Will the real Soviet-style socialist please step forward

It once seemed unimaginable, but a proven socialist looks quite likely to win the 2020 presidential election. No, We’re not talking about that “democratic” socialist. We’re referring to the soviet style socialist who already occupies the White House.

For three years, “Never Trump” Republicans told us that Trump was so despicable, so corrupt, so contemptuous of the rule of law that they’d hold their noses and vote for anyone the Democrats nominated to challenge him. Lately, many Never Trumpers have become Hardly-Ever Trumpers, deciding that one Democratic candidate is beyond the pale: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

But if you oppose Sanders because you fear a socialist president, ask yourself: Wouldn’t actually be a step back from what we have now?

Trump loves to red-bait “Crazy Bernie.” Unlike his preferred boogeymen (and boogeywomen) on the left, though, Trump has actually implemented anti-market, Soviet-style, centrally planned policies, and he has used the power of the state to punish political enemies.

In some ways, in fact, Trump has proved himself a more successful old school soviet socialist than Sanders is likely ever to be. Trump has brainwashed his supposedly free-market party into backing a command-and-control-style economy. When it’s commanded-and-controlled by Trump, anyway. With nary a peep from his party, Trump has tried to prop up pet industries, such as coal, by government fiat. Indeed, other Republicans have since copied his strategy at the state level.

Likewise, in a move that once would have had Republicans screaming bloody murder, Trump has slapped tariffs on virtually every major trading partner around the world to protect favored industries, such as steel. This not only failed to rejuvenate steel but also led to widespread retaliation, including tit-for-tat tariffs aimed at farm country, a key part of the Republican base.

Trump then decided even more central planning was in order. Again, his party didn’t stop him. First, Commissaire Trump unilaterally decided to use taxpayer funds to bail out farmers hurt by his trade wars. When that didn’t work, he did it again. In a tweet Friday, he suggested that a third bailout might yet be necessary. Already, Trump’s farmer trade bailouts are more than double the size of the 2009 auto bailout. We he endlessly derided President Obama for. A decade ago — with the global economy on the verge of another depression — Republicans howled that this U.S. auto industry rescue package was “the leading edge of the Obama administration’s war on capitalism” and would set us on “the road toward socialism.”

Today, these same zombie Republicans seem curiously unperturbed.

Republicans once argued that we should encourage China to become more market-oriented. But Trump has demanded that China engage in even more centralized economic planning — through minimum purchase commitments of U.S. goods regardless of market conditions. It’s as if Trump is trying to provide proof of concept for President Dwight Eisenhower’s domino theory. Republicans’ response? Stand by and praise him.

Conservatives complain that Sanders and his socialist allies wish to bloat budget deficits. Under Trump, of course, this has already happened. The deficit in fiscal 2019 was a whopping 48 percent higher than it was in fiscal 2017, thanks to GOP policies. And while “Crazy Bernie” does intend to jack up tax rates to (partly) offset his spending, Trump has raised some taxes on Americans, too — he’s just done it more regressively, through taxes on imports rather than income.

Trump’s version of socialism soaks the poor, not the rich.

If conservatives are genuinely frightened by Sanders’s proposed downward redistribution of wealth, they might consider the sort of redistribution practiced by Trump — in particular, the many ways Trump has used his office to redistribute taxpayer dollars into his own pocket. Just last week, during a tour of western states, Trump elected to fly his entourage back to his hotel in Las Vegas each night rather than stay in the other cities he was visiting.

Whatever Sanders’s flaws, at least he doesn’t try to steal everything that’s not nailed down.

 

 

Rewritten version of an opinion piece by Catherine Rampell in WaPo

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-socialist-is-likely-to-win-the-2020-election-no-not-bernie-sanders/2020/02/24

Trump/Putin in 2020

 

Fox News is continuing to provide enormous spin for Donald Trump. Earlier this week they twisted the news that Trump was angry an intelligence official briefed Congress on Russia attacking the 2020 election to help get him re-elected, by claiming “Trump Upset Over Kremlin Trying to Re-Elect Him.”

The irony, of course, is our intelligence agencies brought the information to leaders in our government. House Republicans were furious upon hearing the news – furious that they were being told the truth, and wanted to stomp it out. So Rep. Devin Nunes told Trump, who then fired his Director of National Intelligence.

Predictably the Kremlin is laughing off claims they are once again interfering in the 2020 election, saying the very notion is “paranoid.”  “The Kremlin said on Friday that allegations from U.S. intelligence officials that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign and trying to boost Donald Trump’s re-election chances are false and the result of paranoia, ” before adding Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the (U.S.) election.”

