Category Archives: Republicans

Democrats Team Up With Trump to Maintain Disastrous Healthcare System

On Tuesday, February 4, Donald Trump delivered his third State of the Union (SOTU) address. As expected, it was filled with contradictions, falsehoods, and distortions. Among other things, Trump spoke for close to ten minutes about health care in the U.S., claiming that he “will always protect Medicare.” However, neither Trump and the Republicans, nor the Democrats can be trusted when it comes to health care.

Just last week, for example, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump suggested he would think about cutting Medicare and Social Security to reduce the federal deficit. The Trump administration also recently announced it would take steps to overhaul Medicaid through a program ironically named “Healthy Adult Opportunity,” allowing states to choose to cut federal government funding they receive at a lump sum or block grant instead of paying a fixed percentage of costs. The goal is for states to reduce spending by decreasing health provider reimbursements, limiting drug coverage, or making it difficult for individuals to qualify for care. Trump’s plans for his 2021 budget are lockstep with his previous statements and would increase military spending while cutting Medicare and Medicaid.

This all comes from an administration that ran on a platform of protecting such programs.  As Trump told Fox News in 2015, “People have been paying in for years. They’re gonna cut Social Security. They’re gonna cut Medicare. They’re gonna cut Medicaid […] I’m the one saying that I’m not gonna do that!” Yet the administration’s most recent budget called for a total of $1.9 trillion in “cost savings” from programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Who Heads Government Health Programs?

Despite Trump’s SOTU remarks, his recent proposals should be no shock when one looks at who he tapped to oversee the distribution of healthcare in the United States. Seema Verma, who helped announce the “Healthy Adult Opportunity” program, serves as head administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Prior to being appointed to her position, Verma was President, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company which helped drive Republican state-level Medicaid reforms while also encouraging state outsourcing to private companies converting government funding into private profits. Since taking office, Verma has been instrumental in allowing states to institute work requirements—essentially requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to prove they are working, by logging work hours regardless of computer or internet access, in order to get health care. She has also railed against universal health care, stating National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) would “strip choice away from millions.”

Trump’s initial Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Tom Price—who resigned in 2017 after it was revealed that he used taxpayer money on personal travel—sponsored congressional budgets to turn Medicaid into a block grant program. Now-current HHS Secretary Alex Azar, sworn into office in 2018, was former head of the pharmaceutical corporation Eli Lilly and played a key role in driving up prices of crucial medicines, such as insulin, to increase profits. Individuals like Azar have proven time and again that they will not work to “lower drug prices” as Trump touted in his SOTU. Instead, Azar will defend the corporate elite; his new government position puts him in a perfect place to do just that. With individuals such as these heading the US healthcare system, it is no wonder such policies are being proposed.

The Democrats Aren’t Innocent Bystanders

While some members of the Democratic Party will want to condemn or distance themselves from these efforts, it is important to note their culpability in helping create the environment for Trump’s current policy proposals. For example, cutting safety net programs that working people rely on is not new for Democrats. As The Intercept recently reported, “As early as 1984 and as recently as 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security in the name of saving the program and balancing the federal budget.” Biden advocated for freezing spending on “every single solitary thing in the government” including Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits.

And Joe Biden is not an outlier. Under the capitalist system, advocating for programs of “austerity” to combat the crises that are built into the system is standard practice. Austerity is often recommended despite evidence suggesting government cuts typically worsen economic downturns. Professor of Economics, Richard Wolff, has analyzed how this system functions, arguing that in times of economic growth, austerity is capitalists’ preferred policy: it means less taxes and thus more profits for them. In times of economic downturn, however, they are the first beneficiaries of state-sponsored bailouts, which require governments to run massive budget deficits.

The cycle Wolff describes only benefits the rich—Democrats and Republicans alike play into it. Despite their rhetoric to the contrary, the Democrats advocate for austerity just as Republicans do, because ultimately they are beholden to the same capitalist interests that run the country.

It should be also noted that the entire distribution of health care under the current for-profit model allows for continued cuts and alterations to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to occur. Dominated by the interests of the medical-industrial complex, leaders of the Democratic party have never articulated the vision that health care should be a human right and the profit motive should be removed from health care. They have never been able to collectively articulate that National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) is the only path to a relatively rational health care system.

Obama was not only not able to garner support for NIMA, but gave up even the modest reform of a public option when advocating for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the ACA did expand Medicaid coverage, Democrats have attempted to frame its passage as a colossal win and this is simply not the case. The ACA mandates individuals purchase insurance from private, for-profit insurance companies, and still leaves 31 million Americans out of coverage. This has created  a situation in which being underinsured is quickly becoming the new normal. The bill was really anything but a win for the majority of Americans.

Trump also spent part of his SOTU bashing NIMA proposals calling them a “socialist takeover of the healthcare system that would disrupt the care of many “happy Americans.” One would think that today with various polls showing a majority of the public now wants Medicare for All, Democrats would oppose Trump’s rhetoric and advocate for such policy. Unfortunately, Democratic elites still refuse to accept NIMA’s popularity. Instead of getting uniformly behind universal health care, we have seen proposals ranging from strengthening the ACA (Biden) to proposals resembling a public option (Buttigieg).

Warren and Sanders have been the only two candidates who have had the courage to advocate going further to Medicare for All. Faced with conservative backlash, however, Warren has considerably back-pedaled on her Medicare for All rhetoric, now saying she would wait until at least her third year in office to attempt implementation. As for the proposed “leader” of the party, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, it was reported as recently as 2019 that her top policy aide was meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield executives and assuring them they did not have to worry about Medicare for All. It appears Pelosi believes her energies would be better suited feigning progressiveness by ripping up Trump’s speeches, rather than actively opposing his poor health care policies by supporting the movement for NIMA.

Often Democrats and Republicans alike who are opposed to the NIMA claim it would be too costly. Various versions of “how we are going to pay for it?” are brought up over and over. Even if one ignores the fact that 30 years of single payer research shows NIMA would save money compared to the status quo, it is peculiar this same argument is not used when discussing funding for instruments of suffering, death, and destruction. The same conversation is never had when talking about providing tax incentives for large capitalist institutions to continue to oppress workers and destroy the planet. The same conversation was not had after 188 Democrats recently joined with Republicans to approve a $738 billion military budget—a budget which upholds the US military contributing more to pending climate collapse then 140 countries combined. The same conversation was not had after the Pentagon failed its first ever audit in 2018 and mysteriously could not account for $21 trillion dollars from 1998 to 2015.

NIMA: A Step Forward for the Working Class

As we have argued in the past, NIMA would be a large step forward for the working class. Currently close to 50% of the US population obtains their healthcare through their employers. This keeps workers in a vulnerable position when it comes to organizing in the workplace, because if a worker loses their job, they and their  family could lose health care coverage, which can be devastating for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or various forms of cancer.

