Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Fight Against Imperialism Is A Fight Against Human Evil

As the American empire collapses, and panicked elites resort to irrational war runups that threaten to create nuclear war, we survey the failures that got us to this point. These are the failures that the Iraq War architect Elliot Cohen naturally didn’t acknowledge in his article in The Atlantic this year, titled How Trump Is Ending the American Era. The piece provides comfort for Cohen’s fellow imperialist political elites, making excuses for “what turned out to be” the false WMD reports behind our blunders in Iraq. But those in the global underclass have been able to get a far better understanding of the situation.

The experience of this underclass was recently illustrated with the revelation that, following the invasion and destabilization of Libya in 2011, a mass African slave trade emerged. The images from this beat us over with ruminations from the past: black slaves tied up in chains, underfed and coerced like cattle. Our leaders haven’t been directly behind these atrocities, but their actions made them possible.
Five years ago French president Nicolas Sarkozy planned a NATO regime change invasion in Libya, disguised as a “humanitarian intervention,” so that Africa’s gold and oil interests would be secured. Mainly at the request of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama agreed to send U.S. forces into the operation, leaving Libya a failed state that became a haven for jihadists and slave traders.
Hillary Clinton’s reaction to this chaos she’d helped unleash was the famous “we came, we saw, he died” remark. Her ego-stroking imitation of Julius Caesar
reflects the similarly hubristic attitudes of American empire’s other recent war architects. The pointless and genocidal “War on Terror” was declared by George W. Bush with pompous vows to “rid the world of evil-doers.” Neoconservatism’s pathology of wanting to militarily control the world, and to profit from the slaughter, has been revealed in remarks like Hillary Clinton’s “It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity.” Or, even more sociopathically, in Thomas Friedman’s “The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist—McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15.”
When Alexander the Great died at 32 after a legendary career of expanding the Macedonian empire, his successors divided up the kingdom among themselves, putting an end to the nation’s supposedly unassailable power. Clinton and her kind fit Alexander’s role. The unwieldy global power structure they created is punctured and bleeding quickly, and the Trump presidency they’re responsible for is accelerating this collapse. The Pentagon itself reports the American empire is in rapid decline, exacerbated by the unhinged and fantasy-based threats Trump and his aides make against countries like North Korea.
Whether America splinters like Macedon did, or turns into a failed state amid economic and ecological breakdown, or is ruined in a nuclear war, our crisis will come from the idiocy, selfishness, and heartlessness that our imperialist stage was defined by. The interventionists of recent decades have not just profited from war but worked to commodify it; in 2002 a Bush aide strategized about the best time of year to start the Iraq War runup, saying “you don’t introduce new products in August.” 
Lies and tribalist vanity were used to sell this product of war. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” wrote an anonymous Bush aide as the administration was effectively keeping the WMD lies and torture activities out of its supporters’ minds. The empire’s ability to revise reality has grown since then with the legalization of covert CIA media psyops, the hyper-consolidation of media, and the creation of an establishment liberal media echo chamber which mirrors that of the Right. 
Neoconservative propagandists have used this in recent years to conceal the Obama administration’s wars from many Democrat voters, promote elaborate war psyopsagainst Syria and Russia, and restart McCarthyism. All this has been based in the superficial deification of political leaders and brands-like the War on Terror’s nationalistic symbols and the standards for loyalty to the Democratic Party-and the concealing of facts, illustrated in the statement from a DNC official last year about the need to “keep the people ignorant.”
The perpetrators of this imperial suicide mostly regret nothing. Hillary Clinton last defended her Libya decision by saying “We did not lose a single American in that action.” Dick Cheney has said he’d authorize torture again “in a minute.” Henry Kissinger, who mentored Clinton throughout her foreign policy career, has no regrets either. As they enjoy the great wealth and stature they’ve gotten from their exploits, we confront an era that reflects the emptiness of their cause.
The empire may be ending, but the ruling oligarchs are consolidating and purifying their operations in the homeland. A government center for purging “fake news” has been set up in the U.S, and will soon have a similar partner throughout the EU countries. The social media companies are attacking and purging dissenting voices. An increasingly militarized and severe law enforcement system is ready to crush rebellion more directly. As our security centers have swelled into a fourth branch of government and the all-intrusive surveillance state has been fulfilled, corporations and the super rich have come into open partnership with our intelligence community. 
Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world and owner of the Washington Post, is colluding with them the most right now. Recent behavior from Bezos and others has lead the columnist Caitlin Johnstone to believe they’re “prepping for a tech explosion, monetary revolutions, vast shifts in the global economy and the end of oil.”
George Orwell’s predictions are coming true, even for the three separate but similar totalitarian mega-nations that make up the globe in 1984. One of these nations consists of the NATO and American-allied countries, located in North America, much of South America, some of Africa, most of Europe, much of Southeast Asia and Oceania, then India, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Another one is the smaller but currently growing Chinese empire. The other is Russia. The remaining lands in the Middle East and Africa are used for waging controlled, endless wars which keep proletarians in poverty and enrich the oil and weapons industries.
All three of these territories are under authoritarian and corporate capitalist control. Life for most people in each of them is roughly the same hollow, propaganda-saturated economic enslavement. The ideology of the ruling class in each of them, essentially identical, is presented under varying names, like “capitalism” in America and “democratic centralism” in China. The three are intermittently at war and in alliance with each other, with the acknowledgement of these change-ups being forbidden. This was shown last month when war pundit Bill Maher flatly lied that “what really happened was we stopped fighting the Cold War, but the Russians never did.”
As the three mega-states fortify their militaries, the global wealth divide becomes starkly defined, and authoritarian far-right politics infect most industrial countries, the future is predictable. This is the vision of Donald Rumsfeld’s assistant Larry Di Rita, who explained at one point during the Iraq invasion: “We’re going to get better over time. The future if war is that these things are going to be much more of a continuum…this is the future of the world we’re in at the moment. We’ll get better as we do it more often.”
This result of the work by Clinton, Kissinger and others fulfills the poem about what’s happened around the shrine to King Ozymandias: “Nothing beside remains: round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.” 
The failed fight against American imperialism precluded what might emerge in the empire’s ruins, which is an effort to reorder humanity not around money and weapons, but around what makes us human. Westerners like Hillary Clinton have been creating atrocities like the Libya slave trade for five hundred years, and there will always be people like Clinton. But there will also always be people who can’t accept injustice and oppression. Seek out those people. Continue fighting fascism. Keep faith in humanity. I’ll do my best to help people in doing this.

Friday, November 24, 2017

“Free Marketers” Are Corporate Totalitarians

The Trump FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality next month, which will cut off functioning Internet for those unable to pay large amounts of money, is how our four decade long digestion by the corporate ideology concludes itself. The arguments for this plan mirror those for all the past corporate takeovers, like Citizens United, the neoliberal trade deals, and the Wall Street deregulations: these net neutrality rules place an oppressive burden on internet users; removing oversight over the Internet would lead to innovation; the government has no role in this area. And the results will be the same here as they were for those past actions.

As we watch this sad affair, we notice our freedoms have already been almost completely taken away. The vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents are polled to support net neutrality, with the FCC’s board having adopted this agenda when Trump appointed a former Verizon lawyer as FCC chair. Most members of congress have had their net neutrality votes bought off by corporate lobbyists, in some cases for just a few hundred dollars. Around a million of the comments the FCC has gotten in favor of repealing net neutrality are submitted under the identities of dead people.
The systems supporting this coup against the Internet were set up similarly. The Trump administration was created when a corrupt and arrogant Democratic Party leadership sabotaged Bernie Sanders, who would have won. Despots like the Clintons took control of the party when the Kochs, the Waltons, and the other ruling oligarchs quietly installed them. These oligarchs took control when the financial and oil crashes of the 1970’s let a group of radical right wing academics quietly convinceelites to embrace unrestrained corporate capitalism. Never have these actions been supported by the majority of people, and never has the “free market” ideology been about liberty. It’s been about creating a totalitarian corporate state.
“The purpose of the corporate state is to deprive the people of their freedom and to concentrate power into the hands of a few large organizations and their leaders,” writes James Ostrowski, a libertarian who espouses the pure free market system of minimum state oversight. “As a result, a tiny number of people wield virtually all of the power. Buffalo, for example, is run by about fifty middle-aged politically-connected businessmen, lawyers and bureaucrats. The same ‘interlocking directorate’; the same usual suspects pop up wherever power is lurking in Buffalo.”
Yet Ostrowski’s ideology doesn’t acknowledge the insidiousness of corporate power. Any unchecked power system, whether involving business or government, will inevitably devolve into kleptocracy and despotism. Without a sustained mass revolt towards bringing democracy in both government and business, our crisis will only get worse.
The utopian promises of free market fundamentalism, which say society flourishes when public arrangements are destroyed, will again fail to materialize in the coming corporate domination of our information systems. Alternative media sites will be slowed down or shut off entirely. As Internet service providers make their users have to pay extra for complete services, access to online information will become a privilege for the upper class. The current scarcity in on-print alternative media publications will leave us under almost singular assault from the corporate propaganda centers.
Already we’re a lot more repressed than we were just a couple years ago, before the mass online expositions of the Deep State and its lies prompted crackdown from elites. An agency has been set up for attacking “foreign propaganda” and promoting “truth-based narratives.” The DOJ has forced RT America’s directors to register as foreign agents under threat of arrest. Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are frantically silencing material that threatens their partners in the intelligence agencies. Police have been further militarized this year, and laws restricting forms of peaceful protest have been passed in several states. The European Union will set up its own center for suppressing dissenting media next spring, solidifying the Thought Police state emerging within the United States and Europe.
As the sickness of the neoliberal system fully reveals itself in the coming years through economic unravelings and the continued collapse of our biosphere, an insecure and paranoid power elite will accelerate the takeover. Violence and censorship will become the only responses to dissent, with the fixed elections, false endorsements of democratic values, and staged political debates turning into blatant authoritarianism. Even now I’m writing from a platform compromised by the onslaught of censorship, as Facebook’s constantly restricting my posting accessibilities in recent months has massively shrunk my online viewership.
We are speaking our truths against an avalanche of propaganda and repression. With the corporate takeover of the Internet, and the current rate of attacks on free thought, our liberties and our access to information could be radically more limited a month from now. Yet we’ll need to keep speaking, if we want to keep thinking, talking and interacting with the world as independent human beings.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

To U.S. Empire Apologists: America Is A Terrorist State

Donald Trump’s Rust Belt supporters, the ones who won him the election last year, have had decades to reach their decision. These people are found to largely be the friends and family of soldiers that have died in America’s recent wars. Their animus towards Hillary Clinton and the other architects of these wars is so intense that they mostly continue to support Trump, even as he’s drastically expanded the war machine.

