In the US, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues. Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes of Michael Bloomberg's performance Tuesday night at the debate:
Bloomberg’s goal in the debate was clearly to survive it and avoid another debacle like that in Las Vegas, which would leave his campaign in danger of becoming an expensive laughingstock. He positioned himself as the most right-wing of the candidates, declaring his support for expanding charter schools, opposing the legalization of marijuana and making no reply when Warren pointed out his long history as a donor to Republican candidates, including such notorious pro-Trump figures as Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
In his most revealing sally, Bloomberg boasted of how much he spent in the 2018 elections backing Democratic candidates whose victories gave the Democratic Party control of the House of Representatives. “They talk about 40 Democrats,” he said. “Twenty-one of those are people that I spent a hundred million dollars to help elect. All of the new Democrats that came in and put Nancy Pelosi in charge and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I bought—I, I got them.”
The billionaire was about to say he had bought control of the House for the Democrats, but pulled back at the last second to make his comment slightly less obnoxious. But the implication was clear. He was suggesting that he was now in position to buy the White House for the Democrats, using essentially unlimited funds from his $60 billion fortune.
That is how disgusting Bloomberg is. He thinks he has 'bought' members of Congress and Americans' votes.
He's disgusting also in that he claims credit for the work of others -- typical oligarch? He's claiming "I brought people together to legalize gay marriage in a Republican legislature."
Did Tiny Bloomberg do that? What a hard, little, lisping worker.
I can see giving members of the New York Assembly credit for the vote and I can certainly see giving Governor Andrew Cuomo credit -- especially Andrew. But Michael Bloomberg really had nothing to do with the effort.
The media needs to do their damn job but they won't. You had Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King running interference for Bloomberg -- and they know him and are friends with him because of their former -- and disgraced colleague -- Charlie Rose. It's a real shame the media doesn't do their job.
Taxi cab story (in part because it's pertinent and in part because a number enjoyed yesterday's inclusion). We're here in South Carolina and we're in and out of cabs or rented cars. A White Anglo driver (Mark?) loves Bloomberg. Loves him. As we noted after the fact, "We finally met a Bloomberg supporter -- a sort-of supporter."
Mark went on and on about how great Bloomberg was. I don't argue with people when they're sharing their views. I listen and may ask a question or two because I'm trying to figure out what they're responding to. For Mark, he was responding to Bloomberg's wealth. I'm not saying that to mock him or make fun of him. And there are others who will respond to wealth, Mark's not alone.
And, as we reviewed, through questions, his past support, it was always focused on wealth.
He confused Kat when he said that, until 2016, he never thought he could support a woman for president but then "that woman with the C name, she really accomplished a lot in her life." No, he didn't mean Hillary. He meant Carly Fiorina. That's not me insulting Carly or Mark. But if you're hailed as a business success by the press, Mark's going to like you.
Sad for Bloomberg, the only supporter of his we've ever met is still voting for Donald Trump. He likes Bloomberg but not enough to actually vote for him, he's planning to vote for Donald.
But as Mark lists all of Bloomberg's 'accomplishments,' none of them are real. They're claims Bloomberg makes -- lies that he repeats. Listening to Mark go on about 9/11 and how Mayor Bloomberg healed the city and the country in the days after,
That's what anyone watching Bloomberg's ads would conclude. It's not Mark's fault. But Michael Bloomberg did not start serving as mayor of New York City until January 1, 2002. Over and over, Bloomberg makes these claims and the press corps seems reluctant to confront him. As a result, people like Mark assume these claims are correct. Because of these false commercials -- that Bloomberg has saturated in the media -- there are people who think Barack Obama has endorsed Bloomberg when no such endorsement has taken place.
The press is going soft on both mayors running for the nomination. Pete Buttigieg makes a lot of critiques of other candidates but the press never thinks to hold those critiques up to Pete. They never bother to examine them or to ask if this charge really actually applies to Pete. Not everyone goes so easy on Pete.
Jarrett Renshaw (REUTERS) reported at the start of the week about a difficulty Pete had in South Carolina:
A group of counter-protesters wearing shirts that read “Black Voters Matter” disrupted the speeches with chants: “Pete can’t be our president. Where was $15 in South Bend?”
Buttigieg briefly addressed them, saying, “No matter who you support for president, I support you and I support unions and a $15 minimum wage.”
After he spoke, Buttigieg broke into a near-running trot to avoid protesters looking to confront him before hopping into a black SUV.
This is Cliff Albright with Black Votes Matter. He spoke at the Fight for $15 rally, now he’s following Buttigieg as he marches and accusing Mayor Pete of using black workers as a photo op. Yelling, “did you fight for $15 in South Bend”
The Fight for $15 rally is now being heckled with Buttigieg at front of it by Black Voters Matter protesters chanting “Where was $15 in South Bend. Pete can’t be our president.” The worker organizers are pissed. “This is a workers strike. How dare you,” one yelled that them.
Buttigieg had to race into a car after the rally as he was chased down by Black Voters Matter protesters. He got into a black SUV without talking to the media and drove away.
