Sympathy for the Devils...

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Wed Jun 15, 2022 4:13 pm

They Plan on Repeating ‘Putin’s Price Hike’ Until People Believe it
JUNE 14, 2022

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US President Biden speaking. File photo.

By Caitlin Johnstone – Jun 11, 2022

President Biden used the phrase “Putin’s price hike” again in a reaction to Friday’s Consumer Price Index report revealing continued high inflation, showing once again that the US government believes Americans are idiots.

“Make no mistake about it: I understand inflation is a real challenge to American families. Today’s inflation report confirms what Americans already know: Putin’s Price Hike is hitting America hard,” Biden said in a statement. “My administration is going to continue to do everything it can to lower prices for the American people.”

Which is of course absurd. Prices were already soaring and inflation was already at a 40-year high before Russia invaded Ukraine on the 24th of February, and there was never anything inscribed upon the fabric of reality which said the US needed to respond to that invasion with an economic war that has made everything worse. The US initiated these unprecedented acts of economic warfare in response to an invasion it could easily have prevented with a little diplomacy, and has managed to do so without even hurting the strength of the ruble at all.

There are many people Americans could blame for their shrinking bank accounts, but Putin isn’t one of them.


And people know this. Nobody who doesn’t work for the US government ever unironically uses the term “Putin’s price hike” except to comment on the Biden administration’s repeated use of that term. I’ve never once seen even the dumbest liberals in my social media notifications use that phrase.

Right now it looks ridiculous to hear even Biden use that term. It sticks out like dog’s balls because of how obviously contrived and out of place it is, like if he’d spontaneously yelled “Cowabunga, dudes!” or something.

But just you wait. If they keep repeating it often enough and frequently enough, sooner or later you’ll start to notice rank-and-file members of the public repeating it themselves.

This is because the empire managers understand something which John Q Public does not, and it’s this: if you repeat something often enough in a confident-sounding tone of voice, a glitch in human cognition known as the illusory truth effect causes them to mistake what you’re saying for the truth.

The illusory truth effect describes the way people are more likely to believe something is true after hearing it said many times. This is due to the fact that the familiar feeling we experience when hearing something we’ve heard before feels very similar to our experience of knowing that something is true. When we hear a familiar idea, its familiarity provides us with something called cognitive ease, which is the relaxed, unlabored state we experience when our minds aren’t working hard at something. We also experience cognitive ease when we are presented with a statement that we know to be true.

We have a tendency to select for cognitive ease, which is why confirmation bias is a thing: believing ideas which don’t cause cognitive strain or dissonance gives us more cognitive ease than doing otherwise. Our evolutionary ancestors adapted to seek out cognitive ease so that they could put their attention into making quick decisions essential for survival, rather than painstakingly mulling over whether everything we believe is as true as we think it is. This was great for not getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers in prehistoric times, but it’s not very helpful when navigating the twists and turns of a cognitively complex modern world. It’s also not helpful when you’re trying to cultivate truthful beliefs while surrounded by screens that are repeating the same bogus talking points over and over again.


This would appear to be the strategy behind the continual repetition of the phrase “Putin’s price hike” in particular and the narrative that rising prices are Russia’s fault in general. Just keep saying it and saying it until the illusory truth effect kicks in and overrides people’s cognitive faculties.

We are being trained. Westerners are paying more because of western policies chosen by western policy makers, and we’re being trained to look at our shrinking bank accounts and yell, “Damn you, Putin!”

No part of this new cold war would be possible without copious amounts of such training. Without massive amounts of propaganda, people would never consent to being made poorer in order to facilitate the dopey grand chessboard maneuverings of a few sociopaths on the east coast of the United States. Without massive amounts of propaganda, people would never consent to having the gun of nuclear war held to their heads every day as US unipolarist escalations continually ramp up brinkmanship between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Without massive amounts of propaganda, people would never consent to agendas which directly hurt them and threaten everyone they know while providing no material benefit to them whatsoever.

But this is also true of our entire society in general. Our entire civilization is marinating in propaganda produced and promulgated by the powerful in order to manipulate our collective psychology into consenting to a status quo which serves them and not us.

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Over centuries of dynasties, upheavals and revolutions, powerful people have learned that the best way to dominate a population is to manipulate them into serving your interests while giving them the illusion of freedom and control. The invention of mass media has facilitated this new form of tyranny, as has the emergence of psychology as a field of study. These two factors have combined together to give rise to the steadily advancing science of modern propaganda.

This is why the world is as it is: because the people have been psychologically manipulated at mass scale away from using the power of their numbers to create systems that benefit them instead of a few powerful sociopaths.

This is the source of all our major problems. Understanding it, and finding ways to overcome it, is the solution. The only reason they’ve been able to control us in this way is because they understand all the many ways our minds can be manipulated better than we do.



