Due to personal reasons I have to miss posting anything substantial this week. But I would like to make a few observations before you go:
For the next four years, Pres. Biden will not take up the minimum wage increase issue again. There are ways around the parliamentarian’s decision and yet the Dems do nothing. When Biden included the measure with the COVID-19 relief bill he knew it wouldn’t go through. He was just trying to deceive all of the progressives who came out to vote for him back in November 2020. And you know the GOP will do anything to pass their legislation. Why can’t the Democrats do the same on such a vital issue? Because our government does not care about us.
I’ve been watching the CPAC conference this Saturday and the Trump-ist con-job is still on. Trump’s followers are speaking mistruth after mistruth in an effort to reach out to the non-college educated, blue-collar voter. And if you look at the numbers, it’s working. Watch some yourself over at C-SPAN and “know your enemy.”
See Judas and The Black Messiah. I do not know if you will like the movie as an entertaining, Hollywood film, but it’s a good beginner’s look into the life of Fred Hampton and his demise. It’s in theatres now and it will be on HBO Max until Sunday, March 14. You can follow up with this great documentary, The Murder of Fred Hampton from 1971. The quality is not great but it’s not about the cinematography.
The most respected modern far-leftist intellectual is Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. He is also a historian, a social critic, and an activist, amongst many other important things. Chomsky completely rearranged my world view with a collection of his transcripts compiled from several of his talks entitled Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky . And I once felt that I could rely on him for infallible guidance as a radical leftist thinker. But I just recently found an interview Chomsky did with Canada’s National Observer published June 15th, 2020 that features a zoom call interview where he is described as proclaiming,
Voting for U.S. President Donald Trump is worse than voting for Hitler, Chomsky affirmed to interviewer Linda Solomon Wood, during a Canada’s National Observer-sponsored webinar in April. “Hitler was maybe the worst criminal in human history.” He wanted to murder millions of Jews, Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, others. “But what does Trump want to do? He wants to destroy the prospects for organized human life.”
Chomsky then explains that Trump is doing this horrible thing by destroying the environment with his policies, and that is what makes him worse than Hitler. (Check from minutes 9:32 to 14:00)
How can anyone possibly think that anyone in our modern age, much less former Pres. Donald J. Trump, rivalled Hitler’s criminality? That is the most insane argument I have ever heard. Yes, Trump will probably go down in history as the worst president the U.S. has ever had. And, yes, he tried to overturn Obamacare, gave huge tax cuts to corporations, and ripped kids from their parent’s arms and put them in cages. But Hitler? The Holocaust? The 25 million dead Russians? The destruction of Europe???
Chomsky then goes on to try and support his absurd claim by laying out an historical anecdote where he describes a document by the Nazi regime that was found. It read that even the Germans knew they had to stop the emission of greenhouse gases to protect the planet from overheating. And that is shocking. But worse than Hitler???
Sorry, Noam, Trump and the GOP do not want to intentionally destroy the entire system of organized life. They just have their heads completely in the sand about the global climate crisis due to business interests. The GOP takes three tracks in their thinking on the enviroment, either, A. climate change is not real, or, B. it is not a result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, or, C. technology will provide us with a solution to the problem once the situation gets what they consider as out of hand. This is simple ignorance and a complete disregard for people’s lives in the interest of wealthy donors. And I am not absolving them from blame for future catastrophes. But it is not the killing of millions in an attempt to lord over the entirety of Europe!
Let it be said that even as enthusiastic radical leftists we cannot fall into the same trap Chomsky has. Sometimes we need to tone down the rhetoric, if you can believe I am saying that. Lenin and the other Bolsheviks were as radical as they come, yet they maintained reality. If not, they never would have kept the Revolution alive. And Marxism is a theoretical framework we believe in, and over-exaggerating does nothing to further the mechanics of it. Nor does it help the movement. Do you think most proletarians would think Chomsky is a complete kook if they heard the above claim? I am sure they would.
On Jan. 11th,the New York Times and the AP reported that Trump’s State Department lead by his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Cuba as a U.S. deemed state sponsor of terror. The label was applied to the nation from 1959 to 2015; the time between the Socialist Revolution of the Castro Brothers, Che Guevara, and the countless members of the People’s Socialist Party, and the détente under Barack Obama. In 2015, Pres. Obama took Cuba off the list and renewed diplomatic relations with the Socialist experiment that is Cuba, and Joe Biden is expected to thaw relations even further.
The Socialist Caribbean island-state is designated by Pompeo as a terror-supporting state for three reasons:
Cuba has taken in several members of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) and defied extradition requests from the leaders’ home country. Peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government took place in Havana beginning in December 2015 and lead to the ELN leaders never leaving. The Colombian government wants them to pay for an ELN bombing of a police station in Bogota that took place in 2019. Cuba refuses to send them back because it would violate protocols established between the two groups during peace efforts that were broken off after the bombing.
Cuba is the protective home of Joanne D. Chesimard, a.k.a. Assata Shakur. Shakur is a former member of the Black Liberation Army and is still wanted for a killing of a New Jersey state trooper in the 1970’s. Two other fugitives now call Cuba home along with Shakur, and they have never been extradited back to the U.S. for over some 50 years now.
Cuba is a strong ally of Venezuela and Nicolas Maduro; the U.S.’s biggest Latin-American boogey man right now (probably the biggest since Fidel Castro.) Despite crippling sanctions on this oil-rich nation of South America, the U.S. government, and most of the media, blame socialist reforms implemented during the time of Pres. Hugo Chavez as the source of every Venezuelan ill. It’s never the sanctions, always the radical left ideology.
The State Department says Cuba has, “…provided support for acts of international terror.” Therefore they join only three other countries on the list: Iran, Syria, and North Korea. (Cuba’s a little out of place, don’t ya think?)
According to a Reuters report, Cuba has already got a cash-strapped economy that shrank 11% in 2020 due to the pandemic, tougher U.S. sanctions, and domestic inefficiencies, according to Economy Minister Alejandro Gil. And the NYT reports, Cuba has began having shortages of both medicine and food, as the article describes,
“…Cubans have been forced to stand in line for hours in the hope of getting their hands on the meager stocks that exist.”
If you go back into the past posts of STL. you will see my obvious sympathy for the nation of Cuba. There are terrible, terrible lies that are spread about Socialist Cuba all over regarding accusations of large executions, brutal forced labor camps, and any and everything Che Guevara related (If you can stomach it, check out this short YouTube clip of Joe Rogan stating on his popular podcast that Guevara was a “mass murderer.”) And most of these lies come from former rich Cubans who were not interested in showing any humanity towards the country’s poor after the Revolution. They all packed their bags, headed north for Florida, and they still cry for their exploitative businesses, like their sugarcane plantations where the peasants did all the work, living in ignorance and filth. This is why Trump won Florida in 2020. “Little Havanna” knew that both Trump’s and Pompeo’s massive egos cannot handle this little island shaking it’s fist at the monolithic United States.
My point, finally, is that it is ridiculous for Cuba to be designated as state sponsor of terror. And second, these sanctions only hurt the people there. The long lines, lack of food, and absence of electricity and cooking fuel in Cuba (and in Venezuela) are a result of sanctions. And now there are new one’s levied by our ruler on his last days in office.
Tell me, have sanctions worked in North Korea, Iran, Iraq under Saddam, Venezuela, or Cuba? No, they have not. They have just hurt the people.
And on a lighter note, check out this comedy sketch about Cuba’s designation as a terror-supporter at the State Dept. from Breakthrough News:
A year or so ago I read an article that I cannot seem to track down now but it was written by a New York reporter who was originally from one of the Plain States; Iowa, Kansas, maybe Nebraska. And the story revolved around what he realized when visiting his hometown on one occasion. He observed that the Right-wing, God-fearing, “wholesome” people of his home state had something in common that the Left did not: They all believed that people are born inherently bad. But, on the other side, we know the Left believes every human is born good. To illustrate, have ever you noticed how we on the Left try to diagnose people psychologically, or diagnose a culture sociologically, when they go wrong, e.g., when we try to take apart the pasts of young school shooters? What did their parents do to them? What did their classmates do to them? What went wrong? Well, the Right does not think that way. They do not think about it because people are inherently bad and that’s why they do bad things. That’s why religion is so important to conservatives. If we further the above example, these school shooters were born bad, like everyone else, and something like a religious upbringing would have kept them on a better path. Observing a faith’s tenets keeps you in line. This is where the Right gets their criticism of what they call “moral relativism,” i.e., the concept that there is no objective right or wrong but just a myriad of social and philosophical variables. It is also such as social scientists, in their studies, portray so-called sacred things: Marriage? social construct. The Law? social construct. General ideas of right and wrong? Social constructs. But this issue of right and wrong is not as complicated as we leftists make it out to be. Sure, there is no God, and there are no objective morals or cultural practices which are inherently “good” out there But as true leftists we do agree that we know how society should work. We do not need to be conflicted about 1 in 8 kids combatting hunger here in my home state of Kentucky. We do not need some “Good Book” to tell us that it is unfair for some to have so much while others have so little. We know how a better society could, and should, be constructed.
My point is that we leftists are milling around questions of right or wrong too much. The invasion of the Capitol Building a few days ago by Trump-ist fascists was an act performed by those who are WRONG. Their so-called “values” of exclusion and oppression, their existence as bootlickers for the 1%, their exclusive religious morals, are WRONG. Not because of some objective truth out there in the universe but because we agree that they are wrong. Our leftist values are simply better. And, therefore, we cannot idly stand by as the fascists invade the Capitol building. We need to make sure that this never happens again. WE ARE THE PEOPLE, not those right-wing extremists who climbed through those shattered windows and up those concrete walls. There IS a right and wrong because we know what is for the best, and those jackasses who mugged for those selfies inside the Rotunda do not.
