Be wary of those fake socialists

29 Apr

There are two people that call themselves socialist when they really aren’t. Let us repeat what I defined as socialism

“a theory of human liberation, which helps one overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development which is wide-reaching, including nationalists, collectivists, idealists, Utopians and Altruarians but socialism is not any one of these, for it is all. Simply enough, it is when one strives for a better form of government, preferably a pure democracy with people directly in control rather indirectly with representatives, pushes for societal reconstruction, and a better vision of the future rooted in liberty, equality, and solidarity. This concept would not push for the overexpansion of government ownership, an expanded welfare state, or repressive bureaucracy but rather democratic control of the means of production by workers and consumers for their own benefit and the interest of the overall society”

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE

So, as you may have guesses from the previous two pictures that I don’t think Hollande is a socialist. He’s nowhere close! For one, the current war in Mali which is silently ending, “diverts, however, from the non-interventionist line professed” by himself about the country’s Africa policy according to Global Voices! I wrote in early 2013:

The “socialist” in France, Francois Hollande who was elected with messages mirroring what propelled Obama into power in 2008, is leading the war effort but the U.S. is the secret force behind this intervention…“Socialist” French President French Francois Hollande tells us that France’s war in Mali “is not pursuing any special interest other than securing friendly nation.” Can we trust him? In fact, we can’t…” What none note is that Hollande by committing this war is dishonoring the idea of socialism, as it is a theory of human liberation by democratizing human life through “communal responsibility and equal rights.””

Socialist Chris Hedges wrote before the election the following [some of the highlights]:

“I went to Lille in northern France a few days before the first round of the French presidential election to attend a rally held by the socialist candidate Francois Hollande. It was a depressing experience. Thunderous music pulsated through the ugly and poorly heated Zenith convention hall a few blocks from the city center. The rhetoric was as empty and cliché-driven as an American campaign event. Words like “destiny,” “progress” and “change” were thrown about by Hollande…The signs of this mounting polarization were apparent in incomplete returns Sunday with the far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, winning a staggering vote of roughly 20 percent. This will make the National Front the primary opposition party in France if Hollande wins, as expected, the presidency in the second round May 6…The abrasive Nicolas Sarkozy is France’s oilier version of Bush. Sarkozy, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has done the dirty work for bankers. He and Merkel have shoved draconian austerity measures down the throats of Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy. The governments of all these countries, not surprisingly, have been deposed by an enraged electorate…And if the new governments in these distressed European states continue to be ineffectual—which is inevitable given the sacrifices demanded by the banks—the instability will get worse. Politicians such as Obama—and, I fear, Hollande—who carry out corporate agendas while speaking in the language of populism become enemies of liberal democracies…Paris was convulsed by riots led by unemployed youths in 2005, many of them immigrants living in the depressing high-rise housing projects in the poor suburbs of Paris known as banlieues. These riots swiftly spread across France. The French government declared a state of national emergency. Now, the simmering rage of the underclass could easily boil over again. The French unemployment rate of 10 percent is the highest in 12 years, but for those in the banlieues the rate is more than 40 percent…And public unrest could soon pit the disorganized rage of the dispossessed against organized crypto-fascists such as Le Pen, who once compared Muslims praying on French streets in front of overcrowded mosques to the Nazi occupation. A breakdown of liberal democracy, which seems to be where we are headed, may not bring with it a salutary change…widespread discontent could very easily be manipulated by the corporate elites to ensure our enslavement. I watched this happen in the former Yugoslavia. This is the real battle before us. And it has nothing to do with the election charade between Obama and Romney and, I expect, Hollande and Sarkozy.”

He has in spite of his policies as described by Wikipedia, has called for a reduction of the corporate tax rate to 30% for medium corporations and 15% for small ones.
Other criticisms include a policy that will supposedly reduce unemployment but isn’t specified, continuing layoffs when he said he wouldn’t during the campaign, pushing through an austerity budget which helps big business but not the working class, a competitiveness agreement with one of the countries biggest corporations, Rennault [makes light military vehicles], to oversee assets of elected officials he wants to create a high authority without allocating any additional resources to it, establishing an annual list of tax havens but effort to help end them or tax them, working with the largest union of employers in the country, MEDEF, by helping them have an austerity budget. Just like here they say they need “budget savings.” Don’t forget that Hollande is good friends with Obama as well, which well is problematic.  This is all while there are assemblies across the country.