(caitlinjohnstone.com)

https://orinocotribune.com/they-plan-on ... elieve-it/
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:07 pm

The January 6th Scam
Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist 22 Jun 2022

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Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Sen. Liz Cheney (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats are using the hearings investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol as one long campaign commercial. They believe that saying the name Trump often enough will inspire disappointed and angry people to vote for them despite their lies and failures.

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is a mouthful of a name, and the lengthy moniker is an indication of its lack of any honest intent. The hearings preach to the democrats’ choir, divert attention from the country’s most pressing needs, and keep the name Donald Trump in the public collective consciousness for the most cynical of reasons.

Although the hearings do have some benefit for the left. Primarily they expose liberals' treachery and lack of anything resembling the political ideology they imagine for themselves. When they aren’t hyperventilating about what Trump said to Vice President Pence, or that his daughter didn’t know what Trump was thinking or other such nonsense, they find a way to praise conservatives. Liberal pundits like Robert Reich openly support a Senator Liz Cheney presidential campaign. “All of America needs her to run for president in the Republican primaries for the 2024 election.” It is odd that democrats would concern themselves with who would run in the party that is allegedly their opposition, but this foolishness is not even the worst reason to look askance at this entire exercise.

The democrats have no case to make with voters except what worked in 2020, Trump, Trump, Trump and then again Trump. Their answer to rising prices for gas and food are boiled down to, “Putin’s price hike.” They have no intention of making good on promises to raise the minimum wage, provide Build Back Better, or student loan debt relief. Free school lunches for all recently disappeared, just like the Child Tax Credit which propagandists used to claim that Biden had cut child poverty in half or frame him as the most progressive president since FDR. They hope the name Putin and the words January 6th will create amnesia.

The Trumpers “attack” on the Capitol did shock Americans, who hold their government in great awe and treat structures like the Capitol with reverence. Seeing the great unwashed MAGA hat wearers breaking down the doors created great consternation. Of course, the government they exalt does a lot worse elsewhere, as they utilize proxy wars, coups, sanctions, and invasions to subvert governments all over the world. But American exceptionalism prevents such analysis from taking place.

While the dog and pony show goes on, there doesn’t seem to be much effort to protect votes around the country. While Trump acolytes go from state to state and make it easier to nullify votes or fire election officials, bloviating liberals swoon at the sight of Lize Cheney. The Voting Rights Act is just one more casualty of democratic party indifference.

Instead of making their case to voters, democrats have ginned up so much anger that apparently most Americans want Trump to be charged with something, anything to punish him for despoiling their vision of themselves by getting elected in the first place, and then having his people defile the Capitol. It isn’t clear what any charge would be and Congress can only refer charges to the Justice Department. If the Attorney General is smart he’ll leave it alone. Despite what democrats dream about, charging a former president with a crime is a tall order, and in this case would energize the very people who have created so much angst, and thus make it easier to put Trump in the white house again.

There really isn’t a lot to say about what happened on January 6, 2021. Trump riled up his supporters to either stop the electoral college certification or just to yank the establishment’s chain. There was no threat to what most Americans think of as democracy and no path for a government to be overthrown even if that is what the mob wanted to achieve. Mostly they were motivated by racism, a white mob in the classic American sense without any high minded thought about the electoral process. They didn’t want to believe that their guy lost, so they broke in and trashed the place. But that simple explanation isn’t very useful to people with ulterior motives who want to win while also stabbing voters in the back.

If progressives really want to learn something from January 6th they ought to ask themselves why the right are willing to travel across the country and break into the Capitol while they can’t get more than a handful of people to protest anything. Two years ago thousands of people protested after George Floyd was killed by the police. That effort ended when it was co-opted by the likes of Biden taking a knee and by the electoral process itself, which as usual killed off a nascent movement.

That is what the left should be asking and not concerning themselves with whomever the duopoly will choose in 2024. The January 6th protesters may be able to teach an important lesson about having the courage of one’s convictions. Of course their conviction was about one man and whether he would be in the white house or not and amounted to little else. Yet they managed to bring thousands of people together while progressives go along with increased defense budgets and never push back on any Biden policies.

The hearings are an exercise in misdirection. They can be valuable only if progressives refuse to be fooled and also start asking themselves hard questions. If Trumpers can gather to say that their president won despite all evidence to the contrary, then surely progressives can coalesce around the life and death issues that matter to millions of people.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/january-6th-scam
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Tue Jun 28, 2022 6:00 pm

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Just sayin'...

Folks if you think there will be any relief on this issue, say a Supreme Court nominee from this administration, you're barking up the wrong tree.
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Thu Jun 30, 2022 6:02 pm

Democrats Exposed By the End of Roe v. Wade
Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist 29 Jun 2022

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

The full extent of Democratic Party treachery was exposed when the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned. Only right wing Americans have any expectation of getting what they want from the electoral process.

