Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Why The McResistance Is Just As Dangerous As The Trump Regime

Last month, I penned an article that would go one to become one of my most popular works, titled Why I Fear The Democratic Establishment Just As Much As I Fear Trump. In it, I chronicled the saga of egregious acts employed by Democratic elites throughout the last two years-rigging the 2016 Democratic primary, then denying doing so, then starting a McCarthyite campaign that could result in war with Russia. You know, the usual-before concluding on the more hopeful note that these tactics have been employed because the oligarchs in control of the party know their reign is in danger of coming to an end. And now I'm following it up with a piece articulating why, in addition to fearing Trump and the neoliberal Democrats equally, I view the so-called resistance movement and the Trump administration as equally big threats to the country's future.

Namely, because the neoliberal Democrats are now aiming to continue their reign by going so far as dismantling the democratic process itself.

I'd first like to make clear to any pro-establishment liberals reading this that when I attack this movement-which my fellow blogger Caitlin Johnstone has so appropriately classified as the "McResistance"- I'm not helping Trump in the least. Because as David Rosen assesses, the persons and entities behind the McResistance are not actually resisting Trump: "Trump changed the game of establishment politics and now is president. The Democrats are floundering, unsure of how to face the demands of a trying historical test. The Democrats, overseen by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Wall Street’s inside man, have no clue as to what to do. The social order is in crisis, undercut by the restructuring of global capitalism, and he lacks the vision to see what’s going on, let alone do anything to address it. Equally challenging, he seems to be losing party discipline, with Wall Street Democrats in panic. Most revealing, today the Democrats follow — do not lead! — the popular insurgency spreading the country."

Additionally, Democrats like Schumer clearly don't even have any desire to fight against most of Trump's agenda, such as expanding the U.S. military empire, transferring wealth to the top, and taking away civil liberties, seeing as they share those goals with Trump. So by going after the McResistance, I'm not hurting a movement that fights the Trump agenda, but quite the opposite.

What is the point of this movement entities like the Democratic Party, the military and intelligence community elites, and much of the corporate media have gone to so much trouble in putting together if they don't even truly intend to fight Trump? That question was cleared up for us on March 8, when Politico published an article titled The Resistance Will Be...Underwritten By Corporations. You'd assume from the headline that it's a piece sarcastically denouncing the involvement of corporate and billionaire money with a movement whose anti-corporatism is crucial for its success, but in a political landscape so defined these days by Orwellian logic, intuition doesn't apply to things like this. The piece, it turns out, is a happy endorsement of corporate money.

It begins as follows:
Late last month, a few hours before the Democratic National Committee elected Tom Perez as chair, party officials held a vote on whether to accept donations from corporate political action committees. The debate was not conducted in the backroom, but in front of C-SPAN cameras. And Democrats, loudly and proudly, chose to accept corporate cash.
On the floor, California’s Bob Mulholland, after conceding, “I’m not a member of Mother Teresa’s sisters’ organization. I am a member of the Democratic Party” swam against the populist tide: “All those corporations in North Carolina, who stood up for the Democratic Party platform against the law there to try to outlaw or discriminate against transgender [people], why should the Democratic Party say now, ‘Hey, great what you did, but we’re not gonna take your contributions?’” Charles Stormont of Utah contended Democrats can safely accept money from corporations “as long as they understand I will treat them no differently because of it” while warning, “We cannot afford not to take corporate money, or we disappear.”
Any half-respectable journalist would have followed up by pointing out the outrageousness of those statements. Namely: A, Mulholland basically bragged about the Democrats choosing not to do the most good possible, B, he then simultaneously implied both that Democrats can't choose to fight for transgender rights on their own and that there's nothing wrong with those corporations because they did one good thing, and C, Stormont told the two biggest lies about corporate money, which are that it doesn't necessarily influence the actions of politicians and that politicians can't keep afloat without it. Instead, because war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength, the piece's author, Bill Scher, writes:
The optics may be lousy, but the DNC made the right call. To maximize resistance to Donald Trump, Democrats need to win as many 2018 midterm election races as possible. And they can’t do it on $27 checks alone.
Of course, that’s not how the progressive populists see it. After watching Bernie Sanders raise millions for his presidential bid with small donations, and watching Hillary Clinton get skewered for her Wall Street ties, they are convinced the party is worse off with corporate cash. Jon Gardzelewski, a new DNC member from Wyoming, said on the floor, “This last election cycle, there was a fire lit under the voters of the American people [who] supported a message to get money out of politics … We’re going to need them … We need the votes a lot more than we need a little bit of corporate money.”
Scher then goes on with an attempt to disprove this notion which, to his credit, consists of some very creative distortions of reality. He entirely dodges the point made by the Cenk Huegur quote included in the article correctly saying large amounts of money haven't done a thing for the Democrats' ability to win elections in these last eight years when that money has come from oligarchs. Scher instead doubles down on the claim that the amount of money candidates spend is always the chief decider of who wins. And when the time unavoidably came to acknowledge that Clinton lost the election last year despite wildly outspending her opponent, he somehow managed to twist it into a defense of Citizens United after implicitly acknowledging what refuted the claim he'd just made, which is that ideas can easily decide elections regardless of who spends the most money.

