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..

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

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Mon Jul 11, 2022 3:13 pm

Image
The Most Frightening Thing Joe Biden Said Last Night (Photo: blacklistednews.com)

Senate urged to block Biden’s pro-privatization nominee for Social Security Board
Originally published: Common Dreams on July 5, 2022 by Jake Johnson (more by Common Dreams) | (Posted Jul 09, 2022)

Defenders of Social Security on Tuesday urged the U.S. Senate to block President Joe Biden’s little-noticed nomination of Andrew Biggs—an American Enterprise Institute senior fellow with a history of supporting Social Security privatization—to serve on the independent and bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board.

Social Security Works, a progressive advocacy group, is leading the charge against Biggs, highlighting his role in the George W. Bush administration’s failed attempt to privatize the New Deal program in 2005. At the time, Biggs worked on Social Security as an associate director of Bush’s National Economic Council.

“Andrew Biggs has advocated for Social Security cuts throughout his career. And now, he’s been nominated to oversee Social Security,” Social Security Works tweeted on Tuesday.

The group, whose president currently serves on the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB), is also sharing a sample call script for those who wish to contact their representatives about Biggs.

“The Senate can, and must, block this terrible nomination,” the organization wrote.

Please call your senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to vote NO on Andrew Biggs.


The White House announced Biggs’ nomination to the SSAB in May, a move that drew little notice at the time.

Last month, The Lever‘s Matthew Cunningham-Cook called attention to the president’s pick and warned it suggests “there could soon be a coordinated push in Washington to cut the Social Security program, which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to 66 million Americans.”

While Biden vowed on the campaign trail to back an expansion of Social Security, he has previously supported cutting the program’s benefits. Biden was vice president when former President Barack Obama proposed a “grand bargain” with the GOP that would have entailed cuts to Social Security.

Biggs, too, has a long record of advocating Social Security cuts. As Cunningham-Cook wrote last month,

For years, Biggs has been a vocal critic of expanded Social Security and workers’ right to a secure, stable retirement free from the vagaries of the stock market.

“He has dismissed the retirement crisis as a non-issue and as recently as 2020 blamed problems with the Social Security system on ‘older Americans’ game of chicken,'” he added.

While the seat on the bipartisan board is by tradition assigned to a Republican, Biden could have chosen a moderate candidate—or even leaned on precedent to avoid the nomination process altogether. Former President Donald Trump routinely refused to nominate Democrats for seats on boards and commissions.

Simmering outrage over Biggs’ nomination to serve on the SSAB, which was formed in 1994 to advise the president and Congress on Social Security, comes as progressives are demanding an expansion of the program’s modest benefits—while Republican lawmakers, per usual, eye cuts.

Last month, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led the introduction of the Social Security Expansion Act, which would lift the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax and boost the program’s annual benefits by $2,400.

“At a time when half of older Americans have no retirement savings and millions of senior citizens are living in poverty, our job is not to cut Social Security,” Sanders said at the time.

Our job must be to expand Social Security so that every senior citizen in America can retire with the dignity they deserve and every person with a disability can live with the security they need.

https://mronline.org/2022/07/09/senate- ... ity-board/

So, to roughly sum things up;

*The Democratic regime is working on privatizing Medicare.

* The Democratic regime is scheming to privatizing Social Security.

*The Democratic regime is proposing to spend 1.4 trillion dollars on 'security'.

*The Democratic regime failed to deliver on any of it's campaign promises other than cost-free, symbolic shams.

The first three the Republicans would match, exactly. The fourth they would diverge from as they move heaven and earth in order to inflict reactionary social policy, which not only costs them nothing but fills their campaign coffers too. In the final analysis this is distraction from the primary issues facing us. It's time to pay attention.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:09 pm

White House Privately Signaling It’s Moving Forward With Anti-Abortion Court Pick
Despite outcry from Democrats and reproductive rights groups, Biden isn’t backing off plans to nominate Chad Meredith, a source tells HuffPost.
By Jennifer Bendery
Jul 12, 2022, 05:30 AM EDT | Updated a day ago

President Joe Biden is not backing off plans to nominate an anti-abortion attorney to a lifetime federal judgeship in Kentucky, despite strong opposition from Democrats and reproductive rights groups, according to a source recently briefed on the White House’s plans.

