“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.
If you haven’t heard by now, the Clintons have wealthy friends; VERY wealthy friends. And they show their friendship in many ways, but mostly through giving them money; LOTS of money. No secret here. Also no secret is that Bill and Hillary will do just about anything for their friends; change their vote in Congress, steer lucrative government contracts their way; make sure they get nice shiny new bombers and missiles and other military hardware that her foreign friends think they may like to play with. Friends like that you can’t put a price tag on except, actually, you can.
Through the Clinton Foundation, Super PACs, Shell Corporations in the Cayman Islands and any number of other dodges and subterfuges that elude even the most diligent forensic accountants, Bill and Hillary shift money around the nation and around the world like your grandpa shifts checkers on a checkerboard. Because I like to keep it simple, however, today let’s just look at the top dozen contributors to Hillary’s current primary election campaign. Now this is the list as reported a short while back, so no doubt the list has grown much bigger and the rankings may have changed since last reported. It also does not take into account speaking fees, super PAC money, Clinton Foundation donations, in kind donations, influence peddling, or any other back door ways of obtaining lucre, filthy or otherwise. So these contributors, whom I call the Dirty Dozen, are but a small tip of the iceberg of the Clinton Cash Machine. In fact, I have every confidence that these same donors are also giving far more money through other avenues than straight to her campaign; but like I said, I wanted to keep it simple.
So here they are, The Dirty Dozen:
J P Morgan Chase…………………801,380
University of California………….686,509
Skadden, Arps et al……………….562,182
Kirkland & Ellis…………………….491,066
Paul, Weiss et al……………………430,919
Now, on this list are the usual suspects: Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan, Morgan Stanley; and considering how much they give Goldwater Girl Hillary an hour to speak at their meetings (where are the transcripts Hillary?) these are, comparatively, modest sums for getting THEIR CANDIDATE elected. Of course, as noted before, these are the outright campaign contributions, not any of the dark money donations.
Of special note is the fact that one these big money donors is Time Warner, the media conglomerate, whose subsidiary is CNN, the cable news giant. So, when the CNN folks pretend to be objective and then give Bernie fifteen minutes of news coverage to hours for Hillary, we should not be too surprised. Also, when they have a conga line of “commentators” asking why Bernie just doesn’t give up and cede the race to the heir apparent to the throne, this too should be taken for the simpering attempt to control the message in this election that it is.
Time Warner, along with other media giants, is a BIG (or as Trump would say HUUUGE) backer of the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP, that really awful giveaway to multinational corporations which will undermine national sovereignty (and all local laws the corporations don’t like) as well as transfer more high paying US jobs overseas to nations where they’ll become starvation wage jobs, as well as further hurting the US balance of trade and indirectly increase the Federal deficit. So once Slick Hillary assumes the mantle of power, expect the TPP deal to slide through like a case of diarrhea due to Asian Flu. Did I mention that this and other so-called “Free Trade” deals have nothing to do with trade and are anything but free?
At the top of the list is EMILY’s List, a Pro-Choice, pro-Gay and Transgender, pro-Democratic Party, Feminist organization, dedicated to getting women elected to public office. They bill themselves as a Progressive. So, at first glance Emily’s List is a perfect fit for Pro-LGBT, Pro-Progressive, Vote for Me Because I’m a Woman Hillary. No Progressive Democrat, male or female, could quibble with this group donating to get a Democrat elected, right? Wrong.
According to one media pundit, “basically every Democratic woman candidate is petrified to speak publicly about EMILY’s List’s shenanigans.” Evidently, whenever they give to a candidate’s race, there is an unspoken requirement that they hire a certain media consulting firm, whose president just happens to be the wife of EMILY’s List Campaign Director! The donated money must be spent on the beltway media firm, whose performance is reported to be something less than stellar and who some candidates have blamed for their losing the election.
Apparently liberal candidates are forced to go along with the scam because EMILY’s List is working hand in glove with senior Democratic Party officials to fleece candidate’s campaigns. Obviously, a few high powered party establishment operatives are benefiting from this scam at the expense of the Progressive wing of the party; I wonder who they could be, Bill and Hillary?
More curious on the Dirty Dozen list is the University of California, weighing in at more than three quarters of a million dollar donation. It is ethically dubious even for a private university to contribute to a political campaign; it is even worse for a PUBLIC university to do so. A “Fact Sheet” distributed by U. of C. in fact denies that the school makes any political contributions or funds any political action committees. They do, however, say that “sometimes organizations that track campaign contributions, such as http://opensecrets.org, take the official data provided by the FEC about campaign contributions and report by demographic breakdown, such as by industry or employer” and UC characterize such listings as “misleading.” So technically, no, the University of California did not directly give; but some pundits note that there is a “revolving door” between political lobbyists and government officeholders and the members of UC administration and the University does “track” bills in Congress as well as any Executive Branch’s proposed rules and regulations which may affect the university and higher education in general. Also, there are political operatives who do “bundling” of UC employee contributions, plus there is the dark world of PACs, who are legally separate from their beneficiary organization, but who unofficially coordinate their activities with it. So the truth here is, let us say, somewhat murky.
