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Unsanitized: The Return of Checks Checks Checks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 4:39am in

With three days to go before government funding expires, the leadership in the House and Senate finally got in a room together to discuss a year-end deal that packages an omnibus spending bill and coronavirus aid. And what progressives are fighting for in the relief package. Continue reading

The post Unsanitized: The Return of Checks Checks Checks appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

I Hate You Leftists, Please Don’t Leave Us

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 5:58pm in

The centrists and moderates who control the mainstream Democratic Party repeatedly tell progressive voters that they are not needed or wanted. But when progressives refuse to vote Democratic, they are vote-shamed.

The post I Hate You Leftists, Please Don't Leave Us first appeared on Ted Rall's Rallblog.

Why Are Our Victims so Uncooperative?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 03/09/2020 - 4:24pm in

On Super Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee and President Obama carefully coordinated the replacement of Bernie Sanders by Joe Biden as the Democratic frontrunner for president. The new progressives would be upset but didn’t care because they figured progressives would have to vote for Biden no matter what. Now that that’s not the case, they are upset that their plan is not working.

Trump and Biden: Equally Awful

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 03/09/2020 - 8:54am in

Trump, Biden in virtual tie in Texas in new poll - HoustonChronicle.com

Front and center in the raging debate among liberals and progressives over whether they should support Joe Biden or opt out of the two-party trap by voting third-party or not at all is the assumption that Biden would do less harm both to the world and to American leftism than Trump.

Even many hard-core Bernie-or-Busters accept the premise that Biden wouldn’t be as bad as Trump. They believe the additional damage that would result from a second Trump administration is an acceptable price for teaching the DNC a lesson and building a progressive movement.

But it’s not true that Biden wins the harm mitigation sweepstakes.

For every respect in which Biden would be better than Trump—or less awful—there is a compelling counterfactual that carries equal or greater weight.

If Trump wins, for example, we can count on his uniquely toxic combination of anti-science propaganda and organizational ineptitude to unnecessarily prolong and increase the body count of COVID-19. The WHO says that millions could die in the dreaded second wave; a disproportionately high number of those people could be Americans. Let’s guesstimate half a million dead here in the U.S.?

The net cost of Trump is equal to the total number of deaths here under his second term, minus the number that would occur under Biden. Since Biden can’t do anything about the pandemic until late January when he takes office and herd immunity appears to be closer than we previously believed, whether a ridiculously incompetent Trump or a refreshingly competent Biden is president after January probably doesn’t make a big difference. There’s a chance we have seen the worst of COVID-19. Still, it’s fair to say that thousands more Americans will succumb to the coronavirus under Trump and Biden.

On the other hand, Biden is likelier to start wars than Trump and Trump is likelier to end them. Biden voted to bomb Bosnia and invade Afghanistan. He was a big cheerleader and enabler for the Iraq war. Currently he’s threatening to start a hot war with Venezuela and new cold wars against China and Russia. He also promises to keep increasing the defense budget. Donald Trump was the first American president in decades to directly negotiate with the Taliban, with whom he signed a peace agreement to bring home all American troops from our longest war.

When we assess which candidate would do the most harm, even the breathtakingly disgusting body count from COVID-19 doesn’t come close to the over 1 million people who died in the Iraq war alone. Will Biden go to war against Iran? North Korea? Anything is possible. Biden’s record is clear; he is an extremely dangerous man. And even if you don’t care about all the brown people he would kill as president, remember 9/11. Our wars come to our shores sometimes.

Despite the usual election year hysteria, there is no daylight between Trump and Biden on most major issues. Neither old white man promises to restore the $600 a week supplemental unemployment insurance. Neither is in favor of the Green New Deal. Neither wants student loan forgiveness. Neither would sign Medicare For All. Both prioritize corporations over individual citizens. Neither would significantly liberalize immigration policy.

Even on the issue of the year, police violence, Trump and Biden are competing to see which one is more palatable to the Blue Lives Matter crowd. “You know me,” Biden assured the far right in a recent speech, referencing his authorship of the notorious mass incarceration crime bill and the USA-Patriot Act that destroyed fundamental privacy rights. “You know my heart, and you know my story, my family’s story. Ask yourself: Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” When someone tells you they are an authoritarian, believe them.

The real difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump has nothing to do with policy. No matter which evil man wins, we are in for a lousy four years.

This election comes down to personality. How do you like your monsters? Obnoxious and buffoonish? Or polite and affable? I prefer truth in advertising: Americans are up in arms about crappy American policies precisely because Donald Trump puts an appropriately nasty face on them.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

 

Liberal Vote-Shaming Explained

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 25/08/2020 - 4:01am in

Normally political parties try to attract constituencies but Democrats have an unusual approach to try to get progressives on board with their decidedly corporate centrist candidates this year: yell at them and call them names.

There Isn’t That Much Difference between Democrats and Republicans

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 21/08/2020 - 4:50pm in

Everyone is criticizing President Trump, and rightfully so, for the fact that he is so crude, belligerent and bullying to those he disagrees with. However, progressive people who are hesitant about the candidacy of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are getting similar reactions from fellow Democrats.

Never Trump, Never Biden: the Progressive Case for Voting Third Party or Boycotting the Election

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/08/2020 - 6:52am in

Republicans will vote for Trump no matter what. Democrats will vote for Biden no matter what. This column is for progressives weighing the pros and cons of succumbing to the two-party trap, and voting for Biden.

Unless you’ve been sucking through a ventilator in a COVID-19 ward for the last few months, you know the argument in favor of swallowing your disappointment that neither Bernie Sanders nor Elizabeth Warren are the Democratic nominee, resisting the temptation to punish the DNC for rigging the primaries, and forgetting Joe Biden’s right-wing voting record and Kamala Harris’ penchant for locking up innocent people of color and throwing away the key: Trump is a monster, his second term will bring fascism to America, Biden will be more amenable to pressure from the left than Trump.

Except for the part about Trump being a terrible human being, the call to sell out is all based on nonsense.

Reelecting Trump would send a nasty symbolic signal to the world but his actual presidency will almost certainly be characterized by the plagues of lame duckery. Second terms are worthless. Presidents don’t get anything done during their second term. Even FDR floundered. Whatever you think of Trump, does this president strike you as a brilliant Machiavellian tactician who has been holding back his most extreme instincts for four years? Smarter than Reagan, Clinton or Obama? Should Trump be reelected, he will almost certainly be impeached again. Allies like Mitch McConnell will drift away. He may face prosecution.

Some progressives are vulnerable to the argument that, though far from ideal, a neoliberal warmonger like Joe Biden nevertheless represents an improvement over Donald Trump. That argument fails.

Left-of-center electoral politics in the United States is not like football, a game in which a team moves the ball down the field in incremental steps. Mainstream corporate-owned Democratic Party politics is not on the same continuum as progressivism. Neoliberalism isn’t watered-down progressivism; progressivism isn’t a more robust form of neoliberalism. They are opposing ideologies. Progressives and centrists are enemies. When neoliberal centrists achieve power, progressives find themselves in the political wilderness. Obama didn’t have a single progressive in his cabinet. Biden doesn’t have any progressive top advisors.

Corporate Democrats ignore progressives. They crush them. Two major protest movements emerged under Obama, Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. Obama deployed the surveillance state to eradicate both. Ask Julian Assange and Edward Snowden how amenable corporate Democrats like Obama are to progressive demands for change. It would be idiocy to expect anything different from Biden, who just appointed an out-of-control former prosecutor during a period of unprecedented protest against police brutality.

Would Biden be better than Trump? Only in temperament. Qualitatively, Biden presents a friendlier face for a pro-business domestic agenda that features few substantial differences with the Republicans. Under his proposed Democratic administration, we can expect to see a continuation of a tax structure that favors wealthy individuals and corporations, shrinking union power and rising income inequality, a horrible for-profit healthcare system, and systemic police violence directed disproportionately against people of color and the poor.

Understandably, there is trepidation about the possibility of Donald Trump naming a successor to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who is ailing. Even if Democrats control the Senate after January, and Biden pushes through a liberal—which, given his record, is unlikely—the overall balance of the court will not change. It is a conservative court and it will remain one.

In foreign policy, there is far less cause for optimism. From Bosnia to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria, Joe Biden has enthusiastically voted for and convinced his fellow legislators to support brutal foreign interventions. Though disgusting, Trump’s record is nevertheless far better than Biden’s. Trump has expanded Obama’s drone wars and supports the bloodthirsty Saudi regime in the proxy civil war in Yemen. Yet he also negotiated a deal for total U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and repeatedly expresses his willingness to negotiate with such adversaries as North Korea and Iran without pre-conditions.

Neither Trump nor Biden will do anything that progressives really care about. Neither will support the Green New Deal or, for that matter, doing anything real about climate change. Neither is in favor of student loan forgiveness. Neither will take the profit incentive out of healthcare.

Some progressives worry about “wasting their vote” on an outfit like the Green Party. What could be more of a waste than voting for someone who is against everything you care about?

In high school civics class they told you that a single vote can make a difference. They lied. Not in a national election. Not at the state level of a national election. In the closest battleground state of 2016, New Hampshire, Clinton beat Trump by 2,701 votes. Sure, if you and thousands of other folks vote the same way, outcomes can change. But you have no control over other people. You have one vote. That’s all. Even if you live in Ohio, you personally can’t change anything. So live free.

On the other hand, withholding your vote from the Democratic Party can have a positive impact. Several million primary voters cast ballots for Bernie Sanders in 2016 but stayed home in the general election. Primary voters are fanatics—only 12% turnout compared to about 55% in the general election—so when they don’t show up it’s a boycott, not apathy. After Hillary lost, party insiders concluded they would have to move left in order to motivate progressive base voters. Many contenders in the 2020 Democratic primaries espoused elements of Bernie Sanders’ platform. Without the 2016 progressive boycott, that never would have happened.

If you are trying to send a message with your vote, voting for a third party is likelier to register with analysts than staying home on election day.

Voting for Biden sends only one message: you approve of him and his politics. Why, after getting the milk for free, would he pay attention to any of the cow’s complaints?

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

Democratic Establishment Commits to Status Quo with Kamala Harris VP Pick

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 3:04am in

There were mixed reactions to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate last night. Many at the top of the party hailed the pick as a strong choice. “I’m thrilled to welcome Kamala Harris to a historic Democratic ticket,” said Biden’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, who described her as “an incredible public servant and leader, “I know she’ll be a strong partner to Joe Biden. Please join me in having her back and getting her elected.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Trump campaign opposed the move, a newly-released advertisement describing her as a “phony” controlled by “the radical left.” “Voters rejected Harris,” the ad says, referring to her failed campaign for the presidential nomination. “They smartly spotted a phony. But not Joe Biden. He’s not that smart.”

Yet the Harris pick appears not to have gone down at all well with those on the left. Political commentator and co-founder of the leftist group Justice Democrats Kyle Kulinski reacted by claiming Biden was “going with the strategically brilliant move of picking somebody for VP who is despised by both the right and the left.” Journalist Elizabeth Lea Vos wrote that the DNC has chosen to “run an alleged rapist and a corrupt prosecutor… against Trump in the age of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. In other words, the Democrats are the Republicans and everything is business as usual.” Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’ National Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray could not contain her dismay at the pick. “We are in the midst of the largest protest movement in American history, the subject of which is excessive policing, and the Democratic Party chose a ‘top cop’ and the author of the Joe Biden crime bill to save us from Trump. The contempt for the base is, wow,” she said.

A memo from the Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins described the announcement as Biden “doubling down” on his “long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs.”

While the left might think Harris’ past role as a California prosecutor is a negative, business executives felt it added to her campaign. “Her experience as a prosecutor makes her uniquely qualified to deliver the case against Trump,” marketing executive Mike Kempner told CNBC.

 

A “lock them up” mentality

Harris certainly has a controversial professional past. Although presenting herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” her record more closely resembles a tough on crime, “lock them up” mentality commonly seen among Republican lawmakers. Over the protestations of her own team, she pushed forward on her plan to jail parents for their children’s truancy, later publicly laughing about imprisoning them. She also has a long history of ethically questionable practices, including withholding evidence that would have freed innocent people from prison. As The New York Times wrote, “Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.” In 2014, Harris’ legal team argued in court that if minimum-custody inmates were released early, the state of California would “lose an important labor pool.” These inmates included firefighters, who are paid $1 an hour to confront the state’s deadly blazes. She later claimed she did not know her own office argued in favor of keeping parolees in jail so they could serve as cheap labor.

Kamala Harris Israel

Harris speaks at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference in Washington. Jose Luis Magana | AP

During her short and unsuccessful shot at the party’s presidential nomination, Harris received more funding from billionaires than any other candidate. In 2017, she also broke ranks to side with Trump against outgoing president Barack Obama over the latter’s position on Israel, leading Grayzone journalist Max Blumenthal to describe her as a “political algorithm programmed by the Israel lobby.”

 

The establishment’s warm embrace

Her competitors for the vice-presidential nomination, however, appeared happier, at least publicly, about the decision. “My warmest congratulations to ⁦Kamala Harris. I am confident Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket. I will do my utmost to help them win and govern,” wrote Obama national security advisor Susan Rice, tipped by many to be Biden’s choice.

Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, who was considered the favorite for the job by some until MintPress revealed that, while state prosecutor, George Floyd’s killer Derek Chauvin also killed another black man, tweeted that she was “filled with joy” at yesterday’s announcement. “This is a historic moment,” she said, adding that “her leadership, experience and character will help move our country forward when she and Joe Biden take back the White House!” Other organizations like Greenpeace offered more qualified praise.

Support for President Trump has been sliding over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd protests. While Biden leads in polls, he still suffers from an enthusiasm gap, with most Republicans fully behind the president. In contrast, Democratic voters are less passionate about Biden, the majority seeing their vote primarily as one against Trump. Nina Turner, co-chair of the Sanders campaign described the choice leftists face in choosing between Biden and Trump as, “like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.” If Biden is to win in November, he may need the enthusiasm and volunteers Sanders was able to draw upon. But judging from their response, his Kamala Harris VP pick is unlikely to secure it.

Feature photo | Then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., reacts as she speaks at a town hall in Las Vegas, Nov. 8, 2019. John Locher | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Democratic Establishment Commits to Status Quo with Kamala Harris VP Pick appeared first on MintPress News.