Not having NIMA also puts the public at the mercy of large insurance companies, hospital corporations, and pharmaceutical companies whose number one priority is profit maximization. This leads to companies trying to raise prices for the “product” as much as possible, which leaves the public in an economically precarious position. Today some 70 million Americans are struggling to pay off medical debt, and medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the country. A sudden illness in the US can mean financial ruin. A 2018 study in the American Journal of Medicine (AJM) found almost half of cancer patients studied depleted their entire life savings by the second year of treatment. The financial burden that illness can cause on working-class families under the current for-profit health care—or, put differently, the “exploitation of illness”—is nothing short of outrageous. It shackles working people and keeps them focused on struggling with not only their illness, but also their debt.

The Need to Go Beyond National Improved Medicare for All

The left needs to not only oppose the Trump administration’s current proposals, but advocate for National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) and for health care for all as a human right. At the same time connections must be made to the dynamics of capitalism and imperialism continually benefitting capitalists at expense of us all. The current revolving door system that operates as a result of wealth and power concentration inside capitalism, allows executives from exploitative institutions to continually guide the policy of both Republicans and Democrats. This only reiterates the need to move beyond a two party system structured to benefit the ruling class. In order to take on the vested interests of the medical industrial complex and provide health care each of us wants and needs, we must overcome an economic system based on exploitation and oppression. This system damages the health and well-being not just of humans, but all life systems on our planet. Only once we can transcend capitalism will we have not only a truly just health care system, but a society that prioritizes life and health over capital accumulation.

Failed Prosecutions: Donald Trump Survives the Senate

Never undertake a prosecution unless you have good grounds, and prospects, for a solid conviction.  In the case against President Donald Trump, there was never a serious prospect that the Senate would cool sufficiently to give the Democrats the votes necessary to affirm vote of impeachment in the House.  The GOP remains very much in Trump’s pocket, a remarkable if opportunistic transformation given the innate hostility shown towards him prior to the 2016 elections.  With their allegiance pinned to the Trump juggernaut, the hope is that, come November, the entire effort won’t sink under the toxic miasma that is US politics.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had agonised over the original decision to pursue Trump through impeachment proceedings.  One argument that seemed persuasive was the sense that too much energy would be consumed in the process, taking away from the election cycle and jeopardising the campaign to oust Trump at the ballot box.  She held out for a time, keeping the firebrands at bay.  But the demands of her office, and those around her to do something to combat Trump’s claimed misdemeanours in office, were too profound to ignore.  Even if the effort was bound to lose, a stand had to be made.

Political strategists, however, thought of alternatives as to how best to land enduring blows.  Douglas Heye, former deputy chief of staff to House Majority leader Eric Cantor, felt that censure was more appropriate and would have constituted “a serious rebuke of Trump’s action and might have even garnered some bipartisan support.”

Once commenced, the approach of the Democrats seemed clipped, a crude abridgment that was as much a matter of caution as it was of fear.  The articles of impeachment were narrow, pegged to the issue of Ukraine, the nexus with US electoral interference, and obstruction of Congress.  The meaty report of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, played no part.

For all that, the case against Trump did convince Senator Mitt Romney, the only Republican to be swayed by the arguments that Trump be removed.  The bar for misconduct in executive office, as opposed to the wheeling and dealing that keeps company with the occupant of that office, remains a high one indeed.

The school of thought favouring Pelosi – that the Democrats had to pursue the impeachment route – has force with the likes of Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect.  “Trump’s contempt for the rule of law was so flagrant that it would have been a dereliction of constitutional duty for the House Democrats to turn the other cheek.”  While Trump was not removed from office, “it had to be done, and could yet produce major benefits for the Democrats and the country.” Kuttner, it would seem, is no political strategist.

Keith E. Whittington of Princeton University is also of similar mind.  There were a host of “good reasons”, he claims in Lawfare, in pursuing an impeachment process despite falling at the final hurdle.  It constituted “a kind of formal censure” and “an effort to reassert important constitutional norms.”  For all that, Whittington makes a concession.  While an impeachment process might not be a failure because it ends in acquittal, one “that heightens political divisions without reinforcing the proper limits on conduct of government officials is not much of a success.”

Those divisions were laid bare in their partisanship.  The Republicans ensured minimal scrutiny in the trial process itself, including jettisoning any prospect for calling witnesses.  Further avenues of embarrassment were cut off.  It was a reminder that, however such processes are framed, impeachment is a political scrap rather than a sober judicial assessment.  The Democrats, despite their desperate attempts to make Russiagate swallow Trump, or the allegations regarding the withholding of funding to Ukraine as a quid quo pro for investigating the Bidens, have not been able to shift the ground.

Trump’s fantastically oily manner of conducting politics – an aping of business acumen and crassness – has left opponents wanting.  He slips, ducks and eventually turns the gun pointed at him against the opponent.  He makes sure it is armed, then fires.  The impeachment episode is now being loaded and launched as a means of acquittal and exoneration, while the Democrats are being accused of failed venality. We, claimed Trump “have that gorgeous word.  I never thought a word would sound so good – it’s called, ‘total acquittal.’”  Arithmetic is evidently not the president’s strong suit.

The ever demagogic Louis Dobb of Fox Business is also happily restocking the arsenal, having told his audience that the Senate had “acquitted President Trump of both charges fabricated by Congressional Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi and Adam Schiff, to carry out the most egregious and partisan attack against any president in our history – a man they knew to be innocent.”

The representative Republican position, and not just one held by them, was to be found in the views of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  “Right now, this is a political loser for [the Democrats].  They initiated it.  They thought this was a great idea.”  In the “short term, it has been a colossal political mistake.”  Much reading of the tea leaves is bound to follow.

SOTU shows true colours of all

The State of the Union Speech was pretty much a theatre of the absurd, but it also showed the true colors of everyone involved. As a speech goes, regardless of the content, it was very good on rhetoric. With plenty of theatrics that only a reality game show host could muster, it very likely gave Trump a bump in the ratings, for now. Let’s just wait for his post-acquittal speech where he’s likely to claim himself St. Donald, martyred by the Radical Left Socialist Democrats.

There were of course moments that were bi-partisan, for good or bad. Highlighting the Tuskegee Airman and his great-grandson could have occurred under any president. He gave a scholarship to a young African American girl, and talked about issues that crossed party lines, like planting trees, drug price reduction, and saving Social Security, none of which his administration has ever advocated and often fought for the opposite. Two of the most disgusting moments of bi-partisanship was the awarding of the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh and the standing ovation for Guiado, the usurper of power in Venezuela, and leader of the coup against the elected government.

