Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blacks and the Clintons

Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found. According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we—black people—are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.

And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.

[...]

The love affair between black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. [...] When Toni Morrison dubbed him our first black president, we nodded our heads.

[...]

 It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries. [...]  This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.

 What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion?

[...]

 On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made the economy his top priority and argued persuasively that conservatives were using race to divide the nation and divert attention from the failed economy. In practice, however, he capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes—ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did.

[...]

Hillary wasn’t picking out china while she was first lady. She [...] wielded power and significant influence once he was elected, lobbying for legislation and other measures. That record, and her statements from that era, should be scrutinized. In her support for the 1994 crime bill, for example, she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. “They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Both Clintons now express regret over the crime bill, and Hillary says she supports criminal-justice reforms to undo some of the damage that was done by her husband’s administration. But on the campaign trail, she continues to invoke the economy and country that Bill Clinton left behind as a legacy she would continue.

[...]

[G]overnment statistics like poverty and unemployment rates do not include incarcerated people. As Harvard sociologist Bruce Western explains: “Much of the optimism about declines in racial inequality and the power of the US model of economic growth is misplaced once we account for the invisible poor, behind the walls of America’s prisons and jails.” When Clinton left office in 2001, the true jobless rate for young, non-college-educated black men (including those behind bars) was 42 percent. This figure was never reported.

[...]

To make matters worse, the federal safety net for poor families was torn to shreds by the Clinton administration in its effort to “end welfare as we know it.” In his 1996 State of the Union address, given during his re-election campaign, Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC).

[...]

 Experts and pundits disagree about the true impact of welfare reform, but one thing seems clear: Extreme poverty doubled to 1.5 million in the decade and a half after the law was passed.

[...]

 Billions of dollars were slashed from public-housing and child-welfare budgets and transferred to the mass-incarceration machine. By 1996, the penal budget was twice the amount that had been allocated to food stamps. During Clinton’s tenure, funding for public housing was slashed by $17 billion (a reduction of 61 percent) [...]  according to sociologist Loïc Wacquant “effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the urban poor.”

[...]

The Clinton administration eliminated Pell grants for prisoners seeking higher education to prepare for their release, supported laws denying federal financial aid to students with drug convictions, and signed legislation imposing a lifetime ban on welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense.

[...]

It is difficult to overstate the damage that’s been done. Generations have been lost to the prison system; countless families have been torn apart or rendered homeless; and a school-to-prison pipeline has been born that shuttles young people from their decrepit, underfunded schools to brand-new high-tech prisons.

[...]

If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities,” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win.

[...]

[R]ecognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.

  Michelle Alexander
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Splitting the Entrenched Parties

“Blacks haven’t transformed the Democratic Party by our overwhelming presence. Instead, the Party has transformed us – and overwhelmed our radical politics.” The best result that can occur from the Sanders campaign would be that it leads to a split in the Democratic Party, and an end to the Rich Man’s Duopoly."

[...]

There is also a lot of talk about how Bernie has succeeded in “moving Hillary to the Left.” That’s ridiculous. The Sanders campaign has only succeeded in forcing Hillary to tell the biggest lies of her non-stop lying career.

In any case, Clinton and the rest of her ilk will continue to lie about their plans for governance, because they serve the rich people that control the Republican-Democratic duopoly.

[...]

But, from what we do know, Blacks are the least likely ethnic constituency to vote for Bernie. This is historically consistent with Black voting behavior in national Democratic primary elections, and presents a great paradox and contraction that goes to the heart of the Black political crisis.

Black people are the most left-leaning group in the United States, on issues of war and peace, and social justice.

[...]

The Black Radical Tradition not only exists, it is measureable in the present day – EXCEPT on national primary election days in the Democratic Party. Which is why the Bernie Sanders campaign is all but certain to be derailed by Black voters Down South.

[...]

[I]n national primary elections, these Black Social Democrats – these pro-peace, pro-social justice, pro-union folks – fail to express their own political sentiments at the polls.

[...]

The reason lies in what Blacks perceive as the purpose for voting in national elections, and how they view the Democratic Party.

The nature of the American duopoly system is that one of the parties will always be the White Man’s Party, with white supremacy as its organizing principle. In this era, it’s the Republicans. In a past era, it was the Democrats.