Their betrayal by traditional institutions began during the 60’s and 70’s, when companies started taking away their factory jobs so that profits could be made in countries with lower labor standards. In the next decades, as their communities continued to be battered amid the implementation of neoliberal trade deals, they saw ever more resources go to the military. 
The explosion of the military budget starting in the 80’s, correlated with an obscene rise in corporate welfare and economic inequality, inflamed suspicions of despotic plots and conspiracies among America’s leaders. With the corporatisation of the press and education, most had little way to know what these conspiracies might have been like or who was involved in them. But their suspicions were right.
With 9/11, the war culture exploded. Gun sales soared. George Bush could openly call himself a war president. The massive new violence around the world was glorified with nationalistic songs like Toby Keith’s Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which boasted “we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.” This let the corporate state seize control with impunity. 
PRISM, the Patriot Act, so-called enhanced interrogation, and the massive expansion of the security state destroyed our relationship to the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. Blunderous invasions were made against Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter of which having involved a long pre-planned attempt to install a new puppet government. This government, partly drafted by radical right lobbyist Grover Norquist, was to follow in the Pinochet regime’s model of unrestrained corporate totalitarianism.
These military ventures, which Chris Hedges diagnoses as the catalysts for the U.S. empire’s collapse, also precipitated the Orweillian vision we now find ourselves in. The seven country-wide bombing campaign that took place under Obama, despite being similar in scale to the invasions of the early 2000’s, has been discussed mainly in obscure anti-war blogs and forums. This has changed little in 2017, even as Trump has wildly expanded that campaign. 
The media companies are deeply consolidated and in firm partnership with the intelligence agencies. The U.S. has created an official center for attacking the dissenting press, which the European Union is now expanding on. Tech companies are systematically driving down the viewership of dissenting outlets and journalists. Most people have regressed into a third world lifestyle as our four decade corporate coup has reached its completion.
With the rise of a president infused with the fascistic mentality of militarism, the empire that neoconservatives glorify has been laid bare. Like other demagogues, Donald Trump excessively surrounds himself with armed guards, takes innate pleasure in military parades, and often uses violent language. Mike Pence embraces militarism in a more measured and dangerous way, having said he was drawn to the Republican Party because of its representing a strong military. 
Trump, Pence, and their cabal of similar American fascists took power last year by convincing the victims of neoliberalism and imperialism that they represented savior from these systems. That the plans of the Deep State to instigate world war, as Trump’s propagandist Alex Jones said, would be defeated by an outsider president who’d revive the middle class and cleanse the government of corruption. The demagogues that emerge from the wreckage of destroyed democracies always make promises like these, attaching their reactionary agendas to the biggest grievances of a suffering population. And since the only goal of these demagogues is power, the despotic agendas of the fallen democracies their conquer are often then carried on and expanded. 
Under Trump, Goldman Sachs executives dominate the White House’s elite circle. Israel and Saudi Arabia get to define American foreign policy more than ever. The last remains of workers’ rights, the social safety net, and civil liberties are under attack. In the first two months of the administration, drone strikes were made 432% more frequent, and they’ve only gone up since then. The military budget has been raised 10% twice this year. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen have been escalated, with the latter escalations resulting in more than 50,000 Yemeni children being expected to die by the end of the year.
The friendly face America used to put in front of its atrocities has been removed. Imperialist propagandists now have to defend a blatantly cruel and obnoxious authoritarian leader as he terrorizes his citizenry and the world. The Pentagon’s recent decision to continue attacking Syria and Iraq despite ISIS now being reduced to a non-presence reinforces this collapse in credibility; America is not here to protect, but to steal and slaughter.
Next month, Trump’s FCC will vote to totally repeal the current net neutrality rules. If congress approves this measure, it will let internet service providers impose heavy fees on its customers, with the sites that can’t pay being shut down. The independent online media will be destroyed in this scenario, letting the corporate outlets the FCC is allowing to become even further consolidated force their propaganda onto us virtually unchallenged. 
The corporate state’s vast network of psy ops, surveillance and censorship, enforced by our brutal police state, will be able to block out disfavored public knowledge like no oligarchy has done before. Our attention will be universally coerced toward manufactured enemies that pose no actual threat, like North Korea and Russia. If or when this happens, we’ll need to keep telling ourselves that while we don’t know the details of the empire’s evils, the empire is evil.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The "Center" Is More Dangerous Than The Hard Right

Ajamu Baraka, the devoted human and civil rights activist, has said that he fears the ideology of the Democrats more than he fears that of Trump. Like Ralph Nader, Cornel West, and others who’ve voiced truths like this, Baraka has been intensely vilified and lambasted by those in the former liberal class. This is because to voice these truths is to shatter the righteous self-image of our liberal establishment.

It’s not allowed to say that our crisis hasn’t come from the Republican Party, but from a political system that’s infected both the mainstream left and right with a toxic corporate agenda. That mass incarceration was largely engineered by Democrats, who exploded the prison system during the 1990’s after embracing the racist authoritarian rhetoric of “law and order.” That both parties have almost consistently partnered to dismantle the social safety net, deregulate banks and corporations, and pass kleptocratic trade deals for the last several decades. That our “moderate” leaders have in recent years carried out the assassination of Americans without trial, the brutal persecution of whistleblowers, the use of depleted uranium in a vast worldwide military assault, and the normalization of torture.
We are, as the author Eugene Puryear says, shackled and chained. Less than a tenth of workers have the permission or awareness to be part of a labor union. Many basic civil liberties have become irrelevant to the police and the courts. Corporations and law enforcement can loot, surveil, and terrorize the population with impunity. Yet Trump and the radical right are only making our imprisonment more visible. The ones that put us into it are Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Bushes and Cheneys that Democrats now superficially praise. 
As Baraka wrote in January of last year, after Obama had constructed an unprecedented state surveillance and censorship apparatus: “Trump’s neo-fascism will be built on [the] neo-fascism of Obama and the Democratic Party.”
The liberal elite’s affirmations that impeaching Trump and electing Democrats in future elections will restore order reflects its unwillingness to confront our crisis. If Trump were removed tomorrow, Mike Pence and the government’s other competent fascists would continue the corporate capitalism and omnicidal militarism that’s destroying civilization. If Democrats dominate the 2018 elections, the new legislative members that take office in January 2019 will have one year before the estimated climate catastrophe deadline in 2020. A deadline wherein, if our current greenhouse gas emissions don’t start to stagnate or decline as of that crucial year, meeting the goals of the Paris agreement will be impossible. 
The Democratic Party, like its extensions in the corporate-funded major environmental groups, reveals itself every week as unable to save us from catastrophe. Its leadership’s continued embrace of corporate and billionaire donors, support for U.S. empire, and rejection of the Bernie Sanders insurgency renders the party’s acknowledgement of climate change inconsequential. A maintained corporate oligarchy, a military operation that keeps alive the oil economy, and a body politic that rejects radical change continues ravaging our biosphere regardless. We are being pacified into impending collapse by a soft right that, unlike the hard right, can present itself as an ally.
As the majority of the country has had our communities de-industrialized, our wages stagnate or decline, and endless debt imposed on us for trying to survive, most of the country has become aware of these evils in the system. Our concern at this point is how to defeat the corporate power structure. The desiccation of our former democracy makes fighting this structure look futile; right now we’re barely able to stop a wildly unpopular tax cut for the wealthy from getting passed, with the same situation for the corporate FCC’s plan to destroy net neutrality. Our calls to legislators and our online FCC comments go almost completely ignored. We may as well be marching on the offices of the corporations directing these events, and demanding they have their lawmakers listen to us.
These actions are as ineffectual as investing in our hollowed out liberal institutions. Our real options for revolt-building local revolutionary institutions, transforming our communities’ energy and economic systems, carrying out sustained civil disobedience-will become more apparent in the coming months and years, as our business and governmental centers fail and the state reacts by becoming more overtly repressive. With this collapse the liberal elite will likely fade away entirely, to be replaced by an uninterrupted battle between the forces of socialism and barbarism.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Deep State Is Struggling For Survival

