Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren won the debate, making complete mincemeat out of their milquetoast rivals

Above: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren at the beginning of last night's debate. Photo by Paul Sancya / Associated Press, used here for educational and non-commercial purposes.

Many political, media, and financial elites were wondering if hoping that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would go after each other in last night's debate. Instead, the two made complete mincemeat out of their milquetoast rivals - rivals who were stumbling over each other to win the "least inspiring candidate" award.

Bernie Sanders ended Tim Ryan's presidential bid, when he replied to Ryan's taunting "You don't know that" with "I do know that, I wrote the damn bill." And Elizabeth Warren ended John Delaney's campaign when she said to him, "I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for."

And more than all of that, Bernie and Liz showed America that they're fighters, not lip-service, corporate-owned, milquetoast, pseudo-liberals. You see, most of the candidates are talking a pretty game, to get the progressive vote, but will almost certainly pull an Obama on us, if they make it to the White House. Yes, once a milquetoast liberal is in office, he or she is going to betray the campaign pretty talk, and repeatedly try to reach across the aisle to the Republican jackals. And even after he or she is bitten, time and time again, the milquetoast liberal will still reach across the aisle in continuous, ridiculous, and ego-centered attempts to be the "adult in the room." Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans will continue to suffer under inadequate healthcare, unaffordable medicine, stagnant wages, dead-end jobs, inescapable debt, suicidal thoughts, and a host of other economic & social maladies that have been festering for decades.

Bernie and Liz are bold, authentic, and pugnacious about the common good - everything the political, media, and financial elites hate.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Bernie Sanders has been fighting for us for a VERY long time; so, why are we letting him down?

"I been reading about Bernie Sanders and I'm really sad how we let him down in 2016. This man been fighting for equal rights, HUMAN rights for such a long time. Seeing this country become a better place been really his passion for a long time not a new front [lip service] for a campaign."

--Cardi B, ("Cardi B Feels ‘Really Sad’ About Letting Bernie Sanders Down In 2016," Huffington Post, July 16, 2019)

Above: In this TIME video, Bernie Sanders talks about his collaboration with Cardi B to get more young people to vote and become politically engaged. Original YouTube link:

Joe Biden (a.k.a. Lyin' J'Biden) is still consistently polling above Bernie Sanders, despite the fact that Biden has routinely legislated against the interests of the middle-class & poor (he has supported tax cuts for the rich, NAFTA's destruction of good jobs, debt-relief restrictions on the middle-class & poor, the recession-worsening repeal of Glass-Steagall, and also the cutting of Social Security and Medicare).

Elizabeth Warren is also starting to poll above Sanders. Now, Warren is a great candidate and would certainly fight hard for the middle-class & poor. However, Sanders has been fighting for the middle-class & poor for a longer period of time, and has been trying for the White House for a longer period of time. Warren had her chance to run for president in 2016, but deferred to Hillary. Warren did not endorse Bernie in 2016, again deferring to Hillary. Many progressive groups were literally begging Warren to run in 2016 (I even wrote her a letter--which I'm sure ended up unread and in the round file--begging her to run). Indeed, Bernie's 2016 run was sparked, in part, by Warren's decision not to run. Liz, you had your chance... why are you running now?

The fact of the matter is, Cardi B is right, we let Bernie down (see quote at top). He has fought for us for decades and decades, but when he needed our support (to help replace our plutocracy with a democracy) we cowered under our beds, whimpering, "No, his ideas--which would help us greatly--are too pie-in-the-sky! He's not electable... because... well... my neighbor said so! I must vote for Hillary! I must vote for the lesser-of-two-evils! I must obey Wall Street!!!"

And most Democratic voters seem to be still under their beds, quivering in fear, agreeing with the policies of Bernie but all-too-ready to support Lyin' J'Biden, mainly because the mainstream media (which doesn't want Bernie to tax them more) says Biden is the most electable. (See, for example, "Iowa voters flock to Joe Biden, but out of practicality, not passion," Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2019.)

The whole scene is despicable, and makes me proud that I left the Democratic Party several years ago. I'm sorry, but I just can't stomach the corporate centrism of the Democratic Establishment, or the dutiful, feeble, obeisance of the Establishment's voters. It makes me ill. It makes me want to vomit.

So, are we going to let Bernie down again? My prediction: Almost certainly. Under our beds, and still desperately clutching our binkies and blankies, we'll submit to one of the prime architects of the Trump era - Lyin' J'Biden. And, in doing so, we're setting the stage for someone even worse than Trump in 2024 or 2028. Because Biden's milquetoast, oligarch-friendly policies will disillusion the middle-class & poor even more, and tens of millions will say, "Trump wasn't strong enough... we need someone even tougher!!"

Damn you Democratic Establishment and Establishment voters. Damn you for not supporting Bernie, after he's fought for the middle-class & poor for decades... and damn you, especially, for your fear-based, perpetual acceptance of the lesser-of-two-evils. It's leading us into the very pits of fascism. As one of AOC's top aides so correctly said, "The greatest threat to mankind" is the "cowardice of the Democratic Party." 

"[FDR] helped us get over the Depression, all while he was in a wheelchair. Like, this man was suffering from polio at the time of his presidency, and yet all he was worried about was trying to make America great - make America great again for real. He's the real 'Make America Great Again,' because if it wasn't for him, old people wouldn't even get Social Security... Yes, from the New Deal. It was a system to get us back from the world Depression - then, on top of that, while he was president there was a fu&king war going on. World War II was going on. So all this sh&t going on in the United States, while recouping the country from an economic tragedy, making sure that America won the war..."

--Cardi B ("Cardi B’s Money Moves," GQ, April 9, 2018)

Friday, July 26, 2019

A New Deal for the Performing Arts: 1,121 new or improved bandshells and outdoor theatres

Above: The Castle Amphitheater in Provo, Utah, built by WPA workers, 1936-1937. Photo by Richard Walker, Creative Commons, 2019.

During the New Deal, the Work Division of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) constructed 56 new "open-air theatres and amphitheatres" (and improved 26 others). Young Americans in the National Youth Administration built--or created additions to--276 "bandstands, bandshells, and outdoor theaters" (and repaired or improved 291 others). Meanwhile, WPA workers built 366 new bandshells and outdoor theatres (and reconstructed or improved 106 more). (Statistics from the final reports of each agency.)

These 1,121 projects only tell part of the story, however, because other New Deal agencies created such facilities too, for example, the Civilian Conservation Corps and, most probably, the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (unfortunately, New Deal statistics are not always well-documented or easily-accessible).

Considering all these New Deal facilities for the performing arts; and the thousands of performances given by the WPA's Federal Theatre Project, Federal Dance Project, and Federal Music Project; and also the many work-relief jobs offered to stage designers, lighting technicians, directors, actors, musicians, circus performers, etc., the New Deal was truly a revolutionary era in the history of the performing arts. It was a creative era that was of, by, and for the people - much more participatory than our modern art and entertainment culture.

Above: The outdoor theatre at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, created with the assistance of WPA and CCC workers. This photo is from a 1939 program for the The Lost Colony play (which can still be seen at Fort Raleigh today), courtesy of the National Archives.

Monday, July 22, 2019

New Deal Art: "Dehousing"

Above: "Dehousing," a lithograph by David Burke, created while he was in the WPA, ca. 1935-1943. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Deal Art: "Machine Fodder"

Above: "Machine Fodder," an artwork by Carl Hoeckner, created while he was in the WPA's Federal Art Project, 1938. Hoeckner was born in Munich, Germany, in 1883, and died in Berkeley, California, in 1972. In 1939, the Artists' Union of Chicago proposed to add public art to Chicago's subway, and Hoeckner helped lead the effort: "Carl Hoeckner, easel painter and president of the union, and Edward Miller, muralist and chairman of the union's public use of art committee, pointed out that the New York City council had decided to shatter the gloom of underworld transportation with federal arts decorations in the new city owned subway." For Chicago's subway, the artists imagined "pony express riders and airplanes carrying the mail, workers swinging hammers in rhythm with the machine age, a group of nudes weaving a daisy chain, or perhaps a fawn drinking from a pool." ("Artists Propose To Light Gloom Of Our Subway," Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1939, p. 31). Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The progressive Squad of Four are the embodiment FDR's Four Freedoms, and they should fight the weak-kneed Pelosi Democrats every chance they get

Freedom of Expression - 

Above: Congresswoman Rashid Tlaib (D-Mich.) once said of Donald Trump, "We're going to impeach the motherfu&ker," and then refused to apologize. Because of that, she represent's FDR's "Freedom of Expression." Public domain photo, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Freedom of Religion - 

Above: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), is one of only two Muslim women to serve in Congress. For that, she represents FDR's "Freedom of Religion." Public domain photo, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Freedom from Want - 

Above: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) represents FDR's "Freedom from Want" because no member of Congress understands and highlights the struggles of the working class and poor better than she does. Public domain photo, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Freedom from Fear - 

Above: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) handles the death threats she receives with courage, saying: "Yes, I have experienced my share of death threats. I see it as par for the course, and consequential to the ways in which I legislate and govern, which many consider to be disruptive. When you have an administration that is fanning the flames of misogyny and xenophobia and white supremacy, someone like me---who looks like me, who leads like me, who talks like me--my very existence is the resistance. There are people that are offended just that I show up. Just that I exist." Pressley is also opposed to prioritizing military adventures over domestic needs (which gets to the heart of Roosevelt's Four Freedoms). For all of the above, Pressley is the embodiment of FDR's "Freedom from Fear." Public domain photo, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Above: A WPA poster of FDR's Four Freedoms, 1941. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The Four Freedoms Speech

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt said:

"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want--which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants--everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb."

The progressive Squad of Four vs. the lip-service, center-right, and Republican-appeasing Pelosi Democrats

Nancy Pelosi has never liked the Squad of Four, and now she's really pissed, because AOC's spokesman recently said that the "greatest threat to mankind" is the "cowardice of the Democratic Party."

But here's the deal: He's right. It's the cowardice of the modern Democratic Party that has delivered us into the hands of Trump and his empathy-free Fox News base. By always compromising and caving to Republicans, and by routinely squashing bold ideas for the common good, they have demoralized much of the electorate and have facilitated growing social unrest. And that social unrest has brought us the demagogue Trump.

And if the Pelosi Democrats get their way, Joe Biden will win the Democratic nomination for president. And if Lyin' J'Biden wins the Oval Office, his center-right policies will cause even more social unrest (Biden has backed tax cuts for the rich; job outsourcing; debt-relief restrictions on the middle-class & poor; bailouts for law-breaking financial institutions; and cuts to Social Security & Medicare).

The progressive Squad of Four should fight the Pelosi Democrats every chance they get.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Democratic Establishment and its partners are working just as hard as ever to rig the primaries against Bernie Sanders

Above: A recent survey offered by the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC)--accessed through an email link--asking email recipients who they prefer to be the Democratic nominee for president. The poll places Establishment favorites near the top, for the most part, and Bernie Sanders down in the bottom half (this image shows the first 13 of 23 names in the survey). One would think that Sanders, who consistently polls at second or third (a Washington Post-ABC News poll had him in a comfortable second place just a few days ago) would be near the top of selections. Also, note that the NTDC even put Hillary Clinton above Bernie, even though Hillary is not even running for president. This appears to be a jab, and revenge, against Bernie - a way to sabotage his 2020 run (the Democratic Establishment and its wealthy donors are still pissed at Bernie for having the audacity to challenge Hillary's coronation in 2016). Heck, they even have Steve Bullock in front of Bernie (who the hell is Steve Bullock??). Image used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.

The Democratic Establishment still hates Bernie and his silly ideas about a government of, by, and for the people

In an April 25, 2019 Christian Science Monitor article, it is noted that the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) "prepares Democrats across the country to run for office but does not endorse specific candidates" (emphasis added). So, imagine my surprise when I received an email (about a week or so ago) from the NDTC folks, expressing excitement about Joe Biden's run for the Oval Office. The email contained a link that sent me to one of their surveys, which you can see in the image above. The poll is clearly crafted to celebrate Joe Biden (a.k.a. Lyin' J'Biden) and to obscure Bernie Sanders.    

According to Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Barbara Ellis, the NDTC is a subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) - the organization that so effectively rigged the 2016 primaries against Bernie Sanders. Ellis had a similar experience to mine, writing: "A few months ago, an online message to Democratic registrants from the [NDTC] featured a 2020 election ticket of Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke. It asked what we thought of this 'winning' 2020 pair." Ellis goes on to write a great article on how the Democratic Establishment is once again working to manipulate its voters into supporting a Wall Street-favored candidate. Last time it was Hillary Clinton, this time it's Joe Biden (so far). Ellis concludes:

"Ultimately, whether Biden wins or loses the primaries makes little difference to the powers behind the DNC. They will still rule the Democratic Party and continue to have absolutely little interest in addressing the needs and lives of the increasingly restive 99 percent" ("Will Democratic Party Elites Dictate Its Primaries Again?" Truthout, May 18, 2019).

Others are also starting to see the deceptive practices of the Democratic Establishment. For example, an anonymous writer on DailyKos highlights in great detail the misleading emails he/she has been receiving from the NDTC, and even includes the following poll for others to chime in:

Why the deceit? It's all about taxes.

The question (one of the questions) is: Why are the Democratic Elite doing this? Why are they trying to manipulate us into voting for Lyin' J'Biden, or the next viable Wall Street candidate? The answer, I believe, is quite simple. Most (not all) wealthy donors to the Democratic Party--who the NDTC is aware of, and probably beholden to in one way or another--don't want to be taxed more to pay for the common good; and that could happen if Bernie Sanders becomes president. Most of these wealthy donors are socially liberal, but financially conservative. Sure, sure, they don't want race or sexual orientation to prevent someone from enjoying equal rights and opportunities, but when it comes to economics they agree with the right-wing, cult-like belief in "personal responsibility" and "pick yourself up by your bootstraps"... individual circumstances and economic background be damned. "Not a white male?" they ask. "Well golly gee, you deserve more opportunity!" "Need more financial resources to facilitate that opportunity?" they ask, but this time more cautiously, "Well, hold on a minute... um... I'm not so sure about that. Is that going to mean more taxes on me? Will that mean I can't buy another yacht?"

The NDTC is not the only Democratic Establishment organization or partner trying to manipulate the public against voting for Bernie Sanders. And this is being consistently reported on the progressive news outlet Common Dreams. See, for example,

Make no mistake about it, the current Democratic primary is all about class warfare - and the rich, elite Democratic donors (and their paid sycophants) are employing every sneaky attack and every deceptive trick in the book to brainwash you into voting against your own economic interests, in order to keep their taxes low and their private fortunes growing. They blabber about equal and more opportunity, but what they really want is more power, more cash, more mansions, and more luxury and comfort, at your expense - all the while telling you, "Oh yeah, we're progressive too!"

So, will you be a sucker for the Democratic Establishment and its rich donors... or, will you support Bernie Sanders? Yes, the choice really is that simple.

Above: A fundraising page, accessed through the same email as the first image of this blog post, and clearly highlighting the NDTC's centrist, corporate bias with an image of Obama, the Corporate Democrat Supreme. Image used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.

"[T]he skills of DNC enforcers have come to rival those of the Russians accused of meddling in the 2016 election, in terms of their abilities to crush popular 'outsiders' and their planks."

