The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Class Warfare’ Category

The caption reads: History Repeats Itself – The Robber Barons Of the Middle Ages And The Robber Barons of Today

And there is a bigger copy of the image here

** so said Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

 

Good Tuesday Widdershins!

So have you ever heard that phrase or one similar that goes something like “I know a friend of a friend of…the police chief, the Mayor…” or someone else that implies the person knows the high muckety-mucks and that relationship can help…you.  That’s a pretty good description of an event that was held at the Ritz Carlton in Beijing this past weekend. The event was sponsored by the Kushner crime uh family.

The shindig was an “investment opportunity” for wealthy Chinese citizens to plunk a cool half million dollars into a Kushner luxury apartment complex in Jersey.  And it has the additional sweetener that by plunking down said $500k you can also apply for what’s known as an investor visa.   That program is called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Process.  I might refer to it as “grease the skids on getting entrance to the U.S.”.

And of course it was all on the up and up.  Of course.  And we know it was on the up and up because it included Nicole Kushner Meyer, Jared’s sister.  And of course she was introduced just that way, as Jared’s sister.  And these people knew exactly who Jared Kushner is; the son-in-law of the President of the United States.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.

The potential investors were advised to invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.  [me – I wonder if they ran that line past Col. Cornpone and Steve Bannon?  Those two might now want any of these yellow people getting into ‘Merica.]

Gawd, do these people, any of them, have any shame or is it all about the almighty dollar, regardless of what it looks like.

The event underscores the extent to which Kushner’s private business interests have the potential to collide with his powerful role as a top official in his father-in-law’s White House, particularly when it comes to China, where Kushner has become a crucial diplomatic channel between Beijing and the new administration.

While Kushner has reported divesting from elements of the family business, including the specific project that his sister pitched in Beijing, the session Saturday demonstrated that the company is perceived as enjoying close ties to the Trump administration. Ethics laws prohibit government officials from profiting personally from their public-sector work.

Divest, my backside.  The family will be holding Jared’s share for after he leaves government, ya know…after the impeachment.

Still, it’s the image of what this implies.

Watchdogs and ethics experts on Saturday criticized the Beijing event as an attempt to cash in on Kushner’s newfound proximity to power.

“It’s incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate,” said Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, who has become a vocal critic of the Trump administration. “They clearly imply that the Kushners are going to make sure you get your visa. . . . They’re [Chinese applicants] not going to take a chance. Of course they’re going to want to invest.”

And this particular type of visa has become very popular with the Chinese, especially as a way to get their money out of China.

Also, it has become a source of getting dubious investment dollars without really following through on what it was designed for.

The program was launched with the goal of securing investment and creating jobs. But instead, in recent years, many real estate developers have used the program as a source of cheap financing by using foreign investors, especially from China, for flashy projects in Manhattan and other city centers.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2015 found the EB-5 program carried a high risk of fraud, was rife with counterfeit documentation and had “no reliable method to verify the source of the funds of petitioners.”

In other words, a way to finance Trump and Kushner investments and real estate.

 

There’s much more at the link, so check it out when you can.

Lastly, real life issues came up with Prolix so I took today’s post.  I apologize for such an un-Prolix type of post.  It will make us appreciate all the more, the real deal when he has time to post again.  Of course this is an open thread.

 

 

A good Friday to you Widdershins!

With Prolix’s laptop giving up the ghost on him and tin cans and string not working well for internet connectivity, Fredster here is going to do a post in his absence.  Prolix has been kind enough to take a post or two for me, so reciprocating is fine with me.  But as one of the tags to the post says, “Not Prolix”, so don’t hold me to that standard…puhleeze!

In some of my readings around the internet I found articles that I thought were interesting and so I bookmarked them for future reference.  I think that will work out just fine today.  This isn’t exactly current events, nor earth shattering, but something I found interesting and perhaps you will also.

* * * *

The topic I want to cover is from Bloomberg Busisnessweek and concerns the auto manufacturing  and auto parts manufacturing companies that have come to some of the southern states and in this case to Alabama.  The piece is subtitled “Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs“.  And that is about right.

Bama’s experiences with the auto manufacturing business began when the state was able to entice Mercedes Benz to build an assembly plant near Tuscaloosa Alabama.  “In 1997…That gleaming M-Class SUV was historic. Alabama, the nation’s fifth-poorest state, had wagered a quarter-billion dollars in tax breaks and other public giveaways to land the first major Mercedes factory outside Germany.”  I don’t know this personally but I’m sure the employees at that plant have decent wages and working conditions because: German company.  And after that initial company, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai opened their own assembly plants in Bama.  The car assembly plants opened in other southern states too; Tennessee and Georgia as examples.  And one reason the plants came was because most of these states are right-to-work states.  U.A.W. ?  Nah, we don’t need no stinkin’ unions here.  And after the car assembly plants, the parts suppliers started opening up in the state.

The parts supplier companies are usually foreign-owned and supply the parts for the assembly plants.  And though the companies may both be from South Korea, there’s no love lost between them.  The assembly plants have contracts with the parts plants and have very fixed quotas on how many widgets for a car those plants must make or they’ll be penalized.  So those suppliers take chances and cut corners, and the corners usually involve worker safety.

Take the case of Regina Elsea.  She had great plans, was going to attend Auburn University with desires to be a pediatrician.  But love called in the form of her kindergarten sweetheart who was a stocker at a local Walmart.  Regina dropped out of school so they both could work to get a place of their own.  She got a job at the Ajin plant which made parts for Hyundai and Kia cars.  Regina was working 12-hour shifts 7 days a week in an effort to go from temporary paying $8.75/hr. to full time permanent with a raise to $10.50/hr.   Here’s what happened to Regina one day:

On June 18, Elsea was working the day shift when a computer flashed “Stud Fault” on Robot 23. Bolts often got stuck in that machine, which mounted pillars for sideview mirrors onto dashboard frames. Elsea was at the adjacent workstation when the assembly line stopped. Her team called maintenance to clear the fault, but no one showed up.

[snip]

After several minutes, Elsea grabbed a tool—on the video it looks like a screwdriver—and entered the screened-off area around the robot to clear the fault herself. Whatever she did to Robot 23, it surged back to life, crushing Elsea against a steel dashboard frame and impaling her upper body with a pair of welding tips. A co-worker hit the line’s emergency shut-off. Elsea was trapped in the machine—hunched over, eyes open, conscious but speechless.

(No one knew how to release the robot)

A team leader raced to get a maintenance worker in the break room.  But the maintenance worker worked in a different part of the plant and wasn’t familiar with this equipment.

When emergency crews arrived several minutes later, Elsea was still stuck. The rescue workers finally did what Elsea had failed to do: locked out the machine’s emergency power switch so it couldn’t reenergize again—a basic precaution that all factory workers are supposed to take before troubleshooting any industrial robot. Ajin, according to OSHA, had never given the workers their own safety locks and training on how to use them, as required by federal law. Ajin is contesting that finding.

An ambulance took Regina to a local hospital and then to a trauma center in Birmingham where she died the next day.  Regina’s mom says she still hasn’t heard a word from Ajin’s owners or senior executives. They sent a single artificial flower to her funeral.

Regina’s isn’t the only horror story involving these supplier companies where the goal is “meet the quota or we lose money or we’ll be penalized”.  Some more examples:

  • A man had worked a 12 hour shift but was summoned to work on a metal press  The press had not been working well all day.  A hole puncher didn’t deploy and then it did…at the wrong time – on his finger. “I saw my meat sticking out of the bottom of my glove,” he says.
  • In 2015, a 33-year-old maintenance worker was engulfed in flames at Nakanishi Manufacturing Corp.’s bearing plant in Winterville, Ga.—after four previous fires in the factory’s dust-collection system.
  • A man working at a plant supplying parts for Mercedes Benz was working cleaning ventilation ducts over dipping pools of acid used to anodize the parts. There were no handrails, gangways or cables. He was working one day cleaning the ducts and “His hands slipped, and he tumbled backward into a vat of sulfuric and phosphoric acid 4 feet deep.”

OSHA (under Obama) began noticing this and cracking down:

The agency cited one year, 2010, when workers in Alabama parts plants had a 50 percent higher rate of illness and injury than the U.S. auto parts industry as a whole. That gap has narrowed, but the incidence of traumatic injuries in Alabama’s auto parts plants remains 9 percent higher than in Michigan’s and 8 percent higher than in Ohio’s. In 2015 the chances of losing a finger or limb in an Alabama parts factory was double the amputation risk nationally for the industry, 65 percent higher than in Michigan and 33 percent above the rate in Ohio.