Last year, when millions of people rose up against the political establishment and tried to elect Bernie Sanders president, the corporate state responded with the greatest attack on democracy in the history of our republic. DNC officials conspired to reduce the amount of Democratic debates and to funnel money into the Clinton campaign. More than a dozen state Democratic parties, after being bought off by Hillary Clinton, suppressed Sanders votes, excluded Sanders delegates, or flipped delegates over to Clinton. 

State governments run by both parties suppressed votes as well, like with the illegal purging of voter rolls in New York. Massive exit poll discrepancies in Clinton’s favor mysteriously appeared in numerous states, though a refusal to conduct exit polls in many of the contests meant we’ll never know exactly how many of these incidents occurred.
When Sanders supporters spoke out about their disenfranchisement, they were attacked by the corporate media. When WikiLeaks revealed the DNC’s tactics, the media fixated on a dubious Russian DNC hacking theory and Twitter suppressedmany tweets relating to the leak. The valiant attempts to nominate Sanders at the Democratic National Convention were crushed by military containment of protests, the banning of perceived dissenters within the convention hall, and casual displaysof anti-semitic imagery at convention gift shops to show Sanders he wasn’t welcome. And so the superdelegates, largely paid off by the Clinton campaign, authorized an expansive and elaborate coup that would result in the election of a proto-fascist. Yet through the power of a newly mobilized and engaged population, this coup was rendered meaningless.
With the visceral collapse of our traditional institutions that Donald Trump’s election represented, democracy is being revived through popular resistance. Alternative media has in many ways replaced the old corporate propaganda outlets. Groups like the Democratic Socialists of America are at their strongest in recent history. Politicians representing an end to corporate capitalism are gaining power around the world. Protest efforts like the Standing Rock pipeline opposition-distinguished from efforts like the Trump protests in that police don’t tolerate them-have disrupted corporate power.
As the discrediting of the ruling oligarchs’ ideology creates greater and greater rebellion, elites are trying to silence dissent. This month a former FBI agent testifiedto the senate that tech companies must further attack alternative news, saying, “Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced — silence the guns and the barrage will end.” 
RT America has been forced by the Justice Department to register as a foreign agency under threat of its top directors being arrested, making the network easier to stigmatize and suppress. Reports now constantly surface of dissenting journalists being censored by Google, You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. Alternative news sites like Alternet and World Socialist Website have had their viewership declinedramatically from Google’s search algorithm manipulations. The European Union is constructing a center for censoring “fake news,” an extension of the state agency set up in the U.S. last year for fighting “misinformation.”
History has shown that as regimes become threatened, they violently fight back, and a struggle between ideologies takes place. In this confrontation, the ideology that can’t get support with argument, that has to censor and threaten to stop its opponents, that only communicates through violence and repression, has always been the one that’s lost.
We’re seeing this in the frantic efforts the corporate state routinely takes to hide its glaring hypocrisy and illegitimacy. This week the BBC published footage of the U.S. escorting ISIS fighters out of Raqqa on October 12 of this year. Within 24 hours the American press was filled with headlines reporting not on the BBC’s finding, but on a fabricated charge from the Russian government about the U.S. having helped ISIS. Russia’s charge was based on separate photographs and footage from those of the BBC’s, but anyone who brings up the BBC report can now be falsely conflated with repeating Russian propaganda. And Russia’s having put out such transparently false material-the images they used were screenshots from a computer game-suggests the U.S. had sent spies into Russia’s government to initiate the report. This is how a state acts while struggling to maintain its control.
As the Deep State has weakened, like past failed regimes it’s given way to both the constructive and the reactionary. The reactionaries from our current upending of power are represented in the neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and populist authoritarian movements that have been rising around the world in recent years. Those drawn to these movements, like the neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin, are often inconsistent in their views because the ideology isn’t what’s attracted them. It’s the emotional satisfaction that reactionary politics provides, the catharsis of fighting an uncaring power structure through unfocused hate and violence. We need to fight these symptoms of a despotic society as much as we need to fight the disease.

Justice Democrats' Vetting Process Hinders Progressive Candidates

This article was published onto here with permission from its author, Collin Hannah, who writes for Truth Against The Machine.
I don’t want to be too critical of Justice Democrats because I love the organization, and I respect and admire its two co-founders, Kyle Kulinski and Cenk Uygur. As much as I love the Justice Democrats, something happened within the organization that was simply wrong. Not just once, but twice. Something is HORRIBLY WRONG with the Justice Democrats’ vetting process. Justice Democrats passed up two excellent candidates: one to take on California Senator Dianne Feinstein, David Hildebrand, and another to take on Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Irasema “Sema” Hernandez.

California: David Hildebrand

Most progressives agree: Dianne Feinstein has got to go! Simply perusing her record on Wikipedia gives you an idea as to why. She supported the Patriot ACT; voted for Mike Pompeo to head the CIA (who said Edward Snowden should be executed..); supports the death penalty; vetoed a city council ordinance as mayor of San Francisco that would have given spousal benefits to employees that have same-sex spouses; supports the drug war, including keeping marijuana criminalizedopposes single payervoted to fast track the TPP; voted for the Iraq War resolution DESPITE believing the CIA had provided insufficient intelligence to conclude Hussein had WMDs; voted for the Bush tax cuts; the list just goes on and on. 

David Hildebrand
David Hildebrand

A couple weeks ago, Justice Democrats announced that they had a primary challenger to Dianne Feinstein: Alison Hartson. Hartson was (and still is?) the national national director of Wolf PAC; an organization dedicated to getting money out of politics. As director of Wolf PAC, Hartson lead the effort (and succeeded) to get money out of politics in California. Hartson is definitely a progressive and a good choice to oust corporate Democrat Dianne Feinstein, but there is another progressive that may have been a better choice: David Hildebrand. Hildebrand informed Truth Against The Machine that his supporters have nominated him to run as a Justice Democrat on numerous occasions months prior to their announcement of Hartson’s candidacy.  
Side note: If you would like to connect with Hildebrand, follow this link to his website or this link to his Facebook.
Hildebrand told Truth Against The Machine he has been advocating for single payer for over a decade and that he has been a legislative analyst for six years. Hildebrand’s political positions include (but are not limited to): single-payer health care (obviously), a $15/hr minimum wage, banning fracking & combating climate change, ending “right to work laws” and strengthening unions, tuition-free public universities and colleges, a new glass-steagall, rent control, a tax on wall street transactions, raising taxes on the wealthy and big corporations, ending wars of aggression and implementing an end to regime change wars, a non-interventionist foreign policy. The list of progressive policies Hildebrand has come out in support of is very long. Hildebrand has been campaigning in California and gaining name recognition since March. Hildebrand really does seem like the perfect person for Justice Democrats to endorse. So, why in God’s name didn’t they?
“We are not going to run another man against her [Diane Feinstein],” Sandy Menor from Justice Democrats explanation for not endorsing David Hildebrand. “We want another woman in the senate but a younger woman with ideas to help this country out of the hole that has been dug by this administration and this Congress.” 
Very, very strange. It’s an eerie reminder of when Democrats and the DNC kept saying we should support Hillary over Bernie because she is a woman. 
Kuklinski, one of the founders of Justice Democrats, spoke out against the staffer for precluding Hildebrand based off his gender. However, Kulinski stood by Justice Democrats’ decision to endorse Hartson stating: 
“David previously worked in transportation. Alison’s experience was crucial to our decision. Simply, we think she’s the best candidate and can win.”