Then we have the big money law firms. Hillary is a lawyer; they’re lawyers; what could be more natural, right?
Up near the top is DLA Piper, a GLOBAL multinational law firm, with offices in over 30 countries; it is the largest law firm in the world with billions in revenue; virtually every lawyer in the firm is a multi-millionaire. Just a bunch of poor ol’ country lawyers. It should come as no surprise that its legal staff has included, not just US senators and cabinet members, but former Prime Ministers and other high international Muckey-Mucks. According to the watchdog, Above the Law, “the firm makes for great copy; there’s always something funny, ridiculous, or salacious going down over there.” This includes accusations of over-billing its filthy rich clientele (no tears here over that) and the firm’s involvement with a fossil fuel executive who claimed to be working for the CIA in order to get into the panties of two Khazakh women, whom he had “rescued” from a brothel (or was it a seraglio?), as well as more serious scandals over the years.
Skadden Arps is perhaps not so colorful as DLA Piper, but it too is an international law firm with tentacles firmly in the Washington establishment, doing lobbying for major corporations and with a notable tilt towards Democratic politics. Love ya Hill baby.
Paul, Weiss is another lobbying law firm with headquarters in New York City but major offices in Washington and overseas. Besides buttering up pols such as Bill & Hill, they do entertainment law and manage corporate mergers and takeovers, in addition to the occasion pro bono good deed, such as representing detainees held in durance vile in Gitmo.
Kirkland & Ellis is similarly a heavy hitter law firm who do entertainment and corporate law; they went to bat for BP when the oil giant polluted the entire Gulf Coast and got some of its workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill fiasco. They didn’t clean up the heavy crude, but did try to clean up the legal mess for their multinational client. They trend toward Dems, being a major backer of Obama in 2008 and have their own PAC to distribute additional largesse. Apparently they want to get in Hillary’s good graces before she becomes the Anointed One.
There are, of course, very many more law firms and lobbyists on the Hillary hit list; we have only looked at the tip of the iceberg here. Where the real influence peddling with Bill & Hill goes on is in the murkier nether regions of the Clinton empire, namely the Clinton Foundation and the spiders webs of PAC’s and other organizations. Of course, as the email and Panama Paper scandals unfold, more will be revealed; that’s when the real fun begins.
As one Repugnican pundit has observed, on the campaign circuit Hillary Clinton travels around with two jets; one for Hillary and her entourage, and one for her baggage.
Clear your social calendar folks, on April 15–the day us little folks sweat over getting their tax returns in–venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, who you may know better for his “Uber for Jetliners” fame, will be hosting a humble little shindig for Goldwater Girl Hillary Clinton. While Shervin is hosting the soiree, the real celebrities raising money for Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be George and Amal Clooney, who are big supporters of the Hill.
It is one of those affairs where, if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it; but since everybody but EVERYBODY with a net worth over $10 Mill will be there, we will let you in on the ticket prices anyhow. For the top tier tickets, which includes sitting at the head table with former Walmart Board Member Hillary and Hollywood royalty, it is a mere $353,400 a ticket, and that includes Slick Willie as well as Slick Hillary, so you see it is a bargain indeed–why its like having your own Goldman Sachs speech event!
Now for the hoi polloi who can only come up with $100 grand per person, why they will let you into the “Host Reception” which still features the Clintons and the Clooneys. It is economy class but, what the hey, some of the glamour may yet rub off on you
But lest you think this is just for the One Percenters, the Clintons –always thinking of the little people,–will for a mere $30,000 cash in hand, will let you have your photo taken with Her Majesty Hillary. After which the bouncers will grab you by the scruff of the neck and eject you out the back door, and please don’t scuff the steps as you tumble down them.
Now, in all fairness, all this is perfectly legitimate and legal and both billionaire Pishevar and the Clooneys are no doubt sincere and dedicated in their support of Hillary Clinton. Unlike the vote rigging in Arizona, or the insider sabotage in Massachusetts, or the odd discrepancies in exit polls vs recorded vote in a number of Hillary’s wins, this is all on the up and up and legal.
But compare this with the Sanders fundraisers: $27 from a housewife here, $10 from a college graduate up to their ears in student loan debt, smaller change from a kid’s piggy bank. The populist and plebian nature of the Sanders campaign contrasts sharply with that of Hillary’s diligent courting of Wall Street and the Billionaire Class. Oh, by the way, Queen Hillary still won’t reveal the text of her speeches made before Bear Stearns and other Bankster Wall Street firms.
Now, interestingly, the money she is raising from all these well-heeled West Coast types does not go directly into her campaign coffers–she has plenty of special interest and PAC money for that. No, Ms. PAC Woman will be giving the largesse from this exclusive tea party to The Hillary Victory Fund, which will in turn dole out money to the DNC and assorted state party groups, ostensibly to help get a full slate of Dems elected to Congress this fall. This is indeed a worthy goal; but if you don’t think that all that money going to party stalwarts isn’t going to grease the palms of “Super Delegates” to assure they vote for Hillary, regardless of what their state’s voters want–well, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. And you won’t have to pay $353,400 for it.
As for the Bay Area party-goers, no doubt a few precious minutes with Bill and Hill may be worth the price of admission to some without any quid pro quo, but what do you want to bet that, having kissed the Godfather & Godmother’s rings, once they assume the throne in the White House, these millionaire and billionaire acolytes will be coming around for favors? Hey, Yo! I got an offer youse can’t refuse!
George and Amal Clooney have been sincere and dedicated supporters of human rights and more recently of the refugee rights of those who have been forced to flee the horrific war in Syria. This is not to question their honesty or sincerity: but are they aware that it was none other than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who goaded President Obama to directly intervene in Syria with the goal of regime change to start with? Or that her other hawkish interventionist policies as both Senator and Secretary have been equally disastrous? And we won’t even get into her covert support of murder squads in Central America. America and Obama are far better off with Kerry as Secretary of State, although the damage hawkish Hillary has done can’t be undone.
Much of the blame for the refugee crisis can be laid directly at the perfectly pedicured feet of Wall Street Hillary. Her blunders as Secretary of State have been carefully overlooked by the mainstream media, since she touts her foreign affairs expertise as her main claim to fame; yet her record in that sphere is awful, even without the GOP fabricating lies about it.
For more on this exclusive Billionaire Bonanza, read the Gawker article or see the Secular Talk spot on it.
It is apparently harder to rig caucus results than primaries, since they are based on people actually showing up and registering their views on the condidates. Hence Bernie Sanders Easter Saturday Sweep.
Washington and Alaska have gone solidly for Bernie Sanders, fulfilling expectations that, once the Dems got over canvassing the solid South, the weight of popular opinion would shift inexorably to the Sanders campaign.
Of course, as usual, the corporate media have done their best to downplay the results and keep emphasizing Hillary Clinton’s lead, but the truth is that without her political machine manufacturing false wins through electronic hacking, she would not now be the frontrunner, even with the deep South solidly behind her. Discrepancies between exit polls and electronic vote tallies in Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri and now massive vote rigging in Arizona, have all put a cloud over the Democratic Party’s establishment and their stop-at-nothing to get Wall Street Hillary as their standard bearer.
Despite all the Republican bellyaching over Trump, the truth is that the other GOP candidates in the clown car are no better and when he takes the candidacy (or else) like good little clones all the party stalwarts and mindless voters will line up behind Umpa Lumpa Trumpa and vote for him. In contrast, the Democrats pin all their hopes on a record turn-out to overcome the Republicans vote suppression tactics. But while that strategy will work with Bernie Sanders at the helm, Hillary Clinton simply cannot generate the enthusiasm and idealism necessary to succeed.
The Democratic Party abandoned the rural states and abandoned the blue collar workers and let the Republicans savage Unions for decades; Gays got marriage equality thanks to the Ultra-Conservative Supreme Court (think about that one for a minute) and so they will not turn out in large numbers; there is no Black Hope running for the White House, so don’t expect the kind of turnout among them that we saw in 2008 and in the deep South, where Hillary did so well in the primaries, it is guaranteed that the GOP will keep as many Blacks from voting as possible.
Yes, Hillary will get the party stalwarts, some of them; she will get the aging 70’s women’s libbers who will vote for her because simply because of her gender and ignore her Wall Street connections and her support of Honduran murders squads. But millennial women and progressive females who seem to be paying close attention to what the candidates really stand for and will do, are going to vote for Sanders in large numbers but are unlikely to turn out for Goldwater Girl.
The Corporate Media wants us to believe it is a done deal with Wall Street Hillary (CNN’s parent company is one of her biggest contributors, surprise, surprise) but perhaps a higher power has different ideas about the 2016 Election, as witnessed at the Sanders Rally recently in Portland: Sanders Portland Rally. We shall see.
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.