Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reminder To Democratic Loyalists: You're Now The Chief Opponents Of Progressive Change


Inflated leverage over the political system is rarely the main method dictatorships use to maintain their control. Every time an oppressive regime has been established, the powerful have fabricated every kind of justification they can come up with for continuing the status quo. They say it's the will of deities, natural principles, and other larger forces for the hierarchy to have reached astronomical proportions. They say the victims of the self-serving system they've created are poor or powerless because they've made themselves so. They say the current order is inextricably in place, and all efforts at change are naive attempts to rebel against reality itself.

So what do we make, amid this sickeningly advanced stage in maybe the most effective authoritarian takeover in history, of the justifications provided by the power structure's gofers in the Democratic Party? The Republicans have largely rallied support for the oligarchy with the mentioned tactics of claiming natural principles are at work and blaming the victims, but the neoliberal propaganda aimed towards the left has been less blatant-and thus more insidious.

The goal of the Democratic establishment propagandists is not so much to convince ordinary people that the status quo is justified, but to make them accept the institutions and leaders that keep the status quo in place. When Democratic leaders serve the oligarchy's interests, they blame their actions on scapegoats, or hide that they took those actions at all, so that their supporters remain complicit.

Like all pro-status quo deceptions, its laughably transparent nature from the perspective of those who haven't accepted it is matched by its unassailable logic from the perspective of those who have. The downside to this spasm of revolutionary momentum that's come in the last two years is that it's made the pro-establishment strains more vocal as well; as was definitely not the case a few years ago when the neoliberal order was safe and sound, rank and file supporters of the Deep State's Democratic wing are coming out in full force these days.

One of my regular publicizing sites Medium abounds with often very popular articles from former Hillary Clinton supporters who feel the need to keep aggressively pushing their leaders' repugnant agenda. Online forums being besieged by comments from usually rude and hostile Democratic loyalists is more common than ever. And this typical hostility from establishment liberals hasn't just been widely observed on the Internet.

This phenomenon represents an inevitable point in every transformative movement which Sanders campaign organizer Becky Bond calls the counterrevolution, wherein the supporters of the status quo lash out when they see change coming around the corner. In that case, we shouldn't let it bother us as it shows our effort is succeeding. But in the hopes of expanding this movement, I'll give a friendly reminder to the counterrevolution's members: by attacking Bernie Sanders' revolution, you are acting as the biggest obstacle there is right now to progressive change.

When establishment loyalists attack Bernie's revolution, they are attacking the only hope the Democratic Party has of ever again becoming a dominant force. The Democratic Party in its current form, along with the dangerous agenda it represents, are disfavored by respectively around two thirds and at least six out of ten of the country, while Bernie Sanders is America's most popular politician and his goals are supported by the majority in virtually every respect. Naturally, the Democrats have been beyond decimated in the last eight years, while the Berniecrat candidates have so far won by far larger proportions.

Already Berniecrats are breathing new life into the party, with Montana democratic socialist Rob Quist leading in deep red Montana, while establishment Democrat Jon Ossoff has performed relatively poorly in his bid for Congress. By backing the latter type of candidate out of spite for Bernie Sanders, loyal Democrats are ironically exhibiting the same behavior of the Bernie or Busters they like so much to decry.

To be fair, when establishment loyalists judge the Sanders wing to be unworthy of their support, they're not doing so with the same kinds of justifications Bernie or Busters had for not supporting Clinton. Despite all the inaccurate stereotypes and old primary attack lines that Clintonists still direct at Sanders supporters, we're objectively ideal allies in the progressive cause.

Sandersists are disproportionately women and people of color, shattering the "Bernie Bro" characterization. We've shown ourselves to be typically very committed to working for change, as evidenced by how we've built a serious presidential campaign and a major movement without any help from the corporate elite. And our top goals are to get money out of politics, end the paradigm of perpetual war, bring about social and economic equality, and bring about climate action, regardless of which party we're holding accountable in those regards. By demonizing us, loyal Democrats are attacking an essential resource for bringing about positive change.

And when loyal Democrats say Sanders supporters are unrealistic or naive, as I've illustrated, they're directly setting themselves up against the goals many of them want. The image above is satire. But its sentiment is accurate; those who align with the establishment wing of the Democratic Party are supporting an agenda that represents 21st century civilization's endgame, and the consequences of that will soon make themselves impossible to ignore.

Because of the Democratic establishment's embrace of the militaristic foreign policy that's done so much to increase terrorism, a major attack on the United States will soon occur. Because of the Democratic establishment's cheating the only candidate who had any real chance to beat Trump, the administration will use the crisis as an opening for staggering autocratic takeovers and an insane burst of military aggression. Because of the Democratic establishment's pushing lately for war with Russia, the aggression will include just that. And because of the Democratic establishment's refusal to adequately re-regulate Wall Street or fight climate change, this will all take place amid an epic economic crash that's already in its early stages, and yet more increasingly intensified steps towards environmental apocalypse.

History doesn't care whether anyone thinks the status quo is moral or sustainable. Monumental injustice and instability are what await us so long as the status quo is in place, and no number of Medium articles asserting the contrary are going to change that.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Be Just As Afraid Of Democratic Establishment Propaganda As Trump Administration Propaganda


This can't last. The all-consuming blur of ridiculous information that's been lobbed our way for the past four months notwithstanding, cracks continue to appear in the larger order that are too big not to be confronted at some point. Last month a report was done proving, beyond the anecdotal evidence of the many dilapidated houses I encounter on a daily basis, that America has regressed to a third world country for the majority of the population; amid levels of societal debt bigger than that of ten years ago, the new housing bubble has entered its first stages of fraying; the behavior of Arctic weather alone in the last year veers into otherworldliness as the Trump administration does everything it can to accelerate climate change.

Yet as the most viscerally scary part of these converging disasters shows signs of its imminence, with the recent behavior of North Korea being just one of the hints a major attack on the U.S. is coming soon, the leaders and institutions that are supposed to protect us from this all have for the most part been doing anything but. Instead of preemptively fighting the spasm of military aggression and power grabs that the Trump administration will attempt when this attack happens, Democratic leaders, members of the "liberal" media, and so-called moderate Republicans have so far largely supported Trump's Syria strikes and helped confirm his most authoritarian cabinet nominees.

But this report isn't about how what passes for the political center these days is so often disappointing or lacking in principle, any more than my beef with the Democratic establishment is still about it not satisfying my ideals. In both cases, it's about how the supposed center, formerly a mere enabler of fascism and right-wing extremists, has taken on a reactionary bent of its own. And how it's looking more all the time like those beholden to the so-called Democratic Party will be the ones who make the difference in ending American democracy.

In this sequel to my similarly focused but incomplete piece from February, I'll show how the neoliberal Democrats' tactics have matched up not with those of the Trump administration, but with those of the fictional Party from 1984. I know Orwell analogies have become somewhat trite, but the reason they've been used so much is that they're based on some of the most terrifyingly keen observations about human society ever made. So get ready to do a lot of reading, as starting with the first out of my three illustrations on how the Democratic Party has become the embodiment of Orwellianism-as well as on the ghastly implications this has for the very near future.

War is Peace

The vision of the future described by Orwell during his 1949 composition of 1984 is one where, just a few years after the defeat of totalitarianism in Germany and Italy, it suddenly comes back like never before. Sometime mid-century, the novel enigmatically says, a new cabal of uniquely driven and skilled totalitarians started a powerful political movement, and then gained worldwide domination after the explosion of many nuclear bombs persuaded global leaders to hand things over to the fascists. What followed was a series of massive purges against anyone deemed a threat to the new order, the dividing of society into a meticulously maintained hierarchy with a possibly metaphorical figure named Big Brother at the top, and the creation of an infrastructure that almost totally monitored humanity's communications, movements, and thoughts, all amid a paradigm of perpetual war.

This prediction, which couldn't be considered a "prophecy" but a harsh conclusion of what humanity was capable of now that it had technologically advanced so much, was naturally not half inaccurate. Even as Orwell had written it, a circle of powerful fanatics had laid the foundations for a society whose status quo was reinforced by endless war-in 1940 business leaders met with government officials to design a new geopolitical situation where America acted as the dominant "world policeman," and where war for political and corporate profits would be easier than ever. Thus the immediate switching to new conflicts after World War II ended, and the series of almost perpetual wars that's been going on for as long as most have been alive.

And thus the attempts to normalize militarism on both the self-identified right and left. Obviously the Republican imperialists have been the most notorious propagators of enthusiasm for profit-making wars. But disturbingly unbeknownst to every Democratic Party loyalist I've tried to confront on this issue, the Democrats have been virtually identical to the GOP on foreign policy since Carter.

They've done little or nothing to reduce the insane American military budget; they've unnecessarily bombed Kosovo; they've made the difference in the number of Senate votes Bush needed to invade Iraq; they've created a horrific drone warfare program; they've escalated the war in Afghanistan to disastrous effect; they've joined part in the 2011 NATO effort to invade Libya; they've handled the outbreak of war in Syria in just about the most hawkish way possible; they've essentially started another Iraq War in impractical response to ISIS; they've doomed America to thirty years and a trillion dollars of nuclear weapons spending; and they've dropped over 26,000 bombs in 2016 alone. So their latest foreign policy project isn't any surprise.

Amid the American empire-disobedient behavior of Putin and Assad in recent years, along of course with the financial and political rewards for the Deep State a war with Russia would bring, the operators of the U.S. war machine have been waiting to instigate such a war for quite some time. This became apparent last July, when the American intelligence and media establishment's first response to the DNC email leak was to blame Russia sans any evidence-just statements that it was so.

Sure, Putin has a history of interfering in elections, and yes, he clearly favored Trump over Clinton as the former wasn't promising to start a war with Russia. But the arguments for the Deep State having made up the Russian hacking claims, when you add them up, are far stronger; by making this claim, the establishment was simultaneously deflecting from the DNC's corruption, laying the grounds for threatening Trump with impeachment should he have won, justifying McCarthyite attacks against their opponents, and kicking off their campaign for war with Russia.

And I have to hand it to them how well they've played the card. Thanks to the Russian hacking line, pro-Clinton neocons and even some compliant NATO allies have been able to use language like "Russia committed an act of war" or "we were invaded;" Obama has been able to put sanctions on Russia in the last weeks of his term; and the Deep State allies in Congress have been able to threaten Trump with fake investigations on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election, which Trump has naturally responded to by pleasing them with Syria strikes and attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks.

Yes, the neocons have had some good times with their "Russia hacked the election" talking point, and while Trump's capitulating to their agenda is forcing them to replace it with the similarly suspicious claim about Assad and Putin having been behind the gas attack last month, the times are sure to soon get even better.

In the last month or so, some clear signs have appeared that the start of the actual war effort is imminent. After forces have been set up by the American empire and Russia alike, the Democrats' favorite Russia conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch has kicked off the open calls for combat with the May 13 tweet advocating just that. Coupled with the CIA run Washington Post's column this week claiming it would be just too gosh darn hard to improve relations with Russia, it's clear we're one more easily Russia-blamed terrorist attack away from World War III.

When this attack happens, as evidenced by how most pro-establishment liberals supported Trump's April Syria strikes, support for this war will be stirred up among not just Republican but Democratic loyalists. And it will be the support from the latter that gives the regime justification to launch the whole affair-along, as I'll illustrate, with a lot of other things.

Freedom is Slavery

I know I shouldn't be surprised to see rank and file establishment liberals getting behind the neoliberal, authoritarian policies of their party. But I guess it's that Bernie Bro naivete of mine that makes me find the spectacle of people willingly giving up their economic and constitutional rights so baffling.

As I've illustrated by citing incidents where establishment liberals have said things like "we're always at war, what's one more?" and polls showing the vast majority of Democratic loyalists support Obama's drone terrorism, the drug war, neoliberal trade, and unconstitutional mass spying, the average loyal Democrat no longer opposes many of the most illiberal and repressive policies of our time. This isn't to mention the hostility Democratic elites have been able to incite towards heroic whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. And when looking at the origins of this shift towards authoritarian thinking on much of the supposed left, its implications for our fate come the next big terror attack look very ominous.

I'm of course talking about the normalization of approval for such policies that happened in the American consciousness post-9/11. Even ten years after the attacks, Americans were still being found to largely put security above civil liberties, and authoritarian attitudes have no doubt escalated since then with the emergence of ISIS and Trumpism. And looking back on how so many Democrats went along with the Bush administration's post-9/11 wars and power grabs when Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi endorsed them, the Trump administration's likely far worse actions after this next attack will largely have bipartisan support as well.

Already Democratic elites have been able to corral many of their followers toward backing some of Trump's ghastliest policies, like when Clinton campaign manager turned Washington Post columnist John Podesta praised the expansions of the military budget or when the supposedly left leaning major media outlets persuaded many of their viewers to back the Syria strikes. There's also the tactic the neocon propagandists have been able to use now that Bernie Sanders has become a major force of reminding their followers that those naive, sexist Bernie bros oppose such policies, compelling Democratic loyalists to support them out of spite.

Who's to say things would be different in the event of the administration trying to change the constitution post-terrorist attack, or create a Muslim registry, or something too awful to foresee? The answer, sadly, is that there's pretty much no limit any more to what Trump and Democratic loyalists alike will typically put up with from their leaders. The moral zeitgeist within both these groups has been twisted too much toward the warmongering, authoritarian, and overall Orwellian, and they can easily be expected to receive the coming calls for societal lockdown without question.

To address something everyone not in either of these groups will soon be wondering, there are some understandable reasons so many Americans have become willing to take the plunge into fascism.

Ignorance is Strength

Then again, maybe it's not so much been warmongering and authoritarian propaganda that's gotten much of the left to embrace the Deep State's policies, but efforts to simply hide the Democratic Party's Orwellian actions from its base. When confronted about their party's behavior in recent decades, I've seen Democratic loyalists deny that it happened far more often than I've seen them (at least directly) say they support it. Most alarming have been the cases where they've claimed specific misdeeds from Democratic leaders aren't real-according to the party loyalists I've met online, Obama ended the wars, mass spying stopped after Bush, Bill Clinton didn't sign NAFTA, Democrats didn't deregulate Wall Street, and the documented cases of massive voter suppression and electoral fraud in the 2016 Democratic primary are all "allegations."

The instances go on and on of top Democrats getting away with neoliberal, neocon policies by convincing their supporters that they didn't enact those policies in the first place (see the Party's historical revisionism tactic in 1984). This dynamic has been able to survive in an era where anyone could find out the true history of the Democratic Party with a half minute of searching on Google due to the tactic the neoliberal propagandists have lately taken up, of saying any online source that isn't part of the mainstream media is "fake news" and/or Russian propaganda.

Thus the declarations from every establishment liberal I've shown links proving the truth about the Democratic Party that the article I've provided is an opinion piece, is Russian lies, etc. And thus the insular attitude that's emerged within the establishment liberal groupthink towards any information challenging the status quo, as paralleled in what Orwell described as the "orthodoxy" of the Party from 1984.

And while this aggressive campaign against facts has been central in the Democratic establishment's public relations mechanisms from the start, it's gotten more fine tuned and extensive in recent years. Following the  consolidation of this country's major media outlets into a vast series of propaganda outlets for a handful of large corporations (as made possible by Clinton's 1996 Telecommunications Act), the Democratic wing of the plutocracy took a big step toward expanding its influence over public discourse in 2007: establishing, as revealed by WikiLeaks, an explicitly described echo chamber used to organize corporate Democratic politicians and media outlets around molding the sentiments of liberals as effectively as possible. Thus the seemingly lockstep nature of this movement towards war with Russia.

Then, of course, came the 2013 law quite literally legalizing psychological warfare, having allowed the CIA to send secret agents into American and foreign media and try to influence public opinion. Thus the bizarre new breeds of deception that have come our way of late, such as CNN's subliminally saying last year that it's illegal to read WikiLeaks, or the Bana Al-Abed Twitter account. The most recent effort to put control over discourse into the hands of the state has been Obama's so-called Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, to be quite possibly followed by the FCC's dismantling net neutrality and the passage of the internet freedom-imperiling TiSA deal. Even the establishment liberal-owned private companies have been participating in the war on open debate, with Facebook now suppressing sites it deems "fake news."

However far this psychological coup goes, though, it's already entered some very unsettling terrain. In direct parallel with the introduction of the Newspeak language in 1984, which was designed to make questioning the status quo linguistically impossible by limiting one's vocabulary to a few nonthreatening basic words, Democratic propagandists have lately been discouraging use of revolution-encouraging terms like Deep State and neoliberalism. Our language itself has become under attack by the forces of regression and greed, and Orwell has shown what comes next.

Then again, on the one hand things will keep getting worse. The regime's following, having grown virtually impervious to ideological threats from the outside, will continue to rally around demagogues of both the Trumpist and Clintonist kinds from within their insulated social microcosms. The state of the world outside those microcosms will continue to deteriorate as a result, with economic, environmental, and geopolitical collapses happening on a wildly unprecedented level. And those responsible for the looming calamity will continue to cling more determinedly to the status quo, employing scapegoating, conspiracy theories, and ideological reinforcement with ever more insistence and elaboration.

On the other hand, sanity will prevail. The populist left and right will decide to unite in their shared goal of taking down America's unelected power structures. This anti-establishment front will use the unprecedented potential for sharing information it now has, online censorship or not, to win the war of ideas against the already weakened and self-constrained traditional media. And despite the best efforts of the regime (which, it turns out, is supported by a solid minority of the population), a better world will emerge. Whichever happens, I'll be glad when this is gotten over with.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When It's The Pragmatists That Want War With Russia


Reality doesn't have much cultural favor in modern American society. When forty years of escalated economic exploitation has made the country regress to third world status for the majority of the population, we tell ourselves it's because the majority of Americans aren't trying hard enough. When seven decades of perpetual war has destabilized the middle east and driven up the national debt to record levels, the countries we've invaded and welfare recipients are respectively to blame. When two centuries of carbon emissions have created a new, perilous period called the Anthropocene, the entire problem is fabricated in an elaborate conspiracy to undermine the fossil fuel business. Pay no attention to the dilapidation of your house, the fact that you can't remember a time when we weren't in some way at war, the reports of permanent flooding in places like Miami. Trust what the non-CIA appointed Washington Post writers and legitimately elected politicians say, because they're the ones who led us into this of course genuinely depicted period of 4.4% unemployment, and they're the ones who will make the good times continue so long as you let them stay the course.

On a more current note, don't be troubled by that tweet this week from the Democrats' favorite Russiagate expert Louise Mensch stating "war is what they [Russia] will get" for supposedly meddling in the election-she's just understandably venting over the fact that Russia invaded us last year. Don't give any skeptical thought to how the known CIA front the Washington Post has recently published a piece naysaying the notion that the U.S. should create stronger ties with Russia, which at this point is to say the two countries shouldn't soon let things come to military conflict-that article is just pointing out what it calls the "realpolitic" of letting such a conflict happen. And should said conflict hypothetically materialize as soon as the next big geopolitical upset happens-which, like the last one, will have some sketchily reported but undeniable link to Russia-don't worry. Those beautiful Tomahawk missiles will keep you safe.

No, don't give any credence to the Russian propaganda blogs that draw attention to the finely tuned campaign that's been going on for the past ten months to get you behind such a war. Don't feel uneasy about the major media's universally religious acceptance on contact last July of the still unproven claim that Russian hackers gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails; to Rachel Maddow's effort at one point last year to make her audience believe, going against their memories, that Russia was something we considered an enemy in 2015; to the bizarre project the war propagandists started last month of creating a fake Twitter account, which featured supposed calls from a seven-year-old refugee girl to have her homeland further torn apart (you can't make this up). Because these things, like the dramatic events you'll soon see playing out, are the work of the only pragmatists here.

Yes, it's people like Hillary Clinton and John McCain, the moderates, the centrists, the smartest people in the room, who seek to take us down this fractious route. They're the ones that recognize we need to be realistic about things, that we mustn't be too ideologically extreme, the ones who know how politics works and the compromises that need to be made, etc etc. And luckily they've been lately taking control of things back from the naively anti-interventionist model that the Trump administration initially embraced, having pressured Trump to adopt their sensible approach to Syria last month through their theatrical series of "Russiagate!" outcries. So as these sensible leaders ramp their focus on Russiagate back up to speed in recent weeks, making Trump's caving in to their implicit lobbying towards military action an again imminent possibility, rest easy. This next bout with geopolitical flustercluck will be the outcome of careful, serious considerations on the part of qualified leaders, etc etc, about what realism calls for.

It's just like when these clear-eyed rationalists said we needed to embrace an economic ideology that's designed to create more inequality. Or when they concluded we had to go with what the Bush administration's intelligence said and invade Iraq. Or when they calculated, based on nonexistent polls showing the vast majority of the country shares their neoliberal views, that nominating a candidate who most agree with on virtually all issues had an unsafe shot at beating Trump. They've always been the ones that know best, that acknowledge we can't make promises to ourselves we can't keep, etc etc. So if they say going to war with Russia is the only pragmatic thing to do, why not question simple logic?

Of course, not everyone is so sensible. When the war effort gets started, there will be a large portion of the populace that insists ideology is more important than hard realism, and that will use the formidable power of the internet in 2017 to spread their irrational attitudes like never before. Luckily the pragmatists are already moving to prevent such interference, with the FCC being poised to end net neutrality tomorrow and the internet freedom-killing TiSA deal quietly slouching towards deployment. But there's no reasoning with the unreasonable, so we're just going to have to put up with their no doubt explosive efforts towards dissent-massive antiwar demonstrations, frantic efforts to kill belief in the Deep State's psy ops, and surging involvement with groups like World Beyond War and Tulsi Gabbard's campaign for peace will unfortunately happen in response to the coming messy but logic-driven military adventure.

In seriousness, my fellow opponents of this push for national suicide, don't let the real fanatics here tell you that you're the one who's crazy. It is not sensible for working people to give up our economic rights because someone says that's what's "fiscally responsible." It is not sensible for voters to accept candidates that want to financially starve us, take away our constitutional liberties, and literally sell out our planet because that's what someone says is politically viable. And it is not sensible, no matter how many times you'll hear it in the news in the coming months, for America to get involved in a conflict that could well end in a scene out of Dr Strangelove.

The upside is that everyone but the members of the Deep State themselves intuitively know a war with Russia is a beyond bad idea, and iterating the fact that all this buzz about Russian hacking and special prosecutors is part of a carefully orchestrated effort to get regular people behind such a war bursts the establishment's psy op efforts. It immediately shakes the potential buyers of this plan out of their fragile path toward militaristic fanaticism, and does so much to ensure the Deep State won't pull off another Iraq this time. So FCC decision and TiSA or not, do all you can to bring attention to this issue. We may not be pragmatic, but as it's turned out so much lately, our ideas are the only ones it's pragmatic to listen to.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Your Inner Propaganda Radar Is Right: The Late Night Comedians Are Establishment Mouthpieces


You're watching John Oliver, Bill Maher, Samantha Bee, or another given member of the late night comedy crew that's become so successful in the Trump era. As usual, their jokes about whatever ludicrous developments have that come of late are top-quality amusing, as are the videos and images they've made to accompany it all. But then (hopefully) you see something that gives you a certain, uneasy feeling.

You know what I'm talking about. It's that off-guard sense every free thinking person has gotten at some point while extolling the segments of these late night self-described liberal comedians, one which vaguely but undeniably tells you you're watching a slyly presented piece of establishment propaganda. This feeling used to only appear from time to time, being triggered mainly by the occasional production of drone war propaganda slipped into the comedy crew's programming. But since Bernie Sanders kicked off the battle to take back the liberal class, modern late night liberal comedy's true colors have shown frequently and with all their characteristic ugliness.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but their attacks on Bernie and what he stands for seem to have begun in April 2016, when Sanders was finally getting successful enough in the primaries for most of the beltway to take his candidacy seriously. That was when Samantha Bee-who, as we'll see, is the most blatant establishment mouthpiece of them all-did a segment wherein she interviewed a group of Sanders supporters. Despite Bee's professed motive to get an understanding of the optimism these Berners were feeling, the scene had a "well I'm glad you guys are keeping your heads up despite not being able to win" message that reeked of veiled condescension. And that was just the start of it.

By mid-May Bee's treatment of Bernie Sanders supporters had turned from condescending to negatively generalizing to outright lying about us and our concerns. In response to Sanders supporters' crying foul about the Nevada Democratic Party's inexcusable and blatant pro-Clinton rule changes, she blamed them for being excluded from the event by the dozens and used it as an opportunity to call out Berners' similarly sore loser attitudes towards the numerous other primary contests that Clinton had stole fair and square. Jon Oliver followed suit, ending his segment on the Nevada convention with an extremely deceptive monologue debunking an array of potential ways Sanders supporters could claim the primary had been rigged while addressing exactly zero of the concerns we actually had.

After Bill Maher gave his own non-address post-stolen California primary to Sanders supporters who dared  dispute the results of the primaries, it was on to the attacks against those who dared not to accept the Democratic candidate that "won" under these circumstances. Samantha Bee devoted her episode on the Democratic National Convention to mocking the grievances being aired by the Bernie Sanders protestors there, throwing in all the disingenuous epithets about "white privilege" and accusing them of disregarding the concerns of disenfranchised groups while declaring the millions of Sanders supporters who'd had their voices taken away during the primaries to be sore losers. Then in October, Jon Oliver paid a similarly honest tribute to those disenfranchised Sanders supporters who'd defected to Jill Stein by shamelessly smearing Stein and third parties in general.

And late night comedy's war on genuine progressives hasn't let up a bit since the election. In February, Samantha Bee finally let her true feelings on Bernie Sanders show by calling him a "mansplaining prick." In March Bee went out of her way to inform us that the Deep State-i.e. a system that allows elites to primarily call the shots-doesn't exist. In April Trevor Noah, usually a less blatant member of the dissent-crushing late night comedy team, essentially excused Obama's serving Wall Street as president by saying "fuck you!" (I quote) to those complaining about his taking Wall Street speaking fees. And recently Bill Maher spoke similarly to the Bernie or Bust movement, which, while I wasn't part of, I should defend from Maher's disingenuous attacks (he didn't acknowledge the major concerns Bernie or Busters had with Hillary Clinton, such as her wanting to start war with Russia).

In case you're wondering after seeing me state that last fact, the reason I wanted Clinton to win was so that those beholden to her and her party could see for themselves the horrors that would come from supporting neoliberal, warmongering leaders. We'd likely be in combat with Russia by now had Clinton won, but at least this would get the other half of the left to wake up. Since this hasn't happened, though, the Democratic establishment's media gofers have been able to more easily point to Trump and the GOP as the source of every problem, as the audiences of those late night comedy gofers cheer uproariously at their wry observations and critics hail them as righteous gatekeepers of democracy.

To state the by now painfully clear, your built in establishment propaganda radars aren't overly sensitive. These comedians, talented as they are, have been admitted into the upper ranks of corporate media punditry for more reasons than talent: they're up there because they aren't willing to challenge the status quo. Even the late night comedians who seem to personally resent the Democratic establishment, like Seth Meyers with his pointed criticisms of the Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Trump's cabinet nominees, are not really speaking truth to power. In those instances they've criticized Democrats without focusing on parts of the big picture, like the Democrats' push for war with Russia or their unacceptable embrace of corporate cash.

And don't assume these figures are simply trying to toe the line between the Clintonist and Sandersist facets of their audience. They could do this without making the dishonest statements mentioned, and while fully addressing the problems with the Democratic establishment.

In short, whether or not these skilled spokespeople for the plutocrats like it, they know they can't challenge the status quo in their positions. When you make political jokes on the corporate media outlets while presenting yourself as a progressive, you can only go so far as the standard partisan cracks about how awful those Republicans are before the boss starts to get uneasy. And until the proportions of media company ownership, along with the prevailing political culture within the Washington beltway, are brought back to their post-New Deal states, there's no use in replacing the current late night comedy cast. As long as there's an oligarchy, there's going to be laugh out loud jokes continually presented to us which promote the oligarchy.

My fellow progressives, we need to stop pretending the celebrity clowns are on our side. As I just illustrated, they're decidedly not, and we need to reject their power serving material as we reject the joke-free power serving material from the CNN pundits. Because when we do that, we can start focusing not on pushing against what we don't like but pushing for what we want. Call members of Congress about supporting the H.R. 676 single payer health care bill. Voice your support for Bernie Sanders' likely 2020 successor and all around bane to the establishment Tulsi Gabbard, and donate to her campaign for peace. And do so while leaving behind the naysayings of the status quo's defenders so you can focus on the fact that we can and will win this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

We Need To Call The "Centrist" Democratic Establishment What It Is: A Dangerous Extremist Group


When you're in a position of privilege, even the relative kind, it can be easy to dismiss the concerns of those on the receiving end of your leaders' destructive actions. If you have access to health care, it's no challenge to say the idea of single payer universal health care is unrealistic or that it's not politically feasible. If you haven't felt the effects of neoliberal trade deals like NAFTA, haven't been impacted by a criminal justice system designed to keep poor and nonwhite people incarcerated, or haven't had to live on a $7.25 minimum wage, you can comfortably say those who want to get rid of these policies are unserious radicals. And if your community isn't being literally pummeled by another operation of the U.S. military empire, you can feel reasonable in saying "we're always at war, what's one more?"

So it's only natural that as Democratic Party loyalists were responding to my previous article with all the obligatory hostility towards anything not approved by the party bosses, among the far more typical ad hominen attacks were actual arguments like "as I've said, if you want to beat the far right you need to go through the center." That remark's author was concurred by the other pro-establishment liberals on the thread; indeed, this silly Berniecrats' calls for things like health care for all and living wages are just the ravings of an extremist. You need to appeal to the center if you want to get anything done in the first place.

Oh right, the "center." I hadn't thought of that. No matter that representing such supposedly radical goals would be a dynamic electoral strategy, as both the public opinion polls and the fact that Bernie Sanders won last year point towards. And no matter that those goals are the only path we have to addressing climate change, ending the paradigm of perpetual war, and bringing about social and economic equality.

All those mainstream polls saying Berniecrats' goals are supported by the vast majority of the country are fake, after all, and all those well documented incidents of voter suppression and electoral fraud in the 2016 Democratic primaries are conspiracy theories. So let's pat each other on the back for defending the "center."

Meanwhile, the politicians, top Democratic officials, and major media figures who these sensible "centrists" support for also representing "moderation" aren't exactly living up to those values. They're going on television calling the Syrian missile strikes that have killed 9 civilians, including 4 children, as well as brought us within an inch of World War Three, "beautiful."

They're using the most incendiary language possible in regards to America's extremely delicate situation with Russia-which, it can't be reiterated enough, is a nuclear power. They're helping confirm Trump cabinet nominees that want to further expand America's already Orwellian surveillance and police states.

This isn't the first time the "center" hasn't quite exemplified moderation. It was "moderate" Democrats in the House and the Senate who enabled the passage of the Fourth Amendment-obsolescing 2001 Patriot Act, and it was a "moderate" Democratic president who's expanded Bush's surveillance state to Thought Police-esque levels.

It was the same "moderate" president who's committed the country to thirty years and a trillion dollars of new nuclear weapons program spending while pushing us into a new Cold War with Russia in the last weeks of his term.

And more broadly, it's the "moderate" Democratic Party that's done half the work towards creating an unprecedented plutocracy, bringing the climate to the brink of collapse, and destabilizing the middle east several times over.

And when the circumstances provide the Trump administration an opportunity for really letting loose in regards to authoritarianism and military aggression, perhaps in the form of a North Korean nuclear attack that can easily be blamed on Russia, there's little doubt how these "moderate" leaders will take charge. Only in the interests of not approaching things through too extreme an ideological lens, they'll go along with the war effort, the Trumpian autocracy effort, and all the rest.

No use standing up for constitutional freedoms and an at least survivable degree of world conflict; if we want to stop the far right, we need to go through the center.

Then enter the one part of this coming development that isn't so certain: will the present defenders of these "centrists" change their views on so-called moderate liberalism when establishment Democrats are partnering with Trump to end the pretense of democracy?

To be fair, I'm sure many of them will. But the unfortunate reality is that sometime soon, we're going to see liberals joining in on the coming frenzy of self-destructive nationalism in jingoistic solidarity with the authoritarian right. Fortunately, those on both the far left and the far right largely don't feel comfortable enough with the status quo, as those in the "center" evidently are, to support it.

And as the anti-establishment left and right unite around our shared goal of taking down the power structures these "moderates" feel the need to defend, I suggest we should stop playing into their rhetorical hands by calling them centrists. It's time to refer to the "center" as what it now represents: an extreme and completely immoderate agenda.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dear Deep State: We're Not Going To Let You Lead Us Into War This Time


On April 6, when the newly military and intelligence establishment-assimilated President Trump attacked Syria with Tomahawk missiles in response to a chemical attack from two days earlier that Assad had allegedly orchestrated, everyone aware of the U.S. military empire's ghastly dynamics no doubt got that feeling again.

We got the sense that yes, once again, the war profiteers are going to get away with it. Yes, the primary operators of the nation's news sources will once again bombard their unwitting audience with war propaganda ranging from the blatant to the subliminal. Yes, the oil and weapons industries will once again get their donation receptacles in both parties to perpetrate attacks on ignored and/or scapegoated middle eastern communities while the feedback loop of endless counterinsurgency wars gets further perpetuated. Yes, staggering amounts of resources and lives will once again be wasted to increase the profits of corporations and increase support for the political establishment, and yes, the majority of Americans will once again believe the claim that this is all about humanitarianism or freedom.

This time it's an especially reasonable assumption to make. Since the last time we went through all the war motions in 2003, the Deep State (oops, I used the forbidden phrase) has greatly expanded its already formidable propaganda machine. The vast majority of the media we consume has become owned by 15 billionaires as just 6 companies control 90% of said media; George W. Bush admitted in 2005 that the U.S. government quietly produces videos meant for the use of news outlets; in 2013, a 1948 law was repealed which restrained the U.S. government from implementing "psy ops" to manipulate public sentiment in America and in foreign countries; and the final presidential Christmas present Obama gave to America was the creation of a program designed to suppress non-state approved ideas. If you're shocked you've never heard about any of that, well, don't be.

Under this environment, the Deep State's task of instigating war with Russia-for which the Syrian conflict is just a stepping stone to-seems beyond easy. The only reason said war's chief proponents have so far revealed their intentions merely in dark hints is that they know doing so now would rightly make them seem ludicrous, and the time will come when they can openly roll out an agenda of full-on combat with Russia. I expect the moment of shock and awe 2.0 will come after a major terrorist attack against the United States inevitably happens-an attack which the Deep State will easily be able to pin on Russia no matter who's responsible for it.

Yep, this outcome is so likely that even the Russian government, afraid as it clearly is of war with the U.S, has been preparing to defend itself from the coming onslaught of American military might since Trump's Syria strikes. I guess all we can do now is share anti-war memes on our Facebook timelines, watch Doctor Strangelove to save our ability to laugh when the inevitable occurs, and hope this next American war doesn't get quite so out of hand that it's the last one.

Or at least that's the way it's going to happen on paper.

It turns out that while the oligarchy has done an impressive job of consolidating and empowering its mechanisms to influence people's minds since 2003, the people themselves have gained abilities to counter the establishment's propaganda that more than compensate. I'm of course talking about the internet, which has gained more than a hundred million users in the U.S. since 2003 along with the revolutionary idea sharing tool of social media. Also, due in part to the mainstream media's shamefully power serving behavior in the run up to the Iraq War, trust in the corporate news outlets is now a qualifiably fringe phenomenon while reliance on independent news sources has relatively exploded.

Okay, some are no doubt thinking, now we have more gadgets. How's that going to stop a war machine that's been going strong for two hundred years? To prove the power of the internet in the year 2017, I'll review an overlooked chapter in that saga of McCarthyite war propaganda Russiagate: following half a year of constant assertions from Russian war propagandists, based on no evidence, that Putin's hackers gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails, a January 2017 poll came out showing over 60% of Americans were falling for this objectively implausible claim.

And then, after I and other independent journalists, particularly the fantastic Glenn Greenwald, frequently spread the fact that the proof for Russian hacking simply isn't there, a poll came out in March saying just 50% of Americans believed the claims. Happy epilogue: given how the corporate media has mostly given up on Russiagate since April 6, a poll for that issue from this month would likely show a solid minority of Americans are buying that Russia was behind the leaks.

That's right, through typing away at keyboards, we've been able to convince possibly tens of millions of Americans not to side with the establishment on an issue that (formerly) represented the main case for going to war with Russia. And the fact that the argument for war has consequentially shifted to the similarly dubious claim of Putin having known about the April 4 chemical attack in advance shouldn't daunt us a bit; we clearly have the ability to dramatically swing public opinion away from the Deep State's favor.

Okay, now The New York Times doesn't need to acknowledge a claim is false for the majority of Americans to do so. How's that going to stop an oligarchy whose war plans clearly don't hinge on what the public thinks? The war's supporters within the government, after all, won't have to worry about their unpopular actions getting them voted out if they can eliminate democracy itself-something they'll very easily be able to do when the mentioned terrorist attack occurs. Well expect it or not, here's where it gets really encouraging.

The amazing Caitlin Johnstone illustrated what I mean in her March 22 rhetorical expose of the Deep State:
Not that long ago, the ruling class dominated their subjects by simply forbidding dissent on pain of torture and death. The trouble with this was that it invariably led to public resentment, which expends a lot of energy and runs the risk of winding up on the business end of a guillotine blade. The great Noam Chomsky once wrote that the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum, and that is exactly what has happened. The proles are given the illusion that they have every freedom within reason, while their opinions are being deliberately manipulated every single day and their spectrum of acceptable ideas is being artificially limited. This has created a very energy efficient system of domination, where all new income can be funneled to the plutocrats who rule the nation while the unwashed masses who turn the gears of their machine slowly choke to death under the burden of the Walmart economy. 
Luckily the internet is rapidly expanding the available spectrum of public opinion, and the ruling elites cannot shut it down without forever shattering the energy efficient illusion of freedom that they’ve worked so hard to establish.
So there you go. If the Russian war's proponents try to keep up their charade of democracy, the people will exploit the loopholes for dissent that this method has and stage a internet and alternative media-aided revolution. If the oligarchy decides to clamp down and outlaw freedom of expression, an ultimately similar kind of revolt will ensue. Either way the Deep State's hopes for an extended or even existing war with Russia are doomed to failure. And as Johnstone has also illustrated, given the  overwhelming opposition towards military conflict among members of the armed forces and Americans in general, the idea of people simply refusing to go along with the ruling class' orders to fight is already looking within reach.

For now, keep up those social media posts about things like the laughable absurdity of the official narrative on last month's Syrian chemical attack. Keep donating to causes like Tulsi Gabbard's campaign for peace. It's seemingly little things like these that could very well spoil the oligarchy's plans for war with Russia, not to mention take down the oligarchy altogether.