Sunday, December 31, 2017

These Are Not Freedom Defenders. They Are Bullies To The Poor.

The reigning bullies orient their worldviews and careers around doing harm to the vulnerable. They seem to take pleasure in crushing those below them. The inadequacies they perceive in the poor outrage them more than any of the staggering injustices committed by the rich.

Their toxic campaign has distorted the national landscape. Many cities have put spikes onto the public surfaces to stop the homeless from sleeping on them. The old factory towns have been almost completely deindustrialized by corporate trade deals, with abandoned houses and overgrown streets left behind. A real unemployment rate of 8%, and the United States’ uniquely bad homeless protection system, has driven over 1.5 million people into the streets. It seems only a matter of time before the rest of the 99% joins them.
It’s the job of the system’s propagandists to mock and malign those who’ve been discarded by the rise of corporate capitalism. Their absurd arguments that poverty is a choice, kleptocracy and greed are virtues, and social welfare is evil are supported by a corrupt class of elite academics, pundits, religious leaders and politicians. Facts and statistics are banished to support this worldview. These
 demagogues present themselves as the only ones who should be taken seriously, and denounce those who stand with the oppressed as weak and naive.
Even the homeless are demonized as lazy parasites, just like immigrants, blacks, Hispanics, and the rest of the underclass. And when the growing poverty becomes undeniable, it’s blamed on the very most vulnerable people.
“The wealth siphoning to the 1% is destroying the middle-class, while automation combined with sending American jobs overseas has made it incredibly difficult for hard working Americans to make ends meet,” wrote the author Michael E Sparks in reaction to President’s Trump’s demagogic speech to a crowd of Boy Scouts in July. “And when people are poor, desperate and angry, they look for someone to blame. So when the billionaire, ‘self made’, American dream in a suit stands up and says that he’s going to kill the black man’s health bill and the young white men start chanting ‘USA!! USA!!’, well, we just might have a problem.”
Sparks, who experienced the venomous authoritarianism of the corporate state when he went to the 2016 Democratic convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate, has been the victim of similar bullying from a young age. “Me with my job as whipping boy, they as the neighborhood bullies,” he’s recounted. “My bruised ribs would buy me no sanctuary tomorrow. A new school-day meant we all hit the reset button. You might be wondering what the impetus behind these daily beatings was. I can answer it simply by saying that my family was poor. Looking back, I realized that John Southwood and his gang were also poor. But they weren’t poor like we were poor. They could afford luxuries like cigarettes and beer. And their clothes seemed to fit okay, whereas mine were hand-me-downs from my cousins, who were younger than me.”
As the Trump administration dismantles workers’ rights, attacks health care, and expands corporate power, the same sense of superiority and entitlement prevails behind it all. Trump has gloated many times about how superior he believes his genetics are, and describes himself as a “gene believer” in a way that resembles the ideology of eugenics. This is the conclusion of the worldview that the elite use to justify their rule. Subjection and poverty has been made into the natural state of the poor, and the rich are now innately entitled to infinite wealth and power.
For the last year or so, me and tens of millions of others in the lower classes have been punching back up at the oligarchy. We’ve defeated the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’ve made the corporate elite scared to the point where they’re now filling the White House with their members to ensure they’ll stay in control. We’ve strengthened progressive institutions while electing dozens of Greens anddemocratic socialists. We’ve become such a threat to the establishment media that the plutocrats have imposed massive censorship measures on our rising online alternative information outlets. We won’t stop fighting until every one of the voiceless, vulnerable people that corporate propagandists attack are given the security and dignity they deserve.
The bullies in power will cling to their possessions as the people continue to revolt. They’ll employ extreme censorship, manufactured war, mass propaganda, covert sabotage of movements, and violence to try to stop the encroachment of democracy and free thought. And they’ll feel justified in it, telling themselves the revolutionaries are violating their freedom and threatening society’s stability, even as catastrophe develops because the system they cling to.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Fascists Hate When People Help The Vulnerable

The vision that our demagogue president, his corrupt government and business partners, and their ideologue defenders in the media represent is one where human value is wholly defined by wealth. With the rise of neoliberalism, the ideology that centers around glorifying the rich, a figure as brazenly arrogant and class-entitled as Trump was given an ideal political environment.

The nature of capitalism and class hierarchy enforces the attitudes that produced this crisis. Poor people are the ones who get bullied as kids. The homeless are regularly harassed or derided by passers-by. The quality of a person’s clothes, car, or house defines how they’re perceived by society. The pettiest class differences can tempt those higher up to taunt their supposed inferiors, making the highest classes most inclined toward this cruelty.
In right-wing politics and media outlets like Fox News, the adult equivalents of those bullies who beat up the poor kids are empowered to punch down on a mass scale. Joe WalshMark LevinRush LimbaughBill O’reillyJason ChaffetzRick Santelli, and these other wealthy privileged men have used their influence to mock, condescend to, and pour vitriol on the vulnerable. They make their bullying acceptable by saying they’re simply advocating for personal responsibility, defending “freedom,” and upholding tradition and order. Their attacks against the helpless and voiceless resemble the act of sneeringly curling up one’s hand to mock a man with palsy-something that their representative Donald Trump has done.
The billionaires that employ these fascist propagandists are tightening their hold. The intelligence agencies and the police, long under the control of corporations, surveil and harass those who voice dissent. In January of this year the state officially published the opinions it defines as treasonous, which include dissatisfaction with the American electoral process, belief in government corruption, and opposition to corporate power. The expansions of CIA and military authority, police militarization, persecution of whistleblowers, global war escalations, online censorship of dissidents, corporate takeovers, and attacks against religious and racial scapegoats that’s happened since then have been unprecedented in recent history. Their next plans are to make warrantless mass surveillance permanent by reauthorizing Title 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and to create a personal police agency for the president.
These fortifications of the power structure have enabled the Trump administration to pass almost openly kleptocratic laws this month. The corporate tax rate, already an almost meaningless technicality as corporations are allowed to evade paying most of their assigned taxes, is now 14 percent lower. Millionaires and billionaires will benefit from the new tax cuts more than everyone else combined. This will add onto how the top wealthiest 1 percent of the population now holds 40 percent of the wealth, and how corporations and the rich have hoarded between 20 and 31 trillion dollars in tax loophole accounts around the world.
Goldman Sachs executives now make up much of the White House leadership. Openly classist and corporatist groups like Turning Point USA pile praise on the Trump administration while joyously attacking the vulnerable. After signing the tax bill, the president happily said to his fellow plutocrats that “you just got a lot richer.” As the remaining social services are dismantled, our rights become less and less irrelevant, and corporate and military rule become more blunt, the reigning bullies are able to indulge their hatred and selfishness with abandon. “This coup gives the rich the license and the power to amass unimaginable wealth at our expense,” wrote Chris Hedges in his 2013 essay The Pathology Of The Rich White Family. “It permits the rich to inflict grinding poverty on growing circles of the population. Poverty is the worst of crimes — as George Bernard Shaw wrote, ‘all the other crimes are virtues beside it.’”
This is why these fascists-and they’re specifically called fascists under the definitionof Mussolini’s corporate fascism-hate those who align themselves with the poor and vulnerable. There are no counterarguments to helping the needy besides ones based in sadism and greed. No amount of hoarding resources and power can surpass the spiritual and emotional fulfillment that it gives. It has an indestructible and eternal power that makes the oligarchs’ trillions of dollars, vast military resources, and propaganda apparatus tiny when put up against the smallest acts of compassion and integrity.
Those who’ve chosen to embrace it have always grown far more powerful than any dictator or demagogue. Teachers and thinkers like Mahatma Ghandi, Nikola Tesla, and countless others have often not held political office, actively rejected wealth, and refrained from putting their ideas into formal dogma, and still they’ve become the most influential figures in history. Martin Luther King Jr. was arguably the most powerful political leader in the country, and the movements he represented were far more powerful than the state at one point. You can see this kind of power now in the influence of Bernie Sanders, and in the strength of our social movements.
More and more of us are turning to this path as the bullies and tyrants expose themselves. We stand in opposition to everything the money changers represent, and that’s why they demonize and ridicule us. Our ideas have the power to destroy their ideology, disarm their military forces, and shut down their governmental and business centers. We are the antithesis to power as the elite define it.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Every Factor Is In Place For A Class Uprising

The pain and rage that’s been building over the past several decades could soon result in an overturning of our corrupt, despotic political system. Demagogues like Donald Trump have diverted the people’s outrage into hatred and authoritarianism, as happens in every period of extreme inequality. But with the Trump administration’s continuing the forty-year assault against the working class, the masses are realizing they have no other option than to revolt.

Half the country is officially living in poverty. Around 70% have less than a thousand dollars in savings, while 80% are burdened with debt and anxious about job security. The majority of Americans can no longer afford a new car, while a thirdcan’t afford food, shelter or medical care. Much of the population isn’t homeless and starving right now only because of their taking in monumental debt, which has created a banking bubble worse than that of 2008. Most Americans, nonetheless, are now found to be regressing into a third world lifestyle.
Those in this underclass know what’s going on here. We see how the top 0.1% of the population owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%. How average CEO compensation has gone up 1000% in the last four decades while the average worker’s wages have only declined. How our livelihoods have been taken away by corporate trade deals, our wages have been systematically stolen, our social services have been intolerably reduced, how corporations have been able to racketeer our health care, prescription drugs and education while they loot to treasury. How our voice in government has been silenced, culminating in the theft of the 2016 Democratic primary from Bernie Sanders.
I don’t promise a successful revolt. Societies have always seemed to develop like organisms, with individual people only able to partially influence a chaotic mass of events. And no amount of wishing history will go a certain way can guarantee the outcome. I’m only pointing out that at this moment, the conditions are in place for our society to throw down our corporatist, national security state-enforced oligarchy. Economic inequality is larger than it was in the late 1920’s, right before the capitalist elite decided only major concessions toward the lower classes could prevent an outright revolution. Taking from this and other examples of revolutionary upheavals, the sociologist Peter Turchin has predicted the next explosion of social unrest will come in 2020.
To save the republic, or at least the future of our species, we need to use this climax of outrage for bringing radical, nonviolent change. This means resisting taxes. This means organizing in our communities and working to transform our local energy and agricultural systems. This means carrying out civil disobedience, such as strikes, blockades and occupations, to disrupt the system that the oligarchy rests on. Most of all it means confronting our personal flaws, since each of us shares some of the blame for our crisis.
As we move into the post-net neutrality era, and as corporate power, military rule and surveillance continue to intensify, the power structure’s mouthpieces will gloatingly try to shut down our efforts. The class of brazen right-wing racists, warmongers and apologists for corporate rule, which the presidency now openly represents, will continue their attacks against the vulnerable. Intelligent and nuanced discourse will be relegated to those who still dare set themselves up against the state. Any attempt at revolution will be met with violent repression from the state and mockery from the establishment media, as happened with Occupy Wall Street and the WTO protests.
“The permanent lie is the apotheosis of totalitarianism,” writes Chris Hedges about the state of consciousness that goes against the revolution’s sentiments. “It no longer matters what is true. It matters only what is ‘correct.’ Federal courts are being stacked with imbecilic and incompetent judges who serve the ‘correct’ ideology of corporatism and the rigid social mores of the Christian right. They hold reality, including science and the rule of law, in contempt. They seek to banish those who live in a reality-based world defined by intellectual and moral autonomy. Totalitarian rule always elevates the brutal and the stupid. These reigning idiots have no genuine political philosophy or goals. They use clichés and slogans, most of which are absurd and contradictory, to justify their greed and lust for power.”
The irony is that the poor, which this idiot paradigm regards as inferior, are generally far less naive about the world than the rich. Always directly experiencing the evils and injustices of society, the poor are forced to become cynical and perceptive. Unlike the elite classes who, as their actions show, are lulled into not noticing the system’s massive flaws. The poor, able to recognize the essence of humanity and the spiritual pulse of the planet, might one day use this wisdom to overturn the world.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Russia Narrative Is About Deflecting Responsibility

The American political establishment has used Russia as the scapegoat for its failures, and the target in its project to create a demonized object of military aggression. In August the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity-the same group that’s helped destroy the Iraq WMD claims-published a report which unequivocally refuted the claim that Russia hacked the DNC. That version of history, already not supported by any hard evidence, was revealed by VIPS to not have been possible given the hacking capacity of the Internet in early July 2016.

After a period where politicians and pundits suddenly were no longer mentioning the DNC hacking story, the narrative changed into Russia having tried to hack into the election apparatuses of 21 states. That claim quickly collapsed as the election officials from those states found no such activities had occurred. Now we’re told Russia purchased social media ads to influence the election. This leaves out how 90 percent of those ads don’t even mention Trump or Clinton, and how they’re only traced to somewhere in the country “Russia” instead of specifically to the Russian government.
The contradictions go on and on: we no longer hear about Russia’s alleged hacking of the Macron campaign, which French intelligence has found to not have happened. Or of Russia’s hacking of American electrical grids, or of the German election, or of Qatari news media, or of an Illinois water pump-all of them have been debunked, and have vanished from media reports. The official version of reality is constantly revised. All that remains consistent is a renewed hatred for Russia, and a belief that, as the new Cold War’s propagandists have numerously lied, Russia has always been our enemy.
This campaign is reaching a climax as propagators of “Russia-Gate” promise Robert Mueller will imminently release proof that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. The intelligence agencies would no doubt have come out with evidence for this charge by now if it had basis, but facts are not the priority. However the Mueller investigation concludes itself, a new Russia distraction will be created in its place. Mainstream media, particularly the Washington Post, warns us Russia will next rig the 2018 elections, and then interfere in 2020 by promoting Bernie Sanders. 
No matter that there’s no evidence Russia did either of these things in 2016, and that Russia won’t start doing them if they want to avoid further NATO aggressions. There are too many ways the ruling class benefits from perpetuating this hysteria around Russia: it justifies McCarthyite attacks on all who oppose the power establishment; its political weaponization against President Trump pressures the White House to act in the model of the neoconservative agenda; it reignites the Cold War, which has become a necessity for the American imperialists as Russia blocks U.S. regime change ambitions in Syria.
But most of all it lets the Democratic Party, and the rest of the despotic order that produced our crisis, deflect from responsibility. The deindustrialization of our cities through corporate trade deals, the perpetuation of catastrophic wars, the dismantling of the social safety net, the mass insertion of lies and demagoguery into our discourse, the creation of an Orwellian police and surveillance state, the murder of the biosphere, the destruction of democracy through a forty-year corporate coup, and the culmination of that coup with the theft of the 2016 Democratic primary can’t have mattered at all. Donald Trump’s election and the other unravelings of the empire are caused by Russia, and by the ungrateful masses who dared to rebel.
The Democratic Party leadership cannot be persuaded into acknowledging reality, any more than the oligarchy behind them can be reasoned with. These entities have the one, mindless goal of consolidating power. And their tactics in this new Cold War are copied almost identically from those of the previous one. That operation also began with the president-then Harry Truman-starting to disingenuously demonize Russia in his speeches. Both have created a paradigm of existential terror, where everyone knows nuclear catastrophe could come at any moment. (In this case the main source of that terror is North Korea, which, like Russia, shows no chance of attacking first).
They’ve also centered around the idea that Russia is not just the sole provocateur in the conflict but an insidious adversary, with the Soviets’ influence having been perceived at one point as reaching all the way into Hollywood. Both Cold Wars have precipitated military and authoritarian takeovers, with the civil rights, economic injustice, and anti-war movements put under suspicion. This has shown in the current Cold War as police have been heavily militarized, dissident websites and journalists have been censored by the CIA-controlled online companies, and the intelligence agencies have essentially declared war on those who oppose the corporate state.
“Except in today’s instance, The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III,” writes Robert Parry in Consortiumews. “The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America’s Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you’ll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that.”
All that’s changed since that last effort is the advancement of computers, which the despots have used to create a “techno-tyranny” of universal surveillance. Corporation, military, police, media, and government have become the same entity. The Deep State, as the official term goes for an unelected structure, watches us from above just like when it took its current form seven decades ago. It seems like the situation will be the same seventy years from now, and then the same seventy years after that.
“We can date from January 1950 the strict governmental control of our economy and the gradual erosion of our liberties,” wrote Gore Vidal in The Nation magazine in 1988, “all in order to benefit the economic interest of what is never, to put it tactfully, a very large group-defense spending is money but not labor-intensive. Fortunately, all bad things must come to an end.”

Sunday, December 17, 2017

They Can’t Stop The Revolution From Coming

The FCC’s decision on December 14th to revoke the net neutrality rules creates a new era of corporate control over information. Unless our enfeebled democratic institutions intervene, Internet service providers will be able to block or throttle disfavored websites by the end of January 2018. This will destroy open discourse.

Alternative publications, largely out of print, could lose almost all of their audience. Internet will become more of a luxury item as ISPs are allowed to raise prices for service. In this constrained and pathetic media landscape, the ideas of the ruling class will thrive. The warmongers, racist demagogues, neo-McCarthyites, corporate propagandists, and inane media distractions that infest our discourse will be given elevated platforms. Poverty, the absence of functioning democracy, and the tragic effects of war will be made a lot easier to ignore. The two corporate parties will continue sparring, their small differences presented by the media as meaningful political controversies.
Even if the FCC’s actions won’t have such catastrophic effects, the drive to silence dissent will only keep escalating. In addition to the censorship measures of governments and online companies, the Trump administration has banned the Center for Disease Control from mentioning the words “vulnerable,” “transgender,” fetus,” “evidence-based,” “science-based,” “entitlement,” and “diversity.” This purging, though, is being widely reported on and resisted. The political and media establishments have been subtly destroying words for decades. 
Terms like “neoliberalism” and “nationalism” have been largely omitted from mainstream conversations and then replaced with benevolent-sounding alternatives, like “capitalism” and “patriotism” in the case of those two. “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,” goes a line from 1984 about how the propagandists for totalitarian regimes eliminate threatening language. For those who don’t assimilate into the new language and worldview, the state still has the options of imprisonment and violence.
We are struggling against what’s turning into the most extensive and deadly police state in history. This state is enforced by the American surveillance apparatus, which monitors all of our digital communications in violation of the Fourth Amendment. It emerged from the glorification of guns, the obsession with security, and the rise of reactionary politics that’s defined recent decades. Its lower class adherents, consumed in nihilism and rage from the robbing of their industrial livelihoods, are rallied toward embracing authoritarianism. This is a state that currently imprisons more than 2.3 million people, that has heavily armed police shoot unarmed blacks routinely and with impunity, that’s destroyed the relevance of the constitution and the Geneva Conventions, and that will only become more vicious as social unrest increases.
Fascism’s greatest weakness is that it can’t fulfil the needs for intimacy, empathy or creativity. The only emotions it feeds off of are anger and fear, and the empty thrill of endlessly fighting a series of designated enemies. This is why fascist regimes always relegate art, individuality, and empathy as unimportant or dangerous. They’re threatened by the raw, untameable energy that these things represent.
The fascists will try everything they can to crush the looming class revolt. They’ll keep capitalizing as much as possible on terrorist attacks and natural disasters, as Donald Trump has done with almost blatant eagerness. They’ll instigate pointless, spectacular wars, like the one being prepared for in North Korea. They’ll continue their current rampage against workers’ rights and the social safety net. 
None of this can stop us from building our opposition, however small and futile it might seem most of the time. When we align ourselves with the vulnerable, we make the corporate state weaker. When we refuse to be manipulated by the voices of hatred and fear, we make the corporate state weaker. When we remain human, we make the corporate state weaker.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Delusions Of The Imperialists

The decline of the American empire parallels how much deeper it descends into brutality and self-destructive fantasies. This week in Pensacola, Florida, a Republican senator had a crowd cheer at the suggestion that President Trump will bring about Armageddon. Amid the inflamed violence in Israel from Trump’s “acknowledging” Jerusalem as the capital, he said the rapture is now imminent “because President Trump declared Jerusalem to be capital of Israel.”

This attitude reflects the reckless and self-delusional military approach that empires embrace in their late stages, which America is now consumed with. That panicked impulse to create mass destruction, named “micro-militarism” by historians, was first hinted at by the United States with the failed and genocidal Vietnam War. After a period of decline for the empire, Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded in an attempt to restore hegemony. 
These wars of course only accelerated the collapse. Now, as American alliances and occupations steadily fail and the U.S. dollar slowly approaches irrelevance, the empire desperately tries to revitalize itself by planning for completely unjustifiedwars in Iran and North Korea. These wars would be far worse than those in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing possibly millions of people in their first few hours if nuclear weapons become involved.
The more spectacular the attempts of micro-militarism get, the more convinced the system’s adherents become that their empire remains strong. The dramatic reports of toppled foreign leaders, triumphant missile strikes, and advancing troops and tanks mask the fragility and impermanence that all of our occupations are doomed to at this point. The reveling in our country’s displays of military force distracts from a crumbling nationwide infrastructure, a government that’s totally fused with corporations, and economic inequality that’s found to now be worse than it was in late stage Rome. This denial of our crisis is now aggressively displayed in the ridiculous slogan “Make America Great Again.”
The ruling oligarchs are trying to compensate for the unraveling of their global military operations by creating ever more weapons and passing ever more repressive laws. The military and the CIA, which have gained unprecedented power in the last year, are close to raising the annual military budget to $700 billion. The U.S. military campaigns, expanded to more than a half-dozen countries under Obama, have been radically intensified this year. Violence and persecution against Muslims has escalated with the Supreme Court’s enforcing a travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries. Corporate power, police militarization, and attacks against vulnerable people from law enforcement have exploded in recent months.
This comes as NATO and the U.S. military have been massively expanding their armaments in recent years. America now has around 900 military bases worldwide. The U.S. and NATO have encircled Russia and China with nuclear missiles, while provoking the former country into a new Cold War. Censorship based in manufactured fear of Russia is being enacted in the U.S. and in the E.U. countries. The coerced and propaganda-saturated masses could right now look to Allen Ginsberg’s line: “The soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse.”
These determined embraces of fear, hatred and selfishness, enabled by a morally bankrupt liberal class, are almost unavoidable in the story of a despotic society. “Pity Canada,” writes Chris Hedges about Canada’s current Obama-eque, neoliberal Trudeau government. “Its citizens watch the stages of U.S. decline and then, a few years later, inflict on themselves the same cruelties. It is as if the snuffing out of democracy across the globe and the rise of authoritarian regimes are a preordained Greek tragedy and all of us, in spite of our yearning for liberty, must ominously play an assigned part.”
We can reject the roles we’ve supposedly been assigned of powerless observers in a dystopian series of events. We can go past working in the largely controlled paradigm of elections and petition-signing. We can refuse to pay taxes. We can organize strikes. We can hold refugees and unjustly hunted immigrants in our quarters. We can spread awareness of our government’s lies through our online media and alternative papers and pamphlets.
The fanatics and kleptocrats can’t be completely stopped. They’ve already caused damage to the biosphere that won’t be reversed for millions of years, and they and their vast defenses will concede nothing without direct resistance. But we can keep up our fight with the idea that one day the weapons will be laid down, the people will be let out of their cages, and freedom will be here for us to enjoy.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Reign Of The Demagogues

With the destruction of the middle class and the revolt against our failed liberal institutions and leaders, demagogues have filled the crevices of political decay. After decades of growth in white supremacist and far-right militia groups, racism and wild conspiracy thinking online, and sadistic and bigoted political rhetoric, America has conjured its mass hallucinations into a force that’s now tearing the world apart.

The creators of this hallucination have often not been genuine zealots, but attention-seekers that say whatever will provoke and divide. Donald Trump has privately shown to have more liberal views than he admits; Milo Yiannopoulos changed the views he publicly expresses so that he could become a famous troll; Ann Coulter seems to usually pretend to hold knowingly absurd opinions so that her enemies will be antagonized. They get power and fame by inciting vicious, pointless fighting, whether between ethnic and religious groups or between their polarized supporters and opponents.
People are vulnerable to demagogues when they’re in dejected or desperate life situations, like with the millions of middle and working class whites who’ve had their standard of living decline in recent decades. The unemployed, unhappy, or resentful can find comfort in exploring conspiracy websites and listening to the ravings of authoritarian bigots. Then they vote in politicians that will exact revenge on the vulnerable people they’ve learned to blame.
This happening on a mass scale, after sustained economic and governmental failures, is how all the fascist revolutions in recent history have come about. The only pre-modern example of it is ancient Rome, whose democratic model didn’t reemerge until centuries after the republic fell to demagogues.
“I’ve watched these groups proliferate, grow,” writes George Godwyn, a close observer of our rising fascist movements. “You want to tell yourself that this is a fringe [sic], that the worst, loudest, biggest assholes take over groups like that. That ain’t it. A couple dozen groups have become hundreds, thousands. I’ve read the comments, I’ve clicked on the profiles, and I’ve read the user info for all the perfectly nice, seemingly intelligent, well-spoken citizens cheering ICE incarcerating some sick 10-year-old, saying all Muslim-Americans should be deported, demanding football players who protest the police should be put in jail until they stop kneeling, that some reporter should be thrown in jail for asking the president an uncomfortable question, that Iran and North Korea should immediately be nuked.”
This outcome was signalled in every subtle reactionary and authoritarian change we’ve tolerated for the last several decades. We didn’t rebel when a toxic class of Christain fundamentalists, corporate capitalists, and militarists took power during the 1980’s, then tried to redefine dissent as “anti-American.” We weren’t outraged when Hillary Clinton, while promoting a racist mass incarceration bill, said about black youth: “They are often the kinds of kids that are called superpredators — no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first, we have to bring them to heel.” There were no mass demonstrations when Obama orchestrated a global terrorism campaign with his drone forces, one which killed an innocent sixteen-year-old American boy in 2010. Now we face the consequences.
The last remains of what the Civil Rights movement and the New Deal accomplished are being quickly crushed. Social Security and Medicare are under attack. Voting rights, destroyed by the Supreme Court in 2013, are being eliminated as the Trump administration has examined the voter information of several states. The FBI now places “black identity extremists” as a major terrorist threat, while President Trump has defunded tools for fighting white hate crimes. 
The Trump administration, filled with racists, Holocaust revisionists and Nazi sympathizers, has ended the Department of Forensic Science, let police seize private property with impunity, and further militarized local police departments. This reflects the new enablement of immigration officials to detain and harass disfavored groups with virtual impunity, which was mirrored by the early behavior of the Brownshirts. Torture, a Muslim registry, an enforced internet shutdown, and internment camps are all open for instatement among Trump’s circle.
Their goal is to rehabilitate the failing American empire by fortifying society with more weapons, enforced subservience to authorities, and a racial, religious, and gender hierarchy that gives false security to the upper castes. This only speeds up our republic’s demise. American alliances and military occupations are rapidly failing. The dollar is declining. There are unprecedented bubbles in stocks, the housing market, student loans and banking which foreshadow a coming depression. 
California is considering seceding from the union. Political divisions regularly escalate to violence. These anarchic street clashes are predicted to increase in the coming years, as the collapse of our biosphere provokes green terrorism. America’s unprovoked nuclear threats against Iran and North Korea, correlated with the wild escalations of the drone wars this year, show how empires flail in their dying years. 
“This is it. This is American politics in the 21st century,” writes Godwyn. “We are going to be fighting the lumpen neo-authoritarian right for the rest of our lives, likely. That’s the political territory. This is new, at least in my lifetime. The ideas [have] existed, the culture existed, but it was never so open, so brazen, so pervasive and acceptable.”
Yet we need to fight it. When we reject the worldview of the fascists in our minds, our personal lives, and our reaches of political influence, we create pockets of a different world. If we nurture these pockets, they might one day overtake the self-confident, fortified, but ultimately weak structure that the demagogues have built.

Friday, December 8, 2017

How We'll Defeat The Iran And North Korea War Runups

Since I predicted in May that the American people won’t let the government invade Syria, the collapsing and erratic U.S. empire has only moved its demented rage onto new targets. The conflict with Syria and Russia has for now been de-escalated, but the Trump administration, aided by a wildly aggressive neoconservative establishment, is working toward war against Iran and North Korea.

It’s happening just like the other war runups Americans have been subjected to for the last several generations. White House officials repeat lies about the targeted countries, like the complete falsehood that Iran hasn’t complied with the nuclear deal. Respected institutions enforce the war propaganda, like how the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has issued fraudulent reports this year linking Iran to 9/11. Our minds are bombarded, through a highly consolidated and CIA-controlled media, with ideas that make war seem necessary. Like the belief that North Korea will one day decide to destroy itself by striking the U.S. first, which Kim Jong Un has explicitly refuted multiple times.
Our daily lives reflect how people must have functioned during the transitions into Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Behind all of our regular experiences is a constant, but seemingly distant, attack against democracy and human rights. Then we all find ourselves in an era of fear, struggle and state coercion. America has come close to those extreme dictatorships in the past during wartime, like when Japanese Americans were put in camps in World War II or when opposing Woodrow Wilson’s wars became illegal. But only now does the state have the surveillance apparatus, military equipment, and oligarchic control over society to create something maybe more repressive than any past regime.
The online alternative media that we used to defeat the Syria war runup have come come under attack. Government and corporations are blacklisting, censoring, and threatening dissenting outlets and journalists. These vestiges of truth, crippled as dissenting news sites have had their viewership forced down as much as 80% in recent months, could be wiped out when the FCC repeals net neutrality this month. Yet it was inevitable that the global elite would respond this way to the recent rise of rebellion, and their fear is that we’ll keep fighting after they’ve taken away our tools.
The information revolution might need to continue through on-print alternative media, likely in the form of pamphlets and papers that are put out by independent underground journalists. As our rights to protest and assemble keep being eroded, open resistance will have to be tried under risk of state retribution, like is already true in many ways. Blacklisting, harassment, enforced poverty, surveillance, detainment, and violence are how free thought will increasingly be met with after the next war starts. 
These responses have become more common in the past year as the Trump administration has expanded the existing wars. And the next wave of repression could come when a major terrorist attack happens, which will no doubt be blamed on one of the current regime change countries and used to implement a police state.
Still, if we keep working toward the overthrow of the corporate capitalist war empire and the creation of a more just system, the empire’s wounds will only keep getting bigger. Capitalism is in crisis, giving way to competing radical movements as the ongoing economic recession inflames revolutionary sentiments around the world. Financial, geopolitical, and ecological systems are becoming unstable. The ruling oligarchs are using psy-ops to divert the blame for these upheavals onto external threats, mainly Russia. But the fractures in the neoliberal, globalized system are too big for them to hide the truth.
Now and during the coming war effort, we’ll be targeted with all the propaganda tactics used during the Iraq invasion and other military ventures. We’ll be shown claims about supposed atrocities and threats by the designated enemies. Skeptics will be treated as traitors and atrocity deniers. The slogans, non sequiturs, forced associations, and astroturfing which define modern government psy-op campaigns will subtly try to corral us into supporting the war. If we don’t have the wisdom to resist these tactics, the histories of the Nazi and Stalinist regimes will be repeated, not as tragedy but as farce.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Sirens Of Fascism

Hawaii is now testing its siren systems to prepare for a nuclear attack from North Korea. They don’t have to do this because of an inexplicable urge by Kim Jong Un to destroy his own country by pointlessly starting a nuclear war. The North Koreans agreed to a no use-first policy on their nuclear weapons last year, and Kim Jong Un has repeatedly stated he won’t strike the U.S. unless the U.S. strikes first. The sirens are going off because the U.S. government, the only real provocateur in the tensions with North Korea, knows that threatening nuclear war is the easiest way to end democracy.

Those who paid attention during the Cold War have an instinct for noticing this strategy of totalitarian takeover. The looming image of the Soviet Union was used to justify torture, unconstitutional surveillance, psyops, and the installation of right-wing dictators under guise of fighting communism. Labor and civil rights advocates were denounced as Russian agents, and prosecuted for some years by the American fascist Joe McCarthy. The fear of annihilation made democracy and human rights feel unimportant, which is what the ruling oligarchs have brought back with our current nuclear crisis.
As the corporate media spreads wildly exaggerated fears of an attack, military and corporate rule become easier to impose: the military budget has been raised by 10% twice this year, facilitating a massive expansion of the drone campaigns and the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The president’s surveillance and military powers have been expanded under this year’s NDAA bill, and even more army equipment has been granted to local police departments. The armies that occupied Texas and Florida this year in response to hurricanes Harvey and Irma further show an increase of military control.
The new Cold War campaign against Russia, which NATO and the Democratic Party continue to advance, serves to distract from these and other takeovers. Despite their feuding in the early months of the administration, the Trump regime has given the CIA even more power over foreign affairs than it had previously. This helps the U.S. ruling class, made umpune by the pathetic state of American electoral democracy, further rig the tax code and attack social security and Medicare. It’s also distracted from President Trump’s successful instatement this week of the Muslim travel ban, a policy that provoked massive resistance when it was tried last winter.
McCarthyite censorship measures have been adopted by social media and tech companies, the U.S. government, and next the EU. Last month the EU Vice President Frans Timmermans, in preparation for the anti-”fake news” center that will be set up next year, issued the benevolent-sounding statement: “We live in an era where the flow of information and misinformation has become almost overwhelming. That is why we need to give our citizens the tools to identify fake news, improve trust online, and manage the information they receive.”
It’s been widely perceived something like this would happen for a century or so. The wars, economic crises, and authoritarian revolutions of the early 20th century darkened the expectations for utopia being in humanity’s future. Mechanization has made it possible to eliminate poverty, hunger and inequality, yet whenever modern societies have tried to do this they’ve eventually morphed into fascism. Even the modern Scandinavian countries, initially some of the best models for egalitarianism in history, are now being taken over by white nationalists as the region’s economic inequality has risen in recent decades. It’s like totalitarianism is the only outcome for a civilization with nuclear weapons, mass media, and the technology for complete surveillance.
The reason a society like this drifts toward authoritarianism was hinted at in Timmermans’ words: humanity has so much potential for disseminating information and ideas-and for causing mass destruction-that people eventually become desperate for stability. Stability is offered in the revolution that people like Timmermans are working towards, where human behavior is under the control of protecting elites. Without this hierarchy, they want us to think, order will be lost.
“Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life,” wrote George Orwell about this appeal of authoritarianism. “The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation ‘Greatest happiness of the greatest number’ is a good slogan, but at this moment ‘Better an end with horror than a horror without end’ is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.”
With the coming ecological breakdown, fascism will no doubt become more appealing than ever in the next decades. The military and corporate takeovers that were made after Katrina and the hurricanes of this year serve as a prelude. Our tool for avoiding totalitarianism is shown in the elite’s current drive to destroy net neutrality and censor open online information: the Internet is how humanity can create a stable and peaceful civilization, one that’s democratized and connected to a global network of minds. If this effort to destroy an open Internet succeeds, the fall of the oligarchy might end in a much more broken and chaotic world than otherwise.