Thursday, June 6, 2019

John Hickenlooper - Properly Jeered in San Francisco For Dumbo Comments On "Socialism"

Image result for brane space, John Hickenlooper images
John Hickenlooper, who got booed in San Fran for remarks against socialism, gained notoriety in 2015 for his PR stunt in drinking water from a polluted river in Colorado.  Can we trust a Neolib clown like this in the presidency - say more than a Socialist like Bernie Sanders? No way in hell!

As might be expected, the Neoliberal press got into a fit after Dem presidential candidate John Hickenlooper showed up at the California Democratic state party convention and got resoundingly booed for remarks made on socialism.  "Hick"   began soundly enough saying:

"Trump is threatening our democracy, not to mention dismantling our health care, destroying our planet and creating a culture of hate."

He then make the mistake of blabbing on, about a topic he's clearly uneducated on:

"If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer."

Whereupon most of the gathered state Dems rained down lusty boos and jeers.  No surprise the primary organ of finance capital, The Wall Street Journal tore into the SF Dems for their effrontery in an editorial three days ago ('When Democrats Jeer Democrats', p. A17)   The Denver Post - owned by Alden Global Capital (a hedge fund) then joined the bandwagon yesterday with its own editorial ('Hickenlooper is right to reject socialism and bad policies', p. 21A) basically regurgitating the same twaddle as the WSJ, but with a slightly softer tack, i.e. that if socialism isn't roundly rejected by all D-candidates then "Trump may be able to sow a seed of doubt in voters" .  Translation:  If Dotard and his cabal of traitor enablers keep screaming "Dems want Socialism!"  a new "red scare" will be generated, and independents and ignorant centrist Dems will either not vote D, or vote Trump. Again. Personally, I dispute voters - apart from Trumpies - could be that stupid, but who knows?

Outdoing even these two editorials was the one in the local right wing rag (Colorado Springs Gazette) yesterday. which fairly screeched: 'Facing a hive of booing bullies'.     Writing in part - referencing what Hick said earlier:

"This was friendly and honest advice for a party Hickenlooper loves. A rational crowd would have listened and contemplated the words of man successful in business and politics - the leader who completed two terms as governor in a swing state wit the country's best economy."

Yeah, but how did this swing state achieve that "best" economy?  By Hick bending over backwards as a puppet for the frackers - sacrificing citizens' health and now despoiling nearly 25 million gallons a day of our precious water for fracking operations. A guy who sat on his butt after a number of incidents including the home explosion in Firestone  that killed two men. The incident was blamed on a leaky flowline from a nearby well that hadn’t been capped properly.   Hickenlooper, willing tool of the Colorado frackers  (c/o the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission) that he is, has also ceaselessly inveighed against common sense measures including Proposition 112 on the ballot last November, i.e.

The passage of Proposition 112 would have spared front range families from noxious fracking fumes, as well as noise and soil toxicity - which have triggered myriad health problems. Oh, and let's not forget Hick's PR stunt of drinking (supposedly) polluted water from the Animas river in an effort to double down on his earlier stunt of drinking just- fracked water - complete with benzene and all the other chemicals. Only this time two eagle-eyed Denver Post reporters spotted the fool dropping iodine tables into his water bottle before slugging the yellowish sludge down. Probably to protect himself from giardia and E. coli. as well as minimize the effects of the pollutants, like cadmium, lead,  etc.

And THIS is the "business and political leader" the yahoos at the Gazette bid us to respect?    What all of Hick's stunts have shown is that he's a full fledged capitalist exploiter and propaganda purveyor,  quite happy for families to continue to get sick -  then  lose their health care and jobs  - as long as the profits for frackers remain on the rise  The Gazette's resident editorial apes then barked:

"Instead of considering his logic, Hickenlooper's fellow Democrats acted like barbarians at a cage match"

Not at all! In my humble opinion, they knew in advance that Hickenlooper has zero vested interest in the common welfare, and also they were likely aware of his previous PR stunts. They weren't buying the snake oil this fucker was selling and they let him know in no uncertain terms. Good on them!  The worst mistake, as Janice pointedly noted, is that Hick was conflating social democracy with socialism.  But why be surprised when most Americans have zero knowledge of the difference between socialism, communism and Marxism.

The real problem, as with the coverage of Trump and his asinine tweets, is the boundless ignorance  concerning socialism in the neolib (and rightist) media and its circulation to the reading and viewing public. We have already seen examples concerning this, some of which I've written about, e.g.