However, in a report for the Daily Beast, Russian media expert Julia Davis explains that, despite Donald Trump’s disavowals, his presidency has been highly beneficial to the Kremlin, they could not be happier and the state-run press has no qualms about boasting about it.

With reports coming out that the Russians are once again interfering in the presidential race, and Trump’s fury that intelligence community has been briefing Democrats about it, Davis claimed that you don’t need an intel briefing to know who they support in 2020 — and why.

Writing that Russian state media has “consistently conveyed the message that Trump’s election has proven exceedingly beneficial for the Kremlin, Davis writes, “Indeed, Trump’s presidency is so valuable for President Vladimir Putin that even ‘tough’ sanctions are minor by comparison. The Chekist( the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations). in the Kremlin is willing to make temporary sacrifices in order to keep such a disruptive figure in charge of the mightiest country in the world, and Russian state media repeatedly make the point that Russia’s gamble will continue to pay off since the Kremlin is holding, as it were, the trump card.”

“Russian experts and pundits on state television frequently express their desire to see Donald Trump re-elected,” she continued. “Appearing on Russia’s popular state television news talk show 60 Minutes last October, political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak gushed: ‘I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health—and another term.’ This is a great situation for Russia… may he flourish and get re-elected…Trump is a great candidate. I applaud him… For America, this isn’t a very good president.’”

According to her report, Russian officials fully expect to cash in on another four years of Trump, “… from the removal of sanctions imposed after Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula and backed a separatist war in Ukraine, to restoration of access to diplomatic compounds the U.S. seized after Russia’s effort to murder a defector in Britain.”

“Normally, spymasters seek to shroud in secrecy their relations with those who wittingly or unwittingly serve their interests,” she wrote. “But Russian state media openly gloat about the Kremlin’s influence over Trump, believing that he can endure the exposure without repercussions, and by flaunting the Kremlin’s sway with the White House, Russia further weakens U.S. democracy, which has always been one of its main pursuits.”

“The Kremlin wants to be perceived as a force to be reckoned with, fostering an atmosphere devoid of accountability for Russia’s human rights violations, foreign invasions, land grabs, and assassinations. In the style of ‘fake it till you make it,’ Putin is determined to persuade the world that resistance is futile and the Kremlin is omnipotent,” she warned. “Every denial of Russian election interference coming out of the White House brings Putin one step closer to the fulfillment of his goals. Every election security bill that is blocked by the GOP in the Senate gives an advantage to our foreign adversaries—and they are not sick of winning.”

Raw Story

Lying enabler Attorney General Barr needs to go

 

It took less than a day for Donald Trump to crap on Attorney General Bill Barr’s efforts to clean up the mess he made with his handling of the Roger Stone case. A whiny Barr on Thursday told ABC News that Trump’s tweets about the Department of Justice made his job “impossible” because they made it look like he was taking orders directly from the Trump whenever he made a decision. (and of course, he is)

Today Trump kept insisting that he had the absolute right to meddle in the Department Of Justice affairs in an early morning tweet.

“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President Dictator, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” he wrote(lied). “Trump has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”  the lyin’ sycophant said.

What the attorney general Barr is really saying is, ‘I know what Trump wants, I’m going to do exactly what Trump wants, I just wish he wouldn’t tweet about it because it is so embarrassing and humiliating,’.
The attorney general was facing a full-scale revolt within the Department of Justice as a result of the political interference, and over the personal influence by Donald Trump in favor of one of his friends and political cronies, Roger Stone.
The attorney general acknowledged in that interview extraordinarily that he personally had a role in overruling his line prosecutors and he offered no explanation, no justification whatsoever for this kind of interference in the prosecution.”

Barr needs to resign and if he doesn’t, he should be removed from office by Congress.

 

Give even more to the rich and steal more from the middle class and the poor.

Trump has proposed a $4.8 trillion election-year budget that would slash major domestic and safety net programs, setting up a stark contrast with all the Democratic presidential primary candidates.

Trump’s draconian budget would cut Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and also wring savings from Medicare despite Trump’s repeated promises to safeguard Medicare and Social Security.

Trump also takes aim at domestic spending with cuts that are sure to be rejected by Congress, including slashing the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 26.5 percent over the next year and cutting the budget of the Health and Human Services department by 9 percent. HHS includes the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will see a budget cut even as the coronavirus spreads.

It would target the Education Department is for a nearly 8 percent cut, the Interior Department would be cut 13.4 percent, and the Housing and Urban Development Department would be cut 15.2 percent. The State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development would be cut by 22 percent.

Not all agencies would face cuts, though. Trump proposes to increase spending for the Department of Homeland Security (presumably for his wall) while keeping Pentagon spending mostly flat. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration budget would increase by 12 percent as Trump has said he wants the agency to prepare for space travel to Mars.

Even with all these draconian spending cuts, the budget would fail to eliminate the federal deficit over the next 10 years, missing a longtime GOP fiscal target. Instead, White House officials plan to say their budget proposal would maybe close the deficit by 2035. The caveat being it would only achieve this if the economy grows at an unprecedented, sustained 3 percent clip through 2025, levels that the bungling Trump administration has failed to achieve for even one year so far. The U.S. economy grew 2.3 percent in 2019, a very weak level of growth according to “2016” Trump

During Trump’s first year in office, his advisers bragged that their budget plan would eliminate the deficit by 2028.

This new trend shows what a dismal failure the Trump regime is in dealing with ballooning government debt, something GOP party leaders had made a top goal during the Obama administration. Trump’s first budget projected the deficit in 2021 would be $456 billion. Instead, it is projected to be more than double that amount.

Trump has shown little interest in dealing with the deficit and debt, though some GOP leaders falsely insist it remains a priority. The $4.8 trillion budget for 2021 would represent a $700 billion surge over levels from 2018.

As a presidential candidate, Trump said he would eliminate not just the annual federal deficit but all debt held by the United States after eight years in office. Trump’s new budget proposal expected to show how far he has moved away from some 2016 campaign promises

Trump’s budget aims to cut spending on safety-net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, cutting food stamp spending by $181 billion over a decade. It proposes to squeeze hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare over a decade through so-called cost-saving proposals such as supposedly reforming medical liability and modifying payments to hospitals for uncompensated care.

The Trump budget cuts Medicaid spending by about $920 billion over 10 years, a change critics warn would lead to reductions in benefits and the number of people on the health care program. “This is a budget that would cause many millions of people to lose health care coverage. That is unambiguous,” said Aviva Aron-Dine, a former Obama official and vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Democrats such as Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, said early reports indicate the budget includes “destructive changes … while extending [Trump’s] tax cuts for millionaires and wealthy corporations.”

The budget is expected to request $2 billion in homeland security spending for the southern border wall. The administration has siphoned billions more from the Pentagon budget ever since declaring a national emergency at the border following last winter’s government shutdown.

Note: The federal debt has already grown by about $3 trillion under Trump.

 

This is an edited story from the Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/10/trump-budget-program-cuts/

Time to shut off the spigot feeding Trumpism

Unregulated Capitalism has brought us the dictator bully Donald Trump, It’s time to fix it or throw it out

Local nonprofit Cooperation Humboldt will host the third annual Artists Dismantling Capitalism conference on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Creamery District in Arcata from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This Symposium will be highly participatory, offering 16 workshops facilitated by artists, community members, and others. Workshops will focus on a wide range of topics including theater, hip hop, artist spaces, spirituality and more. In addition to local community members and artists, the conference will feature visiting facilitators including Kwame Braxton and Abrianni Perry of Cooperation Jackson, MS. and Ali Meders-Knight and Mel Figueroa from Chico.

“The aim of Artists Dismantling Capitalism is to bring together artists, culture workers, social change agents, and anyone and everyone who knows that we can collectively create a society that is loving, compassionate, inclusive and beautiful,” said Cooperation Humboldt organizer Ruthi Engelke. “We are very excited that for the third year, we are able to offer a wide variety of workshops to the community that explore how we may create that society through the power of creativity and art.”

Vegan lunch is included and child care will be provided by the Cooperation Humboldt Parent Hive on request with 5 days notice before the event. Donations are encouraged to help cover the costs of the conference but are not required.

To register, request childcare or find more info, visit https://cooperationhumboldt.com/adc2020/.

 

Let’s finally get rid of blowhard Rex

Ya Rex, you’ve had 8 years and you’ve FAILED!

Last Wednesday night, Rex Bohn was finally confronted directly about his bigotted comment that he made at a fundraiser last year. Bohn asked if a Mexican tamale dinner was authentic enough “to make you go out and steal hub caps,” using a tired old racist stereotype about Mexican people and crime.

Outrage has followed since Bohn’s racist slur, but he was adamant at the Wednesday night candidate forum that his “Hispanic friends” forgave him. “They know I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” he said.

Cliff Berkowitz, his opponent, was unforgiving of Rex’s half-ass apology, saying Bohn “should have apologized straight out.

Here are three great letters from the Times-Standard:

It is time to get rid of the 1st District incumbent

A county supervisor’s No. 1 job is to make decisions. Unfortunately, the 1st District incumbent has a long history of bad decisions. He supported such money pits as an untenable east-west Railroad, a potentially hazardous liquefied natural gas terminal, and an environmentally disastrous onshore wind farm. He appointed a climate denier to the planning department. When confronted on the incompetency

of a public defender, his response was to have lunch with the man and declare him a good guy. (He may be a good guy, but he was the wrong guy and letting him go cost the county $50,000. Other bad personnel decisions have cost us many thousands more.) He supports a plan that encourages large cannabis grows at the expense of mom-and-pop operations, which hurts our local economy (and benefits his son). He has failed to insist that the Humboldt County fair board comply with the Brown Act, which means the fair loses much-needed state funds. His motto of “Humboldt is open for business” risks turning our unique home into a sprawling mass of tract homes and chain stores.

I could go on. These are just a few of the reasons it is time to get rid of the incumbent and elect someone with integrity, someone who is fair, transparent, and has given 25 years of service to Humboldt County.

Please visit Cliff4Supervisor.com, then vote for Cliff Berkowitz on March 3. Debra Kaufman, Bayside

Vote Cliff Berkowitz for 1st District supervisor

I’ve heard it said many times that Rex is such a nice guy that he’d give you the shirt off his back — I cannot disagree with that. That very statement may be the reason for many of his decisions — he’s a pleaser and hates to disappoint.

I recall before a full municipal auditorium that he was touting the benefits of a Cal Pine liquefied natural gas plant on the bay — never mind the health effects of off-gassing or the fact that, if there were an accident, or in this day and age a terrorist attack, that most everything in a 5-mile radius would be incinerated. I believe that Cliff uses the “wisdom” of the people and not so much the promises of fast-talking out-of the- area lobbyists who have no skin in the game.

Eight years has been long enough to see we are getting nowhere; time to try a different perspective and approach.

First District voters — here’s your chance on March 3 to keep your eye on the ball, aim for the fence and hit it out of the park.

VOTE FOR CLIFF — more consensus, less drama. W.R. Engles, Eureka

Berkowitz has been champ for many local causes

I want to thank Cliff Berkowitz for running for first district supervisor. I first became acquainted with Cliff through his work with KHUM radio. He has been involved in our community and has been a champion for many local causes for more than 25 years.

During the power outages, he was a lifeline to my family and the community. The announcements that he made on KHUM helped us to stay connected to what was happening. We heard updates on where we could buy gas, get a generator, which grocery stores were open, etc.

I know that Cliff is concerned with climate change and are rising sea levels. He cares about our land, water and preserving the resources that may Humboldt County desirable. Cliff is a strong proponent of our trail systems. And Cliff will work hard for us to create jobs and housing.

This is his website: Cliff4Supervisor.com Thank you, Cliff!

Carrie Foster, Kneeland

 

Sabotaging any hope of justice

Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell reportedly is close to finalizing a rule that would allow Trump’s clown-car legal team to move to dismiss the articles of impeachment in the Senate quickly after some evidence has been presented, as a sort of safety valve in case the trial starts going bad.

The discussions came as Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that the trial could extend “to six to eight weeks or even longer” if the Senate decided to hear from additional witnesses.

McConnell, R-Ky., wouldn’t be obligated to publicize the final version of his resolution setting the parameters of the impeachment trial until Tuesday, but top Republicans have said they supported affording Trump the opportunity to cut the trial short.

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, for example, said he would be “very, very surprised” if McConnell’s resolution didn’t include that kind of kill switch.

“I am familiar with the resolution as it stood a day or two ago,” Hawley told Axios. “My understanding is that the resolution will give Trump’s clown-car legal team the option to either move to judgment or to move to dismiss……..”

Trump, Hawley wrote on Twitter after Axios’ article was published, “deserves the right during Senate trial to ask for a verdict or move to dismiss – otherwise trial will become endless circus run by Adam Schiff.”

Democrats, meanwhile, have voiced frustration that McConnell was holding the final rules for the trial secret.

“The House managers have absolutely no idea what the structure of the trial two days before the trial begins,”

For his part, Trump suggested earlier this month that an “outright dismissal” might be appropriate.

This whole strategy may end up being moot because whacky Law professor Alan Dershowitz, is set to present an argument against impeachment during the Senate trial, said Sunday it will be clear there will be “no need” for witnesses if his presentation were to succeed. “Criminal-like conduct,” Dershowtiz said, was required for impeachment.

Anything to avoid a fair trial, right?

from Fox News and The Associated Press