I’ve read Stalin make this argument before in some interview with a prominent Western journalist. Stalin, although not the most morally inclined person in history, insisted that there are “wicked” people in the world. And, of course, the Western journalist made excuses for these “wicked” people. He gave this excuse or that excuse, or this philosophical thought or that philosophical thought. But Stalin was right. There are wicked people in this world. The men and women who stormed the Capitol building the other day are wicked in their beliefs and I’m tired of the excuses the Left give them. A line must be drawn: The Right or the Left. That symbol of power in D.C. belongs to the socialists, communists, anarchists, the People. We cannot allow Right-wing radicals that power ever again. We must stop them as a movement for they are simply wicked.
It seems that Pres. Trump could very well have made the largest foreign policy miscalculation in the Mid-East region since Pres. Bush II invaded Iraq in 2003. The assassination of Quds Force Comdr. Suleimani last night in Baghdad via a missile fired from a drone upon his motorcade could be just it.
Here’s a clip from the NYT today showing how the Trump administration is going to try and justify this destabilizing attack in the world’s most volatile (and resource rich) area :
“Suleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” [Trump] said, speaking to reporters from his resort in West Palm Beach, Fla. “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.”
At this point the people have not been told by the administration what “imminent attack” Suleimani was “plotting.” Did they “cherry pick” the intelligence to justify the attack, just like the Bush II administration did so to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003? Are they using this assassination as a ploy to rally American popular support beneath Trump’s approval numbers and divert attention from the Dem’s primary race for President in 2020?
I can’t wait to see what kind of justification Secy State Pompeo and Trump reveal to the American people for this foolish, foolish act. We remember Iraq’s WMD’s. We won’t be fooled again…
If you have been paying attention to the mainstream media over the last week or two you know that the usual outlets are running around with their hair on fire over Pres. Trump getting dirt on Joe Biden from the Ukrainian government. Now with all the evidence I have seen and read, it’s almost undeniable that Trump is guilty of what he is accused of.
That said, the
GOP is now busy attacking the non-Rupert Murdoch owned media outlets of being
part of a larger deep state conspiracy against Trump and the Right-wing, in general.
And, of course, the progressives refute this argument saying FOX News and their
print and online cronies are serving as “state media” in the service of the
Now this is a great soap opera for all of us to watch (I am guilty, too). But it’s sucking up all the oxygen in the mass media coverage of the world. What needs to be covered by the mainstream press is even being pushed further to the margins. This infighting between bourgeois puppets should not be covered. The real story is socio-economic status conflicts all but ignored by the bourgeois media.
I know that before this latest row the mainstream press has never given the proper coverage to the issues that really matter. I’m talking about issues from the astronomical prices of prescription drugs here in the U.S. to the effects of neoliberal policies on the Third World.
The essence of my argument is that the mainstream/bourgeois media currently have a godsend in the form of a juicy drama between bourgeois actors in a bourgeois arena. But it would be completely outside of that arena for CNN or MSNBC to cover issues in the interest of the people.
All this media coverage is drama, not important news to us. Don’t let it fool you. Keep your eye on the prize: media serving the interests of the working class. The rest is just games.
I have been searching over at the New York Times Opinion Page for the words “Trump socialism.” I read through the search results to learn what the point of view of the “Paper of Record,”or the liberal elite, feel about the radical left, and I was greatly disappointed. (Find four of the most relevant articles below).
The majority of the op-eds mention, especially among young people, that socialism is getting a better favorability rate than maybe ever before. Polling even shows that people under 30 have a higher liking towards socialism than to capitalism. But in ingesting the context around this polling data, the writers were giving socialism an extremely watered-down treatment.
They are starting to state, just a little, that a social democratic direction for the country is preferable to our current brutal and oppressive system which the bourgeoisie labels as “capitalism” (Remember, it’s capitalism for the masses, socialism for the rich. No “laissez faire” there). But yet I hated to here that so many of the authors were advocating the pointless, suffering-inducing, gradual style of a movement towards socialism through the means of a social democratic movement among politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. This is a totally unacceptable strategy.
As I read through these articles, they all outlined how Trump and the rest of the GOP are out to produce another “red scare” to frighten people away from any type of movement towards a real leftist system. It is time for the people to act. We don’t need little barbs in our editorials reassuring people we’re not Venezuela, or that Lenin or Trotsky will not be our new “Founding Framers.” We need to take a real step towards true equality and justice and move towards socializing big business, such as utility companies and manufacturers, which live off the blood of the workers. We need real change, right now. We need to take it to the streets and strike while the iron is hot. With such a high favorability of socialism among the young we do not need any gradual, long-ended social democratic candidates in Washington to eventually change the system over a hundred-year period.
Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who advocates a negotiated end to the political crisis (said),
”The ‘humanitarian aid’ this weekend was a public relations stunt, since the aid was just tiny fraction of the food and medicine that they are depriving Venezuelans of with the sanctions….As the Trump administration admitted, it was an attempt to get the Venezuelan military to disobey Maduro. It was a farce, and it failed.”