Sanders in Debate with Clinton Asks Saudis to Put “Skin” in Game

Again Bernie Sanders calls for the bigoted, cruel, imperial Saudi and Qatari
regimes to take the lead in solving things in the Middle East.

“And one point I want to make here that is not made very often, you have
incredibly wealthy countries in that region, countries like Saudi Arabia, countries
like Qatar. Qatar happens to be the largest — wealthiest country per capita in the
world. They have got to start putting in some skin in the game and not just ask the
United States to do it.” – from the 1/17 debate

Sam Husseini wrote about Sanders and the Saudi regime last year noting that Sanders had called on the Saudis to intervene more, to get their “hands dirty” in a CNN interview in February of 2015.  We don’t know if the Saudi king heard about this, but a month later their hands were full of dirt bombing Yemen with abandon.  In November 2015 Sanders was complaining that the Saudis weren’t doing enough to bomb ISIS saying the Saudis should lead the struggle for “the soul of Islam”.  Imagine he wants the regime of headchoppers and women haters to teach Muslims how to act.

In the debate yesterday Sanders abandons even the pretense of support for Syrian people and joins the Counterpunch-National Review consensus that all the U.S. should care about is ISIS.  Sanders say,  “But the immediate task is to bring all interests together who
want to destroy ISIS, including Russia, including Iran, including our Muslim allies
to make that the major priority.”

Not one word about starvation in Syria. Not one word about getting U.N. aid into
the areas under siege. Not one word about barrel bombs.

Clinton yesterday did  mention Assad cruelties only to talk about “proxy war”.  She said about the Syria fighting, “It is amplified by Assad, who has waged one of the bloodiest, most terrible attacks on his own people: 250,000-plus dead, millions fleeing. Causing this
vacuum that has been filled unfortunately, by terrorist groups, including ISIS. So, I
think we are in the midst of great turmoil in this region. We have a proxy conflict
going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran. ”  No mention that the U.S. winked as the Saudis and Qataris armed their proxies.

The word “Yemen” comes up in the debate once. Clinton says the word when she
accuses IRAN of bad behavior there. “bad behavior in the region which is causing
enormous problems in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.” Alireza Nader, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation says Iran’s military aid to forces in Yemen is “negligible”.

Another candidate who was interviewed on another program Jill Stein of the
Green Party when asked by CNN about ISIS said, “We’re calling for a peace
offensive to stop the flow of money and weapons and to focus on what are truly
the threats to American lives and well-being, and that is deaths from poverty, from
lack of health insurance, homelessness and gun violence.” Really weak. ISIS and its wannabees are no threat to Americans? And not a word about Syria and Yemen or Palestine.    Stein gave her answer to Obama’s State of the Union speech on RT, Russia Today, the unofficial Putin state organ.   What’s with that?  A month ago Stein attended a dinner with Vladamir Putin.  What?

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New York Values – You Got a Problem with That?

newyorkvalues1

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Is the Obama Cheap Money Boom Over?

So what’s Plan B?

headlines jan 15 2016

headlines from Bloomberg.com  1/15/2016

 

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Obama Left Out “Union” in His Last State of the Union

As a member of the American Federation of Teachers since 1969 I looked over the #SOTU speech to see what he had to say about unions and worker rights.

Well, in his (thankfully last) State of the Union speech Obama didn’t say the words “trade union” or “labor” or suggest that workers should join unions. He had nothing to say about labor legislation. He said nothing about Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the court suit that could weaken all public employee unions.

He did his best to boost the Trans Pacific Partnership job killing treaty, though.

Obama didn’t  say a word about Flint, Michigan where an un-elected official (forced on the city by a Republican governor) changed the water supply to the city and poisoned all the citizens.

Yet he spent a lot of time bragging how many bombs he dropped, as if Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen aren’t all disasters.

I understand they let an AFL-CIO officer into the gallery. Whoop-dee-do.

You know at one time working in elections was just a supplement to collective bargaining and strikes. Now it’s all that unions do.

How many of our current labor leaders have even been on strike?

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Stocks Drop Another 588 Points…Move Along…Nothing to See Here

girl on bull

The stockbrokers and newscasters put on their happy faces and tell the hoi poloi to stay calm, and to not sell off their stocks as the values crash.   On the other hand the big players are selling.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be a rout.  And some are making lot of money.  They saw this crash (sorry, I mean “correction”) coming and sold short.  That means they bought stocks on one date and agree to pay for it at a certain time in the future (when hopefully for them) the price is way down.  A number of hedge fund managers made out like bandits betting stocks would go down.

