Tag: Bill Clinton

May 25

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Solidarity in the time of choleric “trade” deals

by Galtisalie

Epidemics of cholera as well as other serious diseases, including neoliberalism, can take a toll on solidarity. “Trade” deals, and the conduct used in pushing them through to adoption, can be purposely choleric in order to accentuate a breakdown in solidarity. A carefully-orchestrated disinformation and intimidation campaign can provide a loud and pushy disincentive to obtaining and sharing knowledge and growing into a healthier society.

The Gipper is credited with the famous saying “trust, but verify.” However, it is actually an old Russian proverb. The phrase came in handy when scrutinizing the actions of the potentially dastardly Russian Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

With matters of political economics, we have learned over the last hundred years that verification is not always easy because labels sometimes defy reality. Since the fall of the authoritarian state capitalist Soviet Union, which claimed to be real and scientific socialism, apathy has set in about true human choice on matters not having to do with consumer goods. The possibility of a heterodox deeply democratic vision for humanity is laughed at by commenters. They blithely point to North Korea and the supposedly happy riveters south of the border who produce things once made by Americans for the great now debt-driven and trade-imbalanced American marketplace.

Speaking of Russia, its dolls and other trinkets are now made in China too. Ironically, the British Green Quaker documentary filmmaker David Malone aptly says that modern “trade” agreements are like Russian dolls, with lots of other dolls inside that have nothing to do with trade. We are expected to place the doll up on a shelf and not worry what’s inside, even if the shelf is getting repossessed.

Anyway, it’s not really as simple as opening up to see the next doll inside, although it would be nice if we were allowed to at least do that before making the purchase. If the global “we” really wants to understand something that comes with risk, such as a disease, or a series of massive “trade” deals, we must first be able to put the pieces as well as the whole under a microscope, do DNA tests, and have plenty of time to learn what exactly it is we are seeing. Learning the ecological context is also critical.

Sounds like technical questions best left to experts! So, we can sit this one out. Maybe it is we who are dialectical dolls here, expected to live superficially without addressing our interior selves. Why concern one’s pretty little self with such manly and adult details?

More broadly, absolutely do not ponder whether the globalization of hegemonic capitalism is the disease or the cure. That would necessitate openly and closely studying and discussing, without fear of repression, the system that is being imposed, the crises it inevitably causes, the insolvency it constantly courts, the reserve army of unemployed workers, the lack of fair distribution of the winnings that arise from the system, and calmly comparing the available alternatives, including everything from tweaks to overhauls to repeal and replace.

Democracy is this potentially great mass experimental method if the powers that be would allow it to work deeply and openly. If we were allowed to trust but verify we could be engaged citizens. Instead, we are forced to leave democracy to neoliberal politicians, experts, and talking heads, as if they will explain to us what little it is that we need to know after they have made their decisions, which have bound within them unprecedented curtailments to democracy.

This sounds more like oligarchical exploitation than rule by the people. But what can we do to defend ourselves in times like these?

At least from the time of Spartacus, solidarity has been the enemy of exploitation, always has been and always will be. But woe unto those who take the risks of speaking the truth to power, or even seeking the truth. The doubt-inspiring whispers are reaching a chorus of “shut-up and know your place.” Self-doubt cannot help but set in:

In the end, did Spartacus really want to be free and in solidarity with other people in the struggle to be free? Wasn’t it really pretty nice being a Thracian gladiator after all? And for his followers, as they were hanging from crosses every bit as real as Jesus’s, might they not have had a little buyer’s remorse?

4 T

Come to daddy. Put aside those passions. Don’t question too much. It’s for your own good that you are being led through the valley of the shadow of death in a blindfold.

Aug 04

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Gramsci and Gaza–Getting Palestinians Into Our Inner Space by Galtisalie

“We were talking about the space between us all”

George Harrison

“It’s always the same story. For a fact that interests us, touches us, it is necessary that it becomes part of our inner life, it is necessary that it does not originate far from us, that is the people we know, people who belong to the circle of our human space.”

Antonio Gramsci

“Hasta allí Gramsci. Siempre un adelantado. Siempre con los que sufren.”