And it gets worse. As Scher goes on to state:
Furthermore, the parts of the Trump agenda that most disgust the left are not supported by Big Money. Most corporations do not have an interest in a border wall, mass deportations, a refugee ban, discrimination against the transgendered or the denigration of the free press. The business community likes Trump’s deregulatory zeal, but it’s divided over his border tax and trade war musings. The health insurance industry is nervous that repeal of the Affordable Care Act will cause market chaos, and the loss of the individual mandate will rob them of customers.
When one reads that twice, one easily realizes Scher is not just minimizing the significance of big business' support for policies that transfer wealth to the top, but trying to get us to subconsciously support a number of those policies. If I understand Scher's reference to Trump's trade war correctly, he's talking about Trump's opposition to neoliberal trade deals like NAFTA. And the aspects of Obamacare Scher names that are supported by Big Money all include the corporatist parts of the law. This subtle effort to get us to believe corporations have our best interests at heart Scher then implicitly contradicts with this whopper of a paragraph:
Forging a big donor-small donor coalition is hardly unprecedented; it’s what the Democratic Party has done for decades. Obama had 4 million small donors in 2008, but 66 percent of his money came from larger donors and 20 percent came from Wall Street. Obama’s Wall Street take was a tick smaller than Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 25 percent in 1932. Woodrow Wilson was a small-donor pioneer in 1912, but also had ample Wall Street backing. The trust-busting progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt also had a “monster 1904 slush fund” from Wall Street sources. All of these liberal icons did not hesitate to regulate corporations in office despite their funding sources, so there’s no reason to assume the taking of corporate money will cause a deathblow to the progressive agenda.
So now that we know corporations can be trusted but it's still good that taking corporate money doesn't influence the decisions of politicians, we can relax and let the oligarchs take charge of the resistance. Except Scher has just presented us with utter nonsense. The links Scher provides to the situation with Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt reveal that in the case of the former, the Wall Street backers were advocates of progressive causes, and that in the case of the latter, the slush fund had resulted in the appointment of corporate executives to high positions within the White House and the Republican National Committee.

As for FDR, the only reason the New Deal came to be was that Roosevelt caved into enormous public pressure after his 1932 presidential campaign and abandoned the cause of his Wall Street donors, who up until then had held great influence over him. And it's a flat-out lie that Obama's Wall Street donations didn't affect his actions, as evidenced both by how he voted for the bank bailouts as a Senator and refused to sufficiently re-regulate Wall Street as president, not to mention how he admitted himself at one point that big donors' money influenced him.

Scher then signs off with the assertion that what he so authoritatively calls "The Resistance" is only viable if what he so self-revealingly calls "corporate shmoozing" can take place. I apologize for the length of the preceding deconstruction, but that article reveals a lot about the intentions of those behind the McResistance. And while the views it reflects are very much fringe (a glorious 84% of Americans think money has too much influence over the political process), it reflects the overwhelming consensus among current Democratic Party insiders, big-time corporate media pundits, and the other champions of the McResistance.

This is evidenced not just by the poll results that prove the members of the top 0.1% are generally less inclined towards a democratized political and economic system than most others, but by the opinions that they and their propaganda gofers express, with Scher's article being no exception. Corporate media outlets, Politico especially, have responded to the political awakening in regards to money in politics caused by the Sanders campaign with variations of Scher's piece like Why Hillary Clinton Can't Stop Raising Wall Street Cash and Why It's OK To Accept Wall Street Campaign Cash, complete with the same excuses for corruption that I just refuted.

"One of the most embarrassing aspects of U.S. politics is politicians who deny that money has any impact on what they do," wrote The Intercept's Jon Scharz in summer 2015, even before Bernie and his millions of small donors stirred up so much trouble. "For instance, Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania’s notoriously fracking-friendly former governor, got $1.7 million from oil and gas companies but assured voters that 'The contributions don’t affect my decisions.' If you’re trying to get people to vote for you, you can’t tell them that what they want doesn’t matter. This pose is also popular with a certain prominent breed of pundits, who love to tell us 'Don’t Follow the Money' (New York Times columnist David Brooks), or 'Money does not buy elections' (Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner on public radio’s Marketplace), or 'Money won’t buy you votes' (Yale Law School professor Peter H. Schuck in the Los Angeles Times)."

But by the time Democratic elites were finally able to get rid of Sanders a year later, the plutocracy and its defenders had seen their already flimsy narrative of how "money doesn't hurt democracy" had for the most part been irrecoverably blown apart, and many of them adopted a new one: "screw democracy."