Rush Limbaugh has been a radio voice for the ultra-right for decades. He has personified hate speech by employing outright crudeness, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and fascism on the air and for this he was given a standing ovation by a majority of the House, including Democrats. In a way, the full House was giving Trump the ovation as his thoughts and actions mirror that of Limbaugh’s. This shows all of their true colors.

America pretends to be a voice for freedom and self-determination all over the world, except that it isn’t. In the chamber was Juan Guaido, who attempted to overthrow the democratically elected president of Venezuela, and just recently snubbed by the EU. Led by Nancy Pelosi, the entire House gave him the respect that could only be offered by a fascist assembly.

Every president lies or exaggerates during a State of the Union Address but true to form, very little of what Trump said last night was truthful. So many of his ‘successes’ were continuations of the previous administration, which he derided throughout the speech. His numbers were cooked, and of course left out what any of it meant. For example, yes the stock market is on the rise. But that only means rich people are getting richer, and nearly half of all Americans don’t even have stocks, let alone enough to make any real difference in their lives. Nancy Pelosi, in a moment of extreme anger and frustration, tore up his speech at the end, calling it a ‘manifestation of mistruths’.

As the saying goes, ‘this is not going to end well.’ Trump will be on a roll, given a rousing speech to his base and blasting the Democrats at every turn, continuing with today’s speech on his acquittal by the Senate, Pelosi and the Democrats, with egg on their faces for their debacle in Iowa, and the campaign continuing next week in New Hampshire; all point to several more months of mutual animosities, distrust, divisiveness, and outright fear of what an unleashed President Trump will do.

• First published 0n PressTV

Trump, Racism, and Fascism: More than Just Personality Disorders

After the supposedly post-racial presidency of Barack Obama, what passes for the liberal punditry discovered racism had arisen in the homeland. They never felt so good feeling bad about racism, denouncing what they identified as its primal cause – Mr. Trump, who was sullying that “shining example” of the United States of America. Obscured were those historical antecedents of this “exceptional” republic, founded on the expropriation of indigenous land and extermination of its inhabitants and built in part by African slave labor.

Peculiar institution of US racism

Trump has been reprehensible in pandering to white racism. But the Republicans have no monopoly on this franchise. We should remember the legacy of Jim Crow and Dixiecrat Democrats in high office including six US senators and two Supreme Court justices who were members of the Ku Klux Klan. FDR, arguably the most liberal US president and a Democrat, force relocated and incarcerated in concentration camps 120,000 Japanese Americans, including orphaned children and people with as little as 1/16th Japanese ancestry.

Unfortunately Trump’s performance has had precedents such as Bill “the first black president” Clinton’s Stone Mountain photo op at the birthplace of the modern KKK with a group of mostly African American prisoners used as props. Clinton followed with the mass incarceration 1994 crime bill and “ending welfare as we know it.” Trump is on the same continuum as past presidents, only more vulgar, more overt, and more virulent.

Racism is institutionalized in the “land of the free;” it is not simply a personality disorder. Institutional racism pervades current politics. Trump’s Protect and Serve Act, making attacks on police a federal hate crime, placed killer cops in a protected class. The heinous act passed with a near unanimous 382-35 vote including three-quarters of the Black Caucus and a bipartisan f**k you to the Black Lives Matter movement. Surely racism is endemic in the DNA of the US polity.

The peculiar institution of US racialized politics does not stop at the border. Wherever there are flashpoints of racial or ethnic conflict, the US government can be found fanning the flames to the advantage of the empire, be it Sunni versus Shia in the Middle East or indigenous versus European ancestry in Latin America. Jeanine Añez, the self-proclaimed president of Bolivia after the recent US-backed coup, had announced it was time to take the indigenous out of not only the government but out of the capital city.

Institutional racism is particularly lethal, because it intersects with and is reinforced by class. Police brutality, mass incarceration, welfare assistance, quality public education, and so forth are called “black issues,” but are of concern to all working people and not just working African Americans. White racism is used to obscure the common interests of working folks by creating the illusion that somehow a white Amazon warehouse worker has common cause with Jeff Bezos.

Specter of fascism

In recent years, the press reports of racist young whites attracted to far-right persuasions including flirting with fascism. Were a significant fascist movement to arise in the US, these dispossessed youth – called the “deplorables” by Hillary Clinton – could serve as its base. But are they the cause or the consequence?

Central casting could not have done better than Donald Trump in finding a picture-perfect caricature of a blonde, bullying fascist. But tacky cosmetics and bad table manners, which Trump has in abundance, do not alone qualify him for the Aryan brotherhood. Now three years into the reign of Trump and despite dire predictions to the contrary, the republic has not yet goose-stepped into fascism.

Racism and narrow nationalism have been historically associated with fascism. Yet Trump’s Muslim ban, however odious, pales in magnitude to the perfidy of Roosevelt’s Japanese internment.

The specter of fascism entails more than white nativism. Fascism takes political form as a specific form of governance. As a form of governance, fascism “arises when, in face of working class challenge, finance capital can no longer rule in the old way,” as Greg Godels explains.

Yes, there was Trump’s Charlottesville comment about “some very fine people” regarding angry young men with shaved heads and swastika tattoos. But these marginalized, barely post-adolescents are not the ruling class. The resentful dispossessed are the byproduct of neoliberal policies and the potential recruits for a fascist movement. They are the tinder, but not the match. The danger of fascism comes from the ruling circles and not from the popular classes.

Downward trajectory of neoliberalism

In the 1930s, capital was initially forced by a militant trade union movement in the US to include labor as a junior partner with the New Deal, which was a diluted form of social democracy. New Deal liberalism was eclipsed around the time of Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency, when he first espoused deregulation and small government, meaning abandonment of the social welfare function of the state. The gospel of neoliberalism got legs with the Reagan revolution. Liberalism’s coffin was nailed shut with the Bill Clinton’s New Democrats as labor was demoted to a special interest group even though it constitutes a vast majority of the citizenry.

Not since Nixon’s presidency has any major liberal legislation been enacted, while the “new liberals” – that is, the neoliberals – are the orthodoxy of both parties of capital. The trajectory of neoliberalism has been ever downward as evidenced by increasing austerity for working people, a more aggressive imperialist extension of US hegemony abroad, and a deepening of the national security state.is downward trajectory of neoliberalism is tied to the concentration of economic power. An ever more authoritarian state serves the interests of ever more concentrated capital.

The increasingly coercive state is obscured behind the electoral charade, where spending obscene amounts of money to buy politicians is protected as free speech and corporations are given the constitutional rights of persons. While nearly half the populace do not vote, the US leads the world in incarceration and military spending.