Irresponsible credit like subprime mortgages brought on the Great Recession.  Rather than fight it with jobs programs like FDR in the ‘30’s, or something even more radical,  Obama had the Federal Reserve open the spigot charging the big banks 0% for prime loans.  Eventually things picked up.  But the banksters and titans of coporate America didn’t invest all of the loans in new factories and machines, not by a long shot.  Last week Pam and Russ Martens of the site Wall Street on Parade wrote:

“Corporations have issued a stunning $9.3 trillion in bonds since the beginning of 2009. The major beneficiary of this debt binge has been the stock market rather than investment in modernizing the plant, equipment or new hires to make the company more competitive for the future. Bond proceeds frequently ended up buying back shares or boosting dividends, thus elevating the stock market on the back of heavier debt levels on corporate balance sheets.”

In other words the execs had the company borrow cheap money to buy back stock to raise its price so they could personally get richer.  Whatever.

Now it’s quite possible this all could be a kerfuffle with no lasting effect.  Stocks have crashed plenty of times in the past and then come right back.  This time it looks a little more real.  China’s economy is having real trouble.  Production and retail sales are slowing.  The Communist Party went long on stocks and bonds and their response to the crash is to send worker pension funds into the breach.

How does a falling stock market affect the “real” business of buying and selling?  Well, for one thing all those people who invested in stocks because banks were offering 0.000001% interest rates go into shock and stop buying refrigerators, cars, IPhones and the like.  Some companies who gambled in stocks go belly up…and so it starts.

Next Time Do it Right

Sooner or later there will be another crash, recession, depression or some other name that the big shots think is not too frightening.  Hopefully some clear thinking people will realize that neither another blank check to the banks nor the populist nostrums offered by Bernie Sanders and his ilk will do the trick.

We need to get rid of capitalism.  We need to replace it with eco-socialism, a planned economy based on 100% renewable energy with full workplace democracy.  All the rest is a diversion as we run out of time, as the clock ticks down and climate catastrophe is locked in and humanity is screwed.

 

 

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Joe Say Go (to War with Iran)

I got my job2Lieberman Wants You

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Six Memes To Convince Senator Blumenthal to Support the Iran Deal

 

 

You’re welcome to use

in what universesend them to war

billionaire's ads2stringent  religious fanatics2 overthrowing the iranian government

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Woman Starts “Tree-Sit” to Protest Spectra Pipeline

May 19, 2015

Contact: Sherrie Anne Andre, 401-474-7666

     Nick Katkevich, 401-572-8148nick@fangtogether.org

Social Service Advocate Launches Tree-Sit to Prevent Pipeline Construction

BURRILLVILLE, RI – A local woman launched a tree sit at the edge of a gas compressor station in Burrillville this morning to prevent its proposed expansion. The station, owned and operated by Spectra Energy, pressurizes and moves gas along the “Algonquin” Pipeline. Spectra is planning to nearly double the capacity of the compressor station as part of the highly protested “AIM” pipeline expansion project.

Sherrie Anne Andre, a member of FANG (Fighting Against Naturals Gas), and a Rhode Island native is holding the tree-sit “indefinitely”. The sit is aimed at preventing the tree clearing necessary for constructing the addition to the compressor station.

Andre is occupying a platform that is suspended 60 feet high on a tree located just yards away from the existing gas compressor station. A banner hanging from the platform reads “Spectra’s Toxins are Trespassing on Our Bodies, #StopSpectra”, highlighting the health impacts that residents face during the extraction, transportation and burning of fracked-gas.

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More “Productivity” Just Means the Rich Get More for Themselves

Over the last few years many writers and even some liberal politicians have pointed out the incredible gulf between the rich and everyone else, the inequality of income and wealth in the U.S.  Dean Baker on the website FAIR takes on Paul Samuelson who claims the “real problem for the middle class is not inequality but rather productivity growth”.   Samuelson’s idea is if we produced more things and more services working people would get more.  This in his mind no doubt would be better than doing dreadful things like raising minimum wages and taking away the power of companies to fire workers for trying to unionize.  Baker makes a lot of points against Samuelson, but one chart done by Dave Johnson on “The Contributor” does a much better job.  It shows that until the middle 1970’s productivity and wage pretty much rose at the same rate.  Then productivity took off, but wages barely went up at all.   In forty years wages went up roughly about 13% while productivity went up 154%.

The point is that workers can get as productive as all hell, but it won’t do them any good because the owners will take almost all of the gains for themselves.

Liberals use this fact to insist we go back to the “good old days” of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s when government was nicer and there were decent increases in wages.  I suspect those years were great exceptions in U.S. capitalism and that what we are living in now is the “normal”.  Until the companies are taken over and run democratically the yawning inequality will continue or increase.