It started with a lengthy piece, published on May 1st, 2016 by the these days occasional blogger Andrew Sullivan which, despite being in many respects brilliant, included some troublingly inaccurate diagnoses of the factors behind its subject Donald Trump. The article, titled Democracies End When They Are Too Democratic, had just that message. Sullivan rightly pointed to "global economic forces" as the reason so many in the Rust Belt and Middle America now felt inclined towards Trump's protectionist and isolationist rhetoric, but failed to mention that those global economic forces were engineered by powerful corporations rather than brought about naturally as Sullivan implies. Sullivan also, rather absurdly, pointed to American society these days being more democratic than in the past as the reason for demagoguery's rise, brushing off the proven fact that America is now not a democracy or even a republic but an oligarchy run by billionaires with anecdotal accounts of large amounts of big donor campaign cash not helping candidates. He then vaguely but strongly advocated for a far less democratized system as a means to stop Trumpism.

It continued with a similar piece in the July 2016 issue of The Atlantic, written by Jonathan Rauch, which proclaims political sanity has been done in by not just too much democracy but too little political influence among elite interests. The latter of which Rauch also ludicrously describes as more common in the past, and Orwellianly says "play a vital role as political bonding agents."

It really began to gain steam when beltway commentators, in reaction to Brexit, largely started saying the root of the demagoguery problem was allowing dumb people to vote and even seek information out for themselves, such was the case with the June 2016 piece It's Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses. Not to mention the even more pro-autocracy U.S. News article by one Harry Jaffe, praising the newly exposed top DNC officials for showing bias against Bernie Sanders.

But at a certain point in the middle of last year, the openly professed desire among elites to use Trump as an excuse to do away with democracy grew strong enough to compel Matt Taibbi to write an article titled In Response to Trump, Another Dangerous Movement Appears, which concludes as follows:
Donald Trump is dangerous because as president, he'd likely have little respect for law. But a gang of people whose metaphor for society is "We are the white cells, voters are the disease" is comparably scary in its own banal, less click-generating way.
These self-congratulating congoscenti could have looked at the events of the last year and wondered why people were so angry with them, and what they could do to make government work better for the population.
Instead, their first instinct is to dismiss voter concerns as baseless, neurotic bigotry and to assume that the solution is to give Washington bureaucrats even more leeway to blow off the public. In the absurdist comedy that is American political life, this is the ultimate anti-solution to the unrest of the last year, the mathematically perfect wrong ending.
Trump is going to lose this election, then live on as the reason for an emboldened, even less-responsive oligarchy. And you thought this election season couldn't get any worse.
Given recent developments, though, the fact that Taibbi was wrong in that election prediction implicates an even bigger threat to democracy.

Since Trump's victory, the calls for ending democracy among McResistance leaders have only gotten more vocal. In a late 2016 piece that's oddly contradictory given how Trump was able to win because of the Electoral College, Michael W. McConnell praised the Electoral College as well as the two-party system (the allowance for viable third parties in other democracies, he says, lets "fringe factions" exert excessive control, presumably by making it so that anyone who supports the party that most aligns with their views can, reprehensibly, vote for that party as easily as any other). Citing the repugnance of the 2016 major party nominees, McConnel also advocated for the elimination of voting in the presidential nominating process, saying party elites can be counted on to choose the best nominees because  they "have incentives to choose candidates with an eye toward popular electability and governing skill." This movement to alleviate the plight of today's power-deprived elites has since lived on with the corporate money-endorsing Politico article above, along with the statements from Democratic leaders about corporate money that the article quotes.

No matter that lack of a multiparty system and insufficient opportunities for regular people to get their views represented are at the core of why so many chose to support Trump last year, as evidenced by how most Republican voters do not feel either major party has listened to them. No matter that on the Democratic side, party elites actually did handpick their nominee last year, and chose a candidate who was neither willing to govern wisely nor evidently able to gain popular electability. And no matter that money in politics is what made "The Resistance" necessary in the first place. Because for the Deep State, the Trump-wary neocons, and the establishment Democrats, "The Resistance" is not about preserving democracy or even, in many ways, resisting Trump.

It's about getting towards the endgame of an attack on democracy that these forces started forty years ago, and that they don't intend to stop just because the majority of the American people now want them to stop it.

Throughout these next few years, we are going to see the neoliberal Democrats at their very worst. We're going to see more and more corporate media articles advocating for corporate and elite control over the Democratic Party and the centers of power in general. We're going to see more and more defiant and frequent actions from neoliberal Democrats to shut out progressives, possibly going so far as widespread election fraud and voter suppression in the 2018 elections. We're going to see escalating rhetorical attacks on Bernie Sanders and his movement, ranging from the personal to the ideological. And when the inevitable terrorist attack gives the Trump administration an opportunity to vastly expand its authority and quite possibly destroy the pretense of American democracy, the neoliberal Democrats will simultaneously partner up with Trump and Friends to work towards eliminating representative government and greatly ramp up their theatrical McResistance efforts, complete with all the blabber about "uniting against Trump," to marginalize progressive dissent.

When Debbie Wasserman Schultz responded almost a year ago to Bernie Sanders' complaint that the DNC wasn't treating him fairly with the private gripe, "Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do," what she meant likely wouldn't fully be made apparent till several years afterward.

And then, of course, the Sandersists will fight harder than ever, manage to retain what's left of our democratic system, and ride what will ultimately come to be overwhelming public opposition towards Trump and the neoliberal Democrats to landslide victories in 2018 and 2020. But in the meantime, not just Trump, but the phony and ulterior motive-driven movement that he's made possible, deserves our utmost concern.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Repeat Of The Tea Party Isn't Enough-We Need A Revolution To Counter The Trump Regime

Like most every other disaster throughout history, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The Democratic elite had just committed perhaps the worst affront to democracy this country has ever seen by stealing the presidency from Bernie Sanders, and the Sanders supporters, who'd grown more than numerous enough to decide the election, were largely convinced that if Clinton could do this and get away with it, she could no longer claim the title of the lesser evil. Indeed, the rigging of the 2016 Democratic primaries, and the disturbing McCarthyite tactics that establishment Democrats launched after this rigging was revealed, have made it so that I personally find Hillary and Friends just as frightening as the Trump regime.

A big mistake many of my fellow anti-Clintonist progressives made, though, was becoming so eager to get rid of Clinton that they'd taken to talking down the threat of the alternative. "As bad as Trump is," wrote the otherwise always spot-on leftist blogger Michael E Sparks in his breakup letter to the Democratic Party, "he would just spin his wheels for four years. Both Republicans and Democrats would vote down everything he tried to do. The insiders hate him. He has no government experience. He can’t navigate it. He would just be a four-year Jon Stewart punchline." Those exact sentiments were expressed by a great deal of other former Sanders supporters, me included; how bad could Trump really be, we reasoned, given the facts mentioned above?

I'll get to exactly why this view of Trump is not accurate in a second, but the reason I think so many on the anti-Clinton left dismissed the notion that Trump posed much of a threat had to do with something I call the Tea Party Fantasy. When Trump got in, a lot of progressives believed, the left would do in 2017 what the right did in 2009 and easily overwhelm the new regime, along with the establishment of one of the major parties, with a years-long festival of grassroots political action. And so far things have for the most part lived up those expectations, with the fierce progressive backlash having likely ruined the GOP's hopes of repealing or even reforming Obamacare while the power structure of the neoliberal Democrats gets chipped away at more and more every month. At this rate, you'd think, by the time the Tea Party of the left is finished, Trump and Friends will be pretty much irrelevant as president-elect Bernie Sanders prepares to take office as the leader of the now corporatism-free Democratic Party.

The hard truth, though, is that our task is far bigger than staging an inverse repeat of the Tea Party. Because this is not 2009, and Donald Trump is not Barack Obama.

Consider these words, as written by the staunch anti-Clinton leftist Chris Hedges shortly after the election:
We await the crisis. It could be economic. It could be a terrorist attack within the United States. It could be widespread devastation caused by global warming. It could be nationwide unrest as the death spiral of the American empire intensifies. It could be another defeat in our endless and futile wars. The crisis is coming. And when it arrives it will be seized upon by the corporate state, nominally led by a clueless real estate developer, to impose martial law and formalize the end of American democracy.
When we look back on this sad, pathetic period in American history we will ask the questions all who have slid into despotism ask. Why were we asleep? How did we allow this to happen? Why didn’t we see it coming? Why didn’t we resist?
The specter he anticipates is one that anyone can objectively see coming, but that many of my fellow left-wing opponents of the Democratic establishment still refuse to acknowledge can happen because of their attachment to the Tea Party Fantasy: during Trump's term, perhaps sometime very soon, there will inevitably be a major crisis, most likely, I think, in the form of a terrorist attack. And as we saw almost sixteen years ago with the case of the dystopia portrayed in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, such an event can easily lead to extremely violent and authoritarian behavior on the part of the government. Especially when that government is headed by the likes of the Bush or Trump administrations.

And seeing as the Bush team looks warm and fuzzy compared to the current regime, this time the aftermath of the attack will no doubt be horrifying on a level that Americans have never been forced to confront. Trump himself may not be competent enough to create an autocracy, and he and his administration may be for now reviled by the vast majority of Americans including most in Congress, the Senate, the media, and the Deep State, but terrorist attacks have ways of shaking things up. Immediately after this event, Trump's approval ratings will no doubt go way, way up merely because of his position as the commander of a nation in crisis, and frazzled as he'll be, his far smarter and ideologically committed top aides will see to it that he wastes no time in taking some very big actions. As most of the House, the Senate, the press, and the public becomes compliant towards the president, his egoistic and domineering personality will partner with the terrifying cunning of behind-the-throne rulers like Mike Pence and Steve Bannon to bring about an exponential expansion of executive power and the irrelevance of laws saying that power can be challenged. And by the time the following period of wild military ventures, mass arrests of any perceived dissenters, and expanded corporate power makes most people again turn against the regime, it will be too late. As Chris Hedges says, the pretense of democracy will be ended, and fighting back will be virtually impossible.