Given the death of liberalism in mainstream US politics, why would the owners of capital and their bought politicians (the 2016 elections cost $6.6 billion) want to change to brand “fascism”? Brand “bourgeois democracy” has been so terrifically successful in sheep-dogging the people into accepting elite rule and believing they are enjoying real democracy.

Under bourgeois democracy, electoral candidates are allowed to compete to prove who can best serve the ruling elites. Only if the left is strong enough to challenge that agenda and to seriously contest for political power would the ruling circles consider fascism and do away with the façade of elections.

The Sanders Insurgency

Bernie Sanders is not a Marxist revolutionary, but a remnant New Dealer who is soft on imperialism. Sanders, in the context of today’s politics, nevertheless represents a welcome challenge to neoliberal austerity. For now, the establishment is betting that a rigged electoral process (e.g., super delegates), dirty tricks (e.g., the spat with Elizabeth Warren), and a gatekeeper corporate press – all of whom might risk four more years of Trump rather than running a putative progressive against him – will keep Sanders out of serious contention.

But if, say, the Sanders-inspired Our Revolution really became revolutionary and mounted a third-party challenge with prospects of winning, a section of the ruling elites could consider fascism. Neither side of class barricade is there now. Because maintaining a fascist dictatorship is costly and the elites themselves have to give up some of their privileges, the option for trying to impose fascism would likely be made by a just faction of the ruling elites, rather than a unified class.

For the moment, the “f” card is held in distant reserve by those in power in case the insurgency evidenced by the Sanders phenomenon truly ignited, were able to break out of the institutional constraints of the Democratic Party apparatus, and the Resistance ceased being the assistance. Then the struggle could develop in the direction of a choice between socialism and its barbaric alternative.

Preparatory stages of fascism

A critical harbinger of fascism is the growing preeminence of the national security state, which is now seen by the DNC Democrats as a bulwark of democracy rather than the precursor of fascism. The Democrats helped renew the Patriot Act by a landslide, handing President Trump wartime authority to suspend constitutional civil liberties. (Ironically, around the same time, the partisan wargames known as the House impeachment hearings were raging.)

Meanwhile the internet is being weaponized against the left. Elizabeth Warren has proposed censorship of the Web overseen by government in cooperation with big tech companies. These developments, extending the ubiquity of the surveillance state, are the “preparatory stages” of fascism.

The FBI is currently trusted “a great deal” by a 3:1 margin by Democrats compared to Republicans. The saintly visage of former FBI director Robert Mueller and not the snarly appearance of Trump may prove to be the face of fascism in the US. But at least for now, the “f” word is still correctly understood to refer to procreation.

The United States of America’s Doll House: A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions

This is an updated and revised version of the full cover-story that appeared in the important publication, garrison: The Journal of History and Deep Politics, Issue 003.  Issue 004 is due out this week and I urge readers to purchase it.  You will read articles there that you will find no place else, brilliant, eye-opening analyses of issues that the MSM will never touch.

*****

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

— Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 2005

While truth-tellers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning sit inside jail cells and Edward Snowden lives in exile in Russia, the American people hole up in an illusionary dwelling constructed to reduce them to children afraid of the truth.  Or is it the dark?  This is not new; it has been so for a very long time, but it has become a more sophisticated haunted doll’s house, an electronic one with many bells and whistles and images that move faster than the eye can see. We now inhabit a digital technological nightmare controlled by government and corporate forces intent on dominating every aspect of people’s lives. This is true despite the valiant efforts of dissidents to use the technology for human liberation. The old wooden doll houses, where you needed small fingers to rearrange the furniture, now only need thumbs that can click you into your cell’s fantasy world.  So many dwell there in the fabricated reality otherwise known as propaganda.  The result is mass hallucination.

In a 1969 interview, Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans and the only person to ever bring to trial a case involving the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, said that as a result of the CIA’s murderous coup d’état on behalf of the military-industrial-financial-media-intelligence complex that rules the country to this day, the American people have been subjected to a fabricated reality that has rendered them a nation of passive Eichmanns, who sit in their living rooms, popping pills and watching television as their country’s military machine mows down people by the millions and the announcers tell them all the things they should be afraid of, such as bacteria on cutting boards and Russian spies infiltrating their hair salons.  Garrison said:

The creation of such inanities as acceptable reality and unacceptable reality is necessary for the self-preservation of the super-state against its greatest danger: understanding on the part of the people as to what is really happening.  All factors which contribute to its burgeoning power are exaggerated.  All factors which might reveal its corrosive effect on the nation are concealed.  The result is to place the populace in the position of persons living in a house whose windows no longer reveal the outside but on which murals have been painted.  Some of the murals are frightening and have the effect of reminding the occupants of the outside menaces against which the paternal war machine is protecting them.  Other murals are pleasant to remind them how nice things are inside the house.

But to live like this is to live in a doll’s house.  If life has one lesson to teach us, it is that to live in illusion is ultimately disastrous.

In the doll’s house into which America gradually has been converted, a great many of our basic assumptions are totally illusory.1

Fifty years have disappeared behind us since the eloquent and courageous Garrison (read On the Trail of the Assassins) metaphorically voiced the truth, despite the CIA’s persistent efforts to paint him as an unhinged lunatic through its media mouthpieces.  These days they would probably just lock him up or send him fleeing across borders, as with Assange, Manning, and Snowden.

It is stunning to take a cue from his comment regarding the JFK assassination, when he suggested that one reverse the lone assassin scenario and place it in the U.S.S.R.  No American could possibly believe a tale that a former Russian soldier, trained in English and having served at a top Soviet secret military base, who had defected to the U.S. and then returned home with the help of the K.G.B., could kill the Russian Premier with a defective and shoddy rifle and then be shot to death in police headquarters in Moscow by a K.G.B. connected hit man so there would be no trial and the K.G.B. would go scot free.  That would be a howler!  So too, of course, are the Warren Commission’s fictions about Oswald.

Snowden, Assange, and Manning

If we then update this mental exercise and imagine that Snowden, Assange, and Manning were all Russian, and that they released information about Russian war crimes, political corruption,  and a system of total electronic surveillance of the Russian population, and were then jailed or sent fleeing into exile as a result, who in the U.S., liberal, libertarian or conservative, would possibly believe the Russian government’s accusations that these three were criminals.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama, the transparency president, made sure to treat them as such, all the while parading as a “liberal” concerned for freedom of speech and the First Amendment.  He made sure that Snowden and Manning were charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, and that Assange was corralled via false Swedish sex charges so he had to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (a form of jail).  He brought Espionage Act prosecutions against eight people, more than all former presidents combined.   He hypocritically pardoned Manning on his way out the door as if this would polish his deluded liberal legacy after making her suffer terribly through seven years of imprisonment.  He set the stage for Trump to re-jail Manning to try to get this most courageous woman to testify against Assange, which she will not do, and for the collaborationist British government to jail Assange in preparation for his extradition to the United States and a show trial.  As for Snowden, he has been relegated to invisibility, good for news headlines once and for a movie, but now gone and forgotten.

Obama and Trump, arch political “enemies,” have made sure that those who reveal the sordid acts of the American murderous state are cruelly punished and silenced.  This is how the system works, and for most Americans, it is not happening.  It doesn’t matter.  They don’t care, just as they don’t care that Obama backed the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras that has resulted in so many deaths at the hands of U.S trained killers, and then Trump ranted about all these “non-white” people fleeing to the U.S. to escape a hell created by the U.S., as it has been doing throughout Latin America for so long.  Who does care about the truth?  Has anyone even noticed how the corporate media has disappeared the “news” of all those desperate people clamoring to enter the U.S.A. from Mexico?  One day they were there and in the headlines; the next day, gone.  It’s called news.

The Sleepwalkers

But even though a majority of Americans have never believed the government’s explanation for JFK’s murder, they nevertheless have insouciantly gone to sleep for half a century in the doll’s house of illusions as the killing and the lies of their own government have increased over the years and any semblance of a democratic and peaceful America has gone extinct. The fates of courageous whistle-blowers Assange, Manning, and Snowden don’t concern them. The fates of Hondurans don’t concern them.  The fates of Syrians don’t concern them. The fates of Iraqis, Afghans, Yemenis, Palestinians don’t concern them. The fates of America’s victims all around the world don’t concern them.  Indifference reigns.

Obviously, if you are reading this, you are not one of the sleepwalkers and are awake to the parade of endless lies and illusions and do care. But you are in a minority.

That is not the case for most Americans.  When approximately 129 million people cast their votes for Donald Trump and HilIary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, you know idiocy reigns and nothing has been learned. Ditto for the votes for Obama, Bush, Clinton, et al.  You can keep counting back.  It is an ugly fact and sad to say.  Such a repetition compulsion is a sign of a deep sickness, and it will no doubt be repeated in the 2020 election.  The systemic illusion must be preserved at all costs and the warfare state supported in its killing.  It is the American way.

It is true that average Americans have not built the doll’s house; that is the handiwork of the vast interconnected and far-reaching propaganda arms of the U.S. government and their media accomplices.  But that does not render them innocent for accepting decades of fabricated reality for so-called peace of mind by believing that a totally corrupt system works.  The will to believe is very powerful, as is the propaganda.   The lesson that Garrison spoke of has been lost on far too many people, even on those who occasionally leave the doll house for a walk, but who only go slightly down the path for fear of seeing too much reality and connecting too many dots.  There is plain ignorance, then there is culpable ignorance, to which I shall return.

Denying Existential Freedom

One of the first things an authoritarian governing elite must do is to convince people that they are not free.  This has been going on for at least forty years, ever since the Church Committee’s revelations about the CIA in the mid-seventies, including its mind-control program, MKULTRA.  Everyone was appalled at the epiphany, so a different tactic was added.  Say those programs have been ended when, in fact, they were continued under other even deeper secret programs, and just have “experts” – social, psychological, and biological “scientists” – repeat ad infinitum that there is no longer any mind control since we now know there is no mind; it is an illusion, and it all comes down to the brain.  Biology is destiny, except in culturally diversionary ways in which freedom to choose is extolled – e.g. the latest fashions, gender identity, the best hair style, etc.  Create and lavishly fund programs for the study of the brain, while supporting and promoting a vast expansion of pharmaceutical drugs to control people.  Do this in the name of helping people with their emotional and behavioral problems that are rooted in their biology and are beyond their control.  And create criteria to convince people that they are sick and that their distress has nothing to do with the coup d’état that has rendered them “citizens” of a police state.

We have been interminably told that our lives revolve around our brains (our bodies) and that the answers to our problems lie with more brain research, drugs, genetic testing, etc. It is not coincidental that the U. S. government declared the 1990s the decade of brain research, followed up with 2000-2010 as the decade of the behavior project, and our present decade being devoted to mapping the brain and artificial intelligence, organized by the Office of Science and Technology Project and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). How convenient! George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Trump — what a difference! But this is science and the welfare of the world.  Science for idiots.

Drip by drip, here and there, in the pattern of the best propaganda, as the French sociologist Jacques Ellul says – “for propaganda is not the touch of the magic wand. It is based on slow, constant impregnation. It creates conviction and compliance through imperceptible influences that are effective only by continuous repetition”2 – articles, books, media reports have reiterated that people are “determined” by biological, genetic, social, and psychological forces over which they have no control. To assert that people are free in the Sartrean sense (en soir, condemned to freedom, or free will) has come to be seen as the belief of a delusional fool living in the past, a bad philosopher, an anti-scientist, a poorly informed religionist, one nostalgic for existential cafes, Gauloises, and black berets.  One who doesn’t grasp the truth since he doesn’t read the New York Times or watch CBS television. One who believes in nutty conspiracy theories.

The conventional propaganda – I almost said wisdom – created through decades-long media and academic repetition, is that we are not free.

Let me repeat: we are not free.  We are not free.

Investigator reporter Jon Rappoport has consistently exposed the propaganda involved in the creation and expansion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) with its pseudo-scientific falsehoods and collusion between psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry. 3 As he correctly notes, the CIA’s MKULTRA mind-control program has morphed into modern psychiatry, both with the same objectives of disabling and controlling people by convincing them that they are not free and are in need of a chemical brain bath.

Can anyone with an awareness of this history doubt there is a hidden hand behind this development?  Once you have convinced people that they are not free in the most profound sense, the rest is child’s play.  Convinced that they are puppets, they become puppets to be willingly jerked around.

“He played with me just as I used to play with dolls,” says Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

Now who would want to get people to believe they were not free?  The answer is obvious given a minute of thought.  It is not just Nora’s husband Torvald.

Perfect examples of the persistence of the long-term, repetitive, impregnating propaganda appear in news headlines constantly.  Here is an egregious example concerning the little understood case of the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy.  On Friday, August 30, 2019, Sirhan, who has been in prison for fifty-two years for the murder of RFK that he did not commit, was stabbed by another prisoner.  A quick click through the MSM headlines reporting this showed the same words repeated by all the corporate media as they fulfilled their function as CIA stenographers. One example, from CBS News, will suffice: “Robert Kennedy assassin hospitalized after prison stabbing.” RFK assassin, RFK assassin, RFK assassin … all the media said the same thing, which they have been doing for fifty-two years. Their persistency endures despite all the facts that refute their disinformation and show that Senator Kennedy, who was on his way to becoming president, was murdered, like his brother John, by forces of the national security state.

 Sartre and Bad Faith

Lying and dissembling are ubiquitous.  Being deceived by the media liars is mirrored in people’s personal lives.  People lie and want to be deceived.  They choose to play dumb, to avoid a confrontation with truth.  They want to be nice (Latin, nescire, not to know, to be ignorant) and to be liked.  They want to tuck themselves into a safe social and cultural framework where they imagine they will be safe. They like the doll’s house. They choose to live in what Jean Paul Sartre called bad faith (mauvaise foi):  In Existential Psychoanalysis he put it thus:

In bad faith it is from myself that I am hiding the truth. But with this ‘lie’ to myself, the one to whom the lie is told and the one who lies are one and the same person, which means that I must know in my capacity as deceiver the truth which is hidden from me in my capacity as the one deceived.

Such bad faith allows people to fabricate a second act of bad faith: that they are not responsible for their ignorance of the truths behind the government’s and corporate media’s lies and propaganda, even as the shades of the prison house ominously close around us and the world edges toward global death that could arrive in an instant with nuclear war or limp along for years of increasing suffering.

Those of us who write about the U.S. led demented wars and provocations around the world and the complementary death of democracy at home are constantly flabbergasted and discouraged by the willed ignorance of so many Americans.  For while the mainstream media does the bidding of the power elite, there is ample alternative news and analyses available on the internet from fine journalists and writers committed to truth, not propaganda. There is actually far too much truth available, which poses another problem. But it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to research important issues and to learn how to distinguish between bogus and genuine information.  It takes a bit of effort, and, more importantly, the desire to compare multiple, opposing viewpoints and untangle the webs the Web weaves.  We are awash in information (and disinformation) and both good and bad reporting, but it is still available to the caring inquirer.

The problem is the will to know.  But why?  Why the refusal to investigate and question; why the indifference?  Stupidity?  Okay, there is that.  Ignorance?  That too.  Willful ignorance, ditto.  Laziness, indeed. Careerism and ideology?  For certain.  Upton Sinclair put it mildly when he said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on not understanding it.”  Difficult?  No, it’s almost impossible.

But then there are many very intelligent people who have nothing to lose and yet adamantly refuse to entertain alternative possibilities to the reigning orthodoxies that have them in their grip.  As do many others, I know many such people who will yes me to death and then never fully research issues.  They will remain in limbo or else wink to themselves that what may be true couldn’t be true.  They close down.  This is a great dilemma and frustration faced by those who seek to convince people to take an active part in understanding what is really going on in the world today, especially as the United States wages war across the globe, threatens Russia, China, and Iran, among many others, and expands and modernizes its nuclear weapons capabilities.

As for Assange, Manning, and Snowden, their plight matters not a whit.  In fact, they have been rendered invisible inside the doll’s house, except as the murals on the windows flash back their images as threats to the occupants, Russian monsters out to eat them up.  As the great poet Constantine Cavafy wrote long ago in his poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and they never come: “Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?  Those people were a kind of solution.”  Then again, for people like U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, who knows the Russian barbarians have and will come again, life must be terrifying as he tries so manfully to bar the gates.  The Russians have been the American solution in this fairy tale for so long that it’s hard for many Americans to believe another story.

The Two-Headed Monster

On the one hand, there is the massive propaganda apparatus operated by American intelligence agencies in conjunction with their media partners.

On the other, there is the human predilection for untruth and illusions, the sad need to be comforted and to submit to greater “authority,” gratefully to accept the myths proffered by one’s masters.  This tendency applies not just to the common people, but even more so to the intellectual classes, who act as though they are immune.  Erich Fromm, writing about Germans and Hitler, but by extension people everywhere, termed this the need to “escape from freedom,” since freedom conjures up fears of vertiginous aloneness and the need to decide, which in turn evokes the fear of death.4   There are also many kinds of little deaths that precede the final one: social, career, money, familiar, etc., that are used to keep people in the doll’s house.

Fifty years ago, the CIA coined the term “conspiracy theory” as a weapon to be used to dismiss the truths expressed by critics of its murder of President Kennedy, and those of Malcom X, MLK, and RFK.  All the media echoed the CIA line.  While they still use the term to dismiss and denounce, their control of the mainstream media is so complete today that every evil government action is immediately seconded, whether it be the lies about the attacks of September 11, 2001, the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran, etc., the coups disguised as color revolutions in Ukraine, Venezuela, Bolivia, Hong Kong, the downing of the Malaysian jetliner there, drone murders, the Iranian “threat,” the looting of the American people by the elites, alleged sarin gas attacks in Syria, the anti-Russia bashing and the Russia-gate farce, the “criminals” Assange, Manning, Snowden – everything.  The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Fox News, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc. – all are stenographers for the deep state.

So much of the ongoing propaganda travels under the banner of “the war on terror,” which is, of course, an outgrowth of the attacks of September 11, 2001, appropriately named and constantly reinforced as 9/11 in a wonderful example of linguistic mind-control: a constant emergency reminder to engender anxiety, depression, panic, and confusion, four of the symptoms that lead the DSM “experts” and their followers to diagnose and drug individuals.  The term 9/11 was first used in the New York Times on September 12, 2001 by Bill Keller, the future Times’ editor and Iraq war cheerleader.  Just a fortuitous coincidence, of course.

Jacques Ellul on Propaganda

Jacques Ellul has argued convincingly that modern propaganda in a technological mass society is more complicated than the state and media lying and deceiving the population.  He argues that propaganda meets certain needs of modern people and therefore the process of deceit is reciprocal.  The modern person feels lost, powerless, and empty. Ellul says, “He realizes that he depends on decisions over which he has no control, and that realization drives him to despair.”  But he can’t live in despair; desires that life be meaningful; and wants to feel he lives in a world that makes sense.  He wants to participate and have opinions that suggest he grasps the flow of events.  He doesn’t so much want information, but value judgments and preconceived positions that provide him with a framework for living.  Ellul wrote the following in 1965 in his classic book Propaganda:

The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing any opinion: this gives them the feeling of participation.  For they need simple thoughts, elementary explanations, a ‘key’ that will permit them to take a position, and even readymade opinions….The man who keeps himself informed needs a framework….the more complicated the problems are, the more simple the explanations must be; the more fragmented the canvas, the simpler the pattern; the more difficult the question, the more all-embracing the solution; the more menacing the reduction of his own worth, the greater the need for boosting his ego.  All this propaganda – and only propaganda – can give him.5

Another way of saying this is that people want to be provided with myths to direct them to the “truth.”  But such so-called truth has been preconceived within the overarching myth provided by propaganda, and while it satisfies people’s emotional need for coherence, it also allows them to think of themselves as free individuals arriving at their own conclusions, which is a basic function of good propaganda.  In today’s mass technological society, it is essential that people be convinced that they are free-thinking individuals acting in good faith.  Then they can feel good about themselves as they lie and act in bad faith.