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Disappointing Debate Yesterday on Ukraine on Democracy Now!

Just heard the 2/10 debate on Democracy Now!  Prof. John Mearsheimer, who opposes guns to Ukraine, based his argument on the Monroe Doctrine! He said the U.S. was right to force the Soviet Union out of Cuba and Russia had the right to do the same in Ukraine. Mearsheimer said powerful states naturally don’t want forces of other powerful states anywhere near their borders.

OMG!  The Monroe Doctrine has long been opposed by Latin Americans and the Left.  That’s the way to oppose the U.S. getting into another war?

On the other hand General Wald who wants U.S. weapons to go to Ukraine said states should abide by international law.  He said, “Putin has no claim to any sphere of influence whatsoever in Europe, other than Russia, period.”  In talking about Cuba, Wald disputed Mearsheimer by saying the Soviet Union had invaded Cuba. What a mess.

Though Mearsheimer mentioned the U.S. breaks international law when it feels it’s against its “interests”.  [I hate that word “interests”.  It’s an excuse to steal what’s not yours for the benefit of a country’s 1%.]  However, he never talked about NATO itself and why its only use now is to by-pass the shreds of U.N. authority and international law.  It’s a menace that should be disbanded?

Why can’t Democracy Now find some leaders of peace groups or left-wing professors who can talk about Ukraine?

Brand new petition from Promoting Enduring Peace No U.S. Weapons to Ukraine – Stay Out of the Fighting

For my thoughts on the crisis and an archive of article on Ukraine click here.

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Has the Blue Coup Started? How Can it Be Opposed?

The New York Post has revealed that New York cops are secretly taking a job action to protest being “betrayed” by Mayor deBlasio.  The so-called “betrayal” is the open admission by deBlasio that even he fears for his Black son at the hands of police.  The Post reports says arrests for minor crimes and issuing of parking tickets are down by staggering amounts, in some areas over 90%. 

The Post is brutally right wing and normally not to be trusted, but the New York Times editors believed the figures enough to use them to as the start of an editorial called:”When New York City Police Walk Off the Job”.  The Times says the actions amount “to a public act of extortion by the police.”  It calls for the police commissioner to take action.  Fat chance of that.

Is this the start of a “blue coup”?  Does police union head Pat Lynch now think he runs the 35,000 member NYC armed police force and that it is above all criticism?  In 1992 a police demonstration/riot destroyed then Mayor David Dinkins.  He became a one term mayor and New York suffered through two decades of Republican rule.  The same can happen now, a paralysis called “compromise” leading to popular disgust and another sharp turn to the Right.

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Methane Leaks Cancel Natural Gas Benefits

A few days ago the New York Times had a generally comforting article by John Schwartz about the natural gas boom and the enthusiasm for it by Obama and his people.  It was filled with pros and cons, but overall completely missed the necessary tone for these matters.  The proper tone should be one of loud alarm.

The article started with the “pros”. Burning natural gas creates half the carbon dioxide than coal does (for the same energy produced).  Because of fracking it’s also cheaper so many electric plants have switched from coal to gas.  The result is that in the U.S. carbon dioxide produced by electric power plants has been cut by about 20% since 2005.

Sounds good, but you can’t just look at one part of process.  To get the natural gas to the power plant you have to mine it and send it over pipelines. That creates a big problem of leakage.  Lots of it is leaking out into the air and adding big time to global warming.  Natural gas is almost entirely methane gas and methane is much worse than carbon dioxide as a climate warmer.  Schwartz writes, “Because of methane’s ability to trap infrared radiation more effectively than CO2, its effect on climate change is 84 times greater on a 20-year basis.”  Continue reading

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Kareem Jabbar’s Defense of Protest is a Slam Dunk

Awesome.  Kareem Abdul Jabbar is doing some great work as a columnist for Time magazine.  Two days ago he wrote a brave must-read pieceThe Police Aren’t Under Attack. Institutionalized Racism Is”.  The former pro basketball all-time scoring champ stood up to the bullies who are trying to use the murder of two NYC policemen to silence all criticism of police outrages.  He says, “This shrill cry of “policism” (a form of reverse racism) by Pataki and the police unions is a hollow and false whine born of financial self-interest (unions) or party politics …rather than social justice”

This is a reaction to the outrageous comments of New York City police union head Pat Lynch who claimed New York Mayor DeBlasio has “blood on his hands”, apparently because DeBlasio mentioned that 

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Will There Be a Future for Public Education in Detroit?

Interview with Steve Conn who is in a runoff election for presidency of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.  Conditions in Detroit schools are pretty shocking with class sizes in the high ’30’s and many of the schools turned over to private “charter” companies.   

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Demand This Now from Our Broken Justice System

December 6.  There’s a “must read” piece in the New York Times by a man who was badly beaten as a youth by New York cops, later became a policeman, rose to the rank of captain and is now Borough President of the Bronx.  His name is Eric Adams.

He has this to say about training.  “After six months in the police academy, that instruction is effectively wiped out by six days of being taught by veteran cops on the streets.”  In effect the veterans told him to protect himself and the hell with the goody-goody stuff he learned in the academy.    This brings into doubt the usefulness of any new training the New York City Mayor DeBlasio wants for his officers.

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Three Comments about U.S. Police Brutality

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Put Obama on the Spot Over Keystone KXL

I don’t understand why climate activists are not out in the streets over the pipeline.  Yes, the bill that would have given permission to the company to the need for State Department approval of the project failed.  It didn’t get the 60 vote super-majority needed in the Senate.  Yet we know that once the next Congress takes office in January the Republican majority could easily take it over the top.  Perhaps the president wants that so he can he claim that he had nothing to do with approving the pipeline.  More likely he’ll make some deal to go along with the pipeline in exchange for something or other.

All it takes to stop the project (for at least two years) is Obama’s signature, his veto.  Demand he do it now, before the new year.  Why aren’t some of the 400,000 people who marched in NYC in September demonstrating against Obama and every Democrat at every fund raiser and appearance.  Send them a message that we won’t be fooled, that if the climate killing pipeline is approved the world will know the Democratic Party is to blame and we will never let them live it down.

If the pipeline gets approval from the Congress and the White House it’s not the end of the road.  Indian nations and ranchers have vowed resistance.  They should get total support.

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A World Class Suicidal Strategy

While the politicians and the liberal media pat themselves on the back for a China-U.S. “promise” of carbon reductions that might happen 15 years from now, Democrats are adopting a suicidal strategy on Keystone XL.  Majority Leader Harry Reid, who in the past  blocked attempts to get the Senate on record as supporting the pipeline, now will allow a vote as a way of helping Sen. Mary Landrieu win re-election in Louisiana.  Louisiana is often described as “energy-rich” meaning that a number of people are growing rich in the fossil fuel business and others have jobs that pay decent money.  Louisiana is also the state that saw its major city New Orleans devastated by the type of hurricane that will become more and more common as nature warms up and leaves the best-for-human-climate behind as a memory.

For those who don’t remember two years ago climate expert James Hansen said if we built the pipeline and used the tar sands for oil it was “game over” for the climate.  By “game over” he meant things like disintegration of the ice sheets, and a 50’ rise in sea level.  He predicted, “Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.”

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The White House is Open for Business

Nov.7.   The White House is ready to deal.  That’s my take on Obama’s post election speech.  He didn’t admit that Obamacare was blown opportunity  or that his Middle East wars were failures.  No, the lesson he learned from losing the Senate is that people want government to get things done, period.  So he’s ready to make grand bargains with the Republicans and he’ll give away the store to get them.  He’s concerned  about his legacy, you see

Juan Gonzalez in the Daily News today tells us the Republicans want an immediate amnesty, not for hard working immigrants who risked their lives to come to the U.S.to work all the crap jobs.   The Republicans want amnesty for the bankers and corporate tycoons who’ve been working their asses off figuring schemes to avoid taxes.  One thing they’ve done is to keep the profits from outsourcing and other such “investments” overseas.  That way they don’t have to pay any U.S.tax which on the books is officially 35%. (the real tax companies pay is less than 18%)

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Jobs Situation Just a Bit Better, Wages Meh

Nov. 7.  The October jobs report is out today.  E-pop, employment as % of the total working age population is up .2%. That’s certainly positive, but at 59.2% it’s still well below the 63% before the Great Recession

Mike Cassidy of the Fiscal Times looked into this a bit more. He wrote about prime-age workers, who are from 25 to 54 years old. He says, the prime-age E-P ratio, which averaged 79.4 percent from 2003 to 2007, has rebounded much more slowly than the unemployment rate, rising from a low of 75.1 percent to just 76.9 percent today.” So it has only recovered half of what was lost.

The official “unemployed” are down 267,000… to about 9 million.  That’s over 2 million less than last year.  In addition there are 7 million working part time who want to work full time.  So there are still 16 million in the US labor force out of work completely or unhappily on  part time

As for wages, average pay went up  3 cents an hour (champagne for everyone!).  The New York Times points out that since the recovery from the Great Recession began five years ago, corporate profits went up 46% and the stock market rose 92%!  Household family income has not been so lucky.  It dropped 3%.  

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