Ileana Johnsongrew up in Romania under the Nicolae Ceaușescuregime and immigrated to the US in 1978. By 1982 she had become a citizen and went on to earn two advanced degrees. Johnson has written several books, including one on her experiences under Communism in Romaniaand anotheron the United Nations sustainable development plan known as Agenda 21.
On Monday she posted “We are Serving the Working People” at The Bull Elephant. This essay amounted to a fascinating strawman definition of “socialism.” A sample:
Do they understand that socialism suppresses individuality, forces collectivism, causes mass starvation, imprisons people with divergent ideas in labor camps, herds them off their properties into high rise cinder block apartments, nationalizes all industries, and confiscates all private property and wealth?
This accurately describes East European and Russian political economies up to the end of the Cold War, so in a way Johnson comes by this view honestly. She experienced it this way. And because everyone called this kind of political and economic system “socialism” or “communism” back in the day, this is pretty standard-issue conservative rhetoric about the dangers of making sure the economy and political system work for everyone. I wonder though how much this has to do with protecting corporations and the wealthy from calls for a more equitable distribution of economic productivity than it does with any real concern over liberty. It’s not as if our system protects citizens from voter suppression and gerrymandering in a way that restricts elite power. In the end the conservative project looks a lot like a defense of corporate rights to profits while showing little concern for what liberty looks like to people who have to work two jobs so they can pay the rent and keep dinner on the table.
Yves Smith (aka Susan Webber), a management consultant and principal at Aurora Advisors, writes at Politico that the “highly educated, high-income, finance-literate readers of my website, Naked Capitalism, don’t just overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders. They also say “Hell no!” to Hillary Clinton to the degree that many say they would even vote for Donald Trump over her.”
They (9 out of 10 Smith friends polled) developed their “conclusions” from “careful study of her record and her policy proposals,” and believe the Clintons represent a policy status quo of “crushing inequality, and an economy that is literally killing off the less fortunate.” And they think “the most powerful move they can take to foster change is to withhold their support.” Continue reading
Chris Matthews hit Bernie Sanders pretty hard the other night on Hardball for his new Goldman Sachs ad, which points out that the firm recently paid fines for banking law violations that helped damage the economy in 2008. The ad goes on to remind Americans that none of the people responsible faced criminal prosecution – though actual humans acted to break the law. These individual Wall Street bankers, the ad notes, get away with this because they contribute to political campaigns and pay huge speaking fees to politicians. The ad does not mention Hillary Clinton at all – but because Clinton has a relationship with Goldman Sachs that includes both campaign contributions and speaking fees, Matthews characterized this as a slam on the Secretary.
Sanders has a reputation as a clean campaigner and has said several times that he won’t go negative in his race against Hillary Clinton. After showing several clips of Sanders saying he’s never used a negative ad and won’t start now Mathews showed the spot and then spent several minutes making a claim that Sanders has changed strategy and “gone negative.” Continue reading
I’m not a huge Andrea Mitchell fan. She is a true Washington insider – married to Alan Greenspan – and I wonder sometimes if the bubble she lives in affects her reporting.
But yesterday on Meet the Press she actually committed an act of journalism and challenged a claim made by Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS). When asked why the Benghazi Committee had called on Clinton aides like Sid Blumenthal and Huma Abedin rather than those who could actually speak to the security situation and possible failures, Mr. Pompeo responded that “…Secretary Clinton relied on Mr. Blumenthal for most of her intelligence.”
Though I expect this kind of claim will resonate with many conservatives – it could feed their general sense of the Clintons as corrupt officials who rely on a shady cabal of allies – to most this claim sounds silly on its face. Ms. Mitchell challenges the claim: “That is factually not true.” Transcript below the fold. Continue reading
Over at Bearing Drift a few weeks ago Shaun Kenney said this about MSNBC:
“Let’s be very honest about it. MSNBC caters to probably the most hateful, unintelligent, mean-spirited, and closed minded of the American left. The smugness and arrogance of the blathering idiots are perhaps only punctuated by the occasional bright light offered by Rachel Maddow, but beyond this are nothing but the vapid darkness of a fanatic who won’t change their mind and rarely changes the subject.”
“They really do hate us,” says Mr. Kenney (emphasis in the original), and it’s this hate that irks conservatives. This makes MSNBC a “perfect caricature of what liberals think Fox News must be” (emphasis again from the original). Continue reading