In May 2022, a memo was leaked to the media which indicated that the Supreme Court would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion. Despite the warning, the announcement of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision sent shockwaves across the country. The 6 to 3 conservative majority is doing just what republicans promised they would do if they were given electoral control of the presidency, Senate, and state legislatures.

The shock that a 50-year old right has been eliminated produced the expected reactions. There were protests at the homes of justices, at federal courthouses, and at the Supreme Court itself. Curiously, there were no protests planned at the home of Barack Obama, the person who could have acted to protect the Roe decision.

During his 2008 presidential campaign Obama promised to pass and sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have enshrined abortion rights into law, and remove it from the purview of the courts. But he did no such thing. On April 29, 2009 he gave a press conference on his 100th day in office and said, “The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority.” Obama had majorities in both houses of Congress and a veto-proof majority in the Senate. Not only was this legislation not his highest priority, it wasn’t a priority at all. He never attempted to get it passed.

However Obama is not the only villain in this story. In all likelihood he didn’t act because he knew that most democratic members of the House and Senate didn’t care that much about abortion either. It would have been a significant political lift but very few democrats cared enough to do any lifting.

Of course, Obama and most democrats didn’t care about anything other than doing the business of the ruling classes, that is to say neoliberal austerity and imperialism. That lack of concern for anything they claimed to care about resulted in the loss of 1,000 seats in state houses and congress during the Obama presidency. Any concerns expressed for the so-called down ballot races were like abortion, meant to keep the rubes in line and pulling the lever for democrats. Obama was a fundraising juggernaut, but for himself only. All the money raised was used to keep him in Washington where he could cut deals like his “grand bargain” with republicans. As democrats lost seats abortion rights were restricted across the country. Now only 16 states guarantee abortion access and democrats are complicit in bringing about this disaster.

The truth is more insidious than democrats feigning concern on any particular issues. Voters are products that political parties sell to elite interests. Of course the ruling classes have a variety of interests, which is why a duopoly is necessary. Liberal democracy is a means of getting what they want for themselves. They must go through the motions of caring about abortion rights or voting rights or any other issue. The people are the means to get to the ends of ruling class control.

Unfortunately for democrats, a republican voter is more likely to get what they are promised. They get tax cuts, voting rights restrictions, and austerity, all of the issues that align with right wing and white supremacist politics. Republicans are in line with the thinking of their voters and give money and other support to their right wing.

In contrast democratic elites don’t want what their voters want. So they lie to them over and over again. It has to be pointed out that their voters are a lot more gullible and continue the same actions yet hope for a different result. The Voting Rights Act was eviscerated in 2013 with little response from the democrats and now abortion rights are also forsaken by the fake left party. Yet millions of people continue to give democrats their votes in an effort to protect themselves from the more conservative “white peoples party.” Democratic voters are clearly more indoctrinated than their republican peers.

The failure of Roe is a result of not forcing Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down when Obama still had a democratic majority in the senate or failing to make a recess appointment and getting Merrick Garland seated. But these strategic mistakes were a direct result of treachery among democratic party leadership.

Why does Nancy Pelosi say that she needs a strong republican party? By that she means one that is not so obviously right wing, one that she can cut deals with and escape condemnation. In 2017 she also said that the demand for abortion rights was “fading” as an issue of importance. It was fading for her because she has one overarching objective, doing everything except what democratic voters want.

If there is a silver lining to the Roe debacle it is that voters are starting to wake from their delusions. For years millions of people were disgusted by the democrats’ lies. They knew their needs weren’t being met but the biggest reason they gave for continuing the dysfunctional relationship was to protect the federal judiciary. Now after years of holding their nose and voting for the electoral con game they have nothing to show for going along with candidates they didn’t want.

Black people are the biggest victims of the duopoly trap, having been convinced that their safety depends upon keeping the likes of Obama and Pelosi in office. Of course they did nothing about the Voting Rights Act either but old habits die hard and thinking outside of the political box is treated like an illegal act. Now their worst fears have come to pass despite years of being the most loyal of all democratic constituencies.

The democrats should not receive one red cent, or one vote in the congressional midterm elections in November. The fight must be taken to local races and to movement building that hasn’t taken place for many years. Protesting at the home of a SCOTUS justice is a waste, so is giving money to Democratic Party linked abortion advocates. They too are complicit in the betrayal. The time for illusions has long passed. The pent up energy and outrage has to be expressed in grassroots organizing at the local level. If not there are even worse defeats coming in the future.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/democ ... roe-v-wade

***********************

Roe Reversal is Business as Usual
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on JUNE 25, 2022
Jim “Fergie” Chambers

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“Progressive” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumps on a loudspeaker to protest yesterday’s reversal of Roe v. Wade

Petit Bourgeois individualism, the unending narrowness of the American “Left,” and the Death Cult called the “United States”

25th JUNE, 2022- Yesterday, a reactionary US Supreme Court, empowered by the refusal of the last 3 Democratic administrations to codify Roe V. Wade, and the old racist relic Ruth Bader Ginsberg clinging to her gavel until the Grim Reaper snatched it from her, predictably repealed the 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling, eliminating federal protection for legal abortion in the United States. When the dust settles, as many as 22 states could use this to effectively ban abortion.

In response, the loose coalition of liberal civil society in the US, a smattering of the largely white, college-educated petite bourgeoisie, Democratic elites in the Beltway and along the coasts, progressives, pink hats, mainstream media, and the aesthetic-first, anarchistic “Left” have unleashed a predictably performative flood of outrage which has taken on historic proportions.

Much of this is understandable, even correct, and much of it is so mired up its own rear end of decontextualized American idealism that Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh wouldn’t know how to squirm their way through.

Women’s rights have been attacked again, no doubt, but watching liberals go into full meltdown once again over domestic social developments, while our entire lives as US citizens have been dominated by murder, genocide, imperialism, land theft, wage theft, mass surveillance, imprisonment, and the evisceration of the planet is fairly unimpressive, frankly. This is being heralded as the “rise of fascism,” but this is America: we created fascism. This is the theatrical gamesmanship of an extant, bipartisan fascist beast, manufacturing yet again the illusion of struggle within bourgeois boundaries.

CHOICE IS IMPORTANT; EXISTENCE IS MORE IMPORTANT

It’s unconscionable that in our collective political consciousness, the notion that “these women in X country/neighborhood are struggling to survive, and need access to abortion” supersedes the notion that “these women in X country/neighborhood shouldn’t be struggling to survive.”

but if only we could generate this much outrage for the total lack of public healthcare, childcare, preventative medicine, maternity leave, housing, or wealth redistribution that might make having a child, or not, a more deliberate decision for basically anyone.

Notwithstanding that abortion/birth control *in its liberal form* in the US (I am in no way taking away from more principled, materialist efforts over the centuries) began as a eugenicist project by white feminists to control black populations, abortion, objectively is a traumatic and sometimes dangerous procedure. Socialism is never idealism, it is the tool with which we address the material contradictions in our society, and so necessary abortion is available without question in a socialist society, because there is a human need for it, in many cases. What socialist states don’t usually do, as much of our culture has done, is fetishize abortion above all other causes, and idolize it, because Socialism creates the material conditions wherein abortion becomes far less of a necessity, because resources and education lead to less unwanted pregnancy, and because economic security and public infrastructure make child-bearing and family planning viable for the masses.

In the United States, abortion, like the other morsels of bread sanctimoniously doled out to the people by the ruling class, became a holy grail because it’s all you get. You may be stripped of the ability to choose where you live, where you work, how you exist, and what kind of family you want, but at least you can abort an unwanted pregnancy which might exacerbate the untenable conditions you’re trying to live through. The scattered rights and freedoms we vaguely enjoy in the US are always concessions granted to our populace to ensure that the imperial order is not toppled, and nothing more. As much as the liberal elite wants to blame “religion” in a vacuum, none of these rights and concessions will ever mean a thing, and none of them will ever truly be legislated responsibly, not abortion, not housing, not food, as long as the capitalist class remains in power.

Of course, none of this is unsettling to the power brokers of the Democratic Party, who never intended to settle the issue of Roe, because it has been their most valuable political currency for decades. In an election cycle when democrats control the White House and congress, and the economy is in the gutter, headed by a president unable to form complete sentences, the opportunity to sing “God Bless America” on the capital steps and convert it into fundraising checks is a can’t-miss for the DNC. All of this will mean nothing for the advancement of international working women’s liberation, but it may clear a few more shipments of heavy weaponry to Ukrainian fascists.

THIS IS FAR FROM OUR LOWEST POINT

The last 24 hours have included innumerable statements on “Left” social media and other layers of the “Left” public sphere saying, in one way or another, “I’m so horrified with what this country has become! This has gone too far!”

Really? When was it better?

In the 2010s, when we bombed 7 countries, illegally installed a fascist regime in Ukraine and armed their Nazi battalions, annihilated Libya, and tried to do the same in Syria?

In the 00s, when we killed 1 million Iraqis, let Wall Street off scott-free for robbing a generation of their livelihood, tried to destroy Venezuela, and suspended all due process for anyone a fed thought might be a “terrorist?”