No, Trump is not 2017's equivalent of 2009 Obama. The latter, like the Democratic Party, was prone to tepid liberal moderation and capitulation towards his political opponents, something Trump and Friends are the antithesis of. And the supporters of this president are driven not by the reassuring fuzziness of "hope and change" but by bitterly paranoid hatred and fear. Even before the coming 9/11 event, these facts have been chillingly demonstrated on multiple occasions, such as that of the victory salute a prominent group of neo-Nazis gave for Trump in November which provoked a disturbingly tepid response from the Trump team, and the Trump rally last month that a witness describes as having included a "horrifying" amount of zeal, nationalism, and "demonic activity."

Trump's administration may look like the politically fragile product of a "straw man" candidacy whose power is severely limited by the government's checks and balances, but as will soon be made apparent to all, it's a fascist time bomb that will go off as soon as the next big attack happens. It has a powerful enough movement behind it, it has a path to greatly increased influence, and all it has to do is wait. Michael Sparks himself seems to suspect it, having lately taken to comparing Trump with Hitler. And more than ever, he has some good reasons to justify doing so, what with the Trump administration having recently signed an executive order that in many ways dismantles various aspects of government, including the state, educational, and justice departments, so as to consolidate authority to the executive branch.

So what do we do? The bad news is that in many ways, the opportunity to avoid the course towards this insane future ended when Bernie Sanders was cheated out of the nomination. The good news is that to soften the fascist blow awaiting us, all we have to do is ramp up what we're already doing: getting involved in the political process.

We must firmly draw the line between the Sanders coalition's movement and the so-called resistance movement of the Democratic establishment, the latter of which, in addition to serving as a public relations tool for corporate Democrats, is run by people whose political brand makes them inherently unable to truly resist a fascist. We must talk to all of our generally non-political friends, relatives and neighbors about the gravity of the situation so as to make the percentage of Americans who have become more politically involved in the face of Trump go from its current 25% to more than twice that. We must redouble our commitment to donating to anti/Trump and/or anti-neoliberal Democrat organizations, participating in and/or organizing protests and strikes, signing petitions, contacting political leaders, and simply spreading information that increases awareness of the threat at hand. A good opportunity to do so is the "Berniecrats' Day of Action" that I'm organizing, which takes place on March 25, the one-year anniversary of the moment a bird so upliftingly visited Bernie Sanders at one of his rallies.

"Now is the time not to cooperate," writes Chris Hedges in his blueprint for revolt. "Now is the time to shut down the systems of power. Now is the time to resist. It is our last chance. The fanatics are moving with lightning speed. So should we." To do so will take more than following in the footsteps of the Tea Partiers; this will require the creation of a movement whose success has no parallel.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

For Democratic Elites, "The Resistance" Isn't About Saving The Country-It's About War

We all knew it was coming. The buildup to it had been happening for months-years, in fact, if you counted the whole history of this drama. But when the inevitable did at last appear, it felt no less shocking and appalling than in any other case for the fairly small minority of Americans who disapproved of it. On March 4, 2021, the new president has announced the U.S. is now planning to send forces into Russia.

Some have seen this coming for a lot longer than others. For many on the far left and the far right-who, it turns out, have a lot more in common than it would appear-expectations of something like this happening have been experienced for as long as four-and-a-half years ago, when establishment Democrats started doing to their opponents what Republicans used to do to them and went on a relentless Red-baiting campaign. In this case, the Red Scare was based on the still unsubstantiated claim that Putin's hackers gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails. From there on things only got crazier.

By mid-winter, Obama was spending the last weeks of his term using the at that point religiously accepted "Russia hacked the election" narrative to push sanctions onto Russia while the beloved gang of late-night liberal comedians made really ha-ha funny jokes about taking this feud with Russia further. By spring 2017, top Democrats were blatantly saying they wanted war with Russia, a development that was shortly followed by NATO allies starting to express similar sentiments. As the Russia rhetoric coming from establishment Democrats, anti-Trump neocons, and Deep State officials grew more and more unhinged, so did the conspiracy theories they used to justify it. When the great economic crash of 2017 happened, many of the leaders in the pre-war effort tried to deflect attention from the fact that the crisis was largely the fault of Obama by claiming it was the result of Putin's trying to "sabotage the American economy." By the time much of the pro-Trump fervor following the terrorist attack of 2017 died down, some of them even tried to link the attack to Putin. All the way through, much of the American population accepted this 21st century Cold War propaganda, and the theoretical war's supporters only grew going into the 2020 election.

