Monday, April 5, 2021

Graham Elwood On the China–Iran Deal and Smedley Butler

The above videos were published March 31 and April 3, 2021 to YouTube by Graham Elwood

The first is titled “China Makes Iran Deal While US Pushes War.” It is a good example of how China is demonstrating more intelligence than the United States when it comes to leadership—and the future.

The second is titled “Smedley Butler: The Original Anti War Marine.” It is about the U.S. Marine Corps officer (1881–1940) who doesn’t get mentioned much—even though he exposed imperialists who tried to overthrow 32nd U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Lethal Weapon

Last week, I mentioned that with the Democratic Party there is “something—and someone—who [is/are] a distraction to the detriment to us all.”

That someone is Barack Obama.

(Given last week’s blog topic was about entertainment, I don’t mind borrowing from the 1987 film title.)

What is represented is history, image, prestige, and honor.

Recently, there was a YouGov/Economist poll in which Americans said Barack Obama is the best president in the history of the United States.

The nation has experienced 45 individuals and 46 U.S. presidents. This counts the non-consecutive cycles won by Grover Cleveland. This counts current U.S. president Joe Biden.

No. 1 by the polls’ participants was Obama. Never mind the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. No. 1—Barack Obama.

Barack Obama—who turns 60 this year—made history, in 2008, as the first (and, so far, only) person who is black elected (and, in 2012, re-elected) to the presidency of the United States.

The image is that the people of the United States, in 2008, were finally willing to experience something many thought would never happen—or not happen in their lifetime—and that is, of course, the election of a black person to the presidency of the United States. Amazing.

The prestige is with the office itself. The No. 1 leader in the Free World.

The honor is with the noble tradition of welcoming, by election, a new leader and, of course, the promise of a new period that would be good for the American people and their lives.

That was depicted with the United States presidential election of Barack Obama in 2008.

The presidency of Barack Obama was something else.

After a year or two of Obama’s presidency, I came across a comment by Ralph Nader. He said he does not respect Obama. Nader considers Obama a “con man.”

Nader said, back in 2008, that Obama is—as it has been the case for some time with the Democratic Party—just another “corporate Democrat.”

In 2010, Barack Obama presided over devastating Democratic Party losses not only in the U.S. House but also state legislatures. They were made possible because he—but not so much the Democratic-majority U.S. House and U.S. Senate—deliberately did not deliver an “Affordable Care Act” bill which would solve our generations’-long, poor health-insurance system. Obama delivered, knowingly, an inadequate and terrible bill which was meant to herd people into the system—whether or not they could afford it—and impose a mandate; with no mechanism to compete with private insurance; and no re-importation of drugs, for lower costs, from another country like Canada.

Obama, during campaign season, spoke of his mother Ann Dunham’s battles with at least one ruthless health-insurance provider while she was likewise battling, and eventually succumbed, to cancer. (She died in 1995.) And he spoke righteously of the urgency to deliver a health-insurance bill that would be the solution we needed.

That was Campaigner Obama.

President Obama got the health-insurance bill he intended. 

One month after winning re-election, Obama had this to say of his presidency: “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.” (Did the people voted Obama the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination—and/or voted for him to win his 2008 first-term election and/or win his 2012 re-election—do that because they wanted Republican policies?)

During the 2016 general election, to elect the 45th president of the United States, Obama went all out for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, with an over-the-top and breathless declaration. With Hillary Clinton, “there has never been any man or woman more qualified.”

Not long after Clinton lost that election, in what was a 2016 Republican pickup of the presidency of the United States to Donald Trump, Obama’s post-presidency was spent not helping The People—he used to be a community organizer—but in hanging with a billionaire like Richard Branson, giving six-figure paid speeches to wealthy people, and further enriching himself.

In 2017, Obama—knowing of the fractious relations in the Democratic Party as a whole—maneuvered behind the scenes and made sure the supposedly competitive DNC chairperson election was won by Tom Perez who, after working against Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, conspired to make sure more corporatist candidates won the primaries in 2018 in preparation for the Democrats winning back the U.S. House. (Perez also violated his position by making a high-profile endorsement: Andrew Cuomo for re-nomination—not Tony and Emmy winning actress Cynthia Nixon—for Governor of New York.)

In his speeches, Obama scolded people who supported his 2008 presidential campaign who are yearning for change, change that they need, and told them they need to stop complaining about the Democratic Party and join the Democratic Party to bring the change they need.

In 2020, as the Iowa Democratic caucuses were a corrupt affair clearly engineered by Obama’s DNC chairman pick, and other behind-the-scenes players, the popular vote in the first three scheduled states—the other two were New Hampshire and Nevada—were won by Bernie Sanders. Just before the South Carolina primary, Obama had that state’s sole Democratic congressman Jim Clyburn—who is in the pocket of the health-insurance industry—endorse Joe Biden. Obama contacted fellow Democratic presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg—who invested in that Shadow app—to drop out simultaneously and endorse Biden. The nomination for Biden was orchestrated by Obama.

The best comment I came across with anyone sharing his understanding and with describing the Democratic Party came from a YouTube member responding to a video by one of this site’s recommended sources, Unapologetic. It was by a person named “Captain Obvious.”

“My stance is that the [Democrats] are no longer a real political party at all…they don’t function as one. What the Dems are is a fundraising corporation and a mechanism of control designed to flush away all of the [actual] Left’s efforts to obtain progressive policy. The main function of the Dems is simply to maximize fundraising profits which therefore makes them, first and foremost, a fundraising corporation.”

The Democratic Party, in its current form, is empty. It can only project—project image along with expressing rhetoric of being the so-called political party, of these times, which is moral and good. (Really—have you seen the Republicans?!) To act like they are the political party which is…enlightened.

When one considers which individual is most influential in the Democratic Party in its current form—a “fundraising corporation”—one may figure Bill Clinton. He brought Wall Street into the party in the 1990s. That is a very good guess. But, I think his party successor is more pernicious. 

Reason for this is because of timing. 

Bill Clinton was the only two-term Democratic-affiliated U.S. president during the realigning period of 1968 to 2004, in which the Republican Party won the presidency of the United States with 7 of 10 cycles. Clinton was to that period’s Democrats what Dwight Eisenhower was to his period’s Republicans. The Democrats won 7 of 9 cycles beginning with the realigning period of 1932 and with their last in 1964. Dwight Eisenhower was the only Republican U.S. president from that period. Both Eisenhower and Clinton were that one candidate their then-minority parties needed for their particular times. 

Barack Obama, with his first election in 2008, was the presiding president of a realigning period favoring his Democratic Party. From 2008 to 2020, the Democrats have won 3 of 4 cycles. And in history, no party which went 3-for-4 failed to experience a realigning period in their favoring. (At this time, I would estimate the Democrats win again in 2024, which would up them to 4-for-5. That would run an exact 40-year parallel experienced by the 1968 to 1984 Republicans.) 

Let us also remember that, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary season, Clinton was verbally dismissive of Obama’s chances for nomination and general-election victory. That Jesse Jackson also had wins. The comment backfired badly on the 42nd U.S. president.

Last week, at least one reader thought I would cite Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez. No! “AOC” is formulaic. She is what the Democrats offer up these days to get people to think their incumbents are pretty cool people—who hold elected office—who are in tune and care. “AOC” is a…star. But, stars fade. And more stars rise.

This brings it back to Barack Obama. 

Obama is the first—and, so far, only—person who is black to be elected (and re-elected) president of the United States. He chose his prevailing Democratic-affiliated successor. And, just when it looks like people may rise up for something that is progressive and in need for improvement, he is there to help oppress them. To get them to not fight when fighting is what they need to do. Obama did this against Black Lives Matter. Obama did this against the players in the National Football League. And it is, highly likely, that anything more which surfaces will reveal Obama once again yielding his influence.

When Obama suffers embarrassment, it’s nothing that sticks for long.

There is no one from the Democratic Party who is more a distraction—and who is more harmful while supposedly coming across as highly trustworthy—than 44th U.S. president Barack Obama.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Let Us Entertain You

Spring arrives this week. After a winter that I personally look forward to ending, I am encouraged. Here in Metro Detroit, Michigan, we have been getting some March temperatures in the 60s. The Winter 2020/2021 season has been difficult for me, and understandably so, but I have found some relief with sources of entertainment.

Two months after it premiered on Netflix, I played catch-up and streamed Bridgerton. This period drama is from Shonda Rhimes’s Shondaland. And when I first watched a preview of it, with a voice narration by legendary Julie Anderews, I was immediately thinking of Downton Abbey (which, by the way, premiered on PBS ten years ago!). I thoroughly enjoyed Bridgerton. Based on Julia Quinn’s novels, Bridgerton is set in the Regency era and is about two supposed opposites—played by Phoebe Dynevor and Regé–Jean Page (above)—who fall in love after pretending they’re in love. 

I also streamed on Netflix a small-budget film, which could have been on my beloved Hallmark Channel, titled Love, Guaranteed. (I enjoy Hallmark Channel because it is, well, comfy.) This romantic comedy stars Rachael Leigh Cook, who has been the leading lady in numerous Hallmark productions (she co-produced this one), and Damon Wayans Jr. Love, Guaranteed is about a man who hired an online dating service which said it would deliver his love match within 1,000 dates. Wayans’s character is on No. 986. He senses fraud and the need to sue—and he hires Cook’s attorney character. Guess what happens next.

Having come across it on TV One (or was it VH1?), I also was enjoying reruns of the 1993–1998 Fox comedy series Living Single. It premiered one year before NBC’s immediate hit Friends. It starred Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Kim Fields, and Erika Alexander. Timing was good because I have also been watching The Equalizer, a peculiar CBS reboot of the dark 1985–1990 CBS series which starred Edward Woodward. This also stars Queen Latifah. And something dawns on me: Queen Latifah is not only entertaining but she is really talented. She can turn nothing into something. In other words: I would not have bothered with a single rerun of Living Single if it were not for Queen Latifah. And I would not bother with The Equalizer if it did not star Queen Latifah. 

Being entertained, no matter by what or by who, may or may not be worthy of one’s time. But, we are human beings. It can be of use. It can be a nice distraction. Especially if that distraction can help.

Being entertained can also be a distraction to the detriment of all who are affected.

This was true with Donald Trump.

This has been going on, and for some time, with the Democratic Party.

It is happening in more than one form.

I will write more about this with my blog topic for next week, scheduled for Monday, March 29, 2021. It will also address something—and someone—who [is/are] a distraction to the detriment to us all. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Justin Jackson Has His ‘Takeover’

NFL running back Justin Jackson has his own YouTube channel, The Takeover.

It is now among Progressives Chat’s “Recommendations.”

The Takeover with Justin Jackson

Monday, March 8, 2021

Kim Iversen On ‘A Major Third Party’

In the above video, Kim Iversen gives her take on why a third political party is electorally not viable.

She makes some good points. 

What should also be said is that this is a structural situation electorally.

In so many elections, not just presidential, the two-party vote tends to combine between 97 to 99 percent. That leaves a buffer of one to three percent combining for all candidates outside the two major U.S. political parties.

On the electoral map, for presidential elections, a third-party candidate probably has to reap at least 25 (but perhaps closer to 30) percent in the U.S. Popular Vote to be able to carry any states.

It also depends on carriage of what.

When referring to past 20th-century U.S. presidential elections, in which a third-party candidate carried any states, what was carried were states normally aligned to the major party closer to that third-party candidate’s ideology.

• 1912 Progressive Party nominee, and 26th U.S. president and former Republican, Teddy Roosevelt carried six states then-aligned to the Republicans: California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington.

• 1924 Progressive Party nominee Robert La Follette carried his home state, which was then-aligned to the Republicans, Wisconsin. (La Follette, then a U.S. senator, was also a previous governor of his home state.)

• 1948 States’ Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat (a few years before his switch to the Republicans), carried his home state South Carolina with other then-Democratic-aligned states Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

• 1968 American Independent nominee George Wallace, a Democrat, carried his home state Alabama and other then-Democratic-aligned states Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

In the U.S. Popular Vote, Roosevelt received 27.39 percent; La Follette received 16.62 percent; Thurmond received 2.41 percent; and Wallace received 13.53 percent.

An example why this is structural is that Thurmond’s 2.41 percent was only 0.04 percent more than the 2.37 percent received by former Democratic U.S. vice president and Progressive nominee Henry Wallace. (who carried no states and no electoral votes).  

I have mentioned that, since 1992, the average number of states carried by U.S. presidential-election winners were 29 with the range between 25 (a 2020 Joe Biden) and 32 (a 1992 Bill Clinton). That we are historically underperforming. (By today’s numbers, that is from the current 50, it would be an average of 34 carried states.)

The structural problem, for the electoral viability of a third-party candidate, is that the two parties have this controlled. Red states. Blue states. The Purple states make the difference with a given election. 

What needs to also be mentioned is that the voters, nationally and state-to-state, have fallen in line for the duopoly. Party identification from exit polls typically have Republican-vs.-Democratic combining around 70 percent. That leaves a remaining 30 percent. That 30 percent is enough to put a color on the electoral map which isn’t red or blue. But turning over roughly 90 or 95 percent of that 30 percent to combine for the Republicans and Democrats furthers the argument that a third-party candidacy is not viable.

Monday, March 1, 2021

New ‘Recommendations’

Two years ago, on March 1, 2019, I revised the look of Progressives Chat. (Link: Considering a Change.)

On this blog’s date, here in 2021, I am revising the “Recommendations.”

#ForceTheVote made me realize some I had previously recommended—The Humanist Report (with Mike Figueredo), The Rational National (with David Doel), and The Tim Black Show—should go.

Among those “New”-ly welcomed are Bad Faith (with Briahna Joy Gray) and The Dive with Jackson Hinkle.

Since I had regretfully neglected “Recommendations,” for some time, I had to update others highly recommended like Glenn Greenwald, Katie Halper, and Chris Hedges. This also includes Hard Lens Media. (For some time, it was HLM. It has since returned to its better-known name.) Paul Jay, formerly with The Real News, is also included with his theAnalysis-news. In the case of Halper, I am linking her YouTube channel, under her name, but not the one for Rolling Stone, on which she co-hosts with Matt Taibbi. (That publication, in general, is not worthy of “Recommendations.”)

I have included both the published video and website links to The Grayzone (with Max Blumenthal and his wife Anya Parampil as well as Ben Norton and Aaron Maté).

Some true progressives have jumped around in recent years to a point in which I decided to not make a point of keeping up. No disrespect. So the likes of Walker Bragman and David Sirota are no longer listed. Last I recall, I think Bragman may be with Jacobin. (That site also includes The Young Turks’s Ana Kasparian—and so that is enough for me to not provide a link to that site.) And Sirota has been a regular contributing guest on The Hill’s Rising.

I sense readers of Progressives Chat get around—or get around enough.

Hopefully, the “New ‘Recommendations’” list will be satisfying enough for the time being.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Time for Cruz and Cuomo to Go

Two of the most despicable elected officials—Texas U.S. senator Ted Cruz and New York governor Andrew Cuomo—should be driven out of office for their offensive (and, in Cuomo’s case, criminal) conduct.

Cruz needs to go for abandoning his Texas constituents, who have been suffering for days with an uncommon crisis that has millions in the state suffering from a snowstorm that has been disastrous for their power grid. This includes not only electricity but also heat and water. What Cruz opted to do was go on vacation with his children to Cancun, Mexico.

Cuomo needs to be gone for his role in concealing the data records on senior COVID–19 patients in nursing homes. Many of them were sent into those nursing homes along with those other patients who did not have COVID–19. Cuomo threatened New York assemblyman Ron Kim to help with the coverup.

These two are examples of how the U.S. has no shortage of incompetent and possibly psychopathic or sociopathic elected officials. 

Disqus for progressiveschat-blogspot-com