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Jack Rabbit

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Sacramento Valley, California
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 45,124

Journal Archives

Dr King died when I was 16 and was already a hero to me

It wasn't unusual for young people in their mid-teens growing up during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement to be more politically aware than they are now. In those days, watching Walter Cronkite every evening for half an hour left one more informed about national and international events than watching CNN all day does now.

Martin Luther King did, in fact, make white people uncomfortable. He had no use for white supremacy and said so. However, he was a man whose life's work was to unite people of good will together to work for justice. Justice is simply not compatible with any system of rigid hierarchy, including white supremacy. White supremacy was the idea underpinning not only the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but European imperialism through the mid-twentieth century and the neocolonialism of US foreign policy as manifested by the Vietnam War and, more recently, the invasion of Iraq; it goes a long ways to explain why invading Afghanistan morphed from a quest to apprehend Osama bin Laden into America's longest war.

Dr. King had a deceptively calm and comforting manner that didn't scare some white people as much as Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael or Eldridge Cleaver.

I recommend this thread, but please clink on the link in Bravenak's OP and read the entire article, which is quite good and gives a much better understanding of Dr. King in the context of his time and why the author of the article feels Dr. King would take the stands on today's issues that he ascribes to him.

A Small Quibble with Killer Mike

Killer Mike, the rapper, introduced Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by saying "I have no time . . . to relive the Reagan years; I have no desire to elect our own Margaret Thatcher."

The comment comparing Hillary Clinton to Margaret Thatcher can be dismissed as campaign hyperbole, and that's all I'll say about that for now. As for reliving the Reagan years, I have just one small quibble with that.

We should recognize Reagan as a consequential president, but by no means a great one. Even though his predicessor spent four years just trying to get a handle on what he was doing, Jimmy Carter left America in much better shape than Reagan left it. It has gotten steadily worse ever since.

It's not a point of reliving the Reagan years, it's continuing to live them. We've been living the Reagan years since the election of 1980 and it's long past time to put an end to them.

Every president since Reagan has been a Reaganite to a considerable degree. Reagan may have been a wiser Reaganite in the sense that after his first big tax cut in his first year as president he adjusted taxes upward several times, but the economy was structurally weaker as a result of supply-side policies. Income inequality didn't begin with Reagan, but it was badly exacerbated under him and Bush the Preppy, who also had to eat his words and raise taxes. Under Bill Clinton, tax cuts were more judiciously targeted at the middle class, but the foolishness of cutting taxes for the rich was not rolled back. Income inequality slowed, but did not reverse. For that reason, Clinton's tenure in the White House should not be regarding as either a ringing success or an abject failure. Nevertheless, there were several bad marks against Clinton and the Republican Congress with which he was saddled after his first two years in office. The worst of these were welfare reform, financial industry reform and NAFTA. The first of these made the plight of the poor in American even more dire and the second was a means to corrupt both the banking industry and politicians, allowing bankers and politicians to get richer at the expense of the public. The third put a big hit on American manufacturing and cost middle-class Americans well paying jobs which still haven't returned, and probably won't ever without a major change in US trade policy.

What might have seemed like a major event during Clinton's presidency was his impeachment in 1999, but this was merely a distracting side show of no real consequence other than the time and money wasted. Essentially, President Clinton was impeached for getting a blow job in the oval office from a White House intern. Tacky, yes; impeachable, no. The two articles of impeachment were so weak that neither received a simple majority vote in the Senate, let alone the two-thirds vote required to remove him from office.

