You and I went to bed last night thinking that Bernie Sanders had clocked Hillary Clinton but good in their latest corporate-sponsored party debate.
You and I got up this morning and were stunned to learn in the New York Times that Hillary Clinton had "won" the debate simply by wrapping herself in the mantle of her erstwhile nemesis, Barack Obama, and obliquely accusing Senator Sanders of causing the Charleston Massacre by virtue of his vote for an arcane loophole in the tepid gun laws of our blood-soaked violent nation. The Times did not note that Charleston was the venue of the debate, and that she is forecast to win in South Carolina by pandering to the Black vote.
Still, the establishment elites are panicking. They thought that their money and scheduling would control this election. They forgot to repeal our voting rights. Their inverted totalitarianism -- the system in which oligarchs rule through social oppression, propaganda from a consolidated media, and the most extreme wealth inequality the world has ever known -- has been subverted by the masses of people and turned right upside the head.
To paraphrase Mehitabel the Cat, there's life in the old democratic girl yet. The plebeian chiggers are burrowing under the sensitive skin of the plutocrats. The proletarian fleas are nipping at the ankles of the elites.
Paul Krugman, economics pundit of the Gray Lady, has abandoned all pretense at intellectual honesty as well as the last vestige of his alleged liberal conscience by openly embracing the lies of Chelsea Clinton -- lies which claim that Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, immediately stripping millions of their medical coverage, and throwing the election to the Republicans in the process.
Chelsea has been the deserving target of such cliches as "a chip off the old block" and the "apple doesn't fall from the tree." But a more apt metaphor might be that she, Krugman and the whole panoply of elites from the Council on Foreign Relations and other plutocrat-funded think tanks are the little white umbelliform flowers of the poison Hemlock. They cling to the parent plant like dessicated parasites before finally drifting downwards, burrowing into the wasteland, creating their own dense fetid clumps, and crowding out all the potentially nutritious herbage in the process.
The grazing creatures that actually survive ingesting Hemlock become both immune and addicted to it, and keep coming back for more, despite the awful taste and the stench.
Krugman's job is to create docile herds of carefully inbred cattle who become mildly intoxicated, but personally unharmed, by the poison of neoliberalism. The herds prefer vitamin-rich fodder, of course, but they can be taught to make do on noxious weeds.
Once a proponent of single payer, Krugman now shamelessly claims that true universal health insurance in the United States would be just as "kludgey" as the 2,000-plus page Affordable Care Act; he apparently hasn't read the 13 pages that constitute the Canadian medical care system. He obviously has never had to choose between paying the rent and filling a prescription. He is a blatant shill preaching the free market gospel from high atop his perch on Hemlock Hill.
My published response to his dreck:
Hillary Clinton will most likely grab this influential column to further curb the enthusiasm of voters with their pipe dreams of nobody ever going bankrupt just because they get sick. She, and the corporate media, and high finance and predatory insurance (paying her hundreds of millions in speaking fees and "donations"), will do their utmost to kill the hopes of the millions of Americans hanging on by a thread, who despite the ACA, must still choose between medicine and food.
After all, as Gilens and Page have established, the rich get what they want. And what they want is to get richer and more powerful at the expense of everyone else.
Krugman blandly observes that in the current pathocracy, single payer would be a tough sell. After all, the GOP's idea of helping people is not only the repeal of Obamacare. It's the postmodern eugenics project now underway in Flint, Michigan, and in other blighted places throughout this greatest, most exceptional, most unequal country on earth.
The first step is to get the big money out. Bernie himself says this won't happen without a people's revolution. We need to pick up where Occupy left off -- before it was squashed by the same neoliberal state that informs us that universal health care is impossible. Just because they say so.
But guess what? All the cold water in the world, thrown by "experts" on the "Bern" of a resurgent bottom-up democracy, will not put out the flames.
It's Martin Luther King Day. And we still have a dream.Nobody will ever accuse Paul Krugman of being a champion of economic and social justice, that's for sure. But this latest column was a new low, even for him.
Even the centrist Washington Post sounds progressive today, compared to Krugman and the Times. Most pundits are declaring Sanders the winner, albeit "narrowly."
The usually mainstream Chris Cillizza, for example, raved: "More than anything he said, though, it was the passion and disruption that Sanders oozed from every pore over the two hours that should push Democrats on the fence about the race into his camp. Sanders effectively positioned himself as the anti-status-quo candidate, a very good position to have in this electoral environment."
Contrast this to the anal-retentive New York Times piece by Hillary Clinton publicists Amy Chozick and Patrick Healy: "Clinton Seizes on Policy Shifts by Sanders" is the slanted headline, which immediately sets the stage for Bernie's role as a "shifty" guy vanquished by Hillary of Arc.
Among the derogatory phraseology used to describe Sanders: "anti-political", "appearing frustrated at times" by Hemlock Hill's tactics, and prone to testy "eye-rolling and sighing". His fans were termed "restless" -- which in Times-speak can only be defined as being a tad unhinged.
The Times went through the motions of "fact-checking" the debate, seemingly surprised to learn that Sanders' figure of 29 million uninsured Americans is, in fact, true. But, but, but.... Obamacare is supposed to be universal health care! Say it ain't so, Bernie!
One toxic whopper by Hemlock Hill about the reign of Belladonna Bill that should have been fact-checked, and wasn't, was this cubic zirconium she palmed off as the Hope Diamond:
.. I’m going to have the very best advisers that I can possibly have, and when it comes to the economy and what was accomplished under my husband’s leadership and the ’90s — especially when it came to raising incomes for everybody and lifting more people out of poverty than at any time in recent history — you bet.
I’m going to ask for his ideas, I’m going ask for his advice, and I’m going use him as a goodwill emissary to go around the country to find the best ideas we’ve got, because I do believe, as he said, everything that’s wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America.
Through their repeal of FDR's Aid to Families With Dependent Children, Hill and Bill did more to condemn women (mainly women of color) to lives of grinding poverty than any Republican administration or congress could ever have done on their own. That this reality was not immediately apparent during the booming 90s of the bubble economy and reckless financial deregulation was pure serendipitous timing. Not until the Bush years would it be revealed that the Clinton years of "prosperity" were based on inflated stock prices, manipulation and outright fraud. When the Clintons left the White House, the gap between rich and poor was already greater than it was when they began their co-presidency in 1992.We just have to do more of it, and we have to reach out, especially into poor communities and communities of color, to give more people their own chance to get ahead.
During the Clinton reign, as pointed out by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, the incomes of the wealthiest 1% increased by nearly 100%, while that of the bottom 99% increased by only 20%. The repeal of Glass-Steagall (described as "modernization") sent the Clintons' banker buddies on a rampage, fueling a bubble as they gambled with customer deposits and used some of the ill-gotten, untaxed surplus to reward Hillary and Bill's family foundation and campaign coffers as well as those of their neoliberal political cohort.
Money begat power begat more money begat more power in an endless closed corrupt feedback loop. And Hillary and Bill are avid to "do more of it." They've been ever on the lookout for the growing number of American and global waste spaces on which to infest neoliberal umbelliform life-forms.
Until along came master weeder Bernie Sanders, riding on the coattails of the never-moribund Occupy movement.
The elites are tearing out their hair even as the populist gardeners are tearing out whole clumps of invasive political hemlock by the deep, grasping, corrupt roots.