Sunday, November 13, 2016

Post Trump Letters to My Democratic Senators

As much as know-nothings and racists, corrupt Democrats who don't listen to or fight for their constituents cost their party the presidency.

Here's one of my letters to my three Democratic senators (one is being replaced at the end of this term by another). I live in a Republican House district, so I have no rep to contact there.

Feel free to copy and send it to your own senators, reps, and state and national party officials.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

November 13, 2016

Sen. Feinstein,

As a Democratic voter old enough to remember the George W. Bush years, I urge you to fight against Republicans and fight for progressive values rather than repeat the shameful enabling that Democrats in both chambers did for nearly all of the Bush presidency.

I am under no illusions that Democrats made some faulty tactical political decisions to pursue a greater good. 

The reality is too many elected Democrats take their marching orders from Wall Street banks and other corporations even when what they want conflicts with the best interests and wishes of the overwhelming majority of your constituents.  This has been especially true on issues like Wall Street deregulation and  bailouts, instead of regulation and vigorous prosecution, enabling the privatization of public education and prisons, and not publicly challenging the business and geopolitical goals of our foreign policy and means of implementing them.

A profound example of this was Obamacare that was written largely by insurance companies with seemingly no provision to control their arbitrary price increases instead of something like Medicare for All or at least a public option that would have served as a threat to private insurers that if they didn't act ethically, their customers could leave them for that.

Democrats in Congress have also supported rather than opposed our profoundly dishonest and criminal policies in Middle East.  Our allies in the Gulf, and indirectly (barely) our own government are supporting groups like ISIS to undermine secular regimes like the one in Syria, and the past one in Libya.

Likewise, the recently declassified Saudi pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 make it clear that Saudi Arabia funded and supported the 9/11 hijackers, which our government did nothing about.  This makes it clear that terrorism is not a problem our government is fighting but a tool and excuse it is using to pursue other goals.  No one in the leadership of Democrats in Congress has ever clearly articulated what those goals are and consistently fought this agenda that I know of.

Worse, once the Cold War ended and Russia became at least as capitalist as us, rather than find a way to cooperate with them, we have violated our word, expanded NATO to their borders, and fomented coups in places like the Ukraine to install regimes hostile to Russian security and economic interests like the transit of oil and gas from Russia to European markets.  A lot of people like myself balked at voting for Hillary Clinton since she had enthusiastically implemented this policy as Secretary of State and during her campaign, announced even more confrontational policies that could have lead to war with nuclear armed Russia.  While we might "win" such a war, millions would lose their lives and trillions dollars would be wasted to benefit very, very few.
While you have been progressive on many domestic issues, your family’s profiting from war contracts makes your support of any policy in that area suspect to say the least.  
Senator Feinstein, I urge you to help make the Democratic Party represent working people instead of just being the corporate party that doesn't pander to bigots.

Urge your colleagues to fight for leaders of the Democratic minority in Congress who will fight for progressive values.  Wall Street tools like Chuck Schumer should not even be considered an option.

Democratic voters will no longer tolerate politicians who give us lip service during election season, their back after, and their loyalty to Wall Street.


 Professor Smartass

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Corporate Democrats Act Like the Cable Company

After enduring another round of DLC/Third Way/Centrist whatever the fuck they're calling themselves this week berating of progressives after and even before the election because we didn't adequately support their candidates, I just realized their behavior is a lot like the cable company.

Remember that guy who tried to cancel his service a while back, and the cable company kept him on the phone haranguing him about what a good deal he was giving up?

Where else are you gonna go?  Back to the three shitty channels you get with an antenna?

Corporate Dems think they are cable and Republicans are the antenna.  They know fewer and fewer people like the handful of channels they get with the antenna: tax cuts for the rich, cuts to government services, fear of gays, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, and some foreigners yet to be determine, and military spending and war 24/7.

So the corporate Dems give us some channels we like: gay rights, better education spending, health care reform, Social Security, and a couple of others.

But they also make us pay for a lot of channels we don't want, including a lot of the worst Republican ones: trade deals, privatization of government services like education, weak punishment and regulation of Wall Street crimes, the surveillance state, and endless war.

Sure there are third parties like the satellite systems, but they are set up much like the cable companies, and while they offer a better deal, they don't really cut into the cable business in most places.

They think they just have to wait for the old farts that like antenna's racist, "get off my lawn" audience to die off, and they will own the market.

But like cable, competition could come from some entirely unexpected direction.

People are cutting their cable and getting the programs they want a la carte on Amazon, iTunes, and the like.

The corporate Democrats don't seem to realize that that kind of unexpected changes is coming to politics.

Even if they took better care of their customers, it would only delay the inevitable.

The cable box is going to end up in the dumpster along with the last rabbit ears antennas.

And if they don't take better care of us, we might throw the box out before we figure out what the replacement is.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New sports for the century of climate change

Since we are seeing more and more of the dark side of favorite American sports like the brain injuries, domestic violence, and worse that result from football, maybe it's time to invent some new ones that will actually help us make it through the century of climate change.

One area might be clean energy.
You could divide it up into wind, solar thermal, and non-dam hydro. To make it competitive between rich and poor schools, have them make wind turbines and solar thermal units from stuff they pull from a dump, so they're recycling too.

An obvious start would be to make their own schools entirely energy self-sufficient, and then to start making money from power generation through net metering.

Another area could be potable water.

Which school can use low tech recycled materials and clean energy to reclaim the most dirty water, extract moisture from the air, or desalinate sea water?

For the less clever, more brute strength types, sandbagging.
Can you protect your community from flooding by building up the levee?

Which school can make the most earthbag housing for people displaced by flooding, fires, and drought?

You could add more hoops for them to jump through to add some "strategery," but this would also appeal to desire to contribute and be a "superhero" innate in most kids.

Instead of saving the game, they could save the world.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

THE KILLER COP STORY WE NEVER HEAR: Hedge Fund Manager Shot for Suspected Sale of Fraudulent Derivatives

Goldman Sachs executive Oliver Dauphin was shot and killed today when he failed to respond to questioning by a police officer.

Dauphin was waiting for his limo at the curb outside the Bhutan Grill when police officer Damon Johnson overheard him on the phone, selling what sounded like a rent based derivative.

"I knew how much damage those mortgage back derivatives did to our economy and the world, so I wanted to ask some questions to find out if they were solid or another pump and dump fraud like the mortgage backed derivatives," said Johnson.

Johnson instructed Dauphin to hang up, so he could ask his questions, but Dauphin ignored him and walked a few feet away.

Johnson followed and took his phone out of his hand, ending his call.

Dauphin tried to grab his phone back, and Johnson said, "not until you answer some questions."

Dauphin became enraged and said, "Do you know who I am? Do you know who I am? I'm the guy who's going to get you fired. I'm going to make your life a living hell. You're dead!"

Johnson took his last statement as a threat, drew his revolver, and told Dauphin to put his hands on his head.

Rather than comply, Dauphin made a dismissive noise and reached inside his jacket.

Fearing that he may have been reaching for a weapon, Johnson opened fire, hitting Dauphin three times in the chest and once in the head.

A later search of his body found no weapon, only a wallet and a cigar.

Others in the finance industry were shocked by the shooting and demanded that the officer be fired or at least put on suspension pending an investigation.

The police chief said he had no plans to do so since the officer acted within department policy.

"A suspect wearing a long heavy coat like that could be hiding a shotgun, assault rifle or grenade launcher for all we know, so given his movements, the shooting was appropriate. Police officers deal with very dangerous people in this neighborhood who have been known to rob pension funds, bankrupt local and state governments, and even countries with their fraud. Given that threat, Officer Johnson acted appropriately."

He also said that a cigar had been stolen from a nearby bodega and it was very likely the officer could smell the tobacco. Johnson did not mention this in any of his own statements though.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Iraq Demands United States form a more inclusive government

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, expressing 
dismay at failure of US democracy
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki spoke for his parliament and cabinet today when he urged the United States to form a more inclusive government that was responsive to more than just the minority of extremely wealthy individuals.

"Polls show less than half of Americans approve of President Obama's performance, record public distrust of the US Congress, and little change economic, trade, budget, tax, and foreign policy regardless of which of the two major parties is in control of the White House or Congress," said Maliki.

"Further, recent studies have shown that American politicians are far more responsive to wealthy donors and past and future employers or business cronies than they are to their constituents even when what the wealthy want conflicts with the wishes of their constituents or actually harms them," he added.

"Therefore, for the stability of the United States and because of the effect their large economy and military presence has on the rest of the world, we ask that they dissolve their government and reconstitute a "salvation government"  that is more inclusive of the vast majority and their economic interests and diminishes the influence of money in policy-making, whether through the inclusion of smaller parties or establishing means of direct democracy at the national level or whatever it takes," he concluded.

Maliki went on to say that the United States could learn from Iraq's mistakes before the US suffers an insurgency of its own.

Maliki could not resist ending on an ironic note. 