Corporate Media Pushes Socialism Bogey To Scare ... - Brane Space

In that post I skewered  the WaPo's resident Neolib  cartoonist Lisa Benson and her idiotic cartoon - actually a clever form of agitprop, see below:
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"The asinine brainwashing of the American masses has occurred in many forms, but no where as consistently and insanely as the campaign against socialism (as embodied, for example,  in the cartoon above)."

I then described living in a city (Milwaukee) under socialist Mayor, Frank P. Zeidler:
Did Milwaukee go to hell in a handbasket as the current wave of anti-socialist media buffoons would have you believe? ? Not in any way! In fact, what Mayor Zeidler implemented were really more social democratic programs than socialist ones.   We saw that  the living conditions, opportunities in the city were never better. Jobs proliferated, especially in major manufacturing (Allis –Chalmers etc.) while the breweries hired thousands with excellent pay and benefits, including health care. Housing abounded as well, affordable housing off of Greenfield Ave. and Teutonia and in other suburbs to the north and west. Parks, meanwhile, were the envy of many other cities for their beautiful layouts, amenities and services. I can still recall going to Washington Park (across the street from where my family lived on W. 48th and Cherry Streets) on the 4th of July for band performances and later fireworks..

As I further noted:

"So my appreciation for a respectable, beneficial socialism commenced at a very early age, and was reinforced by further study of many different socio-economic systems as part of a wide-ranging liberal arts education."

Alas, that type of education seems not to have extended to much of the Neoliberal fourth estate which continues stoking hysterical fears, as Hickenlooper tried to do, and which imho - was answered appropriately.

In that  same Sept. 2018 post  to which I linked above I also referenced Oprah Winfrey's own badly needed education re: socialism. (And social democracy) This was after she raised misbegotten fears of socialism and the welfare state.e.g.

As Oprah rumbled on  about "socialism" with a fearful expression, a Danish citizen on Skype quickly informed her: "We think of it as being civilized. As taking care of each other...the elderly, the sick."   The Danish woman had clearly exposed Oprah's brainwashing - and Oprah is not a dumb American.

Want to see a "welfare state?"  Look at the trillions Trump's rich cohort are packing away (from his corporate and wealth tax cuts) as they laugh all the way to the banks, or their hedge funds. Look at how the loyal Trumpie MAGA voters - who thought they were getting such a "deal" for the working class - barely snatched $620 from Trump's tax cuts last year and now face the (effective) tax imposed from his Mexico and Chinese tariffs.

See e.g.

Dotard Doubles Down On Crashing The Economy By ... - Brane Space

All of this as Americans under Trump's one man fascist oligarchy now face the fact that there is no city, no county in these United States where a person earning minimum wage - at even two or three jobs - can purchase affordable housing. (In Denver one needs an income of at least $91,000 /yr. to buy a median value home. How many teachers do you suppose can make that cut?)

The programs and policies of social democracy - such as peculiar to Rhine capitalism - seek to address these anomalies. But we can't do so when we have histrionic know -nothings spouting off ignorant bollocks like in a recent WSJ op-ed ('Socialists Don't Know History', May 31, p. A15)  when it is THEY that don't know history.  Else they wouldn't conflate socialism (democratic socialism) with social democracy or communism, or the magazine Jacobin with The Daily Worker, or the Soviet Pravda. (As the uninformed WSJ author Joseph Epstein did). 

Fortunately, despite the flood of rubbish about socialism in the press lately, one can find the occasional rational and well thought out article, even in The Wall Street Journal.  For example, Greg Ip  in his piece 'Parsing the Lessons of True Socialism'  (Feb. 7, p. A2)  In which he wrote:

"Medicare for All wouldn't  nationalize doctors and hospitals, though it might drive private insurers out of business- putting the U.S. where many industrial countries already are."

Yet to have heard Hickenlooper's codswallop one would have thought a vast "central committee' would suddenly  be taking over everyone's medical care- as opposed to simply an evolutionary step, a dying out - akin to Blockbuster videos giving way to the Netflix model.

In contrast to Hickenlooper's bitching about the Green New Deal i.e. "We should not try to tackle climate change by promising every American a government job"  - which no Green dealer ever claimed, Mr. Ip noted:

"If the federal government ends up financing significant expansion of renewable energy under a Green New Deal, it wouldn't be unprecedented.  It created the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s and the Interstate highway system in the 1950s."

So once again, we aren't talking about a radical takeover of the means of production, just a redirection of capital for the common good.  Moreover as author Naomi Klein has noted ('This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. Climate Change'  ), we now know the extent to which capitalism's growth dynamic has stoked global warming.  It is also directly based on reckless  resource extraction, so she uses the term, "extractionism" for the relentless plunder of scarce reources.  (Including using scarce supplies of water here in Colo. for fracking operations.)