From David Michaels who headed OSHA under President Obama:

“The supply chain isn’t going just to Bangladesh. It’s going to Alabama and Georgia,” says David Michaels, who ran OSHA for the last seven years of the Obama administration. Safety at the Southern car factories themselves is generally good, he says. The situation is much worse at parts suppliers, where workers earn about 70¢ for every dollar earned by auto parts workers in Michigan, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Many plants in the North are unionized; only a few are in the South.)

Michaels in a meeting with the car companies themselves said to them:

“I gave them a very strong message: ‘This brings shame on your reputation. American consumers are not going to want to buy cars stained with the blood of American workers,’ ”

Summing all of this up:

When Trump suits and ties are made in Mexico and when Ivanka’s clothes are made in sweat shops in Asia, do we really believe that any of these situations are going to improve?  MAGA indeed.

* * * *

Okay Widdershins I hope this wasn’t too boring or snooze-worthy.  And also I violated Prolix’s 800 word rule by about 400 extra words.  Yikes!  Please take the conservation in any direction you wish.

 

-Trump Chuckie

On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked Trump Obamaabout wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.

There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.

“Great lunch meeting with ‪@POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)

President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”

“How good was the meeting with ‪@POTUS?

I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”

Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”

And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.

Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know  the cost of either.

Medicaire

Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.

Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel ForsterForster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.

From Chapter 22

He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”

“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]

“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”

Helen quivered with indignation.

“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”

“I didn’t say–”

“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”

“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.

He stared at her.

“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”

It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.

[…]

“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”

“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”

Howards End

Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.

WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.

And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.

What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

Good Monday, Widdershins! For your activism today, please do check out the link to the Louisiana donations page on the right side of the blog. It is truly astonishing that 875 billion gallons of water (or 875 Superdomes) fell on the Baton Rouge area in such a short amount of time.

Now to the topic of today’s post: The really, truly, we-mean-it-this-time autopsy of the Republican Party. To paraphrase a famous, fictitious Scotsman: It’s dead, Jim.

Back in 2012, after The Glove lost handily to that evil Kenyan Muslim with the funny name, there was a famous “What the f*ck just happened?!” inquiry into the epic fail of the Republicans’ usual Presidential election strategy. Mitt had won all of the traditional demographics that had gained the White House in previous elections: educated white women and men, mostly. The formula should have worked like a charm…but it didn’t. Why not? The Republican brainiacs thought and thought, and here’s what they came up with: Demographically, the Party was out of touch. Young people, Hispanics, women, African-Americans…these groups were not interested in the self-important posturings of the overprivileged old men who make up the Party leadership.

So how would the Republicans “reach out” to the people in question? Would they tweak their platform at all? Why, of course not. They didn’t even bother to try. They would ignore the fact that their Party was dying not in spite of its message, but because of it; and not because people were too stupid to understand it, but because they understood it very well. The alleged “conservative movement” is nothing more than an excuse to further line the pockets of Party leadership, and the American people, in 2012, had figured that out – even the Republicans who still called themselves that.

Between 2012 and 2016; the Tea Party in Congress strengthened its position exponentially. More and more “moderates” were pushed out, and those who dared to try to actually do the work they were put in Congress to do – work to create legislation for the benefit of the American people – were viewed as “traitors to the cause.” No one was sure what the cause was, of course. But they all knew that Obama was very bad, that Democrats were bad, and what they should do was foil everything that those bad people did.

Despite the advice of those who tried to position themselves as more moderate, the RWNJs embraced the “Party of No” strategy; doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on it. And not surprisingly to anyone watching with an objective eye, this crazed group of fringers, when put in charge of nominating a Presidential candidate, nominated someone as racist, xenophobic and misogynistic as they were; but most importantly, someone as angry as they were.

That was the day the Republican party died completely. It just took a long time for the realization to sink in – at least, for some people, still pining for the lost glories of Raygun (the man who condemned it to its slow demise) and claiming that they no longer recognized their Party. Gee wilikers, what was your first clue that the Party had become a frothing, toxic mixture of hatred, fury and neo-Nazi fervor?

I find the most pithy statement of the Party’s epic fail came from Ms. Meghan (McMaverick) McCain. While some Republicans seem to feel Trump is an aberration, John McCain’s daughter isn’t buying it.

