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More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist

Sunday 2/16

Monday, 2/17

Nina Simone 1968: “Ain’t got no class, ain’t got no culture, ain’t got no faith, ain’t got no water, ain’t got no money, ain’t got no country…ain’t got no God.”

Stirring the Caldron

So the demented fascist oligarch Donald Trump took “the Beast” on a Victory Lap around the Daytona 500 track. Fossil fuels were burned with pride as the Trumpenvolk and NASCAR engines roared deep down in Dixie. Frau Melania looks semi-nauseated and couldn’t wait to get back to New York.

This was Ferdinand Marcos-type shit. “He’s saluting the base and giving them a story to share with their family and friends,” writes Steve de La Rosa: “He is PT Barnum incarnate stirring the cauldron of White Nationalism.”

I bet Trump enjoyed the fiery finish of the Daytona 500 (delayed one day by rain). He’s a sadist who likes to see “losers” crash and burn.

Imperial Blowback?

Trevor Noah said last year that Trump reminds him of “an African dictator.” I get that but there’s more to say. The United States has imposed and backed dictators and despots like Marcos, Suharto, Duvalier, Trujllo, Mobutu, Habre, Mbasogo, Kagame, Pinochet, Pahlevi, Mubarek, el-Sisi, Karamov, Aliyev, Zenawi, Museveni, Lobo, the Saudi crown princes and countless other murderous authoritarians over the many years. It loved Mussolini. Washington appeased Hitler as a bulwark against the Soviet Union for many years.

Why wouldn’t it end up turning itself into an authoritarian dictatorship at some point in the future? Lots of Americans who never raised a finger against U.S. sponsorship of Third World dictatorships are horrified to see that they are living under an openly authoritarian Amerikaner regime in their own sacred and “exceptional” homeland.

What goes around, comes around. Empires blowback on their homelands.

“Everyone Dies”

The grotesquely obese Christian Fascist Attorney General Bill Barr is badly overdue for a fatal heart attack. Explaining his indifference to how his reputation will be besmirched by his abject fealty and service to Donito Trumpolini last year, Barr explained that “everyone dies.”

Godspeed, William Barr.

Taking it the Streets?

Gee was Chris Hayes, the leftmost host on MSDNC (that’s not saying much), almost calling here calling for mass popular protests by the American people to stop “their” nation’s accelerating slide into fascism? Not really. Too bad (more on that below).

Hurt Feelings

The Mike Bloomberg campaign is feeling “hurt” by online abuse from “angry Berniebros.” What might have set these “haters” off – a mega-billionaire oligarch trying to openly purchase the Democratic presidential nomination on the model of a hostile corporate takeover, perhaps?

Tuesday, 2/18

“An Unacceptable Price to Pay”

MSDNC morning host and former leading global derivatives trader Stephanie Class-Ruhle was soiling herself over this story this morning: “Sanders Surges to Double Digit Lead.” The “liberal” Ruhle, who calls Wall Street her “favorite place” and lives in luxury in East Central Park, had on one of her many Republican friends (some former aide to McCain) to explain that Sanders’ progress is a catastrophe and that Trump will crush “a socialist.”

This is the recurrent theme across the “liberal” media landscape. The idea is to just say it so much that millions of people come to believe it and give up on having a real intra-party competition and fighting for their own interests in the primary process.

Oddly enough, I can’t imagine anyone more un-electable than Moneybags Mike Bloomberg, the ridiculous buffoon Corn-Pop-a-bin-Biden, or Alfred E. Wine Cave. This is pretty good, from Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:

“Bloomberg’s success [in buying his way into second place in the Democratic race] raises the prospect of a series of scenarios that should give every Democrat serious pause….What happens if Bloomberg spends massively from his fortune to try to demolish Sanders, whose tremendous success in stockpiling small-dollar donations is forging a new, people-powered model for funding presidential campaigns as we speak?… Sanders’s fundraising success is a truly monumental achievement. Sanders, like Warren, has forsworn both help from corporate PACs and high-dollar donations…. Sanders has shown that a campaign can be entirely grassroots-funded….If Bloomberg successfully overwhelms the process with his personal financial firepower, it will deeply stain Democrats’ claim to being the party arrayed against big-money corruption of our politics….A Bloomberg effort to overwhelm Sanders with his personal fortune is particularly unbearable to contemplate, precisely because of the contrast it would present with Sanders’s own fundraising….The blithe tossing aside of this new grass-roots model of fundraising — simply by virtue of the fact that a single plutocrat, whatever his own considerable accomplishments, came along who can personally outspend millions of politically motivated Americans — is itself an arguably unacceptable price to pay….Untold numbers of Democratic voters will probably not countenance this. Such a scenario threatens to constitute a moral and political disaster that risks tearing the party apart.”

Bloomberg isn’t remotely viable against Trump. He’s an oligarchic train-wreck who will collapse the (eminently crash-worthy) dismal dollar Dems.

Also un-electable are the corporate right-centrists Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Michelle Obama, a de-iced Hillary Clinton or any other Wall Street-Silicon Valley-Lockheed Martin front-person the dismal, dollar-drenched Democrats try to impose on the electorate.

Sanders would be the “practical” electability choice for a party that valued winning elections more than serving corporate sponsors – for a party that privileged defeating the evermore fascistic Republican Party over defeating the moderately left wing of its own party. But that’s simply not the Democratic Party. Many of the party’s top bankrollers share Stephen Cloobeck (see below) and Donny Deutsch’s preference for a second neofascist Trump term (what about a third?) over a first Sanders term.

Single-Payer Pays.

Do NOT believe what corporate lackeys like Sleepy Creepy Joe, Stephanie Class Ruhle, Mikey Moneybags, Wall Street Pete, and Amy Klobocop tell you about Medicare for All. They are lying sacks of oligarchic shit. In a recent study published by The Lancet, leading epidemiologists from the Yale School of Public Health, University of Florida, and University of Maryland School of Medicine find that a Single Payer system would slash national health expenditures by 13 percent – more than $450 billion a year – and save 68,000 lives a year. By replacing premiums, deductibles, co-payments and out-of-pocket costs with a progressive tax system, Medicare for All will save the average U.S. family $2,400 a year and give lower-income household new access to medical services they need. Republican and corporate-Democratic objections to Single Payer based on the prediction of rising costs are not based on empirical reality. Economics aside, the authors believe that it is (imagine) “a moral imperative to provide health care as a human right, not dependent on employment or affluence.”

A Nevada Prediction

Bloomberg may work for Sanders. “Mini-Mike” is a made-to-order central casting foil for the Bern-man. He is the very embodiment of the arrogant and plutocratic “billionaire class” that Sanders has been railing against for many years. He epitomizes the un-elected dictatorship of money that reigns across both “two [major party] wings of the same bird of prey” (Upton Sinclair, 1904).

The high turnout in early Nevada voting suggests strongly that Sanders is gearing up for a major victory there. Watch Sanders crush the Nevada Caucus and “liberal” media say that the process was an unreliable “debacle” like the app- crashed Iowa Caucus.

Ruling Class Unity

Who does “liberal” corporate media hate more: the demented fascist oligarch Donald Trump or the progressive populist social democrat Bernie Sanders?

This is very good – from Chris Hedges at Truthdig: “The ruling elites, once divided between Trump and Hillary Clinton, with most of the elites preferring Clinton, will be united against Sanders. They will back Trump as the least worst. The corporate media will turn its venom, now directed at Trump, toward Sanders. The Democratic Party’s mask will come off. It will be open warfare between them and us.”

One caveat though: the venom is already coming at Sanders. It’s hot and heavy. Just watch MSDNC.

Notice the recurrent false theme of equivalence between the two and their backers.

A Dark Episode

So the felonious clown Rod Blagojevich’s federal prison sentence has been commuted by Demented Orange. All “Blago” did was put Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat up for sale (along with other criminal abuses of gubernatorial power). Once you get past the comedy of it all, the Blago commutation is a dark authoritarian episode. This bizarre fool committed high-state crimes of brazen corruption. He has been released from prison early as a reward for his and his wife’s political service to Herr Donald. It’s another nail in the authoritarian, neofascist coffin. It’s about trumping the rule of law with the rule of men/a man – with might over right. The pardons Trump granted today send the same message. Will the “African Dictator” Trump pardon Manafort, Flynn, and Stone, banana-republic-style? If not before the election, certainly after.

Who Trump Fears Most

Big Bucks Bloomberg says that he’s the one that Trump fears most, not Sanders. Trump says otherwise. On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, Dump said the following in the Oval Office: “Frankly, I’d rather run against Bloomberg than Bernie Sanders, because Sanders has real followers…” (Quoted in Catherine Lucey, “Trump Sizes Up Sanders as an Opponent,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2020, A4.) This is rare case where Trump isn’t lying.

(Still, former CIA intern and leading CNN talking head Anderson Cooper just asked Sanders “why do you think President Trump wants to so badly to run against you?”)

In a CNN Town Hall from Las Vegas, Sanders just eviscerated Bloomberg with expertise. Now, in response to a voter’s question, he is drawing out his campaign finance differences with Mikey Moneybags

Arresting Norman Solomon

It is difficult to overstate the evil of Buttigieg: Norman Solomon, “Why the Buttigieg Campaign Tried to Have Me Arrested.” Please read this excellent piece (“Buttigieg Is a Wall Street Democrat Beholden to Corporate Interests”) on Wall Street Pete, who I sometimes call Alfred E. Wine Cave. Here is the dead-on conclusion of this empirically rigorous, well-framed report by Kenneth Peres, the former chief economist of the Communication Workers of America:

“Buttigieg and his supporters like to portray him as a ‘change agent.’ However, he has proven to be a change agent that will not in any significant way challenge the current distribution of power, wealth and income in this country. Given his history, it is no surprise that Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, Health Insurers, Real Estate Developers and Private Equity have decided to invest millions of dollars into Buttigieg’s campaign. And based on past actions, Buttigieg will make sure that investment pays off if he is elected” (emphasis added).

Maddow Gets Some Things Right Sometimes

Rachel Maddow just said something I hadn’t thought about. She might be right: The Twisted Tyrant Trump and his big fat sick puppy AG Barr will open a federal investigation of their Dem opponent in the 2020 race.

A demented Trumpenlefty, an older white male as usual, just mocked me by saying “madwoman sez it and you take it seriously???” Did this bitter old white guy just come out of a three-year coma? No great love for Maddow here but it’s not a remotely controversial thing to suspect might happen.

The New Cold Warrior Maddow gets a lot of things wrong but one thing she’s obviously right about is that Trump is conducting a relentless war on what’s left of the rule of (merely bourgeois) law and trying to turn the country into a damn near openly authoritarian state.

Wednesday, 2/19

“Black Bloc Bernie”?

MSDNC morning anchor Stephanie Class-Ruhle just brought on an old friend, former Diamond Resorts CEO Stephen Cloobeck, a major Democratic Party funder, to speak from Las Vegas three days before Nevada’s presidential caucus.

Asked about one of Ruhle’s favorite topics, “the danger of socialist Bernie Sanders,” Cloobeck called Sanders “an anarchist” who “wants to burn down the country.”

You can’t make shit like that up.

When Ruhle asked Cloobeck if he would support Trump if Sanders is the Democrats’ nominee, Cloobeck took a long pause, stared into the camera and growled “Anybody but Bernie.” In other words: “Yes, I will support the demented fascist oligarch Trump if the Dems nominate the mildly progressive Sanders.”

Cloobeck is with Bloomberg, who is fulfilling a promise to enter the presidential fray if the “dangerous socialist” Sanders threatened to win the Democratic nomination.

I demand that Cloobeck defend his position against that of David Frum, who has called Sanders a “Marxist of the old school of dialectical materialism.”

Does Cloobeck mean “anarchist” ala Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, the Haymarket Martyrs, Rudolph Rocker, or other variants in the 20th and 21st centuries? More precision please, Mr. Cloobeck.

“Black Bloc Bernie?” (Maybe tonight Sanders will yell “Black Bloc” and dozens of black-clad anarchs will rush the debate stage.)

I’ve heard Sanders Red-baited on MSDNC again and again. This is the first time I’ve heard him Black- (the color of the flag of anarchism)-baited

“How to Act”

Check out this video of stone-cold racist, Michael Stop&Frisk Bloomberg denouncing young Black and Latino males who “don’t have jobs” and “don’t know how to act”?

The Bloomberg campaign is warning that the dastardly Judeo Bolshevik Sanders has a “path to the nomination” despite proportionality in Democratic Party primary delegate counts (different from the Republican primaries’ winner-take-all system that Trump exploited in 2016). It “could all over be soon,” the Bloomberg managers fret on MSDNC, calling for Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar to collapse their centrist campaigns and coalesce around the multi-billionaire racist-sexist mega-billionaire from Deep Hell.

Free at Last

The “Trumpocrat” Blagojevich is calling himself a “freed political prisoner” who was “persecuted” by “the Swamp.” Do we need to go up to Ravenswood (his neighborhood up on the Northwest side of Chicago) and try to re-incarcerate this floppy-haired joker?

Class Hatred and False Equivalency

The venom being hurled at Sanders on MSDNC this afternoon is almost beyond belief. There is no class hatred quite as pure as that felt by ruling-class and know-it-all professional class Democrats for pro-working-class progressives in their own capitalist party — and it IS their capitalist party, make no mistake.

To equate Sanders and Trump and their respective campaigns and bases – as MSDNC talking heads and other “liberal” personalities and operatives do on a routine basis – is to engage in a disgusting act of classist cynicism. It is a sinister gas-lighting whereby “elite” neoliberal politicos and media owners, managers, and operatives paint progressive and democratic values with precisely their opposites.

An Informal Survey

At the X-Sport Fitness gym in the 800 block of South State Street tonight (Chicago, South Loop) tonight there were roughly 35 people on treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals. The great majority of these people were Black, Latinx, or Asian. Roughly half were female. Almost everyone was watching television screens built into their machines while they worked out. A grand total of six of these people were watching the smug white-nationalist Tucker Carlson on FOX News. Each one of those six people was a white male. Identity politics!

The Nevada Fight Club Debate

One Nasty Little S.O.B.

The truly evil Buttigieg did exactly what I thought he would: (a) posit himself as the de-polarizing middle path between the evil plutocrat Bloomberg and the also terrible “socialist” Sanders even while Pete is a neoliberal plaything of the corporate oligarchy and (b) attack Sanders’ Medicare4All plan on the false grounds that it takes peoples’ health insurance away (nope) and is un-affordable (wrong: it’s a money-saver). Alfred E. Wine Cave is one nasty son of a bitch. He knows he doesn’t have a shot. He’s just there to needle and undermines Sanders and Warren from the corporate-neoliberal right. His highly personal assaults on Klobuchar are just plain disturbing.

Knife Job

Got to give Warren credit: she is butchering Bloomberg again and again. She is cutting this man up:

“So I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

“Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist polls like redlining and stop and frisk.”

“Look, I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is. But understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”

Well, goddamn.

(There are lots photos available online showing Trump and Bloomberg quite comfortable with each other. They’re buddies.)

The winner early on at least is Warren. She’s knocked down a couple of threes, gotten some good rebounds, and made some nice mid-range jumpers.

Bloomberg is wounded, thanks largely to Warren. Buttigieg is showing himself to be a very nasty young man, indeed. Amy is stuck in her all-about-me-and-what-I-did rut (I get it because women tend to be gravely unacknowledged for their accomplishments). Biden looked like a confused old man – well, like Joe “Corn Pop” Biden – on climate change.

Regarding Capitalism

Amy Klobuchar: “I believe in capitalism.” What, that it exists? I concur. It does. We need to overthrow it. It is generating soul-numbing and life-threatening inequalities and essentially ending life on Earth.

Chuck Todd to Bloomberg: “do you deserve all your money?” Bloomberg: “Yes, I worked very hard for it.”

Sanders just got his contact – a line drive into the gap: “maybe your workers had something to do with your wealth.”

Bernie got another extra-base hit — quoting MLK Jr. on how we have “socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.”

Here’s a little primer for Bloomberg to consult before he gets asked again about the source of his obscene fortune: Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, available on Amazon in paperback “from $942.85” — chump change for Moneybags Mike, who is reportedly “spending ten million dollars for an entirely different personality.”

Burning Down the House

Buttigieg said that Sanders “wants to BURN THE HOUSE DOWN.” Yes, burn the house down. Sanders wants to establish universal health care as a human right, free public college, big green jobs programs, double the minimum wage, re-legalize union organizing and this little shithead from McKinsey, U.S Naval Intelligence, and racist South Bend calls that “want[ing] to burn down the house.”

Pete is honoring his late Gramsci scholar dad by running on bourgeois cultural and ideological hegemony.

Jennifer Matsui: “By ‘house’ he means ‘plantation’. He is signaling white voters to assure them he is one of theirs.”

For a Managerial Revolution and Good Railroad Administration

In his concluding statement, Bloomberg just called the US a “railroad”: “This is a management job and Donald Trump is not a manager…We cannot run the railroad this way.”

Does Bloomberg not know that fascism was praised for “making the trains run on time”?

Interesting footnote: As the great American business historian Alfred Chandler showed, the managerial revolution in American business started in the mid- and late 19th century railroad industry.

The Real Winners

FOX News, over the banner FIRING SQUAD: “The clear winner tonight was Donald Trump.” I suppose that’s right. Notably, the little problem of Trump “dismantling the rule of law” (just because Rachel Maddow says that doesn’t make it wrong, comrades) was totally absent from the debate.

Bloomberg should have come on to the debate stage dressed as Darth Vader. Will his bloodied humiliation matter? Perhaps not. As the left historian and journalist, Terry Thomas writes, “Warren gutted that guy just like one of those Trumpsters around here [rural northern Illinois] doing a deer. Wonder if it makes any difference, though. He will continue to flood all media with his informercials. Debate lasted two hours. His infomercials everywhere all the time.”

Thursday 2/20

“Why Not?”

Stephanie Class Ruhle this morning nodded along with a Bloomberg operative who repeated his campaign’s warning that Sanders is going to run away with the Dem nomination unless the other centrist candidates drop out and endorse Mike. Evil Bernie may be on a “glide path” to primary victory, the dour Bloomberg sales representative said.

Ruhle almost broke her cheekbones from how hard she smiled while a former Jeb Bush campaign manager asked why Bloomberg is flooding the airwaves with positive-sounding commercials when he should really be “spending $100 million” on negative ads warning of how Sanders’ disastrous “socialism” will re-elect the Donald and destroy America.

A Black male talking head from The Root had to tell Ruhle that the Democrats can’t openly kneecap Sanders, mafia-style, leading Steph to half-jokingly ask “why not?”

A fetching blond Republican told Ruhle and her viewers that the wicked socialist Sanders will re-elect Trump and collapse the Democratic Party for “thirty years.”

Follow the Money

There’s nothing surprising about all this, of course. Look who pays for CNN and MSDNC. Stay seated for their commercials with pen and paper in hand. Take notes on their sponsors: big health insurance and drug companies above all, along with automakers, investment firms, and a host of other large corporate interests catering to upper-middle-class and upper-class media consumers who are already well cared for, unlike most of the population in late-capitalist America.

Trump will not likely be removed via the electoral path. The Trumpenvolk are shockingly united behind their Great Tangerine God Who Can Do No Wrong. The Dems, by contrast, are badly class-divided. Their party’s “leadership” is more interested in serving corporate sponsors than in winning elections, much less in social justice and environmental sanity.

Political reality sucks in the U.S. and will continue to do so until a critical mass of Americans stop believing in the “normal” channels of supposed popular voice and decides to fight for real revolution – a social revolution. I tend to think of millions taking to the streets — and staying there — as an existential necessity, regardless of its likelihood. I’m doing what I can to overcome the “pessimism of my intellect” with the “optimism of my will” (Pete has me thinking of Gramsci) to help bring that about. At the same time, renewing my passport has moved to the top of my to-do list.

Paul Street’s new book is The Passive Resistance: Obama, Trump, and Politics of Appeasement.

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