Both of these parties are, of course, Rich Man’s Parties.

[...]

Huge numbers will even vote against their own race, all things being equal, to pick what they believe is the strongest candidate against the Republicans – the White Man’s Party. Which is why half of Black voters, and most Black elected officials, refused to support Barack Obama against his ideological twin, Hillary Clinton, until after the Iowa primary, in 2008. Only after Obama won in a white state did Blacks abandon Hillary Clinton, wholesale.

[...]

Blacks are the most re-distributionist constituency in the country, but they rejected Dennis Kucinich, a genuine social democrat, and John Edwards, who kicked off his campaign in New Orleans and pitched it directly to Blacks, in 2008. Instead, they rallied around the two corporatists, Clinton and Obama, as the anti-dote to the White Man’s Party.

[...]

Is there something wrong with African Americans? No, there is something wrong with America, its history and its race and class dynamics. There is something wrong about this two-party system, where both parties are Rich Man’s Parties, and one of the parties is always the White Man’s Party.

  Glen Ford: Black Agenda Report

The Republican party has essentially been split into two: traditional and Tea Party.  However, they're still running as one.  Perhaps if the Democratic party could split, eventually we could have at least four parties running.  And then, eventually, run-off voting. Pie in the sky, perhaps.
The mainline Black civic organizations – the NAACP, the Urban League and the rest – are annexes of the Democratic Party. So are most Black churches. The party’s tentacles even reach down to the Black sororities and fraternities.

The Democrats ooze like pus from every orifice of the Black body politic.

[...]

Democratic Party politics kills Black politics. The two cannot coexist. If you want a real Black grassroots movement, you have to fight the Democratic Party, tooth and claw.

[...]

[Blacks] know Sanders is to the left of Clinton, but their priority is victory for the Democratic Party, and they are willing to sacrifice their own politics in its cause.
Well,maybe if Bernie does well enough in the primaries, Blacks will be willing to take a chance.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Cuba Takes Notes

The budget proposal released by the Obama administration Tuesday seeks to roll back restrictions Congress has placed on foreign aid to Egypt’s military regime and the sale of crowd control weapons to “emerging democracies.”

Under current law, 15 percent of aid to Egypt is subject to being withheld based on human rights conditions — although even that can be waived if it is deemed to be in the national security interest of the United States, as it was last year.

  The Intercept
In other words: the whole thing is total bullshit.
“Typically the administration always wants as much freedom of action as possible, it wants the fewest legislative restrictions as possible on assistance programs,” says Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
What I said: bullshit.
Also in the administration’s budget is a request to remove a provision that prohibits the transfers of tear gas and other crowd control weapons to countries that are “undergoing democratic transition.”

[...]

If the administration successfully rolls back the crowd control provision, “It’s basically going to be free for all,” says Husain Abdulla, executive director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.
Gas away.
“You cannot call for democracy in one region of the world then supply another region with equipment that is used to suppress people who are peacefully asking for their universal rights.”
Wanna bet? This is America.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

They Won't Stop Til They've Destroyed the Planet

The supreme court agreed to block Barack Obama’s clean power plan on Tuesday, raising fears that the centrepiece of his climate change plan could be overturned.

[...]

The surprising vote by the justices put a temporary freeze on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules cutting carbon emissions from power plants until the Washington DC circuit court of appeals hears challenges from 29, mainly Republican-led states, and dozens of corporations and industry groups. Arguments are scheduled for 2 June.

[...]

Obama and US officials have been adamant in their discussions with world leaders that the power plant rules would withstand legal challenges, and would come into force even if a Republican wins the White House next November.

  Guardian
And they bought that?
“We’re disappointed the rule has been stayed, but you can’t stay climate change and you can’t stay climate action,” said Melissa Harrison, an EPA spokeswoman.
Wanna bet? This is America. There's money to be made.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Christie Countdown Has Begun






...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What a Great Country We Live In


Hopefully that isn't true for the entire country, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

New Hampshire primary news...
Earlier today Fox News declared on its website that all the votes were in and Donald Trump was the Republican winner with 28 percent of the vote. Fox quickly pulled back that winner's call, saying it was accidental. Most of New Hampshire's polls, after all, are still open.