“Trump winning or losing has nothing to do with the party if the party can recover or not,” Meghan McCain said. “The problems run deeper than that.”

For those who want more details, I recommend this analysis by Justin Guest. It’s true, white, non-college-educated Americans have been economically left behind by globalism, and socially left behind by a growing mix of ethnicities slowly brown-ifying the lovely pale flesh tones they prefer to see. And oh my gosh, uppity wimminz are going to run the country, and probably take their transgender lovers with them! It’s enough to make David Duke weep. Check this out:

As part of a broad study of white working class politics, I solicited white Americans’ support for Donald Trump, but also for a hypothetical third party dedicated to “stopping mass immigration, providing American jobs to American workers, preserving America’s Christian heritage, and stopping the threat of Islam”—essentially the platform of the UK’s right-wing British National Party, adapted to the United States. How many white Americans do you think would consider voting for this type of protectionist, xenophobic party?

65 percent.

Clearly, Trump’s allure is bigger than Trump himself.

Indeed…and we’d all better be vigilant. We’ve seen Great Britain suffer due to the predations of these throwbacks to a much less progressive and open-minded time, a time when white men were in charge of everything, and anyone who challenged that mindset could just drink from a different fountain, or be subjected to any indignity the masters wanted. This is the illness at the heart of the current Republican Party’s base, and they’re not going away any time soon.

Whether they stay Republicans or not, this is a group of people that have no business in the political arena. Their candidates and agenda must be firmly pushed aside, in this election and in every other following.

So despite the fact that Hillary now has a double-digit lead, and we’re all going to get out the vote to make sure she wins, we can’t get complacent. We can never forget that these people are out there, they’re malignant, and they vote. Let’s make sure they are demoted to the vast, irrelevant fringes of American society, where they belong.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

Last week, the Bush “Hair Apparent” said something quite remarkable.  In talking about the economic needs of workers tethered to a living wage calculated for the 1970s, he said, “Workers need to work more hours.”

Okay, let’s dissect this in the light most favorable to the third Bush in the dynasty hedgerow.  Jeb! (always add the exclamation point to give him a little pizzazz)  said he meant, “More hours should be made available to workers,” as opposed to saying, “Workers were lazy slugabeds and needed to work more hours.”  Whatever exclamation boy!

Even if it was a misspeak, still not good Jeb!  In fact, it demonstrates an even more fundamental lack of understanding of the workforce and workers in general.  Here’s the 411:

  • American workers are the most productive workers on the face of the planet;
  • Since the 1970s, productivity has more than doubled and wages have only increased 13%;
  • Even from 2000 until 2012, productivity increased 25% and wages have actually receded – I’m repeating this for the appropriate amount of emphasis, from 2000 until 2012, wages have actually receded while productivity increased by one-quarter;
  • If wages had increased at the same rate as productivity, the current minimum wage would be $22/hour; and
  • Working people now take home the lowest share of total corporate income that’s been recorded since 1950.

Here’s a chart explaining the great parting of the ways between productivity and real earnings:

Productivity and Average Real Earnings

 

Here’s another one depicting productivity, the average income of the 1%, and average overall wages:

Productivity and Average income since 1979

Finally, this last one shows where the great chasm began:

Productivity and Average income of top one percent

 

The other thing about this dust-up and its utter lack of understanding is this:  People who are working part-time for the minimum wage don’t just work one job.  They work two and sometimes three jobs to pay the bills.  As Robert Reich says, “Part-time workers work sixty to seventy hours a week making them almost double full-timers.”  So the answer under the Bush beans-for-brains theory is, “Let’s just change the calendar and add a day – eight days a week and the plebeians can afford the electricity to run their luxury microwaves.  Long live the plutocrats!”  (Another appropriate use of an exclamation point is after the word plutocrat!)

The really sad thing is this – it isn’t the gaffe, or the misunderstanding of the labor market, or the failure to grasp simple economics – it is the abject failure to understand or offer even a cursory acknowledgement that trickle-down economics is a bust – no bueno – territory reserved for turds in the punch bowl!  Trickle down, supply side economics has been harmful and counterproductive to the entire economy, not just minimum wage workers, but wage earners throughout the economic spectrum.