Also see these commentaries:

“Unlike Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande neither polarises public opinion, nor does he arouse strong feelings. He is generally described as “decent” and “modest”; adjectives that were never associated with Sarkozy. Three months on, however, the novelty of this change is beginning to wear off. Over the course of the last week, commentators in the media have called on Hollande to start being more specific about his policies and priorities. Some journalists have even begun to mock his quiet tone…The infamous Tepa law, passed in August 2007 – which lowered taxes on assets of wealthier people – was also revised. Jérôme Cahuzac, the Socialist minister for the budget, declared that this “exceptional contribution is a big effort being demanded of those who can afford to make it”. It sounded like an uneasy plea to the rich, rather than a confident decision. This half-hearted approach augurs badly for the intentions of the government when it comes to addressing the widening gap between the rich and the rest of the population. Furthermore, a 75% tax rate on those earning more than €1m, and a new 45% rate on those earning over €150,000 has been delayed until the autumn….The so-called frequency tax is 0.01% on the amount of stock orders modified or cancelled that exceeds 80% of all orders transmitted in a month. In short, it’s more of a “non-transaction” tax. These “achievements” promised to shed a new light on Hollande’s much trumpeted intentions of “further regulating the markets”…the French president spectacularly failed to keep his word. Angela Merkel’s and Sarkozy’s treaty has prevailed unchanged. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Left Front presidential candidate, denounced it as a “knockabout farce”…The Socialist president has not opposed the EU-inspired austerity programmes that are strangling the economies of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Worse, he has implicitly endorsed them by sending an unprecedented, thinly veiled warning to Greek voters days before the dramatic rerun of the general elections…France’s constitutional council ruled that the adoption of the EU fiscal compact did not require a change to the constitution. This would have necessitated the support of three-fifths of MPs; an unachievable majority. Instead, the treaty will enter into force if the government passes an “organic law” by a simple majority. Hollande said there would be no referendum on the new treaty – he is afraid of losing it. This denial of democracy has infuriated the left. Many argue that the pact allows Brussels to dictate national policy by allowing it to impose sanctions on countries that fail to respect a structural deficit ceiling of 0.5% of GDP…Hollande has chosen to stay the course of the punitive austerity policies that are ruining European countries. Mr Normal has quietly taken to the neoliberal sea – and he makes no waves.”- Philippe Marliere, http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/22/francois-hollande-the-austere-socialist/

“François Hollande, the socialist candidate in the presidential race, wants to be seen by the public as the “Mr. Normal” of French politics: calm, measured and reassuringly honest. In short, he wants to be seen as Nicolas Sarkozy’s antithesis. Hollande’s “normality” is reflected in the polls. In the first round of the presidential election, “Mr Normal” was in electoral terms “Mr Catch-all”. The socialist candidate fared well across all social classes; with men as well as women. Compared to all other candidates, this consistency is remarkable…Appearances are deceptive. Because Hollande wants to impose a 75% income tax on earnings above 1 million euros and has talked about adding growth provisions to the EU fiscal compact, I hear City analysts crying wolf. How droll. Hollande is the quintessential moderate. He was the Parti Socialiste (PS) leader for 11 years and during that time he managed to preserve the unity of this most fractious party. He comes from the right-wing of the PS…Hollande studied at HEC – a well-known business school in Paris, then ENA, the Grande Ecole which trains the country’s political elite. He is not an old-fashioned intellectual in the Mitterrand mould, but a sharp technocrat. Like most politicians today, he is ideologically adaptable and ambiguous…When attending PS executive meetings, Hollande used to infuriate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. (The Left Front candidate in the first round of this election was a PS member until 2008). Mélenchon complained that every time Hollande was put in an awkward position, he would stop debating seriously and start making light-hearted comments or even cracking jokes to diffuse the tension. In 1999, Hollande and a PS delegation came to London to meet with Tony Blair. I was a member of Hollande’s party at the time so I was invited to join the French delegation. When we left Downing Street, Hollande matter of factly asked me whether Blair’s third way could be imported into France. I replied that anything is importable, but I warned that an attempt to bring to France Blair’s “Thatcherism with a human face” would result in the annihilation of the French left. Hollande looked bored.”- Philippe Marlière, http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/01/francoise-hollande-frances-tony-blair