Hillary Clinton's victory over Trump in 2020 was as narrow and unexpected as her defeat had been in 2016. Having become the Democratic nominee only because of the massive voter suppression and electoral fraud perpetrated by pro-Clinton primary election officials as had been the case in 2016, she'd always appeared to be an even weaker candidate than she'd been the last time around. The one factor behind her coming-from-behind victory, it seemed, was the fact that she and her supporters had run the most rabidly McCarthyite campaign imaginable, which motivated the at that point solid majority who wanted war with Russia to come to the polls. And now, after a month-and-a-half of president Clinton laying the final foundations for this war with sanctions and quiet deployments of NATO forces close to Russia, she's finally done what we've all come to quietly expect. Americans may not have much money these days, or much more time where oil is easily accessible, or hope for a stable climate, but at least they now have an entertaining show to watch.

Dystopian essay concluded. I'm of course not saying this is exactly how I think the next four years will unfold, or that Hillary Clinton will be the one to usher the war in if it does happen (though that's a real possibility), or that things won't go completely the other way. But I am saying that as the members of the Deep State, the Democratic leadership, and the corporate media continue to assess their priorities for the Trump era, this is certainly the kind of future that they intend to bring about. And the so-called resistance movement is their most valuable tool for realizing that future.

We'd all like to think the current dynamic is a contest between the Trump regime and the Trump regime's noble, rightly unified opposition. If that were the case, things would be simple for those who want to avert the nation's slouch into fascism at the hands of Trump and Friends; all we'd have to do is get behind the Resistance movement, and everything would be fine. The complex truth, though, is that there's currently a quiet effort to divert the energy of the anti-Trump movement into something that could very well ultimately create something just as dangerous as a Trump Reich: a full scale war between Russia and the United States.

Anyone who's been paying much attention to the recent actions of the non-Trump forces within the American centers of power can tell they're preparing for a new war with Russia. Half the country believed Russia and the U.S. were heading for conflict in Gallup's latest poll on the matter, and that survey was taken a full year ago, before the breakout of this "Russia hacked the election" business. If that poll were taken now, well above 50% would no doubt think war with Russia is coming, and a significant faction among them would likely approve of this. All of what I said in the second and third paragraphs of this piece preceding the mention of a 2017 economic crash is true, with those in the coalition that's formed between establishment Democrats, Deep State officials, and much of the major media amid the rise of Trump having been engaging in an unsettling campaign of Red baiting. And this campaign resembles an all-out war effort more all the time. Such a war would be very profitable for these forces, both financially and politically, and they're going to be spending these next three-and-a-half years exploiting every bit of the public's righteous anti-Trump sentiment with the goal of building support for this project.

The propaganda they've employed in the effort to do so has been both frightening and amusing. They've created something of a buffer to protect their supporters from finding out their true motives by often strongly implying that any news sources outside of the corporate media's neoliberal Democrat echo chamber are run by Kremlin operatives. They've used every means reality provides them to try to draw a link between the Democratic establishment's opponents and Russia. They've in some cases, like the one pictured above, gotten rank-and-file individuals to become outraged at their baseless McCarthyite claims instead of the real problems our country is facing.

Speaking of which, these threats posed by the Trump regime-elevated militarism, increasing racial and economic inequality, climate change, expanded government authority to survey, punish, and censor citizens-are not the concern of these "resistance" leaders. All of these things have very much been perpetrated or endorsed by the Democratic Party, the Deep State, and the corporate media, and when they claim to be standing in solidarity with the cause of climate, labor, civil libertarian, and human rights activists who represent the truly productive aspect of the Resistance, it of course isn't genuine. Paul Street assesses the real problems these figures have with Trump in his piece The Deep State's Hatred Of Trump Is Not The Same As Yours:

"The establishment’s contempt for the orange-haired beast, I noted [in a past article on this subject], was different. The nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire were perfectly willing to live with most, if not all, of what the left hated about Trump. After all, I reasoned, they’d been backing or tolerating most or all of those terrible things under presidents from both major United States parties for decades. Trump, I wrote, faced ruling-class disdain because he was considered bad for transnational capital and the American empire. For the most part, the 'deep state' masters who backed Hillary Clinton did not appreciate The Donald’s blustering promises to roll back the neoliberal 'free trade' agenda in the name of the forgotten working class. The foreign policy and 'national security' establishment especially hated his criticism of Washington’s long march toward war with Russia. They did not relish the related threat Trump posed to Brand America. It is longstanding, bipartisan, U.S. ruling-class doctrine that this country is the world’s great beacon and agent of democracy, human rights, justice and freedom. American reality has never matched the doctrine, but smart rulers knew that it would be especially difficult to align those claims with a president like Trump."

Furthermore, as Counterpunch's Chris Floyd observes after criticizing the joke about war with Russia that I mentioned earlier, these figures aren't even truly at odds with Trump: "See how ha-ha funny that is? Especially from the funny ha-ha folks at SNL — who paid Trump to be the host of their show while he was conducting the most racist, hateful political campaign in modern American history. They normalized his hatred, they gave him a national platform to show he was an all-right guy with a sense of humor, no big threat, no big deal. They normalized him, lionized him, helped him reach millions of people who pay little attention to the news. Now, of course, they’re 'leading the resistance' with 'cutting-edge comedy' — Alec Baldwin puckering his lips and fawning on a shirtless Putin — and with really funny ha-ha stuff like saying Trump should totally be more like that gutsy Hitler guy and 'take on Russia.' Meanwhile, Trump and his minions and the Congressional extremists are already rolling back every law and regulation they can lay their hands on in a slavering frenzy to poison the earth, remove all restrictions on corporate rapine, strip millions of health care, roll back decades of hard-fought civil rights advances, double the military budget and build a Berlin Wall on the Mexican border. It’s a full-bore Barbarossa on the wellbeing and common good of the American people (and the world) — but who cares about that? According to the funny ha-ha guys at SNL — and practically the entire Democratic Party and the so-called liberal media — what Trump should really be doing is 'taking on Russia.'"

In short, if you think this picture is as simple as us, the military and intelligence communities, the major media, the Democratic Party, all those wonderful late-night liberal comics, and that similarly lovable George W. Bush against the Trump regime, you're being taken for a dangerous ride. As I've said before, Trump needs these figures to keep up his charade of being an admirable enemy of the establishment, and these figures need Trump to keep up their ruse of being noble protectors of a sane order. Trump, in his usual carelessness, has even blown the cover multiple times on this symbiotic relationship of theirs by tweeting last year that he would rather run against Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders, and then having tweeted last week that he couldn't be happier for the Republican Party now that the neoliberal Tom Perez has been appointed DNC chair. So it's a surprise that about half the left and most of the right still doesn't seem to recognize what's really going on here.

Given that, a U.S.-Russia war isn't the only kind of conflict Democratic elites want to perpetuate-they also stand to gain from a largely theatrical war between themselves and the Trumpists. The staged scuffle between Republicans and Democrats that the oligarchy until recently used to protect its interests has escalated into a war between neo-fascists and sleazy, warmongering neocons. And since the conflict between the Trumpists and the Clintonists is a lot more evenly matched than it appears, with the former camp able to gain a lot more political leverage through terrorist attacks and wars with countries other than Russia, this war could continue for a while, possibly until two election cycles from now. Because by then, the oligarchs who profit from all these wars could very well be forced to retreat into the luxury survival bunkers that many of them are creating for themselves after their half-century long quest for more collapses society as we know it.

The encouraging thing we can take out of all this is that the oligarchy-benefiting war between Republicans and Democrats has been escalated for a reason. The plutocrats are taking notice amid the populist uprisings that have appeared in the recent years, and they're desperate to divert the energy of these movements away from the direction of defeating the neoliberal order. Through determined efforts to resist the war efforts mentioned, we can unite not just the Sandersist left but pretty much all of the 99.9% around the goal of taking away the power of the corporate and deep states. We can set the country in a better direction. But to do so, we'll need to understand the war-related obstacles that are being put in front of us.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

We Will Never Get Over It

Establishment Democrats, I've got some bad news: Bernie Sanders supporters will never get over what happened last year.

Since the end of the primaries, in every way and from every level of rank within the Clinton cabal, we've been told that we need to quit whining and get behind the camp that won. And no matter that I ultimately obeyed them to an extent by advocating for voting for Hillary Clinton in swing states and Jill Stein in non-swing states; in all other respects, I haven't conceded to the Democratic establishment an inch. And neither have virtually all other Sandersists, with nearly half of Democrats, most of whom are no doubt Sanders supporters, now not feeling represented by their party. The fact that the neoliberal Democrats narrowly win the title of the lesser evil doesn't entitle them to the loyalty or even respect of me and the other Sanders supporters, and in this piece I'm going to articulate why this is the case.

There are probably countless good reasons for Sanders supporters not to align themselves with the Democratic establishment. The incredible condescension and hostility that was directed towards us by Hillary Clinton's many allies in the press; the DNC's attempts to undermine our candidate; the saga of ways corporate Democrats have undermined our agenda throughout not just the 2016 primaries but for the last several decades. But out of them all, there are two that work as conclusive deal-breakers.

The first one is the rigging that took place in the primaries. This issue has been ignored and dismissed so much by the corporate media that even many Sanders supporters themselves don't seem to be aware of it, but it's very real. What I'm talking about is the fact that even with the efforts from the DNC and the major media to hurt Sanders' campaign, he would have won the primaries in a landslide were it not for the efforts from overzealous pro-Clinton state party and state government officials to directly rig the primary contests in favor of their candidate.

Consider the following scenario: it's the beginning of February in 2016, and Bernie Sanders has just narrowly defeated Hilary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses. In this alternate reality, the Iowa Democratic Party hasn't very likely stolen the contest from Sanders through a series of autocratic "re-staged" vote counts, arbitrary coin flips, and then a strange refusal to disclose the exact vote count. As result Sanders, who was only around twelve points behind before the Iowa vote, quickly jumps to a near tie with Clinton in an average of polls. After he's also won the contests in New Hampshire and Nevada (the latter of which hasn't been slanted towards Clinton by the backroom deals of Harry Reid in this scenario) Sanders is narrowly in the lead.

The only thing that saves Clinton in this scenario from early obliteration are her large victories in all of the southern states, the contests of which were all scheduled for the first half of March. But Sanders manages to keep the race very close during this period through his substantial victories in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Missouri (all of which haven't experienced statistically impossible vote model irregularities in this reality). After that, it's almost all uphill for Sanders. While fairly far behind in pledged delegates and national polls following Clinton's many victories in the contests from March 1 to March 15, by the end of the month he's established a firm national lead and reduced his delegate deficit from the hundreds to the dozens. He's able to do this by winning every single state since the middle of March due to how, in this scenario, Arizona's March 22 contest wasn't fraught with massive voter suppression.

By the end of April, Sanders is both leading in every national poll and narrowly leading in pledged delegates because the New York Democratic primary wasn't mired with massive voter suppression and electoral fraud, and because his margin of victory in Rhode Island wasn't reduced by many instances of closed polling locations. By the end of May, Sanders is by far the frontrunner in national polls and pledged delegates, and is close to becoming the frontrunner in superdelegates, because in this scenario many of the polling places in Indiana weren't closed before the state's primary, the Nevada Democratic caucus wasn't run in a way which deliberately shut out dozens of Sanders delegates, and thousands of votes in the Kentucky and Oregon Democratic primaries weren't mysteriously lost. By the end of the primaries in June, Sanders is sure to be the nominee because the contests in Puerto Rico and California weren't very likely stolen from him through  staggering amounts of voter suppression. He then, as we all know, defeated Trump in an epic landslide.

For every Sanders supporter, the fact that this didn't take place because of the actions of the Democratic establishment is of course too awful to forgive. What's far worse for not just Sanders supporters but everyone else, though, and the second big reason we will never get over what happened last year, are the ultimate consequences of this subtle coup against Sanders.

There are numerous reasons clear to anyone who's paying attention to the dynamics at work in the world for why the theft of Sanders' presidency was a very bad move for the Democratic elite to make. There's the prospect we're facing under a Trump presidency of exponentially increased risk of terror attacks against the U.S. and the geopolitical catastrophes that those attacks are sure to set off, in contrast to the peaceful foreign policy future America would be entering into were Sanders allowed to become president. There's the prospect of the Trump administration staging a fascist takeover following those attacks in contrast to the era of benevolent government behavior that Sanders would create. But by far the worst thing that's coming about because of Sanders' so-called loss, as Caitlin Johnstone wrote right before the primaries ended, is the climatic effect of Sanders' absence from the White House:
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who has placed mitigating climate change front and center of his platform. He is the only one whose policy is strong enough to save us, and the only one with a voting record that backs up his commitment to enacting it in full.
A vote for anyone else is a vote for the end of your species. If a few years from now, you can look your kids in the eye as they fight wars for water and run from one natural disaster to the next, if you can look them in the eye and tell them “I voted for this, I put saving some billionaire’s share portfolio ahead of your health and safety,” then go right ahead. Your choice. Our children may be fighting for their lives in exactly the same way, but at least my conscience will be clear.
It will be bitter consolation, though. I’d rather them be thriving together in a new age of peace and safety than me having the grim satisfaction of an empty “I told you so.”
Look mom, no future.

Well, that's not necessarily going to be the case. Even as the earth's average temperature drifts very close to the dangerous two-degrees-above-the-pre-industrial-average mark, there's hope yet for the climate as the majority of Americans who acknowledge climate change work feverishly to transform our energy system through for now purely bottom-up activism. And while we can't do much to stop the geopolitical crises that the Trump administration is on track for creating, we can stop its coming attacks on democracy if we play our cards right. Indeed, the people themselves have just as much or more potential than a President Sanders would have to set history on a new course. And Caitlin Johnstone herself, in spite of the fatalistic tone of the article above, believes this.

Still, while Bernie's revolution could very well bring about massive amounts of change to the world in these next few years, grievous harm is also likely to be done as a result of what the Democratic establishment did last year. As John Sanbonmatsu wrote days before the pivotal 2016 New York primary: "This is not a normal election year. It’s the end game. It is a crisis, in the original sense of the ancient Greek word, krisis — the turning point in an illness when a patient either dies, or recovers. Except that the patient, in this case, is both the American body politic and the living earth itself." And in the coming years, it will become clear which choice establishment Democrats made when faced with that crossroads, along with why we will never get over it.