE

Bernie resistance.

We desperately need more than these two old and corrupt parties to choose from.  If comic book heroes can dwell in a multiverse, so too can the American voter. The electorate can handle more than two choices for not just the Presidency, but the House and Senate and, especially, for state and local offices. The Duopoly–that cabal of rich plutocrats who pretend to be for democracy but who really wish to keep American voters in the thrall of Wall Street–don’t want to give the voters a real choice at the polls. To be sure, those Americans who remain brainwashed by the Left-Right delusion, may think they are voting “Conservative” or “Liberal” when they go to the polls, but how often do they find that what they thought they were voting for never comes to pass?

Reality Pill
THE WORLD THAT HAS BEEN PULLED OVER YOUR EYES TO BLIND YOU FROM THE TRUTH

Wall Street Red and Wall Street Blue will continue to function for a long time to come, but many of the people now part of either party are not happy with their masters and if they were presented with viable alternatives, gladly bolt the failed duopoly that serves neither their needs nor their values.

In future articles I will go into detail as to what these parties should look like. Bear in mind, I do not necessarily subscribe to the values of such parties; but there are large numbers of Americans who would and whose voices would be best heard outside of the stifling political strait-jacket that now exists of Democratic v. Republican tickets. In a true democracy we do not always get what we want; but we are given clear and honest alternatives to choose from.

Delacroix Liberty at the Barricades
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?

In the past, America has had other parties than the Democrats and the Republicans and in some cases we had a genuine multi-party Presidential election. The one time we had a four-way Presidential election, the choice of the voting was arguably one of the country’s greatest Presidents: Abraham Lincoln.  We need more politicians like him today–and a multi-party system is the way to do it.

 

Theodore-Roosevelt

 

 In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt left the corruption of the Republican Party to form the Progressive or “Bull Moose” Party, the best expressions of the Progressive political movement in the 20th century. He beat the GOP candidate in the popular vote, but lost to Woodrow Wilson, a virulently racist Democrat, who pretended to be Progressive but was anything but, and who later dragged America into a war to defend Wall Street & London Bankers’ financial investments.

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Ambrose Bierce on Immigration

Ambrose-Bierce
Ambrose Bierce.  Cynic, observer of the human condition, disappointed idealist.

 

“Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.  And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Robert Fulghum

It seems like some issues in American politics never go away, they just change their context.  One such issue is the question of Immigration Policy.

This election year we hear the Republican candidate spewing racial stereotypes and absurd solutions to the problem of illegal immigration.  While members of his own party have condemned his statements, the truth is that for the last eight years their own stand on illegal immigrants has not been that much different than his.  Before the Great Recession of 2008, moreover, they positively welcomed “undocumented” immigrants because, they said, “we can’t get Americans to do hard work” and similar excuses for allowing cheap unskilled labor to undercut the American worker.

Conversely, the Democratic Party has embraced illegal immigrants–supposedly–even as President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than his predecessors combined.  To be sure, some humane immigration policies have been temporarily put in place by the present POTUS, but this is like putting a topical anesthetic on the skin to cure an internal tumor.

The truth is, many American blue collar workers have seen their good paying jobs disappear over the years, only to be replaced by low wage, no benefit jobs.  Americans are not lazy, nor they unwilling to do hard work; they simply want to be paid a decent wage, something the multinational corporations who run our government and who are writing the international “Free” Trade deals that continue to ship whole factories overseas don’t want.  What most working class Americans don’t understand is that each wave of illegal immigrants flooding into our country are the byproducts of these phony trade deals, which are neither free, nor even much about trade.  NAFTA spurred a flood of illegal Mexican workers, displaced by the deal, who came north seeking work; CAFTA did the same thing to Central Americans, also desperate for work at any price.  Nothing spurs ethnic animosity like the perception that these new arrivals are here to take your already substandard paying job.

The moral philosopher and humorist, Robert Fulghum, once observed that “All I Really Need to Know, I learned in Kindergarten.”  Consider, if you will, the game of Musical Chairs; every time the music stops, everyone scrambles for a chair and someone ALWAYS LOSES. Then another chair is taken away and the music starts again;  again and again, the music stops and another chair is taken away, until only one person wins.  Do you all remember how many fights and arguments broke out over that game?  I do.  Our “rigged” economy is very much like that game of Musical Chairs.  So, yes, a lot of working class Americans are bigoted against immigrants, legal or illegal, because they blame them for the loss of their once prosperous and affluent lifestyle, without ever stopping to think who it is that is really manipulating the music and the chairs.

What has all this got to do with Ambrose Bierce?  Actually, precious little; but in the late nineteenth century many “real Americans” were also concerned about immigration and worried that the furriners were going to ruin our country. Having delved into Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce’s life and works for over six years as I worked on my current book, whenever I see a current political issue heatedly debated, it naturally reminds me of something Bierce said or did.  For you edification, therefore, I present Bierce’s take on immigration:

“America has issued a general invitation. Whether that may have been judicious or not is not for them to say who have accepted it. If we keep open house, we do not need, neither will we tolerate, an intimation from a guest that the company is not sufficiently select.” In other words, only Native Americans have a right to complain about more recent immigrants.”  AGB

Things have changed greatly from the day Bierce uttered his observation, but I would aver that his words still contain much wisdom.

 

Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife cover
Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife, due out in 2016 and available at all the better bookstores.

 

 

 

 

 

IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN….

Bernie Wan Kanobi

After the brazen voting fraud displayed in the New York Primary, it was a foregone conclusion that the Clinton Machine would pull out all the stops to cheat their way to victory on the April 27 “Super Tuesday”  (It seems like Super Tuesdays are becoming more frequent than “Trials of the Century.”). The signs were all there in Pennsylvania that the same criminal behavior Hillary’s minions practiced in the Big Apple would be on display in PA: forged absentee ballots, hacked electronic voting machines, mysteriously purged voter rolls.  Yesterday, one county alone had 900 registered Democrats “missing” on election day; another district had Hillary Clinton handbills on prominent display inside the polling place–that was caught on video–and the poll workers refused to remove the deceptive ads, which were made to look like paper ballots.

hillary_queen_usa

Queen Hillary’s coronation seems virtually assured, at least that is what all the corporate media pundits keep telling us.  In her arrogance, however, Wall Street Hillary, when asked whether she would meet the Sanders people “halfway” and adopt some of their reform agenda, shut down any talk of compromise.  She wants Sen. Sanders to bend the knee and pledge unquestioned allegiance to her and turn over her forces, “for the sake of party loyalty.”

You would think, at the very least, that by now Hillary and her Corporatist lackeys would have grasped what the Sanders Campaign is all about, even if they hated what it stood for.  While we all admire Bernie Sanders for his integrity and honesty, he has not attracted the mass following that he has simply on that alone.  Nor can his popularity be attributed to his charisma or youthful good looks.  No: first and foremost, people have responded to his message of reform and progress.

Bernie Sanders agenda is not just about breaking up the big banks and bringing the Banksters to account for their crimes: but also to create more & better paying  jobs; taking money out of the election process and protecting voting rights; stopping the TPP and repeal the other phony free trade deals that have savaged our economy; universal health care; strengthen and enlarge Social Security; free public university education; rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; make primary and secondary public education public again and not a “profit center” for corporations; end the “Prison Industrial Complex” and stop imprisoning minority groups for petty infractions of the law; the list goes on and on.  As Bernie has emphasized over and over, this is not about one person or one election.  It is about a fundamental reform of America, a nation which has been ravaged by the bad economics of the GOP and their DINO allies in the Democratic Party ever since the 1980’s.

Occupy Deathstar
Occupy Deathstar Protesters

 

Hillary Clinton’s greed for Corporatist money is only exceeded by her lust for power.  Her and the DINO establishment, who have lost far more elections than they have ever won, cannot fathom, it seems, that Bernie Sanders is running on principles, not for personal gain.  Even if he were to sell out his ideals, simply for some political appointment, his mass movement will not troop along dociley and tow the Corporatist line, as Hillary and the other corrupt Establishment Dems want.

Help Us Bernie-wan

While there are still several primaries to go and it is still important for every reform minded individual to still turn out and vote for Bernie, we all need to recognize that the Sanders candidacy is not the end, but the end of the beginning (as Churchill once put it)!

Mark my words, there is a bitter convention fight looming, not for the nomination, but for the reform planks that Sen. Sanders advocates to be put into the Democratic Platform.

Wall Street Hillary’s backers do not want any genuine reforming of the financial system, or of the corrupt electoral process that they control, not to mention any of the other Progressive planks we so desperately need enacted.  The DINO’s will fight tooth and nail to keep any real and meaningful reform planks out of the platform.  Hillary wants nice sounding nostrums, to be sure; and she will promptly betray even those if elected. But any serious and sincere programs of Progressive reform, reforms that the American electorate could get behind? Oh No, God forbid that her real constituency, the 1% that is in currently in control of both parties, should be offended by the Democratic Party Platform.

Delacroix Liberty at the Barricades
La Lutte Continue!

 

After the Democratic Convention, whatever its outcome, all those who have united behind the banner of Bernie Sanders must realize that the real work, the real struggle, the real campaign, has only just begun.

 

 

 

 

The Empire struck back yesterday.  They will continue to do so all through this electoral year and beyond.  Through all of their evil machinations in BOTH parties, remember, we are a Rebel alliance, not just one man and not just one race.

Bernie_wan_Kenobi
The Rebel Alliance needs YOU!

 

There will be other battles ahead and new Jedi Gekkai of all ages, races, genders and creeds will be needed to succeed.  Perhaps even new political parties will be needed to break the stranglehold that the Corporatists have on on our nation–on the world–and if that is what it takes, that is what it takes.  The Republican Party, which was once a party of social justice and economic reform, was begun by handful of idealists gathering in a one room schoolhouse.

Fighting Bernie

The road is long, the road is hard, but the destination is worth the effort.

Yoda & Darth HILLARY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Force of Progress be with you.

Is Donald Trump a Clinton Stalking Horse?

trump_wedding_clintons 2006
Trump and the Clintons have long been close allies; Trump may have started his candidacy as a favor to Bill and Hill, but there is no honor among thieves, even billionaire thieves.

 

In politics, a stalking horse is a public figure who either tests a concept or mounts a challenge against someone on behalf of an anonymous third-party.  For example, Eugene McCarthy served as an insurgent candidate in the 1968 Campaign in an attempt to unseat President Lyndon Johnson’s and keep him from running for a second term.

When he had a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary and proved there was a substantial sentiment for ousting the sitting President, Bobby Kennedy stepped in to mount a bid for the nomination, stealing McCarthy’s thunder. Kennedy was succeeding all the way to the California Primary, until he was murdered by yet another “lone assassin” (sic) in June of 1968.

In the case of McCarthy, he may not have realized he was doing Kennedy’s dirty work in going up against a very powerful sitting President and so his role as stalking horse may have been unwitting.  Kennedy operatives had convinced McCarthy to run and the Senator took the political risks while Bobby Kennedy watched on the sidelines; nevertheless, McCarthy was a Stalking Horse nonetheless.

In the present run for the White House, it has long been apparent that Donald Trump since the earliest phases of his candidacy was not behaving like a normal candidate and seemed, in fact, to be doing just about everything he could to be outrageous and get himself eliminated from the running, even as he disrupted the whole Republican primary system.

Before the race began Jeb Bush was Wall Street’s chosen Republican candidate, just as Hillary Clinton still is on the Democratic side.  In truth, Bush was eminently electable, not only being a moderate with broad appeal to the general electorate, but with a built-in appeal to Hispanics, a key Democratic demographic.  His wife is Mexican and he speaks fluent Spanish; certainly, as candidate he could easily have won against Hillary’s version of Wall Street Corporatism.

Of course, insofar as the billionaires who run our country were concerned, either candidate was acceptable–so long as Wall Street retained control of the political system.  However, after eight years of dog-whistle race-baiting and immigrant hating, the GOP establishment had made Bush’s primary run a much harder one, having enabled racists and right wing extremists to speak openly without fear of criticism.  So, despite all the money behind Jeb Bush, his candidacy went nowhere.  Instead, Trump did not just blow up Jeb’s run, but the Republican Party’s whole scheme.

Out of the blue in comes Trump, all full of piss and vinegar, to upsets the whole Repugnican game.  Already a media celebrity, The Donald comes out with one outrageous statement after another and the Great Unwashed eat it all up.  Although Donald Trump is a billionaire many times over, he is not, nor has he ever been, beholden to Wall Street or multi-national corporations for his wealth or candidacy.  His wealth was the result of real estate dealings, not manufacturing or international trade, which is why he has been willing to call out NAFTA and the TPP for the Corporatist scams they really are.

For all those not familiary with New York City and its rather unique cultural and social mix, Donald Trump, despite his billions, has always been looked down on by the Manhattan money crowd as a brash outsider.  He hails from Queens,  one of the Outer Bouroughs, which has always been regarded with disdain by the elite, not just of Wall Street, but of Manhattan in general.  An oil sheikh with a dozen wives would be more warmly greeted by the Manhattan elite than this Outer Bourough upstart–and that is regardless of whether they are left or right, Democratic or Republican.

In fact, the very large chip on Donald Trump’s shoulder with regards to Wall Street and the Manhattan elite may be a large part of his appeal to all the of blue collar and redneck Republicans who have propelled his insurgent candidacy forward.  The fact that Trump has come out solidly against the disasterous trade deals, like TPP, that have cost America millions upon millions of jobs, plus his rhetoric about creating jobs, is also something that resonates with working class voters, just as it has with Bernie Sanders supporters.

That Donald Trump has disrupted the GOP primary game is not in dispute; what some may find controversial is that, at least initially, he was doing so to aid the Clinton candidacy.  While this may seem a stretch to some, consider the facts: Donald Trump has long been on friendly terms with Bill and Hillary, donating to their cause (themselves) and it is no secret that the Clintons attended his wedding in 2005 his latest wife.  Hardly the actions of avowed enemies, no?

CNN recently posted an interesting video which contrasts Trumps current rhetoric against his earlier opinions of the Clintons dating back not only to 2008, but all the way back to the 90’s.  It is clear that his current criticisms of the Dynamic Duo, Bill & Hill, is a recent creation and almost certainly an artificial animosity, of a kind with Hillary’s opposition to the TPP and her alleged taking her friends on Wall Street to task.

While the 1% had the election rigged for their chosen candidates from the beginning, it seems obvious that the Clinton Machine had other ideas in mind.  They had no intention of running against a serious Republican contender, such as Jeb Bush, who conceivably have won the election.  In steps their old friend The Donald.  To him it was not about money–unlike the Democratic politicians they have bought and paid for across the country, Trump doesn’t need the Clinton’s cash. In fact, the Donald has been a generous donor to the nefarious Clinton Machine over the years.

No, Donald joined the Republican primary just for the fun of it, to see how much mayhem and confusion he could cause against the Wall Street establishment that has always looked down on him.  Trump’s candidacy resembled nothing so much as the scenario from the classic Mel Brooks movie The Producers. Two con artists decide to produce the worst play they could find, knowing that nobody ever questions the finances of a flop.  So they produce “Springtime for Hitler” assured that the play will close on opening night.  Well, guess what, like Springtime for Hitler, the Trump candidacy has become a runaway hit.

Trump being Trump, loves being the center of attention and being an egomaniac feeds on being the center of attention. What better forum for him than running for President? Now, with the success of his candidacy, all bets with his old friends the Clintons are off.  Trump still spews politically incorrect invectives, but one has to wonder is this just for media attention, or is Trump still trying to sabotage his Republican Presidential hopes?  The Donald may well be in it to win it now; only time will tell. But just as the Clintons have pulled every dirty trick in the book against the Sanders candidacy, so too have they sabotaged the entire Republican electoral machine in their avarice and hunger for power.

In their evil genius, one must concede the Clinton’s brilliance, even as one recognizes the massive corruption they have wrought on the Democratic Party.  The level and brazeness of the Clinton voting fraud perpetrated in the Democratic primaries far exceeds even Karl Rove’s vote rigging in the general election of 2oo4.   As far as the Republican Party is concerned, it was already thoroughly corrupt; the GOP’s only hope is if Hillary Clinton’s Corporatist presidency explodes in her face just as Nixon’s did due to Watergate.

Thomas Nast political cartoon
The Party of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt long ago sold out to corporate interests; now the Clinton’s Stalking Horse, Donald Trump, is wreaking havoc with the hollow shell.

 

Legacy Voters and the Looming Demise of Neo-Liberal Democrats

Since the Reagan Era, the Democratic Party, despite having once been the standard bearer of the basic values of the New Deal, has continually failed to live up to anything remotely resembling its responsibility to the American public.  The reasons for this have been obvious for some time, yet the party establishment continues to turn a blind eye to its own fundamental flaws.

The fundamental changes began in the late sixties, in particular with the 1968 Democratic Convention.  That event was a disaster for the New Deal Democrats in a number of ways.  First off, the convention marked the last gasp of the Democratic Party Dixiecrats.

Ever since the advent of the New Deal there had been an inner struggle in the Democratic Party between its Progressive Wing and the Segregationists.  In 1968 the Segregationist "Dixiecrats" left and joined the GOP.
Ever since the advent of the New Deal there had been an inner struggle in the Democratic Party between its Progressive Wing and the Segregationists. In 1968 the Segregationist “Dixiecrats” left and joined the GOP.

Ever since FDR there had been an uneasy coalition of Southern Democrats, who espoused white supremacy but remained with the party for the benefits that the New Deal conferred on the South: rural electrification, the TVA, Federal road programs and other perks of being part of party which promoted national recovery; all this outweighed its increasingly progressive stands regarding its tilt towards civil rights for Southern Democrats.  Also, the Democratic Party wasn’t the hated party of Lincoln—in essence they continued to vote Democratic because they were legacy voters.   But when the party began seating integrated delegations for certain Southern states, the Segregationist wing finally walked out of the Democratic Party—and walked straight into the Republican Party.  Since that time GOP has continued to use “dog whistle” politics to rally racists to their party, without overtly espousing racism.

"Dog Whistle" Politics: using code words to appeal to racists that may sound innocuous but lets the target audience know you're one of them.
“Dog Whistle” Politics: using code words to appeal to racists that may sound innocuous but lets the target audience know you’re one of them.

 

Once upon a time, the Republicans had also benefited from their own legacy voting block—African Americans.  For generations, the GOP was still the party of Lincoln to African Americans, even though the party had sold them out in 1876 to Southern whites, promising to end Reconstruction in order to retain the presidency.  Then, in 1927, a massive flood of the Mississippi River inundated large parts of the deep South: 27,000 square miles of land was inundated up to a depth of 30 feet.  200,000 Blacks were flooded out of their homes and lived in relief camps for long stretches of time.  While Whites and Blacks alike were affected, Blacks were neglected by the white leadership of the South.  The Republicans made promises to African Americans to help them recover from the widespread destruction of their homes and livelihood, but many of the promises made by President Herbert Hoover to Blacks were broken.  This caused widespread disillusion among a core constituency of legacy voters of the GOP and Hoover lost to FDR in 1932.  From 1932 onward, Blacks began voting Democratic—not initially because the Democrats were all that much better, but because the Republicans had abandoned them.  As time went on, however, the Democratic Party sided more and more with African Americans needs and wants.

Hillary Clinton talks the talk but walks with the banksters and Wall Street oligarchs.
Hillary Clinton talks the talk but walks with the banksters and Wall Street oligarchs.

Today we see a Democratic Party which, like the GOP of the 1920’s, has neglected and abandoned not one, but several of its core constituencies.  In the 1980’s blue collar workers began voting Republican—the so-called Reagan Democrats—not because the Republicans were doing all that much more for them, but because the Democrats had taken them for granted and were doing nothing to secure their loyalty with positive programs.  Worse still, many Democrats, seeing the perceived ideological success of the Reagan presidency, decided to abandon the ideals of the New Deal and started cozying up to the big money of Wall Street and started promoting anti-labor, job killing programs such as NAFTA (thanks for nothing Bill Clinton).  These so-called Neo Liberals retained the superficial trappings of the party: nominal support of civil rights, paying lip service to women’s rights, and the preservation of Social Security and Medicare, if half-heartedly.  But more and more, Neo-Liberals have been anything but liberal and more and more the docile lap-dogs of Wall Street banks.  In effect, they have turned the Democratic Party into what has been dubbed “Republican Light” and as more than one political pundit has observed, why should voters turn out for a watered down Republican agenda, when they can simply vote for the real thing?

"Goldwater Girl" Hillary worked for Conservative Barry Goldwater in 1962 even as Bernie Sanders was fighting for Civil Rights in Chicago.
“Goldwater Girl” Hillary worked for Conservative Barry Goldwater in 1962 even as Bernie Sanders was fighting for Civil Rights in Chicago.

Americans of African Descent turned out for Obama in 2008 and 2012 in record numbers, largely based on his race, but also for his promises of real economic change.  In 2008 Obama promised all Americans a fundamental change in the way politics would be done in DC; the Republicans vowed to block him at every turn.  Sadly, the Republicans have largely succeeded, while most of Obama’s promises have been broken.

Even when he had a majority in Congress, President Obama did next to nothing to pursue the Progressive promises he had made to the American people.  His political opponents labeled him a “radical leftist” and socialist, but in truth, Obama proved to be yet another Neo-Liberal, yet another Wall Street Democrat.  To be sure, he passed some healthcare reforms; but it was the program first proposed by the Conservative Heritage Foundation—basically Romney care writ large.

On other fronts, Obama proved himself even less progressive and less reformist: his appointee for Attorney General was a Wall Street lawyer who refused to prosecute any of the criminal actions of the banksters and corporate thieves who nearly brought about world fiscal collapse.  His Secretary of Education, it also turns out, was a big promoter of privatization of public schools—something which enriches private corporations at public expense and leaves public education worse off than if nothing had been done.

With Obama no longer around to turn out the Black vote, unless the Dems can offer solid economic and political reasons for them to go to the polls, it is likely African Americans will sit out the 2016 elections.  Hillary Clinton has the endorsement of many Black leaders, true; but her Neo-Liberal policies will do nothing to help African Americans and may well prove very harmful to them economically.

Bernie Sanders in 1962 organizing a protest against police brutality in Chicago.
Bernie Sanders in 1962 organizing a protest against police brutality in Chicago.

Democrats of this Neo-Liberal stink tank school put great faith in demographics; they look at the growing numbers of Hispanics and other minorities and assume that these ethnic groups will automatically vote Democratic in coming election cycles.  This is a delusion; if you do not give them a reason to support your party they will not go out and vote.  The Neo Liberals want to have their corporate cake and get to eat it as well.  They are so very, very, wrong.

Just as Blacks deserted the Republicans because the party had abandoned them, the majority of middle class Americans, as well as all those minority demographic groups Neo Liberals assume will vote their way, are at the very least likely to stay home and allow the reactionaries of the newer, uglier GOP to continue to rule.  Sadly, many adherents to the Tea Party who call themselves Conservative don’t understand that the party they serve is out to savage their own Social Security, Medicare and VA benefits; by the time they wake to their mistake, it may well prove too late to undo.  So it is very important for some alternative to the reactionary right to be presented to voters, and so far the Democratic Party has failed dismally at that task.  If all the Dems can offer is the same old Neo-Liberal lies such as Goldwater Girl Hillary offers, the party has only a marginal chance of winning the White House and no chance of taking back Congress to actually get things done.

The future of the Democratic Party—if there is one—lies with listening to the voices of insurgents such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  People of all backgrounds, races and age groups are flocking to Bernie Sanders’ banner, not because he is particularly charismatic or charming—he is not—but because of the policies and issues he espouses.  Bernie Sanders policies are not radically new, far from it; they are a basic reaffirmation of the New Deal agenda and its Progressive predecessors, adapted for the modern day.  This is what voters are responding too and will turn out in record numbers for; not the failed policies that have transferred the wealth of the middle class to the 1% who seek to turn our nation into an oligarchy.

Bernie Sanders being arrested in a non-violent Civil Rights demonstration in 1963.
Bernie Sanders being arrested in a non-violent Civil Rights demonstration in 1963.

So long as the Dems remain wedded to Wall Street and economic abominations such as the TPP, the party will fail. Eventually, if both parties continue to kowtow to the Wall Street oligarchs, the banksters, and the neo-fascist Koch suckers, new parties will arise to replace them.  Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

 

 

 

Which side is the Black Lives Matter Movement on?

In a primary season fertile in unpredictability, extremism and just plain weirdness, you have to go some way to stand out as the wild hamster of politics, but the Black Lives Matter and allied movements have managed to achieve that status.  Unfortunately, BLM and others who are new to Progressive politics and Civil Rights are, so far, doing their cause more harm than good.

The Obama Presidency, which started out as the crowning achievement of African Americans’ quest for full equality and integration into American society, has instead presided over a resurgence of overt racism and bigotry.  That’s not President Obama’s fault, but his passivity in the face of overt racism and bigotry is.  No longer content to simply use the ‘dog whistle’ politics, the Republican Party has chosen to enable the worst elements of their party and legitimize them.  Dog Whistle politics is nothing new to the GOP, but along with it they are engaging in massive efforts to disenfranchise Blacks, Latinos and whoever else they think might not vote their way.

Meanwhile, the American public has been horrified to witness unarmed African Americans murdered in cold blood by police, with government officials colluding in and whitewashing these outrageous acts.  Even some right wing politicians took pause at what has happened to our country when they witnessed armored cars and machine-gun armed cops dressed more for Iraq turn out to suppress peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri.  Part and parcel with these acts of police brutality is the militarization of police forces across the nation.  Of course, what do you expect when you are continually declaring war on crime, war on drugs, war on running stop signs, war on jaywalking, etc.  and while politicians are being bribed and goaded by the Prison Industrial Complex to lock as many people up to enrich for profit prison corporations?

Enter Black Lives Matter and others of the same ilk from out of nowhere, outraged and angry.  The outrage and anger is legitimate and most Americans of any color would agree with them, except that they have gone about it in a manner calculated to alienate those most sympathetic to the cause.  Jumping up on stage when a candidate is speaking, in an age of terrorism and when we have seen too many Progressive politicians murdered since the sixties, seems more calculated to put themselves as individuals in the spotlight, rather than the issues the purport to support.  Too many in BLM seem interested in self aggrandizement rather than real progress.

Mind you, their basic premise is absolutely correct.  For example, there was the case where a black couple is killed in a hail of gunfire by cops because their car backfired while passing a precinct station; one of the cops, jumped on the hood of the car and pumped 16 bullets into the elderly couple; but he was not indicted because, the judge said, they couldn’t know if those 16 bullets out of the 150 shot were the fatal shots!  A black man is shot down in Walmart because he is handling a toy gun; a black youth in an OPEN CARRY state is shot down with another toy gun without even being given a chance to drop it.  Cops shoot first and think later and do so with impunity.  So yes, these and other acts are outrageous and should not be tolerated anymore—as they never should have been tolerated to start with.

But rather that protesting against the Republican legislators and district attorneys who enable this psychopathic behavior by police, BYM disrupts Bernie Sanders rallies, purposefully discrediting and disrupting the one candidate who is seriously committed to ending police abuse today—and who was protesting police brutality in Chicago long before they were ever born.

Bursting into a private Hillary fundraiser was perhaps more justifiable, although no less obnoxious.  But even here, the real issue of that meeting–that those attending it were billionaires, banker and oligarchs who were all backing Goldwater Girl Hillary with their millions—was ignored. The BYM protester managed to distract the media pundits from her civil rights message by the manner of her performance art.  In this and other incidents, their reason for disrupting the meeting is lost on the media pundits—their own grandstanding becomes the main focus of the news media.

The shutting down of the Trump rally last week in Chicago was not the doing of BLM, admittedly, but here again the intent of disrupting that rally was lost on the media and in the end did more harm than good.  Corporate media immediately portrayed Trump as the victim and the protestors as aggressors.  Trump even managed to pin the blame on Bernie Sanders for the disruption, despite the absurdity of the accusation.  Way to go, protesters!

What the mainstream media mainly focused on in this case was that demonstrators were throwing punches at Trump supporters.  In fairness, Trump’s choice of a U. of Illinois campus, whose student body was predominantly composed of ethnic minorities and immigrants, was probably deliberately provocative; filling the campus with Trump’s redneck and radical right supporters were the equivalent of waiving a red flag at a bull.  Also, from the footage, it was unclear who began throwing the punches first; perhaps the demonstrators were simply defending themselves against assault.  But that doesn’t matter: the message of that Chicago student protest was totally forgotten in reports of the melee.  Left wing violence was what got reported, whether that was a true portrayal events or not.

More than a generation ago, I produced a syndicated radio news show, where we taped an interview with Marshal McLuhan and another University of Toronto associate.  It was rather like an intellectual tag team wrestling match, with the two authors completing each other’s sentences in the interview.  McLuhan’s ideas about media and communications have become so familiar as to become trite; but many of McLuhan’s ideas remain relevant and especially in this present instance.

Marshall McLuhan coined the term “the Media is the Massage” which, besides being a clever turn of phrase, implied that the form of your communication is often more important than the actual content of the message itself. If you are trying to protest violence against minorities by police, yet you yourself visually communicate a message of violence, you hurt your cause, not help it.  It doesn’t matter one bit whether your intentions are good, if you give those who oppose you propaganda  to continue to obstruct that progress.  Others may disagree with me, but I maintain that BYM and other newbies the Civil Rights have been counterproductive, if not outright inimical to their stated goals.

In the 1960’s, demonstrators like Bernie Sanders and others used non-violent demonstrations, passive resistance, sit-ins and similar tactics for good reason; these methodologies employed was carefully thought so that opponents could not claim the moral high ground, especially when their racist opponents perpetrated violence against them.

Non-Violence is not an easy program to carry out; it not only requires self-restraint, it requires a great deal of moral courage.  When verbal insults and physical threats are hurled at you, it is natural to react in kind, but that is exactly the wrong sort of response; that defeats the very message you are trying to convey. The Civil Rights demonstrators of the sixties knew all this.  Apparently that lesson needs to be learned all over again–otherwise it is doomed to failure.

In just the last few years we have seen a dramatic rollback of voting rights and civil rights, this coming after a generation of rollbacks in worker’s rights and the rapid disintegration of the middle class,  as the top 1% have accrued more and more wealth and power to themselves.  Always bear in mind that racism is almost always based in economics; both the white trash racists and their minority victims are playing a game of musical chairs and are both fighting for the remaining chairs that haven’t been taken away from them by the 1%.  So wise up and stop playing by the billionaire’s rules.

A re-dedication to social and economic justice is needed and those new to the struggle, like the members of Black Lives Matter and the other recent arrivals are welcome—but don’t attack those who are on your side and don’t enable the enemies of social and economic justice with actions and images that end up hurting that cause.  Just sayin.

Ben Carson and Biblical Economics: Bible Econ. 101

What the Bible says and what Ben Carson wants it so say are two very different things.
What the Bible says and what Ben Carson wants it so say are two very different things.

The foundation of Dr. Ben Carson’s political following rests on his credentials as a Conservative Christian ideologue; any of the pathological lies he utters about his personal past are ignored as the “Secular Humanist” Media, or alternately the imaginary “Liberal Media” distorting what their Good Christian Crusader may say, no matter how absurd or inconsistent it seems to all those not brainwashed into Religious Right dogma.  So the fact that Doctor Ben has used fetal stem cells in past research is ignored, so long as he states he is against the use of fetal stem cell research.  Likewise, when in the debates he states he is opposed to raising the minimum wage, even when last April he was for it, well, that’s just more of the Liberal Media trying to confuse us with facts.  It is therefore irrelevant to his supporters that Doctor Ben is a pathological liar: he is a Good Christian (so he says) and that’s all they know and need to know.

Trying to cite facts to the true believers of the Religious Right is akin to how trying to argue with traditional Leninist/Stalinist true believers used to be: they have their dialectic and everything that does not fit into it is willfully ignored.   So, when the Religious Right starts citing chapter and verse to justify trickle down economics and social Darwinism and all the other long disproved Republican propaganda masquerading as economics, it is useless to try to argue modern realities with them; their biblical dialectic won’t allow it.  However, like many Bible thumpers who claim to take the Good Book literally and are fond of using it for their economic and political beliefs, Ben Carson and the Religious Right are notoriously selective when it comes to citing examples from the Bible.  It goes back to the old adage: the Devil can quote the Bible to suit his purposes.  It is therefore quite legitimate to call Doctor Ben out when he justifies his wrong-headed ideas by basing them on the Bible, when in fact the Old and New Testaments do not support or justify those ideas.

Let’s start with Doctor Ben’s latest honker about the pyramids being ancient granaries and then move on to his more dangerous theories.  Now I make no claims to being a Biblical scholar, nor a theologian for that matter; but I did spend a few years of my mis-spent youth studying Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology, including both Egyptology and the history of Eretz Israel.  I was taught by eminent Egyptologists such as Dr. Helene Kantor and Professor Klaus Baer, as well as other stellar luminaries of the Biblical history and Assyriology, and while I cannot claim to aspire to their expertise in the subject, I did manage to stay awake in their lectures to understand that what Doctor Ben and his followers believe is utter garbage.  Firstly, the Story of Joseph, as recorded in the Old Testament, was written to about the eighth century BC, although it refers to events preceding the Exodus, which most scholars place towards the end of the New Kingdom, sometime towards the end of the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (anywhere between the 14th and 12th centuries BC give or take).  Now admittedly, since academics still debate about the date of Exodus, there is a bit of wiggle room here—but not a lot.  The Pyramid Age—when the pyramids were constructed—was the Old Kingdom (ca. 2700-2100 BC), nowhere near in time to either the Story of Joseph or Exodus.  The other fact is that the pyramids were primarily the tombs of the ancient kings of Egypt and while their also held the king’s treasure trove, they were never, ever used as granaries, either in the Old Kingdom or later: FACT NOT THEORY.

Doctor Ben thinks Big

While Doctor Ben’s whacko theories about the pyramids may seem amusing, it points to a mind that is not only profoundly ignorant, but also refuses to learn differently.  His pyramid theory was not just an off the cuff remark; the other night Steven Colbert’s researchers dug up an old clip of Carson as a young man also proclaiming the same theory.  Apparently this man holds onto mistaken beliefs like a bulldog gnawing an old bone: facts that get in the way of his contrived theories are ignored.  This man is dangerously ignorant.

Dr. Ben one with demented Tea-baggers
Dr. Ben one with demented Tea-baggers

If one were to use the Story of Joseph for something other than its moral teaching value (its original intent) there is, however, a lesson in economics to be learned from the Bible tale.  Pharaoh, as you may recall, had a strange dream where seven lean cows devoured seven fat cows; Joseph was summoned to interpret the odd dream and divined that Egypt would have seven years of plenty followed by seven lean years of famine.  So, according to the story, on Joseph’s advice, the Pharaoh did indeed build granaries to house the surplus—not give it away to corporations and billionaires—and when the lean years came, (as they always do) the food was distributed to the population.  The Story of Joseph, therefore, is a classic example of the virtue of deficit spending during an economic downturn.  The Greeks told a lot of false tales about the ancient kings of Egypt that we still hear, but whatever you may think of them, at least the ancient kings of Egypt looked after their people and made sure the poor did not starve—and if you want to look to the Bible for economic policy, the Story of Joseph is as good a starting place as any.

Doctor Ben has also cited the Bible as his authority for instituting a flat tax when he becomes King—I mean President.  Here again, he has done a bit of selective reading when it comes to the OT.  Yes indeed, the ancient Israelites did have a Tithe—a flat ten percent tax—on agricultural products; but they also had a Temple Tax, plus a non-agricultural Tithe—whereby you gave ten percent of your income to the poor!  The Temple Tax was a small fixed amount regardless of income limited to adult males over 20; whereas the tithes were based on your income; that is, AN INCOME TAX.  Now the tithes were actually proportional, which is to say PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAXES, since those who were poor were either relieved of paying the tithe or allowed to pay a lesser percentage than 10; conversely, those who were wealthy were obligated to pay 20% of their income instead of the standard rate.  There were a number of other duties and customs as well: for example, there was the custom of gleaning, whereby the poor were allowed to go through the fields after harvest and collect the grains which had fallen to the ground and to take away whatever they could carry on their person.  Unlike modern America, where law and politics are totally divorced from morality, despite the hypocritical utterings of the Religious Right, to the ancient Israelites the Law was fundamentally moral in nature and social justice was engrained into every aspect of it—kind of what we would call Socialism today.

If the Pyramids are granaries then of course Easter Island statues were Goliath's toys.
If the Pyramids are granaries then of course Easter Island statues were Goliath’s toys.

Now, if we go to the New Testament, what we find is not Socialism, but outright Communism in early Christianity.  Do phrases like “give up all your worldly goods to the poor and follow me” or “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the Kingdom of God” ring a bell?  In fact there is a passage in the New Testament where it explicitly states that the early Christian communities held their property in common.  This is where the old communistic tradition in Christianity comes from: be they the Benedictines (who ran my old alma mater) or the Protestant Amana Colony of Iowa, or splinter sects like the Shakers (good music, but the celibacy was a little rough on the early American pioneers so they kind of petered out).  By comparison, Marxism is just a recent fad compared to the Socialism/Communism of the Old and New Testament.

Now I am not telling anyone to go thou and do likewise: the Bible is a collection of texts intended for spiritual instruction and moral guidance; it is not an economics textbook, still less is it a biology or climatology textbook.  Evolution and Global Climate Change are scientific facts, not opinions; if your theology conflicts with scientific fact, the problem is not with the Bible, OT or NT, but with your interpretation of those ancient sources of wisdom.  Don’t put that one on God; and don’t use God and the Bible to justify a hypocritical belief system which puts billionaires’ privileges ahead of the common good.  You don’t have to use the Bible as your guide to economics, but then again, there are worse guides to go by for economic guidance—just don’t cherry pick what suits you.