“But let’s go back to AP’s Ganley and the current election. Most people in Europe, left, center and right, would titter at her naive claim that  French Socialist Hollande was just elected because French voters had decided the country was “too capitalist” for their Gallic taste. The truth? France’s Socialists, like the Social Democrats in Germany and the Laborites in the UK, and indeed like all the major socialist parties in Europe, have no problem with capitalism. Not one industry will find itself the target of expropriation under Hollande. France will continue to be a capitalist economy under Hollande and its corporations, which include some of the largest capitalist enterprises in the world, will continue to flourish.  All that will change, hopefully, will be that the poor and the working class will get a better break, older workers will get to retire a little earlier, and services like health care, public transit and education will be better funded.”- Dave Linderoff, http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/06/13/red-baiting-hollande/

 

BERNIE SANDERS

He’s everyone’s favorite…Bernie Sanders. He had his widely known “Bernie Buster” against the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. However, there is a dark side to him… Let us consider some his contributors which should raise eyebrows:

  1. American Wind Energy Association, “the hub of the wind energy industry” which has GE Energy, American Electric Power, BP Wind Energy, and JPMorgan Capital Corporation on its Board of Directors and one shouldn’t forget that there is a big amount of resistance against them (here, and here) Don’t get confused if you see any commentary against wind power by the business-friendly Manhattan Institute which is funded by ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries
  2. Intel Corp., a huge IT company
  3. Torchmark, a multimillion financial holding company
  4. American Crystal Sugar, a big sugar cooperative

Also he has investments in the real estate industry. A letter was published by a former staffer noting that Sanders endorsed a less violent alternative to the Bosnian conflict but not a non-violent one while endorsing military strikes in Bosnia in 1999! In 2003, Ron Jacobs wrote another critical article, noting that Sanders voted to endorse the Iraq War:

“Sanders may have voted against the budget that cut these veteran’s benefits, but by voting to support Bush’s war…history will most likely judge him to have sided with that leadership…At one time, Sanders claimed to be a socialist…[now] Sanders is not a socialist and is not that progressive, especially when it comes to matters of war and peace. Instead, Bernie’s politics are reminiscent of the Social Democrats of Germany during and after World War I… For those of us with a memory longer than the average US news reporter, we can remember Bernie’s staunch support for Clinton’s 100-day bombing of Yugoslavia and Kosovo in 1999. I served as a support person for a dozen or so Vermonters who sat-in in his Burlington office a couple weeks into that war. Not only did Sanders refuse to talk with us via telephone…he had his staff call the local police to arrest those who refused to leave until Sanders spoke with them. The following week Sanders held a “town meeting” in Montpelier, VT., where he surrounded himself with sympathetic war supporters and one university professor who opposed the war and Bernie’s support for it. During the question and answer part of the meeting, Sanders yelled at two of the audience’s most vocal opponents to his position and told them to leave if they didn’t like what he had to say. They chose to remain and point out that Bernie’s style of democracy seemed awfully authoritarian…So called progressive politicians who do not draw the link between corporate America’s wars and its attack on social security, health care, the minimum wage, forty- hour work week, and other issues working people consider important are doing us a disservice…Judging from Bernie’s support for the current war on Iraq, the sanctions against that country, and his support for previous US adventures in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, one wonders if Sanders thinks so, too.”

