Saturday, July 18, 2020

From Justinian's day through the "Black Death" of 14th century Europe, Shakespeare's locked-down London, "Yellow Jack" in Memphis, and today, pandemics and epidemics have been part of our human history, one that hits the poor the hardest as the princes of the world escape to their castles

(To the right, artist Fritz Eichenberg's wood engraving for Poe's The Masque of the Red Death)

Fun-loving Prince Prospero wanted to have a party. Sure, the Red Death had killed half the population of his princedom, and the pestilence threatened to kill the other half with a horrid grip that forced streams of blood through their very pores. Leave the peasants to deal with it, the prince said as he invited a thousand of his fellow nobles to a masked ball at his castle.

Thus begins The Masque of the Red Death that writer Edgar Allan Poe published in 1842, a scant 11 years after a cholera epidemic had devastated Baltimore, the city where he himself would die in 1849, and much of the rest of the world. As the story unfolds, Prince Prospero learns that even he and the landed gentry at his party could not escape the pestilence. Among the masqueraders was a “tall and gaunt” figure “shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave.” And so it was. The Red Death had come to the prince’s ball, and soon the prince and all his friends would lay at its feet, as dead as all those peasants beyond the moat of his castle.

(Edgar Allan Poe)

As the world today wrestles with the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and sickened millions more, a look through human history and accompanying body of literature reveals that such events, whether pandemics or epidemics, have always been part of the human experience.

Here in the U.S. South, one of the most horrific examples—detailed in an earlier Labor South post--took place in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1878. A yellow fever epidemic, known as “Yellow Jack” and spread by mosquitoes that had traveled up the Mississippi River from New Orleans and which likely was brought to the Americas by the African slave trade, nearly destroyed the city of Memphis. Among the 20,000 left after a mass evacuation, 17,000 got sick and 5,000 died. A disease that produced “black vomit” as it destroyed internal organs, Yellow Jack left a city of “rotten wood pavements … dead animals, putrifying human bodies and the half-buried dead,” in the words of one physician who had been in the city.

The high-living Prosperos among the wealthy cotton moguls who ruled Memphis may have loved their mint juleps at the Peabody Hotel, but they had provided scant services for the city, allowing sewage to run through the streets and garbage to go uncollected. When the pestilence came, they blamed the poor Irish workers who populated the crude shanties along the river. Those Irish would be among the first to die.

History records pandemics in ancient Rome and Constantinople, where the Emperor Justinian himself in 542 A.D. became a victim of the bubonic plague—spread by rat fleas. It didn’t kill him, but it did countless of his subjects.  The plague would return many times to Europe and Asia. Called the “Black Death”, it wiped out one third of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1351.

As described recently in a New Yorker piece by Elizabeth Kolbert, war and protest and even revolution have often contributed to or resulted from the spread and devastation of epidemics. People took to the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1831, to protest the government handling of the cholera epidemic there. Toward the end of the century, riots after another cholera outbreak would spread from St. Petersburg to the Ukraine, planting a seed in the revolution that was to come.

Spanish explorers brought smallpox to the New World in the early16th century, devastating the indigenous population and helping to inspire the toppling of statues of Christopher Columbus today.

The literature of pandemics is rich and informative. On April 23, 1564, Willliam Shakespeare was born into an English town that would lose a fifth of its population to the bubonic plague before his first birthday. The plague would leave and then return many times over the course of his life, closing down his Globe Theatre and other London theatres, too, as all but the city-bound poor fled. Shakespeare wrote Macbeth during his own quarantine, and the play’s description of a “poor country, almost afraid to know itself … our grave” may have referred to Macbeth’s Scotland but is imbued with the writer’s experience of the plague.

In fact, the plague contributed to Romeo and Juliet’s suicide. Fear of it prevented the message getting to Romeo that the potion Juliet took did not poison her but only put her to sleep. And we all know how that ended.

(Ben Jonson, portrait by Abraham van Blyenberch)

Shakespeare’s contemporary, Ben Jonson, sets his play The Alchemist in plague-ridden London around 1610 where “the sickness hot, a master quit, for fear, his house in town, and left one servant there.” Yep, the master’s left town. Let the servant deal with the plague.

The history of pandemics and epidemics—including the deadly 1918 flu pandemic--reveals certain threads that weave their way through the entire record of human existence. Often first to die are the poor, as the landed gentry escape to safer confines. Political failure to provide the people with the necessary means to combat the pestilence stretches across the centuries. And, yes, the Prince Prosperos of the world are still among us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Is race this nation's biggest problem? NO, but that's what our Corporate Rulers want us to believe. What is our biggest problem? They are.

(To the right, Norman Mailer in 2006)

The late novelist and journalist Norman Mailer, somewhere in his large body of work, once said something about modern-day journalism that was never truer than today. The media, he said, help “keep America slightly crazy.”

Maybe America has never been crazier than today after four months of quarantine as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Bereft of leadership with little hope for relief, facing a November presidential election that will pit a narcissist demagogue against a sleepy-eyed neoliberal chameleon, they remain largely hunkered down in their homes, many of them jobless, watching their televisions as anti-racism protesters go beyond condemning Confederate statues to tearing down or calling for the removal of statues of Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln.

They hear report after report about peaceful protests against police brutality and racism, but then there’s the burning and looting, the government-tolerated encampment in Seattle known as CHAZ or CHOP that considered itself during its brief and violent existence a patch of cityscape decidedly not part of the United States of America.

Meanwhile, the economy flounders and sinks into another Great Depression. Workers are ordered back to the assembly line regardless of the lack of safety conditions. Millions have lost their health insurance and have no means of paying the doctor if they get sick. Ballyhooed government assistance, they learn, has gone to friends of politicians and favored corporations rather than those who lost their jobs or their small businesses.

On the New York Times Best Sellers list is a book called White Fragility by a corporate consultant named Robin DiAngelo, who travels around the country and for big bucks tells white people they’re essentially hopelessly racist and their only hope is to listen to black people with a nodding acknowledgement of their own sinful natures. They can’t argue. They can’t even remain silent. They can only acknowledge and passively submit to the greater wisdom of DiAngelo and her ilk.

Even the arts provide no guaranteed refuge for truth and reason. The most-touted Broadway play in recent years has been Hamilton, which turned a pro-monarchy elitist into some kind of common folk hero, a book and a play based on a lie.

Mailer knew why the media keep America crazy. They tell half-stories with little context or well-grounded perspective. They react in ways that reflect a long-held American style of anti-intellectualism. Truth can be so inconvenient. They wet their fingers to see which way the wind is blowing and act accordingly.  And today, even more than in Mailer’s day, they’re corporate-owned, so they see life and America through corporate lens.

Corporate America does not want Americans to see the horrific legacy of decades of corporate hegemony in this country that the pandemic has exposed—the shameful divide between the wealthy and everyone else, the patchwork private health care system that has failed as miserably as politicians in stemming the spread of COVID-19, the raw exploitation of migrants, prisoners, and the working class of all races in the relentless search for cheap labor and profits, a Wall Street that no longer reflects the nation’s economy but only the growing wealth of non-producing hedge fund operators.

So what does Corporate America do? It does what it has always done. Divide us and take our eyes off the thousand-pound gorilla in the room. It tells us white Americans are hopelessly racist, that we have made little or no real progress in race in our nation, and our only solution is a lifelong wrestling match with our individual souls while Corporate America continues to run things. Are there race problems in this country? Yes, of course. Has the militarization of the police contributed to the hiring of thugs in uniforms who take special pleasure out of beating up and killing blacks? Yes. Is race America’s biggest problem? NO, for all the reasons above, but we’re simply too crazy these days to see it.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

In the pandemic and beyond, workers' greatest hope is when they stand together, and they can't depend on a political party to stand with them

(To the right, Barack Obama at the 2005 AFL-CIO national convention in Chicago)

I remember being very impressed with the young senator from Illinois as he spoke at the 2005 AFL-CIO national convention in Chicago about the dignity of the worker and the bold history of the labor movement in this country.

“They could have accepted their lot in life or waited for someone else to save them,” Barack Obama told the crowd of thousands. “Through their actions they risked life and living. They chose to act. In time, they won. … It started with hope, and it ended with the fulfillment of a long-held ideal. A humble band of laborers against an industrial giant – an unlikely triumph against the greatest odds – a story as American as any.”

A few years later, as Obama became president, he saw those promises and dreams plunge into the abyss of the Great Recession as countless workers lost their homes and their livelihood. So what did the nation’s first African American president do? He assembled an all-star Wall Street insider group of advisers—Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel--to help him guide American Business back to safe harbor. Banks were too big to fail, and corporate bailouts were the order of the day.

As for those laborers whose praises Obama sang in Chicago, they got no bailouts and they struggled as best they could to survive.

Working class people in America today really have no safe harbor, even in a pandemic that has real unemployment hovering around 20 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. The Republican Party, as always, looks at them with deep suspicion that they’re all either freeloaders or potential freeloaders who want an easy ride on the back of the billionaire class that funds the GOP and the journalists and preachers who use their podiums to teach obedience.

In the White House is a renegade Republican who talked the talk to working people on the campaign trail but who never walked the walk. He serves the bosses, not the people who work under them. He orders meatpackers and poultry workers back to work but says nothing to the owners to make sure the workplace is safe. He has even promised owners protection from liability. Like your typical cookie cutter Republican, he is contemptuous of government oversight and safety regulations.

During the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, workers could turn to the Democratic Party as a loyal ally. However, the party largely abandoned the working class after the 1960s and became the party of identity politics where one’s race, gender, and sexual orientation, not class, are paramount to one’s identity.

Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, who now will lead the party in this year’s presidential election (among his likely advisers is Obama’s old hand Larry Summers), liked to boast their credentials as men of the people, but they led a party too beholden to its corporate donors and too bereft of a true uniting vision to speak to regular folks any more. That’s why many of those folks, out of desperation, turned to the empty promises of the demagogue who now occupies the White House. At least he offered them the illusion of a promise, certainly more than what Bill and Hillary Clinton ever offered.

Bernie Sanders was a ray of hope to working people, but he has largely joined the party machinery since his abdication. Perhaps he tired of being an outsider in the millionaires club that the U.S. Senate still is.

The current pandemic has exposed the ugliness of the American economy, where workers depend on the management class for their health insurance, which those workers lose when they lose their jobs.  Income inequality is at a 50-year high in the United States, which Donald Trump loved to boast as the world’s greatest economy before the coronavirus landed on our shores.

This is a nation where the prison system has become the world’s largest gulag, and struggling minorities and immigrants sit in its barbaric cells for months, even years, before they can receive a semblance of justice. Watch as those prisoners become an increasingly popular source of cheap labor. That’s what happened when sanitation workers in New Orleans went on strike earlier this month to protest their $10.25-an-hour average wages and unsafe working conditions during the pandemic. They were fired and replaced by prison inmates making $1.33 an hour.

Still more and more workers are rising up. Teamsters are once again revolting against the Hoffa dynasty that has compromised the union’s mission as a voice for laboring people. Smithfield Foods workers have protested the lack of safety measures in their jobs.

“At the edge of despair, in the shadow of hopelessness, ordinary people make the extraordinary decision that if we stand together, we rise together,” Obama told the crowd that day in Chicago in 2005. “And we do.”

He was right. Obama was always good at speeches. He told the truth, a lived truth and the only hope for American workers, and they don’t need a politician to tell them that it is true.

Friday, April 10, 2020

No Evil Foods in Asheville, North Carolina, may make good El Zapatista but Emiliano would be very unhappy with the way it treats its workers

(Emiliano Zapata would not be happy with No Evil Foods)

No Evil Foods on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina, takes pride in being a very cool and hip company.  On its web site, it proclaims the following: “No Evil Foods makes meat from nothin’ but plants. We are makers driven to help hungry mouths everywhere recognize the connection between food, kindness to self and others, and environmental impact.”

This is a company with a leftist schtick. Among its vegan meat products are Comrade Cluck and the chorizo-like El Zapatista. Its owners like to call themselves “revolutionary leaders”.

Well, comrades, Emiliano would not be very happy with No Evil Foods if he were around today. With the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic threatening its dozens of employees much like it’s threatening all of us, No Evil Foods has insisted that, as a food operation, it is an essential service to its paying customers, and its workers must continue producing. This came despite a “Shelter in Place” order from the city of Asheville. When workers complained about safety conditions, they got an ultimatum.

“We could continue working for No Evil Foods and get a `temporary’ $1.50 raise after 90 days of perfect attendance, we could quit with the option to possibly return at a later date, or we could quit with a severance package of 3-weeks pay (after signing a gag order) with no option to ever return,” a worker at the company wrote Labor South in a lengthy, detailed letter recently. Labor South has decided to protect the worker’s anonymity.

A group of workers at the company issued a statement that was published in local media. “No Evil Foods has publicly created an image of being an ally to socialists, leftists, and workers around the country,” the statement said. With the outbreak of the virus, “we were told to wash our hands more. We were reassured that common areas would be sanitized more frequently. But as the number of infections continued rising, so did our concerns. With +60 of us working together between two shifts in a confined production area, we knew that proper handwashing and increased sanitizing of surfaces wouldn’t be enough.”

This is the same company that fought tooth and nail against a unionization effort by its employees back in February. It hired one of those union-busting law & consultant firms that companies and corporations pay big bucks to procure in the South, Constangy, Brooks, Smith and Prophete, a firm that sends its 200 lawyers across the South and beyond at an estimated cost of $2,500 per day to destroy union drives. Required employee meetings decrying the union, fear-mongering posters, and the usual litany of threats and other propaganda succeeded in defeating the union by a vote of 43 no’s to 15 yes’s.

On its Facebook page, No Evil Foods insists that “the safety of our team members, our customers, and our products is our #1 priority, and we take very seriously our shared responsibility to the country to maintain the food supply in this time of uncertainty. Our team is working hard to make sure everyone continues to have access to healthy, plant-based foods. Here’s what that means for how we do business: Starting March 16th, all employees who can perform their work from home are doing so. To ensure the safety of employees whose jobs require they be on site, we’ve amped up our already rigorous sanitation practices and capped production rooms to 10 individuals to maintain appropriate social distance, whenever possible.”

Still, as worker protests grew against how managers at No  Evil Foods “do business”, and media attention grew along with it, the company decided last week to offer its workforce “hazard pay”, a $2.25 raise. The action came just as workers were organizing a petition to demand hazard pay instead of the company’s earlier offer of a $1.50 raise with 90 days perfect attendance. “Word got back to management that this petition had a majority of signatures on it and was about to be turned in, so management jumped ahead of the game and ‘randomly’ decided that we should have hazard pay,” said the No Evil Foods worker in a second letter to Labor South.

Labor South telephoned No Evil Foods for comments on this story, and a return call was promised but never received.

Workers, however, consider the hazard pay offer a victory. “It was a pretty big win for all of us and it showed that if we have solidarity and a collective voice, we can get the things we want. We’re all thinking our next move might be to pass around another petition and try to make that pay increase permanent!”

Now, that’s something that would make old Emiliano happy.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Labor South in the coronavirus pandemic

Labor South readers:

We're all dealing with a terrible crisis right now, and I know you're hanging in there as best you can. Labor South will be posting soon a story out of North Carolina about a supposedly super
hip company that actually brandishes its left-wing credentials at the same time it fought tooth-and-nail against a unionization effort earlier this year and now is resisting its workers' demands for better and more safe working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic. All of this against a backdrop of a Republican leadership in the South and nation that is undergoing an existential crisis as it wrestles with the notion that the people actually and desperately need a responsive and caring government now, not right-wing ideology, neo-liberal mantras, and Wall Street obeisance.  Still putting together the pieces of this story, and it will be posted soon. Stay healthy!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bernie Sanders stands alone now, save for his grassroots army, and facing him are the politically elite of the Democratic Party, both black and white, Wall Street, and the corporate media

(Political cartoonist Thomas Nast's 1871 depiction of New York City's Boss Tweed, an inspiration for today's elite political class)

Back at the beginning of the 20th century, muckraking journalist Charles Edward Russell noticed how U.S. senators, as a political class, all seemed to look alike.

“Well-fed and portly gentlemen, almost nobody in that chamber had any other reason to be there than his skill in valeting for some powerful interest,” Russell observed. “We had no Senate; we had only a chamber of butlers for industrialists and financiers.”

Another muckraking writer, David Graham Phillips, taking his cue from Russell, would go on to publish a damning series of articles in Cosmopolitan called “The Treason of the Senate” in which he called the Senate “an eager, resourceful, indefatigable agent of interest as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be, and vastly more dangerous: interests that manipulate the property produced by all, so that it heaps up riches for the few; interests whose growth and power can only man the degradation of the people.”

Applied today, Russell and Phillips’ indictment could be expanded to much of the political class in Washington, D.C., whose sycophantic loyalty to their billionaire donors, Wall Street and the mega-corporations that actually run America, is fully endorsed by a fawning corporate media.

This is what Bernie Sanders is up against in the race for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, folks.

He’s all alone now, save for the millions of mostly young ground troops who are trying to make his message heard beyond the megaphones of CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the rest of the elite establishment media. “Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity”, “Bernie Can’t Win”, and “Bernie Sanders’ Agenda Makes Him the Definition of Unelectable” are the messages screaming through those megaphones.

He came into the South with the strong tailwind given him by his victories in New Hampshire and Nevada and shared victory in Iowa. Then in marched South Carolina’s black political boss James Clyburn, a 27-year-veteran congressman, House Majority Whip, and the be-all, end-all of black politics in his state.

Clyburn gave Biden a rousing endorsement that not only won the candidate the South Carolina primary but helped catapult him to Super Tuesday victories across the South, where huge black populations loom large in Democratic primaries.

Clyburn may be black, but he’s also establishment. Otherwise, why would he endorse a candidate whose record includes working with erstwhile segregationist South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond to make the nation’s criminal justice system more punitive, who opposed busing in the fight against school segregation, who called for cuts in Social Security on the Senate floor, who crawled in bed with Big Pharma, the credit card industry, and the banks rather than stand up to them on behalf of the people, a candidate who even eulogized Thurmond as a “brave man” whose legacy is a “gift to us all”?

Biden came out of Super Tuesday re-invigorated after his poor beginning in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, and the rest of the centrist political establishment rushed to stand beside him, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and O’Rourke. Black congressman Bennie Thompson in Mississippi, as establishment now as Clyburn, also joined the growing ranks of the elite in the Biden camp.

Sanders’ alleged fellow progressive, Elizabeth Warren, also dropped out of the race, but instead of throwing her support to Sanders she went on national television to criticize him and his supporters.

Sanders went on national television, too, before the discredited Rachel Maddow, who spent much of their time together pummeling him with questions about why young voters didn’t turn in larger numbers to support him. Sanders pointed to the traditionally low turnout among such voters, but what he should have done is point to an investigative study this past week by the crusading Facing South web magazine in North Carolina that much better explained that turnout.

“Republican-led legislatures in the South have continued to erect barriers to voting that disproportionately affect youth,” Facing South’s Benjamin Barber reported. “They include strict voter identification laws and registration restrictions, as well as closures of campus polling places.”

Citing statistics from the Campus Vote Project, Barber reported seven of 17 states passing laws requiring voter IDs in recent years will not accept student IDs. This includes South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. “In Tennessee, a faculty ID is an acceptable form of voters identification but a student ID is not. And in Texas, student IDs from public universities are not accepted for voting while gun licenses are.”

The corruption in U.S. politics is so endemic it’s hard even for the experts to see it for what it really is. What it really is, folks, is a special American brand of fascism that is creeping across this land. It knows no party and no allegiance other than to the almighty American dollar that is its god.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Bernie Sanders' challenge to the DNC and MSNBC and CNN establishment evokes the Populist uprising of the 1890s

(Bernie Sanders campaigning for unionization of the Nissan plant in Mississippi back in 2017)

Bernie Sanders’ challenge to the Democratic Party establishment evokes memories of the Populist uprising against the nation’s two-party system more than a century ago, as does the Democratic Party’s current maneuverings to destroy Bernie’s challenge.

Back in the 1890s, the People’s Party, better known as the Populists, gave the leaders of the nation’s two major political parties the scare of their lives, mounting the biggest third-party challenge in U.S. history. It was indeed a people’s party, challenging the corporate hegemony that had taken over the nation and giving a long-overdue voice to the farmers, factory workers - both black and white - and small business folks that both the Democratic and Republican parties had too long ignored. In many ways, the establishment parties had become what Louisiana’s Huey Long would decades later deride as the “high popalorum” and “low popahirum” of American politics, what Alabama Gov. George Wallace meant three decades later when he said there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” in the two major parties.

As flawed as Long and Wallace may have been, they were on to something.

(To the right, Huey Long of Louisiana)

Post-Civil War greed and the piles of money coming out of industrialization had so corrupted American politics by the end of the 19th century that average working folks had nowhere to turn other than a third party. In the South, ruling “Bourbon Democrats” appealed “to Southerners when they recalled nostalgic antebellum days and identified themselves with the romantic cult of the Confederacy,” but in their hearts they “were preeminently commercial-minded men who purposely aligned themselves with the Republican-industrial North in order to exploit the manpower and resources of their section,” historian Monroe Billington has written.

(1892 Populist poster)

Well-heeled leaders of the Democratic Party finally managed to pull the rug out from under the Populists, pushing “fusion” and co-opting their key issues and maneuvering and manipulating them eventually out of existence, leaving a legacy of disillusionment that took decades to repair. The Populists “blamed themselves for ever consenting to an unholy alliance with the enemy,” Billington wrote.

The modern-day Democratic Party faces a similar challenge in the populist uprising that Bernie Sanders represents, and its leaders have and will continue to fight tooth and nail to make sure he doesn’t become its titular head and certainly not president of the United States. Working hand-in-hand with the Democratic National Committee are their compatriots MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media stalwarts that style themselves as the official opposition to Trump/Fox News rule.

“People all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans,” James Carville recently ranted to MSNBC about Sanders’ call for free college tuition and student debt retirement. “They don’t want to hear this shit.”

Carville, of course, was a key architect of Clintonian politics in the 1990s, the centrist, neo-liberal, pro-corporate core philosophy of the Democratic National Committee today.

In response to Carville’s rant, writer Ed Burmila in the New Republic correctly pointed out that the 1970s world Carville invoked has little to do with today’s world, in which college expenses equal nearly 52 percent of a man’s median annual income and a whopping 81 percent of a woman’s. Today an entire generation of college graduates potentially face lifelong debt from their student loans.

MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews, himself a relic of “the good ol’ days” when he was an aide to former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill, told viewers recently he remembers the Cold War of the 1950s when critics of socialist regimes might be taken to a public park and shot, loosely implying that might be his fate under a Bernie Sanders regime. Give me a damn break!

The Democratic Party establishment, as tied to Wall Street as its Republican counterpart, is scared to death of Bernie Sanders. This was evident four years ago when its operatives leaked debate questions to favored candidate Hillary Clinton to give her an advantage over challenger Sanders. That same establishment spent nearly the next three years constructing “Russiagate” to claim it was Russian collusion that elected Trump, not Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign, Russian collusion that exposed the corruption within official Democratic ranks. In the process, “journalists” like Rachel Maddow completely lost credit by buying into the Russiagate conspiracy hook, line, and sinker.

More recently, the Iowa caucus exposed more DNC and Clintonian shenanigans as the Iowa Democratic Party decided to use an app designed by Clinton operatives to tally the vote, ultimately screwing up the count long enough to make sure Bernie Sanders didn’t come out of Iowa with any kind of momentum that might help him in the New Hampshire primary. Well, he won the New Hampshire primary despite their best efforts and now is the leader in the still-wide field of Democratic candidates.

Next to enter the stage was billionaire and former Republican Mike Bloomberg buying his way into second place behind Bernie with untold millions of dollars in television and social media ads that paint him as kind of a Lone Ranger there to save the party from a socialist takeover (which is his real goal, even more than defeating Donald Trump). However, Bloomberg’s disastrous performance in the debate before the Nevada caucus proved that even tons of money can’t hide the host of skeletons in his closet.

To get truth about this campaign one has to go to social media and YouTube programs like “The Hill” and hear former MSNBC commentator Krystal Ball tell it like it truly is. Another is Kyle Kulinski. Still another is Jimmy Dore. Here you get the cogent analysis that’s missing in traditional media. They’re young, sharp, and hungry for truth, and they speak to the same generation that has become the core of Bernie Sanders’ movement. They’re the future, not James Carville, Chris Matthews, and the other troglodytes who believe they still have something to say to the American people.