Friday, November 30, 2018

Oppressed White People

"Sometime in the first decade of the twenty-first century, demographers began to notice an unexpected uptick in the death rates of poor white Americans. This was not supposed to happen. For almost a century, the comforting American narrative was that better nutrition and medical care would guarantee longer lives for all. It was especially not supposed to happen to whites who, in relation to people of color, have long had the advantage of higher earnings, better access to health care, safer neighborhoods, and of course freedom from the daily insults and harms inflicted on the darker-skinned. But the gap between the life expectancies of blacks and whites has been narrowing.. . . 

"In late 2015, the British economist Angus Deaton won the Nobel Prize for work he had done with fellow economist Anne Case, showing that the mortality gap between wealthy white men and poor ones was widening at a rate of one year each year, and slightly less for women. A couple of months later, 'economists at the Brookings Institution found that for men born in 1920, there was a six-year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent. For men born in 1950, that difference more than doubled, to 14 years.' Smoking could account for only one-fifth to one-third of the excess deaths. The rest were apparently attributable to alcoholism, opioid addiction, and actual suicide . . . 

"But why the excess mortality among poor white Americans? In the last few decades, things have not been going well for working-class people of any color. . . . [Previously in the U.S.] . . . a man with a strong back - and better yet, a strong union - could reasonably expect to support a family on his own without a college degree. By 2015, those jobs were long gone, leaving only the kind of work once relegated to women and people of color, in areas like retail, landscaping, and delivery-truck driving. This means that those in the bottom 20 percent of the white income distribution face material circumstances similar to those long familiar to poor blacks, including erratic employment and crowded, hazardous living spaces. . . . 

"There are some practical reasons too why whites are likely to be more efficient than blacks at killing themselves. For one thing, they are more likely to be gun owners, and white men favor gunshots as a means of suicide. For another, doctors, undoubtedly acting in part on stereotypes of nonwhites as drug addicts, are more likely to prescribe powerful opioid painkillers to whites than to people of color. Pain is endemic among the blue-collar working class, from waitresses to construction workers, and few people make it past fifty without palpable damage to their knees, back, or rotator cuffs. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared an 'epidemic' of opioid use, in which the victims are mostly white. As opioids became more expensive and closely regulated, users often make the switch to heroin, which varies in strength and can easily lead to accidental overdoses.

"It's hard to find historical analogies to the current white collar die-off in the United States . . ." [It's a blue-collar die off - ed.)]

-----Barbara Ehrenreich, Natural Causes - An Epidemic of Wellness, The Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer, pps. 104-7

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Blue Wave: A New Shampoo?

The recent five billion dollar exercise in market democracy we call mid-term elections in the USA got rid of a few brain dead conservatives and brought in a handful of decent new faces but any notion of real victory for the people is a product of political mind management. This commercial process given a name that sounds more like a hair product than any exercise of the power of the people changed the identity group and possible toilet use balance in congress which, however heralded as a loss for the current president, saw less seats changed than in the midterm after the last president’s first two years. As important issues like staggering debt and Israel remained mostly unmentioned, this was a political mall serving consumers the usual product of mostly regressive forces but with a progressive rhetorical brand name.

 None of the candidates spoke to the radical changes needed to end the menace of wars now threatening to become nuclear, or what has become another monetized brand called Climate Change. America is still left with active minorities of mostly well meaning, relatively privileged and supposed resistance types fearing hordes of goose-stepping Nazi skin heads armed with mini death-camp gas-ovens to kill them before they visit their therapists, posed in valiant opposition to mostly well meaning if privileged supposed nationalist types who fear tyrannical socialist genocide from mobs of free market denying monsters bringing food to hungry people, and you’ve got all too many of the alarmed masses who’ve been forced into such idiocy by an over-privileged stenographers class that calls itself our democratic representation and our free press.

Trumpophobia is a national disorder favoring twits who live by tweets, financial hustlers in the elections business, and lawyers who live by court cases initiated against individuals but remaining blind to a system that continues mass slaughters in wars and making homeless hundreds of thousands in the usa, so long as lip service is paid to peace and ending poverty by other lawyers suing for such at the court owned by the profitable war and poverty business. It has also strengthened the divide and conquer business in democracy prevention: identity politics.