White House officials have refused to talk about Chad Meredith ever since the Louisville Courier-Journal reported late last month that he is the president’s pick for a soon-to-be vacant U.S. District Court seat in eastern Kentucky. The newspaper even provided copies of June 23 emails from the White House to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) confirming Biden’s plan to nominate Meredith, a member of the conservative Federalist Society who has fought abortion rights.

(more...)

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chad-mer ... 1684664530

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

Boom! Lawyered: Biden Finally Did Something About Abortion! Or Did He?
Jul 11, 2022, 3:50pm Imani Gandy & Jessica Mason Pieklo

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, and for two weeks, the Biden administration did nothing.
Austen Risolvato/Rewire News Group

https://rewirenewsgroup.com/multimedia/ ... or-did-he/

President Joe Biden took some baby steps—finally—to protect abortion in the country. But it’s just not enough to get folks abortion care today.

In a new episode of Boom! Lawyered, co-hosts Jessica Mason Pieklo and Imani Gandy dig into Biden’s broad-strokes executive order, which is delivers big on aspirations and little on actual direction and action points.

As Jess says in the episode: “Waiting to respond, issuing a response that so clearly doesn’t meet the moment—we’re sending signals that what the Supreme Court is doing is OK. Like the Supreme Court is functionally exercising a judicial coup in this country. It’s just doing what it wants because it can. The law is no longer a barrier to anything.”

https://rewirenewsgroup.com/multimedia/ ... or-did-he/

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

Joe Biden's approval falls to 29 percent in the US

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Joe Biden faces a complex context, exacerbated by signs of a probable economic recession. | Photo: EFE
Published 11 July 2022

The study reveals that Democrats and African-Americans are the president's biggest supporters.

The index of support for the president of the United States (USA), Joe Biden, fell to minimum figures, standing at 29 percent, according to a recent study by the online polling company Civiqs Poll.

The national and daily follow-up poll registers presidential disapproval at 58 percent, but the remaining 13 percent neither approve nor disapprove of the management of the current White House tenant.

Voters of all age groups, education levels and gender showed approval rates below 40 percent, with the youngest ages 18-34 being the most dissatisfied at 21 percent.


The survey reveals that the states of Hawaii and Vermont are the only ones where Biden supporters outnumber opponents. In general, the president's greatest allies are African Americans, with 64 percent and 56 percent respectively, although the Support figures have dropped relative to other polls.

Biden's current approval rating is well below the 39 percent that then-President Donald Trump had in 2017, in a similar study by Civiqs Poll.

Analysts indicate that the decline in presidential reception is based on a series of events that have taken place in recent weeks in the country, such as the increase in gasoline prices, the absence of baby formula in the markets, the signs of a probable recession and the July 4 mass shooting that affected the debates around gun control.

https://www.telesurtv.net/news/eeuu-apr ... -0047.html

Google Translator

Congress showers the Pentagon with cash while Americans pinch pennies
Lawmakers this week will rubber stamp a bill authorizing tens of billions more to the Defense Department that it didn’t even ask for.
JULY 11, 2022
Written by
Ben Freeman and Faezeh Fathizadeh

Gas prices are at an all-time high. Rent prices have set records for the last 13 months straight. Inflation is increasing so sharply that even the cost of basic utilities has risen by nearly 30 percent in the last 12 months. There are growing fears that the economy is poised to fall into recession.

What is Congress doing as a growing chorus of Americans think these and other economic issues are the most important problems facing the nation today? They’re planning to give military contractors the biggest payday they’ve ever seen.

This week, at a time when Americans are fighting to keep roofs over their heads and feed their families, Congress’s plan is to authorize a record-setting $838.8 billion in spending, not to the American people, but to the Pentagon. As happens nearly every year, more than half of this sum will likely go to Pentagon contractors, whose CEOs make tens-of-millions of dollars while telling their shareholders that war and rising global tensions are good for business.

Yet this week Congress is on track to give the Pentagon $37 billion more than the military even asked for. Instead of funding pork-barrel projects across the country -— such as the Littoral Combat Ship, known in U.S. Navy circles as the “little crappy ship” that reportedly can’t travel half its maximum speed without cracking its hull — Congress could use this money to pay for a variety of things Americans desperately need right now, like school lunches, affordable housing, and utility assistance programs.

Even just lowering taxes by $37 billion or giving this money directly to the American people could put more than $100 in the pocket of every single American at a time when they desperately need it.

Not only would spending in such ways benefit the individuals and communities that receive them, it would also help revitalize the U.S. economy — and make it more equitable to boot. As has been well documented, defense spending is one of the least economically productive ways the government can spend its money. Spending on education, health care, and lowering taxes, for example, have all been shown to create more — and higher paying — jobs.

In addition to the economic costs of funneling ever more money into the Pentagon, contractors that win the lion’s share of the Pentagon pie have left less and less money for the actual members of the U.S. military. Our troops and their families are now facing the same problems of affordable housing and inflation that plague the rest of the nation, all while doing their part to defend the country. As our colleague, Tevah Gevelber, documented in Responsible Statecraft last month, increases in rents and inflation have forced many military families to move further and further away from bases and, in some cases, to live paycheck to paycheck.

With military families and other hard-working Americans struggling to make ends meet, why is Congress poised to give government contractors the biggest taxpayer-funded payday they’ve ever received? In short, Pentagon contractors invest heavily in efforts to get more taxpayer money. They have spread their influence and money around to lobbyists, PR firms, and think tanks to ensure that a rising defense budget lifts all boats … inside the Beltway.

The defense sector is also one of the top spenders on campaign contributions to members of Congress, particularly to those lawmakers with the greatest sway over the defense budget. In fact, members of the House Armed Services Committee who last month approved the defense bill the House will vote on this week have already received more than $3.25 million in campaign contributions from defense contractors in just the current election cycle, according to campaign finance data compiled by OpenSecrets.

Pentagon contractors also spend more than $100 million on lobbying every year and currently have 652 lobbyists working for them, more than double the 307 lobbyists working for labor groups, for example. That comes to one lobbyist for every elected representative and senator with more than 100 lobbyists to spare. More than two-thirds of these lobbyists are actually former government employees, including high-ranking congressional staff, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) former chief of staff, who went on to become a lobbyist for BAE Systems.

Pentagon contractors also seek out former members of Congress themselves. For example, five weeks after Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), who chaired the House Armed Services Committee until his retirement from Congress in early 2015, he began representing a defense contractor that employed his services as a principal in the newly formed “McKeon Group.”

Last, but certainly not least, defense contractors give tens-of-millions of dollars to the nation’s top think tanks every year. Scholars at these same think tanks with defense industry ties often write articles and appear in the media promoting ever higher levels of defense spending.

In short, this is the military industrial complex, and it is working overtime to raise the Pentagon budget at taxpayers’ expense. Worse yet, Congress is adding tens-of-billions of dollars that the military didn’t even ask for, on top of what was already a record setting budget request that is more than the defense budgets of the next nine highest spending countries combined.

While much of Washington is in on the racket, and will also profit from this wasteful government spending, it’s Americans struggling to keep the lights on who will pay the price.

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/ ... h-pennies/

There's gonna be a reactionary tsunami in November and the blame can be largely laid at the feet of the Biden mis-administration and the Democratically controlled legislature.

Biden's foreign policy, not original with him but the constant of imperialism, backed Russia into a corner with NATO expansion igniting a war that Russia didn't want but Washington did. Then those imbeciles jumped the shark with their sanction terrorism, igniting a world-wide economic crisis including at home. They jerked around with Covid, placing all their eggs in the Big Pharma basket, studiously ignoring the overwhelming success China has in saving lives.

Biden sabotaged the progressive spending plan(such as it was...) thru cynical manipulation, knowing his old buddy Machin would put a stick in the spokes. He pisses away money on the Pentagon that could address climate change, end hunger and poverty. Throughout his career he and Democrats in general have given lip service at best, we not actively oppressing, the black folks and women who put him in office.

What makes the Democratic Party not the lesser, but the greater evil is that they preclude the possibility of progress for the working class. To continue to support them is stupidity.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Fri Jul 15, 2022 12:58 pm

Manchin torpedoes Democrats’ hopes for passing sweeping climate action and tax hikes
By Ella Nilsen and Manu Raju, CNN
Updated 7:45 AM EDT, Fri July 15, 2022

Image
Jose Luis Magana/AP CNN

Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday dealt a devastating blow to Democrats’ hopes for sweeping legislative action this year, telling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his staff “unequivocally” that he won’t support the climate or tax provisions of a Democratic economic package, two sources familiar with the talks tell CNN.