Thomas H. Nayor continues this criticism noting that “Bernie Sanders, the ideological leader of Vermont, is not only not a socialist, but he is not even a political liberal.  He is a technofascist war monger disguised as a liberal.   Bernie has never known a Pentagon military program which he did not want to embrace.  He’s in bed with Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, and the Sandia Corporation, the weapons of mass destruction producer.” Ashley Smith adds onto this criticism, noting that:

“everyone…has heralded the election of the first socialist senator in U.S. history, an independent who will stand up to the two mainstream parties, oppose war, roll back corporate power and lead the fight for workers and the oppressed…[however] Sanders’ election to the Senate doesn’t represent a radical departure from politics as usual…Howard Dean, said on the NBC’s Meet the Press, “He is basically a liberal Democrat, and he is a Democrat at that–he runs as an Independent because he doesn’t like the structure and money that gets involved.”…one study found that 38 other congressional representatives had a more progressive voting record [than him]…. In 1992, he supported Bill Clinton as a “lesser evil,” though he later abandoned this impolite phrase to unapologetically endorse Democrats for the White House ever since…In the 2006 Senate election, he didn’t even really run as an independent. The Democrats cut a deal with Sanders–they wouldn’t run a candidate against him, in exchange for him supporting Democrats in other races…He also accepted a large donation from Hillary Clinton’s Political Action Committee, HILLPAC, which featured him as one of its most important candidates. Sanders in turn backed Democrats against third-party alternatives…He has promised to caucus with the Democrats in the Senate, and the media thus takes him for granted as part of the new majority in the Senate. For veteran Sanders watchers, this capitulation to the corporate Democrats and their apparatchiks is nothing new. He has made it one of his missions to agitate against voting for Ralph Nader, the Green Party and, in some cases, Vermont’s Progressive Party…DESPITE HIS own claims, Sanders has not been an antiwar leader…His hawkish positions–especially his decision to support Bill Clinton’s 1999 Kosovo War–drove one of his key advisers, Jeremy Brecher, to resign from his staff…So outraged were peace activists over Sanders’ support of the Kosovo War that they occupied his office in 1999. Sanders had them arrested…While he called for alternative approaches to the war on Afghanistan, he failed to join the sole Democrat, Barbara Lee, to vote against Congress’ resolution that gave George Bush a blank check to launch war on any country he deemed connected to the September 11 attacks. Ever since, he has voted for appropriations bills to fund the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, despite their horrific toll on the occupied peoples as well as U.S. soldiers. Sanders has been critical of the war on Iraq, but he has supported pro-war measures–such as a March 21, 2003, resolution stating, “Congress expresses the unequivocal support and appreciation of the nation to the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.” He also opposes immediate withdrawal from Iraq…Even more shocking, Sanders scuttled any action on a wave of Bush impeachment resolutions that swept Vermont towns in 2006…This summer, Sanders voted for House Resolution 921, which gave full support to Israel’s murderous war on Lebanon. He also voted for HR 4681 that imposed sanctions on the Palestinian Authority with the aim of removing the democratically elected Hamas government. In response, longtime War Resisters League leader, David McReynolds sent a public letter to Sanders, stating, “Because of your vote of support for the Israeli actions, I would hope any friends and contacts of mine would not send you funds, nor give you their votes.” Indeed, Sanders has consistently defended Israel through it worst crimes against Palestinians and Arabs. Unsurprisingly, some Sanders staffers have also worked with the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC)–including David Sirota, now a Democratic Party strategist, and Sanders’ former communications director Joel Barkin. Finally, in perhaps his worst betrayal yet, Sanders joined a host of liberal Democrats including Barbara Lee and John Conyers to vote for HR 282, the Iran Freedom Support Act–which bears a striking resemblance to the resolutions that set up the framework for the war on Iraq. The act stipulates that the U.S. should impose sanctions on Iran to prevent it from developing weapons of mass destruction and distributing them to aid international terrorism. It also calls for the U.S. to support democratic change in the country, thereby establishing all necessary pretexts for a war on Iran…instead of agitating for internationalist solutions like cross-border unionization, as proposed by the global justice movement against neoliberalism, Sanders argues for protectionist policies and economic nationalism. Sanders’ support for the Democrats confounds his position…Sanders’ economic nationalism has led him to look for allies among Republican right-wingers…Sanders defends his alliances with protectionist Republicans…In cooperating with right-wing populists, Sanders reinforces American nationalism and its attendant racism toward immigrants…He has consistently voted for the rights of women, gays and lesbians, and racial minorities…However, he downplays all these questions in favor of a populist appeal on economic issues…On some pivotal issues, Sanders does worse than subordinate the demands of the oppressed–he joins in the attack…For example, Sanders claims to oppose the death penalty, but he voted for Bill Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which broadened the scope of the federal death penalty and laid the foundation for Bush’s “war on terror” and attacks on civil liberties…In 2004, Sanders was put to the test of whether he would stand up against state-sanctioned murder, and he failed. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft used Clinton’s act to override Vermont law and force a federal death penalty trial for Donald Fell, who was eventually convicted and sentenced to die. Throughout this trial, Sanders remained on the sidelines…Sanders has joined the Democratic Party in its attacks on immigrant rights. While he voted against the reactionary bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner and passed by the House last year, he has supported other anti-immigrant bills. He has consistently voted to restrict visas for skilled workers–like the L-1 Nonimmigrant Reform Act, which he himself cosponsored, arguing that it was wrong for corporations to import workers when they are laying off U.S. employees…Sanders voted for the Border Tunnel Protection Act that criminalizes digging tunnels under the border, and anyone who uses them. And he voted for the Marshall Amendment to the 2007 Homeland Security bill that funds electronic verification of employment eligibility.Sanders has begun to trumpet green issues, especially global warming…After getting elected mayor with the slogan “Burlington’s Not for Sale,” Sanders attempted to cut a deal with developers for hotel construction on the city’s waterfront and other projects in its wetlands…Once in the House, Sanders made one of his worst environmental decisions. He worked with then-Texas Gov. George Bush to lead the charge for dumping nuclear waste from Vermont’s Vernon reactor in Sierra Blanca, an impoverished town inhabited mainly by Chicanos on the border with Mexico…Sierra Blanca, already a toxic waste dump, has thus been poisoned for generations…Sanders’ positions on energy are also tinged with nationalism. He repeatedly calls for US energy independence from the Middle East, even though most U.S. oil comes from other countries like Venezuela. Such demagogy plays into the widespread anti-Arab racism that surrounds oil politics…it is a bit hard for Vermont leftists to believe the national reaction to Bernie Sanders…Sanders is leaving a party behind–the Democratic Party. Whatever his betrayals, Sanders can still give an excellent speech about the evils of corporate power and the barbarity of class inequality, but he does so as a fellow traveler of the corporate Democrats, who he supports even as they move further and further to the right…if we want a genuine socialist alternative, we should follow the lead of Sanders’ hero, Eugene Debs, who said, “The differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties involve no issue, no principle in which the working class have any interest.”

