Tag Archives: Democratic Party

Ginsburg, celebrity culture and “civil grace.”

Saturday 19 September 2020

I despise the celebrity culture that has taken over this country.  The Democratic National Convention was nothing other than a cheap, vacuous, celebrity infomercial devoid of policy and full of “cult of personality” programming.  It was an embarrassment. 

Somehow, we were supposed to believe that because Joe Biden is a nice guy and has lost family members, he should be president of the United States.  Somehow, we were supposed to pat ourselves on the back and glory in the fact that we had nominated an African American, Asian woman to be vice president.  Never mind the policies of these two people.  Never mind their histories.  It is supposed to be enough that these two are telegenic, just as nice as they can be, and fit certain categories of human beings.

That is evidently where we are.

After the convention we were treated to more infomercials.  In one of them, Kamala Harris had a charming, laughing, conversation with Barak Obama about Biden liking ice cream and wearing a certain kind of sunglasses.  This was seriously intended to get us to vote for the Democrats – the fact that the party elite could chat on television and laugh about the personal foibles of the candidate.  This is what they think of us.  This is nothing but insulting.

In the true fashion of this celebrity worship culture we have going on, the corporate media is this weekend, endlessly talking about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  We are in the middle of a war for  a democratic society, and we are engaging in celebrity worship.

As Elie Mystal pointed out writing in the Nation, we don’t have time for this, and Ginsburg would be the first person to see that we don’t have time for this.

Ginsburg occupied a pivotal position on the U.S. Supreme Court and her death has created a crisis that just illustrates the dysfunction of the government and the society.  The death of a judge, one judge, shouldn’t throw the country into a crisis.  The appointment of one judge shouldn’t mean the difference between democracy and authoritarianism.  But, it does.  It hands to the Republicans the opportunity to conclusively warp this society into an authoritarian kleptocratic state devoid of rights for regular ordinary human beings. 

This is where we are.  We have to fight this authoritarian take-over with everything in our beings.  But, tonight, on CNN they are hosting Scalia’s son to discuss (out of all the other things about Ginsburg’s life) the beautiful relationship between Ginsburg and one of the arch enemies of law and therefore democracy, Antonin Scalia. 

I’m sorry but I just can’t stomach this.  I suppose there is somewhere, something laudatory about being able to be friends with people who are sitting at the peak of privilege and wealth and power and working to destroy democracy and the rule of law for the rest of us, but I just don’t see it. 

If we have to sit through this eulogizing of Ginsburg, the last thing we need is to have right-wing Federalist Society zealots to talk about her.  The last thing we need is to try to convince people that what we need is more bipartisan cooperation.  No, we need less, and we need to fight for democratic law and democratic institutions.

The corporate Democrats who have much more reason to talk about Ginsburg, are bad enough.  Last night, Nina Totenberg was on Rachael Maddow talking about her friendship with Ginsberg.  She said wistfully that Ginsburg had planned to retire in 2016 and have her successor named by the first woman president.  Isn’t that special?  I might plan to have thoroughbred horses fly out of my ass, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

This story was presented as if it demonstrated something positive about Ginsburg, and it has been retweeted today by people who obviously think the same thing.

To me, it just demonstrates what was wrong with the Democratic Party elite in 2016 and what is still wrong with the Democratic Party elite today. 

Barak Obama declined to tell the American people the truth about something crucially important to them.  He refused to tell them that Russian operatives had intervened in the 2016 election to the extent of penetrating the voting systems in 50 states. 

Obama made this decision, as far as I can tell, because first, he was afraid of the reaction of Republicans if he came out and told the American people without bipartisan support.  He was so afraid of appearing partisan he lied by omission, lied about something vital to the functioning of democracy.  Mitch McConnell refused to join Obama and make a public, bipartisan statement and Obama didn’t have the guts to do it alone.

Second, Barak Obama was afraid of tarnishing his cherished legacy by appearing to be “partisan” in the 2016 election.  He was more concerned with his legacy (to people who despise him) than his country. 

Third, Barak Obama was so sure Hillary Clinton was going to win, he decided he wouldn’t have to tell the truth to the American people.  Clinton could solve the problem after she was elected.

All three of these excuses stink to high heaven and again illustrate something characteristic about the Democratic corporate elite.

This professional class of Democrats think they know better than the American people how to run the country.  They think that their judgement is better than everybody else’s. 

They can handle, among themselves, an unprecedented intrusion into the election process.  Why tell the unwashed masses?

Obama reportedly thought that telling the truth would shake the confidence of the American people in the election process.  He’s not the only member of the Democratic elite to think this.  There are an astounding number of people out there who will react like vicious dogs if the integrity of the election process is even questioned.

The logic of this position just amazes me.  It goes something like this.  The election process has been corrupted but we mustn’t tell the American people because it might shake their confidence in an election process that because of corruption can be no longer relied on.  So, it’s better to have the American people believe a lie, continue to trust an election system that can’t be trusted.  It’s better because we (the Democratic elite) can deal with it ourselves, behind closed doors.  That worked out really well.

This same kind of hubris evidently led Ruth Bader Ginsburg to think she could continue (in ill health and advanced age) to sit on the Supreme Court and have Clinton name her replacement.  Having the first woman president name her replacement made a good story, a fitting end to her career.  And, like Obama, she was convinced (so convinced she was willing to risk our future) that Clinton was going to win.  Even with a compromised election process (which they all knew about), Clinton’s baggage and low approval ratings and an e-mail scandal, Clinton was going to win.  Why?  Because they wanted her to.

I’ve got news for these people.  They don’t get to determine what’s going to happen.  They don’t control events.  What kind of delusional hubris leads one to stay in a position at the Supreme Court, a crucial position, a history changing pivotal position, counting on the fact that they are going to waltz out with the first woman president because that’s what they want to happen?

I’m sorry.  Ginsburg appears to have been a wonderful person, lawyer, activist, but someone genuinely concerned with and committed to the struggle, with the future of the country for ordinary people, would have resigned during Obama’s administration to make sure that the ideals she believed in and fought so hard for, had a chance of continuing. 

And, I fault not only Ginsburg but Obama and his administration for not pushing her resignation.  I ask you: What is wrong with these people?   

I keep going back to a film quote.  As Yankees are overrunning Atlanta, Aunt Pittypat is concerned about Scarlet having a chaperone.  Dr. Meade, in utter and complete frustration yells:  “Good God, woman, this is a war, not a garden party.”

But, this Democratic elite – the politicians, the “strategists,” the pollsters, the pundits – all of them are so filled with pride and smug assuredness that they can’t see what is happening around them.

Even now, after all the mistakes of 2016, the Democratic corporate elite seems to be waltzing off an electoral cliff supported by their own delusions.

Ginsburg wasn’t a healthy 50-year-old.  They knew she was ill, had known for years.  If they couldn’t convince her to resign when Obama could nominate a successor, they should have had a strategy for what they were going to do if she suddenly died during Trump’s administration.  They should have hit the ground running on Friday night, not sat stunned, grief stricken, and still counting on the Republicans to “do the right thing.” 

I mean, Jesus F…ing Christ.  Anybody who is now, four years into this administration, relying in any way on the Republicans to do the right thing, is just brain dead (I include Cory Booker in that category).

For the first time on Friday night, I heard Chris Hayes interview somebody (Rebecca Traister) who sounded like I and a lot of other people have felt for four years.  Traister was and said she was terrified and furious.  She sounded like somebody who was terrified and furious, not like the stable of “calmers”, the “institutions are holding” gang on MSNBC who have been interviewed today.  Cory Booker, Klobuchar, the presidential historians, Hirono (as much as I love her), Capehart, Jarrett.

I swear I think that part of the deal to convince all the corporate democrats to drop out of the race and endorse Biden was an agreement by MSNBC to interview them every fifteen minutes.

Last week, Cory Booker was on Ari Melber’s (also disgustingly celebrity laden) show claiming that what we needed was a “return to civic grace.”  That’s Booker’s answer to an authoritarian take-over, a return to “civic grace.”  I’m sure Mitch McConnell will take that “return to civic grace” and stuff it up Booker’s nose.

MORNING NOTES: DEMOCRATS SIGNALING A RETURN TO AUSTERITY POLICIES

Under the general category of : We Told You.

Joe Biden’s campaign is telling the American people through an advisor and long-time friend of Joe Biden, former Sen. Ted Kaufman, that the Biden administration will not stand up for regular working Americans with economic policy.  “When we get in, the pantry is going to be bare,” said Kaufman speaking to reporters during the Democratic convention.

Kaufman is leading Biden’s transition team.  “When you see what Trump’s done to the deficits…all the deficits that he built with the incredible tax cuts.  We’re going to be limited.” 

So the Biden campaign is already laying the groundwork for backing off most of his campaigns economic promises.  Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that the Biden campaign had “rolled out a $35 trillion economic program….(that) promises to invest in clean energy and caregiving, buy more made-in-America goods, and start narrowing the country’s racial wealth gaps.”

At the same time, Biden was speaking to his donors and saying that despite his pubic campaign promises, he would not be pushing new legislation to change corporate behavior.  This was not covered by MSNBC, or NPR. 

And, after the Kaufman announcement to Wall Street Journal reporters, almost nobody noticed what David Sirota called important signaling that the Biden administration may back off “the entire agenda it is campaigning on.” 

For the Democratic Party to return to an austerity model in this economic context is unconscionable.  The outlines of this
“destructive and insane” policy are presented by economist Dean Baker.

Even more disturbing is the lack of coverage of the story, and the lack of outcry from the left.  Sirota notes that the lack of push-back from the left may well indicate that the left coalition has decided to repeat 2009 and just defer to the anticipated democratic president. 

Notes:

Sirota, David (8/20/20  ) “Team Biden…” Too Much Information.

Baker, Dean (8/20/20) CEPR.net

Latin America, the “Democratic” Party and Never-Trumpsters

elliott

There are three important stories in the news within the past week relating to Latin America.

First, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams U.S. Special Representative for Iran.  For those of us who have been interested in Latin America for decades, Elliott Abrams is a criminal who is widely despised.  He should be in jail.  If there was anything like a justice system for high level corporate, political and white collar criminals, he would be.

As Common Dreams (8/6/20 ) has noted, “Abrams is one of the architects of right-wing “regime change.”  He “has made a career of lying and committing criminal acts that have led to the death and suffering of innocent people from Guatemala to Iraq.”  “He embraces militarism, covers up for gross human rights abuses, and has a history of supporting authoritarian regimes.”

As if this wasn’t enough, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 as part of the Iran-Contra affair.  He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush.  Abrams admitted that he had willfully withheld information from congress in 1986 when he testified about the “secret Contra supply network and his role in soliciting a $10 million contribution for anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua” (the Contras).

See “CODEPINK Denounces Elliott Abrams’…”  common Dreams.  August 6, 2020

The second story is about the release of a report detailing a State Department plan for regime change in Nicaragua intended to oust popularly elected members of the Sandinistas.

Ben Norton reports in The Grayzone that:

  • This newly released document outlines plans for USAID to oversee a regime-change plan to oust Nicaragua’s elected leftist government.
  • USAID (also widely despised in Latin America), is planning to establish a “market economy” in Nicaragua and purge the Sandinistas.
  • The socialist government in Nicaragua is democratically elected.
  • USAID, as always, functions here as a “regime-change” vehicle that “uses the pretense of humanitarian aid to advance Washington’s aggressive foreign-policy interests.”
  • The document presents this as a plan for “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” This is a euphemism for removing the leftist Sandinistas.
  • The report doesn’t even pretend to be anything but a hardline neoconservative document. It refers to the “Ortega regime”  and makes it clear that the intent is to install a “neoliberal administration that will privatize the economy and…purge all institutions of any trace of the leftist Sandinista movement.”

The third, and related story, is that Joe Biden has recruited Anna Navarro to help him mobilize the Hispanic vote.  The Democrats are opening positions of power within the party to a variety of never-Trump Republicans who have no goals or interests in common with publicly stated Democratic positions.

As Ban Norton (3/1/20) points out in his article published on The Gray Zone, Navarro has become “something of a celebrity among the anti-Trump republicans…”  She has also become a welcome anti-Trump Republican voice among the corporate media.  She is, for example, a frequent commentator on CNN and “The View.”

As Norton points out, “corporate media networks give Navarro a massive platform to attack progressives like Bernie Sanders and rebrand her neoconservative politics before impressionable liberal viewers who despise Trump, Navarro’s professional background has faced little scrutiny.”

Navarro, however, “lobbied for El Salvador’s corruption-drenched right-wing government.”   “Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) documents reviewed by The Grayzone reveal that Ana Navarro and her Republican lobbyist husband, Al Cárdenas, have worked with some of the most corrupt right-wing governments in recent Latin American history, including leaders who have overseen egregious human rights abuses and been convicted for serious criminal offenses.”

“Navarro hails from a wealthy family in Nicaragua, and still today she remains a staunch supporter of the Contras, far-right death squads that the CIA armed and trained in the 1980s in a regime-change war targeting the country’s socialist Sandinista government. The Contras waged a relentless terrorist campaign, massacring and torturing civilians in hopes of destabilizing the country. And Navarro has celebrated them as freedom fighters.

Navarro, now calls herself a “strategist” has branded herself a “moderate.”

None of this bodes well for Nicaragua or Latin America.  And, it only reinforces the argument that Joe Biden, the corporate Democrats and the corporate media are turning the Democratic Party into Republican-light.  It gives us even less reason to stay with the party.

Ring of Fire Podcast: Sam Seder – Barr Hearings and Democratic Party Platform

sam seder

Turn off the corporate media and listen to a really good podcast on Ring of Fire with Sam Seder as he talks about the Barr hearing and interviews John Nichols.

Podcast

 

 

What Happened to the Democratic Party

For those of you interested in why some of us are so reluctant to jump on the Joe Biden bandwagon, please take the time to listen to this podcast.

http://pitchforkeconomics.com/episode/how-neoliberalism-captured-democrats-with-james-kwak/

Chris Coons, D-Delaware. One of the Snakes in the Grass.

 

chris coons

In this podcast from the Majority Report, Sam Sedar talks to the Democrat challenging Chris Coons in Delaware.  Coons first came on my radar screen when he did a deal during the Kavanaugh hearings with Jeff Flake.  The deal was for an “investigation” by the FBI into the allegations of other women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual impropriety.  This “investigation” was so circumscribed that it failed to even interview some of the woman accusing Kavanaugh.  This “investigation” provided a number of people cover to vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Then, after putting off watching “The Family” the Netflix documentary on Jeff Sharlett’s book “The Family” because I knew it would drive me crazy, I was amazed to see Chris Coons all over it.  Coons is an active participant in this Christofacist organization.

Coons if one of those democrats who goes on television and assumes this holier-than-thou attitude about “bipartisanship.”  This bipartisanship evidently includes already conspiring with Republicans to block progressive economic policy which might be implemented by a Bernie Sanders presidency.

Chris Coons is a snake in the grass and we must get him out of office.

https://majorityreportradio.com/2020/02/18/2-21-workers-on-arrival-black-labor-in-the-making-of-america-w-joe-william-trotter-jessica-scarane

 

Alternative Podcasts: Sheer Intelligence

Robert Scheer interviews Max Blumenthal about the “lesser of two evils” approach centrists in the Democratic Party have been pushing for decades.

The Clinton Machine Will Do Anything to Stop Bernie

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/the-clinton-machine-will-do-anything-to-stop-bernie

NOTES:

 

 

 

Pease Listen to Bernie and Stop Listening to MSNBC

morning joe in pajamas

MORNING THOUGHTS

 

MSNBC is no longer a news channel.  It is a channel where the corporate Democratic strategists talk to each other and try to convince the rest of us that what they want to be true is true.

 

Morning Joe was devoted today to everything about every candidate in New Hampshire except the front runner, Bernie Sanders.

 

Early in the program, MSNBC posted a chart showing Sanders as the front runner and his steady line as the front runner in New Hampshire.  So, was the conversation about Sanders?  Of course not.  It was about Buttigieg and Klobuchar.  According to the panel, the campaigns of Klobuchar and Buttigieg were taking off.  They are the “candidates on the move.”

 

John Heileman had to try to make Sanders’ steady lead sound like it was a negative.  He said that Sanders was in the lead, but he was just “sitting there.”

 

Scarborough (who helped Trump get elected) talked about Biden being in the “second tier” in the polls.  If, he added, you BELIEVE IN THE POLLS.  Morning Joe and the panel have been touting polls for months showing Biden leading, but all of a sudden, when he’s in fourth or fifth place, Joe has to add “if you believe in the polls.”

 

(Note: I would just like to add that Scarborough and the dreadful Mika were at Mara-la-go AFTER the 2016 election.  Their break with Trump came after he outed their adulterous affair.)

 

O.K.  then, we have the panel trying desperately to rehabilitate Biden, just like always.  They tried to make excuses for Biden’s lack of ability to raise money at the grassroots.  Well, one said, he is old school.  He “can’t raise money online.”  Adrienne Elrod (one of the Clinton mean girls who is still incapable of expressing anything but contempt and resentment at Bernie Sanders because he dared DARED to run against Clinton) had to add that Biden didn’t really “plan to run well” in Iowa, i.e., he didn’t really try.  (This is the best excuse she could come up with?)

 

Elrod then adds that Biden also doesn’t expect to run well in New Hampshire, already trying to dampen expectations before the primary.  Talking about the Biden campaign, she says “they want to move on.”  Want to move on?  Where the hell to they expect to move on to?  Where do they expect to win?  This is the man that @MSNBC pundits have been telling us was the front runner for months.

 

Then, MSNBC shows us a Biden campaign ad (when was the last time they showed us a Bernie campaign ad?) and say that the problem is that Biden isn’t being allowed to be Biden.  In the ad, Biden contrasts what are supposed to be his best contributions to history, with the most trivial things Buttigieg has ever done.  The panel argues that this ad and these little episodes with Biden, where he acts like an entitled ass, are to be blamed on his campaign not letting him be himself.  The Dreadful Mika has to add that Biden would never respond with contempt and derision if he was in a room with a former Mayor (like Buttigieg) who was touting his accomplishments.  Jesus. We are supposed to believe that the ad made by his campaign, approved by him is “not Biden.” Those little episodes (pointing fingers at the chest of voters, telling one she’s a liar, acting like a pathetic old man pretending to be a hard ass) are not Biden.  That’s ignorant.  Those episodes are Biden.  That’s what he is, a resentful, entitled, defensive old man who thinks he’s owed being president.  (Remind you of anybody?)

 

Then, Morning Joe announced their guests for the morning, James Carville, David Plouffe, Klobuchar and Bennett.  A progressive is in the lead in New Hampshire.  Any Progressives?  Hell no, a show full of people who despise Bernie Sanders and everything he stands for.

 

Then, we must hear about Bloomberg and how he is “driving Trump crazy.”  What evidence is there for this?  Who’s ass do they pull this stuff out of?  Everybody on the panel agrees.  Oh, they slobber, Bloomberg is “tougher” than Trump, “richer” than Trump.  Bloomberg’s money will be the “great equalizer” in the race.  When was a rich man running against another rich man ever considered a “great equalizer?”  Joe Scarborough obviously enjoys bragging about how much more money Bloomberg has than Trump.

 

(Note:  This is where we are folks.  The obvious delight with which Scarborough describes Bloomberg’s wealth just tells you everything about him.)

 

Elrod says that Bloomberg is “still the most electable” candidate for many Americans.  Again, who’s ass did she drag that out of?  What evidence is there for that?  She would rather choke than say such a thing about Bernie even though there is much more evidence that the same statement about Bernie.

 

The panel ended with a discussion of the “fear” that the populace has about the current crop of candidates.  What they are communicating is that they have a deathly “fear” of Bernie Sanders.  All of them know that Sanders and his people would never let them get near the White House if he was elected.  That’s what they are scared of.

 

I can’t watch MSNBC anymore.  The only reason for watching is to document the almost complete slide into corporate Democratic promotion as the Party and the party elite face the terror of people, real people, exercising their rights and fighting for their rights.

 

Turn over to CSPAN and you can watch Bernie giving a speech in New Hampshire. The reason the corporate media doesn’t ever show you Bernie unless they have to is that they are terrified people will see what a real candidate is like, a candidate who believes in what he is saying, a real person, fighting, perhaps giving his life, to fight for regular people, for the changes that will give regular people an opportunity to take some benefit from a society they contribute so much to.  Please listen to Bernie Sanders.  Please stop listening to MSNBC and CNN.