Monday, March 12, 2018

How Democrats Can Regain the House

"In their quest to pick up 24 seats, congressional Democrats have focused heavily on courting moderate, suburban voters who dislike Mr. Trump, and for whom issues like trade and union rights are remote considerations." To focus on this group of basically middle class professionals to the neglect of an equal focus on the blue collar union and non union working class would be fatal to any Democratic attempt to retake the House. The Party has to undo its Clinton era blunders resulting in its retreat from the traditional alliance with the union movement. The Left should be agitating for working class issues both within and outside of the confines of DP thus exerting a progressive "gravitational pull" on wavering so-called moderate Democrats.
After President Trump won a landslide there in 2016, Ohio has become a crucial test for populist Democrats seeking a comeback in the midterm campaign.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Republicans & Democrats Join Forces to Help Wall Street Banks

"In the typically gridlocked Congress, with the Trump legislative agenda mostly stalled, members of both parties will come together to roll back financial rules, during the 10th anniversary of the biggest banking crisis in nearly a century. And it’s happening with virtually no media attention whatsoever." The article also points out that some "populist" center-left Democrats are sponsors of this anti-people and pro Big Banks legislation. The author concludes that if a "populist Democrat feels they can sponsor such a bill and see political benefit — or at least not face much pain — [it] represents a stark failure on the left to adequately frame and define the conversation around banking, Wall Street, inequality, and the economy." Some think we failed miserably in our duty to the working class by not so framing these issues enough in the 2016 election; let's not repeat our mistakes in the upcoming midterms by uncritically supporting candidates on the Center-Left we are working to elect when they support measures that put profits before people.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Xi Jinping and the "Forcesof History"

"That history [term limits] suggests that Beijing’s leaders are on what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once called a “fool’s errand”: trying to uphold a system of government that cannot survive in the modern era." Granted that Ms. Clinton is an expert on fool's errands, both she and this article are way off base. The mystical and unmeasurable "forces of history" are always trotted out to cover up ignorance of the real situation and to justify mere speculation as knowledge. China introduced term-limits in 1982 to stabilize and strengthen the political situation in the aftermath of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Nevertheless, Deng Xiaoping remained the "paramount leader" both in and out of office until his death in 1997. The real source of a leader's political power today is in the office of General Secretary of the CPC which is not subject to term limits. The change being proposed is purely cosmetic and all the hoopla in the Western press is nonsense. The stability of the Chinese government is due to the CPCs ability to properly perceive the economic and political realities of the modern world and to guide the Socialist project embarked upon with the triumph of the revolution in 1949.
China kept a half-century of global democratic growth at bay by at least nodding to the importance of institutions and rules. Now what?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Iran Threatens Israel?

Thomas Riggins
"But as the rebels have lost ground and no clear threats to Mr. Assad's rule remain, Iran and its allies have stayed, shifting their focus to creating an infrastructure to threaten Israel, analysts say." But Turkey remains anti-Assad and has invaded areas of Syria. The US has bases in Syria and is reported to be planning a permanent (!) presence using Kurdish surrogates, Israel continues to occupy Syrian territory (the Golan Heights), and bombs the country whenever it feels like it, and the US continues to fund the remnants of Syrian rebels to keep alive the fiction of widespread anti-Assad resistance. Israel has been advocating a preventive war against Iran for years so rather than "creating an infrastructure to threaten Israel" the NYT should have said "to deter Israel" -- but we know which side of the conflict the NYT is on. If Israel wants peace all it has to do is give back land it has stolen contrary to international law, quit bombing its neighbors, give up its occupation of the West Bank and let the Palestinians have their independence with East Jerusalem as their capital (and stop calling them 'cockroaches' -- they are human beings). What are the chances that U.S. imperialism, which thrives on war and military conflicts, and it's Israeli hand puppet will take the road to peace rather than exacerbate the situation ? [ Is 'puppet' too strong? Israel takes U.S. handouts and he who pays the piper calls the tune.] Both Israel and its neighbors can live together in peace if that's what the U.S. decides it wants (really wants).

