Friday, March 18, 2016

(Bernie Sanders' State of the Primaries Speech Finally Highlighted)  Antonin Scalia Ungowned  (Tea Baggers Media/Trump Masquerading As Rebels/Fools)  Sander's Legacy

In New Shock Poll, Bernie Swamps Both Trump and Bush

It is shocking that the data suggests that Sanders has a lead over Trump that could be so huge that he would win a landslide victory in the presidential campaign, with margins that would almost certainly lead Democrats to regain control of the Senate and could help Democrats regain control of the House of Representative — if, of course, the three polls that show Sanders beating Trump by 9 to 12 points reflect final voting in the presidential election.

For today, there are two issues these polls present. First, the national reporting of the presidential campaign completely fails to reflect Sanders’s strength in a general election, especially against Trump, and against Bush as well.

Second, and perhaps more important, Sanders’s strength in general election polling gives credence to the argument I have been making in recent years, that American voters favor progressive populist positions which, if taken by Democrats in the general election, would lead to a progressive populist Democratic president and far greater Democratic strength in Congress.

It is a fallacy argued by conservatives and, in my view, inaccurately parroted by the mainstream media, that Sanders and other liberals take positions that are far too “left.” The polling shows, issue by issue, and increasingly in general election match-ups of Republicans running against Sanders, that it is the left, not the right, which has the upper hand with American voters.

The "New York Times" (no link provided to this democracy-ender) finally recognizes the unique greatness of the Ramones.

And even puts a few tune links in its hallowed pages to a group (although they are all dead (maybe that's why they are acceptable now?)) that continues to speak loudly through their music to the insanity of our times.

I've wondered more than a few times about what the Scalia-philes thought his presence on the SCOTUS would bring to the U.S.

Other than a life-long negativity if not outright hatred of other people's rights, especially women's.

Not to mention his love for the "Rich Citizens United" verdict.

As we consider a successor to Antonin Scalia, and the Trump Party’s refusal to consider any nomination, let us tell the truth about Antonin Scalia. No need to speak ill of him. But now that the encomiums are starting to fade, let us tell the truths underlying his constant efforts to politicize the Supreme Court.
Antonin Scalia hated the United States. Not the country, and certainly not the government. He hated the concept of the United States. The concept that a population could rule itself, without direction from the ‘noble’ classes, was anathema to him. He clung to the ancient belief that god created rulers and the common folk are required to be obedient to god’s chosen appointees.
This belief about government was part of his religious faith. Claiming to be a devout Catholic, he rejected every Pope since Vatican II. To him, everything about Vatican II was heresy. The change in the liturgy from Latin to local languages was the core symbol of the Church’s error. The common rabble, thought Scalia, had no business knowing what the liturgy said. No business thinking about what they were told. Their role was to hear and to obey – not to think or believe on their own.
Scalia reviled the Constitution, which created a form of government that he found to be unnatural, immoral, and against what he thought to be the proper order of things. For him, government was of the nobility, by the nobility, for the nobility. A government of the people, by the people, for the people was simply nonsensical to him. “The people”, in his theocracy, have no role except as obedient servants to the rulers.
Scalia missed no opportunity to state that he thought the Constitution was a “dead” document. His philosophy of “originalism” was not built on anything of what the Founding Fathers wrote. There was no “original intent”. In high school, we are all assigned to read the Federalist Papers – arguments by founding fathers about why the Constitution should be ratified. Many fewer of us read much by the anti-Federalists, the founding fathers who argued against ratification. But they were many and voluble.
The simple reality is that the founding fathers were a hugely diverse and quarrelsome lot of men (no women allowed – although the letters between Abigail and John Adams remind us that wives had as much influence on their men in the 18th century as they have in the 21st). There was a variety of opinions about what the new Constitution meant, and how the new Federal government and the individual states would interact. There was no “original intent”.
“Original intent” is purely a marketing concept, crafted to justify destroying Constitutional relevance to modern social issues and problems. By constantly labeling the Constitution as a “dead document”, with meaning for only the late 18th century, Scalia was working to lay the groundwork for a corporate effort to supplant the Constitution, and our Constitutional government with a government by an oligarchy of corporate nobility.
One of the purest expressions of this goal is the "Citizens United" opinion. In much of the world, money buys politicians. Although Silvio Burlesconi may be the modern poster boy for this reality, the term Banana Republic was born from press criticism of the same impulse (from a time when the U.S. had press not controlled by Wall St. corporations).
The "Citizens United" decision gives the lie to any pretense of sincerity of the “originalist” and “original intent” crowd. What the founding fathers felt about corporations, and the risks they posed to free governments, is well established and documented. No ‘justice’ who signed onto the "Citizens United" majority can honestly claim to any respect for the views of the founding fathers.
And one of the founding fathers also told us the truth about “originalism”. Thomas Jefferson (who did not attend the Constitutional convention in 1787) wrote about the new Constitution:

“[L]aws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
The men who labored and argued and reached compromises that long hot summer in Philadelphia, knew that they were creating a document to serve people who would disagree, would argue, and would need to reach compromises to make their new government work and survive. They knew that, as Jefferson later wrote, new discoveries would be made, new truths discovered, and manners and opinions would change.They wrote with that in mind.

They wrote to create a framework of government that could survive and continue to serve the people as the world advanced. And it is that very purpose and intention that is anathema to “originalists” like Antonin Scalia. To them, governments should not serve the people, but rather the nobility that they see as the natural rulers of the world.

The current Republican Party opposition to President Obama’s nominating any new Supreme Court Justice is grounded in this fear and hatred of rule by the people. Thomas Jefferson also said:

“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
Jefferson knew the risks posed by corporations with no loyalty to any nation, nor to any value other than greed. With a lust for power, not for the sake of power, but as a way to achieve ever greater wealth. The Tea Bag Republican Party is now owned and controlled, completely, by corporate interests. With lots of crocodile tears and handwringing apologies, the Party’s bosses offer us a Presidential candidate who’s sole claim to any ability is that he is a corporate master, skilled in “the art of the deal” – a consummate corporate insider, masquerading as a rebel.

And as the circus of the presidential nomination campaign plays out, to a corporate controlled script, corporate bosses order their Tea Bag Republican Party employees to openly defy the Constitution and refuse to consider, discuss, or even meet with any possible replacement to the corporations’ best friend on the Supreme Court, at least until they have had a chance to put their own man in the White House.

Scalia hated the United States for deep philosophical reasons.

He wanted a return to government by the elite nobility he imagined was ordained by god to rule. So he did everything that he could to politicize and discredit the legal authority of the Court. He wanted it to appear bigoted and intellectually dishonest, as a step in the process of discrediting the governmental structure he so reviled.

The Tea Bag Republican Party corporate sycophants who block his successor have no such philosophical beliefs. They are simply corporate employees, acting on their bosses instructions to stall until a corporate master is in position to make a corporate friendly appointment for them to rubber stamp.

Mitch McConnell may try to use his well-established anti-Obama racism as cover for the tactics.

He may promise his faithful that no n*gg*r is going to appoint the same number of Supreme Court Justices as the divine Ronald Reagan.

But behind all the blather, the simple reality is that he has been instructed by his corporate bosses that their chosen candidate is to pick the next, corporate obedient ‘justice’, and that he is to do everything in his considerable power to make sure that happens.

Sadly, one certainty on which corporate planners rely is that like Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, too many Democrats will prefer to fight among themselves than to getting out to overcome the corporate wave. Did Hillary speak wrong about Reagans’ odious silence back in the ‘80s? I won’t get out to vote if she’s the nominee. Does Bernie get too snarky in tweets about Hillary? I won’t get out for him if he’s the nominee.

Corporate planners count on Democrats doing some of their work for them. If their well-controlled “liberal media” can focus on the internal bickering of Democrats, and suppress voter turnout (without even passing voter suppression laws – get us to do it to ourselves) they will get the chance to have their candidate choose a very corporate friendly nominee to fill the seat vacated by the odious, historically contemptible, intellectually dishonest Antonin Scalia.

I just love Richard Wolff.

There's a wolf you'd like to run into sometime.

Richard Wolff on Bernie Sanders:  The Socialist Outsider Who Took Center Stage

By David Smith
Rather than undermine his campaign, Bernie Sanders has made a virtue of the label ‘socialist’ and is riding a wave of opposition to economic inequality that began with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Bernie Sanders proud proclamation of himself as a ‘socialist’ is a daring gambit in a country where it has been a dirty word for half a century. Critics of the 74-year-old junior senator from Vermont expected him to fade quickly from the limelight, but Sanders has surprised everyone – not least himself – in garnering huge support for his left-wing campaign in the Democrat Party presidential candidates. A few weeks ago, Sanders surpassed 2.3 million donations, breaking the Democrat record held by Barack Obama.

Rather than undermining his campaign, however, Sanders’ acceptance of the label ‘socialist’ is central to his appeal. “It has given him a reputation for being courageous and honest because any American politician would have to be a complete lunatic to call himself a socialist otherwise,” said Professor Wolff.

Sanders’ apparent political ingenuousness has caused the media to underestimate him. They assumed wrongly that he was no threat and would quickly fade from view. However, Sanders possesses an acute understanding of the political game honed over decades during his rise from obscurity in Vermont to become the first independent in Congress in 40 years, and then a candidate for the US Presidency.

“Sanders realised early on that honesty was his best strategy. If he had started looking, smelling or tasting like a male version of Mrs Clinton, he would have vanished without trace and become the Democratic equivalent of Ben Carson, or Jed Bush, who has more money than God, but was swimming against a huge current that drowned him,” . . . .

However, Sanders is also a man whose time has come. If it were not for the 2011 "Occupy Wall Street" movement, which used powerful slogans about the dominance of “the 1%” to raise awareness of economic inequality, Sanders would have remained in relative obscurity. "Occupy Wall Street" began on September 17, 2011 in New York, and spread to more than 100 cities in the US and 1,500 cities globally.

Many of the protesters who cut their teeth in the Occupy encampments are now running grassroots campaigns for Sanders. For example, Stan Williams, a prominent Occupy Wall Street activist, is co-organiser of African Americans for Bernie.

“Occupy Wall Street deserves a lot more respect from thinking people. It was a precedent-breaking liberation as the first modern left-wing movement that did not shy away from economics. It made it possible for Sanders, and others, to advance leftist criticisms without being afraid of forcing economic issues into everyone’s face,” said Professor Wolff.

He went on to say “My own radio career has exploded as a result. I started out on one station in New York and now I’m on 50 stations nationwide. I’ve done nothing to solicit it. Stations came to me because listeners were demanding a critical perspective on economics.”

For a socialist economist, it is a liberating sensation after years of being considered irrelevant. For two decades after Bill Clinton’s accommodation with big business, a declining number on the left were open to criticisms of the prevailing economic orthodoxy.

“The left became lost in the kind of leftism in which Karl Marx became more and more irrelevant and the "New York Times" became more and more relevant. The definition of ‘left’ was being concerned about ethnic minorities, or gender discrimination. It was the kind of socialism that was trying to be socially acceptable because everything to do with economics is set aside. What you get is a sanitised version of socialism.”

The growing awareness of inequality is behind the openness to socialist points of view. Even as Barack Obama’s Democrats boasted of recovery from the 2008 economic crisis, most of the spoils went to the top tier. Emmanuel Saez, at the University of California, Berkeley, analysed average inflation-adjusted income per family for the first years of the economic recovery between 2009 and 2012.

He found that, although average income climbed 6%, the top 1% saw a 31.4% rise – 95% of the total gain – whereas the bottom 99% saw growth of 0.4%.

“The newspapers have been full of recovery stories, but the vast majority have had no share in it. This creates psychic distress. They are telling these people, ‘you are a three-time loser. You lost in the crash, you lost because you weren’t bailed out after the crash and you lost because now you can’t climb your way onto the recovery process. You are done. Just go and slink away’,” said Professor Wolff.

Sanders has sought to position himself in a long and proud American tradition of socialism that has been marginalised and misunderstood. In a speech at Georgetown University in November, he attempted to demystify the concept by portraying Franklin D Roosevelt as the incarnation of socialism. “Almost everything he proposed was called ‘socialist’. Social Security, which transformed life for the elderly, was ‘socialist’.

The concept of the minimum wage was a radical intrusion into the marketplace, labelling it ‘socialist’. Unemployment insurance, abolishing child labor, the 40-hour work week, collective bargaining, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, and job programs that put millions of people to work were all described, in one way or another, as ‘socialist’.

Despite the rapturous reception for his anti-establishment views, it is likely Sanders will lose the Democrat election to Clinton. One problem he faces is that most of the major unions support his rival. The American Federation of Teachers and the machinists’ union have already thrown in their lot with Clinton and Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO (America’s national federation of trade unions), has warned individual unions against coming out for Sanders.

“The unions know Sanders is a much better articulator of their positions than Clinton, but they think that if they go for Sanders, they will not only have the Republicans and the business community abusing them, but she will not take their calls real quickly either. That’s even worse and, therefore, the union leaders won’t hesitate to override what a clear majority of their members want,” said Professor Wolff.

An even more fundamental problem for Sanders is his lack of support in the African-American community.

. . . Assuming Sanders loses the election; the vital question for the left is how they can build on his legacy. With the rise of Syriza in Greece and left wing parties prominent in Spain and Portugal, as well as the arrival of a socialist leader of the Labour Party in England, there is clearly a renewed appetite for left-wing politics in the west.

Sanders could be an important staging post before a younger, progressive leader arrives. “The rest of the left in the US is already thinking about how to cash in on the energy, drive and money he has inspired. Sanders has opened up a space for all kinds of political initiatives on the left that weren’t possible six months ago. The fact the mainstream media can’t figure this out is a wonderful example of their giving assistance to the thing they hate,” he said.

That the younger generations should welcome a different economic approach is not entirely surprising. Youth unemployment stood at 11.3% in December; double the national rate of 5.5%. “Sanders and his socialist message have great appeal for them,” said Professor Wolff.

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