Will they eliminate AOC?
In the wake of discussions regarding the progressive proposals of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) in news and social media and among billionaires at January 2019 Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland several people have asked my opinion on whether AOC’s life was in danger. Her proposals include tuition-free public college and trade school, abolishing ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), ending privatization of private prisons, Medicare-for-all, and 70% tax on income beyond $10 million.
AOC is one of the many fresh faces in the United States Congress who, like some of her new Democratic colleagues, is outspoken and critical of policies conducive to the wealthy class but extremely harmful to the general population. These policies have been enforced by Democrats and Republicans alike for a long time; of course, in the name of “people.”
AOC simply asks:
“Are we comfortable with a society where someone can have a helipad while [New York City] is experiencing the highest rates of people experiencing homelessness since the Great Depression?”
Although outspoken and passionate, my answer to whether AOC will be eliminated by the wealthy class was of course NO. (There have been assassinations of political leaders by rivals and others in the past.) The powerful moneyed class uses money to get rid of the people it doesn’t like.
Money is their weapon
The corporate/moneyed class in US avoids working in a manner where open bloodshed is involved – not that they would hesitate to kill the elected officials if the situation demanded it; their hands are bloody with the blood of Guatemalans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Libyans, Chileans, Congolese, and millions of others. They have overthrown/murdered several foreign leaders.
But, within the US, they handle elected officials posing threats to their power by giving lots of money to the candidate’s opponent. Cynthia McKinney is one example.
McKinney who had served five terms in the US lower assembly lost the sixth time because this “terrific liberal black congresswoman” wanted a discussion on Middle East and 9/11 issues. So her opponent Denise Majette won the 2002 Democratic primary in Georgia with “lots of money from American Jewish groups and through a hefty Republican cross-over in Georgia’s open primary.”
(The latest victim of AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee) and its minions in the US Congress is representative Ilhan Omar who was accused of “anti-Semitism” for hercriticism of AIPAC. Anti-Semitism is a powerful weapon for supporters of Israel who use it to silence all who draw attention to Israel’s heinous violence against Palestinians on whose land Israel was illegally established.)
A bit different in 2019
Things haven’t changed much in 2019. Some of AOC’s own Democratic corrupt colleagues are already upset with her; one has even threatened to make her a “one-term congressperson.” It’s not impossible; however, it would be tougher in 2019 as the social media presence and the rise of millennials have made subjugation of people somewhat difficult only by spending high sums of money. This is where people like Howard Schultz come to the rescue.
“A lifelong Democrat”
A “lifelong Democrat,” Schultz has in the past supported the campaigns of Democratic candidates Chuck Schumer (current Senate minority leader), Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others. But now he is talking of running as a “centrist independent, outside of the two-party system” for the 2020 presidential election. He made this public at an interview on CBS program “60 Minutes” January 27, 2019. The Democratic Party establishment, party supporters, Mike Bloomberg, a billionaire Democrat, and Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat from Ohio), are upset at a possible Schultz candidacy as an independent candidate because the elites struggle among themselves for power too. The understanding is that Schultz could ruin their chances by dividing the Democratic votes. Senator Brown himself is testing waters to run as a Democratic candidate; he called Schultz “a total idiot.”
The reasons Schultz cited were US government debt of “$21.5 trillion“, “most fragile time,” “people are exhausted,” people’s “trust broken,” Trump’s lack of qualification for the high office, extreme elements in both parties, and most of all:
“I want to see the American people win. I want to see America win. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, independent, libertarian, Republican.” “Bring me your ideas. And I will be an independent person who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party.”
No one forgets to mention the screwed up “people.” However, sadly, their condition never improves, instead it keeps on deteriorating. The day after, during his book launch, Schultz invoked the “silent majority” which according to him is not represented by the “two extremes – far left, far right.” (He’s offering his book to Starbucks workers at 50% discount.)
During CNN’s Town Hall with Howard Schultz on February 19, 2019, he displayed his hypocrisy full frontal: Schultz continually chanted his mantra of “extreme left” and “extreme right” to deceive people about his goal of saving his and other billionaires’ asses; he declined to make public his tax forms within a week but promised to do so when he announces to run; AOC’s 70% tax he said was “punitive,” however, when asked to give some other percentage he excused himself saying he hasn’t thought about the number; the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-All will add $40 trillion more to the debt was his reasoning to oppose those programs; on racism his view requires a quote because it’s no different than other phonies who claim non-existence of racism.
“As somebody who grew up in a very diverse background as a young boy in the project, I didn’t see color as a young boy and I honestly don’t see color now.”
For Schultz, it seems, all the black and brown people are whites, except that they love to put on black and brown paint on their bodies to confuse the policemen who shoot people of color senselessly and mercilessly.
(Moderator Poppy Harlow didn’t press him enough to get clear cut answers. It has to be noted that Schultz was very vocal criticizing others’ policies but had NO ideas or possible platform of his own.)
Why not run as a Democrat?
The question is why wouldn’t Schultz, who’s willing to spend $500 million of his own money on campaign, run on a Democratic Party ticket? His run as a Democrat could help him in garnering votes and to gain their support. This is all possible, provided he wins the primary. That is the biggest hurdle. Winning a primary is not an easy task; there are going to be so many candidates (some of them have already announced their candidacies), including billionaire Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City. That is why Schultz wants to run on an independent ticket.
Medicare for all
Schultz also opposes the Medicare-for-all. Isn’t it the zenith of spuriousness – a billionaire who can get the best medical treatment opposing medicare for common people. (People who have hold over the Democratic Party such as Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer also opposes the Medicare for all. Joe Crowley who lost the nomination to AOC didn’t favor Medicare for all either.)
Whenever anyone proposes Medicare-for-all, the lobbies representing the insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry, doctors, medical equipment companies, and related companies have always opposed such policies by scaring the people with slogans such as “communists” will take over the US. President Harry Truman encountered a similar problem in mid 1940s when he introduced a bill for “universal” national health insurance program. Truman reminded Congress “the health of American children, like their education, should be recognized as a definite public responsibility.” Truman’s plan failed because it was opposed by the American Medical Association (AMA) which blasted the bill as “socialized medicine” and labelled Truman government as “followers of the Moscow party line.” (Russia has always been an useful tool in the hands of the crafty capitalists.)
Coming back to Schultz, he believes Medicare-for-all is “not American” because it will herald the end of capitalism:
“What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next, the coffee industry? The Republicans want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. I don’t agree with that. The Affordable Care Act should stay and be refined. To think to get rid of the insurance industry, this is the situation, it’s far too extreme from both sides.”
The soft spoken and civil acting Schultz is very wily; he’s comparing health insurance ( a matter of life and death) with a cup of coffee. Blaming both sides is the easiest way for any shrewd politician or would be politician who doesn’t want to blame himself/his own side for a wrongdoing, or wants to portray himself different from others, or just want to break the ties with his own party. Remember Donald Trump’s condemnation of ” hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” in the wake of the death of Heather Heyer.
Schultz’s phony reasons
Debt: Economist Dean Baker assures us that debt is not a bad thing. Besides the US government borrows in its own currency by just printing dollars when it needs them. Still, if Schultz is so worried about the debt it’s better to tackle the problem from outside the government rather than from inside the government. Schultz could spend his money in ads on electronic, print, and social media to make people aware of the hefty Pentagon budget. The US defense budget for 2017 was $610 billion whereas China’s was $228 billion. The US considers China as its main adversary which means the US budget should match or surpass China’s amount. Let’s make $260 billion the amount for US budget. Right away, there is a saving of $350 billion. In 60 years, the entire debt could be written off. Schultz could speed up the debt pay off by paying 70% tax and asking other billionaires to join in this patriotic endeavor.
Most fragile time: Majority of the people have been experiencing most fragile time since the inception of US.
People are exhausted: If Schultz really cared for people, the first thing he should do is give away 30,000 or so stores he owns in 77 countries to people working in those stores. In the US alone, Starbucks has 180,000 workers. Add to that number family members (or live-in-partners and their children), five per worker or “partner” as Schultz patronizingly calls them, and the total comes to 900,000 people. These 900,000 people’s exhaustion will be much lessened if 180,000 workers become the owners of the stores they are working in. Schultz could extend the above gesture towards his foreign workers too.
Trust broken: Schultz’s gesture of giving away the stores will repair many a people’s trust, at least, in him. He then stands a good chance to form a third party which this country needs so badly – he can use $500 million he’s planning in 2020 to misuse on his presidential bid. Or he can heed AOC’s advise to him:
“Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to ‘work their way up’ or that ‘maybe they should start with city council first’? “
(Schultz prefers the words “people of means” and “people of wealth” instead of “the moniker ‘billionaire’.”)
Trump’s non-qualification: Trump’s unqualified and uncivilized ways are no different than the civilized and qualified ways of people like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton who have bombed other countries, cut welfare for needy people, increased wealth for the very rich, and so on.
Schultz’s real reason
The real reason Schultz is jumping in the presidential race is the “extreme elements on both sides”: The right wing nationalist supporters of Trump can start a civil war if things don’t go their and Trump’s way which is not a good sign for smooth accumulation of wealth. Then there are some new Democrat congresspersons who want to introduce changes which could reach the common people and stop business as usual policies of the Democratic Party.
Future of so called “democracy”
Until now, the capitalist/corporate class has maintained the facade of “democracy” with the two party system – not letting any other party to succeed; in many instances, corporations bribe (“campaign contribution”) both parties so whoever wins will work for them. This “democracy” is the most powerful tool in the hands of the ruling class to not only fool people within the United States but also without.
But changed circumstances have forced billionaires to come out in open to preserve status quo to counter AOC’s questioning as to why do we need billionaires? It seems from now on billionaires from both parties will start running for presidential races thus try to prevent members critical of the billionaire class. Schultz, Bloomberg, and other so called liberals may hate Trump and vice versa, but when it comes to money, they all stick together.
What if one or more of Schultz’s workers, er “partners,” at Starbucks decides to run for 2020, how would he handle her/him/them?