Having a gay-jewish-latino with testicles or a straight-person of color-asian with vagina as CEO of an oil company makes no difference at all to the fossil fuel production that is the foundation of the business and the menace to humanity. Citizens are supposedly served by electing shills for capital who share their genitals, religions, skin tones or sexual fluidity, as we’re manipulated to support persons of color, no color, tricolor, ableness, disabledness and more, with little or no consideration of what that means to the need to radically change the system of political economics at the root of civilization’s deadliest problems. Most prevalent among those are the need for food, clothing and shelter for humanity, the identity we collectively share, quiet as that fact is kept by our master race of the self-chosen:  the billionaire class of capital’s ruling corporadoes.

Are we really against hate, as idealistic if simplistic slogans would have it? Then shouldn’t we  stop killing hundreds of thousands in the Middle East, dumping millions of Americans into poverty and homelessness, and start acting with love? At least close to home before allegedly extending it to those we have reduced to desperate measures with our foreign policy? While we fill our stomachs, feed our pets, drink our booze, take our drugs, see our therapists and down our meds to join “the resistance” to one or another fiendish villain of the moment and remain in a near comatose state about the system that creates those villains, and us?

Whether labeled social democratic, fascist, liberal, conservative, progressive, regressive, nationalist or internationalist, we are all objective subjects of minority capital. Their market forces of private profit before public good, if any, are anti-democratic and the longer they sidetrack us into calling it change when workers with different skin tones or genitals take up the continuity of the system destroying life and its planetary support system, the shorter the time until system collapse won’t just mean one or another nation but much if not all human life itself.

The perversion we call democracy, in which overwhelming numbers do not vote for the winners of every national election, suffers from the wealth poured into buying candidates too often left pimping for wealth, and reducing voters to lesser evil politics in the “realistic-pragmatic” pursuit of progress that would still have chattel slavery and not its more cosmetic modern forms of low paid cheap labor, foreign or national. This continues to prop up a shrinking upper servant class to wealth and more important, a ruling nobility of billionaires who own more land, people and dollars than any imperial class of rich royalty of the ancient past who were supposed gods. What do we call these “democracy” produced multi-billionaires? Russian meddlers? Chinese marketeers? American despots would be much closer to the truth.

Just as in our pretense to democracy on election days, military power is glorified on special holidays that defame humanity in worship of forces that transform decent people into killers, performers of duty to nation taught them by forces of malevolence in the employ of investors who profit from the bombs, bullets, missiles, drones and more in the same way they do in selling guns to American individuals. Too many of these are driven to madness and suicide that includes the murder of their neighbors for which they are justifiably called insane while leaving those responsible for their madness as blameless as we leave banks which force homeowners into the street and then collect payments from the rest of us while we watch our former neighbors reduced to the dreadful status we often scorn as “homelessness”. Then we are made to open our arms, souls and pocket books for complete strangers who have suffered our unknowing wrath and come here for support. This is like a rape victim rushing to her rapist’s home for help as his innocent family says, “of course we’ll help you, we’re against hate”.

Our welfare state for warfare was unaffected by the “blue wave”, which sounds like a beauty product for upper class women or a washday product for their maids, just as it has remained the same for every president of the present epic, most especially the last alleged prince-of –peace whose murder rap sheet rivals that of his alleged war criminal predecessor among people who are led to believe that it makes a difference among the slaughtered foreigners if the CEO of Murder inc. has testicles, a vagina, is of color or no color. They supposedly die happier if our chief exec is from an identity group other than the human race.

The market forces of minority capital must be replaced by the democratic forces of majority humanity to represent real change, not sincere wishes for one world while we destroy much of it and act kindly to a relative handful of survivors of our mass murders. This so-called blue wave is hardly the tide we need but its trickle can become a flood once we stop listening to them and start acting like us. All of us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Rugged Individualists Go Down On Their Knees To Fellate Big Business

“We like to think of ourselves as a people of untamed independence, but any observer not steeped in our culture would quickly conclude that we are a nation of footmen. We cater to the wealthy in our work lives and we glorify them in our leisure time. Our dueling political parties are dedicated to the principle of serving them, and even our seething anti-elitist movements, such as the Tea Party, are designed to build even further the affluence of the affluent. We elect politicians who slice away at the estate tax because we feel the fortunes of the rich ought to go unencumbered by that burden. Our leaders in Washington are perennially considering cutting Social Security because retaining it might require the rich to chip in more than their current percentage.”  

-----Thomas Frank, Rendezvous With Oblivion, 2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Summary of White House Post-Election Press Conference With President Trump

Press Corps: What are you going to do about our hopelessly divided country, you racist, misogynist, xenophobic, neo-Nazi ignoramus?

President Trump: My relations with ____________ (insert minority group name) are absolutely fantastic. They love me, I love them. Next question.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Trump "Resistance" - Of the Triggered, by the Triggered, and For the Triggered

With election day looming (November 6) Trump "resistance" hysteria is at its shrieking worst. Yet again we face "the most important election of our lifetimes," or as some prefer to put it, "the second most important," the first being the election of 2016, when "deplorables" put Donald Trump in the White House.  Now, say the Trump haters, these scarcely human degenerates will have a chance to redeem themselves by voting "responsibly," i.e., according to how their self-appointed betters tell them to vote. The persistence of this incredibly arrogant attitude is a good way to deliver a permanent Trump majority. Just ask Steve Bannon.

Even the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting has been made Trump's fault, though the shooter was clearly anti-Trump. (Thank God there were no mass shootings in the Obama era!) The toxic brew of Trump "xenophobia," "racism," "misogyny" and "Islamophobia" somehow made the shooter a raving anti-Semite. It couldn't be that decades of Identarian Politics rendering "white male" a dirty word paved the way for Trump's nationalism, could it? Of course not. It's that Trump is stained with original sin and must be removed to make way for . . . utopia?

In short, we are to understand that Trump-the-Monster (Trumpenstein?) single-handedly bred a political climate that produces everything bad directly out of his evil mind while exonerating establishment politicians of both parties whose political wreckage Trump only coincidentally rose out of. But it should be obvious that this makes history entirely irrelevant, since the Devil himself has triumphed. What's the point of engaging in political action at all?

Liberals and fake radicals are so triggered by Trump that they don't even notice their descent into madness, much to the delight of a vast swath of middle America that is willing to re-elect Trump on that basis alone. The incredibly misguided "resistance" has somehow convinced itself that boundless indignation over Trump will lead them to victory. They do not see, apparently cannot see, that their indignation is Trump's rocket fuel: the more they hate him, the higher and farther he flies. Until they can stop being triggered by him, they have no chance of making him go away.

Investigative journalist Allan Nairn, a longstanding critic of the Democratic party, voices the thoughts of many progressives on this election eve:

"Democrats are arguably war criminals - not as big as the war criminals on the Republican side, but still war criminals. And they belong in prison. But we are facing such a crisis in this country at this moment that you have to use your head. You have to be tactical. You have to, at this moment, vote in the warmongers who will preserve democracy to block the warmongers who would abolish it - and then, the day after the election, go back to the deeper work of creating real, better, more constructive political alternatives and also helping the base of the Democratic Party take back the party from the consultants, from the rich donors. But that's for the day after the election is completed . . . Right now, the task is to stop the incipient fascism that Trump and the rightist revolution represents. And you can't really say that you were working toward an anti-fascist goal if you're not mobilizing for the Democrats right now. That's the urgent reality that we're living."


It is sad to see Nairn falling for the one-sided "fascist" caricature, which we hear practically every five minutes is taking over the country. Nairn's view of fascism does not include Antifa thugs beating people senseless, "social justice" crusaders rioting to shut down speaking events for views they consider heretical, Me Too rage brigades jettisoning the presumption of innocence and rules of evidence painfully acquired over centuries of struggle etc. etc. In a gesture to broad-mindedness Nairn concedes that Democrats are warmongers, but wants us to believe that fascist evil is a Republican monopoly. But it's just not so: the totalitarian impulse runs along the entire political spectrum.

Maybe Juliet Hoffman, presiding judge at the 1969 Chicago conspiracy trial, summed up this totalitarian attitude best: "The substance of the crime is a state of mind," he said. That's it. Trump's mind is criminal. Therefore, our own unethical and criminal conduct just doesn't matter, since we are acting in heroic "resistance" to evil incarnate. Nor does it matter whether Robert Mueller turns up anything impeachable, since Trump's very existence is a crime. Tens of millions of Americans are in lockstep with this view, which the late Harry Elmer Barnes would call "totalitarian liberalism."

Totalitarian liberals seem to have forgotten that we already fell prey to "fascism" under GW Bush. We heard the claim repeatedly in relation to the draconian Patriot Act, the illegal invasion of Iraq, the suspension of habeas corpus, the revival and expansion of administrative torture, and on and on.  We even heard talk of American fascism when Arnold Scharzenegger won the recall election for governor in California. (It must have been the Austrian accent.) In any event, Nairn says nothing about the threat to democracy emanating from "resistance" mobs, screeching anti-Trump media (whose removal of Steve Bannon was achieved via pure hysteria), or Robert Mueller's show-trial-in-the-making, if he can keep people awake long enough to make intermission. 

It is ironic that Nairn urges us to be tactical and "use [our] head," since he himself fails to do so. If we continue to let Trump trigger us into thinking he is an unprecedented evil, we give power to his blue collar base, which loves to stick it to us for having forsaken their interests for so long while sneering at their "unsophisticated" ways. Using our head means recognizing that tens millions of working class Americans hate our guts, and have every reason to do so.

What's not to loathe in the political messaging on what passes for an American left? If you don't "always believe the woman," you're a MISOGYNIST. If you have a belief in traditional marriage, you're a HOMOPHOBE. If you think a fetus is alive and abortion is the taking of a human life, you're waging a WAR ON WOMEN. If you question whether an asthma inhaler can alter the world's climate, you're a GLOBAL WARMING DENIER. If you think gender apartheid is as bad as racial apartheid you're an ISLAMOPHOBE. If you think resources are finite and inviting tens of millions of economic and political refugees from the Third World to live here is harmful, you're a RACIST XENOPHOBE. Contrast this with Trump's changed rhetoric towards Kim Jon Un: He now says he's "in love" with the man he originally denounced as "little Rocket Man." Such an abrupt transformation is evidence not of a hate-monger, but of a salesman: his rhetoric shifts to fit an opportunistic agenda. Meanwhile, the contemptuous political commentary coming from the supposedly tolerant "left" never changes.

Nairn urges us to vote against our interests today then "go back" to creating better, constructive political alternatives tomorrow. But that's not how things work. Voting for our castration today so we can have great sex tomorrow cannot possibly produce healthy political offspring. We have done this election after election for decades and have only mushrooming cynicism and self-contempt to show for it. And cynical people don't act. 

We're in the political dead-end we're in because of decades of voting for a Democratic Party that eagerly collaborates with the likes of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and now Donald Trump to make any renewal and expansion of still immensely popular New Deal programs impossible. In short, we have surrendered our initiative to ideological traitors, and no longer determine our politics. Why shouldn't Trump take advantage?

By all means, go out and vote, just not for Trump's enablers in the Democratic Party. Vote instead for candidates calling for meeting the most pressing needs of working families: Medicare for all, tuition free college, higher wages, and lower housing costs.

It's not hard to understand why Malcolm X, that sly fox, always used to ask: who's the bigger fool, he who brings the noose, or the guy who sticks his head in it?

Sunday, November 4, 2018


October 31, 2018

Having mastered fake news, now the media are trying out a little fake history.

In the news business, new topics are always popping up, from the Logan Act and the emoluments clause to North Korea. The all-star panels rush to Wikipedia, so they can pretend to be experts on things they knew nothing about an hour earlier.

Such is the case today with "anchor babies" and "birthright citizenship." People who know zilch about the history of the 14th Amendment are pontificating magnificently and completely falsely on the issue du jour.

If you'd like to be the smartest person at your next cocktail party by knowing the truth about the 14th Amendment, this is the column for you!

Of course, the president can end the citizenship of "anchor babies" by executive order - - for the simple reason that no Supreme Court or U.S. Congress has ever conferred such a right.

It's just something everyone believes to be true.

How could anyone - - even a not-very-bright person - - imagine that granting citizenship to the children of illegal aliens is actually in our Constitution?

The first question would be: Why would they do that? It's like being accused of robbing a homeless person. WHY WOULD I?

The Supreme Court has stated - - repeatedly - - that the "main object" of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment "was to settle the question . . . as to the citizenship of free negroes," making them "citizens of the United States, and of the state in which they reside."

Democrats, the entire media and House Speaker Paul Ryan seem to have forgotten the Civil War. They believe that, immediately after a war that ended slavery, Americans rose up as one and demanded that the children of illegals be granted citizenship!

You know what's really bothering me? If someone comes into the country illegally and has a kid, that kid should be an American citizen!


Give me a scenario - - just one scenario - - where the post-Civil War amendments would be intended to grant citizenship to the kids of Chinese ladies flying to birthing hospitals in California, or pregnant Latin Americans sneaking across the border in the back of flatbed trucks.

You can make it up. It doesn't have to be a true scenario. Any scenario.  

As the court has explained again and again and again:

"(N)o one can fail to be impressed by the one pervading purpose found in (the 13th, 14th and 15th) amendments, lying at the foundation of each, and without which none of them would have even been suggested; we mean the freedom of the slave race, the security and firm establishment of that freedom, and the protection of the newly made freeman and citizen from the oppressions of those who had formerly exercised unlimited dominion over him."

That's why the amendment refers to people who are "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States, "and of the state wherein they reside." For generations, African Americans were domiciled in this country. The only reason they weren't citizens was because of slavery, which the country had just fought a civil war to end.

The 14th Amendment fixed that.

The amendment didn't even make Indians citizens. Why? Because it was about freed slaves. Sixteen years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, the Supreme Court held that an American Indian, John Elk, was not a citizen, despite having been born here.

Instead, Congress had to pass a separate law, making Indians citizens, which it did, more than half a century after the adoption of the 14th Amendment. (It's easy to miss - - the law is titled: THE INDIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924.") Why would such a law be necessary if simply being born in the U.S. was enough to confer citizenship?

Even today, the children of diplomats and foreign ministers are not granted citizenship on the basis of being born here.

President Trump, unlike his critics, honors black history by recognizing that the whole purpose of the Civil War amendments was to guarantee the rights of freed slaves.

But the left has always been bored with black people. If they start gassing on about "civil rights," you can be sure it will be about transgenders, abortion ladies or illegal aliens. Liberals can never seem to remember the people whose ancestors were brought here as slaves, i.e., the only reason we even have civil rights laws.

Still, it requires breathtaking audacity to use the Civil War amendments to bring in cheap foreign labor, which drives down the wages of African Americans -- the very people the amendments were written to protect!

Whether the children born to legal immigrants is controversial enough. But at least there's a Supreme Court decision claiming that they are -- U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark. That's "birthright citizenship."

It's something else entirely to claim that an illegal alien, subject to deportation, can drop a baby and suddenly claim to be a parent of a "citizen."

This crackpot notion was concocted by liberal zealot Justice William Brennan and slipped into a footnote as dicta in a 1982 case. "Dicta" means it was not the ruling of the court, just a random aside, with zero legal significance.

Left wing activists seized on Brennan's aside and browbeat everyone into believing that anchor babies are part of our great constitutional heritage, emerging straight from the pen of James Madison.

No Supreme Court has ever held that children born to illegal aliens are citizens. No Congress has deliberated and decided to grant that right. It's a made-up right, grounded only in the smoke and mirrors around Justice Brennan's 1982 footnote. 

Obviously it would be better if Congress passed a law clearly stating that children born to illegals are not citizens. (Trump won't be president forever!) But until that happens, the president of the United States is not required to continue a ridiculous practice that has absolutely no basis in law.

It's often said that journalism is the first draft of history. As we now see, fake news is the first draft of fake history.