In the 90s, when we passed the laws that created the worst incarceration state in human history, locked Haitian refugees in concentration camps in Florida, initiated broken windows policing, bombed Belgrade into oblivion, and illegally dismantled the USSR/Eastern Bloc, leaving economic and social wreckage which remains to this day?

Or maybe it was the 80s, when we shipped crack into the hood to create a drug war, armed right-wing death squads in Nicaragua, and ignored AIDS?

The 70s, when we were still in Vietnam, armed and trained Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and the FBI eliminated all meaningful political dissent for good by assassination, imprisonment or deportation?

Or did you mean the 60s, when we invaded Southeast Asia and waged war on man and nature for a decade, had a deeply co-opted Civil Rights movement which met violent resistance, before women’s rights were even on the table?

No? Then the 50s? When we initiated an international nuclear arms race, committed genocide in Korea which left over 3 million dead, and built a culture of mass consumerism on a foundation of racism and patriarchy?

Why is *this* the breaking point for so many? Why are we so deeply lost in petit bourgeois individualism that nothing means anything until it could affect us ourselves, or our prevailing causes celebres?

The reaction of the white petite bourgeoisie to Roe and to Covid, two issues which could ostensibly affect they themselves, placed next to their total indifference to global and domestic rape and plunder for generations, tells us all we need to know about who is on the side of humanity on earth. “Keep your hands off MY body” is a war-cry which is far more appealing to the American bourgeois mindset than “keep your troops out of our country,” “keep your cops out of our streets,” or “keep your hands off of our means to survival and the fruits of our labor.”

The United States has always been a hyper-individualist death cult. It is a society built for the wealthy few, and those they deem useful. Political education, activism, the non-profit world, and mass media are all reflective of this reality.

If we are to attain anything resembling justice for women in the United States, and women who are the victims of US imperialism abroad, it will be because our collective disillusionment reaches such a peak that a revolutionary party rises from the ashes of the American dream that never was.

What to do? Pessimism is understandably strong amongst the infinitesimal ranks of a principled American Left, and so if the opportunity presents itself, the instinct to leave this burning ship and build the power to bring it down elsewhere on earth, makes sense. But even then, something must rise from the ashes.

For those with the patience, it’s more time than ever to build popular, organized power in the United States. Whether this will happen within CPUSA, PSL, the left-wing of DSA, complete with their countless contradictions and shortcomings, or whether it will come with the simple empowerment of class consciousness and broadening of community self-defense (which includes measure for safe access to abortion) outside of the influence of the Democratic Party entirely, and the creation of an entity which has yet to be, remains to be seen.

But make no mistake, our allies in this fight are not in liberal arts institutions, they’re not on “Decolonization” panels, they’re not staffing NGOs, and most of all, they started shedding tears of outrage at America’s crimes long before their right to have an abortion in a state they’ve never been to was ever threatened.

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2022/06/ ... -as-usual/
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 02, 2022 5:21 pm

The Biden-McConnell Deal to Make an Anti-Abortion Advocate a Federal Judge Is Still On

New details of the controversial Kentucky compromise that has enraged Democrats.
BY MARK JOSEPH STERN
JULY 01, 20221:51 PM

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Joe Biden struck a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to nominate Chad Meredith, a Republican anti-abortion advocate, to a federal judgeship on the Eastern District of Kentucky, Slate has confirmed. Under the arrangement, Meredith would take the seat currently occupied by Judge Karen Kaye Caldwell, a George W. Bush nominee. Caldwell submitted her move to senior status on June 22, which, once complete, will allow Meredith to take the seat. A lawyer with connections to the Kentucky governor’s office who is familiar with the agreement told Slate that Caldwell conditioned her move upon the confirmation a successor—specifically, the conservative Meredith. In exchange, McConnell will allow Biden to nominate and confirm two U.S. Attorneys to Kentucky.

The deal has prompted fury from Democrats since it was first reported by the Louisville Courier Journal’s Andrew Wolfson and Joe Sonka on Wednesday. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, confirmed the planned nomination at a Thursday press conference. Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth also confirmed the White House’s intent to nominate Meredith in an interview with Slate on Friday. Yarmuth described the agreement as “indefensible” and said he wrote “the strongest text message I have ever written to anybody” to a contact at the White House expressing his “outrage.”

Beshear and Yarmuth were especially frustrated because they had intended to submit potential nominees as soon as vacancy arose on the court. The White House was aware of this plan, but did not inform them that Caldwell planned to take senior status. As a result, Beshear and Yarmuth had no opportunity to make recommendations. Instead, the Biden administration coordinated with McConnell to tee up Meredith’s nomination once Caldwell announced her intent to leave the seat. According to Slate’s source in Kentucky, McConnell agreed, in exchange, to stop blocking Democrats’ preferred nominees for U.S. Attorney in the state. McConnell has sought to place his own allies in these positions—including prosecutor Thomas B. Wine, who as the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney refused to charge the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor.