If this isn’t enough consider another one of Naylor’s articles that notes that now, Vermont “find[s] itself under the political control of five hard-core military superhawks committed to transforming Vermont into the Pentagon’s flagship state for reinvigorating and expanding the military’s presence in the Northeast…Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, Governor Peter Shumlin, and Adjutant General Michael Dubie have teamed up to form what is effectively a defacto Vermont Military Mafia for promoting increased defense spending in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast…Leahy, Sanders, Welch, and Shumlin all pretend to be political liberals, which they are not…One of the Vermont Military Mafia’s most successful ventures to date involved recruiting the U.S. government-owned Sandia National Laboratories to Vermont…As evidence of how effective this cozy relationship has been, Leahy, Sanders, and Welch recently announced that President Barack Obama had nominated Michael Dubie to be Deputy Commander of the U.S. Northern Command, NORTHCOM…But does it mean that the state of Vermont must sell its soul to Lockheed Martin and the American Empire to support war against the enemy of the month chosen by our sociopathic leaders to demonize? Apparently, so.” Such criticism is added to by Jozef Hand-Boniakowski in a 2006 piece: “Here in Vermont, representative Bernie Sanders, the darling pseudo-Democrat, is running for the US Senate. Vermont’s “independent” and “progressive” had to be shamed into supporting representative John Conyers’ resolution on impeachment hearings. Recently, Bernie Sanders imported Democratic Senator Barack Obama to give his campaign a boost. Way to go Bernie, as Barack Obama is already supporting Bush’s next war in Iran. Shame on Bernie Sanders for his comments on impeachment. His comments the day after four Vermont towns voted for impeachment implied that impeachment talk is “impractical” with the Republicans in control of House and Senate. By choosing practicality over justice, Bernie, and his fellow Democrats, are saying that prosecution for breaking the law must wait for the jury to be gerrymandered. What system of justice is this?”