“[Hartson] is a one-issue candidate that has been a salaried employee of a Super PAC controlled by Cenk for the last two years. I have worked for 6 years as a legislative analyst on transportation policy, and have been active in healthcare and labor policy for years,” Hildebrand responded to Kyle.
Just for clarification, WolfPAC is a PAC not a super PAC.
I believe Kulinski when he says Justice Democrats didn’t pick Hartson based off of her gender: he was constantly pushing for Bernie over Hillary last year. Kulinski also voted for Jill Stein in the general election. Kulinski does genuinely promote whoever he believes is the best candidate. 

Despite all of that, it seems very strange to me that Justice Democrats didn’t endorse Hildebrand. Hildebrand has a history of advocating everything on their platform, he’s been campaigning for 8 months now, and he was interviewed by Jimmy Dore on TYT. 
It was also very strange that Dore was sitting across the table from Uygur as he announced Hartson was going to be running against Feinstein, but never mentioned the fact Hildebrand was already in the race. 
What’s done is done now, both Hartson and Hildebrand are leagues better than Feinstein. Hopefully one of them ousts her in the Democratic Primary. 

Texas: Irasema “Sema” Hernandez 

In Texas many on the left are eager to oust incumbent Ted Cruz. I don’t think I even need to list the reasons we want him gone like I did with Feinstein. I’ve written about why I believe the Texas Democratic Party establishment’s choice, Beto O’Rourke, is not the right guy for the job. I support his primary opponent, Sema Hernandez. I know Hernandez personally, so just know what I’m about to say came out of her mouth.
Side note: you can connect with Hernandez by following this link to her website, or this link to her Facebook.

Sema Hernandez
Sema Hernandez

In March of 2017, Hernandez was actually nominated, and vetted, to be a Justice Democrat candidate. Hernandez passed the vetting process, and was told she would be running against Gene Green (who recently announced his retirement from congress) in Texas’ 29th congressional district. Hernandez was not happy about this because she wanted to unseat Ted Cruz, not Gene Green. 
Hernandez was told that they could not back her in a race between Ted Cruz because Texas was a big state and would sap all of their resources. Justice Democrats also expressed skepticism to Hernandez that Texas could be flipped from red to blue. Justice Democrats also suggested that Hernandez run as a Republican to challenge Ted Cruz, which didn’t make any sense to her. Hernandez declined Justice Democrats’ suggestion to run for the Texas 29th’ congressional district. 
Recently, one of the founders of Justice Democrats, Cenk Uygur, interviewed Beto O’rourke on TYT. Uygur has come out in favor of Beto O’Rourke. When I messaged Justice Democrats directly through Facebook, they informed me that they had not endorsed Beto because he has not cosponsored H.R. 676. When I informed them Uygur appears to have endorsed Beto, they stated Uygur is allowed to support whoever he likes and that Uygur was not involved in the day to day activities of Justice Democrats. Kulinski has also expressed a favorable view of Beto O’Rourke
While Justice Democrats has not endorsed Beto, its two co-founders have come out in favor of his candidacy. Further, Uygur expressed that he would like to see, and has encouraged, Beto to join the Justice Democrats. Uygur stated that Beto “hadn’t joined yet.” (he said this at about the 8:00 mark in the Hartson interview). Given that Uygur wants Beto O’Rourke to join the organization and Kulinski has a favorable view of him, it only seems like a matter of time until he does. 
Justice Democrats not endorsing Hernandez because Texas is too big of a state doesn’t make any sense now that they have endorsed Hartson for the California Senate. California’s population is 39 million compared to Texas’ 28 million. It also makes no sense for Justice Democrats to not to try to win Texas because it is such a conservative state. Texas is actually within the grasp of Democrats
Justice Democrats has endorsed Paula Jean Swearengin in West Virginia to unseat the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, Joe Manchin. West Virginia is a much redder state than Texas, having gone to Donald Trump in 2016 by over 40%. West Virginia has just been getting more and more red with each passing election cycle while the opposite is true for Texas. Donald Trump won here by 9%. 
All that being said, Justice Democrats passed up and refused to endorse two people that will fight for their platform relentlessly. They may end up endorsing Beto O’Rourke, who has only cosponsored 2 out of 8 bills on the People’s Platform at the current time. It appears neither Kyle Kulinski nor Cenk Uygur is aware of Hernandez’s candidacy because they are not involved in the day to day activities of Justice Democrats. The vetting process for Justice Democrats’ candidates needs to be reformed and improved.  
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Supporting American Militarism Is Supporting Genocide

Right now in Yemen, the biggest tragedy in decades is happening so that oil interests and the U.S. empire won’t be inconvenienced. The U.S.-Saudi assault against Yemen, expanded this year without any authorization from congress, has ravaged the country while imposing a blockade on aid to it. This has resulted in seven million people on the verge of dying from malnutrition, with images of the victims resembling the images from Nazi concentration camps.

Congress may have voted this week to declare America’s Yemen involvement unauthorized and to provide aid for the crisis, but the system that led to the crisis remains in place. The U.S. still devotes $700 a year to its military and holds 800 military bases around the world, making for what Noam Chomsky calls the biggest terrorist organization in existence. A corporate-controlled intelligence community is still able to regularly lie to advance its agenda. The president can still assassinate American citizens without trial. The torture facility in Guantanamo Bay is still open, and still holding dozens of innocent people. The military is still controlled by private defense contractors like Blackwater, the Trump-affiliated security company that’s been prosecuted for senselessly slaughtering civilians in Iraq.
Both major parties and all three branches of government are still dominated by a masked corporate state that’s been slowly taking power for forty years. That corporate state is still saturating society in propaganda through a highly consolidated corporate media, and still using censorship and violence to silence its opponents. We’re still living under the most extensive and intrusive surveillance state in human history. 
The U.S. prison system still holds more people than those of China or North Korea so that private prisons can be enriched and so the underclass can be made submissive. Our unelected rulers in the billionaire class still appoint narcissists, sociopaths, and incompetents to do their work in government, which has been morbidly parodied by Donald Trump’s rise. We’ve still been stripped of our rights to privacy, due criminal process, free and fair elections, protection for whistleblowers, and the ability to sue banks and corporations.
Until we reject corporate capitalism and imperialism, events like the Yemeni crisis will keep repeating themselves in what Chris Hedges calls the self-perpetuating “Pandora’s Box of War.” Public opinion polls and the upsets of the 2016 election show most people despise these ideologies. But the ruling oligarchs’ propagandists are working feverishly to keep us in a state of paralysis and disengagement. 
If the majority of people really dislike Wall Street, argued a recent New York Times article, why do Wall Street politicians dominate government? The gerrymandering, electoral fraud, mass purging of disfavored voters, influx of corporate campaign money, and systematic exclusion of poor and black people from our elections in recent years is made nonexistent by this statement from the Times. And outlets like the Times have consistently tried to erase these events, all while promoting themselves as virtuous defenders of the truth. Political and historical illiteracy are remade as being informed. Despotism is remade as democracy. Any reason to challenge authority is de-legitimized.
This remaking of our political language into an authoritarian belief system was deliberately planned from the start of the corporate takeover. Throughout the 1970’s, the neoliberal economist James McGill Buchanan promoted the idea that having a functioning democracy was unjust to the rich, who deserved to increase their wealth without any restrictions. Radical right leaders and the liberal elites in the Carter administration enforced this despotic worldview. Both of these groups concluded that there was an “excess” in the people’s democratic involvement, and that more power needed to be given to elites for society survive in its traditional form.
These beliefs formed the basis for our current crisis. Leaders like Reagan and Thatcher advanced them under an authoritarian populism which claimed to protect family values, personal freedom, strengthened security, and respect for the flag. The Christian Right was empowered, along with a culture that glorified violence through the exaltation of guns. The arts and public education were denounced and de-funded. A revamped American militarism was carried out by equating criticism of U.S. policies with being anti-American. The poor were demonized and pushed further to the margins. This created a decreased solidarity with the poor among the American people, mirroring what’s happened in the other countries that have adopted neoliberalism.
Throughout the 21st century, these authoritarian revisions of language have reached their conclusion. Money is now defined in our highest court as speech. War is now defined as something that must be endless in order to defeat an eternal terrorist threat. Privacy and other civil liberties are defined as enemies of security. Ignorance, in implicit ways, is defined as strength. When we refuse to believe these redefinitions, hope for a different kind of society is strengthened.