“I understand how brutally manipulative Mitch is,” Yarmuth told Slate, “but at some point you have to stand up to him. You have to just confront him and say, ‘no, we’re not gonna appoint your people. We’re not gonna let Mitch McConnell appoint judges and other federal officials in a Democratic administration.’”

Meredith is an especially controversial nominee because of his close ties with Matt Bevin, the former Republican governor. He played an integral role in the controversial pardons that Bevin issued after losing reelection in 2019. Most notably, the former governor pardoned Patrick Baker, a man convicted of homicide whose family hosted a political fundraiser for Bevins. U.S. Attorneys later retried Baker in federal court; he was once again convicted by a jury and sentenced to nearly four decades in prison. Meredith assisted Bevins with pardons in his capacity as legal counsel to the governor, recommending which applicants merited clemency. He then withheld records relating to these pardons from the Beshear administration. The Trump administration considered nominating Meredith to a federal judgeship but dropped the plans in 2020 following the pardon controversy, as the Louisville Courier Journal reported at the time.

Alarmingly for Democrats, Meredith also defended Kentucky’s anti-abortion legislation, including a law that forced patients to undergo an ultrasound and listen to audio of the fetal “heartbeat” before terminating a pregnancy. Meredith prevailed at the court of appeals. He also defended a law requiring abortion providers to secure “transfer agreements” with hospitals, an onerous burden on clinics with no health benefit to patients. The appeals court upheld that statute, as well.

Presidents routinely strike deals to nominate a package of judges to district courts that includes individuals put forth by each party. Even President Donald Trump nominated some moderate district court judges favored by Senate Democrats, who, as a compromise, voted to confirm the president’s far-right nominees. But Senate Republicans would not have even considered a nominee with a strong record of pro-choice advocacy. When Trump named Michael Bogren, who was put forward with bipartisan approval, to a district court, GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tanked the nomination—solely because Bogren had defended a city’s LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance while in private practice. Hawley angrily accused Bogren of being anti-Catholic in an act of baseless assassination. Even the Federalist rose to Bogren’s defense, but it didn’t matter. The White House pulled his nomination.

It is impossible to imagine a Republican-controlled Senate confirming a Democratic judicial nominee with a meaningful record of reproductive rights advocacy. In fact, Biden has conspicuously avoided nominating abortion rights lawyers for fear of triggering a GOP backlash; they are dramatically underrepresented among his judicial appointments. Now, however, Biden is poised to send Meredith’s nomination to a Democratic-controlled Senate—in the wake of a catastrophic Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade.


President Joe Biden struck a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to nominate Chad Meredith, a Republican anti-abortion advocate, to a federal judgeship on the Eastern District of Kentucky, Slate has confirmed. Under the arrangement, Meredith would take the seat currently occupied by Judge Karen Kaye Caldwell, a George W. Bush nominee. Caldwell submitted her move to senior status on June 22, which, once complete, will allow Meredith to take the seat. A lawyer with connections to the Kentucky governor’s office who is familiar with the agreement told Slate that Caldwell conditioned her move upon the confirmation a successor—specifically, the conservative Meredith. In exchange, McConnell will allow Biden to nominate and confirm two U.S. Attorneys to Kentucky.

The deal has prompted fury from Democrats since it was first reported by the Louisville Courier Journal’s Andrew Wolfson and Joe Sonka on Wednesday. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, confirmed the planned nomination at a Thursday press conference. Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth also confirmed the White House’s intent to nominate Meredith in an interview with Slate on Friday. Yarmuth described the agreement as “indefensible” and said he wrote “the strongest text message I have ever written to anybody” to a contact at the White House expressing his “outrage.”

Beshear and Yarmuth were especially frustrated because they had intended to submit potential nominees as soon as vacancy arose on the court. The White House was aware of this plan, but did not inform them that Caldwell planned to take senior status. As a result, Beshear and Yarmuth had no opportunity to make recommendations. Instead, the Biden administration coordinated with McConnell to tee up Meredith’s nomination once Caldwell announced her intent to leave the seat. According to Slate’s source in Kentucky, McConnell agreed, in exchange, to stop blocking Democrats’ preferred nominees for U.S. Attorney in the state. McConnell has sought to place his own allies in these positions—including prosecutor Thomas B. Wine, who as the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney refused to charge the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor.

“I understand how brutally manipulative Mitch is,” Yarmuth told Slate, “but at some point you have to stand up to him. You have to just confront him and say, ‘no, we’re not gonna appoint your people. We’re not gonna let Mitch McConnell appoint judges and other federal officials in a Democratic administration.’”

Meredith is an especially controversial nominee because of his close ties with Matt Bevin, the former Republican governor. He played an integral role in the controversial pardons that Bevin issued after losing reelection in 2019. Most notably, the former governor pardoned Patrick Baker, a man convicted of homicide whose family hosted a political fundraiser for Bevins. U.S. Attorneys later retried Baker in federal court; he was once again convicted by a jury and sentenced to nearly four decades in prison. Meredith assisted Bevins with pardons in his capacity as legal counsel to the governor, recommending which applicants merited clemency. He then withheld records relating to these pardons from the Beshear administration. The Trump administration considered nominating Meredith to a federal judgeship but dropped the plans in 2020 following the pardon controversy, as the Louisville Courier Journal reported at the time.

Alarmingly for Democrats, Meredith also defended Kentucky’s anti-abortion legislation, including a law that forced patients to undergo an ultrasound and listen to audio of the fetal “heartbeat” before terminating a pregnancy. Meredith prevailed at the court of appeals. He also defended a law requiring abortion providers to secure “transfer agreements” with hospitals, an onerous burden on clinics with no health benefit to patients. The appeals court upheld that statute, as well.

Presidents routinely strike deals to nominate a package of judges to district courts that includes individuals put forth by each party. Even President Donald Trump nominated some moderate district court judges favored by Senate Democrats, who, as a compromise, voted to confirm the president’s far-right nominees. But Senate Republicans would not have even considered a nominee with a strong record of pro-choice advocacy. When Trump named Michael Bogren, who was put forward with bipartisan approval, to a district court, GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tanked the nomination—solely because Bogren had defended a city’s LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance while in private practice. Hawley angrily accused Bogren of being anti-Catholic in an act of baseless assassination. Even the Federalist rose to Bogren’s defense, but it didn’t matter. The White House pulled his nomination.

It is impossible to imagine a Republican-controlled Senate confirming a Democratic judicial nominee with a meaningful record of reproductive rights advocacy. In fact, Biden has conspicuously avoided nominating abortion rights lawyers for fear of triggering a GOP backlash; they are dramatically underrepresented among his judicial appointments. Now, however, Biden is poised to send Meredith’s nomination to a Democratic-controlled Senate—in the wake of a catastrophic Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade.

It remains unclear whether he will go through with the planned nomination. This episode marks Biden’s first major rift over judges with Democrats, who have so far been pleased with the president’s nominees, if not the pace of nominations. On Friday, Yarmuth told Slate that, according to his White House contact, the president “is aware of my concern and the governor’s concern,” but has not yet responded. The congressman added, of Meredith: “This is a bad appointment for Kentucky. It’s a bad appointment for the federal courts. This guy is aligned with a Federalist Society. He represents everything that is anathema to Democrats.”

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... ml?via=rss

This guy is aligned with a Federalist Society. He represents everything that is anathema to Democrats.” Well, not really, just their propaganda.

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Biden is continuing Trump's privatization of Medicare. Here's what you need to know.
The most devious part: they've made it easier for seniors to be placed into a for-profit Medicare plans without their knowledge.

Wendell Potter Now
Jun 29

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You may have heard that President Biden is supporting the continuation of a program started under the Trump administration that will further privatize the Medicare program. If you have indeed heard about it, it likely is not because of media coverage of the scheme itself but because of the alarm raised by Physicians for a National Health Program and the efforts the organization has made to get the Biden administration to scrap it.

Veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman has just written one of the best pieces I’ve read yet that explains what is going on, what is at stake, and what PNHP, some Democrats in Congress, and now other advocacy groups are doing to pressure the Biden administration to put an end to what the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services euphemistically (and I would argue deceptively) calls ACO REACH, which stands for Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access and Community Health.

That’s actually a new name for a somewhat “redesigned” program that under Trump was called the Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) Model. CMS announced the new name in a February press release. CMS said at the time that the program was being renamed and rejiggered “to advance Administration priorities, including our commitment to advancing health equity, and in response to stakeholder feedback and participant experience.”

But as Lieberman wrote in her article, published by the University of Southern California Center for Health Journalism:

The shift would also complete the privatization of what has been a popular and successful social insurance program since 1965. Whether that underlying goal will be realized remains to be seen, but at the very least, millions of seniors still in the traditional fee-for-service program and presumably happy with their care need to know what’s in store for them.

It would be cause for concern if only nonprofit health care organizations were being invited to participate in the ACO REACH program. Instead, the door is being opened wide to include the for-profit insurers I used to work for as well as private equity firms. As Lieberman noted:

Insurance companies and private equity firms are now teaming up with physician groups to invest in these new accountable care businesses, generating profits for all involved if they can save money for the government.