Osvaldo Bayer

We all need justice and safety, none more than Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. But apparently those “filthy Arabs” are humans too. An artificial redefinition of space known as “a new nation” can be founded for ostensibly “humane” reasons but use patently inhumane means of achievement.

I thought in a “constitutional” “democracy” we were supposed to all agree on certain basic organic principles (not including freedom from want and fear, of course) and then work out the details with voting?–unless, of course, we are Native Peoples, African Americans, or European Americans who happened to be poor in the temperate Atlantic region of North America in the late 1700’s. What could possibly go wrong? For a contemporary answer to this non-academic question, so dependent on militarization and deception, look to the southeastern side of the Mediterranean Sea.

Jul 30

Sexy Sadie

From wikipedia-

Lennon originally titled the song “Maharishi”, but changed the title to “Sexy Sadie” at George Harrison’s request. Lennon was disillusioned after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had allegedly made a sexual advance at one of the female members attending the course the Maharishi was teaching at his ashram.

Leaders or spiritual gurus making fools of everyone….

There are entire political establishments that routinely screw the people they claim to be advocates for.

May 10

The Democratic Gutting of the Social Safety Net

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

It will be a Democratic Congress and President that will destroy the social safety. Ryan Grimm at Huffington Post reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supports the Simpson-Bowles plan:

During a recent press conference, and again during an interview with Charlie Rose, the California Congresswoman said that she would support what’s known as the Simpson-Bowles plan, a budget proposal that was created by the co-chairs of a fiscal commission set up by President Obama (dubbed the “Catfood Commission” by progressives). The plan was rejected by members of the commission, failing to win the necessary votes to move to a vote in Congress. Yet the co-chairs — former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Morgan Stanley director Erskin Bowles, a Democrat — have worked recently to revive it, and the political class speaks of it as if it passed and is an official recommendation of the commission.

At the end of March, a version of the Simpson-Bowles plan was given a vote on the House floor. It was annihilated, 382-38, with Pelosi and most Democrats voting against it.

But Pelosi, the day after the vote, said that she could still support the plan if it stuck more closely to the original version put out by Simpson and Bowles. “I felt fully ready to vote for that myself, thought it was not even a controversial thing … When we had our briefing with our caucus members, people felt pretty ready to vote for it. Until we saw it in print,” she said. “It was more a caricature of Simpson Bowles, and that’s why it didn’t pass. If it were actually Simpson-Bowles, I would have voted for it.”

Yet when the Simpson-Bowles plan had been originally unveiled, Pelosi called it “simply unacceptable.”

In early April, Pelosi was asked about her initial opposition. “My problem with it was what it did as far as Social Security is concerned. Apart from that we said, there’s a lot to work with,” she told Charlie Rose. “It was a good framework in terms of revenue and in terms of cuts, in terms of defense spending and the rest. It was very bold.”

The Simpson-Bowles plan is a mix of tax increases and spending cuts that trims four trillion dollars off the deficit in ten years. Its cuts to social spending and entitlement programs made it “simply unacceptable” to the Democrats’ liberal base almost as soon as it was announced. Pelosi’s rhetorical retreat from that hard-line position has progressives worried they’ll have nobody left to defend the social safety net, even Medicare and Social Security.

Progressives need to be really worried, as Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog tells us the “push is on” to “compromise” on Social Security:

All you need to know? Pete Peterson lives for one reason only – to kill off Social Security. Every crazed billionaire has a project. This is his. (No exaggeration; check the link. It’s an excellent William Greider piece.)

From the “Summit” invite (but click fast; pages that name these names disappear fast at the “Summit” website). The underscoring below is mine:

   

Media Advisory

   PETERSON FOUNDATION TO CONVENE 3RD ANNUAL FISCAL SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON ON MAY 15

  Participants to include President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Co-Chair Alan Simpson

   NEW YORK (May 08, 2012) – Against the backdrop of the upcoming elections, and with a series of key fiscal deadlines approaching at the end of the year, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit: America’s Case for Action will feature the nation’s leading experts and elected officials in discussions about the fiscal, economic, and political crossroads facing the country. …

   This year’s summit will explore opportunities for compromise and establish the urgent need for action on these challenges, as well as highlight the voices of engaged citizens from across the country. The 2012 Fiscal Summit will work to generate the momentum necessary to motivate lawmakers to take action essential to preserving the American Dream.