The two had been negotiating for months, and Schumer, a New York Democrat, had made a number of concessions to pare back the climate provisions to appease Manchin, whose support is critical in an evenly decided Senate.

Manchin is open to letting Medicare negotiate prescription drugs prices and to extending enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years, one of the sources said, which suggests that’s all Democrats are likely to get in the package.

But the moderate West Virginia Democrat, who has cited increased federal spending as a main driver of inflation, would not budge, and he told Schumer that he will not consider raising taxes on the wealthy or corporations.


(more...)

https://us.cnn.com/2022/07/14/politics/ ... index.html

Whadda party....for us, the worst political party in the history of the universe, for the ruling class a citadel in the class war.

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PSL Editorial — Biden’s Middle East trip: Apartheid, war and oil
Party for Socialism and LiberationJuly 14, 2022 483 4 minutes read
Download PDF flyer https://flyer-generator.herokuapp.com/? ... sts/107325

While the inflation crisis and attacks on basic rights continue in the United States, Joe Biden is traveling abroad to focus on shoring up U.S. domination over the Middle East.

Biden began his tour with a visit to Israel, landing on Wednesday. In a speech upon his arrival, Biden went out of his way to emphasize his ideological support for Zionism – the racist political movement that established the state of Israel on the land of the Palestinian people. Echoing the religious fundamentalist justification for the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, Biden stated, “[Y]ou need not be a Jew to be a Zionist … Every chance to return to this great country, where the ancient roots of the Jewish people date back to biblical times, is a blessing.”

Biden explained in the same speech, “From here, I’m going straight to a briefing on Israeli missiles and rocket defense capabilities, including the U.S. support for the Iron Dome and Israel’s new laser-enabled system called the Iron Beam.” The U.S. government gives Israel nearly $4 billion every year for military equipment to repress Palestinians and threaten neighboring countries. This is in essence a subsidy for U.S. weapons manufacturing corporations, who receive the contracts to provide these armaments.

Biden has ignored demands for a meeting from the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist who was murdered by Israeli soldiers in May while she was reporting on an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. Despite being a U.S. citizen, American authorities conducted a sham investigation into her killing that clearly aimed to cover up the criminal role of Israel.

War threats against Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and President Biden issued a joint declaration today affirming their mutual commitment to aggression against Iran. Discussing the “bipartisan and sacrosanct” nature of U.S. support to Israel, the statement read, “The United States stresses that integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.”

By threatening to “use all elements of its national power”, the United States is clearly referring to the possibility of waging war on Iran. Such a conflict, which would be absolutely devastating to the people of Iran and the whole region, almost came to pass in 2020 when the Trump administration carried out a clear act of war with the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

This war threat comes as negotiations to revive the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the “Iran nuclear deal”) reach a critical point. The deal was shredded under Trump, and the Biden administration has taken a hardline approach in its renegotiation. Biden himself used his trip to reiterate those positions, telling Israeli media that he would be willing to walk away from the deal in order to maintain the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a “terrorist organization”.

Israel (along with the United States) is a nuclear armed power that constantly threatens its neighbors. Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while Iran is a signatory and has repeatedly stated that it is not developing nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia, oil and inflation

Biden will fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia even though Saudi Arabia does not formally recognize Israel – a symbolic step meant to underscore U.S. support for normalization between the two countries. The basis of this normalization is shared hostility towards Iran, but there is another item at the top of Biden’s agenda on this last leg of his tour: oil.

In the Saudi city Jeddah, Biden will participate in a meeting of regional leaders, including key oil producing states. The U.S. government wants these countries to step up production in the hopes that this will help get surging fuel prices under control, and by extension relieve inflation more broadly.

The most important of these oil producers is the Saudi regime, one of the most repressive states in the world. An absolute monarchy presides over an ultra-reactionary, theocratic form of government, responsible for well-known crimes like the genocidal war in Yemen and the grisly assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. All of Biden’s talk about human rights goes out the window when the health of global capitalism is at issue.

It is a false choice to say that workers in the United States must tolerate friendly relations with a regime like Saudi Arabia in order to get relief from the spiraling inflation crisis. Instead, the government could crack down on oil corporations that have raised prices to obscene levels while reporting record profits. Exxon Mobil, for instance, recently announced that it expects to report $18 billion in profits during the second quarter of this year alone. The war in Ukraine has also contributed significantly to surging fuel prices and the cost of other essential goods. This conflict could be brought to a rapid end if the U.S. government ceased its policy of prolonging the war by flooding the country with tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons. But Biden is evidently more concerned about the fading fortunes of U.S. empire than addressing the dire problems faced by working people.

https://www.liberationnews.org/psl-edit ... rationnews

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Biden advances Israel’s agenda, one meeting at a time

After facing criticism during his three-day visit to Israel, Biden will visit Saudi Arabia where he try to convince Arab nations to “normalize” tries with the Zionist regime

July 14, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch

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The Jerusalem Declaration signed by Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, July 14, 2022. (Photo via the Times of Israel)

US president Joe Biden will be visiting Saudi Arabia on Friday, July 15 on the last leg of his four-day visit to West Asia. Human rights activists and organizations have especially been critical of the visit for further legitimizing and advancing the Israeli agenda in the region.

During the extended summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC+3) on Friday, Biden is expected to ask member countries, including Saudi Arabia, to “normalize” relations with Israel and develop a common front against Iran.

Saudi Arabia has thus far resisted openly embracing the US-sponsored Abraham Accords, first pushed by Donald Trump. Despite pursuing clandestine relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia has claimed that it still adheres to 2002 Arab Peace initiative which makes any relationship with Israel conditional on the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

It is difficult for the Biden administration to persuade Saudi Arabia to abandon this public stance and follow the example of the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Nevertheless, Biden’s visit is expected to start a gradual long-term process towards open, friendly ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The fact that Biden will become the first US president to fly directly to Saudi Arabia from Israel is cited as a small but significant step in this direction. The Saudis are also soon expected to open the nation’s airspace to Israeli airlines companies.

“You do not need to be a Jew to be Zionist”

During his first public appearance after arriving to Israel on July 13, US president Joe Biden claimed he does not need to be a Jew to be a “Zionist”. In return, Israeli caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid declared Biden to be a “great Zionist.”

Biden’s embrace of an ideology used to justify the decades-long occupation of Palestine and one that is considered responsible for creating an apartheid system comes from a long record of being a close friend of Israel. A central question put forward by observers regarding Biden’s visit to the region is its significance for the people of the US and the country’s foreign policy.

The stated goals of Biden’s visit is a closer relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, energy security, and a cohesive regional front against Iran, all with the intention of ensuring “better security” and “greater integration” for Israel in the region.

Biden himself has denied that energy security, which was earlier thought of as the primary reason for his visit to Saudi Arabia, is even on the agenda. This is despite the fact that the US is facing record petrol prices as fallout from his government’s policy of strict sanctions against Russia. The high price of gas has already become a major issue before US congressional elections in November.

Earlier, Biden had attempted to explore an increase in the global supply of oil while seeking some kind of reconciliation with Venezuela, and appearing to expedite the resumption of the nuclear deal with Iran. Biden also attempted to ask Saudi Arabia to increase oil production. However, most of these attempts have failed, and as per the reports, crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman even refused to attend a call by Biden in this regard in March.

https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/07/14/ ... at-a-time/

“You do not need to be a Jew to be Zionist” sez it all..............
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 16, 2022 3:11 pm

Joe Manchin to Planet Earth: Drop Dead
The senator knifed new climate legislation—and almost everything left of the Biden agenda. Was it always going to end this way?
BY JORDAN WEISSMANN
JULY 15, 202212:58 AM

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Sen. Joe Machin pays his respects to Joe Biden’s presidential agenda. Pool/Getty Images

It appears Democrats are not going to pass any sort of major climate legislation under Joe Biden’s presidency after all.

For weeks now, the party’s leaders have been attempting to negotiate a scaled down bill with Sen. Joe Manchin to replace the White House’s ambitious, $2 trillion Build Back Better plan, which the West Virginia Democrat filleted in December. Democrats had hoped the narrower piece of legislation might include tax hikes for deficit reduction, green energy spending, and new rules that would allow Medicare to negotiate on prescription drug prices.

But the Washington Post, citing two people familiar with the talks, reports that Manchin told the Democratic leadership on Thursday that he would “not support an economic package that contains new spending on climate change or includes new tax increases targeting wealthy Americans or corporations.” What’s left, then? Not much. Manchin is apparently open to a standalone prescription drug bill and a modest, two-year extension of the expanded Obamacare subsidies Biden included in his coronavirus relief legislation, which would at least keep Americans’ insurance premiums from shooting up before the midterms.

(more...)

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... crats.html

Is anybody surprised by this? Anybody??? Joe Biden ain't, he's known Machin for years. Ditto Biden's team. Mebbe the Dem progressives, who seem to possess the childlike innocence of a six year-old, hitching their wagon to the wrong horse.

Tactically speaking it was a slam-dunk for the real, as opposed to the imagined, Democratic Party. I think it was shortly after he got nominated that Biden promised his real constituency, the Owners, that "nothing would change" under his administration. By adopting the progressive plan but under his leadership, which used the lack of party discipline as a tactic, Biden fulfilled his assurance to the rich while directing the ire to his buddy Machin, who is laughing all the way to the bank and couldn't give a fuck.

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

Democrats fumble on the climate crisis again as US suffers consequences of inaction
By Ella Nilsen, CNN
Published 5:02 AM EDT, Sat July 16, 2022

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CNN

After more than a year of painstaking negotiations, congressional Democrats on Thursday night found themselves no further on implementing their ambitious climate agenda than when President Joe Biden took office.

For the second time in seven months, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia walked away from a deal to address the climate crisis, citing concerns over spending and inflation.

“Inflation is absolutely killing many, many people. They can’t buy gasoline. They have a hard time buying groceries,” Manchin told a West Virginia radio host on Friday. “Everything they buy and consume for their daily lives is a hardship to them. Can’t we wait to make sure we do nothing to add to that?”

It was deja vu for climate hawks who watched a similar climate bill fail during the Obama administration in 2010, after which then-President Barack Obama had to rely on executive action.

Twelve years later, Democrats again fumbled the climate crisis within yards of scoring, just as climate scientists are becoming increasingly apoplectic about the urgency to act. The eight hottest years on record have all occurred since 2010, and weather disasters have cost the US more than $100 billion per year on average during that time – almost double what they averaged in the decade before.

Biden walked into the Oval Office promising the boldest climate action of any president before him. But Manchin, heavily invested in the coal industry, has long been skeptical of clean energy. When running for Congress in 2010, Manchin cut a campaign ad of himself shooting Democrats’ climate cap-and-trade bill with a rifle.

Manchin dealt the agenda its final blow this week, denying Democrats their chance to pass climate legislation for at least several years.

“He killed this, and he has to own that,” John Podesta, Obama’s climate adviser and founder of the Center for American Progress, told CNN.

Now Biden and Democrats “have to explain why – in a context where Democrats had at least nominal control of the White House, House and Senate – they couldn’t get the job done,” Podesta said.

(more...)

https://us.cnn.com/2022/07/16/politics/ ... index.html

So ya see, what's really important is the mid-terms... OMG!!! If the Rs take over we are doomed!!

Ohh, wait...
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 27, 2022 2:51 pm

Warmongering Republicans Have Throbbing Hard-Ons For Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip

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Octogenarian House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decided to spend her final years on this mortal coil trying to start World War Three, pushing the Biden administration to designate Russia an official “state sponsor of terrorism” and planning a freakishly incendiary trip to Taiwan just in the last few days.

Beijing has made it clear that the first visit to Taiwan by a major US official in decades would be seen as an aggressive escalation and an egregious transgression of Washington’s official one-China policy.

“The U.S. side is wrong to believe that it can continue to flagrantly disregard the feelings of the Chinese side on Taiwan without more serious consequences,” a Chinese official told the Washington Post in response to the news of Pelosi’s planned trip in August, adding that “actors like Nancy Pelosi are committed to destabilizing China under the guise of morality” and that Pelosi has “openly threatened China’s development.”

Chinese state media put it even more bluntly, stating, “Pelosi’s Taiwan visit is a blatant provocation which will surely be met with a forceful response from China, including unprecedented military pressure. She is creating a dangerous moment, placing us on the brink of war. Nobody can guarantee there will be no mishaps.”


Pelosi’s insane escalation is finding support from some of the worst people on this planet, many of them from the other side of America’s illusory political divide.

“Nancy, I’ll go with you,” tweeted the Trump administration’s warmongering secretary of state and CIA director Mike Pompeo. “I’m banned in China, but not freedom-loving Taiwan. See you there!”

“Let Pelosi go to Taiwan,” tweeted Trump’s bloodthirsty National Security Advisor John Bolton. “It will tell us a great deal about who actually controls American foreign policy: Washington or Beijing. Doing anything more than blustering is far riskier to them than to us.”

“It is my personal view that the one-China policy has outlived its usefulness, that it is time to move away from strategic ambiguity,” the Trump administration’s secretary of defense Mark Esper said in the wake of the news of Pelosi’s visit during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

“I think it’s important that we begin that national discussion [on strategic ambiguity] back in the United States. It would help us educate the American people if we can also point to bold decisions being made in Taipei,” Esper added, an apparent call for open domestic propaganda about the issue.

“I think China should not have any say over where American officials travel. I think if the Speaker wants to go she should go,” Esper said on CNN’s New Day.

“Speaker Pelosi absolutely should take a bipartisan congressional delegation to Taiwan,” tweeted former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich. “I am the highest ranking US official to visit Taiwan. John Dingell and other Democrats joined GOP members. Communist China cannot dictate a Speakers travel!”

“Would it surprise you to learn that Nancy Pelosi got a round of applause at a meeting of the Trump-backed America First Policy Institute?” journalist Michael Tracey tweeted from the meeting on Monday. “Because that’s exactly what just happened, when Newt Gingrich declared support for her upcoming trip to Taiwan.”


“Speaker Pelosi should go to Taiwan and President Biden should make it abundantly clear to Chairman Xi that there’s not a damn thing the Chinese Communist Party can do about it,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse said on Monday. “No more feebleness and self-deterrence. This is very simple: Taiwan is an ally and the speaker of the House of Representatives should meet with the Taiwanese men and women who stare down the threat of Communist China.”

Taiwan is in fact not a formal ally under current US policy, but that’s exactly what all these calls to abandon the one-China policy and strategic ambiguity are geared toward changing.

Sasse’s comments are particularly annerving because they suggest that if the Biden administration does anything to deter Pelosi’s Taiwan brinkmanship it will be weaponized by the GOP to attack Biden as a puppet of Xi Jinping. This would be an exact inversion of the way the Democratic Party spent four years using accusations of Kremlin loyalty to put political pressure on the Trump administration to ramp up cold war escalations against Russia, which helped pave the way to the dangerous aggressions between those two nuclear powers we now see today.

We’re already seeing these frenzied accusations of Beijing loyalty from Republican spinmeisters like Tucker Carlson, which is something I warned would happen under a Biden presidency before the 2020 election.


When it comes to China, the so-called “populist right” is in lockstep with both Nancy Pelosi and with murderous neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, Max Boot and John Bolton. Steve Bannon’s support for regime change in Beijing is indistinguishable from Bill Kristol’s support for regime change in Beijing. You will never, ever see a Trump supporter address this perfect harmony between their faction and neocons and liberal hawks with any degree of intellectual honesty.

In reality, though Democrats tend to lean more toward supporting aggressions against Russia while Republicans lean more toward favoring aggressions against China, they’re both just manufacturing consent for the same unipolarist agenda of total global domination. They pretend to be on opposing sides, but if you ignore the narratives and just look at the actions what you see is a steadily escalating “great power competition” designed to facilitate the US empire’s longstanding agenda of securing unipolar planetary hegemony at all cost.

The drums of war are growing louder and louder, and the psychopaths who feed off it are growing more and more aroused. Let’s hope this evil empire ends as soon as possible in as peaceful a manner as possible, before these freaks get us all killed.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/07/26 ... iwan-trip/

So then, while Democrats and Republican vie to see who can destroy the planet first by various means we are distracted by a handful of social issues, important to be sure, but which pale in comparison to survival of civilization and the biosphere. And we have no choice in these paramount matters, a vote for a D or R is a vote for death. Past time for something completely different, time for socialism while we still have a chance.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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