Capitalism stole your job

This meme offers a fact too few “working class” Americans who inexplicably think of themselves as libertarians, capitalists, and free-marketers seem to understand.

Every job that is moved overseas is done so to increase corporate profits.

This meme also leads to something else that I think people need to hear.

We have only Baby Boomers and GenXers to blame for the present state of affairs. We’re the ones who have basically been “in charge” for the last 6 or 7 decades.

Everything from white privilege and institutional racism;
to misogyny, bigotry, and xenophobia;
to the lack of will to address climate change in meaningful ways;
to unfettered and unregulated capitalism that privatizes all the gains and socializes all the losses;
to middle class jobs being moved overseas by corporations are among the problems we older Americans bequeath to future generations.

Too many of my peers, with the help mostly of Republican and libertarian bullshit propaganda about “Invisible Hands” and “free markets”, willingly allowed themselves to be duped into believing they were only “…temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

We believed that, “Greed is good”;
that a moron like Reagan was right when he said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”;
and that some two-bit hack Russian novelist had anything more than an amoral sociopath’s view of how individuals and societies ought to operate.

We did this. We were – and in too many ways, still are – the ones in charge.

Anyone over the age of 40 who denies any of this is either willfully ignorant or straight-up lying to young people.

Being a pragmatist on Election Day

Anyone who voted for trump in 2016 owns him.

Anyone in PA, MI, and WI who didn’t vote for Clinton does, too.

Yes, the EC sucks, but we can’t pretend we don’t know about it and how it works. So, yes, anyone who pats themselves on their back for casting a “protest vote” in 2016 needs to be willing to acknowledge the contribution they made to the outcome.

Source: Mary Ann Pastore on Facebook

There’s no changing the past. What can be changed is where the country goes and how it gets there post-Nov.

As I see it, there’s only one justification for not showing up and voting for Biden regardless of your personal enthusiasm for him. You’re ok with trump getting a second term.

The presidential election is binary. Yes, it sucks, but there it is.

Those who know me well know that I’m as angry, frustrated, and as idealistic as any other liberal.

On one day every two years, however, I’m a pragmatist, not an ideologue. On one day every two years none of us can afford to be ideologues. We must be pragmatic.

Sure, not voting for Biden is a choice. No one can make it for you, and that choice may be cathartic for the feeling you get by “sending a message.”

All I suggest is that you understand what message you’re sending and to whom.

In my view, you’re sending the message that you’re willing to put your ego ahead of the well-being of Americans who are truly at risk in a second trump term.

In my view, you’re sending the message that the American Left couldn’t put their individual egos aside and act for the greater good by sweeping trump out of office in a landslide

And, yes, the message you’re sending is that you’re willing to own trump.

This is not about “guilting” anyone. It’s pragmatic electoral math. Any vote not cast for Biden is a vote that doesn’t cancel out a vote for trump.

An eye witness in Pittsburgh

I marched in Pittsburgh on Saturday, May 30th, with my adult kids and their friends. I couldn’t be prouder of them and all of the real and peaceful marchers.

Everything was peaceful until the mounted police showed up at PPG Paints Arena.

We were too far away from it to see exactly what happened, but the mounted police showed up out of nowhere. I heard on KDKA that night from some city safety department person, I think, that these 6 or so mounted police arrived ostensibly to “protect” a single, unoccupied, and weirdly out-of-place police cruiser.

Want to know what I think? I think it was bait, put there deliberately by the Pittsburgh police department.

Why do I say that? Because up to that point there was no police presence anywhere near the marchers.

The marchers tried to stop the perpetrator who set that cruiser on fire. He was captured on smartphones. He has since been identified arrested. He’s a white man.

The police had kept their distance throughout the march. They stayed in position where they had blocked off the streets. They were typically a block or more away. What this tells me is that this was a march that had been coordinated with the police department.

Then all of a sudden there’s a cruiser all by itself?
In the path of the march?
Very, very suspicious.

That wasn’t the only suspicious thing I personally witnessed.

Early in the march, a very suspicious dumpster fire was started in a completely vacant alley. My child, one of their friends, and several other people put that fire out with their water bottles. Believe me, it was a much bigger job than that might sound like.

The remnants of the road flare that started it was found.

No one was there claiming responsibility for the fire.
No one was there screaming or chanting or trying to rile up the marchers.
There was no one from the march in the alley until the smoke was seen.
Very, very suspicious.

Later in the afternoon is when I guess the police decided the march should end.

After the cruiser fire at the arena, a smaller group marched back down off the Hill, through the city, over to the North Shore, and back into the city. My child, a friend, and I were with them. There were no police anywhere to be seen along the march route.

What they apparently decided to do was to confront us marchers when we got back into the city.

Multiple helicopters had flown overhead the entire day, so there was no mystery as to where we were or how many we were.

The police had set up a barricade on Smithfield Street. That’s when things went bad.

I’m not going to attempt to describe who did what and when because I never got that close to the barricade. What I will tell you is that things got very scary, and from where I was, it started when the police decided to use tear gas.