Two videos that Gaius featured are significant because as he points out President Barack Obama is on the same page Bill Clinton, Paul Ryan and Pete Peterson.

5-25-2011 Leaked cell phone footage of Bill Clinton cozying up to Paul Ryan. The day after the stunning upset in the special congressional election in upstate New York, Rep. Paul Ryan is a man under fire.

Barack Obama’s speech on April 5, 2006 at the launch of The Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project where Obama says that “most of us are strong free traders” and praises the goals of the Hamilton Project.

This is the “real grand bargain”

The real Grand Bargain isn’t between the Dems and Republicans. It’s between both of them and you. They’re offering to sell out your children’s Social Security, in exchange for letting you keep your own.

Send Nancy a message. Sign the petition and tell her: Draw a line in the sand on cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits

Apr 19

Another “Hero” Fails

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I supported Eric Schneiderman in his run for NY state AG in hopes he would carry on the legacy of Eliot Spitzer as the “sheriff of Wall St.” I was wrong, he sold out for whatever reasons, as did NY’s current governor Andrew Cuomo. In the article by Matt Stoller at naked capitalism, (a good analysis of NY AG Schneiderman), the comments about Clinton, Obama, Democrats and the alleged 2 party system would get them all banned from certain pro Obama/”Democratic” web sites.

Just a sample:

“Yeah, when ya get promoted from shaved ape and get sworn in as a human being, one of the things you do have to sign up for is the Torture Convention. This is true of everyone. Commit torture, condone torture, acquiesce to torture, and you are, in the technical legal terminology, hostis humani generis, enemy of all mankind. So in what parallel universe could notional “good Democrats” exist in a party whose leader, Barack Obama, openly violated Articles 12 and 16 of The Convention Against Torture?”

“It is quite amazing how the left-most Democrats on economic issues, like Schneiderman and Elizabeth Warren, casually support massive war crimes.

Look what Schneiderman and Warren support: massive secret wars in over 100 countries, drones that kill far more innocent than targets, cluster bombs, assassination lists, obscene rules of engagement that allow for the targeting of civilians, proxy wars, massive media manipulation and propaganda, and legalized torture.

The Democrats have surpassed even the Nazi party in their extremism!

Right now, in fact, the Democrats are aiding and abetting a criminal act of aggression against Syria (even down to the level of NGOs like MoveOn and Avaaz possibly supporting terrorism).”

“But…but…if Obama isn’t re-elected, then Mitt Romney will, uh… he’ll, uh… well, I guess he’ll do exactly the same things. But he’ll be a Republican, you see!”

The comments about Bill Clinton are equally scathing;

And what exactly did Clinton accomplish ? Repeal Glass-Steagall ? Undo the New Deal ? Start a private debt bubble that led to our current depression ?

But getting back to Schneiderman. He sold out, crossed over to the dark side. He went from being a hero to being a sellout. He’s got nuthin.

Don’t forget Clinton negotiated a deal to cut Social Security, which was only stopped by the Lewinsky scandal.

You forgot….in addition to eliminating Glass Steagall, Clinton also passed that wonderful “job creator” NAFTA…..remember?

But wait! That’s not all! From Slick Willie-for the same low, low bribe – you also got the Telecom Act, aka Rupert Murdoch Monopoly Act. And for a limited time, while supplies last, lobbyists will pay all your shipping and handling charges.

According to Common Cause: “…the Telecom Act failed to serve the public and did not deliver on its promise of more competition, more diversity, lower prices, more jobs and a booming economy.

“Instead, the public got more media concentration, less diversity, and higher prices.

“Over 10 years … cable rates have surged by about 50 percent, and local phone rates went up more than 20 percent.”

As WEB Dubois said in 1956 when he announced, I will not vote “:

In 1956, I shall not go to the polls. I have not registered. I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say. There is no third party.

I am nearly to that point. If there is no other choice but evil. I will not vote.

Jul 21

Congressional Game of Chicken: Invoke the 14th Amendment Option

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I have no idea what President Obama is thinking. What I do know is that he is partly responsible for the brinkmanship that is being played out as the debt ceiling looms putting the US credit rating on the line and many Americans at dire financial risk. Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars says she thinks  former President Bill Clinton may know what Obama is thinking as the deadline to raise the debt ceiling nears. What ever Obama is thinking, Pres. Clinton offers some very audacious advice. In an interview with columnist Joe Conason, he said:

{} he would invoke the so-called constitutional option to raise the nation’s debt ceiling “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me” in order to prevent a default, should Congress and the President fail to achieve agreement before the August 2 deadline.

Sharply criticizing Congressional Republicans in an exclusive Monday evening interview with The National Memo, Clinton said, “I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy.”

Lifting the debt ceiling “is necessary to pay for appropriations already made,” he added, “so you can’t say, ‘Well, we won the last election and we didn’t vote for some of that stuff, so we’re going to throw the whole country’s credit into arrears.”

Having faced down the Republican House leadership during two government shutdowns when he was president — and having brought the country’s budget from the deep deficits left by Republican presidents to a projected surplus — Clinton is unimpressed by the GOP’s sudden enthusiasm for balanced budgets. But he never considered invoking the Fourteenth Amendment — which says “the validity of the US public debt shall not be questioned” – because the Republicans led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich didn’t threaten to use the debt ceiling as a weapon in their budget struggles with him.

I am fairly certain that Clinton would do just that. Would that President Obama had that courage.

May 08

Face of the Enemy



Faces of the Enemy

copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

Today, Americans walk it back, Belatedly, and too late to bring home American and Allied troops who died in battle, government officials released recordings.  The media distributes and discusses these en masse.  Those prominent in the Press and Public Office say “the people have the right to know,” exactly what the tale that could have been told decades ago.  Osama Bin Laden was never more than human, a tragic hero, a comical character, just as you or me.

Dec 08

Souls of Pigs and Wolves in the Bodies of Men

Bosch2

Glenn Beck now proclaims the decline and fall of America on exactly the same trajectory as the early Roman Empire, but he missed the most salient parallel.

BCMB2

Souls of pigs and wolves in the bodies of men.

 

   

Sep 22

12 Hump Day Headlines: Hey Chi Town, are You Fired Up ? He’s Ready to Go!

Wednesday, Sept 22, 2010  Headlines, we have headlines….

1. Rahm Emanuel Could Leave White House In October.

I’ve always wanted to type this, and now I can:



Anonymous White House Aide says Anonymous White House Aide might be leaving the White House.


If he chooses to go forward with the mayoral race, Emanuel intends to be sensitive to the fact that his dual role could create the appearance of using his government office to his personal advantage, say two people familiar with internal deliberations.

__

The aide says Emanuel will not make a decision about whether or not to run this week, but was otherwise vague about when the decision would be made – or exactly when he might step down.

2.  Larry Summers, Director of National Economic Council, to Leave White House After Election

Again, the 3 anonymous Horsemen of the Impending Electionypse were quoted:


…. according to three people familiar with the matter.

His departure would leave Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the only member of President Barack Obama’s original top-tier economic team. Summers, 55, and the president have discussed his future plans, according to one person.

Administration officials are weighing whether to put a prominent corporate executive in the NEC director’s job to counter criticism that the administration is anti-business, one person familiar with White House discussions said. White House aides are also eager to name a woman to serve in a high-level position, two people said. They also are concerned about finding someone with Summers’ experience and stature, one person said.

Dear White House.  

About that token genderism thing.

We are not fooled by how the present is wrapped if we’re still finding it still doesn’t fit.  

So that’s Peter Orszag, Christina Romer, Larry Summers, and perhaps Rrrrahmbo Anonymous gone.  That leaves Timmy Geithner.  Who now has to look at Elizabeth Warren.  

Sep 19

“The poor are much poorer than they used to be.”

“The poor are much poorer than they used to be.”

Doesn’t that sound like the sort of extremely important economic news that almost everyone would already know?

The post linked above at the excellent economics blog Angry Bear explains that in 2009…

6.3% of people in the USA suffered severe poverty, that is lived in households with income less than half the poverty line. This is the highest severe poverty rate on record.

That means that over 19 million people in the USA live in households with income less than half the poverty line (severe poverty implies income significantly less than $ 11,000 per year for a family of four).

Angry Bear makes a case that “Welfare Reform” is responsible for millions of people falling farther into poverty than ever, but whatever the real explanation may be, the brute fact of extreme poverty for millions of Americans is starkly represented in the table below from the Census Bureau.

Sep 02

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Of Kings and Wingnut Clowns, with Special Comment

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, “Oh shut up” I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining. — Glenn Beck

~~~~~~~~~~~

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny.  He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives.  He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy. — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mar 12

Three Hemp-Huffing Presidents, and the New Jim Crow

Anybody who ever reflected on the evidence for as much as a minute knows that Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all smoked pot. Obama admitted it, Bush never really denied it, and Clinton (ha ha!) “didn’t inhale.”

So if smoking pot doesn’t mess you up too much to be President, then what’s the problem with pot?

The problem is shameles and hypocritical politicians sucking up to tight-assed low-IQ no-info hoodoos in Alabama and South Dakota, who fear that their little Barbies and Kens will end up in the gutter if they sample the demon weed, although…

Since 1992, your chance of getting elected President without a whole lotta preliminary tokin’ has been zero.

But while Obama is prancing around the Oval Office and laughing at the net-roots because they made legalizing marijuana and ending the “War on Drugs” #1 and #2 on Obama’s own bullshit website Ideas for Change in America…

While Obama is prancing around the Oval Office and enforcing even the very few drug-laws that he promised not to enforce…

Meanwhile the “War on Drugs” continues to decimate black communities, as described in a excellent new book by legal scholar Michelle Alexander…

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

AMY GOODMAN: Nearly half of America’s young black men are behind bars or have been labeled felons for life? That’s an astounding figure. Also, what does it mean in terms of their rights for the rest of their lives?

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: Yes, thanks largely to the war on drugs, a war that has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies have consistently shown that people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites. The war on drugs waged in these ghetto communities has managed to brand as felons millions of people of color for relatively minor, nonviolent drug offenses. And once branded a felon, they’re ushered into a permanent second-class status, not unlike the one we supposedly left behind. Those labeled felons may be denied the right to vote, are automatically excluded from juries, and my be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, public benefits, much like their grandparents or great grandparents may have been discriminated against during the Jim Crow era.

In fact, in 2005, four out of five drug arrests were for possession. Only one out of five were for sales.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, I just wanted to bring it up to President Obama, because this piece you wrote, very interesting, at tomdispatch.com called “The Age of Obama as Racial Nightmare.” Explain.

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: What is the system designed to do? The system is designed to send you right back to prison, which is, in fact, what happens to the vast majority of people who are released. About 70 percent of former prisoners are returned within three years. And the majority of those who are returned are returned within three months, because the obstacles, the legal barriers to just surviving on the outside, are so great. I’m often-you know, people often say to me, “Well, I know somebody who is a felon and who managed to get a job. You know, it’s possible to get a job,” they say.

Well, it may be possible, but what kind of job? Why is it that, you know, our young kids, young black and brown kids, are expected to be locked into low-wage jobs for life, if they’re lucky enough to get them, but kids in other communities are given the opportunity to go on to college, to compete for a full range of job opportunities? During the Jim Crow era, the problem wasn’t that black people couldn’t get jobs; it was that they were locked permanently in a lower tier of jobs. And that’s the reality.

Considering the shameless hypocrisy and downright idiocy of politics in America, maybe it isn’t surprising that after 40 years of failure, the “War on Drugs” is still fully funded and still destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of black Americans…

But how many people who voted for “Hope and Change” with Barack Obama foresaw that they were only electing a new Enforcer-in-Chief of the new Jim Crow?

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