Here’s the news flash every Republican doesn’t get or chooses to ignore:  Track the divergence between productivity and wages and it is the 1980s.  Track any number of economic indicators demonstrating the demise of the middle class and it is 1980s.  Track the economic damage to the middle class and the meteoric ascendancy of the wealthy, and it is 1980s.

First Fox debate...

First Fox debate…

Cut taxes, upload earnings to the cuticle pushed, gentrified echelon of the wealthy as spouted today by the Ben Hur cast of Republican presidential candidates and there isn’t a fly wings’ breadth of difference between now and what was peddled back in the 1980s by Ronaldus Maximus.

Here’s a question to stop those annoying uncles at cookouts this summer:  We’ve given 93 cents of every dollar in income growth to the top one-percent, why are the 99% not celebrating their new found prosperity?  “Big lotta ingrates they are, wouldn’t you agree Uncle Fester?”

I will be checking in sporadically today since I have flood clean-up duty so feel free to take the conversation in any direction you might like.

aptopix-dem-2016-clinton

Hillary on Roosevelt Island, 06-13-15, courtesy of the New York Daily News

Good Monday, all! This Saturday, as most of us are aware, Hillary Clinton gave her first major speech of the campaign in New York, and by my lights, it was a smashing success. She hit all the right notes, from her shout-outs to FDR (the location of her speech and the four pillars of her platform, mirroring FDR’s Four Freedoms), to her positions on income inequality, taking action on climate change and creating jobs, voting rights for all, equal pay for equal work,  the overturning of Citizens United, freedom from discrimination for LGBT, and pretty much everything a good FDR Democrat’s heart would desire. Everything, that is, except her stand on the TPP.

Welp…wonder no more about that.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Sunday urged President Barack Obama to work with congressional Democrats who rejected his trade agenda last week, and to seek tougher labor protections in a proposed Pacific trade deal.

Clinton had until now declined to take a stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but her comments amounted to an implicit rebuke of Obama and a nod toward liberal critics of the deal.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton said Obama should work with opponents like House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who engineered the defeat of a related trade package last week.

“I am willing to try now to see whether you can push to get rid of the objectionable parts, to drive a harder bargain on some of the other parts,” Clinton said.

If Obama does not get the best deal possible, “there should be no deal,” said Clinton, who is the front-runner among candidates to be the Democratic Party nominee for the November 2016 election.

With her landmark speech, her new campaign video, “Fighter,” and her first public foray into taking on Obama directly on domestic issues, I feel like for the first time since 2007, we are seeing the real Hillary Clinton.

Read the rest of this entry »

While I’m relatively certain with a 99.9999999% assurance factor the writers for The Daily Show have not yet discovered our little Widdershin world, their writing and video selection could not have been more apropos as a follow-up to Tuesday.

This video lays bare the philosophical quagmire associated with the “zero-sum” thinking.  Jon Stewart calls it out with the simple words of believing being poor is not a condition, but character.  In other words, being poor is attributable to a lack of character and if just the poor had more “character” they would no longer be poor.

Contrary to all the inflammatory rhetoric nine-tenths, that is 9/10, or 90%, or 9 out of 10 people receiving benefits are elderly, disabled, or working households.  This whole crap-fest began after the Georgetown University poverty summit when the President, in a twenty-second throwaway comment about Fox, made mention of the demonizing of the poor.  It’s not like the conservative viewpoint wasn’t represented since right there on the stage was a conservodroid from one of the “shrink tanks” in DC.

This demonization of the poor isn’t new, but it has been particularly potent of late:

There’s a deep tradition in America of agitating those who aren’t well-off against people who have it even worse (picture poor whites in the pre-Civil Rights South directing their ire at blacks who had even less).

Whatever the cause of this resurgence of poor hatred, be it the Tea Party or political wedge-driving, Jon Stewart perfectly captured it last evening.  The video might not embed, but follow the trail, it is well worth the effort:

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/q5tmo2/the-poor-you-know—did-you-even-try-to-research-this-

What are we going to do without Jon Stewart?  Who will subject themselves to Fox in order to demonstrate their rank hypocrisy?

Take the conversation in any direction you might like.

 


Keep Up

Atrocities Documented:

What the F*ck Just Happened?!

Victories Won:

Your Victories Against Drumpf!

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Blog Archive

May 2017
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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar