Sympathy for the Devils...

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Tue May 03, 2022 10:22 pm

Democrats: The Ukraine War Is Over. Let's Talk Abortion Rights.
On day 69 the war in Ukraine fell off the top of the news pages.


The emotional outrage of the Democrats has now been redirected to the Supreme Court. This happened after Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion on constitutional protection of reproductive rights:

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.
Chief Justice Roberts has confirmed the authenticity of the 'leaked' draft but added that it does not represent the courts final decision.

The draft is dated February 10 2022. It was likely a tactical decision by Democrats to let it 'leak' now.

The war to 'weaken Russia' is going badly for the 'west' and the U.S. can do little to change that. The midterm election will likely see a huge loss for the Democrats. They need an emotional issue to incentivize their voters to go to the polls. Abortion rights may do that for a certain group of voters.

But I find it unlikely that it will, over all, be of much help.

"It's the economy, stupid" said James Carville, a strategist for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential election campaign. Prices are rising, especially for gas and food, while the housing market is suffering from upcoming higher interest rates. The U.S. will, like Europe, likely to go into a recession.

It is also obvious that the Democrats have no real interest in protecting abortion rights. They could have done so when they held the presidency, and majorities in the House and Senate. They never launched a serious attempt to put Roe vs. Wade into federal law. It always suited them better to keep the issue open and to use it during each election for fundraising and to scare their voters to the polls.

Now the Supreme Court is finally taking that ball away and leaves the issue to the states.

The Democrats can thank Barack Obama for that. When he was president he screwed up on abortion rights by not guaranteeing a liberal successor for Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I wrote about the issue in September 2020 after Ginsberg had died:

In summer 2013 then President Barack Obama invited Ginsburg for a talk. It was seen as a request to her to retire. But Obama did not offer an adequate replacement for her position. The details are not know but Ginsburg rejected whoever Obama had in mind:

Referring to the political polarization in Washington and the unlikelihood that another liberal in her mold could be confirmed by the Senate, Ginsburg, the senior liberal on the nine-member bench, asked rhetorically, “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?”
Ginsburg, in a wide-ranging 75 minute interview with Reuters in her chambers late on Thursday, also acknowledged that President Barack Obama had invited her to a private lunch last summer at the White House. It was an unusual move, she conceded.
Ginsburg said on Thursday that even if she had retired, the president would have been more likely to have chosen a compromise candidate than a liberal.

The good-enough centrist nominee Obama offered as a replacement for the progressive Ginsburg was, in her judgment, not perfect enough. In consequence important Supreme Court decisions like Roe vs. Wade are now in jeopardy.

Senator Chuck Schumer, now pledges a new vote on legislation to preserve abortion rights. But the Senate is evenly split and the decisive conservative Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, will vote against any such law.

The final Supreme Court decision will be published within the next two months.

Posted by b on May 3, 2022 at 16:42 UTC | Permalink
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Mon May 09, 2022 1:38 pm

American progressives join the War Party
Some leftist commentators can barely conceal their enthusiasm for American involvement in the Ukraine war
MAY 6, 2022

US representative Alexandra Ocasia-Cortez is among the Democratic Party members to vote in favor of a Republican sponsored Ukraine war bill. Image: Twitter

Russia’s war on Ukraine has, among many other things, highlighted a consequential, indeed historic, shift taking place in American politics with regard to foreign policy.

A recent vote in the House of Representatives helps tell the tale. On April 28, Congress voted by an overwhelming majority of 417-10 to pass Republican Senator John Cornyn’s bill that would revive Lend Lease and apply it to Ukraine.

As is well known, Lend Lease was the brainchild of Franklin D Roosevelt as a way to get around the series of Neutrality Acts passed by Congress in the 1930s, in order to help supply the British war effort against Nazi Germany.

One might be forgiven for wondering if such legislation is really necessary today; after all, according to numbers released by the State Department, the US has provided more than $6.4 billion in “security assistance” to Ukraine since 2014. And last week President Joe Biden put forward a request for another $20.4 billion in “additional security and military assistance” as part of a $33 billion aid package to Ukraine.

So what was the actual point of reviving Lend Lease? Well, it was in part, as is the case with many things that happen on Capitol Hill, performative: a way to signal to US arms manufacturers that constitute much of the political donor class that the money spigot will remain wide open for the foreseeable future.

But the Cornyn bill also tells us that the center of gravity of the anti-war movement is shifting away from its traditional home on the progressive left.

In the century since the US embarked on its journey to global hegemony with the Spanish-American War of choice in 1898, it was most often progressive Democrats who rallied under the banner of peace.

Jeanette Rankin of Montana, the first woman elected to Congress, was one of 50 dissenting votes against American entering the First World War. Progressive magazines such as The Nation were a thorn in the side of proud American imperialists like Henry Cabot Lodge, Brooks Adams and Theodore Roosevelt.

The historian Barbara Tuchman noted that Roosevelt in particular “confused the desire for peace with physical cowardice.” Roosevelt took delight in targeting papers and magazines like the Evening Post and The Nation, which he wrote, “in all of whom there exists absolute physical dread of danger and hardship and who therefore tend to hysterical denunciation and fear of war.”

The Vietnam era marked perhaps the high point of progressive dissent against the American war machine. The anti-war movement was certainly well represented (especially by today’s standards) in the US Senate, where J William Fulbright, William Proxmire, Wayne Morse, Robert F Kennedy, George McGovern, Eugene McCarthy and Frank Church opposed president Lyndon B Johnson’s war.

Perhaps the most recent example of exemplary progressive bravery on Capitol Hill is that of Representative Barbara Lee, who cast the sole vote in the House against granting the George W Bush administration practically unrestricted power to wage war (via the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF) in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Now, it seems we have entered a new era.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn (pictured) has cosponsered legislation to require CFIUS to increase scrutiny of foreign firms' investments in the US. Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Republican Senator John Cornyn’s Ukraine Lend Lease bill has won overwhelming support in the House. File Photo: Agencies / Joshua Roberts
The House’s overwhelming passage of the Cornyn bill will in effect cement Washington’s status as a co-belligerent in a war against a nuclear-armed and increasingly unpredictable Russia.

A look at the roll-call vote in the House shows that only 10 members voted against Cornyn’s bill, all of whom were Republicans.

Not a single Democratic progressive voted against the legislation. All the leaders of the progressive left in Congress, including Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Pramila Jaypal (D-MI), voted for Lend Lease – as did every member of the so-called “Squad,” including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Cori Bush (D-MO).

But perhaps most important of all was the vote cast by Representative Barbara Lee.

Not only did Lee vote for the Cornyn bill, she accompanied Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House’s leading Russia hawk Adam Schiff on a trip to Kiev last weekend, where they paid homage to the Ukrainian president and promised US support “until victory is won.”

Lee’s vote takes on additional significance since she chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which oversees foreign-aid programs such as those funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to Ukraine.

Still worse, progressive activists, journalists and thought leaders have likewise joined the American War Party. A longtime progressive hero and anti-poverty activist, the Reverend Dr William J Barber II, recently released a statement that attempted to leverage the tragedy of the war to drum up support for his grassroots campaign of poor people’s marches.

In a fundraising letter, Barber writes that “Russia’s assault on Ukraine has produced scenes that demand action from people who want to hold on to our humanity.”

“If Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine demand action,” said Barber, “then so too does the failure of the US Senate to pass Build Back Better’s provisions for affordable housing, green jobs, living wages for care workers, and a child tax credit that will immediately lift 4 million children out of poverty.”

After reading the statement, a Chicago-based labor activist wrote to me in disgust. “This [expletive] happens all the time in the left-wing non-profit industrial complex,” he wrote. “They have a really, really bad sense of history, and specious moral claims and comparisons like these are made all the time – usually done to raise money.”

The darling of the progressive foreign policy community, Bernie Sanders’ foreign-policy adviser Matt Duss, recently defended the policy that arguably brought us to this point, NATO expansion.

Brooklyn lefties were once so besotted by Duss that he landed on the cover of the The Nation magazine. His recent comments will no doubt keep him high in their esteem because, with few exceptions, progressive writers and activists have abandoned their commitment to peace: We are all Ukrainians now, or so we are told.

Ukrainian soldiers use a launcher with US-made Javelin missiles during military exercises in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on December 23, 2021. Photo: Ukranian Defense Ministry Press Service

Some progressive commentators can barely conceal their enthusiasm for American involvement. Here is the chickenhawk founding editor of the progressive magazine American Prospect, Robert Kuttner:

“It is appalling that the West keeps lionizing Zelensky, giving him standing ovations after he addresses national parliaments, but denying him what he needs to save his country.

“What does he need? He needs warplanes.

“Sooner or later, NATO will have to give Ukraine planes powerful enough to annihilate Russia’s invading armies. It might as well be sooner.”

Quincy Institute non-resident fellow Joe Cirincione, a longtime nuclear-arms-control expert, has, like Kuttner, embraced his inner chickenhawk. He recently praised the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization for supplying more arms to Ukraine, and hence prolonging the war in blithe disregard of the possible consequences, including Russia resorting to the use of tactical nuclear weapons, writing:

“Supplying Ukraine with artillery that can out-range Russian artillery can be a dramatic shift in the war. It may save cities now threatened by brutal Russian bombardment. Smart move by US/NATO.”

In the end, the unanimous Democratic support for the Ukrainian Lend Lease bill and the calls for more and more weapons by leading progressives shows they have abandoned their traditional and long-held opposition to American wars of choice.

What a shame. ... war-party/

That last paragraph is pure nonsense. Historically speaking, the Democratic Party has never seen a war it didn't like(Good for the economy!) until the US started losing, then it might become anti-war, if the other party is in power. Boomers(my gen) think only of the big demonstrations which ended about a minute after Nixon ended the draft. We think history started and ends with us, such hubris, but the latter part could come true thanks to our self -satisfied arrogance and ignorance.
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Wed May 11, 2022 3:35 pm

The following is not about the Democratic Party and it's cheap jack hustlers. It is about Britain, it's Labour Party and social democrats in general. While the Democratic Party doesn't even achieve the low, treacherous standards of historic Social Democrats a considerable portion of it's rank&file would like it to be so(such limited horizons...). And it does have an analogous 'niche' in the political ecosystem to which this article is relevant.
Starmer and Siege Social Democracy
5 May
By Alfie Hancox
Since becoming Labour leader in 2020, Keir Starmer, the former Head of the Crown Prosecution Service, has championed the erosion of democratic liberties in Britain. Under his direction, the Parliamentary Labour Party has supported legislation that will enhance law enforcers’ ability to harass Black, Brown, and Traveller communities, penalise trade unionists, and infiltrate social justice movements with impunity. Particularly zealous in stamping out the subversive internationalism associated with Corbyn, Starmer has vilified the Stop the War Coalition and Palestine solidarity activists campaigning against Israeli apartheid and British complicity. Just last month, he called for a government ban on climate protests.

In an immediate sense, Starmer represents a continuation of Blair’s project to convert the Labour Party to neoliberal orthodoxy and NATO expansionism. Oliver Eagleton, author of The Starmer Project: A Journey to the Right, has explained how ‘proximity to the Anglo-American security agencies was a key part of Starmer’s intellectual formation.’ However, the New/Old Labour distinction – emphasised by those still insisting socialists should ‘stay and fight’ in the Party – can also obscure as much as it illuminates, including the ways in which Starmerism conforms to historical patterns of British social democracy.

Starmer’s response to the cost-of-living crisis by doubling down on Labour’s appeals to ‘law and order’ especially demonstrates the relevance of Stuart Hall’s underutilised concept of social democracy ‘adapted for siege conditions’, as well as his analysis of how reformist politics in Britain have been mediated by race and empire.

Hall on social democracy
Stuart Hall was a theorist who is primarily known on the left for his discerning analysis of Thatcherism. However, Hall also drew attention to the Labour Party’s role in laying the groundwork for Thatcher’s neoliberal counterrevolution. In his much-referenced essay ‘The Great Moving Right Show’ (1979), he argued that ‘[t]he contradiction within social democracy is the principal key to the whole rightward shift of the political spectrum.’

Hall was here restating the classical Marxist account of social reformism, as a contradictory political formulation that seeks class compromise within the parameters of capitalist exploitation. As identified by fellow New Left intellectual Ralph Miliband, Labour politicians seeking state power through constitutional means – including those claiming to be pursuing socialism – have reconciled themselves to ‘what Lord Balfour, in a classical formulation, once called “the foundations of society”, meaning above all the existing economic and social system of private ownership and private appropriation’.

This reality has been most apparent during unstable periods of social consensus breakdown, when the Labour Party and trade union bureaucracy have opted to side with the capitalist state. In the midst of the depression of the 1930s, for example, Labour administrations denounced the Unemployed Workers’ Movement, which was protesting the draconian Means Test and use of labour camps for the jobless, and imprisoned Communists involved in anti-colonial activities during the Meerut Conspiracy trials. Similarly in the 1970s, the Labour government of Jim Callaghan (1976–9) responded to an economic recession by accepting an IMF loan in return for fiscal disciplining, and a crackdown on industrial militancy.

Labour was at its inception a hybrid Party, shaped by prior utopian socialist, Gladstonian, and Radical-Liberal traditions, and British social democracy has never been able to cast off its intellectual and institutional debts to liberalism. New Labour certainly marked a decisive shift of emphasis, with the decline of the once-formidable union bureaucracy and rise of the market fundamentalists. But the use of authoritarian measures to protect the capitalist economy has been a consistent feature of Labour’s governing record.

In his seminal 1978 book Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order, co-authored with colleagues at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Hall wrote of a social democracy ‘adapted for siege conditions’, as the alliance between labour, capital, and the state was threatened by a combination of untamed industrial strife and organised Black and Brown resistance to racial violence. In its attempt at ‘disciplining the nation to consent’, Callaghan’s Labour presaged the ‘authoritarian populism’ perfected by Margaret Thatcher and the conservative New Right.

Hall defined authoritarian populism as ‘an exceptional form of the capitalist state which, unlike classical fascism, has retained most (though not all) of the formal representative institutions in place’. The historical record suggests that the ‘state of exception’ in which coercion comes to the foreground is not restricted to right-wing or neoliberal regimes. The idea that social democracy is, by default, a purely consensual mode of governance is part of its ideological halo.

Even the postwar Attlee government, which delivered the British welfare state on the back of heightened neo-colonial exploitation abroad, saw a need for ‘exceptional’ measures to deal with strikes in the newly nationalised industries. The National Health Service architect, Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan, defended the government’s invocation of the Emergency Powers Act, previously used to undermine the General Strike of 1926, by telling the cabinet that it ‘would be prudent to have wide powers in order to deal with any trouble’ that might disrupt ‘essential services’.

‘What Powell says today…’
In order to suppress and conceal inconvenient class antagonisms, the reformist left has regularly taken its cue from the right in making appeals to public order and popular prejudices. As Hall demonstrated, the politics of race have been particularly key to deflecting crises of hegemony in Britain.

Callaghan and his predecessor Harold Wilson both responded to the breakdown of the class-collaborationist Social Contract by deploying the atavistic politics of race and immigration. At the height of the ‘mugging’ moral panic that was being effectively exploited by the fascist National Front, Labour put the ‘sus’ stop-and-search law into full force in Black communities. This racist policy culminated in the 1976 Notting Hill Carnival ‘disturbances’, where Black youths confronted an invading police force. The conflict is usually left out of discussions of ‘race riots’ in Britain which focus on the eighties.

Crucial to understanding social democracy in Britain is its prolonged entanglement with colonialism. As Matt Myers observes, the ‘“dogmatic” loyalty of the Labour Party to the British parliamentary system noted by Ralph Miliband also involved a commitment to maintaining the British Empire and its underpinning ideology of peoples “fit” and “unfit” (or “not yet fit”) to rule.’

The formative impact of racial ideology and colonial administration on Labour politics has been consistently underestimated. It involves a long history, extending back to the scapegoating of colonial maritime workers for unemployment after the First World War, and the anti-Black Labour movement campaign against France’s stationing of African troops in the Rhineland, during an interwar moral panic about ‘race mixing’ in Britain’s port towns. These episodes coincided with ruling class fears of social revolution focused on the red revolt on the Clyde.

Racist reaction again took prominence in the 1960s, with the waning of the postwar economic boom and the emergence of student protests against the Vietnam War and South African apartheid. Labour and Conservative politicians alike pointed the finger at Black and Asian immigrants, who were originally recruited to alleviate Britain’s postwar labour shortage, as a drain on the country’s resources. In 1968, Wilson’s Labour government rushed through the new Commonwealth Immigrants Act, barring entry to Kenyan Asian refugees. Race & Class’s Ambalavaner Sivanandan sardonically noted that ‘What [Enoch] Powell says today, the Tories say tomorrow and Labour legislates on the day after’.

While renewing Blair’s emphasis on ‘national security’ and aggressive Atlanticism, Starmer is then also following long-established practices of social democracy by responding to contemporary unrest with promises to be tougher on immigration, crime, and street protest.

The Starmer factor

The spiralling cost of living in Britain is a symptom of the wider structural crisis of the imperialist world economy, which has been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic, and made traditional social-democratic reforms less and less viable. While ostensibly serving as Leader of the Opposition to the Tory government, Starmer has prioritised Labour’s status as a guardian of the besieged neoliberal state.

While people take to the streets to protest rising prices and stagnating wages, Starmer is attempting to outflank the Conservative Party from the right on law and order, claiming that ‘Under the Tories, criminals have never had it so good’, and promising that Labour in power would ‘crack down on crime’. This comes in the broader context of revived racialised discourses of gang violence and knife crime, and establishment pushback against what Starmer disparagingly termed the Black Lives Matter ‘moment’. Starmer has also parroted Priti Patel’s ‘moral argument’ for transporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, a policy universally condemned by liberal human rights groups.

As so often in modern British politics, the language of race and public orderliness is deployed to connect ‘“the crisis of the state” above with the state of the streets’. This linkage was particularly acute in responses to the 2011 London uprisings – spontaneous protests against economic deprivation and police violence, including the killing of Mark Duggan. In the aftermath, Starmer, then serving as Director of Public Prosecutions, ran all-night courts to ensure the rapid sentencing of ‘rioters’, while Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy blamed knife crime on absent fathers.

In addition to appeals to law and order, Starmer has also picked up the Blue Labourist concoction of ‘family, faith, and flag’, as exemplified by his courting of trans-exclusionary radical-‘feminists’ who have latched onto the transphobic moral panic accompanying the breakdown of traditional gender roles. Like Blair before him, Starmer is willingly operating on post-Thatcherite terrain. The difference, as Eagleton puts it, is that ‘while Blair injected an illusory optimism into capitalist realism, Starmer can only act as its grim enforcer’. Starmer appeals to the myopic professional-managerial class, while simultaneously emulating the right-wing strategy to foster ‘a hegemony that stretches up through the Midlands to the north-east, and whose chief identity is a post-Brexit, weaponised Englishness’ – although, as Aditya Chakrabortty points out, this is carried forward much more effectively by the Tories.

In the first instance, the Starmerite reaction is the anticipated response of the Labour right to the Corbyn interregnum, which placed dangerous ideals of equality and wealth redistribution back onto the political agenda. Starmer’s anti-left vendetta echoes Neil Kinnock’s war on the ‘loony left’ in the 1980s, and earlier anti-Communist witch hunts in the civil service under Attlee. Corbynism was though itself a highly contradictory formation – a fact which remains relevant for those wishing to confront the present impasse of the left.

Corbynism’s compromises

Corbynism presented a novel opening for the left, emerging as it did out of the intersection of an internal Labour Party crisis and the post-2010 anti-austerity movement. At the same time as achieving a victory over the Blairites, however, Corbyn and his intellectual backers reinforced an unhealthy romanticisation of Old Labour and the ‘golden age’ of postwar British social democracy. Relatedly, grassroots activism was inhibited by a general naivety about the parliamentary Labour left which, as identified by Trotsky a century ago, can function as ‘a sort of safety valve for the radical mood of the masses’.

Serious limitations to the Corbyn movement quickly became apparent, which underscored the parliamentary left’s seemingly unbridgeable distance from movements pitted squarely against the state. As argued by Gargi Bhattacharya et al. in Empire’s Endgame: Racism and the British State (Pluto Press: 2021), it ‘is particularly significant that the issues Corbyn’s Labour conceded on most – the case against police, prisons and violent borders – became the very issues around which one of the most geographically and racially diverse street mobilisations in generations galvanised.’

Labour’s 2017 and 2019 Manifestos reaffirmed support for NATO militarism and hard borders, while Labour councils across Britain continued implementing cuts. Corbyn himself adopted the classic carrot and stick approach of siege social democracy when he said that social services and the police are ‘two sides of the same coin’, ‘prevention and cure’. In another call back, he argued that a purported ‘rising scale of violent crime’ should be resolved through ‘community policing’ – a soft-counterinsurgency concept which first attained prominence as a state response to the 1980s inner city uprisings. These and other concessions played directly into the hands of the Labour right, while leaving Corbynism’s social movement wing disoriented and demoralised.

It is doubtful that Labour can persist as reformism without the promise (however remote!) of reforms, and so long as the Labour left remain within the Party on Starmer’s terms – as with the opportunist Socialist Campaign Group MPs who dropped their criticism of NATO after being threatened with whip removal – they serve the role of a ‘useful opposition’. To effectively respond to the authoritarian populist conjuncture, the non-state left thus needs to demystify the real class basis of social democracy, and face up to the contradictions which pervaded the Corbynist approach of pursuing socialist advances ‘in and against’ the capitalist state.

We can take heart from the fact that siege conditions mean resistance: on the streets, in the workplace, and within communities. The past two years alone have seen the remarkable emergence of Palestine Action, the civil disobedience movement targeting the operations of Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. That these activists have successfully shutdown an entire weapons factory, while so far evading prosecution points to the space that exists for developing anti-systemic politics outside the parliamentary orbit.

Charting a progressive counter-hegemony which embraces popular mobilisations against both racial violence and economic insecurity will ultimately face deep obstacles beyond the question of the state, not least imperialism’s structuring role in class formation within Britain. Corbyn’s backtracking over borders and NATO was partially responsive to nativist and social-imperialist impulses within the trade union movement: his major union backer Unite successfully opposed free movement, and campaigned to protect skilled jobs in the bloated ‘defence’ sector.

Post-2019 attempts to formulate an emancipatory working-class project beyond Labourism, including renewed discussions on the role of a revolutionary party, are welcome and urgent, but they have largely neglected the fundamental issues of imperialist unequal exchange and attendant bordering practices. Moving forward, the more dynamic sections of the left need to bring on board insights from the great critics of ‘empire socialism’, from R. P. Dutt and George Padmore to Sivanandan and Hall.

Alfie Hancox ... -democracy

Obama and Liberals Killed Abortion Rights

Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist 11 May 2022

Barack Obama press conference April 29, 2009 (Photo: C-Span)

The revelation that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision has not motivated the left wing of the democratic party to effectively mobilize on an issue they claim to care about. They are made powerless by their dependence on liberalism and loyalty to people like Barack Obama who choose to ignore them.

On May 2, 2022, a memo written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to . Alito made clear that the court with a 6 to 3 conservative majority intends to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the United States.

Reaction to the news was swift and predictable. Liberals expressed outrage and marched on federal courthouses and even to the homes of Supreme Court justices. Barack Obama released a long winded 700 word statement declaring himself, and his wife, strongly opposed to the court’s imminent decision. The statement is amusing because it gives the impression that Obama had nothing to do with the current state of affairs.

As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act , which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. But once in office he never pushed congress to pass it. In typical Obamaesque fashion he would claim to believe that women had the right to choose abortion, but that he didn’t want to demonize the opposition, and he wanted to find consensus on the issue. After his usual routine “on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” on April 29, 2009 he finally said out loud what was clear. “The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority.” It wasn’t even his lowest legislative priority. Obama never lifted a finger to get it passed, even in his two years in office when he had majorities in the House and the Senate.

Knowing full well that Roe v. Wade hinged on having a supportive Supreme Court in place, he dithered on doing what he had the power to do. In 2013 he knew that the democrats might lose control of the senate in the 2014 election. He asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already 80-years old and a cancer patient, to step down. She declined and he didn’t press the issue. In 2016 conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died and senate republicans refused to even hold hearings to confirm Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. Obama had the option of making a recess appointment that would have put Garland on the court but he didn’t do that either. Such a move would have been controversial, and perhaps Garland’s presence would have been short, but it would have made clear that democrats were as committed as they claimed to be on the issue of abortion rights.

Instead they play games with democratic voters. Any unhappiness with the democrats is met with the plea to protect the federal judiciary from conservatives. This ploy is nothing but a cynical effort to keep left leaning democrats in the fold and to discredit anyone who questions the party’s continued failures to do what the people want them to do.

Now the liars and hypocrites like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who once claimed abortion was a “fading” issue are sending fundraising appeals to brain washed liberals who will again write checks and declare their devotion like Stockholm Syndrome hostages. Hillary Clinton’s foolish appeals to conservatives included choosing anti-choice senator Tim Kaine as a running mate and at times saying she was “ambivalent ” about abortion are now forgotten as the supposed left of the party remain lost.

They are lost because they don’t know the most basic rules of political mobilizations. Instead of harassing SCOTUS justices at home, they should be harassing their democratic representatives. Why march to a courthouse instead of to the office of democratic member of congress and demand that they make abortion legal? In particular, senators have the ability to end the filibuster which would give the senate the ability to pass a Freedom of Choice Act with their small majority margin. Every democratic senator should be quaking in his or her boots for fear that they’ll be turned out of office if they do not act to protect abortion rights.

Of course they know they have nothing to fear. They know their people have been brainwashed into ineffectiveness and are incapable of showing even minimal opposition to their inaction. After all, Joe Biden announced that $40 billion is going to Ukraine, or rather to the military industrial complex, with no pushback from people who always claim to be progressives. While MAGA hat wearing right wingers are said to be propagandized, liberals again show themselves to be even more happily captive to their leadership.

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members are no more useful than the rest of their colleagues. Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Cory Bush tell stories about the abortions they had as teenagers. The entire CBC weighed in with a statement claiming concern for “marginalized communities” and “women of color” while also bemoaning the actions of “the far right.” But none of them have offered a strategy for doing what they and the rest of the democratic party have the ability to do, legislate abortion protection.

Personal stories are a poor substitute for action and so are the usual rhetorical fights with conservatives. But rhetoric is all we have as abortion rights will surely disappear across much of the country. Obama admitted the low priority for this and other issues of importance to democratic voters. Joe Biden is no different. As long as what passes for a left wing is in the hands of cynical politicians and deluded liberals, we can expect more of the same. ... ion-rights

The speculation of 'b' at MOA that the timing of the revelation was meant to 'change the subject' from anticipated 'bad news' from Ukraine might have merit. We'll see...
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Fri May 13, 2022 3:08 pm

Biden and the Democrats pivot to proxy war
While Biden remains steadfast there will be no ‘boots on the ground’, US paramilitaries are effectively already in Ukraine
MAY 12, 2022

US President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party are in unanimous support of sending weapons and material to help Ukraine repel Russian invaders. Image: Twitter / Getty

This is the second part of a three-part series on ‘the Blob’ that runs American foreign policy. Read part one here.

WASHINGTON – The Russian war on Ukraine has seen ‘the Blob’ reassert itself with a vengeance in the 11 weeks since Russia announced the commencement of hostilities on February 24.

This article will examine the forces shaping President Joe Biden’s approach to the Ukraine crisis, and then move on to explore the state of foreign policy debate, or lack thereof, within Biden’s Democratic Party.

Former high-ranking military officials, intelligence analysts and diplomats who served at various points during the Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump administrations paint a picture in recent conversations with Asia Times of the likely policy options being presented to President Biden as he faces the gravest crisis on the European continent since the Second World War.

The past month has seen the Biden administration, by fits and starts and then seemingly all at once, adopt a militarized, hardline approach toward Russia, declaring Ukraine’s “victory” over Russia as the only acceptable outcome.

While Biden remains steadfast in assuring the public that there will be no “boots on the ground,” in point of fact, current and former officials have suggested that US paramilitaries are indeed on the ground, with military assistance being coordinated by the new appointee to the Biden National Security Council, retired US Army Lieutenant General Terry Wolff.

According to retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as secretary of state Colin Powell’s chief of staff, the administration is planning for a protracted conflict in Ukraine.

Wilkerson says “they are extremely desirous of a protracted conflict because they want to effect regime change in Moscow, destabilize Russia and then take on China. That is their long-term geopolitical strategy.”

It is helpful here to take a moment to describe the prevailing mindset of the top national security officials closest to Biden.

At the very beginning of Biden’s term, a message was sent loud and clear to both supporters and critics in Washington that it would not tolerate any deviations from the establishment orthodoxy and that the perspective and expertise of outsiders were not welcome.

Consider, for instance, the case of respected Russia expert Dr Matthew Rojansky. For years, Rojansky had served as the director of the mainstream, congressionally-funded Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center think tank.

No fierce challenger of the establishment, Rojansky had been a fixture in track-two level talks between American and Russian political scientists and former government officials.

Russia expert Matthew Rojansky’s views are unwanted by the Biden administration. Image: Twitter / Bucknell University

Yet when news leaked that Rojansky was under consideration for an appointment to Biden’s National Security Council (NSC), the knives came out and the Democratic hawks made Rojansky their prey. The appointment was torpedoed – and quickly.

Rojansky is now head of a US-Russia-focused non-profit, far from the corridors of power. That’s worrying because, outside of Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns, deep expertise on Russia is thin on the ground in the Biden administration, according to former and current officials who spoke to Asia Times.

But if Russia expertise is lacking, what the vast majority of Biden’s foreign policy appointments do have are deep connections to the reflexively hawkish and dominant wing of the Democratic foreign policy establishment, and that, in part, explains the trajectory of the administration’s policy in Ukraine.

The evolution of Biden’s policy was described to this correspondent by former ambassador Chas Freeman, now a senior fellow at the Watson Institute at Brown University who remains deeply engaged in the foreign policy debate in Washington. Freeman said: “It took about eight weeks for the administration, in the person of NSC Advisor [Jake] Sullivan, to enunciate war aims for the proxy war.

“At the outset of its response to the Russian invasion, the administration was careful to limit possible provocation of the Russians. But, not having seen direct retaliation from Moscow, it has become progressively less cautious.

“This lack of caution is aided by the fact that it is Ukrainians, not Americans, who are dying and by the success of pro-Ukrainian propaganda and the effective Western ban on contradictory information from non-Ukrainian sources. There is a risk that the administration will inhale its own propaganda and underestimate the risks it is taking,” said Freeman.

George Beebe, former head of Russia analysis at the CIA and a senior member of the intelligence service who served on the national security staff of vice president Dick Cheney, agrees.

“It seems to me that the United States and NATO are experiencing the phenomenon of the appetite growing with eating. We didn’t expect the Ukrainians to be as successful as they proved to be,” Beebe said.

Beebe, now the director of the grand strategy program at the Quincy Institute, continued: “A good part of the credit goes to the Ukrainians themselves, their leadership, their courage and fighting against the Russians. A good part of it comes from our own support for them, the intelligence and military assistance that we’ve provided that they’ve used very effectively.

“But I think that has produced battlefield successes that go well beyond anything that the US government expected when Putin launched this invasion. As a result, we started to think, ‘Hey, maybe we can win this.’”

“Our eyes, “ says Beebe, “have grown bigger. You walk around here in Washington and there are very few people that are worried that we might get into an escalation spiral that we can’t control. Seems to me that much of Congress is worried that they might be accused of not doing enough to support Ukraine, not of doing too much that tips us over the edge here into a very dangerous situation. So I think it is fair to say that we are in a much more dangerous situation right now from the point of view of escalation than we’ve been in my lifetime.”

Freeman observes that as a result of the war fever enveloping Washington, “It is now taboo in the United States to inquire into the origins of the war, to suggest that Western policy had any role in provoking it, or that there has been or is any basis for Russia’s security concerns.”

And nowhere is the taboo of raising even the most basic questions about American involvement stronger than on Capitol Hill. Indeed, what the last couple of weeks in Washington has shown is that, with respect to the proxy war the administration has now embarked upon, there is essentially a uni-party on Capitol Hill.

This is thanks in large part to one person: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who rules her caucus – including the so-called “Squad” – with an iron discipline. In some respects, as Beebe pointed out, Congress appears to fear it is not doing enough.

Pelosi is working overtime – and with the full support of the small and now politically neutered progressive caucus – to ensure that the dominant perception is otherwise.

Two landmark pieces of legislation recently signed into law by Biden help tell the tale. Legislation to revive the lend lease program and apply it to Ukraine passed the House on April 28 by a vote of 417 to 10; the 10 opposition votes were all Republicans. Two weeks later, the House passed by a wide margin, 368 to 57, a US$40 billion aid package to Ukraine. Once again, there were no Democratic dissenting votes.

What, then, accounts for Pelosi’s total effectiveness in pushing the war agenda through the House with only token Republican opposition?

A longtime and current Democratic Party insider with ties going back to the Clintons says that Pelosi has become the most effective and feared House Speaker since Sam Rayburn because she is a “Workhorse not a show horse. She understands the substance and policy better than all those folks who just want to hear themselves talk.”

“Don’t ever,” she said, “bet against Nancy Pelosi.”

In this file photo taken on October 9, 2021, US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks to the press on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm

It helps, too, to control the money. The insider noted that Pelosi’s power comes as much from her legendary indefatigability, showing up at all hours to events large and small to press the flesh and charm the intended marks, as from her access to the high dollar donor base that funds the Democratic party.

In a contest between large dollar donors and small donors such as those who were the lifeblood of the two Bernie Sanders presidential runs, there is no contest.

And in this administration, as with all others, it’s the big donors, like Mr. Biden’s patron, former Comcast CEO David Cohen, who is now his ambassador to Canada, and fundraisers like Jane Hartley, now US ambassador to the United Kingdom, who have the ear of the president and Pelosi.

Pelosi has faced no opposition from her left flank on the massive funding for the war effort, and not simply because progressives are outspent and outnumbered. Progressives have a very weak infrastructure on Capitol Hill when it comes to foreign policy.

As the longtime defense analyst and critic Winslow Wheeler said, “I worked in the Senate and Government Accountability Office for 31 years. I worked for three Republicans and one Democrat. I know the difference between quality staffers and obedient functionaries.”

“Bernie,” says Wheeler, “has a bunch of non-entities on his defense staff. But, on the bright side, at least Elizabeth Warren has Mandy Smithberger, a diamond in the wasteland.”

And so, Biden’s approach to the war is reflective of a kind of “hegemonic multilateralism” that presidents Obama and Clinton practiced, which is basically the pursuit of global hegemony as set out by the infamous 1992 Defense Planning Guidance authored by Paul Wolfowitz and disguised with rhetorical nods to “humanitarianism” and the importance of multilateral international institutions such as the UN.

But there are serious risks in such an approach. Beebe, who has long experience with Russia, says Biden’s wartime policy reflects a zero-sum mentality that is “something that we’ve accused the Russians of, I think with some justification, for many years.”

The idea that whatever weakens Russia and hurts Putin is good for the US, says Beebe, “makes us susceptible to winding up in strategic situations in which our interests are actually hurt. As the Russian conventional military weakens, one of the dangers is that Russia’s dependence on its nuclear arsenal grows.”

Russia has threatened to use nuclear arms in retaliation for the West’s support to the Ukrainian resistance. Photo: Getty / Twitter
Freeman’s assessment is equally bleak.

“The US, our NATO allies, Ukraine, and Russia are now locked into long-term hostility. It is entirely possible that the conflict in Ukraine’s east and south, like that between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, will sustain warfare for decades to come. If so, there will be a constant danger of an outbreak of hostilities on Europe’s eastern frontiers and of escalation to direct conflict between Russia and the United States, including a possible nuclear exchange,” he said.

“Given the absence of any serious diplomatic dialogue between Washington and Moscow,” said Freeman, “it is far from obvious how such escalation can be prevented.” ... proxy-war/

Russia has not threatened to use nukes "in retaliation for the West’s support to the Ukrainian resistance". Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, has forsworn first use of nuclear weapons unlike the United States. The statement by Putin was misconstrued. Nonetheless the seriousness of the matter cannot be underestimated; the megemon feels it's power slipping away and could get dangerously desperate.

"The Blob" has MAGA-ian connotations, yet it surely does exist. Call it the ruling class consensus(which it must be), call it the imperial bureaucracy(an inevitable necessity of the former) if it makes you feel better. Ds and Rs are equally supportive, see the recent votes on "Ukraine aid'(MIC sales). Historically speaking the Dems have the bloodier hands and Biden is proving it again.


Democratic Party condemned for alliance with anti-worker PR firm
Liberation StaffMay 12, 2022
Download PDF flyer ... sts/105231

The Global Strategy Group (GSG) is one of the many public relations firms in the United States that plays a behind-the-scenes role in shaping public opinion towards politicians, fossil fuel corporations, banks, and more. The GSG is a self-described “people-centered” and “inclusive” consulting firm that prides itself on having “led campaigns for changemakers fighting for social justice and racial equality, the environment, ending gun violence, expanding women’s rights, and many other important issues.” Despite its progressive claims, GSG is an anti-women and anti-worker firm that has deep ties with the Democratic Party and is only dedicated to profit.

GSG works with many elected officials in the Democratic Party, including Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Senator who has been in the public spotlight in recent years over his total opposition to any kind of progressive change. Just yesterday, Manchin voted with Republicans against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified abortion rights into law after facing the attack on Roe v Wade by the leaked Supreme Court opinion.

GSG President Jefrey Pollock played a direct role in helping New York Governor Governor Cuomo navigate public relations when reports of his workplace sexual harassment became public. GSG is also notably connected, through its PR work, to many major corporations that include financial firms like JPMorgan Chase, fossil fuel companies, large pharmaceutical firms, and large technology firms like META (previously Facebook).

Among the big tech corporations, GSG has also worked with Uber and Lyft in their effort to keep their workers classified as contractors rather than as employees, a union-busting effort that would severely damage workers’ abilities to collectively organize themselves.

GSG’s connection to Amazon

Several months prior to Amazon workers winning their union at the JFK 8 warehouse in Staten Island, Amazon had hired GSG to consult on how best to fight the union drive. These tactics included publishing a website, literature, and videos that smear the union with lies. GSG representatives were also present at captive audience meetings, where bosses force workers to listen to anti-union talking points. Dozens of ULP charges have been filed against Amazon for violations of labor laws, such as retaliation against workers organizing a union.

What’s more, GSG broke federal law by not reporting its relationship with Amazon. The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMDRA) requires firms to report that they are taking on a client within 30 days when consulting on labor relations. Additionally, Amazon failed to report the relationship on its end after a deadline of 90 days from the end of the fiscal year.

This is a blatant and egregious violation of labor laws intended to inform workers organizing of what they’re up against. Both parties broke the law to bust their union.

Biden’s “pro-labor” stance: More words than action

Recently, President Biden met with the labor leaders in the White House and expressed rhetorical support for workers unionizing at Amazon, saying that “the choice to join a union” should belong “to workers alone.” Biden even went on to express somewhat of a threat to the corporation, saying, “And by the way, Amazon here we come. Watch.”

President Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a previous employee of GSG, clarified that his language does not mean the U.S. government will take a stance in this fight nor will it intervene to support workers.

While Biden expressed verbal support for Amazon workers and has, in the past, expressed support for labor in other sectors, his actions do not reflect his words. President Biden has the ability to discipline Amazon for taking measures to sabotage workers organizing for job security, better pay, and safer working conditions, and yet he has failed to do so.

Early on in his presidency, Biden promised the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would have increased protections against retaliation for union activity as well as expanded the definition of unfair labor practices to include captive audience meetings. Despite the Democrats enjoying a majority in both the House and Senate, the Democratic Party has failed to follow through on its promises.

The hypocrisy of the Democrats exposed

Along with Amazon, GSG has close ties to the Democratic Party.

GSG served as a pollster for Priorities USA, a pro-Biden super PAC in the lead up to the 2020 election. In addition to Joe Manchin, GSG has worked with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

While the Democratic Party espouses a pro-labor line, they have only paid lip service to the issues workers face. Aside from their inaction to enact any meaningful change, their deep ties to GSG highlight their actual agenda to protect profits. The only way workers can achieve real, meaningful change requires organizing to win what they deserve. ... rationnews

If the Dems had been 'pro-labor' in the past 70 years they would have repealed Taft-Hartley when they controlled both chambers.

"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sat May 14, 2022 2:48 pm


Democratic Party offers nothing to the struggle to save abortion rights

Originally published: Liberation News on May 9, 2022 by Katie Miernicki (more by Liberation News) (Posted May 12, 2022)

Last week’s shocking leak exposing the Supreme Court’s draft plan to overturn Roe v. Wade has brought tens of thousands of people into the streets in struggle. But for the electoral opportunists in the Democratic Party, the Court’s possible ruling–which would dismantle federal abortion protection, leading to its criminalization in more than half of all U.S. states–has essentially become a source of hope.

Despite enjoying control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the presidency, the Democrats have used this moment to claim that the only way to save Roe is by voting for them in the midterm election in November. This position assumes that the draft decision is a done deal and undercuts the people’s movements that are currently demonstrating to force the court to change the final ruling. And it conveniently ignores that the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has been sitting in Congress for months, could be passed at any time to codify abortion protections into law before next month’s Supreme Court decision.

Amid dire poll numbers, an unenergized base and a terribly unpopular president, Democrats at all levels of government seized the opportunity to call for vote pledges and donations. Mass texts went out asking people to “Rush $15 to the DNC.” By Wednesday, donations through ActBlue, their main fundraising platform, exceeded $12 million.

The Democrats’ framing is that they are simply powerless to do anything unless people “march straight to the ballot box,” as Sen. Amy Klobuchar put it. But that is not true. Democrats in the Senate, without any Republican votes, could end the filibuster–the undemocratic rule that requires 60 votes, instead of a simple majority, to pass most pieces of legislation.

This would allow the Democrats to then pass the Women’s Health Protection Act in the Senate, likewise with no Republican votes. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives. But instead, Democratic Party leaders are going ahead with a doomed-to-fail symbolic vote in the Senate this week without eliminating the filibuster.

What is really needed is action right now to defeat the anti-women bigots and prevent the overturn of federal abortion rights from coming to pass. The Democratic Party has routinely declined to codify Roe at any point when they controlled Congress over the last 49 years. For example, Barack Obama campaigned on the promise that codifying Roe would be his first action in office but left the law untouched while Democrats had total control of Congress.

Likewise, Biden stated after the draft ruling leak that “it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November” in order to “adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer issued a similar joint statement, with the central theme being that “[The] elections this November will have consequences, because the rights of a hundred million women are now on the ballot.” Christie Roberts, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, stated that “At this critical moment, we must protect and expand Democrats’ Senate majority with the power to confirm or reject Supreme Court justices.” An article from NBC admitted that without this crisis moment, the Democrats would have faced “a bloodbath of a midterm election for an otherwise disillusioned party.”

But as can be seen in cities and towns across the country, thousands of people know that the real way forward is to take to the streets and demand their rights be respected. The Supreme Court draft decision is not final, and even the most powerful figures can crack under the pressure of the people’s resistance to this highly unpopular potential ruling. Mass protests surging across the country are just a taste of the consequences to come if the decision is finalized. There is time to fight now–not in November. ... on-rights/

It has never been anything but another bolt in the Democratic Party's quiver of election year ploys. No matter how many sincere rank&file and even mid-level leadership are serious the leadership is not. As stated above the Dems might have codified the right into law any time the held both chambers in the last 49 years. How much like their lack of movement against Taft-Hartley.....

They say they are for women's rights, they are for labor, they are for voting rights, they are for protecting our environment. But know them from their lack of any substance whatsoever.

What the do is make war, level inhumane sanctions and overthrow governments that will not kowtow to US interests.

The Republicans are evil and honest about it. The Democratic Party lies like a rug and enables the ruling class agenda in way the Rs can only dream of because they are mis-conceived as the lesser of two evils, that there is no alternative.

'No alternative', whose fault is that?
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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