  Oregon Live
Always the Fox.
Exit polls indicate the top issues for New Hampshire Republicans are government spending and terrorism. Income inequality ("fairness") and the economy/jobs are the top issues for Democrats.
No surprises there.
41 percent of Democrats said President Barack Obama's agenda should be continued, 40 percent said the next president should be "more liberal" than Obama.
Now that does surprise me.

UPDATE:


The Rich Get Richer, Etc.

[Bernie] Sanders took offense when [Lloyd Blankfein, longtime CEO of Goldman Sachs], in a 2012 segment on “60 Minutes,” said, “You’re going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people’s expectations” that they will get their full Social Security and Medicare benefits because “we can’t afford it.” Blankfein advocated an increase in the eligibility age for both programs as well as other cuts because “entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.”

Soon afterward, Sanders excoriated Blankfein in a speech from the floor of the Senate.
SANDERS: Sometimes there is no end to arrogance. … Lloyd Blankfein is the CEO of Goldman Sachs. … During the financial crisis Goldman Sachs received a total of $814 billion in virtually zero-interest loans from the Federal Reserve and a $10 billion bailout from the Treasury Department. … And now with his huge wealth he is coming here to Washington to lecture the American people on how we have got to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for tens of millions of Americans who are struggling now to keep their heads above water.
Just a few weeks ago on Bloomberg TV Sanders returned to the subject, citing Blankfein as a Wall Street executive who “really irks me” because such executives “make huge sums of money, help destroy our economy, they come to Congress and [...] say, ‘You’ve got to cut Social Security and you’ve got to cut Medicare and you’ve got to cut Medicaid.’”

That’s what Blankfein was responding to on CNBC last week when he said, “To personalize it, it has the potential to be a dangerous moment."
  The Intercept
For Bernie, maybe.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Canada To Stop Bombing

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that Canada will pull out six jets that have been bombing targets in Iraq and Syria, ending a controversial combat role in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

[...]

"The people terrorized by [ISIL] every day don't need our vengeance. They need our help."

Canada will end its bombing missions by Feb. 22 but keep two surveillance planes and refueling aircraft in the region and triple the number of soldiers training Kurdish troops in northern Iraq, to about 200.

  alJazeera

How's That?

By month’s end, a force described as battalion-strength, consisting of mostly army soldiers, will arrive in Helmand province where US and UK forces have struggled in battles for over a decade to drive out the Taliban.

In keeping with Barack Obama’s formal declaration that the US is not engaged in combat, despite elite forces recently participating in an hours-long battle in Helmand, defense officials said the additional troops would not take part in combat. But they will help the existing Helmand force defend itself against Taliban attacks, officials said.

  Guardian
Defense isn't combat. And all males in the vicinity are enemy soldiers. You just have to define it right.
The Guardian understands the additional forces in Helmand will not increase the current total troop numbers in Afghanistan, which currently stand at 9,800, but will instead be deployed from troops already in the country. Batallion strengths vary, but can constitute a force of up to 800 troops.

[...]

In January, a US special forces soldier died and two others were wounded as they assisted the Afghan military in repelling a Taliban assault in the province that lasted hours.

While the Pentagon initially resisted categorizing the battle as “combat”, press secretary Peter Cook called it a “combat situation, but [US troops] are not in the lead intentionally.”

[...]

Outgoing commander Campbell, testifying to Congress last week, said that while current rules of engagement prevented US troops who are not engaged in counter-terrorism raids from initiating fights with the Taliban, “I have no restrictions on providing force protection” for troops that train Afghans.
"Not in the lead intentionally." "In the lead" apparently determines whether they are in combat. So, if it's defense, and they are not in the lead (intentionally), or they are merely engaged in protecting other troops, you can be assured US troops are not engaged in combat in Afghanistan. Got it? I know, it's a little confusing. Tell you what. Just wait until your government tells you our troops are in combat. It's easier for everybody that way.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Change in Attitude

The Swedish prosecutor heading a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against Julian Assange has said she is preparing a new application to interview him at Ecuador’s embassy in London.

  Guardian
You couldn't have done that four years ago?
Last week a United Nations panel report said Assange’s stay at the embassy amounted to arbitrary detention.
I suppose they could have done that four years ago, too.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.