Friday, October 14, 2016

What Karl Marx said about democracy

(Image: wikipedia commons)

Democracy is the road to socialism
-- Karl Marx

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump is a Lighting Rod for Racism


By David Starr

Donald Trump has claimed that he's least of all a racist. But his words and actions betray him.

Either racist tendencies are in-bred within Trump (whether he knows it or not), or he's using racism to stoke the flames of racism among his supporters to appeal to those in the Republican base, or both.

At 27 years of age, Trump was president of the Trump Management Corporation, which owned about 14,000 apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The Department of Justice found that Trump was engaging in the discrimination of blacks by refusing to rent apartments to them. The DOJ also charged Trump with using unfair terms and conditions based on race. This violated the 1968 Fair Housing Act. ("1973/Meet Donald Trump," by David W. Dunlap. The New York Times, 7/30/2015)

Trump denied the charges. What a shock.

In a book published in 1991 entitled "Trumped!," by John R. O'Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, he quoted Trump complaining about having blacks working under him:

"And it isn't funny. I've got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. I think the guy is lazy [referring to a black executive]. And it's probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It's not anything they can control."

Trump's recent "outreach" to African-Americans backfired when he described black communities as worse than "war zones." You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, 58% of your youth are unemployed. He also said that black communities were in "absolutely the worst shape they've ever been in before." Trump neglected to mention the period of slavery. ("Trump's Outreach Repackages Racism as Earnest Concern," by Adam Serwer. The Atlantic, 9/22/2016)

Out of touch with reality when it comes to people of color, Trump personifies a lighting rod for racism. In his words and actions, racists are drawn to his message. Take, for example, the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade of the Ku Klux Klan. He has endorsed Trump, saying he is best for the job of president. He also said that Trump believes in a lot of things that Klan members believe in.

Salon politics staff writer Chauncey DeVega got to the point when writing the following about Trump and the Republican Party:

"Donald Trump is a racist, a bigot, a nativist and a fascist. The Republican Party in the post-Civil Rights era has become the United States' largest de facto white identity organization."

It is hard to argue with that. A Trump presidency will not root out racism, quite the contrary. Some of his supporters have already been emboldened by his rhetoric and express it one way or another against the "Other," i.e., Mexicans, Muslims and blacks.

Trump's denials about racism ring hollow. He can't help himself. "God" help us if he were to become president.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the Neocons - Not-So-Strange Bedfellows


By David Starr

In the Democratic primary debates against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton once called herself a true progressive.  This is grossly contradicted not only by her foreign policy views but by the fact that a sizable number of neocons and war hawks are rallying around her in her bid to become the next president of the United States.

Many of these individuals should be on wanted posters.

Among them is John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to Honduras under Ronald Reagan. Negroponte is responsible for the building of a training facility in Honduras for the Nicaraguan Contras, a force that committed gross rights violations against the Nicaraguan populace; a force Reagan referred to as "the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers." While torture, murder and rape were committed by a U.S.-backed military regime in Honduras, Negroponte lied to the U.S. Congress and U.S. public, saying that there were no violations at all. Similar situations were occurring in Guatemala and El Salvador as well by U.S.-backed regimes. ("Hillary Clinton Cites Endorsement by John Negroponte, Reagan's death Squad Ambassador," by Brett Wilkins. Daily Kos, 8/12/2016)

Negroponte was indicted and put on trial for his part in the Iran/Contra scandal, where the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran, deemed a terrorist state by Reagan, and used the funds to arm the Contras.

Then there's Condoleezza Rice, former national security advisor and secretary of state under Bush Jr. Rice authorized the enhanced interrogation techniques used to torture Iraqi prisoners. She ordered the CIA to use waterboarding. These were gross violations of both domestic and international law.  She still doesn't regret her role in being responsible for rights violations. ("Misguided Honor for Condi Rice," by Coleen Crowley and Todd E. Pierce. Consortium News, 4/03/2014)

Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state under Richard Nixon, is another booster for Clinton. Kissinger supported the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, this being just as tragic as the 9/11 attacks in New York. The coup forced elected president Salvador Allende from power. Kissinger's assistance paved the way for rights abuser Gen. Augusto Pinochet to take power. Under Pinochet, 1000s of Chileans were tortured and/or murdered. Kissinger chided Chilean voters: "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people." He arrogantly added that the U.S. should have the power to decide Chile's government. Kissinger was responsible for igniting bloody crack downs and massive bombing runs in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and East Timor and Iraq. ("Report: Henry Kissinger's Long History of Complicity in Human Rights Abuses," by Zaid Jilani. Think Progress, 12/29/2010)

