Bill Clinton: Big Dog? Big Phony

Bill Clinton. Big Dog. The guy the Democrats trot out every national convention time to rah rah the electorate to a fever pitch to bring the Democratic presidential nominee on home!

Big dog? Big phony. The only thing big about Bill is the stick he keeps trying to bash Bernie Sanders over the head with.

This morning I again heard on the radio the corporate media fiction of Clinton’s “Age of Prosperity” in the 90s. Yes, it was prosperous for some, unless you were poor. If you were lower-working class or among the poor there was little if any prosperity for you.  The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), the Republican bill which Clinton signed into law took care of that. It penalized poor children for living with their dysfunctional parent(s).  It forced people with no hope of finding a job to look for work or be removed from the cash grant after two years while a portion of any of the income they might be able to earn or receive was allocated to the child(ren) to further reduce their cash grant. After five years on welfare whether the parent(s) had found work or not the family timed out on welfare entirely.

The Food Stamps program (run by the USDA partly on behalf of agribusiness to sell more crops to sell more food) was slashed by over $20 billion dollars. The AFDC budget was $14 billion—less than 1% of the federal budget. Meanwhile, military spending was increased by about $60 billion over a six-year period, a time when we weren’t officially at war with anybody.  SSI eligibility for children was restricted.  LEGAL immigrants had their eligibility for programs greatly restricted and their benefits cut.

But while the those living in poverty were pushed into living in abject poverty, the rest of us were prospering, right? For some. For awhile. The Bill Clinton Golden Age of Prosperity sat atop the twin dotcom and real estate bubbles and balanced by some fancy shmancy bookkeeping that moved selected Accounts Payable ledger items off the Clinton books and onto the books of the next presidential administration. Yes, Dubya did fine in massively escalating the federal budget on his own but Bill did help his future best buddy along that path.

Yes, it sure was the Age of Prosperity alright, but all that prosperity was paid with credit cards and the bills started to come due in the 2nd financial quarter of 2007. You see, during Bill’s Age of Prosperity he sneaked a couple of things through: repeal of Glass-Steagall and the successful kibosh of the regulation of the sale of derivatives of which—if you saw “The Big Short” credit default swaps played a big part.

So here’s all these stock traders and stockholders becoming prosperous during the 90s but then the strangest stuff started to happen in 2007. Banks started to fail. Brokerage houses started to fail. Mortgage lenders started to fail. A whole lot of prosperous people lost their investments, lost their retirement savings, lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their families, lost their lives.

The Republicans came up with a plan to save it all called TARP. They came up with at near the end of Dubya’s term. Obama replaced Bush but on the first round of voting Senate Democrats stuck to their principles and voted it down. They became unstuck on the second vote and passed it with Obama signing into law in 2009. The problem with TARP was handled was similar to what happens on a baseball sandlot. Kids line up and wait to see which team captain will chose them. The team captain sticks with his favorite players and tries to give the lesser players to the other team. This is what happened with TARP. Obama chose his favorites: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, AIG. The lesser players not chosen: Bear Stearns, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Wachovia Bank, Countrywide, among others didn’t get to play at all because there was no other team to play for.  They had to take their bats and balls and thousands of employees and millions of customers and clients and walk away.

This is reality. This is fact. This is not the Camelot-like “Age of Prosperity” that the Clintons, the Democratic Party (especially the DNC), and the corporate media is attempting to have you still believe. When the lie becomes truth, then what is the truth?

So I will not join in on the Big Dog rah rah stuff. I will not speaking glowingly and nostalgically of the Bill Clinton Golden Age of Prosperity. Too much water has flowed under that bridge. The same floodwater that swept all that “prosperity” away for good. At least it worked out for the poor.  As Janis once sang, “when you got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose”.

Hillary Clinton And The Republicans Working The System

It says a lot—maybe everything—that Hillary Clinton is joining the GOP and the conservative-to-right-wing political pundits in asking how can the federal government possibly afford to pay for Bernie Sanders’ proposals like “Medicare For All” and free higher education.

They’ve convinced the non-thinking voters who adamantly support the presidential candidacies of Clinton and the Republicans to ask that same question. If those voters were actually thinking people they would realize they are being instructed to ask the wrong question so that don’t get the correct answer.  The correct answer is: Bernie’s programs will be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy and closing all IRS tax loopholes that enable many corporations and wealthy people to pay little or no taxes at all. Bernie’s programs can be paid for by passing laws enabling the federal government to seek out and find all offshore accounts that hide income and assets that so they can’t be taxed.

They can be paid for by forcing stock traders to pay for the millions and millions of automated transactions, which would also serve to drastically decrease these types of transactions that can quickly affect the stock market either positively or negatively or increase or lower stock share prices in a matter of moments.

These programs can be paid for by ending once and for all the corporate welfare by which working people subsidize the very corporations that pay them minimum wage, cut their benefits, raise the costs of their healthcare insurance, or lay them off entirely. Lastly, although there are still other ways to generate more federal income, the military budget can be cut by billions and billions of dollars.

But here’s the problem: politicians like Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, reinforced by the corporate media, train non-thinking voters to believe that they have absolutely no say about the federal budget because those decisions are made by powerful forces totally outside their control. This is the primary message of Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, reinforced by the corporate media, instill in non-thinking voters: “You have control of nothing. You need to elect us to control it for you.” Or they convince non-thinking voters that both parties are the same, they’re all crooks so there’s no sense in voting.

This is all mostly true under the present system. And this is what makes Bernie’s presidential campaign so important: he wants to change the system. Hillary Clinton claims that as president Bernie will never get his programs enacted because: 1. They’ll raise your (lower-and-middle class) taxes, and 2. No one in Congress will work with him to pass these programs. Non-thinking voters never stop to think that #2 would cancel out #1. And they never stop to think that, as I explained above, they shouldn’t have to be the ones to pay for all these beneficial programs anyway.

She is correct—under the present system. However, if you elect Bernie, chances are you will also vote to elect like-minded politicians who WILL work with him. And that’s the key. Incrementally over two election cycles it would be possible for thinking voters to elect enough like-minded politicians at every level to change the system so the programs that Bernie proposes will be enacted. And once that genie is out of the bottle there’s no going back. Unless enough non-thinking voters re-elect politicians like Hillary Clinton and the Republicans in sufficient numbers to reinstate the old system.

This is why Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, reinforced by the corporate media, keep telling non-thinking voters that they are the agents of change, because non-thinking voters keep buying into that fiction by electing and re-electing politicians who perpetuate the unchanging system.

Elect Bernie Sanders president. He is in the vanguard of like-minded politicians who want to actually replace the outdated system with a new one. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a brand spanking new system in Washington, D.C. for a change?

Hillary Clinton Snatched Nothing From The Jaws Of Victory

***UPDATE: Since I first wrote this the Clinton campaign is claiming victory in Iowa despite the fact there is no victory as yet to claim. One precinct remains uncounted and there are questions about the results in a few others. This shows how desperate that campaign is to claim a meaningless win, as I explain further down. It also shows how afraid they are of Bernie Sanders’ surging campaign. It’s Déjà vu circa 2008 all over again.***

 The corporate media is spinning the virtual tie in Iowa as a victory for Hillary because she didn’t lose. That’s utter nonsense. In fact, a few coin tosses led to the tie which further renders the Iowa caucuses results meaningless.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mbvd/a-coin-toss-was-actually-used-to-decide-some-iowa-ties-betwe?utm_term=.eqP99XPVk#.mtM779VdR

Bernie has been, ahead, behind, and tied with her in the Iowa presidential polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses. The very fact that he tied with HIllary, who has been the media-anointed eventual Democratic presidential nominee is a victory for Bernie.

 Even Reuters agrees, sort of. The news agency ran a story about how the Iowa tie raises doubts about her campaign. “‘She has had every possible structural and organizational advantage and Sanders fought her to a draw,’ said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.’This is almost a moment by moment rerun of 2008,’ Schnur said. ‘The difference is her competition is not as tough this time.'”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-democrats-idUSKCN0VB0PB

 So Bernie’s not as tough a competitor as Obama was in 2008 yet he still tied with Hillary. Do not think that that butterflies are not fluttering inside stomachs within the Clinton campaign today.

 But we must keep in mind that the Iowa caucuses historically have been regarded as a non-important event since they don’t really mean anything. They’re beauty contests which don’t even fully decide the number of delegates that will be sent to the national conventions for both parties. In Iowa after the caucuses, elections are held in the counties and congressional districts and then statewide to choose the slates of delegates who will go to the national conventions held by the Democrats and by the Republicans.Tonight was just the first of four contests to elect delegates to the national conventions for the Democrats and the Republicans.

 NOTHING WAS POLITICALLY DECIDED LAST NIGHT. All that happened was that both candidates could declare they didn’t lose a media-hyped contest. The full slate of 44 Democratic delegates headed to the convention won’t be decided until June. With O’Malley out of the race (suspending a campaign means the candidate still qualifies for matching federal funds for contributions that the candidate continues to receive, even after that particular election is over. These funds go towards paying down the outstanding campaign debt.) his few delegates are again in play.

 All that was at stake here were the bragging rights to winning the first political contest of the election season. These were denied to both Bernie and Hillary but they can brag they didn’t lose either.

 Meanwhile, the corporate media already has Iowa in its rear view as it has already moved on to New Hampshire. Bernie is expected to win big there but it’s predicted Hillary will win both the South Carolina and the Nevada primaries. Maybe, maybe not. In any case, like Iowa and New Hampshire those two states have never played a major role in deciding a presidential election, let alone the presidential nominee. Nevada, considered a swing state, only has 6 electoral votes. South Carolina only has 9. There are far more important contests than these two states to decide who will get the nomination and who will be elected president.

 

Lousy Housekeeper Paul Ryan Keeps Things Broken

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http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ryan-scores-dual-wins-with-obamacare-repeal-vote/ar-AAgshBU?li=BBnb7Kz\

Paul Ryan is a lousy housekeeper. That’s to be expected from a man who grew up in a privileged household were the hired help were the housekeepers.  So it’s also to be expected that he’s not doing so good on two promises he made when he was elected Speaker of the House: to fix a”broken” House and the House would work to pass legislation that would raise incomes and help lift people up out of poverty.

“Ryan Scores Dual Wins With Obamacare Repeal Vote” says the headline of the linked article. This shows how insulated D.C. beltway pundits are from what is actually happening in America. Ryan gained no victories with anyone other than Republicans who want Obamacare repealed and Planned Parenthood defunded. For the rest of us this is GOP-business-as-usual with yet another attempt at repealing Obamacare. With a Democrat-controlled Congress, neither of those bills pass their respective chambers of Congress.

These are not wins for Ryan or any Republican. These are yawns, as how boring, more of the same.  “’The good news is, with this reconciliation bill, there will finally be some clarity,’ Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told the Washington Post Tuesday. ‘The president will very glibly veto it. But at least then it will be on him and everybody will know it.’”

And while you’re being so glib with your comment, Franks, that work so well with your constituents in Republican-controlled Arizona, get it through your thick skull that there are tens of millions more of Americans who not only approve but depend on Obamacare for their affordable healthcare plans.

OK, you’re asking “Who’s Trent Franks? THIS is Trent Franks: “In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say “How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.” And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?” (from politicalcorrection.org 2/26/10 quoting from an interview Franks gave to Mark Starks of starksreport.com)

Let’s dispense with Frank’s insincere apology for slavery. His point was that unspecified policies of today are far more devastating to the African-American community than slavery ever was. This is the type of Republican who has repeatedly voted to overturn Obamacare. So with the backing of this kind of Congressman, exactly what was the victory for Ryan again?

The dual victory is all Obama’s. The first victory will be President Obama’s when he vetoes this worthless piece of partisan effluent.  The victory would be that much sweeter if Obama first looks at the bill with pen raised and with a smile quotes Ronald Reagan: “There you go again.”

The second victory for the president is, in this article’s own words, “the issue is likely now settled until after the election.”

After the election we hopefully will be looking at a much different Congress than the Republican-controlled one which insists on making life harder for tens of millions of financially struggling poor Americans and further victimizing low-income women in dire need of medical care—legal abortions and otherwise.

Donald Trump’s Running For President–Or IS He?

donald

Here’s my take on Donald Trump–and I could be wrong. First, I question why a guy who’s historically been a political moderate is going so hard right that he’s even to the right of Ben Carson? My theory is that he’s intentionally saying outrageous, politically suicidal things because he doesn’t want to be president.

I think every presidential campaign of his has been a sham.  Why  should he run for president, win, and take a pay cut? All of his wealth–credit cards, financial accounts, all his business interests–are taken away from him and put in trusts until after he leaves office.  He’d have to give all control of his businesses to others otherwise we’re talking conflict of interest.

And he’s a businessman. Does he really want to deal with what he would have to consider the boring parts of the president’s job? ? Does he really want to deal with Congress, the different agencies, lobbyists, the corporate media, all those foreign countries–especially China and Russia, ISIS, al-Qaeda, the various wars around the world, global warming?  He’s worth several billion dollars, has access to everything and can do and say whatever he wants. Why the hell would he want to trade it all in to be president? I really don’t think he’s megalomaniacal enough to want to be president just to have control of the military and our nuclear weapons and to be the most powerful man in the world-without access to his financial empire.

Why is he slamming Muslims? Because I think he’s fomenting outrage to the point where his popularity tanks and it essentially provides him a way to gracefully bow out of the race instead of quitting when his numbers are high. He wants to lose this race.  If he knows how to read public opinion polls he can clearly see his voting base rests securely with the right wing lunatic fringe of the GOP,  a fringe so right wing looney that they view Rand Paul and Jeb Bush as liberals.

He’s already lost “The Apprentice” and after recently selling off his entire holdings in the Miss Universe Organization his future presence in the corporate media looked to be severely diminished.  What better way to increase it then to run for president and position himself as The Great White Wing Hope.   The good news is that after he closes his “presidential campaign” early next year we won’t be subjected to another installment of “Donald Trump Runs For President” until 2020.

 

 

 

Home Grown And Home Grown By Marriage Terrorists

Last night I watched a CBS News reporter ask one of the law enforcement chiefs how the mother of a 6-month old child could have fired those weapons and killed all those people. How what kind of mother of a small child would allow her home to be turned into an arsenal, stockpiled with assault rifles, handguns, and thousands of rounds of ammo? What kind of mother of a small child would be making homemade bombs from materials kept in the home? In other words, how does Mom become a terrorist?

The answer is a woman who never wanted to be a mother and cares nothing about children.

The more I hear and read about that San Bernardino couple who shot up that holiday banquet party the more I’m convinced both the marriage and their 6-month-old baby were shams, a disguise to present themselves as an average, middle class family.

The wife, a Pakistani, had previously pledged her allegiance to ISIS. We don’t know when the male shooter, an American-born citizen, became a radicalized Islamist. My theory is he had both domestic and overseas contacts with ISIS or some other Islamic extremist sect. He was instructed to make contact with a particular woman posting on a specific dating site, fly over to Saudi Arabia and marry her, and bring her back to the states. They would have a baby just to complete the image as your average Muslim-American middle class family pursuing the American Dream.

The male shooter (notice I’m not giving names here?) was an American-born Muslim of Pakistani immigrants. He was beset by an identity crisis: feeling like he didn’t belong to either the Western culture or to the Eastern culture. This identity confusion is common among the type of Muslim who joins a violent, extremist group. This guy had been educated here. He was hired into a civil service job with a great salary and benefits. How badly had this guy been treated when he was growing up or was he just a spoiled brat who hated the country that had given him so much? His phony wife was working as a pharmacist and being paid well for it.

I can’t understand his hatred but I can understand hers–to a point. Go back as far as the 1940s and look at how our country’s presidents and the CIA subverted the governments and people of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and almost everywhere else you could throw a dart at a global map.

For all I know she might have been just another of those  deluded young middle class Muslim women who find leaders of those extremist groups sexy and exciting. But I don’t know her history at all.

And I also wonder if this shooting was a planned terrorist attack or if the male shooter let his hatred of a Jewish co-worker get the best of him and decided on his own to make this holiday banquet his first “mission” in defiance of orders he’d received? I think he and his wife actually thought they could get away with it. Besides, from the amount of weapons, ammo, and pipe bombs stockpiled in the home, more such “missions” were obviously being planned either by those two or in conjunction with others. If that was the case, then we’re fortunate that the ego and self-centered thinking of that guy overrode what could be presumed as a series carefully-laid terrorist plots for even further mass murders.

Lastly, I am fuming at Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s “Institute For Legislative Action”, just a fancy name for the gun lobby arm of the NRA. He claims in his USA Today op-ed piece of…that the California gun control laws are all on President Obama’s wishlist and yet this tragedy STILL happened. Just goes to show that gun control isn’t the answer. Except that what Cox conveniently omits in his 2nd Amendment propaganda screed is that while the AR-15s and the Glock 9mm handguns were all bought legally by the male shooter, the AR-15s were illegally altered to make them fully automatic in order to enable them to continually fire the illegal high capacity clips (illegal in California but LEGAL in the NRA-owned states from which the male shooter ordered them online. The type of powerful ammo the shooter bought was also illegal in California but LEGAL was also illegal to order in the NRA-owned states from which the shooter purchased them online). So what Cox tried to cover up was that these gun laws, whether enacted or on Obama’s wish list, would be effective had they been standardized and enforced nationwide.

If people are searching for someone to blame for this latest mass shooting and killing, look up Chris Cox at the NRA or find him on social media networks and tell him what you think about his op-ed thing if you like.

 

 

NPR Morning Edition: Have You No Shame?

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/30/452909204/obamacare-deploys-new-apps-allies-to-convince-the-uninsured

I’ve been commenting for years on NPR’s slanted-toward-the-Republicans reporting. The right wing’s contention that it’s part of the liberal media is just a smoke screen.  However, this morning NPR’s Morning Edition hit a new low with its hit piece on what it insists on calling Obamacare, which is the Republican-devised epithet for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Affordable Care Act for short.  Because the job given to NPR by persons or persons unknown is to keep pushing the myth that the ACA is unaffordable and that is why millions of people are risking federal tax fines by gleefully dropping it. If the ACA is unaffordable for millions of people it is due to the concerted efforts of the Republicans, as I show below.

I don’t know who is ultimately responsible for this hit piece. What I do know is that Steve Inkeep’s lead-in is misleading. What I also know is that typically, the written text underneath the audio link to a news story is identical to the audio story.  In this case, the audio version barely resembles the written text. Inskeep intros the story “Millions of Americans have found the Affordable Care Act to be unaffordable.”  Thus the story is framed that the ACA is essentially a failure, especially where lower-middle class individuals are concerned.  Contrast this with the actual written headline to the story: “Obamacare Deploys New Apps, Allies To Persuade The Uninsured”.  Now it’s a story about how the Obama administration is attempting to get more uninsured people the health insurance they lack.

Another difference between the audio and written stories: the audio leads off with sound bites from Dave Egbert of Huron, South Dakota, stating that he and his partner, Rich Davis, dropped Obamacare because it was too expensive. In the written version, Egbert and Davis are buried near the bottom of the story. The audio story says that there are only three insurance plans to choose from.  But the story doesn’t explain why and this is where the slanted reporting comes in.

The fact is that Republican South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard and the Republican-controlled state legislature refused to expand Medicaid in that state on February 24, 2014. Expanding Medicaid in all states was a primary goal of–what else?—the Affordable Care Act. Just about all—if not all—Republican-controlled states refused to expand Medicaid even though the federal government was picking up the tab for the first few years. So Egbert and Davis should be blaming Governor Daugaard and their state legislature—people they most likely voted for in prior elections—for the lack of affordable healthcare in their state, along with the paucity of health plans to choose from. That’s under the control of your state, gentlemen, not the Feds.

http://www.capjournal.com/opinions/sd-s-refusal-to-expand-medicaid-will-cost-the-state/article_9ba7f888-b640-11e3-b88a-0019bb2963f4.html

This hit the working poor, like Egbert and Davis, hardest of all. Had state Republicans not blocked this expansion, it is very likely Egbert and Davis among 25,000 other people would have had the affordable healthcare Davis needed at the time. I have no information to back this up but I wonder if both Egbert and Davis are Republicans? What I do know is that NPR contacted Egbert after he posted a comment on its Facebook page.  Whether or not they vetted Egbert and his story is unknown.

Something else I do know is that, right before next year’s elections, South Dakota has now decided to expand Medicaid and has gotten the initial “go ahead” from a health official in the Obama Administration. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/09/29/medicaid-expansion-plan-gets-initial-go-ahead-dc/73067220/

So, Messers. Egbert and Davis, and the other 25,000 uninsured inhabitants of South Dakota, it looks like with your South Dakota state government finally embracing Obamacare just before election time, you will get your affordable health insurance. And if it gives you gentlemen any solace, Obamacare started off as Romneycare (an advisor to then-Gov. Romney re-worked it for the Obama administration) which had its genesis with a plan devised by the Koch Brothers own Heritage Foundation as far back as 1989.

So, gentlemen, stop seeing Red over Obamacare. And in next year’s elections, start feeling Blue.

And you, Steve Inskeep and all at NPR Morning Edition, have you no shame? Apparently not.