The worst, most egregious blather comes from the Gazette is when its editor yaps:

"Socialism by nearly every definition is the bully's philosophy. In soaking the rich and burdening the middle class socialism takes by force the rewards created by constructive endeavors. In doing so it raids capital that would otherwise fund additional achievement, charities and 'big progressive goals'.

But they've got it backwards. In fact, it is unchecked, unregulated capital that plunders the tax commons to advance the wealth of the few and becomes the de facto bully.  This is nowhere better demonstrated than in the Pareto economics our grafting system is grounded in,  e.g.

Hence, no surprise that the billionaires that make up the Forbes 400 list have more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of Americans.  Process that!  In addition, the system is set up to literally take by force from those who have the least, in multiple ways. All to kowtow to the shareholders of large corporations.  This is also why wages in the U.S. have remained literally at a standstill. No progress despite the "great economy", so 40 percent of our countrymen- in the same middle class the Gazette's cretins talk about being "burdened" by socialism  -  cannot even finagle $400 for an emergency.  They are burdened all right, by cowboy capitalists dominating corporations what would rather use their tax cut monies for share buybacks than paying higher wages.  As for the claim this capital would "otherwise be available to fund additional achievement, charities etc." - that doesn't even pass the most basic smell test.  As set up the system is geared to keep plying shareholders with $$ not contributing anything to the commons.

The Gazette's pro-capitalist cowboys don't stop there, further babbling this idiocy:

"Socialism creates nothing. A parasitic ideology it survives on the ill gotten gains of confiscation:

Which is, of course, total unadulterated horse shit. Again, most of this local Reich rag's baloney can be traced to abject ignorance and conflating socialism (under a more rigid Marxist interpretation, i.e. control of means production) with social democracy within which capitalism is present - but not run amuck. As Barnard College's Prof.  Sheri Berman articulates the relationship:

"Communism certainly failed, but social democracy has arguably been the single most successful movement.  Look at the rise of  stable European democracies after World War II...because a stable social consensus married relatively free markets and private ownership with expanded welfare states, progressive taxation and other forms of gov't intervention in economics and society."

Did the European democracies suddenly lose it and start drinking a socialist 'kool aid'?  No, they grasped the powerful meme of self interest and survival, and if they didn't enable free markets with welfare states, there'd be no more free markets, period. To quote one commenter on smirkingchimp: "The elite better be prepping with their underground bunkers to ward off the hordes stat."    

In other words, the populist hordes - already making their mark on Europe - would come with their pitchforks and torches for the self same elites.  That is, unless states directed the more equitable distribution of critical resources, wealth.  Let's also bear in mind "wealth" is another term for captured limited resources from a finite Earth, hence such extraction affects all the inhabitants of the planet.

State direction of resource allocation generally has gone by the term "dirigisme" and was what JFK attempted to use in his  'Alliance for Progress' and in his own domestic tax policies. However, in the latter he lacked the majorities in congress to implement.  (See, 'Battling Wall Street - The Kennedy Presidency', 1994, Donald Gibson).  As Prof. Gibson, as well as Prof. Berman have taken pains to point out, capitalism as a proper engine of job creation and wider benefits can work - but not if it is allowed to exploit resources relentlessly, engender massive pollution along with  producing goods, and fill up every landfill in the world with trash and plastics that rebound to literally strangle all the planet's denizens, e.g.
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Including us.  Naomi's Klein's point in 'This Changes Everything' is yes, we do need an engine of creation of wealth such as capitalism provides.  But it has to be a regulated capitalism,  not a deus ex machina, to control and dominate us - its ultimate creators!  This is what the so-called socialists, actually more social Democrats, are about, i.e. when they call for a more forgiving, equitable health care system.  This as opposed to one in which cancer victims can be driven into bankruptcy by outsized medical bills in no relation to the services.  Merely because the private system allows providers to package each service  and bill it separately without regard to cost or benefit. Greed dominates, and greed is what needs to be controlled for the larger good.
As for John Hickenlooper, his candidacy doesn't pass muster for even the most basic laugh test.  Not merely because of his transcendent ignorance re:  socialism and the Green New Deal, but because he's simply one more clown politico aspiring to a position he doesn't merit.  A tamer, less bilious Dem version of Trump if you will - who has no business running a whole nation. He's damned near turned our state into a fracking hell. We can't let him do that to the country. Wait! Can't let him? In fact his current polling (0.5%) shows he won't even make the cut for the first Dem debates in Miami in 2 1/2 weeks.  So perhaps the San Francisco 'greeting' was the last we'll see and hear from him.

See also:
by Robert Reich | June 7, 2019 - 7:10am | permalink


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