Republicans have been lukewarm about the traditional Medicare program from the very beginning. When Congress approved an amendment to the Social Security Act to create Medicare in 1965, more Republican Senators voted against it than voted for it. Over in the House, 70 Republicans either voted against it or didn’t vote, while the same number voted for it. Had it not been for the fact that Democrats at the time enjoyed filibuster-proof majorities in both chambers and a Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, was in the White House, the much-loved government-run Medicare program likely would never have been created. And ever since then, many Republicans in Congress have tried to get rid of it or, failing that, completely privatize it. As Lieberman wrote:

Transforming Medicare into a program managed by private insurers has been a long-sought goal of politicians, dating back to House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and embraced by successive administrations. The Biden administration is no exception and has set a goal of placing all Medicare beneficiaries in one of these so-called “value-based care” arrangements by 2030. In my view, such a move would fulfill Gingrich’s prophecy of letting “Medicare wither on the vine.”

Back to the current debate over what CMS under Biden is doing. Lieberman wrote that critics of the privatization efforts “fear that these programs will seek to save money by limiting health care services, some perhaps unnecessary but others not. If they succeed, investors can keep a portion of the savings as profit.” She added that:

Despite the bullish rhetoric that has historically been attached to accountable care organizations — improving the quality of patient care, lowering health care costs — private equity firms are not known for their social altruism or desire to pare government expenditures. Critics of these programs fear that these programs will seek to save money by limiting health care services, some perhaps unnecessary but others not. If they succeed, investors can keep a portion of the savings as profit.

Among those critics is Dr. Ed Weisbart, who once served as chief medical officer of Express Scripts (now part of Cigna, where I used to work) and is now chair of the Missouri chapter of PNHP. Lieberman quoted Weisbart as saying:

“The middlemen are more interested in their own financial well-being than the health of the people they are managing. The investment community is not investing for some noble interest. They’re not investing to improve the public’s health.”

Lieberman concluded with these insightful observations and questions:

The core issue in this debate is as it always has been: How should doctors be paid and who should profit most in a health system that is basically a for-profit endeavor rather than a public good as in most other peer countries?

That raises the underlying but key question: Will this latest Medicare experiment, which brings in more private equity firms that want a piece of the program, really solve Medicare’s cost problem, or will it simply hand over more of the program to private companies seeking to grow their profits? Is this solution really in the best interest of America’s seniors and their health, or another clever instance of American companies mining the health care system for fresh profits?


(More at Link)

https://wendellpotter.substack.com/p/bi ... vatization

I'm an old fart and every other old fart that I know insist they must have additional insurance, but not me jack. I'm happy to pay my bit out of my SS 'check' to Part B but I'll be goddamn if I give a nickel to those vultures. If I croak for lack of care I'll just go down cursing capitalism. I went the last eight years before '65' without any coverage and was just lucky...many are not.

Every time ya turn around Biden is a bigger swine than ya thought.

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Biden Warns Americans Gas Prices Will Remain High 'As Long as it Takes'
The President said gas prices will stay high to combat Putin and Russia's war on Ukraine.
ByAndy Kalmowitz
Thursday 1:18PM

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Photo: Brendan Smialowski (Getty Images)

Americans will have to deal with near-record high gas prices for a while longer, according to President Biden.

It wasn’t too long ago the national average gas price breached $5 per gallon, and while it may not be at that number anymore, Americans are still feeling the pinch at the pump. AAA reports, the national average price for a gallon of gas sits at $4.86, and diesel prices still average $5.58 per gallon.

Biden says these numbers will stay high “as long as it takes” to fight back against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Bloomberg.

“As long as it takes, so Russia cannot in fact defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine,” Biden told reporters Thursday in Madrid, in response to a question about how long high gas prices might persist. His comments echoes those of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his closest geopolitical ally and one who is facing similar pressures back home about the cost-of-living crisis.

Biden’s latest comments about inflation — which amount to telling voters that they need to brace themselves for the long haul — are unlikely to play well.

Americans have cited inflation — which hit a four-decade high this spring — as their primary concern heading into November midterms. Democrats will likely lose control of Congress. That worst-case scenario will become even likelier if the US. goes into recession. Concerns about such a downturn are growing daily.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Wednesday found that 85% of adults said the country was on the wrong track, with 79% describing the economy as “poor.”

In that same poll, 67% of Democrats deemed economic conditions as bad.

Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months, but some Democratic lawmakers have stifled those plans.

As for how long “as long as it takes” is, well, that’s anyone’s guess. Buckle up and grit your teeth, kids. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

https://jalopnik.com/biden-warns-americ ... 1849129449

As big a liar as Trump ever was.....If his regime had not engaged in political/military brinkmanship this situation would not have arisen. But there would not have been the gigantic windfalls for the Merchants of Death and Big Oil either. Priorities..

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

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