I end with an article once again by Thomas M. Naylor about the myth of Bernie Sanders:

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has recently been elevated to near godlike status by the political Left in the United States.  Some of his fans have even suggested that he should challenge Barack Obama in the Democratic Presidential Primary.  The more often he is accused of being a socialist by his political enemies on the Right, the more convinced the Left becomes that he surely walks on water. Although Sanders may have once been a socialist back in the 80s when he was Mayor of Burlington, today, a socialist he is not.  Rather he behaves more like a technofascist disguised as a liberal, who backs all of President Obama’s nasty little wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.  Since he always “supports the troops,” Sanders never opposes any defense spending bill.  He stands behind all military contractors who bring much-needed jobs to Vermont. Senator Sanders rarely misses a photo opportunity with Vermont National Guard troops when they are being deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq.  He’s always at the Burlington International Airport when they return.  If Sanders truly supported the Vermont troops, he would vote to end all of the wars posthaste. Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Peter Welch could hardly contain their enthusiasm over the news that Burlington International Airport had been named as a possible site to house the Air Force’s new F-35 fighter jet scheduled to replace the Vermont Air National Guard’s aging fleet of F-16s.  The new high-tech instruments of death will cost $115 million a pop in sharp contrast to the F-16s which cost a mere $20 million each. From whom might these F-35s protect Vermont?  Possibly, Canada, separatist-minded Quebec, upstate New York, the New Hampshire Free State, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?  Why on earth would anyone want to invade Vermont?  Vermont has no military bases, no large cities, no important government installations, and no strategic resources unless you count an aging nuclear power plant.  What if Canada, China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, or even the U.S. Marines were to invade the Green Mountain state?  Just what would they do with it?  Would all of the black-and-white Holsteins be confiscated, or perhaps the entire sugar maple crop be burned?  Imagine trying to enslave freedom-loving Vermonters.  Good luck! Vermont is too small, too rural, and too independent to be invaded by anyone.  It is a threat to no one.  Furthermore, Vermonters, not unlike the Swiss, tend to stick to their own knitting rather than intruding into the affairs of their neighbors.  Vermont has always been that way and probably always will be. Major General Michael Dubie, head of the Vermont National Guard, has expressed the hope that the Vermont Guard might be morphed into a center for unmanned drone aircraft.  Sanders, not unlike President Obama, thinks drones are cool. Sanders is the darling of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee and the right-wing Likud government of Israel.  He has done everything within his power to keep the myth of Islamic terrorism alive.  He never questions the U.S. government’s unconditional support of Israeli acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.  It is as though these are nonevents. Last, but by no means least, is the U.S. government-owned Sandia National Laboratories.  For over two years Sanders and former University of Vermont President Daniel Fogel have been encouraging Sandia to open a satellite laboratory in Vermont.  Sandia, whose historical origins can be traced back to the Manhattan Project in World War II, designs, builds, and tests weapons of mass destruction.  The Vermont laboratory envisaged by Sanders would not be involved with nuclear weapons but rather would be engaged in projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric grids.  Sandia, interestingly enough, is operated under contract by Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world.  Lockheed Martin produces F-35s and drones.  General Dubie, who has close ties to Lockheed Martin, recently received an honorary doctorate from UVM.  No one at UVM seems to care whether or not the University gets in bed with a manufacturer of atomic bombs. Bernie Sanders loves to rail against Corporate America, Wall Street, and the super-rich, but has nothing to show for it.  He’s done little to constrain their power and influence.  But everybody on the Left loves Bernie.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL

Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC Commentator)

Many people recently have said that Lawrence O’Donnell is a socialist. They base this on his numerous videos on the subject (here, here, here, here). He even seemed to highlight third-parties at one point. But that is beside the point. What company does he work for? MSNBC. Who owns MSNBC? Well, Microsoft has a special partnership with General Electric so they have a piece of the pie. Now Comcast owns the NBCUniversal after the merger in 2010.Here is a good progression of events:

2005 [says he’s a socialist in an interview, social democrat basically]

Q: I think there’s a libertarian in you trying to get out.

A: No, no, no. I’m a European socialist, believe me – I’m far to the left. But I understand. I’m a kind of practical socialist. I know we failed. A lot of our ideas have failed, so I’m not with them anymore. I’m willing to take from a grab-bag of stuff that works.

2010

“I am not a progressive. I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to ‘progressive’. Liberals amuse me. I am a socialist. I lie to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals.”- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/06/lawrence-odonnell-calls-h_n_779909.html

2011

The full explanation of his status as a “socialist” he explained in an August 2011 show:

Not that we choose the socialist option every time but we do consider socialism a reasonable option under certain circumstances; in fact, under many circumstances. As any introductory economics course can tell you, there is no capitalist economy anywhere in the world, and there is no socialist economy anywhere in the world, not even Cuba. We are all mixed economies; that is, mixes of capitalism and socialism, and we all vary that mix in different ways. China has more capitalism, and a lot more capitalism, than has Cuba, but it also has a lot more socialism than we [the United States] do. Our socialist programs include the biggest government spending programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as welfare, and the socialist program I hate the most, agriculture subsidies. Yes, I’m a socialist, but I hate bad socialism, and there is plenty of bad socialism out there, just like there is plenty of bad capitalism out there, like the capitalism that pollutes our rivers or makes health care too expensive for so many people. I can argue this because every side of this is true: capitalism is good, capitalism is bad; socialism is good, socialism is bad; all of those things are true at the same time. That’s why we have a mixed economy, an economy in which we are trying to use the best, most efficient forms of capitalism, and the best, most efficient forms of socialism, where necessary. So my full truth is I am as much a capitalist as I am a socialist; but since we live in the only mature country in the world where “socialist” is considered such a dirty word that no one would dare admit to being one, I feel more compelled to stand up for the socialist side of me than the capitalist side of me.

This runs into one of the problems with the label of socialist. Wikipedia describes social democracy as advocating for “a peaceful, evolutionary transition of the economy to socialism through progressive social reform of capitalism.” However, one must note the criticism of the concept: “when social democracy abandoned Marxism it also abandoned socialism and has become in effect a liberal capitalist movement…Marxian socialists…argue that because social democratic programs retain the capitalist mode of production, they also retain the fundamental issues of capitalism…Democratic socialists, such as David Schweickart, contrast social democracy with democratic socialism by defining the former as an attempt to strengthen the welfare state, and the latter as an alternative socialist economic system to capitalism…In contrast to social democracy, democratic socialists advocate a post-capitalist economic system based either on market socialism combined with workers self-management, or on some form of participatory-economic planning…There are critics that claim that social democracy abandoned socialism in the 1930s by endorsing Keynesian welfare capitalism…Michael Harrington argues that social democracy historically supported Keynesianism as part of a “social democratic compromise” between capitalism and socialism. This compromise created welfare states…Communists accuse social democracy of accepting the values of capitalist society and therefore not being a genuine form of socialism.” I agree with such criticisms. If a state still utilizes the capitalist mode of production and doesn’t use Marxian economics, it is more of a social democracy that is not socialism. That is a welfare state, something groups like Socialist Party USA reject vehemently as it doesn’t lead to people’s liberation whatsoever.