I never heard a single word from the police. No warnings. No loudspeakers. I was absolutely close enough to know they were silent before firing tear gas into the marchers. And let me tell you, you don’t need to be right next to a tear gas canister to feel it.

By this time, the march was much smaller than it had been earlier. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette laughably reported 1,000 marchers. I’m no expert, but I’ve been to marches in Pittsburgh and in DC. I’ve been to lots of sports stadiums. I’ve been to PPG Paints Arena, the area where police cruiser was torched, for graduations and hockey games. The capacity for hockey is listed at just over 18,000. My opinion is that the P-G is off by a factor of 20 if they’re talking about the TRUE march. I’m not kidding. Look at photos – even some that I took – and tell me it was only 1,000 people.

If I want to be overly generous, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they were referring to the numbers who were stopped by the police barricade. If that’s the case, they failed colossally in their journalistic responsibility to make that distinction, undoubtedly leaving the reader with the wrong impression as to how large this *peaceful* march really was.

I know, because I was there.

I am proud beyond words of my children and their friends. I was especially proud and humbled – before I got scared – to watch as my child and their friend helped people who had been gassed or just needed water. They were carrying a big supply of water in their bags.

Even as I tried to draw them away from the barricade, they insisted on staying near it to help others. They weren’t there to throw bricks or confront the police. They were there to help those who were getting tear gassed. They put their own well being and even their lives at risk to help others.

I couldn’t be prouder. I was never more scared.

This is when another very suspicious thing happened.

A tear gas canister was opened behind us. It was opposite from the police barricade by a couple of blocks.

A lone canister without a police vehicle or single officer anywhere nearby.

Very, very, very suspicious.

My child thinks there might have been police on rooftops. There was too much happening on the street for me to ever think about looking up.

Yes, I saw looting.

Let me strongly recommend that everyone read,”How to respond to “riots never solve anything!”

For anyone reading this post and thinking you know who was doing the looting, let me tell you that I watched a white man attempting to smash a window of the CVS near Market Square. No one else. One white man. I regret that I didn’t have the presence of mind to film him.

This was also when I felt it was time to go, and I was finally able to convince my child and their friend of that, too.

It’s not for me to judge any of this except to say that I’m proud to have been a part of this march. I’m proud of my kids and their friends. We simply cannot be silent in the face of the growing racism in this country, and in how some police officers – and white civilians – use their white privilege to literally get away with killing Black people.

My future son-in-law is Black. He and every other person of color have the right to not have to live their lives in fear of the police or anyone else.

It is unequivocally and absolutely up to us white people and every law enforcement officer in this country to be the ones who say, “NO MORE!”

We must be the ones who demand accountability, justice, and changes to our society and our culture so that he and all people of color can stop living their lives under a different set of rules and in constant fear of the very people who are supposed to uphold the law.

(I did my best to “blot out” peoples’ faces in the attached pics out of respect for and to protect their anonymity.)

Opposed to Vote Blue No Matter Who? Then own it.

Joe Biden said he would be a target of the "Bernie Brothers" CREDIT: AFP
Joe Biden said he would be a target of the “Bernie Brothers” CREDIT: AFP

It has been so frustrating to watch the Left lose to the Right throughout my 58 years. The Right is about vile and unworkable ideas like unfettered capitalism, trickle-down economics, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, science denial, and the list goes on.

And yet, Democratic voters have failed to outvote Republicans except in the very bluest of states. Why is that?

I know some will say it’s because Democratic politicians aren’t progressive and liberal enough; that they have abandoned the principles and values of heroes like FDR. I wish that were the only reason.

Because if it were the only reason and their reasoning was sound, it also seems reasonable to presume we’d already have President Sanders in the White House regardless of how “the establishment” conspired against him.

After all, Progressives and Liberals are too smart to be duped, yes? Progressives and Liberals are better informed because we listen to and watch truth-tellers like Jimmy Dore, right? (Clarification: Dore is an intellectually dishonest comedian-turned-pundit(?) who used to be part of the TYT propagandist cabal. He’s not someone I trust at all. He and TYT, regrettably, are shared with some frequency to a FB Group I’m in, and where this post originally appeared.)

Best of all, Progressives and Liberals outnumber everyone else and will show up in overwhelming numbers in the primaries and general to sweep our candidates into office………….. except we don’t.

Why is that? Is it a conspiracy?

Or, is it for the same reason Sanders has lost ground to Biden; we Progressives and Liberals don’t actually outnumber the rest of the rank-and-file Democrats who are voting in the primaries?

Not every Progressive, Liberal, or Democrat believes as we do, to say nothing of all the other Americans who don’t label themselves as such.

So, why do we lose?

Lately, it seems to be the internecine fighting too many of us on the LEFT insist on.

Some of us – no, let’s be real; some of *you*, my fellow Sanders supporters – still don’t seem to have learned that purity testing followed closely with attacks on everyone who doesn’t pass the test is one of the hallmarks of a cult.

Not a movement. A cult.

The last thing we need right now is the resurrection – or continuation, depending upon your point of view, I guess – of the Bernie or Bust Cult.

Trump didn’t win 2016 by himself. Puritanical voters in PA, MI, and WI won it for him by refusing to recognize the difference between an imperfect ally and an actual enemy.

I voted for Clinton. I’d do it again without hesitation if she were running against Trump.

Bernie is still my first choice, but he’s not my only choice. I’ll vote for Joe, and I’ll do it loudly and proudly if he wins the nomination because it’s the only sane, rational, and intelligent thing to do to ensure that trump loses.

Staying home, refusing to vote for the Democrat, or casting a “protest vote” are all just votes for trump. You can delude yourself into believing otherwise, but there will be two legitimate choices in November just as in every other past election. One will be trump. The other will not. It’s binary. You don’t have to like it, but there it is.

I get it. It’s cathartic, comforting, and gratifying to go around patting oneself on the back for not compromising. Just remember, there’s only one face looking back at you in the mirror, and only one face you’ll have to show when future generations ask, “What did you do to stop trump from a second term?”

I already feel sadness and pity for anyone who answers that with anything but, “I voted for the Democrat because your future was more important to me than my ego.”

As with all things, it’s your decision. No one can make it for you. No one should.

All you have to do is own it.

#TooFarLeft is misdirected outrage

There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies. Those upset with Obama need to remind themselves of this.

Obama TooFarLeft???
It has me thinking that I should cancel my email subscription to Common Dreams.
As I see it, that article isn’t news. It isn’t even good journalism.
I see it as obvious clickbait meant to rile up Sanders and Warren supporters.
I say that because other than the repeated link to the same NYT article (which is far more worth reading, and which produced the link below), all that Jon Queally ends up offering little more than a list of Tweets presumably meant to outrage the reader by channeling carefully selected outrage coming from the Twittersphere.
The more interesting question for me is why such an article even gets written?
To what end does trying to cast Obama as a villain work to anyone’s favor other than Trump’s?
In my humble opinion, casting Obama as the enemy really kind of closes the loop on this election cycle’s liberal/progressive circular firing squad.
Yes, we can and we must debate what each candidate claims to be their vision and their policies for realizing it, but casting Obama as an enemy as part of that debates makes no sense to me at all.
Yes, I agree that he wasn’t liberal and progressive enough.
Yes, he made mistakes, and yes, he advanced policies with which I disagreed. He wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t pure. No one is, but he and Biden were worlds better than McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan, and I’m proud to say I voted for Obama and Biden twice.
Cory Booker, another oft-cast villain, summed up my sentiments really well when asked about Obama’s remarks:
“Let’s stop tearing each other down, let’s stop drawing artificial lines,” he added. “I’m tired in this election of hearing some people say, ‘Well if this person gets elected, I can’t support them,’ and then other people say, ‘If this person gets elected, I can’t support them.’ Are you kidding me?”
Omar tweetRep Ilhan Omar appears to want to pick a fight with about as classic a strawman as I’ve seen in a long time.
When did Obama say in his remarks that….
….healthcare is NOT a human right?
….he DOESN’T want future generations to live on a healthy planet?
….student debt shouldn’t be cancelled?
….he opposes a $15/hour minimum wage?
….he opposes gun reform?
….he thinks families belong in cages?
That tweet, in my view, is the height of intellectual dishonesty. It causes me to call into question what I had begun to believe was Rep Omar’s thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and authenticity.
Do I think Obama probably meant Sanders and Warren and their supporters more than Booker, Buttigieg or Biden, and their “wings” of the Democratic Party?
Yes, of course.
(But, be sure to read my Comment for a contextual analysis of Obama’s remarks.)
That, however, doesn’t excuse the mistake I think “the activist wing of the party” is making; reacting with outrage with Obama.
I can just picture lots of Democrats – actual rank-and-file Democrats who have been registered with the Party for years and decades – seeing this hashtag and asking themselves, “What the fuck? How the hell can people who call themselves progressives now be attacking Obama? How does their outrage with Obama help? How is that outrage with Obama going to get more Democratic voters to the polls so that piece of shit squatting in the White House is run out of town and, hopefully, into a prison jumpsuit?”
I’m asking those same questions.
What worries me is how this attack on Obama looks to be another example of out-of-control and inexplicable purity testing that I saw in 2016 and that I see more and more of all the time coming only really from one camp – my fellow Sanders supporters.
I really don’t see how that’s supposed to work and to what end.
I’m not saying we surrender. I’m not even saying that we have to compromise on everything, but compromise is how democracy works. No one elected leader, and no one group of voters, gets their way on everything. Not in a democracy.
Yes, we can and should stand on our principles, our values, and our desires for sweeping, meaningful, and overdue change. I just think we should do that without casting everyone who doesn’t agree 100% with us as villains.
That most certainly includes the last Democratic president.
Trump, Republican voters, and GOP politicians who are willing members of his cult are the real villains. Let’s focus our outrage at them, not on Obama.
And, we must remember this:
There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies.
We will need those imperfect allies next November.