Iran is training thousands of militiamen in Syria and deploying drones and precision weapons. Its goal, say analysts: a united front in any war with Israel.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Russian Threat to America

Thomas Riggins
The real take away from this story:
1. As usual, no evidence is given other than we should take the words of the spooks who lied and misled the American people in the past (Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, etc).
2. "Right now, Mr. Pompeo [CIA] said, Russia is trying to focus on what are known as influence operations — using social media and other platforms to spread favorable messages — not hacking." So-- not hacking but the Russians are trying to influence people to have a favorable opinion of Russia. What f-ing nerve: the US says Russia is an enemy and they dare to deny it!
3. “Other threats to our institutions come from right here at home,” he said. “There have been some, aided and abetted by Russian internet bots and trolls, who have attacked the basic integrity of the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. This is a dangerous trend.”-- Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee.
The ENEMY WITHIN (the real target) -- The" basic integrity" of the FBI and the Justice Department questioned by American citizens -- a real threat to DEMOCRACY (didn't they do CONINTELPRO, murder some Black Panthers, collude to spy on and frame Black, Native American and Hispanic cilvil rights leaders --didn't the FBI do all it could do to discredit and destroy that great threat to America: Martin Luther King, Jr.? Nice going Senator McCarthy, oops sorry, I mean Warner.
4. “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence. "You know, Rhett," Scarlett said, "it's those Northern carpet baggers and outside agitators that are stirring up all these race problems down here in the Southland trying to exacerbate the race problem -- we used to have such harmony." "Frankly my dear," Rhett replied,"I don't give a damn."
5. "Russia does not, however, appear to be trying to penetrate voting machines or Americans’ ballots, United States officials said." That's right folks, the only ones messing with American ballots are the Republicans purging the voter roles, hampering voter registration, gerrymandering voting districts, and intimidating minority voters with poll "watchers" demanding to see IDs. Is Congress holding hearings about that? Who is really the enemy of the American people: the Kremlin or the rats in Congress? Ask Pogo.
As the midterm elections approach, Russia is likely to throw more propaganda at Americans in an effort to deepen political divisions, American intelligence chiefs said.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Welcome to the United States of Hate

Thomas Riggins
Welcome to the United States of Hate. Researchers "found that in all U.S. regions, less education, population change, and ethnic diversity correlated with more hate groups, as did areas with higher poverty rates and more conservative political affiliation."
Interestingly, the more CONSERVATIVE an area of the country is the more hate groups it has. The correlation between conservative politics and fascism (the grounds of fascist ideology are found on the right-wing) implies the fight against hatred and the inhumanity and violence it breeds is also a fight against conservativism and the unenlightenment and ignorance it represents.
Liberals are another problem. When they are stressed out by the struggle of the oppressed they tend to mutate into conservatives. How this is reflected in the class strugge poses a problem for the struggle for socialism in the US since the major liberal party in the US, the Democratic, now has at least three factions -- moderate liberals (left-wing conservatives: Obama/HRC wing), liberals (straddling the fence between HRC and Sanders people but more likely to jump down on the HRC side), and progressive/social democratic Bernie Sanders types (although Sanders claims that he is not a Democrat).
The legitimate Left has to devise tactics that will minimize the defection of the members of first two groups to the conservatives while at the same time not betraying true Left values (the Democratic cave in re Dreamers and the Budget is an example) while at the same increasing the intensity of the class struggle while being aware that many millions of "liberals" don't self-identify as working class. This is the job of the CP (I hope it's up to it even without its theoretical journal which handicaps wide spread discussion of these issues within the membership). How to deal with the Greens and other third parties is also a problem that seemingly hasn't been handled very well.

In a new study, geographers sought to understand the factors fueling hate across space. Their findings paint a rather grim reality of America; hate is a national phenomenon, and more complicated than they…

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

The US, Turkey and the Kurds ina Nutshell

Thomas Riggins
Well here is the story: "The local civil government is modeled on principles of the Kurdish separatist leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in Turkey: enforced equality for women in civil and military life, moderate socialism, and radical environmentalism." Abdullah Ocalan is the Kurdish Bernie Sanders. He is also the leader of the PKK and his picture hangs on the local Kurdish commander's office wall where the American generals can see it even when they say they don't see any PKK influence in Manbij. Years ago Turkey got the US to go along with them in declaring the PKK as "terrorists." Then came the Syrian civil war and the US is fighting ISIS and the PKK, under different initials, is our ally (doing most of the work). The PKK turns out to be progressive and democratic (for the area), while Turkey, our NATO ally, is on the road to fascism and dictatorship and is allied with jihadist Al Queda clones and is de facto helping ISIS which it prefers to the PKK. The PKK only exists due to the intolerable persecution and denial of human rights to the Kurdish minority in Turkey. The US, which in normal times would prefer dictatorial Turkey, is backing the democratic Kurds fighting ISIS while it figures out what to do about Putin since he is upsetting the US's real aims -- getting rid of Assad and supporting Isreal's anti Iranian foreign policy. Stay tuned,
The New York Times traveled with two U.S. generals to a northern Syria city where armed conflict between the Americans and Turks is now a possibility.

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Evolution: Education versus Ignorance

Thomas Riggins
A very interesting report that has lessons for the Left. The more people actually understand the principles of how evolution works the more likely they will accept it. This is an ignorance vs knowledge issue and involves, with adults at least, opening a closed mind to an understanding of reason, logic and scientific method. Now, capitalist ideology forsters Trumpism, racism, sexism, etc., and thrives on ignorance and closed minds and therefore favors a public educational system that fosters these ideals. It is a moral crime against children to fill their brains with anti-evolution (hence anti-science) concepts thus closing them off to reason and preconditioning them to accept the prevailing racist/sexist ideology of U.S. Imperialism. Our educational system is full of science "teachers" who are undereducated creationists that the state allows to be certified to teach children. One of the major tasks of the Left is to prevent the certification of these anti-teachers in the first place and to have those already in place reeducated or removed from their positions. Private schools teaching antievolution must be outlawed as the state guarantees free public education not anti-education to children.Teacher's unions should lead in this struggle and purge themselves of the anti-educators in their ranks. Getting control of local school boards should be a priority of the Left. These measures will be fought against with maximum ferocity by the right wing as, in the words of Spinoza: ''Such persons know that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder which forms their only available means for proving and preserving their authority would vanish also."*
*Ethics, Bk I, Appendix
Prevailing theories about evolution state that belief in the concept is tied only to a person's politics or religion. But according to new research, whether Americans accept or reject the subject also…

Sunday, February 4, 2018

FBI Should be Disbanded

Thomas Riggins
A bull in a china shop breaks Ming vases as well as cheap reproductions, so let's look a little closer at this "Pillar of Society." The FBI and law enforcement have been used for two purposes by the state -- to fight common criminals and organised crime on the one hand, and for the political repression of the left and the union movement on the other. It still invariably comes out to arrest, disperse, and sometimes kill demonstrators and strikers when they represent people's movements against corporations or repressive governmental actions especially when civil righs or peace are issues. The FBI has even tried to frame peace activists and civil rights leaders. Trigger happy local law enforcement shoots down minority people with impunity. Trump's motives are certainly not progressive but he is getting a taste of how this Pillar of Society can be turned against anyone the ruling class considers a threat to its dominance and his fluke election and the unpredictability of his actions along with his personal penchant to get along with the Russians and Chinese rather the wholeheartedly support the reactivation of the Cold War outweighs his value to them. Whatever the NYT and its ruling class backers say, it's time this Pillar of Society was completely destroyed and built anew from the ground up.
President Trump has raised fears that he is tearing at the credibility of some of the most important institutions in American life to save himself.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Thoughts on Angela Davis's Birthday

The fact that the state tried to destroy Angela Davis and was unable to do because of the fight back by the people to defend her and that it was constrained by the jury system incorporated in the legal system created as a check on executive power is a reminder that our bourgeois democracy is not a fascist system and it is worth preserving in the fight for socialism which must both replace it and preserve what is rational within it. This is why the fight against Trump is crucial as the forces behind him want to destroy the democratic residue that remains in the system and which can still be marshaled to thwart their attempts to completely subvert all three branches of government to their ends and purposes. The Republican Party's attempt to get absolute control of all three branches of government  and impose an authoritarian right-wing one-party state is due to the oligarchy's realization that both climate change and future economic chaos will spawn a mass people's movement that will threaten their control of the state by means of the present two-party good cop bad cop system of only providing the lesser of two evils choices. The only way to prevent this is for the popular forces to penetrate and take over the Democratic Party or destroy it and build a new mass popular people's party on its remains. This is why the fight against the HRC-Obama wing of the party, defacto allies of the same forces behind the scenes which presently back Trump but would prefer a more manageable Republican leader or a corporate Democrat running the country for them, must be fought tooth and nail. The only question is whether this internecine battle is to commence before or after the 1920 general election  -- i.e., is it a prerequisite for defeating the Republican one-party state or is a united Democratic Party victory even under corporate control a prerequisite for the reform of, or replacement of, the Democratic Party and the elimination of the corporate Democrats and the creation of a new majority mass progressive people's party.