Meanwhile Matthew Hoh (COUNTERPUNCH) takes on Toy Soldier Pete:
As someone who did three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I know very few military officers who experienced 8 hour work days in either country, nearly all officers I knew, including myself, worked 12-18 hour days – and there were plenty of times, especially during my second deployment, that 20 hour days were common. That Buttigieg was a driver in Afghanistan is more telling than anything else about Buttigieg’s time in Afghanistan, more so since he speaks so assuredly and confidently of his time in Afghanistan as he runs for president and uses that experience to pronounce himself as personally informed about matters of war and peace. We’ve seen this all very often over the last twenty years in the US: men and women, because they wore matching shirts and pants and took part in murderous and strategically incompetent invasions, occupations and wars, are given a deference that is religious in its severity and authority. As Buttigieg uses this para-clerical status to his advantage, his words and pronouncements are taken as a battle-scarred wisdom that others who have not worn a uniform are not just foolish for questioning, but are heretical. Take, for example, these words from CNN about Buttigieg and his military service:
“His six years as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserves, along with a six-month deployment to Afghanistan, makes a gold-plated resume not only shine brighter, but with an air of validation….A man who has lived the illusion of danger is a dangerous man. Someone who posits that illusion as a fact and as a real occurrence, as Buttigieg does, is one certainly to be wary of. These wars were begun by men and women who have never known danger, but who postulated of going to the dark side and quipped bring em on, and these wars have been sustained by an insipid and specious assuredness of the necessity of war and violence by a generation of politicians, cable news hosts and editorial boards. We are a nation that has killed and ruined millions abroad and we celebrate those killings in a religious ritualization of the military that has infested our schools, stadiums, boardrooms, churches and both political parties. In Buttigieg we now have this personified. See his war photos, a boy playing dress up in camouflage and rifle, and you have America in that image, and perhaps it is right and fitting that that image, that illusion, should become president.
It’s a chapter of his life that he invokes at nearly every campaign stop, a piece of his biography that has become nearly as central to his presidential candidacy as his Midwestern roots or his time as mayor. He mentions his credentials to distinguish himself from not only most Democratic rivals, but also President Donald Trump…
“Look, it’s not like I killed (Osama) Bin Laden, right?” Buttigieg said. “I don’t want to overstate what my role was, but it certainly is something that was dangerous.”
Buttigieg received a direct commission into the Navy. Those who are directly commissioned into the military do not attend the service academies, do not complete ROTC training while at college, or do not attend Officer Candidate School. Rather they attend a ten day direct commission officer indoctrination course where they learn how to wear the uniform, are taught the rank structure, practice saluting, etc. The purpose of such a direct commissioning program is for the US military to bring in specialists needed in times of crisis or emergency, such as doctors, chaplains and lawyers. I knew a couple of direct commission naval officers that were public and media relations people. The direct commissioning program is also a way for the politically well connected to become military officers without enduring the selection and hardship involved in officer training. The most famous of such a political cast is Hunter Biden, who lasted a month as a Navy officer before his drug test results were returned positive for illegal narcotics usage. I knew several direct commission officers who were such dilettantes, men who certainly understood the political prestige and potency of the US military uniform, especially a pretty one, like the Navy’s, but who saw no value in earning their rank.
According to the released documents of Buttigieg’s naval service, he fits the mold of political actor in military costume. His only time on active duty, as determined by a review of his military records, besides his time in Afghanistan, which I will discuss, was in that two week long direct commissioning course. There is no record, and here I will offer the possibility that his record in incomplete, of his attendance at any form of military schools or his participation whether as a mobilized active duty officer or a drilling reservist. His record contains only one DD-214, which is the record of active duty service for military members. In addition to his time in Afghanistan, his DD-214 lists 1 month and 23 days of active service, but only 12 days of that are accounted for in a fitness report (a performance evaluation), and that was for his time at the direct commission course. Otherwise, there is no record of any other time when Buttigieg actually would have been working or performing as a naval officer. Again, the records may be incomplete, and they also may be incorrect. Looking at his records I noticed he had fitness reports that overlapped in time, an administrative error that should not have occurred. Anyone who is competent, and who wants to make sure they are promoted, would have any and all periods of active duty or reserve duty recorded and filed with the Navy’s Bureau of Personnel. Now Buttigieg had a political benefactor, possibly someone he met working on the Obama campaign in 2008, so I am quite sure Buttigieg wouldn’t have cared for such things or thought such administrative requirements applied to him.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of a DD-214 as it is the record of service for which military members and veterans depend upon to detail all manner of events and qualifications such as time in service, record of promotion, combat experience, schools attended, awards received, etc. Buttigieg’s one DD-214 has two glaring and empty fields: PMOS and schools. These fields are empty, not redacted. Personal information is redacted elsewhere in his record, the fields being empty in this case means there is no information to enter.
There's a lot of faking and shaking with Pete. Right now, he's accused of stealing for his latest ad.
It's a pattern with Pete.
Pete is running for the most powerful job on earth. His campaign has faked support of Black leaders, he's been cribbing Obama speeches & now he's copied an ad. If he can't run a campaign properly, how can a small town mayor run the country?
Life might be very different for Joe Biden if the press hadn't cared about swiping the words of others in 1988. Instead, he was pretty much run out of the race. These days, the press just gives Tiny Pete one pass after another.
There's a reason Bernie Sanders is the obvious choice.
Yet again, as others are silent, Bernie's addressing the needs of the people. Any vaccine does need to be available to all.
In Iraq, the protests continue -- despite threats of violence against the protesters and despite fears of the coronavirus.
Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Not Us Gals love Charlie Rose" went up last night. The following sites updated: