“Miss Me Nyet?” — Why the Fall of the USSR was a Disaster for America and the World

Flag of the Soviet Union — 1923

Part 1: A Little Revolution Can be Good

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is often credited with having “saved Capitalism in America”. Indeed, FDR even described himself as “the greatest friend the profit system ever had.” This is an obvious truth when taken in the historical context. When FDR took office, the country was in the midst of a deep depression which for many signalled the impending fall of Capitalism. Working people were being recruited in droves by a very active and vital American Communist Party as well as the American Socialist Party , and populist movements were sprouting up all over. In the face of these poplar uprisings, the American ruling class was (rightly) worried that the militancy caused by massive wealth inequality and worker exploitation that had toppled the Czar’s regime only a few years earlier could spread to the shores of the USA.

In response to the perceived threat, Roosevelt instituted the New Deal with all its worker protections and social programs, but perhaps his greatest achievement was to convince the American 1% (what he called the “Economic Royalists”) that if they wanted to keep what they had, they would need to share at least a little with the other 99%. Otherwise, they would see maddened hordes of impoverished Americans storming the gated communities in wealthy enclaves from the Hamptons to the Hollywood Hills.

It can be argued, then, that had there been no November Revolution in Russia in 1917, there might not have been a New Deal in America 15 years later. And many forget that FDR was attacked repeatedly from the LEFT by grassroots populist movements led by the likes of Huey Long, Francis Townsend, Father Charles E. Coughlin and the radical Iowa Farm Union leader Milo Reno. There was revolution in the air back then, and many populists and workers’ advocates looked to the USSR as a model of what could be achieved. The balance that FDR had to strike between his capitalist cohorts and the populist workers’ movements was struck in an environment in which a worldwide socialist/communist movement, spearheaded by the Soviet Union, was a very real thing.

The Marshall Plan — Keeping Europe in the Capitalist System

The USA has often been praised for its cunning pragmatism in rebuilding Europe and Asia in the wake of WWII. The Marshall Plan saw thousands of American advisors “helping” Germany, Italy, Japan and others rebuild their countries into “thriving Democracies.” The Marshall Plan is often described in economic terms as a clever way for the US to create new markets for all its surplus production capacity, but there was also a very large political and economic component.

Indeed, the countries in Europe and Japan inserted into their new constitutions the main tenets of what FDR called his “Second Bill of Rights” — also known as the “Economic Bill of Rights.” This document stated that every citizen had the right to a decent housing, employment with dignity and a living wage, free health care, a generous pension and other “rights” that, ironically, Americans now associate more with Europe than with the New Deal. This is because FDR was unable to get his Second Bill of Rights passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. Nonetheless, his Administration, under the aegis of the Marshall Plan, was able to seed these basic principles abroad and they were eventually instituted in Europe and Japan.

These Economic Rights were seen as necessary to stave off the threat of Soviet Communism, which was already being imposed in Eastern Europe and which was infiltrating Western Europe. Each major European country had an active Communist Party, and indeed one of the most blatant cases of the CIA “fixing” an election happened in 1948, when US Intelligence forces interfered to prevent a Communist from becoming Prime Minister of Italy. [Side note: this is why many Italians laugh when they hear Americans cry foul about so-called Russian “election meddling”].

Part 2: The Benefits of the Cold War

The Rise of the Military Industrial Complex

I am sure most of my readers are familiar with President Eisenhower’s address warning about the dangers posed by the Military Industrial Complex.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

The MIC was a major force in determining US foreign policy during the Cold War. But both America’s military and Corporate America were kept in check by a countervailing force: the USSR. The Soviet Union and the USA enjoyed a fairly stable relationship based on “mutual assured destruction” (MAD); a doctrine that was actually just a simple acknowledgment that any war between the two powers would lead to a “doomsday scenario” in which both sides would be incinerated in a massive nuclear exchange. Yes, there were tense episodes like the Cuban Missile Crisis. And yes, there was a sort of constant stress under the threat of MAD, evinced in the frequent “duck and cover” drills that young schoolchildren like me had to go through, and through various films like Failsafe and Dr. Strangelove. But by and large, the bipolar balance of power that existed under the Cold War remained relatively stable, if not exactly peaceful (Korea, Vietnam, Latin America, etc.).

The existence of the USSR gave the US a yardstick by which to measure its own dedication of resources to the military. The MIC was charged with ensuring that there was no “missile gap” — or indeed a gap in any area where the US might be behind the USSR in terms of military might. But by the same token, achieving parity or even superiority at least offered a sort of benchmark, a point at which Congress could say, “that is enough.”

Military adventurism was also held in check by the Soviets. Any move internationally had to be evaluated and even-tempered by the limitations imposed by “what the Soviets might do.”

The Civil Rights and the Peace Movements

It is not entirely coincidental that the Cold War period also saw some of the most major advances in social and economic justice take place in America. Racial inequality was a major propaganda tool used by the Soviets to portray America as a deeply divided and unequal society, and it must be acknowledged that LBJ’s Great Society was successful in part due to pressure imposed by social movements. It is now widely believed that the Black Panther Party and Stokely Carmichael had ties to the USSR.

In 1967, [Carmichael] went on a global speaking tour, giving speeches in Moscow, Havana and Hanoi, in which he condemned racism and capitalism alike. In the speeches he hinted at an impending race war in the United States, referring, most likely, to the arming of the Black Panthers.

That the Soviets would try to foment race war in the US is not in dispute; it should be also accepted, however, that the Civil Rights gains that took place in the late 60’s were partly due to that perceived influence and the sensitivity of the American ruling elite to the charges of American hypocrisy in preaching democracy and human rights abroad while denying them to large groups of people at home.

The BPP was not the only movement fueled by Sovietism. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), were increasingly militant:

While initially not sharply radical… by 1969 that was no longer the case. The group … had “evolved from civil rights struggles to an anti-Vietnam war stance to an advocacy of a militant anti-imperialist position.” (4) Correspondingly, it contained an array of different organizations vying for influence within it — from Trotskyists, anarchists and pro-Soviet communists, to Maoists.

SDS in turn gave rise in the early 1970’s to a campaign of bombings of US federal buildings across the country, conducted by the Weather Underground, a terrorist organisation that “rationalized militancy as the only recourse remaining to combat an unjust system.”

The thesis of Weatherman theory, as expounded in its founding document, You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows, was that “the main struggle going on in the world today is between U.S. imperialism and the national liberation struggles against it”,[26] based on Lenin’s theory of imperialism, first expounded in 1916 in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In Weatherman theory “oppressed peoples” are the creators of the wealth of empire, “and it is to them that it belongs.” “The goal of revolutionary struggle must be the control and use of this wealth in the interest of the oppressed peoples of the world.” “The goal is the destruction of US imperialism and the achievement of a classless world: world communism”[27] — Wikipedia

Just as FDR saw the need to give the people economic progress in order to stave off a potential Soviet-style Communist revolution, so did LBJ and others see the need to to neutralise a growing militancy and calls for social revolution by passing Civil Rights laws and tamping down the overt militarism that had led to the Vietnam War.

Again, one needs to wonder: had there been no Soviet Union, no world power offering an alternative to US-style capitalism and imperialism, would the Civil Rights activists of the 60’s and 70’s have had the foundation and framework with which to organise their campaigns? Would LBJ and even Nixon have ever been forced — by a combination of shame, fear and pragmatism — to make concessions in terms of social and economic justice?

Part 3: The Fall of the USSR and the Rise of Hyper-capitalism and Hyper-Militarism

I am not going to discuss the socioeconomic disaster that befell Russia in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. But I will offer some background points to frame the effect that the collapse of the USSR had on America and the rest of the world.

“Yanks to the Rescue”

Americans bragged about meddling in Russian politics.

The fall of the Soviet Union offered Capitalists in the West — and especially the US — an amazing chance to make money. Transitioning from a Communist “command economy” to a capitalist “market economy” meant new opportunities for “economic cooperation.” And the US did everything it could to ensure that they had a willing partner in the Kremlin — that’s why they sent advisors to help Boris Yeltsin win the Presidency in 1994.
This overt election meddling by the US was seen in the West as a positive thing — a way to bring Russia into the capitalist / neoliberal fold. And it worked. Russia got all of the hard core crony capitalism and none of the pesky “watchdog” groups or legislation.

“The world is a business, Mr. Beale”

The West “won” the Cold War: Communist Russia was defeated, and the collapse of the USSR was seen not as the demise of a totalitarian power but as ideological proof that socialism and communism simply were not legitimate forms of statehood or society; that a truly egalitarian system without the profit motive and massive wealth inequality simply could not exist. Capitalism had WON.

And so the dogs of predatory Capitalism were let loose upon the world. The entire world became one big market. The fevered dreams of Ned Beatty’s character in Network became, at long last, a reality.

Gracious in Victory — NOT

Yes, the capitalist West “won” the Cold War. Yet, there was no Marshall Plan to help the vanquished enemy. Russia was pillaged and looted by the West — so much so that the life expectancy in Russia actually declined in the 90’s. The standard of living in Russia rapidly approached that of a third world nation. Just as significantly, the military might of the USSR was quickly dissipated, sold off, carved up and scattered across the international arms markets. Much of the Soviet ICBM arsenal was located in the Ukraine, which decommissioned and removed them (under Western supervision) once they became independent.

Perhaps the most significant event following the collapse of the USSR, both economically and symbolically, was the Reunification of Germany. East Germany was the industrial powerhouse of the USSR and the military linchpin of the Warsaw Pact. Allowing the German Democratic Republic (East) to become part of the Federal Republic of Germany (West) was a HUGE deal. Given that 27 million Russians had died fighting the Germans in WWII, you can only imagine the trepidation with which Gorbachev and the Russian military regarded the reconstitution of a large, powerful German State.

In direct bilateral talks with the Reagan and then Bush (41) Administrations, the US and Gorbachev agreed that if Russia allowed the peaceful reunification of Germany to proceed, NATO would not expand “one inch past Berlin.”

This made sense, as the Warsaw Pact — the Russian led military alliance that had faced off against NATO all during the Cold War — was dissolved in 1991, immediately following the withdrawal of East Germany as a result of the German Reunification in 1990.
Unfortunately, this agreement not to expand NATO Eastward was never codified into a written treaty, and the Americans broke the agreement as soon as Bill Clinton took office in 1992.

NATO Expansion over the years

Clinton embarked on a program of NATO expansion, adding Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, and beginning talks with other potential members.
The result: since the fall of the Soviet Union, 13 new NATO members have added. These new members completely surround Russia’s borders from the Baltic States in the north to Georgia in the South. The expansion continues today, with the US pushing hard to get Ukraine not only into the EU but also into NATO. Indeed, the Russian annexation of Crimea is widely seen as a pre-emptive move so that the Russian Black Sea Fleet Base (one of the largest Russian military bases), which is located in Crimea, would not suddenly find itself inside of a NATO country. Such a scenario could have easily triggered WW3.

The mendacity of the West in dealing with post-Soviet Russia was, perhaps, to be expected. Clinton, and the US Presidents that followed him, all insisted on doing “victory laps” to cement US hegemony. As the “lone Superpower”, the US simply cannot resist “spiking the football” even today. This is, I suppose, a way of “dancing on the grave” of Communism, and it is something that every President has done since the fall of the USSR. The net effect of this geopolitical gloating, however, has been to make the world a very dangerous place.

Part 4: The Negative Effects of the Fall of the USSR on America and the World

I suppose it may still be difficult to see how the fall of the Soviet Union had a terrible and negative effect on the USA and the West. Here, then, is a brief summary and analysis of just how and why the disappearance of Soviet Communism from the global stage has negatively impacted the world and its peoples.

The Rise of Neoliberalism

It is no wonder, and certainly not a coincidence, that the fall of the Soviet Union fuelled the rise of Neoliberalism in the Western Democracies. Of course, Neoliberalism had been around for a long time — the movie Network referenced above was actually from 1976, long before the collapse of the USSR. But Neoliberalism, that is, the relentless pursuit of “market-based” solutions for society, had always been seen as a right-wing, reactionary concept.

Author’s note: If you are unfamiliar with what Neoliberalism actually is, I have written a primer to explain and define the concept:

10 Tenets of Neoliberalism

Reagan Led the Way

Reaganism, such as it was practised, was the first beak-through in making Neoliberalism “mainstream”. Reagan said that Government was not the solution to the problem, but rather, Government was the problem. Only the Market and private enterprise could make people’s lives better and enrich society at all levels. Reagan’s famous quip regarding the ineptitude and even danger posed by the Government clearly illuminates the Neoliberal philosophy:

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” — Ronald Reagan

This represented a complete break from the FDR New Deal philosophy in which Government was seen as a force for good, a way to help people.
Reagan and his form of neoliberal hyper-capitalism were credited with having “defeated” the Soviet Union and Communism. This proved a powerful counter argument to the attacks from the American Left, which wanted to preserve the economic safety net and the social compact that had been forged by the New Deal Democrats under FDR, Truman and LBJ.

Neoliberal Conservatives argued that because the US was so rich and powerful under Reagan, the Soviets collapsed because they could not “keep up” in terms of military spending. Reaganomics were working, they said, and they were making the world safe for democracy at last.
In reality, however, the fall of the USSR and the triumph of Reagan actually just made the world safe for unbridled capitalism and its resultant plutocracy. This was proven, unfortunately, by Reagan’s eventual successor, a self-proclaimed “New Democrat” named Bill Clinton.

Clinton, Blair and the “Third Way” of Neoliberalism

This is where “liberalism” went wrong, with these grinning corporate sellouts.

Bill Clinton and his counterpart, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK, were the first so-called “liberal” leaders to came to power in their countries after the fall of the Soviet Union and the resulting celebration and canonisation of their respective “conservative” predecessors, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
With the “fall of communism” as a backdrop, Clinton and Blair adopted the Neoliberal playbook of the Reagan/Thatcher era and gave it a thin veneer of “liberal” dogma in the areas of diversity, human rights and social justice. They paid lip service to supporting Labor, even as they worked to undermine unions and the working class. They called their new paradigm the “Third Way” and called themselves “New Democrats” in the US and “New Labour” in the UK.

The New Democrats were represented in the US by the Democratic Leadership Council, a pro-corporatist arm of the Party that drew its power from a base comprised of Corporate America and Wall Street. Indeed, when Bill Clinton was Chair of the DLC, its Executive Board was made up of representatives from 28 corporations, including the Koch Brothers.

The Clintons and their Allies, The Koch Brothers

It was during this time that the Democrats and the Labour Party turned decidedly away from their working class base, in favour of big corporate and financial interests. After all, the Soviet Union was gone, international Communism was no longer a threat, and global capitalism was now the undisputed “winning side” in the great struggle between workers and owners, between wage earners and Management. Money was now everything, and making money was the only thing that mattered. A person’s worth could now be determined not by any intrinsic values, but by what “price” they could fetch in the Marketplace (what they now called the “Job Market”).

This is how the Democratic Party became the party of white-collar professionals and the educated elites, as Thomas Frank so masterfully described in his seminal books, What’s the Matter with Kansas and Listen, Liberal. According to the new, DLC-driven Democratic Party, Neoliberal globalisation and job-killing trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP were fine, people just needed to have the right education and societal status in order to thrive in the new “global economy’. There was no longer a place for the Trade Unionist Movement in the new Democratic Party. Indeed, manufacturing was seen as “old technology” and was no longer the way of the future. Under the new, Neoliberal regime, America was no longer in the business of making things. Except, of course, when it came to WAR.

Peace Dividend? What Peace Dividend?

There was a brief moment in time when people actually believed that the end of the Cold War would deliver a “Peace Dividend” to the American people in the form of renewed and increased investment in non-military development and government expenditures.

Sadly, this was not to be.

It has become painfully obvious to any rational observer that the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned about was not ready to curtail its activities — and profits — simply because the US no longer faced a global threat from international communism in the form of the USSR. No, they found plenty of other ways to keep America on a war footing, finally settling on an undefined and interminable “War on Terror”. This is actually better than the Cold War, because now there is not a single, physical, definable enemy like the Soviet Union. Now there is an enemy that is a concept, a vague, nebulous idea that can be defined in whatever way the US arms industry and the Pentagon wish to do so. The world is their oyster.

Without a Soviet Union to push back on US hegemony, the US military has expanded to encompass almost the entire world. The US currently maintains over 1000 bases, with active duty special forces and other military personnel serving in 138 countries. It is obscene.

US Special Forces are now active in 70% of the world’s countries.

The Congress just recently approved a massive increase to the Defense Budget of $80 billion a year. This is far and above what the Pentagon or even the Trump administration had requested. Worse yet, 60% of Democrats voted for this bill.

Final Part: How the fall of the USSR killed the Democratic Party

For me, as a lifelong Democrat, perhaps the most appalling result of the fall of the USSR was the fact that it led to the destruction of the Democratic Party.
Now, when I say Democratic Party, I mean the electoral powerhouse that was built under FDR; the Party that had a total lock on the Congress for 70+ years. The party that represented the vast majority of Americans: working people, the middle class, and yes, liberals and progressives.

Without the USSR there would have been no New Deal

As I mentioned above, FDR’s greatest achievement — according to the man himself — was that he saved Capitalism in America. I also explained that he had to convince those of his own privileged class (the 1%) to share some of the wealth with working people. But he could only make that case by scaring them with the terrifying spectre of a Communist revolution in America; of the progressive populists, farmers and factory workers, joining up to seize control of the country from those “Economic Royalists”.
But FDR could only make that threat credible because there was an example to point to: RUSSIA. What had befallen the Romanoffs and the Russian aristocracy could also happen to the Vanderbilts, the Pierponts, the Morgans, the Hearsts and yes, the Roosevelts.

But, FDR had to convince the 99% to go along with his plan as well.

The official name of almost every Communist or Socialist Party contained some variation of the word “worker”. Roosevelt, in his New Deal, had to convince the workers in America that their needs would be met, their views heard, their grievances addressed, not by the increasingly popular communist, socialist or radical progressive parties, but rather by the solid, traditional Democratic Party. Under FDR’s guidance, the Democrats became that party for working people.

Americans bought FDR’s argument; they saw the New Deal legislation take hold; they came to appreciate the new, worker-oriented institutions that were created to make life better for the working class. The move towards Communism was thwarted and Capitalism in America was indeed saved.

When the Soviet Union went away, so too did the need to keep the American working class satisfied. They had been lulled into a sense of well-being as the New Deal and the Post-WWII boom made the US the envy of the world. Wages increased, single worker households did well; blue-collar and white-collar workers were about on par, money wise, thanks to unions. The American Way of Life could be safely and effectively compared with that of the USSR because workers in America had it so good.
The trouble started when there was no longer a need to make that comparison.

Once capitalism had won, and the global economy was declared, the American worker became just another asset, a cost factor to be compared with workers elsewhere. Management determined what workers should be paid. And if the workers wanted too much, then Management could just move to a cheaper country.
In the late 1990’s, at the height of Bill Clinton’s Neoliberal restructuring of the American economy, Jack Welch, the iconic CEO of GE, famously said:

“Ideally, you’d have every plant you own on a barge.”

This quote, and its associated fame, shows just how far America has fallen in terms of respect for workers. There is none. So-called “Right to Work” legislation is spreading across the country, making it impossible for workers to form unions, to negotiate for their wages — to have a say in their own lives. And if they try to take a stand, then Management simply threatens to shut down and move to a low-wage country. It is a global “race to the bottom” that would probably not succeed if there were still a USSR acting as a global player and promulgating the idea of the ascendance, the elevation of workers in society.

The Democratic Party lumbered along for 30 years in their Neoliberal fashion, spurning workers, ignoring labor and unions, knowing that the working class had nowhere else to go. This lasted up until 2016, when workers, in desperation, turned to Donald Trump, if only to prove that they did, after all, have somewhere else to go.

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Three Reasons why the Democratic Elite Will Never Give Up the Russia-Gate Narrative

For almost 2 years, the Democrats have pushed a narrative purporting that Russians, operating at the direct orders of Vladimir Putin, have been working to subvert American Democracy and install a puppet in power in the form of Donald Trump.

First, it was the Russian Hacking hoax_—_the idea that the DNC servers had been hacked by Russian operatives reporting directly to Vladimir Putin. This story started circulating even before the election took place, and evolved and grew over time until, after the 2016 election was lost by the Democrats at all levels and in all branches of Government, it became necessary to develop the story into a full-blown narrative as a way to explain the stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton at the hands of the “monster” Donald Trump.

We know from the book, Shattered, that the Russia narrative was a political construct from the start:

That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

This story has since been fully debunked by experts, and after a year of looking, no one has been able to produce one piece of evidence to prove Russians hacked the DNC servers. The fact that the DNC on several occasions refused to let either the FBI or DHS examine their servers makes the original claim highly suspect, and recent analyses by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have further proven that the WikiLeaks emails that were released came from an inside leaker and not a hacker, just as Julian Assange has always maintained.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz boldly asserting that Jeh Johnson, Obama’s head of DHS, and FBI chief James Comey were all LYING about the DNC refusing to let them inspect their servers. Seriously.
The balls on her.

Once the DNC hacking story became dead in the water, the Democrats quickly moved on. The Russia-Gate narrative changed focus from the claim of “hacking” to the more amorphous claim of “collusion”_—_the idea that the Trump campaign “colluded” with the Russian Government to steal the election from Hillary Clinton and deliver the White House to Donald Trump. This story too has lost steam for lack of evidence, and the investigations that are underway currently seem to be shifting focus away from coordinated campaign activities toward possibly illegal (or at least embarrassing) financial dealings between Trump and his associates (such as Paul Manafort) and what are loosely described as “the Russians”.

With the Congressional investigations falling off the radar, the Democrats have flailed around desperately for a new “active narrative” with which to occupy the news cycles in the mainstream media.

They have now seized upon Social Media. This narrative is multifaceted, and is probably the most revealing of just why the Democrats NEED to have the Russia-Gate narrative alive and front and center in our collective consciousness.

Under this story, Russian “troll farms” were operating feverishly all during the 2016 election cycle, working overtime to not just damage Hillary Clinton and promote Donald Trump, but to also elevate Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein online in such places as Facebook and Twitter. Stories of these operations have appeared repeatedly in the Washington Post and The New York Times and on CNN.

Moreover, “the Russians” were buying advertisements on Facebook, Google and Twitter which were designed to foment division, animosity and conflict among Americans.

This story, however, has now also been debunked. Actually though, it hardly needs debunking because if you total up the value of all the ads that were supposedly bought across all three Social Media platforms it comes to about $300,000. This is roughly 0.025% of the roughly $2 BILLION that was spent during the course of the election. This, folks, is a fly fart in the wind.

But wait, there’s more: CNN has now scooped an expose entitled: “Exclusive: Even Pokémon Go used by extensive Russian-linked meddling effort”

I am not kidding. They would actually have us believe that even Pokemon Go has been compromised by Russian agents. This seems ridiculous, even laughable. But unfortunately, the craven dissembling and disinformation being spewed by the Clinton/Obama Democratic Elite and their allies in the Deep State and the Media is serious business.

Taking a Joke too Far?

It is one thing to blame your catastrophic and embarrassing loss on foreign interference. But to characterise such “meddling” as an “act of war” is going too far. And that is what dozens of Democrats are doing every day.

Paul Begala, a “lifelong Clinton campaign aide” recently went on CNN to declare:

“We were and are under attack by a hostile foreign power, and they seem to be abetting that hostile foreign power. We should be debating … whether we should blow up the KGB … We should be retaliating massively. “

Donna Brazile, long-time Democratic operative and former DNC Chair (and disgraced ex-CNN commentator), said:

“I’ve never agreed with Dick Cheney in my entire life, but when he said this was an act of war, I have to agree with the former vice president”

Moreover, Brazile, like Begala, seems perfectly willing to conjure up the spectre of the USSR and the Communist threat to The American Way of Life.

Donna Brazile later defended this Tweet as accurate. If you can believe that.

What could possibly incite a Democrat to call for open hostilities with another nuclear power? What could push a well-known Democratic operative to agree with the most reviled Republican in pre-Trump history? What could make them want to re-start the Cold War, with all it’s Dr. Strangelove implications?

Why Democrats need to cling to this ridiculous narrative

Indeed, one may also wonder why the Democrats feel a need to keep pushing the “Russian meddling” narrative given that it is going nowhere and only seems to further divide the nation and, well, make them look stupid. And one must especially wonder why they are willing to take it so far as to threaten thermonuclear war.

The answer is as simple as it is banal, and as sad as it is frightening. Let me explain.

1. They really, truly believe that Hillary should have won

Obama described Hillary as “the most qualified person ever to have run for President.” This statement seems ridiculous on its face, but the Clintonites really, truly believe it. The ONLY way Hillary could have lost, they believe, is if there were some nefarious machinations behind the scenes, some skulduggery and illicit interference that prevented what they all KNEW to be an inevitable victory. As the reining political establishment, the Democrats dare not suggest that that any “rigging” took place (that was, after all, Trump’s line) so they must look elsewhere. The Russians are the perfect patsies.

Hillary blames Bernie – and almost everyone else. But mostly Putin.

2. They refuse to self-examine or take blame

There is still a large contingent of Democrats who hate, and I mean hate, Bernie Sanders and his supporters for daring to have mounted a serious challenge to the Anointed One and the coronation that had been 8 years in the making. Hillary herself has blamed Bernie in her book and on her book tour. She has also blamed, in turn, James Comey, the media, the DNC, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and even the Brexit vote.

But Vladimir Putin is clearly the primary villain in her eyes. She has claimed multiple times that Putin has a vendetta against her, that he is bent on revenge for her, because in her role as Secretary of State, she alleged openly that Russia’s elections in 2011 were rigged.

But it’s not just Hillary. So far there is not one Democrat who has accepted any blame for the 2016 disaster: no one has lost their job or been asked to resign; no one has been disgraced or ostracised. Hillary’s campaign staff have transitioned seamlessly into other positions in the political and media establishment. The Congressional leaders, Pelosi and Schumer, have retained their positions with no serious opposition. They see no reason to change, and unlike the Republicans after 2012, they refuse to do a true post-mortem or to do anything differently. After winning re-election as House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi was adamant: “I don’t think people want a new direction,” Pelosi told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

And why should they change, when the only reason they lost was because Russia “hacked the election” -?

Nancy Pelosi maintains that Democrats are most certainly NOT seeking a change in direction.

3. They MUST defend Obama’s legacy – and Neoliberalism

Democrats have a very insular worldview in which Barack Obama brought peace and stability to the world, revived the American economy, brought universal healthcare to the people, and proved once and for all that America was truly a “post-racial” society. Liberals love to pat themselves on the back for having elected a man of color; it proves that their “values” of equality etc. had created what they called “the coalition of the ascendant”, as Thomas Frank describes in his book, Listen, Liberal, Democrats in DC really think they have created a permanent majority that should win Presidential elections for years to come. Poverty and racism have been vanquished, the neoliberal agenda introduced by Bill Clinton in the 90’s has resulted inevitably in a just and wealthy society. Look at the White House! Look at the racially diverse cabinet! Look at how well Wall Street and the NYSE are doing!

Obama at the DNCC: “America is already great!” – yeah, for YOU, maybe.

Democrats cannot and must not allow anything to contradict this narrative. They cannot grasp the fact that their neoliberal society has resulted in increased income and wealth inequality under Obama; they will not accept that race relations actually worsened under Obama. Their minds simply cannot conceive that their neoliberal policies led to more people living in poverty since Obama took office.

On the campaign trail and at the DNC convention, both Clinton and Obama taunted Trump, shouting, “America is already great!”.

Sheesh. It’s no wonder that 2/3 of Americans think that the Democratic Party is out of touch.

As proof of this final point, I refer you to the Pokemon Go contest I referenced above. This was a contest which concentrated on what CNN repeatedly calls “alleged police brutality.”

Specifically, the Don’t Shoot Us contest directed readers to go to find and train Pokémon near locations where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place. Users were instructed to give their Pokémon names corresponding with those of the victims. A post promoting the contest showed a Pokémon named “Eric Garner,” for the African-American man who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer.

It’s unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish, though it may have been to remind people living near places where these incidents had taken place of what had happened and to upset or anger them.

So there you have it, folks. The Russians were trying to destroy America by reminding people about innocent citizens who had been killed by police in their communities. Truly diabolical, wouldn’t you say? Obviously, anyone who was trying to remind citizens of police shootings of unarmed African-Americans was acting in, for want of a better term, an “Un-American” way.
This is as ludicrous as it is disgusting.

The Russia-Gate Narrative is Here to Stay

This “blame Russia” narrative will never, ever stop. For to abandon the Russia-Gate narrative would mean that the Democrats would have to face the fact that they well and truly LOST the 2016 elections, and moreover, that they well and truly deserved to do so.
I expect that the Russia-Gate narrative will continue until the Democratic Party is reformed. It is just too convenient and too effective politically for them to simply cling to the “blame Russia” defense to deflect blame and maintain their own narrative of the success of neoliberalism and the success of the Obama Presidency.

While it is amusing to watch the Democrats make fools of themselves, we must realise that this nonsense can lead to real world consequences_—_much like the “Blame Canada” movement depicted in a South Park movie. Yes, that’s right: The Simpsons predicted the Presidency of Donald Trump, but South Park predicted the senseless and baseless demonisation of another country for purely political purposes.

“Blame Canada” is a song from the 1999 animated musical fantasy comedy film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, written by Trey Parker & Marc Shaiman.

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Four – No – FIVE Reasons Why Bernie Sanders Needs to Form a New Party

The Struggle Continues!

Updated 20 October 2017

Bernie Sanders needs to form and lead a new party in order to effect badly needed change in American politics. This is very clear to some, perhaps less clear to others, and oftentimes seems to be a nebulous topic when the Senator himself talks about the issue.
Bernie has said that he wants to “transform the Democratic Party” in order to make it more representative of working people and the poor. This is Bernie’s way of saying that he wants to reverse the 30 years of neoliberalism that has reigned since Bill Clinton and the DLC hijacked the Democratic Party and abandoned unions and working people in favor of Wall Street and Corporate America.

This is simply not possible.

Reason 1: The Reagan Democrats are not coming back
To put Bernie’s struggle into an historical context, and to understand why the Democratic Party needs to be “transformed”, we first need to look at Ronald Reagan.
The so-called “Reagan Revolution” itself transformed the American political landscape. Reagan’s goal was, essentially, to roll back all of the populist advances of the Democrats’ New Deal socialism, which had started with FDR (Social Security, banking regulations) and progressed through Truman (who fought for universal health care) and culminated in LBJ’s “Great Society” legislation of the 60’s (Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, etc.).

Reagan managed to convince middle class and working class Americans that government had grown too big, and government was no longer a solution but rather the cause of society’s ills. Indeed, Reagan famously quipped: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Bernie Sanders is trying to reverse Reaganism. He wants people to realise that the government can be a source of strength and support in people’s lives; that the federal government, with its vast power and wealth, can be a force for good, and a way for us to, as Bernie says, “come together”.

But Reagan was able to effect his “transformation” by seizing power in a party that was already opposed to what he wanted to change. The Republican Party had always been the party of limited government, conservative policies, and — certainly since the time of FDR — had always represented the rich and the powerful. Reagan’s “revolution” then consisted simply of extending the ideas of limited government and lower taxes to the middle class and working people — those who had traditionally been staunch Democrats. These so-called “Reagan Democrats” voted for Reagan because he was able to convince them that their growing economic insecurity was not due to corporatism and a rapacious upper class who was grabbing more wealth for themselves, but instead was due to a federal government who was robbing them of their money in the form of taxes and “wasting” it on the “underserving” poor and minorities. In other words, Reagan argued that middle class wages were not stagnating because of corporate greed but because of “welfare queens” who were being coddled by an “overreaching” federal government that simply did not care about hard working people.

Bernie wants to reverse the Reagan Revolution and bring those Reagan Democrats back into the fold of the Democratic Party. But this is a fool’s errand; an impossible task. This is due in no small part to the fact that the Republican Party has now become the party of the working class.

I know many may scoff at such an idea, but consider this: in the 2016 election, Trump received 53% of his total campaign contributions from small donors (those who gave less than $200), while Hillary Clinton only received 21% of her money from such donations.

And the trend is continuing. So far, Trump has raised 59% of his re-election campaign money from small donors.

The fact is, the Democratic Party is perceived by the majority of Americans as the Party of the elites, of the 1%, and increasingly there is a wealth of empirical evidence to show that this assessment is correct.

JoyAnn Reid — Portparole of the Dem Establishment

Moreover, many Democrats are happy to ignore working class voters, and there seems to be an actual resistance to the idea of “recapturing” the working-class vote. Joy Reid, the most prominent Democratic pundit (after Maddow) recently explained the thinking of the Democratic intelligentsia regarding the working class voting block she dismissively described as the “Pabst Blue Ribbon voter” and the mistake that some Democrats — including Sanders — are making in trying to court them:
“[Some] Democrats don’t understand that the voters they long to have back, the sort of Archie Bunker who was a Democrat in the 70s is now a Republican. So they can long for them all they want; they’re not going to convince them by saying ‘We’re going to give you free college.’ That’s not why they’re voting … They’re not voting economics; they’re voting because the Republican Party represents their values. They don’t care about the economics. So Democrats keep trying to use economic lures to pull them back in, but that’s not why they’re voting that way.

The question here is not whether Reid is correct. The important thing is that many Democrats think that way, and the working class “Pabst Blue Ribbon” voters think that way as well.

Reason 2: The Democratic Party is Incapable of Change
The Reagan Revolution lead to the rise of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). This was a group of conservative Democrats who saw what had happened with Reagan, and rather than fight to regain the American middle class, decided to pursue a “Third Way” of neoliberalism, which embraced corporations, Wall Street and “market based solutions” when it came to economics, but still paid lip service to social justice in terms of civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights (including abortion).

Over the past 30 years, the Democratic Party has become a money machine. From its HQ in Washington, the DNC raises money and spends it — with no internal or external controls. Unbelievably, the Budget of the DNC is secret; not even the Board of the DNC have access to the books. No one knows how or where the Democrats spend their money. But what we do know is that much is spent on consultants, pollsters, media companies and other “vendors.”

The Democratic Party has become like Byzantium or the Ottoman Empire — a sclerotic organisation based on baksheesh and payola, where everyone is more interested in keeping their jobs and their lucrative contracts than they are in actually effectuating policy.

Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” This is the problem that Democrats face. And it is not a problem that is going to go away anytime soon. The fact is that the Democrats would rather lose to Republicans than win with Progressives who would turn off the spigot of corporate cash that keeps the Party going.

A case in point: the 2016 elections were an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. Not only did the Democrats cede the White House to a grossly unqualified baboon, they lost the House and the Senate as well. And presently, nearly 80% of all Americans live in States that are partially or completely controlled by the GOP (legislatures and governors). AND YET — no one has been fired. No one has done a mea culpa, there has been no introspection, no post mortem analysis. In short, everyone still has their jobs, and that is all that matters. The money still flows; the gravy train still runs.

As I mentioned above, Reagan was able to transform the political landscape by seizing power in the Republican Party. He was able to grab the wheel and take the party in a new direction by expanding its base. For Bernie to change the Democrats, however, he would need to completely change the very nature, the baseline priorities and the raison d’être of the Party. It would not be like taking over the wheel — he would have to throw the car in reverse. And that is just not going to happen.

Reason 3: Bernie’s strength and appeal lie in his independence
Let’s face it — Bernie Sanders has never won an election running as a Democrat. He has been elected and re-elected 12 times as an Independent. This alone would seem to indicate that he is most successful when running outside of the two parties.

As an example: in 2000, just barely over 50% of Vermonters voted for Al Gore, but Bernie won re-election with over 69% of the vote. Would he have done as well had he been running as a Democrat? The answer is most likely a strong NO.

Bernie and others argue that one needs to be part of the two-party system in order to compete effectively, and yet Bernie himself has proven — time and time again — that it is possible to win elections as an Independent.

Sure, Vermont is a small state, but that should not make a difference. Indeed, unless you buy into that hokum about Vermont’s “homogeneity” you must admit that if Bernie can win with 69% of the vote in an election where 40% of those voters also chose George Bush for President, he should be able to do well on a national level as well.
Ironically, Bernie himself is quick to quote his phenomenal success as an independent running against both Democrats AND Republicans. “No one knows more about running as an Independent than I do,” he says. And yet he uses this experience to argue against a third party Presidential run. This argument however rings hollow, as it is belied by the very record of success that he cites.

Reason 4: “Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah!”
Those close to Bernie have often said that his visceral opposition to running as a third-party candidate is his abject fear of becoming “another Nader.” Now, those of us who know the reality of the 2000 election know that Nader was not to blame for Gore’s loss (the man could not even carry his home state, after all), but the Democratic Establishment has excoriated Ralph Nader ever since the election, turning him into a pariah and using him as a talisman to ward off any would-be third party candidates and to dissuade progressive Democrats from voting Green or Libertarian. “Remember Ralph Nader!” they cry, “third parties lead to catastrophe!”

In 2016, Bernie did not want to be the cause of a catastrophe, and so he dutifully ran as a loyal Democrat, even stumping for Hillary Clinton after he lost the Primary.
Well — Bernie did the honourable thing; the cautious thing; the prudent thing. He agreed not to upset the applecart, not to challenge authority — all in the hopes of avoiding a disastrous win by another dangerous Republican.
But Trump won anyway.

In Monty Python’s Life of Brian there is a scene in which a man has been sentenced to death for saying the Lord’s name out loud. Just as the public stoning is about to begin, the prisoner starts shouting “Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah”.

“You’re only making it worse for yourself,” says the official presiding over the execution.
“How can it be any worse?” asks the condemned man.

This is the situation we find ourselves in today. Trump has been elected. The catastrophe that we sought to avoid has happened. The nation has survived. The scare tactic used to squash third party campaigns has lost a lot of its power, because indeed: How can it be any worse?

NEW – Reason 5: THE FIX IS ALREADY IN FOR 2020, AND YOU AIN’T IT
Updated 20 October 2017

My social media accounts are blowing up with two stories, which are related in a very troubling and ominous way.

1. Shake-Up at Democratic National Committee, Longtime Officials Ousted
– This week Tom Perez conducted his own “Night of the Long Knives” by pushing several progressives out of their positions within the DNC. Those purged range from Bill Buckley, currently head of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, to Alice Germond, former DNC Secretary. What did these purge victims have in common? They are all supporters of Bernie Sanders and/or Keith Ellison. This means that Bernie will have no support among the upper echelons of the DNC,and indeed the mightiest forces within the DNc will be arrayed against him.

Donna Brazile, admitted cheater and serial liar – and now DNC Rules Committee Member.

Moreover, Perez is stacking the DNC deck with Clintonites and lobbyists – The most telling aspect of this purge is that Perez is placing Clintonites in key positions in the Executive Committee and the Rules Committee and Lobbyists in the At Large delegation. This means that Clintonite Establishment Dems will continue to have control over the budget and – more importantly – they will decide the rules for the next Presidential Primary. And in a brazen show of chutzpah, Perez has named the disgraced yet arrogantly unrepentant Donna Brazile to sit on the Rules Committee.

This does not bode well for any challenger to the next Anointed Establishment Candidate (cough, Kamala Harris). Even Bernie – despite his popularity – could find himself at a disadvantage again by the way the DNC runs the Primary. And of course the Clintonite Establishment Dems like Brazile will not change the Superdelegate rules, so whoever the darling of the DNC will be, they will have a huge advantage in the delegate count even before the campaigns start.

2. DNC resolution pressures Sanders to join Democrats
– The DNC is trying to force Bernie Sanders (as well as Angus King, another Independent) to become “official” Democrats in the upcoming race in 2018 “and beyond.” Clearly, the DNC are trying to get their hooks into Bernie and to try to make him toe the Party line. The timing of this resolution, coming as it does concurrently with the Perez move to assert full Clintonite control over the DNC itself, make sit clear that the Democrats consider Bernie Sanders to be a major threat to their corrupt, money-based regime, and they are trying desperately to contain that threat,

I say, let Bernie be a threat. Bernie needs to be a threat. And he needs to threaten the DNC from without. This latest move to simultaneously pull Sanders in while pushing those who support him out is a clear statement of the DNC’s intent to defang, declaw, demotivate and ultimately destroy both Bernie and his supporters.

We cannot let this happen. Bernie MUST form a third party, and the sooner the better.

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The 10 Tenets of Neoliberalism

Bill Clinton introduces Tony Blair at the official launch of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Blair and Clinton DEFINED Neoliberalism in the 90’s. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES)

Neoliberalism is the idea that the Market is the Mother of all Things.

The tenets of Neoliberalism are as follows:

1.”Market-based” solutions are the most stable and are inherently more sustainable than “top down” publicly funded programmes that rely on the “arbitrary” redistribution of wealth and resources.

2. The Market is the ultimate arbiter of an individual’s worth and it allocates resources to individuals and groups based on a “natural” and immutable process that should not be questioned, perverted or impeded by Government.

3. Because the Market is an impartial and efficient distributor of resources, wealth and income inequality is actually a moral imperative and the people who accrue more resources deserve their wealth, while the “losers” who have not been able to thrive in the Market environment must simply accept their fate because there is no sustainable alternative to the Market-based system.

4. This means that wealthy, well-educated elites consider themselves to have achieved their status based solely on their own merit, and they are convinced that anyone else could do what they have done, if they just had enough ambition, drive, focus, etc. (i.e., “we can provide equal opportunity but not equal outcomes”).

5. Having risen to the top of the meritocracy, however, these elites have a certain responsibility and must abide by a code that is an economic version of “noblesse oblige”. It falls to them to properly oversee the orderly, Market-driven operations of the Society (as Thomas Frank writes in his book, Listen, Liberal, this is a tenet of the current Democratic Party).

6. The Market is self-correcting and, left alone, will always balance itself out (hence deregulation, dropping Glass-Steagall, etc.).

7. Because the Market is infallible, privatisation is the only sustainable solution. “Public-Private Partnerships” are acceptable only as a transitional model with the goal of eventual full privatisation.

8. Human beings do not have any rights simply because they are citizens of a country – indeed, any tangible benefits (healthcare, welfare, etc.) that an individual receives from the State must be earned and not simply granted as a right (hence “ending Welfare as we know it“).

9. Globalisation represents the natural evolution of Market-based economies and, like Darwin’s theory, are accepted as fact by all reasonable and educated people. Like the irresistible “market forces” that drive an economy, globalisation is an inexorable and unstoppable process that can only be embraced, accepted and profited from (hence NAFTA, WTO, TPP).

10. Globalisation will eventually do for the world what the Market does in a State: it will allocate resources to the most deserving, and there will be winners and losers on a global level. Nation-States will lose their relevance and become insignificant as the Market grows to encompass all areas of human endeavour everywhere, with world-straddling mega-moguls and oligarchs exercising power over billions via a global Market system that has, in its wisdom, seen fit to position them atop the heap of humanity (i,e., “Rollerball”).

I will close this post with a quote from Margaret Thatcher, who was in many ways the Mother of Neoliberalism. Thatcher famously opined that “the trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” However, that quote needs to be put into context, because in order to have socialism you have to have a society. Indeed, the etymological aspect of the word “socialism” is predicated on the existence of an underlying society. Thatcher however did not believe in the concept of a society. So naturally the idea of socialism was completely alien and unaccessible to her.

The “Iron Lady” was the midwife of Neoliberalism.

Posted in Culture, Economics, History, Politics | 1 Comment

For the Many, Not the Few: How the UK Elections were a Proxy Battle for US Democrats

Progressive Birds of a Feather

Some important take-aways from the UK election that you might not hear in the MSM:
Firstly, we should consider that this was a proxy election for the US in many ways, in which the two sides of the Democratic Civil War were going at each other:

Neoliberalism crosses party lines — as well as the Atlantic

Barack Obama openly supported Theresa May and the Conservatives. Indeed, May hired Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign strategist, to run her election campaign. My Democratic friends will recognise Jim Messina’s name from the countless fundraising emails you received from him during the 2012 election. I find it amazing that a Democratic President and a “Democratic” strategist would work to oppose what is clearly the Democratic analog in Britain (or should be). But that is just indicative of how far right the Democrats have gone.

Erika Uyterhoeven, a former director in the Sanders campaign, who is now working with Momentum. Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian

On the other side, a group of Bernie Sanders staffers went over to help Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. Bernie himself was openly supporting Corbyn at every turn.
So — the neoliberals are banding together to fight the progressives on both sides of the pond. And I guess we can see how well each side did. The Conservatives (let’s call them the Clintonites) called a “snap” election with very little time to campaign; Labour had been excoriated by the mainstream media, and even so-called “liberal” media attacked Corbyn as “unrealistic”, “too far left” and so on. Rumours were spread that he would pull the UK out of NATO, disband the Army, He was smeared personally — especially by “left wing” media, as an attention-seeker, a prideful zealot, who would destroy the Labour Party and the “liberal” cause.

Sound familiar?

So — how did it turn out? Well, in the brief time that Corbyn actually was able to campaign and get some attention, he managed to close a 26–30 point gap down to only about 3–7 points, depending on the poll. And now we find that the Conservatives, who so pridefully and confidently called for the snap election (when they didn’t need to) made a huge miscalculation. They lost 11 seats in Parliament, whereas Labour gained 29. The Conservatives have lost their majority, and now we have a “hung” Parliament, wherein the Conservatives may or may not be able to cobble together a majority coalition. It could even happen that Labour are actually able to form a government by allying with the Scottish National Party, the Greens, etc. who share their same progressive anti-austerity policies.
More interesting: in the popular vote, it was 42% Conservative to 40% Labour. That’s damn close, and can only be seen as a huge victory for a Labour Party and a Leader who has been viciously attacked, denigrated and smeared not only by the opposing party, not only by the media, but also by members of his own Party!!

This is where “liberalism” went wrong, with these grinning corporate sellouts.

Indeed, Tony Blair, famous neoliberal Labour Leader and co-inventor of “third way” neoliberalism along with Bill Clinton, has refused to endorse Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister. Unbelievable, but true.

It is just like in the US. The neoliberals would rather lose to conservatives than win with progressives.

Still — it is obvious that this was a vigorous rejection of the “third way” neoliberal paradigm. The 2017 Labour Manifesto is decidedly socialist, with calls to restore the railways to government control, massively increase public spending, and so on. And yet it was not until people actually read the Labour policy positions that Corbyn’s poll numbers really took off:

The take-away from the UK General Election is that neoliberalism is DEAD. Tony Blair’s “New Labour” and Bill Clinton’s “New Democrats” have been roundly rejected, and it is time for the Left — on both sides of the Atlantic — to go back to what they are supposed to do — namely, stand up for working people, the poor, the young and the old.

Oh — and another observation, because it tickles my fancy: in a BBC interview after the election, Jeremy Corbyn proudly stated that the average donation that the Labour Party received was £22 — which, it just so happens, is equal to (say it with me) “twenty-seven dollahs.” 🙂

ADDED 14 JUNE: Amazing Interview with Claire Sandberg, one of the Bernie Staffers who went to the Uk to work on the Corbyn campaign

Claire spells out what we can learn from the UK elections as well as what made them different from US elections. She is simply awesome.

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All Kidding Aside, There Are Some Serious Questions About Seth Rich’s Murder

I’m not saying anything, except that there is some weird shit going on around this Seth Rich story. I guess the most interesting aspect is that the DNC, the DC Power Elite, the CIA and John Brennan personally, as well as other Intel officials, would all have a very powerful vested interest in keeping this story squelched. 

Indeed, if it were ever proven that what Assange is saying is true (imagine that) and WikiLeaks did indeed get the DNC emails via an inside leaker — IOW, the same way they get ALL their information — then a LOT of very powerful and influential people would have a lot of ‘splainin to do.

The Democratic Party would collapse on itself for lack of a raison d’être; there would be a rash of defenestrations at the DNC as well as the Podesta Group.

At the very least, when it comes to the matter of Seth Rich, it would be wise to acknowledge that there IS indeed a mystery, that it is a very unusual case, and that there are a LOT of open questions surrounding the whole affair.

For example:

1. Why did the DC police define the murder as a “botched robbery” when nothing was stolen? A “botched robbery” usually means that the robbers ended up unintentionally killing or hurting someone in the course of the robbery. This would have to be a “botched robbery” that was itself .. well, botched. I mean, what kind of robber shoots someone twice in the back and then just runs away?

2. Why did Donna Brazile, DNC chair, intervene in the case to ask the DC police to “freeze out” the private investigator hired by the family?

3. Why did the DNC assign one of their own PR consultants (Brad Baumann of the Pastorum Group) to the Rich family to manage their public statements and dealings with the media?

4. How is it that a murder, occurring in a part of town where there had never been a previous homicide, can remain 100% unsolved a year later, with “no leads” and no visible progress being made in finding the killer?

5. Why is it that Seth Rich’s laptop has been disappeared and no one knows where it is? The police say the FBI have it, the FBI say the police have it.

6. Why is the FBI involved in this homicide if it was simply a run-of-the-mill “botched robbery”? The fact that FBI ARE involved indicates that there are federal or national aspects to the case, no?

7. Why is the so-called “mainstream media” so obsessed with the “politicisation” of the Seth Rich murder? Why are they spending so much time and effort to debunk this PARTICULAR story – much more than they ever spent on debunking other “conspiracy” stories?

8.Why is Twitter suspending the accounts of people and journalists that publish stories about the Seth Rich murder?

9. What makes this particular story SO incredibly toxic and dangerous?

These are all open questions, but we should refrain from jumping to conclusions. Still, when it comes to the theory that Seth Rich was the “leaker” who gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, there are also some questions to be asked:

1. Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, famous as the WikiLeaks whistleblower who exposed the CIA torture and rendition program, has claimed for a year that he actually met the DNC leaker in DC and accepted the emails from him. He has maintained this story from the beginning. Julien Assange has never disputed Murray’s story. And no media outlet has debunked Murray’s assertions or even questioned him seriously about it. He has been completely ignored. He is a serious person, a former Ambassador and has never been discredited in any way. He is credible; why are his claims not being taken seriously?

2. Julien Assange offered a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the killer. So far, no one has stepped up. That seems strange; you’d think at least some crank somewhere would want to try and get the money.

3. It is also strange that Assange would offer such a reward for some random DNC data specialist who was murdered in DC. Why would he do that?

Image Courtesy of Caitlin Johnstone Twitter: @caitoz

4. Before he retracted his story, Rod Wheeler claimed that Seth Rich had sent 44,000 emails to WikiLeaks (which happens to be the exact size of the eventual DNC email leak). Julien Assange actually RETWEETED the story line. Why would he do that?

These are all open questions, showing that we must remain sceptical until some actual evidence surfaces. For the time being, however, I would maintain that there is more “hard evidence” for the Seth Rich leaker story than there is for the “Russian hacking” story. At least with Seth Rich we have a former UK Ambassador claiming to have first hand, eyewitness testimony to support the “leaker” narrative.

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Democratic “Liberal” Elites are Destroying the Country

First of all, I suggest everyone read Thomas Frank’s book, Listen, Liberal. In it, he makes the case that there is such a thing as the Liberal Elite. These are the people running the Democratic Party and most of DC. They are an Elite because they have advanced degrees from expensive universities; they went to the best schools, they live green, they support LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and all the other social issues that make up the current playbook of the Democratic Party.

Conservatives do not have this sort of class — or at least not to the extent that liberals do. Frank makes the point that for Republicans and Conservatives, the idea of Horatio Alger, the guy who started out with nothing and became wealthy, is more than just an apocryphal story — it is a core belief and the bedrock of their ethos. Indeed, many Conservatives are anti-education; they believe that university faculty are a bunch of leftist radicals; they disdain science (such as climate change) because they perceive a political agenda behind everything in academia.

This means, however, that in a country like the US, where obtaining a post-secondary degree is incredibly difficult and expensive, the Conservative ethos is more largely reflected in the population. More people are proud of having started with nothing, and they do not crow about the advanced degrees they have received but rather the standard of living they have achieved.

The Liberal class, however, are much more prone to viewing themselves and others through the prism of elitism: did you go to the best schools? Did you intern at the right firm? Do you know the right people? Whose protégé are you? We see it all the time. Just look at the Clinton family. Or the Podesta family. Or the Cuomo family. And now, the Obama family.

These are the apparatchiks that run the government, and they believe that by virtue of their advanced education, superior intellect, savoir-faire and well-placed connections, they are entitled to run the government. They know best. The average American must be led, must be managed, must be herded or driven to make the “right” decision.

The 2016 election put all of this in focus. Hillary and her campaign never knew what hit them. They could not conceive of losing to Donald Trump. And yet, if you listen to the rhetoric, both before and after the election, the major argument they ALL made for Hillary was: “she’s the most qualified.” Indeed, Obama even went so far as to say that Hillary was “the most qualified person ever” to seek the Presidency.

This is obvious bullshit, and easily disproven, but it echoed what the Democratic Establishment, aka the Liberal Elite, really believed: that Hillary did not need to have a reason to run, nor a burning desire to achieve change or transform America in any way; she did not have to “feel the pain” of the working class or anyone else. Her sole reason for running was to crown off her own personal career, to reach the pinnacle, to achieve the highest office in the land, and one for which she had been preparing for 30 years. In short, it was all about Hillary and her personal story, her quest to break that “highest glass ceiling.”

Hence the slogan: “I’m with HER” — a creepy, cultish-sounding phrase that anyone outside the elitist bubble would recognise as out of touch and alienating to a huge section of the electorate.

We know now from the tell-all book, “Shattered” that the Clinton campaign staff were at a total loss to come up with a reason WHY Hillary was running. They bounced around from one bad slogan to the other, and they even played with the idea of “It’s Her Turn” — which, in retrospect, would have been the most truthful.

So yes, there is a Liberal Elite that considers itself entitled to run the country simply because of their own pedigree. That is why the DNC always pushes so-called “Identity Politics.” The Democratic Elite believe in their heart of hearts that they deserve to rule simply and solely because of who they are: they have prepared for their role in government and they have a right to take it. It belongs to them by virtue of their bloodline and/or their curriculum vitae. The voters are, in the end, just a bothersome side show that they need to deal with every 2 or 4 years. Elections for them are a sham, because they really, TRULY believe that government is too important to leave up to the citizens.

That is why Donald Trump was anathema to them. That is why Bernie Sanders is anathema to them. Indeed, the point has been often made that the Democratic Party elite would much prefer to have a Republican — even Trump — win the White House than to have a progressive like Bernie Sanders come in and disrupt the elitist system of patronage and donor-driven corruption that currently defines DC.

Firstly, you should know that Bernie enjoys an 80% approval rating among Democrats, and a 57–61% approval rating overall, depending on which poll you read.
Secondly, you should know that Hillary Clinton has only a 35% popularity rating, and what’s worse is that if the election were held today, 15% of Hillary voters say they would vote for someone else OTHER than Hillary.

You probably know that the Democratic Party has been decimated in the past 8 years, losing some 900 legislative seats, 2/3 of all governorships, and of course the House and the Senate, as well as the White House.

And yet, many Democrats seem to think the problem is Bernie Sanders, who came on the scene just 20 months ago.

The Democrats have a problem with Bernie Sanders because Bernie represents what people want, and the Democrats do not. And they want to keep on NOT giving the people what they want, and Bernie is getting in the way.

Healthcare: A Case in Point

The Democrats have built a brand over the past 30 years that is based on being just somewhat less shitty than the GOP. They stopped representing working people and the middle class and instead they represent the effete elitist Liberal class.

Hillary Clinton is worth $153 million and had no real reason to run except that she had been preparing to run for entire adult life. It’s the same with all the Democratic establishment. The only thing they have going for them is their own elitist positions, their own connections, their own hubris, and above all, their own wealth:

    – Nancy Pelosi is worth $200 Million and has a private jet
    – Dianne Feinstein is worth $40 Million and has a private jet
    – Claire McCaskill is worth $20 Million and has a private jet

Aside from the fact that they all have private jets, these “Democrats” have one other thing in common: all three of the above have publicly and repeatedly come out AGAINST a “Medicare for All” single payer health care system.

Why?

I mean, Charles Krauthammer and George Will, both stalwart Conservative icons, have come out to say that single payer is inevitable. Even the CEO of Aetna, the insurance behemoth, has said that the for-profit system is on its way out.

And yet, these “liberal” political leaders are against it.

MOREOVER: single payer is something that is supported by 85% of Democrats, 60% of Independents and 32% of Republicans. Indeed, 52% of Republicans earning less than $30,000 a year want single payer.

So — instead of trying to woo up-scale “suburban” Republicans who are down with abortion and gay rights, why don’t the Democrats go after those low-income Republicans for whom single payer healthcare is literally a matter of life and death?

I will tell you why:

It is because the Democratic Party is a cesspool of corruption, awash in dirty donor money and run by a cabal of elitist a-holes who really don’t give a sh*t about anyone who didn’t graduate from the right school or intern with the right person; who cannot see beyond the beltway and whose feelings for the rabble who live beyond the confines of DC range from careless disregard to open disgust (“deplorables”).

The Democratic Party must either be transformed or destroyed. Bernie represents both of those options, and that is why he is attacked and disparaged by the Media and the Democratic establishment. The Republicans and the Democrats have a tacit agreement between them that wild-eyed populists like Bernie and their “plebian” followers must be kept far away from the halls of power. The DNC was able to squash Bernie; the RNC was not able to squash Trump. And that fact alone tells us that when it comes to elitism and the power of an entrenched political and bureaucratic “ruling class”, the Liberals are the ones in charge.

That situation still obtains, and the people know it. Getting rid of Donald Trump will not put that genie back in the bottle.

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Don’t Blame the Berners

Many DNC and Clinton defenders seem to completely misunderstand the problems that many voters had with Hillary. It was not her voice, her tone, her demeanour, or the fact that she was a woman. It was the fact that she was a corrupt career politician who was a warmonger and a Wall Street lackey who didn’t give a goddam about poor people or people of colour, no matter what she might have been saying to get elected. In short, most of us still believed what Barack Obama observed correctly about Hillary in 2008: “she will say anything and do nothing.”

Hillary and Debbie Wasserman Schultz: More than BFFs.

The email leaks showed the entire Primary to have been tainted by the nefarious machinations of a corrupt cabal of Clintonites and the DNC, but in addition it opened up a window into the breathtakingly brazen level of “pay to play” corruption of the Clinton Foundation and how Bill and Hillary were using the Foundation to peddle influence. These are serious flaws bordering on the criminal. Certainly, they rose to the level of disqualification on grounds of “moral hazard” of the most despicable sort a government servant can commit.

Yet many in the DNC misleadingly lump these serious failings in with the spurious ad hominem attacks of the Right. This is intellectually dishonest. There is a big difference between criticising Hillary for the way she dresses and condemning her for taking millions of dollars from Wall Street in return for making “secret” promises in closed door speeches. Similarly, there is a big difference between disliking Hillary because of her shrill voice, and condemning Hillary for taking millions in donations from the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Qataris and others in return for rubber stamping their US arms purchases.

Secondly, the charge that Hillary’s loss was in any way due to the votes cast for Stein and Johnson has been debunked. Johnson took more GOP votes than Democratic ones. And Stein did not get enough votes to have made a difference. Moreover, exit polling showed that 60% of Stein’s voters would have simply stayed home and not voted, rather than vote for one of the other candidates. And of the remaining 40%, one-third would have voted for Trump, not Clinton.

Thirdly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, millennials and progressives did not vote for Hillary because once she had the nomination, Hillary went out of her way to give them the finger. She could have chosen a progressive like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown or any one of a dozen suitable left-leaning Democrats (Keith Ellison would even have been good). Instead she chose Tim Kaine, a pro-TPP, pro-fracking, pro-life conservative who was to her RIGHT on all the issues. This was because the Clinton campaign made a deliberate STRATEGIC DECISION to reject and repel millennials and progressives in favour of courting the votes of “moderate Republicans.” The Clinton campaign publicised this strategy and were quite open about going after Republicans who were fiscally and economically conservative but were turned off by Trump’s racism, bigotry and sexism. This was their PLAN. Hell, Chuck Schumer even said so:

“For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

The Clinton campaign was constantly issuing press releases and even TV advertisements about the many high-level Republicans who planned to vote for Hillary. She was brazenly fraternising with and fawning over all manner of GOP stalwarts, from Wall Street criminals like Hank Paulson to war criminals like John Negroponte. She repeatedly expressed gushing praise for Henry Kissinger. And she managed to get half of the Bush cabinet that took us into Iraq to come out and publicly support her.

That was their plan. And they stuck to it. They didn’t WANT the votes of progressives and millennials. They were convinced that they could win enough REPUBLICAN VOTES to clinch the election.

TO SUM IT UP: The “Bernie Wing” of the Party didn’t vote for Hillary because they were not supposed to vote for her – even according to the Clinton campaign’s own playbook. No one should be surprised that she lost. She misjudged the relative size of the two groups: it turned out that the Berners, the millennials and progressives she deliberately repelled outnumbered the suburban Republicans she sought to attract. It’s simple math. And it proved simply disastrous.

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The Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library 5.0

The Struggle Continues!

The Struggle Continues!

Tired of the MSM and Clintonista trolls talking smack about our guy? Wish you had some statistics and facts – or maybe just some snappy comebacks – to combat their bullshit attacks and dismissive smears?
Here is my own “Rapid Response Library” to use as a reference – some facts, figures and opinions – use whatever you think makes sense to you. Cut and paste, modify as needed to shoot down the nattering nabobs of negativism and the Clintonista shock troops wherever they may rear their ugly heads…

Just click the link below to download the DOC or the PDF.

Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library_5 – MS Word DOC

Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library_5 – Adobe PDF

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What is Neoliberalism, and How Did It Give Us Trump?

A lot of people are talking about “Neoliberalism” and I think many wonder: what does it actually mean? Well, there are two ways of looking at it, and they both depend on breaking the word up into its two components: “Neo” (new) and “Liberalism”. I think the confusion comes about because Liberalism itself can have 2 meanings:

1) In our modern American social and political context, “liberal” means someone who is thought to be on the Left, and the term “liberalism” is often used interchangeably (and incorrectly) to mean “progressivism” or even “socialism.”

2) In the classic economics definition, liberalism means laissez-faire capitalism in which as many economic decisions as possible are left up to the individual, and businesses are allowed to do as they please. The economy will function because individuals will make rational decisions based on their own enlightened self-interest and a driving axiom to maximise their own wealth. The “magic” of the free market is sacrosanct. Classical liberals, for example, are against any form of regulation on business or trade.

Adam Smith, Father of Economic Liberalism

Adam Smith, Father of Economic Liberalism and Proponent of the “Invisible Hand” of the Market

Consequently, “Neoliberalism” can have two meanings, each based on one of the two interpretations above.

In the first case, “Neoliberalism” means a new sort of social liberalism in which social justice is pursued as a priority, but is accompanied by a pro-business agenda of laissez-faire capitalism.

In the second case, a classical “liberal” pro-business agenda of laissez-faire capitalism is “tempered” with a political agenda that elevates social justice as a means to “balance out” the harshness and economic inequality that such a classical liberal agenda can create.

IN EITHER CASE, “Neoliberalism” as it has been practised for the last 40 years is a political philosophy that is (1) pro-business, pro-trade and in which the free market is held as an immutable force of nature and the font of all good things, but which (2) adopts a perceived “Leftist” attitude in terms of social justice, Equal Rights, etc. The modern Neoliberals know that such “liberal” stances can serve to fire up a leftist base while – even more importantly – distract those parts of the population that are “economic losers” who would normally seek out a “Leftist” political party to represent them.

The problem, of course, is that when the Party of the “Economic Left” (i.e., the Democrats in the USA and Labour in the UK) adopts a Neoliberal philosophy, the truth will eventually come out. The workers, poor and middle class who traditionally sought representation through those Parties of the Left will eventually realise that they have now become the losers under that Party’s economic policies.

Under a Neoliberal regime, these economic groups have nowhere else to go. BOTH of the main political parties have now become pro-business and anti-worker, anti-union, pro-trade, etc. The poor, the working class and even the middle class become desperate and feel abandoned by the political Establishment, because they no longer have any voice in that Establishment. They have been betrayed by the Party that they have relied on for so long.

And that’s when you get Trump.

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Social Justice vs. Economic Justice: The False Dichotomy of Identity Politics

I had a revelation today about the on-going debates between Hillary and Bernie supporters in the wake of the Election.

Bernie has given interviews in which he rails against what he calls the “Liberal Elites” —the establishment faction of the Democratic Party—who are focused on identity politics of gender equality, racial equality, LGBTQ rights and fighting for social justice but who are less interested in fighting for economic justice (i.e., taking on Wall Street and the banks, going after the billionaire class, and so on).

Indeed, it seems for the Left, the unrecognised obstacle to achieving economic justice is the fight for social justice. To put it simply: many left-leaning Americans cannot fight for free college tuition, healthcare or economic reform before eradicating racism, achieving gender equality and safeguarding LGBT rights, etc. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking will hurt all of us in the long-run as I explain below.

Choices Personified in 2016

This fundamental “choice” between economic versus social justice seems to be a large part of the massive disagreement between Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters. To put it bluntly: many who were “with Her” were more interested in electing the first female POTUS than achieving single payer healthcare, tuition-free college and so on.

Other examples of this dichotomy: Even though middle class blacks lost 70% of their wealth thanks to the 2008 crash caused by the crooked bankers on Wall Street the shooting of unarmed black men by racist cops is a more pressing and immediate public emergency; movements to increase wages for working class people are eclipsed by the desperate need to stop the midnight raids and mass deportations of undocumented workers and their families.

Bernie’s Challenge

Bernie SandersEarly in Bernie’s campaign, he received a wake-up call on the social justice front when Black Lives Matter challenged him at a rally in Seattle. This confrontation fed into a narrative pushed by the Clinton campaign: namely, that Bernie was an old white guy from Vermont who was simply and woefully out of touch with the issues of race, gender and sexual orientation. With this, the “Bernie is a racist misogynist” meme was born and the dismissal of his supporters as “sexist Bernie Bros.”

In each case, the Bernie Sanders movement was condemned for putting economic justice ahead of social justice.

“We are not Denmark”

In a Primary debate, Hillary Clinton declared that "We are not Denmark"

In a Primary debate, Hillary Clinton declared that “We are not Denmark”

Another major criticism of Bernie’s “Democratic Socialist” program was based around some version of “it’s just easier” for countries in Europe and Scandinavia to have single payer healthcare, paid family leave, free college, etc. because they are culturally and ethnically “homogenous”. In contrast, these things are difficult, if not impossible, in the U.S. because we are such a culturally and ethnically “diverse” society.

Previously, I rejected these arguments out of hand. After all, “diversity” is something that was supposed to make America better and stronger than other countries. Immigration and multiculturalism are positive forces in American life. I believe in American exceptionalism in this regard.

All this adds up to a clear realisation that diversity itself does not make it more difficult to adopt all the wonderful socialist programs enjoyed in other developed countries, but the crises and injustices arising from diversity are viewed as more urgent and pressing for America’s Left than its political, social and financial resources.

The Two-Party System: Yin and Yang of Identity Politics

Bernie is now actively campaigning to reconcile these two “wings” of the American Left, to unite Liberals and Progressives in a political revolution that rejects the false dichotomy of identity politics as practiced by the elites of the Democratic establishment. This dichotomy is reinforced and complemented by the opposing forces of the Right and the Republican Party because when it comes to bamboozling the American people, it takes two to tango. The GOP is only too willing to make every political and electoral debate about cultural issues – that way no one will realise that they stand for massive economic injustice. The white, blue collar working class of Middle America would never vote for the economic policies of the GOP, but when the GOP and the Democrats join forces to engage solely on the battlefield of cultural and social issues, wedge issues abound, and voters can be all too easily persuaded to vote against their own economic interests. But if you listen closely, in Bernie’s mantra of “we cannot allow them to divide us up,” the “them” refers as much to the corporate Democrats as it does to the GOP.

bernie-sanders-crop_custom-f7d9d8f286f09f04cf96c2f9e37fe57b34805d34-s900-c85One example of this yin-yang collaboration between the Liberal Elites and the GOP was when Barack Obama made the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. Bernie Sanders famously filibustered the Bush Tax Cuts extension, yet the Left in general was remarkably silent, complacent in their belief that the nation’s “first African-American President“ by definition had to be a Liberal, and so anything he proposed or supported or agreed to must therefore be good for the Left.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-07-56-39The silence of the Left on this issue – and others – allowed Right-Wing talking points to dominate the public discourse: all throughout the following year, headlined by Bill O’Reilly on FOX News, declaring Obama to be “the most liberal President in US history.” These attacks from the Right did more to galvanise Obama’s support on the Left than anything the President actually did to earn that title.

MLK Gave us the Solution

Bernie often invokes Martin Luther King, and in so doing he is quick to point out that MLK’s last great movement was a “Poor People’s Campaign” – because King realised that without economic justice there can be no social justice. It was on the eve of the planned Poor People’s March on Washington that King was assassinated, and so the Reverend’s call for economic justice is often neglected in the history books, and it certainly seems to have been struck from the lexicon of today’s Democratic Party.

Poor People's March 1968: Note the diversity and the placards written in Spanish, saying "More Money Now"

Poor People’s March 1968: Note the diversity and the placards written in Spanish, saying “More Money Now”

Bernie seeks, in effect, to revive MLK’s dream of economic justice as a means to achieve social justice. And Bernie supporters are in that fight with him, despite the efforts of both the Democratic elites and the Republican Party to make us choose between the two. It is a false choice, and we must reject it.

Why Hillary Lost

Hillary was constantly dismissive of economic issues, as were most of the Establishment Liberal Elites. College educated blacks, the aspirational middle class, lost 60% of their wealth because of the crimes committed on Wall Street in 2008. And yet Hillary dismissed calls for banking reform as “theory.” And as Katie Halper has pointed out in Paste Magazine, Clinton purposefully tried to separate economic justice from social justice.
hillary_theory

We need to end the “Culture Wars” that the Democrats and Republicans have forced upon us; we need to change the rules of engagement. Bernie’s goal is to convince everyone on the Left that we can, in essence, walk AND chew gum…that social justice is NOT separate from economic justice. We need to see that the two are naturally and inextricably entwined, and always were.

With that, I urge all my brothers and sisters on the Left to come together and to oppose ALL injustice everywhere. How useful are “equal opportunity” laws if there is no opportunity? What does it serve to have “fairness in lending” laws when you cannot afford a mortgage? How does it help to have “equal pay for equal work” when there is no work? Indeed: how can you break a glass ceiling if you have no strong economic ladder to stand on?

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My Trip through Bill Clinton’s Arkansas

Bill & Hill in 1991

Bill & Hill in 1991

In the late fall of 1990 a friend and I made a cross country trip from Connecticut to California. We decided to travel via the Southern route, which took us through Arkansas, where Bill Clinton was halfway through serving his second term as Governor. We overnighted in a town outside of Little Rock and the next morning we decided to stop for breakfast at a diner before hitting the road.

My Alfa Romeo Spider convertible looked really out of place in the parking lot filled as it was with F250’s and Dodge Ram trucks, many replete with gun racks (with guns!) and dogs in the back. When we entered, we ourselves stood out as the place was filled with men garbed in various levels of camouflage outfits accented with bright orange caps and vests – yes, it was full-on hunting season there. Oddly enough, the music playing in the café was not Country & Western, as you might expect, but rather vintage Motown.

We finished our breakfast, which included 100% more grits than I was used to, and made our way to the cash register to pay. Behind the counter was a very large red-headed woman who was bopping and humming to the strains of “Baby Love” by the Supremes. When she looked round and noticed us standing there, she smiled brightly and said, by way of excuse:

“Sorry boys, I guess I just have some of that ‘natural nigger’ in me.”

We were, as the Brits say, gobsmacked. I had not actually heard “the N-word” said to me since the late 60’s when my father inexplicably described The Beatles as “nigger music.” The woman, however, was completely oblivious to our stunned New England sensibilities and sprightly handed us our change accompanied by a hearty and sincere “y’all have a nice day.”

We left, hopped back into the Alfa, and headed West as fast as we could.

I never liked Bill Clinton. I had always considered him to be “slick Willy” and even during the 1992 Primary campaign (in which I supported Tsongas), I considered him to be too far to the right for me. This view was no doubt coloured by my experience in that café. How, I asked myself, could a true “liberal” ever get elected Governor of such a State? Let alone twice?

The answer, of course, is that a liberal could NEVER get elected Governor in the Arkansas of the 1980’s. In order to win, the Clintons had to court the support and backing of the State’s largest corporations, such as Wal-Mart, with a “laser-like” concentration on delivering legislation and tax policies that favoured those companies.

Bill Clinton’s slavish devotion to corporate interests eventually led him to become Chairman of the DLC, the Democratic Leadership Council, whose primary strategic goal was to transform the Democratic Party into a pro-corporate, pro-business Party that was identical to the Republican Party ca. 1970, but without all the racism and sexism. Over the next 30 years, the Clintons led the effort to create just such a Party – sailing under the banner of “Third Way” politics and calling themselves “New Democrats”, they moved the DNC ever more rightward, forcing the GOP itself to move even further to the Right and become the extremist Party that it is today.

The DLC had 16 huge corporations on its Executive Council, including, believe it or not, the Koch Brothers. They set the agenda, and the Clintons carried it out, under the guise of “liberalism.” Bill was mistakenly hailed as “the first black President” who could “feel your pain” – even as he gutted the social safety net, instituted mass incarceration and delivered goodies like NAFTA and the Telecommunications Act for his corporate sponsors. In short, the Clintons succeeded in transforming the Democratic Party into one in which Hillary, both as a Goldwater Girl AND a graduate of feminist Wellesley college, could feel at home.

Make no mistake – Hillary still desperately clings to that DLC vision for the Democratic Party. The “pay to play” system the Clintons developed in Arkansas has now evolved into a globe-straddling enterprise called the Clinton Foundation. And while Hillary was forced to pay lip service to progressive policies during the Primary, the recent email leaks prove that she remains that pro-corporate, pro-business DLC apparatchik from the 90’s. I am not surprised at this. The Clintons are what they have always been: devoted servants of the corporate interests that have made them incredibly rich and powerful.

I know many people are voting for Hillary as the Lesser Evil. That is their prerogative. I would only ask that Hillary supporters stop making arguments that Hillary is a progressive who will “get things done.” The things she will get done are those that Corporate America want done. This should not be a surprise. It is what she and Bill have always done.

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The Progressive Case for Donald Trump

How This Case Is Made
First, let me say that I am NOT advocating that any Progressive EVER vote for Donald Trump. The purpose of this article is to elucidate reasons why, as Progressives in a duopolistic system with only two viable candidates, we should hope to see Donald Trump win the Presidency rather than Hillary Clinton.

Trump-Clinton-DislikesThe 2016 Election is all about negatives. Indeed, the poll numbers most often bandied about are not those of support for each candidate, but rather the numbers showing how many voters DISLIKE one candidate or the other. Indeed, the “negatives” are the highest in recorded history, so one can hardly blame the media for concentrating on the record-breaking statistics.

This means that, as Progressives, the best case to be made for Trump consists of the case against Hillary Clinton. If you have read the companion piece to this article, The Conservative Case for Hillary Clinton, you will find many parts of this piece to sound familiar. That is because the reasons for conscientious Conservatives to vote FOR Hillary Clinton are the exact same reasons for which conscientious Progressives should vote against Her.

The conclusions in this article, however, are obviously different.

A Trump Presidency Would Be a Disaster for Republicans and Conservatives

Ben Howe of RedState has been telling anyone who will listen that if Donald Trump wins, it will destroy the Republican Party, and could even cause the GOP to lose control of the House in 2018. There is thalready an internecine battle within the GOP between the traditional Republican elites and the Tea Party extremists at the grass roots level. A Trump victory would turn this conflict into a full-on war that would fracture the Republican coalition completely, setting the Party back decades. Moreover, with Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, conservatives will be painted with the same tainted brush for years to come. Indeed, the current thinking among many Republican pundits is that a Trump loss is the only thing that can save the GOP.

We are already seeing the GOP run away from Trump. The recent scandal surrounding his “hot mic” moment has caused Senate Republicans to openly consider dumping him. And the Republican leadership continue to scramble to try to save down-ticket candidates from a Trump “wipeout.”

Trump Would NEVER Be Able to Deliver on His Agenda

Let’s keep it real: if Trump wins, it will not be because a majority of Americans supported him; it will be because a majority of Americans OPPOSED Hillary Clinton. Most of the people voting for Trump will actually be voting against Clinton. This dynamic will not hold for the down-ballot races for Congress and State offices. Trump will have “negative coattails” in down-ballot races, with Republicans trying desperately to distance themselves from Trump while their Democratic rivals drive home the simple message that a vote for their opponent is a vote FOR Trump – and not a vote against Hillary Clinton.

Once in office, Trump will have NO mandate. The GOP Leadership in the House and Senate will continue to run away from him, and will continue to treat him as toxic. He will not be able to get anything done.

By Contrast, a Clinton Presidency Would Breathe New Life into the GOP

The message from all of the conservative strategists and pundits is clear: A Clinton win will allow the GOP to regroup and remain viable as the Party in opposition to another “liberal” Democratic President, and further allow them to retain control of the House and possibly even regain the Senate in 2018.

Business and conservative political media outlets from Fortune to The Federalist are all instructing their readers to vote for Hillary. And many high-profile Republicans, from Colin Powell and George HW Bush, to Richard Armitage and John Negroponte, from Hank Paulson to Brent Scowcroft, from Christine Todd Whitman to Meg Whitman – all are on board the Clinton train.

And the first wave of Republicans to jump onto the Clinton bandwagon were the cabal of PNAC neocons who architected the Iraq War: Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Paul Wolfowitz, among others.

If you are a liberal, a Progressive, then you should be against the Iraq War, and you should be against interventionist policies in general. If the maxim: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” holds true, then shouldn’t the reverse also apply?
In other words, should we not, as Progressives, be thinking “the friend of my enemies is my enemy”?

I really don’t see how a principled, reasoned Progressive could vote for the same person that these neocon warmongering jackals are supporting.

A Trump Presidency Could UNITE the Left as Never Before

Right now, the Left in America is divided. The Democratic Primary split the Party and the Left in horrible, ugly ways, and Hillary Clinton’s SuperPAC “Correct the Record” (CTR) spent millions in attacking Bernie Sanders and his supporters in a way that left many on the Left embittered and demoralized. If Hillary wins, this split will continue, and the wounds will fester until the American Left is irretrievably splintered, with establishment Democrats and Hillary supporters on one side, and Liberal Democrats on another, and millennials and Progressives in the Green Party or Libertarian Party, or – even worse – fully exited from the political landscape altogether.

A Trump Presidency would do the same for the Left as a Clinton Presidency would do for the Right – namely, allow the Left to coalesce around a central goal of opposing Trump and the Republicans. Such a coalescence might even attract independents who are turned off by Trump and by association Republicans in general. Hillary’s defeat will signal the discrediting and failure of the “New Way” corporatist Democratic culture, paving the way for a Renaissance of true Progressivism.

So there you have it. The case to be made to Progressives for not fearing, and indeed preferring, a Trump Presidency to a Clinton Presidency consists of three main

SEE THE OTHER SIDE: The Conservative Case for Hillary Clinton

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A Green Party Plea to my Cousin in California

My dear cousin: as you know, I take exception to your assertion that politics is “persuasion” and that Jill Stein has made her case to the American people and “failed to persuade” enough of them. I have been thinking about your statement and realised that what really bothered me about it was the fact that you were proceeding from an assumption that somehow the US political system was functional and, in its own way, logical and fair – at least to some extent.

I am here to tell you that this is a completely false and demonstrably incorrect assumption.

Trump won the nomination by garnering the votes of 6.89% of registered Republicans. Clinton won her nomination with the support of approx. 7% of Democratic voters. Altogether, 9% of the voting population delivered us these two horrible and dismally, disastrously and uniquely unqualified candidates. These facts alone show that the “system” we have does not function in any way that even remotely resembles democracy.

I give you proof: if you look at only the two major party candidates,
there is no way for you to vote against the excesses of Wall Street;
there is no way for you to vote against fracking, fossil fuels and worsening climate change;
there is no way for you to vote against the Military Industrial Complex and perpetual war;
there is no way to vote against worsening income and wealth inequality;
there is no way for you to vote against a for-profit healthcare industry that literally enriches itself by letting our citizens sicken and die.

These were all Bernie’s fighting themes, and I know you supported Bernie. But Bernie fell victim to the party duopoly which is designed to prop up the status quo, not tear it down. We now know his “revolution from within” was doomed from the start.

Cousin, we have finally arrived at a state of true fascism by Mussolini’s definition, namely a society in which the power of the Government is exercised solely for the benefit of Corporations, and the elites of Government and Business are inextricably entwined by what everyone so blithely and unthinkingly calls “the revolving door.” This metaphor of the “revolving door” amazes me. Everyone acknowledges its existence, but no one ever seems to appreciate its implications – namely, that when you live in a State where the Government and Big Business are run by the same people, you are living in a fascist state.

Fascism has been defeated in the past, cousin. But it was never defeated “slowly” or “incrementally.” It was only defeated by a revolution that overpowered the apparatus of the fascist State.

Many people smarter than I believe such a people-powered revolution can succeed, and I take hope and solace in that thought. But we have to start somewhere, and it starts with getting the Green Party to 5% in the polls, so that they will qualify for Federal Election Funds in the next cycle. That will be the first step towards truly changing the system, and the Corporatist elites know this. That is why they are working overtime to bamboozle you and so many others into thinking that they MUST vote for Hillary regardless of where they live. If The Greens qualify for Federal Funding in the next election cycle, then they have a beachhead, a toehold, a foot on the ladder leading to political viability, and this is something the power elites simply cannot allow.

I therefore urge you and every progressive in California to vote for Jill Stein. Do not listen to the corporatist claptrap about having to vote for Clinton. Help us reach the 5% threshold to qualify for tens of millions in Federal Election Funds in 2020. Jill Stein and the Green Party are our only hope for fighting the fascistic power structure that currently controls all the levers of Government, and we have to start somewhere. That somewhere is California and every other ‘safe” State in which a vote for Jill Stein will not affect the election outcome this year, but will help us effect needed change in future elections.

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The Conservative Case for Hillary Clinton

To Know Hillary, Look at Her Husband and Barack Obama
nixon-mao1“Only Nixon could go to China.” This is now a maxim of American politics, a metaphor for the political phenomenon I call “inoculated immunity”. This is when a politician is deemed by the public to have a set of political “credentials” that prohibit criticism that might otherwise be brought to bear to block certain political objectives. In the case of Nixon, his history of red-baiting and anti-communist rhetoric put his political détente with China beyond reproach. A commie-hater like Nixon would never “sell out” to Red China – that was the common wisdom at the time. And so Nixon’s efforts to normalize relations with China were immune from what should have been a tsunami of criticism and condemnation from the conservative Right and his own Republican Party.

image00_0On the other side of the spectrum, the first and most prominent case of inoculated immunity for Democrats was found in Bill Clinton. As a Democrat, he was able to “end Welfare as we know it” with his 1996 Reform Act without having to fight the progressive Left over the effects that bill had among impoverished communities. Because he was a Democrat, only Clinton could pass the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill that led to the mass incarceration of blacks and Hispanics while militarizing police forces across the country. And because he was a Democrat, people did not question his pro-business legislative milestones like bank de-regulation and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which led to unprecedented industry consolidation, massive income inequality, sky-high profits and incredible wealth consolidation among the Corporate class. Perhaps the best example of Clinton’s inoculated immunity was when he, as a Democrat, was able to do what his predecessor, Bush 41, was unable to get accomplished: he got NAFTA passed through the Democrat-controlled Congress, thereby fulfilling Reagan’s vision where Bush could not.

6a00d8341c630a53ef012876400c7c970c-600wiIn many ways, however, Barack Obama is an even more profound example of inoculated immunity. Because he is not just a Democrat but also an African-American, Obama was immediately and automatically credited with fighting for all sorts of progressive objectives, from taming Wall Street excesses to ending racism; from providing universal health care to stopping climate change – and of course he was going to end America’s wars and bring about World Peace. The last item was only furthered by his (some say premature) winning of the Nobel Peace Prize.

And yet, as Bruce Bartlett and others at The American Conservative have pointed out, Barack Obama has acted as a true Republican while in office.

Liberals fought bitterly against the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003. The cuts were passed despite the protests of the Left, who could only console themselves with the fact that they were temporary and scheduled to sunset in 2010. Obama, however, first extended the Bush Tax Cuts by 2 years, and then, in 2012, Obama made the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. Conservative representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.) summed up the situation by saying, “After more than a decade of criticizing these tax cuts, Democrats are finally joining Republicans in making them permanent.” Indeed, in many ways these are now Democrats’ tax cuts as much (if not more so) as they are Republicans.

hqdefaultThe reaction from the Left about Obama’s extension and subsequent permanent adoption of the Bush Tax Cuts was at most “muted.” Bernie Sanders famously filibustered the extensions on the Senate floor for 8 hours. But Sanders was almost alone in opposing Obama – the measure passed with majority Democratic support.

So while Bush was able to pass the tax cuts, it took Obama, a Democrat with his inoculated immunity, to make them permanent. Nixon and China all over again.

Obama has also pursued a very quiet but determined pro-business agenda. Last month we found out that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a panel set up to examine the causes of the 2008 meltdown, actually submitted in their final report a recommendation that criminal charges be filed against 14 banks and their top execs personally for causing the great financial crisis. The Obama Department of Justice did nothing, and buried the committee’s report.

rtr2ratyThe reaction from the Media and the Left to this bombshell of a scandal? Crickets. Elizabeth Warren kicked up a fuss, but the whole issue has been swept under the rug, and Citigroup Board Chairman Robert Rubin (a top Democratic operative and donor named in the criminal referral) has nothing to fear. Again, had a Republican Administration given all these banks and bankers a free pass, the outrage would have been powerful and pervasive. But Obama’s inoculated immunity ensures that the Media and the Left will keep mum about it all.

And of course, Obama is touring the world touting the virtues of the TPP, and seems determined to see this trade deal passed in the waning days of his Presidency. In this he has shown himself to be a true friend of Corporate America and the Chamber of Commerce.

1403120782000-phxdc5-6fse5sangjbm29vhjh3-originalEven in the area of national defense and border security, inoculated immunity helps Obama pursue a Conservative agenda without incurring opposition from the usual Leftist groups. Take deportations, an area where Obama has far, far exceeded anything GW Bush ever did. Between 2009 and 2015 Obama’s administration deported more than 2.5 million people – 500,000 more than Bush did, and Obama still has another year to go. And then there are the Central American refugee families and children languishing in ICE “detention centers” – which are really more like prisons. Thousands of others are being turned away in order to “send a message” to their friends and relatives in Honduras, El Salvador and elsewhere. This “tough love” policy is worthy of even the most conservative policy maker, and, amazingly, seems designed to antagonize the same Latino demographic that helped Obama win the Presidency in the first place.

And yet there are no mass demonstrations, no congressional opposition … the Left and the Media seem fine with this situation. Because Obama is a Democrat.

When it comes to war, Obama has acted as a principled conservative. He has doubled-down on the Bush foreign policy initiatives, and so far he has carried out 10 times more drone assassinations than did Bush. He has increased our troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has abandoned all rhetoric that talks about ever withdrawing. The PNAC vision of having a permanent US military presence in the Middle East is quietly becoming a reality under Barack Obama, and the Left is nowhere to be seen or heard.

Clinton Guarantees Us More of Obama’s Brand of Conservatism

RT_hillary_clinton_and_henry_kissinger_3a_ml_160518_4x3_992Hillary Clinton has already telegraphed her intention to carry on Obama’s conservative corporatist agenda. Indeed, it could be argued that she already has even deeper ties to Wall Street and Corporate America than Obama does, and when it comes to foreign policy, she is widely recognised as being to the Right of Obama. Indeed, policymakers behind the Iraq invasion such as Robert Kagan, Max Boot and Paul Wolfowitz have all publicly declared their support for Hillary Clinton, as have Henry Kissinger, John Negroponte and George HW Bush. The fact that Clinton can “proudly” publicize these endorsements with no blowback is proof positive of just how strongly Hillary has been inoculated. The “Right Wing Witch Hunts” that she and her team constantly complain about have inculcated a view in America’s mind that Hillary must, beneath it all, be the Liberal that Rush Limbaugh says she is.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Indeed, Clinton is so much more conservative than Obama that she should have been more difficult to “inoculate”. Enter the Mainstream Media. The six major media companies owe their very existence to Bill Clinton and the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which allowed them to gobble up the other 44 media outlets that existed at the time. These media progressive14n-1-webconglomerates know whom they have to thank for their power and their wealth, and they are repaying it with interest. Clinton is by far the biggest recipient of contributions by Media company employees, and the owners of the New York Times, Thompson Reuters, 21st Century Fox and Newsmax have all given over $1 Million to her campaign. Other companies like Comcast (NBC), Time Warner (CNN), The Washington Post, Viacom, NPR and Knight-Ridder have also given generously.

Online “liberal” Media outlets such as RawStory, Vox and The Daily Beast – on whose Board Chelsea Clinton sits – have all been pushing Hillary’s “liberal” bona fides on the Internet. These online ‘zines have savagely attacked Bernie Sanders and his proponents, and have now turned their attention to Jill Stein and the adherents of the Green Party – always pushing Clinton’s self-proclaimed characterization as a “Progressive who likes to get things done.”

The result? Hillary Clinton is now widely perceived as a liberal candidate, a stalwart Lefty who may not be as wild-eyed as Bernie Sanders but whose liberal credentials cannot be questioned. This positions her ideally to continue Obama’s priorities regarding conservative, pro-business and traditionally Republican economic and foreign policy issues.

A Trump Presidency Would Be a Disaster for Republicans and Conservatives

We cannot talk about the reasons for Conservatives to vote for Hilary Clinton without discussing the many very valid reasons for Conservatives to vote against Donald Trump. Ben Howe of RedState has been telling anyone who will listen that if Donald Trump wins, it will destroy the Republican Party, and could even cause the GOP to lose control of the House in 2018. There is already an internecine battle within the GOP between the traditional Republican elites and the Tea Party extremists at the grass roots level. A Trump victory would turn this conflict into a full-on war that would fracture the Republican coalition completely, setting the Party back decades. Moreover, with Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, conservatives will be tarred with the same tainted brush for years to come. Indeed, the current thinking among many Republican pundits is that a Trump loss is the only thing that can save the GOP.

maxresdefaultAdding to these worries is the potential for Trump to move to the Center or even the Left once he is in office. Conservatives like Joe Scarborough have been saying all along that Trump is really a “big government liberal” at heart. And Tom Nichols at The Federalist openly worries:

“Trump will be every bit as liberal as Hillary—perhaps more so, given his statements over the years. He is by reflex and instinct a New York Democrat whose formal party affiliation is negotiable, as is everything about him.”

At the very least, everyone agrees that Trump is narcissistic, vain, malleable and open to suasion by others. Everyone also agrees that Trump has championed everything from Single Payer Healthcare to Abortion Rights in the past. Should large protests break out around liberal issues, he may well take steps to mollify the liberal Left in an effort to make himself more popular. And of course Trump has made his absolute opposition to the TPP a cornerstone of his campaign.

The message from all of these strategists and pundits is clear: A Clinton win will allow the GOP to regroup and remain viable as the Party in opposition to another “liberal” Democratic President, and further allow them to retain control of the House and possibly even regain the Senate in 2018.

Certainly these are all very good reasons for Conservatives and Republicans to vote for Clinton and ensure that Trump never gets to the Oval Office.

Now I know many Conservatives may feel nervous about voting for a candidate who is openly campaigning on “debt-free college” and “higher taxes on the wealthy” – but remember the lessons of Obama. His two most popular campaign promises, which he introduced to thunderous applause throughout 2008, were to (1) offer a public healthcare option and (2) close Guantanamo Bay prison. Needless to say the Left are still waiting for those goodies. Clinton will “deliver” in the same way.

COMING NEXT: The Progressive Case for Donald Trump

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Bye-Bye, Bernie.

I love Bernie Sanders. I maxed out my donations to his campaign ($2500) and have now added my name to the list of complainants in the class action suit against the DNC to get my money back after he was robbed of the nomination. I was banned for life from the Daily Kos for writing articles that were deemed to be too pro-Bernie and anti-Hillary. I was a true believer, I was #BernieOrBust all the way – right up until the Convention, when the DNC made it clear that they preferred “bust.”

Now I am voting #JillNotHill and supporting Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party with my money, my time and my enthusiasm.

Here’s why:

Bernie_JJWhile I will always be thankful to Bernie for having inspired me, and millions like me, to question the Establishment and to fight against the corruption that dominates our national political system, I have come to the realisation that Bernie is simply not the man to lead us into a true Revolution.

The reason is simple, actually: Bernie believes in the 2-party system; he does NOT believe in third parties nor does he believe in the possibility to have a Revolution that takes place outside of the political duopoly that currently has a stranglehold over our body politic. This is a shame, given that it was Bernie who always told us to “think big” and to “think outside the box.”

It was a sad day when I realised that what Bernie actually believed was that we should think outside the box, but we should mobilize inside the box. The “box” in this case being the Democratic Party and our current 2-party political system.

That simply doesn’t make sense to me.

Much has been made by both supporters and opponents of Bernie Sanders that he is an independent, and Bernie himself proudly asserts that he is the “longest serving independent” in Congress. That fact, however, belies the reality that Bernie has caucused with the Democrats for over 30 years. That he has raised money for the DCCC and the DSCC. That he has supported and voted for the Democratic Leadership in both the House and the Senate, and he has voted with the Democrats 98% of the time. Indeed, one criticism often levelled at Berners by Clinton supporters was the fact that Bernie and Hillary had virtually matching voting records while they served in the Senate together. Yes, they both supported the “Democratic Agenda.”

Bernie with Harry Reid

Bernie with Harry Reid

I have come to realise that Bernie is not the maverick that we might wish him to be. He is, in the end, a Company man, a Party Man. Harry Reid is notorious for running a tight ship in the Senate. He does not give you a plum Committee assignment unless he knows you will toe the Party line, and he certainly does not make you the Chair of a high profile committee like the Veterans Affairs Committee (as he did with Bernie in 2013) unless he knows you are a loyal partisan for the Democrats.

Bernie believes that the Democratic Party can be turned around. That we can reverse the decades of DLC-driven corporatism and remake the Democrats into the Party of FDR. This is simply not possible. The “pay-to-play” corruption that the Clintons and their New Democrat allies introduced in the 90’s has, over the past 30 years, completely taken over the Democratic Party. We are now on the 3rd or 4th generation of Democrats who literally grew up thinking that it was OK to take corporate money and to do the bidding of your donors as long as you stood on the righteous side when it came to civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights and other social issues. These Democrats actually believe that they are doing good work by supporting LGBTQ causes and defending abortion rights even as they support Wall Street criminality, fracking, for-profit healthcare, TPP and other noxious issues pushed by their corporate donors.

bigstock_avarice_deadly_sin_of_greed_do_6574367Mind you, these are not all bad people. They are simply playing the hand they have been dealt, in a game that they did not create. They are making their way within an organisation that is so systemically corrupt that they do not even perceive the corruption for what it is. Cenk Uygur once described this phenomenon with an old joke: if you ask a fish “how’s the water?” he will answer “what water?” So it is with Democrats and the ocean of corruption in which they live.

You cannot ask today’s Democrats to change both themselves and the system in which they have thrived. They like the game as it is, because they are winning at it. And even if they wanted to change, their Corporate masters would never let them do so. The DNC is rotten to the core, and their actions during the 2016 Primaries show them to be a corrupt, well-organised and almost criminal enterprise willing to engage in illegitimate if not illegal activities to achieve the results that they and their Donors want. There is no way to rehabilitate this organisation, and there is no way that the DNC will countenance a “revolution” within their ranks.

Khama Savant is my HERO.

Khama Savant is my HERO.

BERNIE, I love you, and as I said at the top I will always revere you for what you did to start this Revolution. But you cannot lead the Revolution. The Democratic Party has been your adopted “home” on Capitol Hill since Bill Clinton first entered the White House in 1992. We cannot expect you to abandon the organisation that you have supported for 25 years. But neither can we hope to build our Revolution within the sclerotic ranks of the DNC. As Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has rightly said, any progressive movements “will reach a graveyard in the Democratic Party.”

That is why we must part company. You will push for Clinton to win the election, because you genuinely believe that once she is in the White House, she will bend toward the progressive causes that she has so studiously avoided all her career. You believe that she will be forced to listen to the Progressive wing of the Party, rather than the centrists and moderate Republicans she is currently courting for votes. You believe that we do not have the “luxury” of voting for a third party.

Sorry, Bernie. I do not believe those things that you believe about Clinton, nor do I believe that voting for my candidate of choice is a “luxury.” Indeed, in a representative democracy, I believe that voting for one’s chosen candidate is a duty.

97fd249e1c7e7287fae75f5a3d52b1eaBernie, your personal political hero is Eugene V. Debs, the American Socialist who maintained that it is better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don’t want and get that.

I plan to vote for what I want. I will vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party.

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Why I Want Trump to Win Over Clinton

After much deliberation, I have decided to write-in Bernie for President, or else vote for Jill Stein the Green Party candidate. I will NOT vote for Hillary Clinton, and many people freak out, telling me that this is a vote for Trump. I tell them that if the price for keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House is putting Trump in it, then I am OK with that.

Here’s why:

I was living in Stuttgart in 1983 when Reagan stationed the nuclear-tipped Pershing II’s in West Germany so he could have a pissing contest with the USSR, and we all thought WWIII was right around the corner.

Cowboy-reagan-on-missile-by-Melinda-GebbiePeople forget, but this had been a HUGE worry about Reagan: that he was a crazy fascist and would not hesitate to unleash nukes against the “Empire of Evil” – remember the USSR was a big thing back then, and we were all scared – and rightfully so.

On the domestic front Reagan was determined to privatise Social Security and completely do away with Medicare, which he called ”socialised medicine”. He rode into DC on a platform that called for disassembling government almost entirely, eliminating the Dept. of Education among others, and he was surely going to abolish the social “safety net” and put those Cadillac-driving, a999reaganalbum_2050081722-30790filet steak-eating “Welfare Queens” back to work.

Well, you know what? The nuclear missiles never flew, and Medicare, Social Security, the Education Dept. are still here. Only one of his major goals was achieved, but not under his Administration: it was a Democratic President named Bill Clinton who 8 years later decided to “end Welfare as we know it”. That was all part of Clinton’s “Third Way” takeover of the Democratic Party whereby he, his wife and other DLC apparatchiks turned the Democratic Party into the Republican Party ca. 1978.

clinton_welfareI was there when much was made about the fact that in 1996 Bill Clinton became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to raise more money from Corporate America than did his Republican opponent. That should have been a canary in the coal mine, a flare, a red flag, but we Democrats just shrugged and blithely held our noses and re-elected him, because he could WIN, and winning was everything. We were brainwashed, and we sold our progressive souls in order to make modest gains in the “Culture Wars” against Pat Buchanan and his evil bigoted ilk.

But while we congratulated ourselves on being “liberals” no one was minding the populist progressive store. Clinton’s “New Democrats” just gave up on the Reagan Democrats, the blue collar working people. They became a Party more interested in lawyers, bankers, high tech symbolic analysts – in other words, people with money. Unions became, like blacks and POC, just another constituency taken for granted, ignored and abused until election time, because, in the end, where else could they go?

Goldman SachsWe Democrats blew it. We sold out. We accepted the Clintonian curse of “pay to play” politics. It became all about the money, Lebowski. The money, and the winning. We Democrats collectively put our hands over our ears, we averted our eyes, we held our noses and voted the way we thought we could WIN. And meanwhile the Democratic Party lost its soul. The racist Crime Bill, the disastrous bank deregulation, the cynical abolition of Aid to Families with Dependent Children – we looked away. This, we told ourselves, was the price of winning. And leading that charge, convincing us of the righteousness and justness of the Third Way, reaping in money at obscene rates to fuel an increasingly rapacious, mammon-driven yet morally dissolute Democratic Party, were the “liberals” from deep red Arkansas, the Clintons.

Yes, my hatred and disdain for the Clintons is strong, but so is my FEAR of them. I lived in Germany for nine years. I have seen and heard Trump’s speeches “in the original German”. I know how a country can get hijacked by a megalomaniac. I have seen how good and decent people can be turned into racists and killers. I understand all too well how a civilized, cultured and God fearing country can be transformed by hatred, xenophobia and racism into a wasteland – both figuratively and literally.

The fact that I know all these things, lived all these things, and I STILL consider Hillary Clinton to be the greater threat, should give you pause. Because it is not enough to simply look back on history. We must look to the future. The disastrous neoliberal policies of Clinton and Blair, the DLC and the Third Way, the so-called “New Labour” and “New Democrats,” have led us to a place where the once-great but now beleaguered middle class is overworked, overtaxed, underpaid and completely disenfranchised.

AND THEY KNOW IT.

Do not think for a moment that Trump is the real threat. Trump is a buffoon, he has the mental capacity, the unjustified arrogance and the immaturity of a 15 year old with a Trust Fund, and he will be the engineer of his own downfall. I do not think Trump will even serve 4 years, as he will tire of the pace. He has already signalled that there will be large parts of the job of POTUS that he does not want to do – I think that once he has become sufficiently famous and assembled enough of other people’s money to launch his next business venture (a media company I am told), Trump will leave the stage.

No, it is the person waiting in the wings, studying Trump, whom we should fear. The one who will know how to capitalise on the massive wealth inequality, the pain and suffering of the working classes, the one who will have an organisational infrastructure behind him – HE is the one we must guard against.

If Hillary Clinton is elected, the neoliberal attack on the middle class will continue; things will NOT improve, and indeed will probably get worse. The ‘weak tea” of neoliberal incrementalism, triangulation and identity politics will only serve to further inflame the working people of America, and we will have a reactionary, xenophobic, racist and violent backlash that will make Trump’s rise seem tame.

donald-trump-question-mark-sbs copyThat is why I want Trump to win over Clinton. Trump stumbled into his nomination. He is like the dog that caught the car. He will not be a true danger because he will not pursue any sort of coherent agenda. I believe it is the NEXT Trump that we need to worry about, and if we elect Clinton, and vote for more of the same, then the next Trump will be more formidable, more organized and more dangerous than anything we have seen heretofore.

We need a new direction. We need Bernie Sanders, or someone like him, to lead us away from the wealth inequality. materialism and corporatist globalism that has given birth to Trumpism. We need to kill that movement in the crib. But if we elect Clinton we will have 8 years – at least – of neoliberal policies leading to yet more war and a further diminishing of the middle class. The fascistic “baby” we are seeing today will have had plenty of time to grow, and the results will be disastrous for our nation and our planet.

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Culture, Economics, History, Politics | 1 Comment

The Brexit: One ExPat’s View

As a “EuroYankee”, I feel I should weigh in heavily on the so-called Brexit. I was not surprised at the Leave vote. The Brits have been complaining about the EU for years – and the EU had had to bend over backwards to accommodate them. Yes, Ok, they could eschew the metric system used everywhere else and keep their sacred pints. Yes, they can still measure highway distances in miles; yes, they can still give their weight in stones; yes, they can sell land in acres and road-signsnot hectares like everywhere else. I just called my boss, who is staying at my house in Italy, and he informed me that the weather there was great, with a temp. of 85 degrees, when I knew damn well it was really 29.

Passport linesWhen asked where they plan to vacation (or holiday), most Brits will still reply “oh we are going to Europe”. Since starting work for my London based employer I have become accustomed to this distinction, as in “we have offices in both the UK and Europe” or “we need to start work at 7am in order to accommodate our European customers.”

The Brits also insist on using AM and PM, which gets very confusing once you start doing business on an international/ intercontinental level. I have yet to meet a Brit who was really comfortable using 14:30 rather than 2:30 when scheduling a call or a meeting. This gets dicey when you are often doing calls at 07:00 in Europe and then 19:00 in the US.

Most Europeans speak at least two languages, and many speak 3 or more. The most popular second language is of course English, and there is a reason for that: after 30 years of doing business in Europe, I can count on one hand the number of British businessmen I have met who were able to conduct business in a non-English language.

PythonALL THAT SAID: I am happy to let the British be British. After all, no one in the rest of the EU understands sarcasm. No one has the rich literary tradition that the UK has. And no “European” country has anything even remotely approaching the brilliance of Monty Python or Fry and Laurie or Rowan Atkinson. I majored in English History and Language at college, so I know of what I speak: the British are unique on this earth in terms of their contributions to literature and popular culture (Beatles, anyone?). May they forever remain so.

Still – be careful what you wish for: the Germans, French and Belgians are now rubbing their hands with glee: they finally have a legitimate reason to buy “European” and pay in Euros while keeping the business in their own countries. I have already heard of one large project that was destined to be delivered in Wales but has now flipped back to Germany. The Irish will have a problem with Northern Ireland, where the border may once again have to be hardened – but on the positive side, they will now represent Anglophone Europe. Any job in the “new” EU that requires native English will now perforce have to go to an Irishman. And all because their English rulers outlawed the Irish language and imposed English as the official language of Eire. Sweet irony there.

All in all, I am happy with the Brexit. For one thing, it may mean that my London-based employer may finally make the long-discussed move to open a “European” office in Barcelona, where I live. That will really cut down on my commute 🙂

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UPDATED: 10 Reasons why Clinton would be worse than Trump as President

1. Firstly, I do not believe that someone will set fire to the Capitol and blame it on the Mexicans or the Muslims. In other words: I do not foresee Trump being able to seize Hitlerian style absolute power. He will face the same checks and balances that have hamstrung Obama for 8 years. If elected, Trump would be hemmed in on all sides by aggressive Democrats and scared Republicans trying to salvage their own seats and their own upcoming re-elections. He would be blocked to an extent that would make Obama look like he had carte blanche for 8 years.

2. People who are wetting themselves over SCOTUS nominations are impugning the integrity and the backbone of the Democrats in the US Senate. Trump will not be able to push a radical right-winger onto the bench. He prides himself on making deals, he will make a deal to get a judge appointed over what will be strong Democratic opposition.

3. Trump wants to be POTUS – he does not want to be a “War President” – he is untravelled and uninterested in foreign events. He has run on a non-interventionist platform, and that is a major difference between him and Clinton, whom he has attacked incessantly for Iraq.

4. Trump has railed against bad trade deals and the TPP – this is another differentiator and is one of the few points that his supporters all agree on. Trump would most probably resist going back on this, one of his few consistent campaign promises, by signing the TPP.

5. The amount of damage that Trump could do would thus be very modest, aside from the more subjective damage done to America’s prestige and image by having our own version of Silvio Berlusconi in the WH.

6. Clinton, OTOH, knows “how to get things done” – and that scares me deeply. With Bill in charge of the economy (as she repeatedly promises), TPP will be a done deal – Bill as we know has never met a trade deal he didn’t like.

hillary-netanyahu-530x3067. Likud-led Israel badly wants the US to attack Iran and bomb them back to the stone age. Hillary will oblige them. If she wins, we will be bombing Iran before you can say “I Love Bibi”.

201132163646881140_208. Syria? Again – Israel wants Assad out, so Hillary will oblige. We will push Russia out of the area and cause even more misery and instability all in the name of Israeli Security.

9. God only knows what she will do to further punish, provoke and incite Russia, but look for a very aggressive and trigger-happy Putin if Hillary gets in.

10. A CRITICAL AND STRATEGIC REASON for not electing Hillary Clinton is that her victory will prove to the Democratic party Establishment that the duopoly is intact; that the “lesser of two evils” strategy is still valid. That it is OK to have 50% of the voters stay home because they have nothing to vote for – as long as you can eke out a majority among the remaining half of the electorate, you can claim a mandate, you can claim to represent the “people” – even though only slightly more than 1 in 4 of them voted for you. This is NOT democracy.

clinton-bush-article-display-bAND – I have not even started on what having two Presidents Clinton at the helm will mean for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. I think that their “Initiative” may just about be tantamount to world domination. I am not joking. You do know that she prizes Henry Kissinger as a mentor and an advisor on world affairs and foreign policy, right? That the Clintons vacation together with the Kissingers? Makes my skin crawl, and I fear having any POTUS who is on such close personal terms with a genocidal maniac war criminal like K.

Clinton-Trump_Debatesafe_image.phpAnd finally: how bad can Trump be? The Clintons themselves seem to have no problem with him. After all, they famously went to Trump’s wedding. They in turn invited Trump to their daughter’s wedding. Chelsea and Ivanka are BFFs. Bill plays GOLF with Donald. If Trump really were the dangerous megalomaniacal bigot that the Clinton camp would have us believe, then why be so cozy with him?

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The Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library ver. 4.2 (09 June 2016)

The Struggle Continues!

The Struggle Continues!

Tired of the MSM and Clintonista trolls talking smack about our guy? Wish you had some statistics and facts – or maybe just some snappy comebacks – to combat their BS?
Here is my own “Rapid Response Library” to use as a reference – some facts, figures and opinions – use whatever you think makes sense to you. Cut and paste, modify as needed to shoot down the nattering nabobs of negativism and the Clintonista shock troops wherever they may rear their ugly heads…

Just click the link below to download the DOC or the PDF.

Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library_4.2 – MS Word DOC

Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library_4.2 – Adobe PDF

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