Cory Booker and The Danger of Reformism

Cory Booker is a US senator from New Jersey and a Democratic presidential candidate. On April 24, 2019, an op-ed piece penned by Sen. Booker was posted on The Guardian’s website as a part of their Broken Capitalism series. Booker’s piece is entitled, Workers are Creating Massive Wealth. Why are Corporations Hoarding it All?, followed by the subtitle, Our Economy Works Best When No One is Left on the Sidelines. Now let’s look inside.

Booker supplies a few anecdotes throughout the piece that are tragic and show the crushing effects of capitalism, like this one story of a woman named Carol Ruiz:

Every day Carol Ruiz wakes up at 3.30am and goes to an airline catering service at Newark airport, where she helps prepare the food carts that flight attendants push up and down the aisle…. At the end of her 40-hour week she takes home $345. The average airline CEO makes that amount in about 20 minutes.

 Last year, while Carol was undergoing treatment for cancer, her kids and husband went without health insurance so the family could afford her medical bills…

He then follows most of the stories with statements like these:

Workers are increasingly stuck in an “I win, you lose” economy, a zero-sum game in which those in power relentlessly pull out the rungs of the ladder behind them, ensuring that opportunity is limited solely to those who already have it.

Booker than goes over other aspects of the cruel capitalist system and how it hurts the working class in the form of corporations using intermediary contracted workers which keeps wages down, stock buy-backs by companies using Trump tax cut-gained funds to enrich stock owners, and the unfairness of non-compete agreements between employees and employers at low-wage jobs.

So here is Mr. Booker’s sort-of solutions:

There’s no silver bullet, but we can start by making it easier to join a union, giving workers the ability to fight corporate power with power of their own. Second, we must reinvigorate our tepid antitrust agencies, which have long-served corporate interests at the expense of workers. We should also restrict anticompetitive practices like non-compete agreements and “no-poach” clauses and maintain strong rules that hold parent companies more accountable for outsourced employees. And we should crack down on the proliferation of corporate stock buy-backs, or, at the very least ensure that if a corporation buys back stock to increase shareholder value, workers are cut in on the action.

Great, right?

What Booker and other liberals are guilty of is in taking half-measures and falling into the trap of reformism. They want to change society, as they call it, and spew enough fake promises to the masses in order to get enough votes to take office. They want to usurp any momentum by the people.

They want to maintain the current capitalist system while offering crumbs to the workers that often don’t end up even falling from the table. There are enough GOP members and right leaning Dems to halt any of these reforms before they are out of committee. These goals are merely “pony promises” in today’s system.

What we need is true, far leftist change. We need to smash capitalism and found a new system not based on greed and inequality. The point is to make real change, not reform. A radical left remake is the true answer to address these economic and social injustices.

NYT: Many Top Corps Paying 0% Taxes Driving Some to Far Left Organization

We want what the people want:

Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,” he said, “and taxation alone is inefficient.”

www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/us/politics/democrats-taxes-2020.html

Criticizing Israel Does Not Make You A White Supremacist!

The ugly head that conflates the criticism of Israel’s actions towards the dislodged people of Palestine with anti-Semitism, has risen again. And most of it surrounds a few statements from a Muslim-refugee, who wears a head scarf within the Capitol building, representing Minnesota’s 5th District, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Rep. Omar is a freshmen Rep who has joined the caucus of new female House members setting the U.S. political and cultural norms on fire. Along with others, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rep, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), she supports new progressive proposals like the Green New Deal and the BDS movement. But what really caught the ire of Republicans and most Democratic leaders, are a few comments that Omar made recently criticizing Israel. For example, referring to AIPAC,


“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. And I want to ask, Why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby … that is influencing policy


(PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

Statements like these have people screaming anti-Semitism. They say Omar is reinforcing anti-Semitic tropes, such as that Jews have dual-loyalty to both America and Israel, and that Jews are controlling the world with their money. But this couldn’t be more untrue. A criticism of lobbying groups such as AIPAC, and America’s fanatical loyalty to Israel, are true concerns. In the U.S., if you say or do anything out of line regarding Israel’s foreign policy, you are labelled as a bigot towards Jews.

Now, we know that the blind allegiance to Israel is based on three reasons:

  1. Zionism (Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”) is exceptionally strong among American Christians, and especially Evangelicals. They believe that the second-coming of Christ will not take place until Jews return to their homeland in Palestine.
  2. Secondly, according to In These Times, America got mixed up in the Cold War in the region when most Arab states were loyal to the U.S.S.R.
  3. And lastly, according to Chomsky (Who Rules The World, 2016), Israel serves as an available landing station for American forces if their were to be a catastrophic conflict in the Mid-East.

It has nothing to do with all that nonsense about being the only democratic state in the Middle East, or having some sort of special relationship between us and Israel.

In conclusion, another quote from the ITT’s March 4th piece sums it up in one statement:


“…(F)alse accusations of anti-Semitism—usually linked to criticism of Israel or Israel’s supporters in the United States—are on the rise as well. And we need to be clear: It is not anti-Semitic to support Palestinian rights, demand a change in U.S. policy towards Israel, expose the kind of pressure that the pro-Israel lobby brings to bear on elected officials, or call out Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.­­ “


PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

So get out there to support Rep. Omar, support the BDS movement, and form an activist group in your locality to contribute to the cause. And remember, critiques of Israeli crimes against humanity do not equate you with being anti-Semitic. That’s just a convenient and false construction used to silence the cries of the Palestinians. Don’t let it stop you. You are not a white supremacist.

“Pelosi and Democratic Leaders Condemn Omar Statements as Anti-Semitic”: How Criticism is Quashed

nyti.ms/2E4hBlN

Any time someone expresses any criticism of Israel’s criminal actions towards the Palestinians, they are labeled as anti-Semite.

This is how AIPAC wants to keep it, too.

“Imperial Presidency”?

leadA piece in the NYT about how the slogan, or whatever you want to call it, “imperial presidency” is being used by the Right to describe the Obama administration. It’s in an effort to sway voters to their side proposing that Pres. Obama is overreaching his presidential powers.

But as the article points out, the GOP is one day saying that the President doesn’t lead, and then claims this “imperial presidency” idea the next day.

Read Here.

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The “Nuclear Option”

fd489c51fA good piece in The Atlantic on the filibuster change in the Senate lead by Democratic majority leader Harry Reid.

It will be interesting to see if, in time, this bold measure will comeback to bite the Senate Democrats when, someday, the GOP is in control. Changing the rules after decades of existence could change Washington forever, and not necessarily for the better.

Read Here.

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Warren Not Ready for 2016 Presidential Race

0beb2c2ebA good article in The Atlantic explains why even though Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a true progressive loved by liberals, she could not win the 2016 presidential race because she has only spoke out on one issue and would not move to the center.

Read Here.

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Obama Fixed Almost Nothing

1a618297-b5cb-423b-9fd7-36270b6c0b44-460x276According to this article in The Guardian about Pres. Obama apologizing for the way the new ACA was badly launched, and how some people’s current insurance plans were cancelled on them after being told they would not in a national pledge, is being followed up by a quick fix which is going to try to stop those cancellations. But check out this paragraph in the report here:

It remains unclear whether insurers or state regulators – who will receive a letter informing them of the so-called “enforcement discretion” – will actually act in ways that stop the cancellations. Officials conceded they had received no such guarantees from either states or insurers, many of whom were hoping to use the new law as a way to move customers onto higher-cost policies.

We need real answers on the ACA implementation’s problems or Obama is in real trouble.

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Democratic Economic Rhetoric More Leftist

DEMS-articleInlineAn article  in the NYT reports that Democratic Party members are moving left of the centrist position in the economic debate to a more left-center position. With the slowly improving economy, they feel a more populist message may have more traction with the American public. And this movement is not only being led by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren any longer, but rather by the President too.

But the problem is what if the Right begins screaming “class warfare” again? This term seems to resonate quite nicely for the GOP every time.

Read Here.

Voter Suppresion = Awful Policy Positions

The American system of voting leaves a lot to be desired and is certainly not one of the areas where we are the shining example of efficiency for the rest of the world.  Conservative David Frum penned an excellent piece shedding light on some of the issues just prior to the election that is definitely worth the time to read.  But the most worrisome and talked about problem in the United States at this time are the attempts by the right to try to suppress the rights of law-abiding voters across the country.

Just the same ole song.
Just the same ole song.

To be fair, if the shoe was on the other foot and Democrats were desperately looking for ways to win elections they were trailing, they would likely employ similar methods to try to win.  It is the nature of the beast and parties will look for any advantage they can get regardless of how immoral and reprehensible the tactic may be.  But for now, the offending group is the Republican Party and their methods are due some well-deserved criticism.

The most important factor to keep in mind is simply the effort being made.  People are looking through state election laws, deciding where to attack the hardest and make voting most difficult for likely Democratic supporters, and veiling the measures with the unrealistic idea voter fraud is a problem.  In short, time, money, and manpower is being used just to keep people from voting.  Which, underneath it all, means one critical reality for the Republican Party: they can’t win elections on their party platform and policy positions alone and they fully recognize this.

If you, as a political party, are trying to win races by making sure the supporters of your opponents don’t vote, you are acknowledging you cannot win people over on the issues and are using other means to influence the outcome.  Every dollar spent and every hour of work by someone devoted to this activity is recognition of your policy failures.  This is not an act that can be spun by the most hard-right media into something noble or patriotic or anything else other than what it is.  They have the choice to knock on doors or run more ads or print brochures selling their positions and they are choosing not to do this.  Instead, they are making the conscious decision to suppress voters as opposed to engaging them.

There is no spinning this as an act of healthy democracy or patriotism.  It is an act of desperation, immorality, cruelty, and class warfare.  The attempts at voter suppression in the pre-Civil Rights era were about fearing race.  The attempts in 2012 are clearly because of a fear of populism and this is just as shameful as the racism of the past.