--Dr. Barbara Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-nominee, in "Will Democratic Party Elites Dictate Its Primaries Again?" Truthout, May 18, 2019

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The incredible lithographs of Mabel Wellington Jack

The following 5 lithographs were created by Mabel Wellington Jack, while she was in the WPA...

Above: "Speedboat," 1937. Image courtesy of Jon Bolton and the Racine Art Museum, used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.

Above: "Scoring," 1939. Image courtesy of the Newark Museum.

Above: "Swan Dive," ca. 1935. Image courtesy of the General Services Administration and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Above: "The Tender," 1936. Image courtesy of the General Services Administration and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Above: "Coal Hopper at 14th Street," 1938. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Above: Mabel Wellington Jack's signature, from her "Swan Dive" lithograph (and which can be seen on her other artworks too). The life story of Mabel Wellington Jack seems to have been lost in history; there's doesn't appear to be much information about her on the Internet or in newspaper archives. She lived from about 1899 to 1970 or 1975. Her "Swan Dive" lithograph is mentioned in the book Women, Art and the New Deal (Katherine H. Adams and Michael L. Keene, 2015): "This symbolism of freedom through sports, representative of a new world into which women were propelling themselves also occurred in depictions of diving. In Swan Dive, Federal Art Project artist Mabel Wellington Jack used lithography to produce a stunning chiaroscuro image [an image with a strong contrast between light and dark] of a diver in mid-flight..." (p. 54).

Thursday, July 4, 2019

This 4th of July, let's declare our independence from stupidity

Above: WPA poster. Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Writing for Salon today, Dave Masciotra argues that "America's perverted priorities of giving tax breaks to the wealthy while its public schools decline into states of disrepair, along with a shallow and superficial news media operating under the demands of corporate ownership, are largely to blame for America's failures... For the full picture of how pitiful American culture has become, consider that for many recent years the bestselling 'historian' in the country was Bill O'Reilly" ("Independent of everything: Is America too dumb for democracy?" Salon, July 4, 2019).

The fact of the matter is, Americans are getting dumber and dumber every year. Collectively, we're devolving. It sounds snobbish, I know, but at some point we have to call a spade a spade. We don't know our history, we lack critical thinking skills, and we've been trained, like dolts, to ask "How will we pay for it?" every time a public policy is formulated to help us... but never to ask that question when it comes to coddling the wealthy or showering the Pentagon with cash. 

We elect rich people like Donald Trump to give massive tax breaks to the rich (i.e., themselves); watch our children drink lead from old water mains, connection lines, and plumbing; and then, when someone says we need a massive infrastructure upgrade, we ask "But how will we pay for it?" We watch the rich horde record-breaking wealth; hear that the richest three families have more wealth than the bottom half of the population; witness our growing retirement crisis; but when someone says, "Let's expand Social Security," we scrunch our faces, scratch our crotches, and ask, "But how will we pay for it?"

If these types of phenomena are not the manifestation of mass stupidity, I don't know what is.

But how do we break out of this growing, downward-rolling snowball of idiocy? Neither rich conservatives nor rich "liberals" (except for a tiny few) want to be taxed more for the common good (for example, a better and more affordable education system), and the rest of us, unfortunately, don't have the resources to cure imbecilitis. Heck, most of us can't even afford a minor emergency.

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe it's too late. Maybe we're 50 feet down the rabbit hole, but only have a 6-foot step ladder. Maybe the critical thinking part of our brain has already devolved into a sort appendix, "a useless remnant from our evolutionary past."

But if we have any willpower left... any neurotransmitters & synapses still lighting-up in the old, withered gray matter... or any other signs of mental life after the repeated beatings we've taken from the rich... well then, let's declare our independence from stupidity this 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

New Deal Art: "Rope Skipper"

Above: "Rope Skipper," a wood engraving print by Burton Freund (1915-1968), created while he was in the WPA, ca. 1935-1943. Freund once said, "My desire is to capture and hold the excitement of a moment in movement..." Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.