After Clinton came Bush the Frat Boy. What can be said about him other than he was the worst president ever? Caught napping on September 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, Bush invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to bring criminal mastermind Osama bin Laden to justice, but his real intention was to invade Iraq, overthrow the Iraqi government on the pretense that it was complicit in the September 11 attacks, had illegally stockpiled a biochemical arsenal and was building a nuclear weapons. Although there was talk about democratizing Iraq after the invasion, the real purpose was to secure Iraq's oil fields for western oil companies. A Reaganite ideologue with no grounding in reality, Bush would not raise taxes to pay for the war, thus blowing a big hole in future budgets. The initial debts obligated for the war were about $2 trillion. It is estimated that when the last check goes to pay the last benefit to a veteran's surviving spouse, the war will have cost Americans $6 trillion. These expenses, combined with tax cuts for the rich who didn't need them that still haven't been repealed and the cost of a second war in Afghanistan that still hasn't ended, will make it very difficult to recover from from what is now 35 long, long years of Reaganomics. In addition, Bush eroded civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism and instituted a program of torture supported with legal opinions from White House lawyers basically saying that as long the administration refuses to call torture torture then it's perfectly legal. Finally, the Bush administration's laissez-faire approach to Wall Street crime resulted in the crash of the World Economy in the final months of Bush's tenure. Naturally, income inequality grew by leaps and bounds under Bush and in the last year of his term the American economy was hemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate.

Many of us, including your most humble hare, thought that wen we voted for Barack Obama we were voting for a new, post-Reagan era of American politics, but were sadly disappointed after President Obama took office. Obama has several feathers in his cap: the Affordable Care Act is an excellent start toward real health care reform, the goal being a single payer system and the elimination of private insurance companies as an unnecessary and inefficient middle man; the end of the Iraq war has stopped a great deal of fiscal bleeding; and President Obama's preference for a diplomatic solution to an international crisis over sending in the Marines with no exit strategy have prevented wars before they start, much to the chagrin of his Republican opposition, saving American taxpayers untold money and saving the lives of an unknown number of combat troops. He also gets kudos for ending the Bush torture program, although with demerits for failing to prosecute Bush war crimes. More seriously, the administration's failure to prosecute crooked Wall Street bankers is without excuse and even worse than the failure to prosecute war criminals, as Wall Street's criminals still continue to commit crimes and acts that should be crimes no different than what they did to crash the world economy in 2008. Obama has put before a Congress a horrible trade deal that not only will further erode what's left of the American middle class through job losses and even provide a strong ISDS that oligarchs can run to any time they think the mean ol' government is regulating them and depriving them of expected profits. Do corporations now have a right to profits? What would Adam Smith say? The other two deals not yet ready to be presented to Congress are apparently worse. TISA, the last of the terrible trio, would deprive formerly sovereign nations of the right to nationalize industries that grow too troublesome in regards to public health or worker safety.

Income inequality continues to plague the American economy at an an unacceptable level. Some of this is the result of the unprecedented and frankly racist opposition from the Republicans toward President Obama, but not all of it. No Republican made Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, pursue Wall Street criminal armed with only kid gloves. There is no escaping the conclusion that such favorable treatment is in return for generous campaign support for some of Wall Street's worst actors, especially Goldman Sachs. No Republican made President Obama negotiate TPP, TTIP or TISA. No Republican made President Obama appoint a Wall Street hack like Tim Geithner Treasury Secretary nor, when Geithner announced he was leaving office, made President Obama think out loud about appointing Larry Summers, Wall Street hack emeritus, as his successor. When Summers asked the President to withdraw his name from consideration for Treasury Secretary, Obama settled on Jack Lew, who isn't really much of an improvement over Summers or Geithner.

The next president will be Hillary Clinton. My disdain for Mrs. Clinton is no secret here. She is beholden to Wall Street and it is naive to think she's going to do what needs to be done, if anything at all, to rein in the excesses of Legs Dimon and Pretty Boy Lloyd. She has received large donations from Wall Street banks on behalf of her campaign organization and the Clinton Foundation; she has received exorbitant six-figure speaking fees from them, and she and some of her supporters expect us to believe that there's no cozy relationship between Mrs. Clinton and Wall Street. I'll believe that there isn't when she nationalizes JPMorganChase or Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, I will vote for and give support to Bernie Sanders. He says we need a revolution. And we do. That's what it will take to end the Reagan years.

No matter who wins the election, it will be up to us, the common American people, to put an end to the Reagan years. If the system is so corrupt that we can't end it at the ballot box, then we'll do in the streets. The politicians who beg for our vote but take money from Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Health Insurance or Big Oil and, once safely elected, change their allegiance from the People to artificial persons. These crooked politicians should not be so naive to think that we will give deference to them, the laws they pass, the judges they appoint, the trade deals they negotiate or the wars they start and tell us it's for our own good because they are smarter than we we are, even if it doesn't always look that way. They have more money. Doesn't that prove that they are smarter?

No. It just proves that they're better at stealing our money, buying our politicians and destroying our democracy.

I don't want a way for artificial persons to make an end run around democatic governments

and cry to an unelected panel of corporate shysters when they don't realize expected profits (a benefit it could reasonably have expected to accrue to it . . . is being nullified or impaired as a result of the application of a measure of another Party that is not inconsistent with this Agreement). That is the gist of Chapter 28.

The other matters can be addressed without this horsepucky. What would Adam Smith say about a corporation suing for "expected" profits? There must be an earthquake in the vicinity of his resting place.

A corporation is not a human being. It has a charter from the state, not a birth certificate. It has what rights we give them. It is not entitled to human rights.

If a corporation wants a profit, it has every right to manufacture a safe product and put it on the market at a reasonable price in competition with other similar manufactured goods made in the market or even some that are as radically different as a solar panel is to a barrel of oil that accomplish the same thing.

By a safe product, I mean one that that doesn't harm the end user if used as directed, either as an individual or as a member of society or the biosphere. Yes, that means the state has the right to ban the use of tobacco products or even petroleum products, and that the poisoners at Philip Morris or the polluters at ExxonMobil should not be able to have a a private system of justice at its disposal in order to seek a more favorable judgment than one it might get in a real court.

I also don't think it proper for politicians who are guilty of taking bribes generous campaign contributions from corporate officers and high ranking corporate employees, even acting in the fictitious name of the corporation itself, to pass judgment on a radical document that upsets the world's political and legal order by granting artificial persons the right to realize expected profits, something that no reasonable person would expect to find in a state of nature. The majority of our congressmen, who punitively represent us, are bought and paid for by the very legal entities who stand to benefit from a document which they negotiated among themselves. If that sounds corrupt, there's a good reason for it.

Yes, I am calling for mass civil disobedience in response to the passage of the TPP and its sinister sister trade deals, TTIP and TISA. I think that would be the just and proper response. Moreover, I call for civil disobedience worldwide and maintain that very few will benefit from these deals and most of us will just be fucked over.

Having said that, there is a little matter I need some help me with. I have read parts of the TPP and perused over others, so I may have missed something that you seem to think is there. So persuade me that I'm all wet. Here's your assignment:

Please tell us how Dred Scott could have brought his complaint before an ISDS panel. Could he have gotten a better judgment there than he got from the Supreme Court in 1857. If Mr. Scott could not have appealed to the ISDS, what provision in the TPP could Mr. Scott have used to argue that he should be set free, how a result in his favor might have been arrived at and how this decision would be enforced under the TPP.

Thank you in advance.


Up to now I haven't said that I won't vote for Mrs. Clinton; nor have I said that I will. I'll keep my final decision to myself.

Who wins this elections is less important than what we do afterwards. America has become an oligarchy, and oligarchies never end well for either the oligarchs or those they oppress. We will have to take matters into our own hands to wrest power from the oligarchs and restore democratic government. Who is elected will make no difference in that respect.

The word aristocracy means government by the best. Isn't that a hoot? Slave owners and serf drivers were never the best humanity had to offer and, by definition, were unfit to rule other men. I expect no more of industrialists and financiers who have rigged the system in there favor. We've seen what they have to offer us: a capitalist system without a middle class; a polluted world that never gets cleaned up. Nothing can make that a vision of a sustainable society. If the oligarchs who run a corporation want to do the right thing, they are helpless. To do so would put their corporation at a competitive disadvantage. That is the one thing they cannot do, that they can never do.

What is the one thing we cannot do? We cannot allow them to destroy life on this planet. We know that the many oligarchs have known for decades that climate change is not a hoax. For them to continue to drill for oil and mine for coal without taking into consideration what they doing to not just to our way of life but to life itself is an unimaginable, unspeakable crime against humanity.

It doesn't matter if the name for this system is neoliberalism, supply-side economics, trickle-down or Reaganomics. It must be put out of its misery before it fosters more misery to working people of the world, to all that live on the earth, drink its water and breath its air.

You and I, not the candidates of our choice, are the man on the white horse.

Power to the people.

To those who call Hillary a progressive

from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

I started describing myself as a progressive toward the end of the Bill Clinton administration when it was clear that he favored trickle-down economics and supported trade agreements that hurt most Americans, in addition to signing Republican laws like welfare deform, and the deregulation of the telecommunications and banking industry. It seemed to me that it was a wholesale embrace of Reaganomics, yet Clinton and his minions continued to call themselves liberals. OK, if liberals were such wimps, then I must be something else.

When, after acquiescing to Generalissimo Bush's and Vice Premier Cheney's coup d'etat of 2000, congressmen and senators who once described themselves as liberals, including Senator Hillary Clinton, began supporting his imperialist designs on Iraq, my view that liberals were wimps was reinforced. The Frat Boy's program for war included an assault on the due process of law and other constitutionally guaranteed freedoms as well as the explicit use of torture, the liberals went right along and voted for the USA PATRIOT Act, every special appropriation to fund the war the Bush Junta requested and, in 2006, more restrictions on civil liberties. Liberals, who I had long thought of as wimps, hardly seemed to be liberals any more; and I continued to call myself a progressive.

When Barack Obama ran for President, I thought this was a kindred spirit I could get behind. He opposed the war in Iraq and favored diplomacy over just sending in the Marines any time some dictator, or even an elected leader, became troublesome; he favored a more transparent government that would return to a guarantee of civil liberties for its common citizens, perhaps even protecting the powerless from the powerful. In the wake of the crash of 2008, he criticized the role of bankers and banking deregulation. And health insurance reform of some kind? I was in.

It would be wrong to say that he didn't mean a word of it. He did get us out of Iraq and now seems to be in the process of getting us back in to Iraq (and Syria and Jordan and Lebanon) without a clear plan of what to do there. He did prod congress into passing a watered down health insurance reform package that was less than a full-blown European style socialized medical program and still left unscrupulous health insurance companies in place to continue to prove why we really need full-blown European style socialized medicine. He has a personal dislike of war as a policy and would rather negotiate an agreement with a hostile state rather than go to war with it has paid dividends, such as the agreement with Iran. Beyond that, there's little good to say about the last six and a half years. That's not all President Obama's fault. The racist and misogynist Republican party has marched lock step against anything he proposes, except bad trade deals. They saw a successful black man and responded as racists have since emancipation: they tried to kill his mule and pour manure down his well. However, no Republican held a gun to President Obama's or Attorney General Eric Holder's head to get them to treat Wall Street criminals with kid gloves. Obama needed no encouragement from Republicans to negotiate the TPP, TTIP or TISA. No progressive would have entered such negotiations. The unprecedented secrecy in negotiating the the deals and the ridiculous procedures that members of Congress were made to go through just to read the damned thing indicates that there's something willfully opaque about the process and that there's something political/financial establishment doesn't want the common people to know. A progressive, of course, believes in transparency.

It used to be that Americans simply did not do as well under Republican administrations as under Democratic administrations. Nowadays. wages fall under Republicans and remain stagnant under Democrats. That may make Democrats better than Republicans, but it's nothing to write home about.

A progressive would not have negotiated free trade agreements; a progressive would not have been so nice to Legs Dimon and Pretty Boy Lloyd; a progressive would fight to undo banking deregulation; a progressive would not but boots on the ground in the Middle East or anywhere else with a clear idea of what military force is supposed to accomplish. Mrs. Clinton's present opposition to the TPP is unconvincing. She give no specific reason for opposing it. Mrs. Clinton takes a lot of money from Wall Street and cannot be expected to roll back banking deregulation. Reinstating Glass-Steagal is a progressive position; Alan Blinder, an aid to Mrs. Clinton, said that is something she would not do and Mrs. Clinton has said nothing to set the record straight. Mrs. Clinton, in word and deed, has supported a disastrous and unnecessary war in what can only be described as an anti-progressive political decision.

While Mrs. Clinton has a laudable record on civil rights for women, racial minorities and, perhaps belatedly, the LGBT community, her spotty record on issues of economic justice makes these bright spots on her career ring hollow. Social justice for traditionally persecuted minorities works hand-in-hand with economic justice for American workers. To support one and not the other leaves at best a watered down version of both. The two cannot be separated. So even here, Mrs. Clinton is not a progressive.

Please don't call Mrs. Clinton a progressive. It cheapens the word. It is an abuse of the English language.

Don't call Hillary Clinton a progressive.

I'm signing no loyalty oaths, even one proffered in jest

I will not vote Republican, I can assure you of that.

I will vote only very reluctantly for a corporatist. Hillary Clinton, like DLC/Third Way/New Democrats in general, is a corporatist. So is Barack Obama. So is Bill Clinton. This is a program that follows an economic theory called variously neoliberalism, Reaganomics, supply side economics or trickle-down economics. It is a fundamentally an unsustainable system and the results have been the transfer of wealth upwards. You may ask why almost all the income created since the crash of 2008 goes to a small class of people who own at least as much wealth than the bottom 50%. Yes, the fact that every president or either party we've had since 1980 has been a corporatist has a lot to do with it. The Free Trade pacts they have pushed have a lot to do with it. The fact that the middle class has evaporated during this time has a lot to do with it.

Capitalism is impossible to maintain without a market full of buyers. Without a large and thriving middle class, that will not be the case. My parents, who would both be over 100 today, saw that movie when they were young. It was called the Great Depression. They told me that I wouldn't want to see it. They told me what it was like.

I understand your point, Ms Vee. In spite of being a corporatist, Mrs Clinton has laudable views on equality before the law. She would be better than Jeb Bush, who, pathetic as it sounds, is the best the Republicans have to offer. There is a great deal of injustice afoot these days. Some of it is social injustice and some of it is economic injustice. Some of it seems more aimed at you, some of might be more aimed at me and quite a bit of it is aimed at both of us at once.

I'll close by saying that although we may agree on much, I still resent your post suggesting that possess some luxury or privilege that I can think about not voting for for a corporatist Democrat over a corporatist Republican. I have no luxuries. I'm a sick old man living on disability in ratty mobile home. I will turn 65 a few days before the 2016 election. I go into a panic whenever Paul Ryan, apparently soon to be Speaker of the House, tells me the country can't afford social security and medicare and that I am in a national hammock or when President Obama speaks warmly of the recommendations of the bipartisan catfood commission he appointed during his first term.

Even if Bernie is elected president, then I will still be hitting the streets in protest of what this country has become under the regime of neoliberalism or Reaganomics or whatever you want to call it. It will feel better, though, if the President is somebody who tells me that is exactly what good citizens should do in these times, rather than some mealy-mouthed pean about the virtues of law and order. And if the police shoot, I'll stand in front and make a pathetic effort to shield all I can. That, I think, would beat starving to death so that the rich can have more and more.

Even if this is a loyalty oath, I will not sign it; whether it is or isn't, I will not make promises

I've been watching Mrs Clinton for about a quarter-century now. She's been on my bad side more often than she has been on my good side. I'm tired of getting screwed, and the best thing I can say about the prospect of another New Democrat as president is that New Democrats don't screw us quite as bad as Republicans do.

I'll be 65 in a little more than a year. I'm a veteran. I made some mistakes and got some bad breaks. I'll probably die in poverty. I can deal with that, but I can't deal with the prospect of starving to death in a nation where no one should go hungry so that crooked banks can continue to rob the public and fossil fuel corporations can stay on life support while they poison the air and water and make the planet less habitable and then lie about it. I have major depression, which is probably showing through as I write this, but I didn't forget to take my last night. I don't think you have to suffer from mental illness to be upset about things as they are.

Democrats, that is New Democrats, are as responsible as Republicans for this state of affairs. Ronald Reagan's tenure in the White House was a disaster for America. Banking became the primary "industry" in America and deregulation and privatization took place under the dubious theory that successful businessmen are more rational than the rest of us and that a market regulates itself by nature. The result was mourning in America. We should know by mow that this is nonsense. Those who say they still believe it are either fools or political stooges looking for generous campaign contributions, better known as bribes, from corporate criminals like Legs Dimon and Pretty Boy Lloyd. Perhaps an even greater disaster was when some Democrats, blinded by the glitter and strobe lights of the propaganda from archconservatives about how good things were under Reagan, adopted Reaganomics as their own; they mayu call it something else, but it's still tricle down economics and it's still a failure. We ended up with Wall Street toads like Robert Rubin and Larry Summers pushing Republican policies in Democratic administrations. We got the deregulation of the communications industries, welfare deform and NAFTA. Those are not accomplishments in which any Democrat should take any pride.

We have an America that no New Dealer would recognize as spawning from the America they bequeathed to us. We fight imperialist wars to secure oil for western oil companies, a product we can replace and the sooner the better, widening income inequality and fascist leaders, some even passing a Democrats, who think the Fourth Amendment is dysfunctional and should be ignored. This is an America, and even a world, where bankers fixing interest rates manifests the blessings of liberty and workers organizing a union is subversive, even thuggish, activity.

I am supporting a candidate who very clearly wants to put a stop to this madness and reverse it. I am opposing a candidate who has been at the foundations of changing the Democratic party from a party of the people into Wall Street's go-to guys in government. Her recent populist pronouncements, at odds with her corporate-friendly past, are as murky and unconvincing as the pronouncement by oligarch-controlled media that she "crushed" all of her opponents Tuesday night.

Hillary Clinton is a hard pill for me to swallow. I will not make any promises I can't keep, so at this time I will not promise to vote for her in the general election if she is the nominee of the Democratic Party. I'll probably need every minute of the time between the close of the Philadelphia convention in August 2016 to when I vote on November 8 to make my final decision.

I will promise this: whoever is elected President, even if it is Bernie Sanders himself, then I will be in the streets demanding that the policies and programs he advocates today are enacted.


Well, we always said that the revolution will not be televised. The networks, broadcast and cable, are part of the oligarchy. They are part of the decadent aristocracy that needs to be removed from power, the sooner the better.

If you are getting your news from the MSM (by which I have never included FoxNews), then you are as misinformed as you would be watching FoxNews.

Kill your television set. Block ads on the internet. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not not going to take the oligarchs' fucking bullshit any more.

Who stands for the primacy of humanity over artificial persons? Who believes that life on a sustainable planet is more important than corporate profits? Stand up for the common people over the pretentious elites. We can run the world better than they can.

If this is socialism, let us make the most of it.

Let's stop this charade, shall we? We know quite a bit about what's in it

thanks to Mr. Assange and his organization. At least somedy is working to a the public informed in what is putatively a democratic state.

In addition, the fact that we "don't know" what's in it is reason enough to oppose it. We have every right to know what's in it, yet this agreement was negotiated by representatives of large corporations, major polluters and crooked banks.

Do we have any obligation to abide by an agreement not in our interest made in secret by enemies of the People and passed, as it will be, virtually without debate by corrupt politicians bought and paid for by the very polluters, banksters and union busters who stand to benefit at the expense of the public? I say we do not, and no court or militarized police force can make it so.

OK, Evil DUers: What do we do about Martin Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals?

I've calmed down enough that want to get serious about this? Let's put our thinking caps on.

The goal is to sink Turing and lighten Shkreli's pocketbook.

Can we get a Boycott and Divestment movement going? Are there other assets this bastard holds that can be targeted?

Ideas are welcome. If your going to suggest anything less than legal, at least have the courtesy to suggest something that would be consistent with the spirit of nonviolent civil disobedience.
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