Other neocons and war hawks supporting Clinton: Eliot Cohen, a former Bush Jr. official, who said that he's supporting Clinton as the lesser of two evils (or is it the evil or two lessers?); Richard Perle-the "Prince of Darkness"-chairman of the Defense Policy Board and a cheerleader for the Iraq War; Dick "Slimeball" Cheney, who supported Clinton to be secretary of state; Lindsey Graham, another cheerleader for the Iraq War, and who wants to start a war with Iran; John "Bombs Away!" McCain, who said that Clinton and him agree on a lot of things; and Robert Kagan, co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, who pushed for the Iraq war and said it was "an extraordinary success." ("Neocon War Hawks Want Hillary Clinton Over Donald Trump," by Branko Marcetic. In These Times, 3/23/2016 / "Robert Kagan and Other Neocons Are Backing Hillary Clinton," by Rania Khalek. The Intercept, 7/25/2016)

Has Clinton anything in common with these, shall I say, fascists? With regards to an aggressive foreign policy, yes: supporting the Iraq War; the invasion of Libya by NATO; the Honduran coup; wanting "regime change" in Syria; and backing Israeli ultra-nationalist Benjamin Netanyahu. ("Are Hillary Clinton and Neoconservatives ready to join forces?," by Jon Queally. Common Dreams, 5/05/2016)

Hillary Clinton a progressive? No way in hell. Not when she is a neoliberal courting neoconservatives and war hawks.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Donald Trump - An Elite in Worker's Clothing


By David Starr

Donald Trump a savior for workers? And inner cities? That's like saying Pope Francis is the leader of a satanic cult. But that's how Trump is projecting himself.

In a June 2016 rally in Monessen, Pennsylvania, Trump declared that "globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very, wealthy. I used to be one of them. Hate to say it, but I used to be one." Used to? Trump hasn't exactly sold off his multi-million dollar fortune and donned a pair of worker's cover-alls.

But Trump praises workers, in this case steelworkers: "The legacy of Pennsylvania steelworkers lives on in the bridges, railways and skyscrapers that make up our great American landscape." Yeah, steelworkers with union jobs and good benefits. Isn't Trump, however, against unions?

Trump has even used the Economic Policy Institute-a left-leaning source-to condemn "politicians [who] have pursued a policy of globalization - moving our jobs wealth and factories to Mexico and overseas." But Trump and his daughter Invanka have profitted handsomely from goods produced in their names in other countries, and thus from globalization.

Trump promised the audience that he would make communities hit by globalization recover. And fast. He declared that "the American people [are going to] take back their future." Also declaring, "I'll do it. No doubt about it. Not even a little doubt." Does that mean giving up his overseas investments produced from globalization? Like his other promises, Trump was long on rhetoric and short on substance.

Regarding wages in the U.S., Trump mentioned that they are very low "because there's no competition." Wages are low because of economic inequality. The competition is there, but it's cutthroat: capital is further dominating labor. If it was the other way around, there would be decent pay. Labor would be the priority, and thus the focus would be on achieving better pay. That would mean that workers would share the rewards based on what they produce.

As for inner cities, Trump made a pitch at a rally in West Bend, Wisconsin (which is 95% white). He talked about law and order, calling the events in Milwaukee "an assault on the rights of all citizens to live in security and peace." The riots are the result of a broken system relating to the tense relationship between cops and inner cities.

Trump doesn't see it that way: "The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-Americans living in these neighborhoods. It is their jobs, their communities and schools that will suffer as a result." The continuation of racist attitudes is one problem along with poverty. But in simplistic terms, Trump blames the "narrative of cops as a racist force." No acknowledgment of the racism itself.

Trump also doesn't acknowledge the justification of demonstrators to protest against racism, saying, he'll listen to the "quiet voices in our society, not the loudest demonstrators."

Regarding economic policies for inner cities, Trump supports the same old formula that both Republicans and Democrats have supported for years on end: neoliberal economics. Appearing on CNN, Boris Epshteyn-senior advisor for the Trump campaign-said that Trump will fix inner cities with investments, revitalizing the economy and tax incentives. Investments to give corporations the advantage, revitalizing the economy for the wealthy to prosper and tax incentives so corporations continue to not have to pay their fair share.

Additionally, Trump is in debt from his businesses to the tune of $650 million. One could imagine what the national debt would be if he were president.

Donald Trump has proclaimed that he is the one to help workers and inner cities. But it won't work. After all, his class interests clash with the class interests of workers and inner cities.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Why Libertarian Gary Johnson isn't an Alternative for the U.S. Presidency


By David Starr

Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party may seem like an alternative in his run for president of the United States, but his ideology would be a disaster for the common people.

True, Johnson has taken positions that sound progressive. He supports a woman's right to choose, the separation of church and state, the legalization of marijuana, LGBT rights, opposes the Drug War, opposed the Iraq War and favors a 43% cut in military spending. But on economic issues and government, Johnson is a far right extremist.

Johnson doesn't want insurers to provide birth control, even though healthcare costs continue to rise. The corporate health insurance industry can afford to offer birth control. Profits have soared. Johnson also doesn't want federal funding for stem cell research. But there's a reason why federal funding should be applied. It's called promoting the general welfare. Johnson, in fact, wants to eliminate the fed. For example, he wants to eliminate Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Education. Housing and education would be at the mercy of the "free" market.

So, in typical right-wing, libertarian fashion, Johnson thinks all problems will be solved with the "invisible hand" of the "free" market. How 19th century-like; turning back the clock to where there would be way less government, if at all, no union protection and no environmental safeguards.

Johnson is a friend to the big corporations. He would eliminate corporate income tax and the capital gains tax.  He favors no restrictions on campaign donations (complementing Citizens' United). For trade, Johnson favors no restrictions and no tariffs. He would eliminate barriers to "free" trade. He has claimed that NAFTA is beneficial, although hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have been lost. Johnson favors for-profit prisons. He doesn't want to raise the minimum wage. In fact, he would abolish it. Slave wages are preferable to him.

And Johnson would privatize Social Security and Medicare, if he could get away with it.

While Johnson implies he is against corporatism, his "free" trade policies would make it stronger.

Oddly, though, while Johnson says he wants to end the fed, he supports federal funding: tax incentives for energy, more funding for the Drug War (although he said this in 2000), federal block grants for crime programs and federal funding for rural health services. So, which is it?

Johnson's record as New Mexico's governor should be viewed as a warning: while there was a budget surplus, Johnson used 750 vetoes-the most by a governor-to, e.g., chop away at much-needed social programs.

According to the Children's Rights Council, New Mexico was the worst U.S. state to raise a child. New Mexico had the highest poverty rate of any U.S. state. And New Mexico had the sixth highest unemployment rate. ("New Mexico governor fails in home state and drugs," Danielle Gonzales, GW Hatchett, 10/14/1999)

Johnson has been associated with GOP operatives connected to the ultra-nationalist Minute Men, vote rigging, English-only fanatics and smear tactics. He has also been associated with the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers formed the Libertarian Party. ("The Gary Johnson Swindle and the Degradation of Third Party Politics," Mark Ames, nsfwcorp, 24 Hours in America, 11/06/2012)

Johnson's thinking, like his right-wing, libertarian ideology, is grossly flawed. Unfettered "free" trade? For whom to do what? Making the rich richer and the poor poorer. That's how Johnson's policies as president would "benefit" the 99%. In that sense, Johnson IS NOT an alternative.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Pro-Lifers" and Their "Moral" Stand


By David Starr

Anti-abortionists, or "pro-lifers," pride themselves on being moral when it comes to the "A" word, i.e, abortion. They abhor the killing of a baby. But many of them support imperial wars where invading/occupying/bombing takes place in other lands, especially in the "Third World"; and where babies out of the womb-and infants-suffer the consequences. It's as though those children don't count.

Sanctions have also caused suffering among the young, Iraq being a prime example. As a result of the U.S./UN sanctions imposed on Iraq during the 1990s, about 500,000 children died from malnutrition, unsafe drinking water, etc. But I haven't heard any condemnation from "pro-lifers."

A "pro-lifer" would respond by saying, "Since you support abortion, you support the killing of babies." This can be challenged. There have been arguments about when life begins. "Pro-lifers" have said that it begins at conception. Actually, scientists have not concluded on when life begins. They do know that the fertilized egg is implanted in the womb a week after conception. Then there is "Quickening," when the foetus first moves in the womb. This is about 17 weeks after conception. ("When is the Foetus Alive?," BBC, Ethics)

One general view, "that best reflects the reality of the situation, is that there is no one point where life begins. Instead, the beginning of life is a continuous process. It may have a start where there is 'no life' and an end where there 'is life,' but there isn't a clearly defined boundary." ("When Does Life Begin," RationalWiki)

But if there are no brain waves or central nervous system present after fertilization, then there is no human existing.

A few other "pro-lifers" have said that life begins before conception. This can only mean that sperm is viewed as a form of life. If that's the case, then one could say that in the course of fertilization, 1000s upon 1000s of sperm die trying to reach the egg. This prompts the following absurd question: does this mean that reproduction should be illegal because of the death of all those sperm?

I'll bring up another absurd scenario: It's a fact that most males have masturbated sometimes during their lives. Does that mean then that there is the mass killing of sperm; perhaps the killing of half souls?

It could be said that death is a part of reproduction, if one wants to take it that far.

That is not to say that abortion should be the priority. It may have to be used as a last resort, e.g., in the case of rape or incest; if there is danger to the mother; and the threat of over population. (Earth's resources are finite, and I don't think "pro-lifers" would want to see a scenario of mass starvation if the population becomes too big. Or are they just ignoring this scenario?)

But also in the case of having an unwanted child. "Both unintended and unwanted childbearing can have negative health, social, and psychological consequences. Health problems include greater chances for illness and death for mother and child. In addition, such childbearing has been linked to a variety of social problems, including divorce, poverty, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency." (When Pregnancies are Unwanted," Nancy Felipe Russo, Ph.D., pro+choice forum) 

There is adoption as an option, but it is not a cure-all. "Children may feel grief over the loss of a relationship with their birthparents and the loss of the cultural and family connections that would have existed with those parents. There can also be significant concerns about feeling abandoned and [feeling] 'not good enough...'" Adopted children may also suffer from a loss of access to important medical or genetic birth family histories." ("Long-Term Issues for the Adopted Child," Kathryn Patricelli,

Further, "[a] study in the Western Journal of Nursing Research found that adoptive parents can experience 'post-adoption depression' when their expectations about the adoption experience aren't met. These parents often report difficulty bonding with the child. [I]n extreme cases, the adoption 'disrupts,' and the child is sent back to the agency or foster home. But "most adoptions work out," with "80 percent placements [making] it to legalization" and "after the paperwork is in, [there's a] success rate [of] 98 percent." ("The Dark Side of Adoptions: Why Parents and Kids Don't Bond," Stephanie Pappas, Live Science) 

Before Roe v Wade, women desperately sought out a way to have an abortion. The procedure was secret with the risk of it being done in unsanitary conditions by an armchair "doctor."  Or it would be self-induced. There was also a danger to the woman. After Roe v Wade, the procedure was/is done under sanitary conditions. Since there will be women who will seek out abortions, it may as well be done under these conditions. Or would the "pro-lifers" rather have Roe v Wade repealed and in turn go back to abortions being done in the back seat of a car, back ally or hotel room?

Then there is the matter of choice. It is a personal matter between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, and for a woman herself. And no "pro-lifer" has the right to butt in in such a personal matter (unless asked). 

To avoid abortion as an option, the following should be promoted even further: birth control, along with family planning and courses in sex education. Knowledge is the key to understanding the ethics and necessity of keeping abortion legal, despite the stigma that is still prevalent in society.

A stigma imposed by "pro-lifers," who would rather shame a woman considering abortion rather than trying to understand why that option would be chosen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The 2016 GOP Convention - Fear-Mongering, Exceptionalism and Faux Populism


By David Starr

There wasn't much of quality-and more of quantity-in the 2016 GOP Convention. Three celebrities showed up: Scott Baio, Antonio Sabata Jr. (who?) and Duck Dynasty hick Phil Robertson. It wasn't exactly Academy Award material. Sabata actually thought that Obama was a secret Muslim. Then there was Ben carson, who thought that Hillary Clinton was in league with Lucifer. There were vicious attacks on Clinton, like, "Throw her in prison!" and badges being sold with a picture of Clinton that read "Life's a bitch, don't vote for one." She was also called a tramp.

Besides all that, the following are direct quotes from transcripts using examples of speakers at the convention. My responses follow.

 Melania's Lack of Originality

Donald "Demented" Trump's wife Melania gave a speech that partially plagarized Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention. Note the following comparison:

Michelle Obama -

"And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

"And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children - and all children in this nation - to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

Melania Trump -

"From a young age my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and you keep your promise; that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.

"That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

Along with those Barbie doll-like looks, Melenia doesn't have much of an imagination.

Giuliani Thumps His Chest

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani gave an impassioned speech on the subject of security. All that was missing were primitive grunts and groans:

"The vast majority of Americans do not feel safe. They fear for their children. They fear for themselves. They fear for our police officers, who are being targeted..."

This state of siege rhetoric is an appeal to fear. Police officers being targeted? Look at cause and effect Giuliani. How many times have nonwhites been targeted by police?

"I am sick and tired of the defamation of Donald Trump by the media and the Clinton campaign. I am sick and tired of it! This is a good man."

Trump's insults to women, Muslims and Mexicans are deserving of a harsh response. They are, of course, sexist and racist. Good man? He's virtually the opposite of that when it comes to the common people.

"We must not be afraid to define our enemy. It is Islamic extremist terrorism!"

Although Giuliani implied that most of Islam is not guilty, I still ask the following question: What about Christian extremist terrorism? Christian fanatics in the U.S. have access to the biggest war machine in the world. And it's been used, more often for the wrong reasons. It's evident that Islamic fanatics don't have a monopoly on terrorism.

"Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran will eventually let them become a nuclear power and is putting billions of dollars back into the world's largest supporter of terrorism."

Who is the world's largest supporter of terrorism? The nation with the biggest weapons arsenal. Democracy has been stepped on repeatedly.

Mike Pence - Mr. Too-Good-To-Be-True

GOP VP pick Mike Pence is a far right politician with such high "morals" that he would push for religion in politics and repeal Roe v Wade. He offered a long speech about values, toughness and how "great" Trump is:

"[Trump] faced 16 talented opponents and outlasted every one of them..."

Talented? The GOP primaries reminded me of the song, "Send in the Clowns."

"You nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down, a fighter, a winner."

A man who is oblivious to diplomacy, who is a sadist, a belligerent bully. This is the opposite of how a president conducts affairs.

"Today, while the nation suffers under the weight of $19 trillion in national debt, we in Indiana have a $2 billion surplus..."

How soon Pence forgets. George Bush Jr. inherited a $128 billion dollar surplus from the Clinton administration and wound up wrecking the economy and raising the debt to $10 trillion. This is what Obama inherited.

"When Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn't tiptoe around the thousand new rules of political correctness."

"Political correctness" is beside the point. GOPers use this label to protect racist and sexist language. And Trump sure knows how to use stereotypes.

"The party of Lincoln was founded on equality of opportunity. And during these difficult days, it will be our party and our agenda that opens the doors for every American."

The party of Lincoln is dead. Its death throes started back in the 1870s when it neglected equal rights and became pro-business. Open the door for every American? The GOP is slightly more pro-business than the Democratic Party. That means the billionaire class will have new doors open to them.

Ted Cruz Exercises Partisan Rancor, Praises Exceptionalism

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was given an unwelcome reaction, particularly since he didn't endorse Trump for president. In his speech he talked about exceptionalism:

"Our nation is exceptional because it was built on the five most beautiful and powerful words in the English language, "I want to be free."

Exceptionalism is another word for ultra-nationalism. Exceptionalism perverts patriotism. Cruz and the GOPers are not too smart when they equate exceptionalism with freedom.

"We stand here tonight a nation divided. Partisan rancor, anger even hatred are tearing America apart. And citizens are furious, rightly furious, at a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises, and that ignores the will of the people."

Yes, there's been partisan rancor, and the GOP leads the way in using it. And, yes, there's a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises. The GOP, and the Democrats, are both guilty in doing this.

"My friends, this is madness. President Obama is a man who does everything backwards. He wants to close Guantanamo Bay, and open up our borders. He exports jobs, and imports terrorists."

The U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay should not even be there. It was established by threats of indefinate U.S. military occupation of Cuba. And here it has been, indefinately occupying Guantanamo Bay. Exporting jobs? It's the GOP that is in cahoots with some Democrats in exporting jobs, allowing corporations to bail out of the country. Imports terrorists?! Cruz and his partisan rancor.

"Voters are overwhelmingly rejecting the political establishment, and overwhelmingly rejecting big government."

Cruz is part of the political establishment and is in a party that is as establishment as one can get. Cruz trots out the "big gubberment" stereotype. Government, for all its flaws, has provided for the general welfare of the people. Look it up in the U.S. Constitution Mr. Cruz, in the preamble.

"That was the power of freedom. Our party, the Republican Party, was founded to defeat slavery."

Now it protects wage slavery. The Republicans, and the Democrats, and Trump himself, have profited off of wage slavery worldwide.

Donald "Demented" Trump - Lies and false populism

"I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore."

Over the course of the primaries, Trump has not been honest. His "sympathy" for the 99% in regards to cutting taxes for them is an illusion. Trump, 1%er that he is, will give tax breaks to the wealthy. And perhaps throw crumbs to the "peasants." (That trickle-down thing.) There is Trump "University," one of the biggest scams ever. Here we go again with the politically correct card. Trump doesn't want his insults challenged.

"Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens."

This ties in with his "Mexicans are rapists and criminals" rhetoric. Trump, despite his clarification on the matter, has stereotyped an entire group of people. And his supporters follow that example.

"One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. But to this Administration, [Sarah] was just one more American life that wasn't worth protecting."

This is a cheap shot. And of course a lie. Obama doesn't want citizen's lives to be at stake. Thus, his concern for gun control in the face of mass shootings over the years. Obama wants to implement procedures that would make illegal immigrants citizens. But GOP has been obstructing this, for fear that many of those potential citizens will vote Democratic; not because they're criminals. Thus, Trump is fear-mongering.

"Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another."

Trump can't seem to comprehend that the U.S. image in the world has been tattered precisely by its foreign policy maneuvers. The "humiliation" comes from the fact that the GOP, and some Democrats, have initiated conflicts around the globe. Trump's aggressive attitude would make it worse. And many worldwide will think negatively of the U.S. even more.


Sounds rather egocentric, as though Trump is presenting himself as a demi-god or savior.

"I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good. I have no impatience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens."

Trump tries to present himself as a man of the people. But he is part of the establishment, the wealthy establishment which funds those leaders he's talking about.

"This Administration has failed America's inner cities. It's failed them on education. It's failed them on jobs. It's failed them on crime. It's failed them at every level."

Actually, a lot of this has to do with GOP obstructionism. Almost every proposal Obama has made has been put down by the GOP. Education is a problem because its being virtually starved of funds. The GOP doesn't want funds to go to public education. But an overwhelming majority of people in the inner cities want it. Regarding jobs, there's been an increase in private sector jobs (but many pay a pitiful wage). Regarding crime, this gets back to cops targeting nonwhites, particularly blacks/African Americans.

"Remember: all of the people telling you that you can't have the country you want, are the same people telling you I wouldn't be standing here tonight. No longer can we rely on those elites in media, in politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place."

And what kind of country do they want? A regression back to "the good 'ol days?" Trump and his supporters would rather glorify the past than cope with the present. It's a dead vision. And Trump, again, tries to play the man of the people when he says not to rely on elites. He is an elite for chrissakes!

The 2016 GOP Convention was a farce. It pushes the GOP agenda which is a mutation of 19th century-like thinking with 12th century-like thinking, i.e., way less government, no unions, no environmental protections and religious fanaticism.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Racism Rears Its Ugly Head

By David Starr

The recent shootings in Minnesota, Louisiana and Dallas testify to how we still have a long way to go to establish good race relations. Of course, it isn't easy, since the United States was born with a defect: Racism.

Today's racism against Blacks/African Americans is an echo of past racism going back to slavery. Today's racism isn't as bad as slavery, but its institutionalized and overt forms still exist.

All the struggles and reforms for equality have preservered, but today the racism that exists threatens them. The "umbilical cord" between past and present racism hasn't been cut. It is evident in the behavior of some police officers, who are conditioned by racist stereotypes and even upbringing. They have become the problem while Black/African Americans continue to endure their racism.

The civil rights movement continues. The protests are a burning reminder that the "fire" of racism hasn't been put out. The protests are so needed. The anger is justified. Civil disobedience still plays a part in the quest to achieve racial equality.

But some people out there aren't listening...or don't care. Thus, it becomes necessary to get their attention, even if it becomes a little inconvenient for them. Racism isn't some minor irritation. It is a systematic and social problem. Some people live in bubbles. They are unaware of the content of issues. If one tries to burst their bubble to wake them up to the fact that we are connected one way or another, they may become offended. But on the other hand, they may wake up and realize the importance of knowing what's going on. Racism cannot be solved in a bubble.

Not meaning to sound overly pessimistic, but the U.S. as an empire continues to decay. It comes from attitudes which are bound to an exceptionalist past. Ultra-nationalists of all kinds want time frozen: They want a revival of the 1890s or 1950s. Forever. Racism, whether they like it or not, has a historical connection to exceptionalism. In the U.S., both go hand-in-hand. The decay emits an overt hypocrisy. Freedom is preached, yet inequality still persists and has grown. All men are created equal? Sometimes that has been a hollow slogan.

Inequality not only encompasses race, but class and gender as well. Class, in fact, is the most neglected of the three. All should be addressed. But sometimes it is difficult to focus on all three. One could be such an emotional driver that it puts the other two in the background. For Blacks/African Americans, race right now takes center stage with these shootings. But despite the circumstances it is very important to focus on all three, and the connections between them.

One way of challenging racism is to reject U.S. exceptionalism. As I alluded to, the latter has been more a perpetrator of racism than otherwise.

It is still possible to achieve a basis for racial harmony. But the struggle continues to evolve to that level.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Capitalist Rule Takes Its Toll


By David Starr

Much has been said about the consequences of "communism," although the latter hasn't really existed. It could take generations for a communist society to fully develop. After all, we're talking about an epoch here. Death tolls have been estimated under "communism." But what about death tolls under capitalism?

Capitalism has been dominant as an epoch and ideology for over 400 years. And a lot has happened in those years. There's been a revolutionizing of the modes of production, which produces a vast array of goods and services worldwide. But at what cost, especially worldwide?

A major result of capitalist rule worldwide is continuing poverty, labor violations and starvation. Death tolls have been estimated. An article entitled, "Mass killings under capitalist regimes," from Proletariat Wiki, provides an estimate of 156,102,415 deaths, and gives specific death tolls according to region.

Then there are other sources:

Noam Chomsky's article, "Counting the Bodies," published in spectrezine, states that "The democratic capitalist 'experiment' since 1947 has caused more deaths than the entire history of the ‘colossal, wholly failed experiment' of ["Communism"] everywhere since 1917: over 100 million deaths by 1979, tens of millions more since, in India alone."

An Article entitled "The death Tolls of Socialism and Capitalism" published in asserts the following with regard to the United States:

"U.S. intervention in Latin America: 6.3 million dead
Invasion of Philippines: 650,000 dead + 1898 war 3 million dead
Afghanistan: 1.2 million dead
Vietnam War: 10 million dead [other estimates are 2 to 3 million dead]
Korean War: 10 million dead [other estimates are 2 million dead]
Yugoslavia: 300,000 dead
Iran-Iraq War (U.S. funding both sides): 1 million dead
U.S. intervention in the Congo: 5 million dead
U.S. Civil War (financial vs land capitalists): 650,000 dead
Native American Genocide: 95 million dead [figures have ranged from 50 million to 100 million dead]
African slave trade: 150 million dead
Indonesian purges against communists [with U.S. help]: 1 million dead
U.S. bombing of Laos and Cambodia: at least 1 million dead
U.S. backed Batista, Pinochet, Metaxas, Saddam, Suharto and various dictators: at least a few million dead"

From poverty:

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.

From Hunger:

The World Food Programme estimates that 795 million people don't have enough to eat.

As of 1988, according to International Service Agencies in Bethesda, Maryland, about 13 million people die each year from starvation.

In "11 Facts About Hunger," asserts that 805 million people go undernourished on a daily basis; in 2010, an estimated 7.6 million children died from hunger; nearly 98% of hunger is in the "Third World."

From disease:

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2012, 6.6 million children died before their 5th birthday; 68% of all deaths were from noncommunicable diseases.

According to the Global Health Policy Center, 3-9 million people died from respiratory infections, 1.3-3.0 million from malaria, 1.8 million from diarrheal diseases, 1.7 from tuberculosis and 0.5 million from neglected tropical diseases.

While capitalism is not responsible for the origins of all these conditions, it bears responsibility for fueling and continuing them. Given the nature of capitalism worldwide, the few have too much while the many have too little.