"You know, the US could even learn a thing or two about democracy from us. The American people wanted to end their government's occupation of Iraq almost as much as Iraqis did.   The Iraqi government responded appropriately, negotiating for the withdrawal of foreign troops, while the US negotiated fiercely to keep troops in the country and now looks for a way to reintroduce them, despite 72% of Americans saying the war was not worth it.  If you think that's democracy, then Iraq still has some hidden WMD's I'd like to sell you."

Sunday, March 09, 2014

selfish reasons for Americans to worry about what happens to Russia

It seems that since the end of the Cold War, the financial elite have become more brazen in screwing the middle and working class (and even a lot of the rich) and buying politicians more openly to help them do so.

They may have been more circumspect in the past because for all its flaws, communism would look more attractive to Europeans and Americans if we were still treated the way we were in the robber baron era, and while the Soviet Union was a going concern, it would look like a realistic rather than hypothetical option.

So we got the original "Third Way" between capitalism and socialism, smoothing the corners and rough edges off capitalism enough that people didn't think too much about alternatives.

Once the Soviet Union was gone, the financial elite seem to believe Francis Fukuyama's pronouncement that it was the end of history and they had won. Without an alternative for people to look to, the Third Way became three-quarters of the way to fascism and back to the era of Charles Dickens--smoothing the edges off capitalism was too expensive when the rich could just keep the tax money that costs in their pocket, and then privatize any surviving government services, so the tax dollars that are collected end up back in their hands.

If that is how they treat us now, regardless of whether you think Putin is a nice guy, do you think the financial elite are going to treat us any better once they don't even have Russia as a major REGIONAL obstacle?

If they replace every government that doesn't do business on terms the IMF, World Bank, Wall St, oil companies and the like dictate, is that going to make life any better for the rest of us?

When the sun never set on the British Empire, far from helping the folks back in England, those were the darkest days of the Industrial Revolution, when men, women, and children worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

Have our lives gotten any better since we've gone from one of two superpowers to the SOLE superpower in the world?

If not why should we expect to get any better if the continue to isolate Russia and take away their oil and gas business until they become a super-sized Somalia?

Previous post on Russia post-Cold War

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Obama sends Bush to teach Syria how to kill civilians legally

Syrian President Bashir Assad being advised
by former American President George W. Bush
In a last ditch effort to avoid air strikes and cruise missile attacks on Syria,
President Barack Obama has deployed former President George W Bush as a special envoy to instruct Syrian President Bashir Assad on the how to kill civilians without committing war crimes.

"No one alive knows more about this than former President Bush," Obama said. "He has by some estimates, authorized the killing of over a million Iraqi men, women, and children and untold tens of thousands of Afghans--all without committing war crimes or human rights violations. That's why I gave him immunity for actions taken in those wars just the other day."

Bush had already arrived in Syria and begun what he called his "Cheneying" of the young president of Syria.

He took a brief break to explain the advice he's giving Assad in an exclusive interview with Fox News.

"See, first thing I told him is we're the deciders.  We decide what's the right way to kill terrorists.  And that's the first step.  Only kill terrorists.  And they can come in any gender or age or sexual oriented minority."

The Fox interviewer Chris Wallace asked if he advised Assad against the use of chemical weapons.

"Of course I did! That's the first thing I said! There's nothing more bad than killing someone with a gas that leaves their body mostly intact.  I told him a real leader uses weapons that blows them bodies into pieces and buries them in rubble so it takes their relatives a while to find them and put them back together."

"See when they're busy doing that, they can't be terroristing as much."

"So explosives are the only weapons that are moral?" Wallace asked.

"I never said that," Bush bristled.  "We got stuff that can burn people to death. Inside and out at the same time.  And they can't put it out even in water.  They just kinda run around like a Bugs Bunny cartoon till they run out of juice, heh heh."

"You can also take them out one at a time Old West style with good old bullets even if you have to do it from a helicopter to get more of them like reporters and kids trying to help terrorists we're in the middle of killing."

Wallace asked if killing, even if limited to these legal methods, won't generate more enemies for the Assad regimes.

"You know I don't really think about that.  But if you think that's a problem, you can bring some people in and ask them how they feel about your leadership.  Sometimes you have to use special 'enhanced' interrogation methods we've developed like waterboarding to get an honest answer out of them."

"Don't those methods sometimes lead to additional deaths?" Wallace asked.

"Not that I know of.  I mean not people that wouldn't lose their life later anyway."

Wallace said there may be some limits to how Bush's experience could apply to Syria since President Assad is killing his own people and Bush was killing people on the other side of the world.

"Chris, that's what's great about America. We know how other people need to do things even if we haven't done it ourselves yet."