Also, to finish off, one should recognize that O’Donnell has no idea about NDAA and Obama’s war on whistleblowers which is pretty shocking. He did however talk about the Patriot Act and how he has some problems with it saying if he would have been in power he would have made no changes in law while even praising Glenn Greenwald. “Every Department of Government is doing something stupidly every day” in his words and doesn’t talk about stuff he doesn’t have expertise in.

[ok, this an exaggeration, but you get my point]

Glenn Greeenwald (some claim he is a socialist by going to the Socialist Conference and speaking).

While Greenwald spoke at two Socialist Conferences, he also went to conferences of the CATO Institute according to his twitter. Noam Chomsky in a recent interview calls him a civil libertarian who supports Citizens United. In fact, after Citizens United he wrote:

The case, Citizens United v. FEC, presents some very difficult free speech questions, and I’m deeply ambivalent about the court’s ruling….Beyond that, I believe that corporate influence over our political process is easily one of the top sicknesses afflicting our political culture.  But there are also very real First Amendment interests implicated by laws which bar entities from spending money to express political viewpoints…Critics emphasize that the Court’s ruling will produce very bad outcomes:  primarily that it will severely exacerbate the problem of corporate influence in our democracy.  Even if this is true, it’s not really relevant…Thus, those who want to object to the Court’s ruling need to do so on First Amendment grounds…More specifically, it’s often the case that banning certain kinds of speech would produce good outcomes…I’m also quite skeptical of the apocalyptic claims about how this decision will radically transform and subvert our democracy by empowering corporate control over the political process.  My skepticism is due to one principal fact:  I really don’t see how things can get much worse in that regard.  The reality is that our political institutions are already completely beholden to and controlled by large corporate interests…I can’t imagine how it could worsen fundamentally…It’s absolutely true that the Citizens United majority cavalierly tossed aside decades of judicial opinions upholding the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions.  But what does that prove?…Ultimately, I think the free speech rights burdened by campaign finance laws are often significantly under-stated.   I understand and sympathize with the argument that corporations are creatures of the state and should not enjoy the same rights as individuals…But the speech restrictions struck down by Citizens United do not only apply to Exxon and Halliburton; they also apply to non-profit advocacy corporations, such as, say, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, as well as labor unions, which are genuinely burdened in their ability to express their views by these laws.  I tend to take a more absolutist view of the First Amendment…What is overlooked in virtually every discussion I’ve seen over the last 24 hours is how ineffective these campaign finance laws are.  Large corporations employ teams of lawyers and lobbyists and easily circumvent these restrictions…Campaign finance laws are a bit like gun control statutes:  actual criminals continue to possess large stockpiles of weapons, but law-abiding citizens are disarmed…Isn’t it far more promising to have the Government try to equalize the playing field through serious public financing of campaigns than to try to slink around the First Amendment — or, worse, amend it — in order to limit political advocacy?…I want to add one other point just to underscore how irrational, discriminatory and ineffective these political speech restrictions are.  The invalidated statute at issue here exempted media corporations…from these restrictions, since the Government obviously can’t ban media figures from going on television and opining on elections (the way they do all other corporations)…In this case, it allowed the views of News Corp., GE, and Viacom to flourish (through their ownership of media outlets) while preventing the ACLU and Planned Parenthood from speaking out…It is virtually always best — and Constitutionally mandated — for the Government to stay out of the business of trying to restrict and regulate political advocacy.

While he never comes out says he loves Citizens United, he supports its underlying reasoning, that its fine that money is speech basically, just like Noam Chomsky said. This is troubling. Greenwald who is gay, describes himself as politically independent, not ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ while criticizing the two-party system (here, and here), not voting at all, advocating for drug decriminalization, opposing capital punishment (here), raised money for Russ Feingold (here), supported several ‘progressive’ candidates (here), criticizes the corporate media (here), wants a new constitutional balance of powers (here), criticizing John Brennan (here) and many other topics.

7 Responses to “Be wary of those fake socialists”

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