Culpable Ignorance

It is widely accepted that political leaders and the mass media lie and dissemble regularly, which, of course, they do. That is their job in an oligarchy.  Today we are subjected to almost total, unrelenting media and government propaganda. Depending on their political leanings, people direct their anger toward politicians of parties they oppose and media they believe slant their coverage to favor the opposition.  Trump is a liar.  No, Obama is a liar.  And Hillary Clinton.  No, Fox News.  Ridiculous! – it’s CNN or NBC.  And so on and so forth in this theater of the absurd that plays out within a megaplex of mainstream media propaganda, where there are many shows but one producer, whose overall aim is to engineer the consent of all who enter, while setting the different audiences against each other.  It is a very successful charade that evokes name-calling from all quarters.

In other words, for many people their opponents lie, as do other people, but not them. This is as true in personal as well as public life.  Here the personal and the political converge, despite protestations to the contrary.  Dedication to truth is very rare.

But there is another issue with propaganda that complicates the picture further.  People of varying political persuasions can agree that propaganda is widespread.  Many people on the left, and some on the right, would agree with Lisa Pease’s statement in her book on the RFK assassination, A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, that “the way the CIA took over America in the 1960s is the story of our time.”6  That is also what Garrison thought when he spoke of the doll’s house.

If that is so, then today’s propaganda is anchored in the events of the 1960s, specifically the infamous government assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, and RFK, the truth of which the CIA has worked so hard to conceal. In the fifty or so years since, a vast amount of new information has made it explicitly clear that these murders were carried out by elements within the U.S. government, and were done so to silence the voices of four charismatic leaders who were opposed to the American war machine and the continuation of the Cold War. To turn away from this truth and to ignore its implications can only be described as an act of bad faith and culpable ignorance, or worse.  But that is exactly what many prominent leftists have done.  Then to compound the problem, they have done the same with the attacks of September 11, 2001.

One cannot help thinking of what the CIA official Cord Meyer called these people in the 1950s: “the compatible left.”  He felt that effective CIA propaganda, beside the need for fascist-minded types such as Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, depended on “courting” leftists and liberals into its orbit. For so many of the compatible left, those making a lot of money posing as opponents of the ruling elites but often taking the money of the super-rich, the JFK assassination and the truth of September 11, 2001 are inconsequential, never to be broached, as if they never happened, except as the authorities say they did. By ignoring these most in-your-face events with their eyes wide shut, a coterie of influential leftists has done the work of Orwell’s crime-stop and has effectively succeeded in situating current events in an ahistorical and therefore misleading context that abets U.S. propaganda.  They truncate the full story to present a narrative that distorts the truth.

Without drawing a bold line connecting the dots from November 22, 1963 up to the present, a critique of the murderous forces ruling the United States is impossible.

Among the most notable of such failures are Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Howard Zinn, and Chris Hedges, men idolized by many liberals and leftists.  And there are many others who have been deeply influenced by Chomsky, Cockburn, and Zinn and follow in their footsteps.  Their motivations remain a mystery, but there is no doubt their refusals have contributed to the increased power of those who control the doll’s house.  To know better and do as they have is surely culpable ignorance.

From Bad to Worse

Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks, increased or decreased in the past half century?  Who is winning the battle, the people or the ruling elites?  The answer is obvious. It matters not at all whether the president has been Trump or Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, Barack Obama or George H. W. Bush, Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter.  The power of the national security state has grown under them all and everyone is left to moan and groan and wonder why.  All the while the doll’s house has become more and more sophisticated and powerful with the growth of electronic media and cell phone usage.

The new Cold War now being waged against Russia and China is a bi-partisan affair, as is the confidence game played by the secret government intended to create a fractured consciousness in the population.  This fragmentation of consciousness prevents people from grasping the present from within because so many suffer from digital dementia as their attention hops from input to output in a never-ending flow of mediated, disembodied data. Trump and his followers on one side of the coin; liberal Democrats on the other. The latter, whose bibles are the New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Democracy Now, The Guardian, etc. – can only see propaganda when they can attribute it to Trump or the Russians. The former see everything as a liberal conspiracy to take down Trump.  The liberals have embraced a new McCarthyism and allied themselves with the deep-state forces that they were once allegedly appalled by, including Republicans.  Their embrace of the formerly despised war-monger John Bolton in the impeachment trial of Trump is a laughable case in point, if it weren’t so depraved and slimy.  It surely isn’t the bloodthirsty policies of the Trump administration or his bloviating personality, for these liberals allied themselves with Obama’s anti-Russian rhetoric, his support for the U.S. orchestrated neo-fascist Ukrainian coup, his destruction of Libya, his wars of aggression across the Middle East, his war on terror, his trillion dollar nuclear weapons modernization, his enjoyment of drone killing, his support for the coup in Honduras, his embrace of the CIA and his CIA Director John Brennan, his prosecution of whistle-blowers, etc.  The same media that served the CIA so admirably over the decades became the liberals’ paragons of truth.  It’s enough to make your head spin, which is the point.  Spin left, spin right, spin all around, because we have possessed your mind in this spectacular image game where seeming antinomies are the constancy of the same through difference, all the presidents coined by the same manufacturer who knows that coin flipping serves to entertain the audience eager for hope and change.

This is how the political system works to prevent change.  It is why little has changed for the better over half a century and the American empire has expanded.  While it may be true that there are signs that this American hegemony is coming to an end (I am not convinced), I would not underestimate the power of the U.S. propaganda apparatus to keep people docile and deluded in the doll’s house, despite the valiant efforts of independent truth-tellers.

How, for example, is it possible for so many people to see such a stark difference between the despicable Trump and the pleasant Obama?  They are both puppets dancing to their masters’ tunes – the same masters.  They both front for the empire.

In his excellent book, Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State, Jeremy Kuzmarov assiduously documents Obama’s crimes, including his CIA background.7 As Glen Ford, of Black Agenda Report, says in the first sentence of his forward, “Barack Obama may go down in presidential history as the most effective-and deceptive-imperialist of them all.” Read the book if you want all the details.  They form an overwhelming indictment of the con artist and war criminal that is irrefutable.  But will those who worship at the altar of Barack Obama read it?  Of course not.  Just as those deluded ones who voted for the reality television flim-flam man Trump will ignore all the accumulating evidence that they’ve been had and are living under a president who is Obama’s disguised doppelganger, carrying out the orders of his national security state bosses. This, too, is well documented, and no doubt another writer will arise in the years to come to put it between a book’s covers.

Yet even Jeremy Kuzmarov fails to see the link between the JFK assassination and Obama’s shilling for the warfare state.  His few references to Kennedy are all negative, suggesting he either is unaware of what Kennedy was doing in the last year of his life and why he was murdered by the CIA, or something else.  He seems to follow Noam Chomsky, a Kennedy hater, in this regard.  I point out this slight flaw in an excellent book because it is symptomatic of certain people on the left who refuse to complete the circle.  If, as Kuzmarov, argues, Obama was CIA from the start and that explains his extraordinarily close relationship with the CIA’s John Brennan, an architect, among many things, of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, and that Obama told CIA Director Panetta that the CIA would “get everything it wanted,” and the CIA killed JFK, well, something’s amiss, an enormous gap in the analysis of our current condition.

The doll’s house is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites that run the show and ably abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.  It is a spectacle of open secrecy, in which the CIA has effectively suckered everyone into a game of to-and-fro in which only they win.

Our only hope for change is to try and educate as many people as possible about the linkages between  events that started with the CIA coup d’état in Dallas on November 22, 1963, continued through the killings of Malcolm X, MLK, RFK and on through so much else up to September 11, 2001, and have brought us to the deeply depressing situation we now find ourselves in where truthtellers like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are criminalized, while the real perpetrators of terrible evils roam free.

Yes, we must educate but also agitate for the release of this courageous trio.  Their freedom is ours; their imprisonment is ours, whether we know it or not.  The walls are closing in.

Lisa Pease is so right:

The way the CIA took over America in the 1960s is the story of our time, and too few recognize this.  We can’t fix a problem we can’t even acknowledge exists.

If we don’t follow her advice, we will be toyed with like dolls for a long time to come.  There will be no one else to blame.

  1. Interview with Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Parish of Orleans, Louisiana, May 27, 1969.
  2. Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Jacques Ellul, Vintage Books, 1973, pp. 17-18.
  3. Jon Rappoport, CIA mind control morphed into psychiatry?  July 11, 2017.
  4. Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm, Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1941.
  5. Ellul, op cit., p. 140.
  6. A Lie Too Big To Fail, Lisa Pease, Feral House, 2018, pp.500-501.
  7. Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State, Jeremy Kuzmarov, Clarity Press, 2019.

Seeking a New Narrative and Finding 20/20 Vision in 2020

The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Year finds me ensconced in Tucson, Arizona.  This is definitely not Trump country.  Our man in The U.S. House of Representatives is Raul Grijalva, possibly one of the most influential liberals in D.C.  Tucson’s newly-elected mayor is Regina Romero, a Latina leftie who doesn’t shrink from the task of taking on every conceivable social issue.  And I have begun attending what might just be the most influential church in the U.S.A. when it comes to actually DOING the work of Jesus Christ, and not just chatting about it:  Southside Presbyterian, where the Sanctuary Movement began, and which still actively ruffles the feathers of those who believe that the only good “illegal” immigrant is a dead one.  If you want to make enemies in these parts, just say a few words portraying your current U.S. President as being anything other than the slimy, smug, self-righteous, racist, misogynist, hate-monger which he is.  So now my conundrum is this: how do I convince anyone, amid the shitstorm of anti-Trump hysteria, that the man is just playing his part in a multi-year drama?  He’s simply been assigned the part of a president in this country’s latest quadrennial election/selection/faux-democracy, divide and conquer spectacle…brought to the populace along with “bread” from the Agro-Chemical Industry, and “circus” compliments of virtually every major “news” source, under the omniscient direction of our dear friends at The C.I.A.

Nobody wants to be played for a fool.  Obama’s act was equally as impressive as Trump’s.  Plenty good enough to leave him in place on the political stage for a four year encore.  His keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention had me writing letters to editors, endorsing him for president in ’08.  And during his inauguration eleven years ago, I wept for joy.  Then within a year, my delusions surfaced like bubbles from a champagne bottle.  By some estimations, my one-time hero dropped more tons of bombs on foreign countries in wars for profit than any of the 43 before him.  He also deported a record breaking number of “illegals”.  And when he started referring to his fellow-Americans as “exceptional” with disturbing regularity, I finally understood that I’d been played for a fool.  I’d swallowed the charismatic, C.I.A.-directed act of this man who had won the hearts and minds of at least half of all Americans.

Seems to me that it’s fair to say that certain groups of Americans join one of the two major parties for similar reasons.  The two parties have the game tied up, and nobody else is allowed a place on the playing field. Therefore if you want to be heard, you become either Republican or Democrat.  Who becomes Republican?  Rich bastards who want to stay that way and poor bastards who strive only to be rich.  Social issues, other than possibly White Supremacy and the sacred Second Amendment, do not apply.  And who becomes Democrat?  Good folks who truly love their fellow humans, care for the environment, whose hearts bleed for social justice issues, and who take the teachings of the Prince of Peace seriously…a few even daring to dream of actual peace on earth.

Lucky for the folks in charge of the U.S.A.’s two acceptable parties, the country is roughly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats…or heartless assholes and bleeding hearts.  And since those powerful elites who run both parties do their private partying together, and answer to even more powerful forces than themselves on Wall Street, they work day and night to maintain the status quo…to control the narrative and direct the ongoing political drama.  And unfortunately for those Democrats who still dream of peace on earth, the candidates which are chosen for them are forbidden to do anything which might threaten the continuation of a national policy of International Piracy…of wars for profit…of traditional wars, hybrid wars, wars which kill with bombs and bullets, wars which kill with sanctions and blockades, wars which kill legitimate national leaders and overthrow governments, wars sold like toothpaste to a gullible American public.  Wars sometimes festively wrapped in red, and as often in blue, but wars which will continue unabated unless the stranglehold is broken.  Wars which, by some estimations equate to 20 million foreign murders by The U.S.A. just since the end of World War II.

Here’s what we have to look forward to in the upcoming election season:  Trump has shown himself to be as adept at pissing off liberals as semi-blackish Obama was at infuriating conservatives.  So I’d guess that the plan is to keep the orange ogre for another four year act.  Like a giant sporting event, Americans of all persuasions are kept off balance by the politicians they despise.  It’ll give the Democrats four more years to fuss, fret, and search desperately for a new president from within their ranks, and to completely forget about peace on earth.  Tulsi Gabbard, the only vocal anti-war presidential candidate in recent history has, of course, been eliminated through the process of being ignored by rabid Rachel at MSNBC, and in collusion, politically assassinated by being often interviewed on FAUX News.  Tulsi, our best hope for opening the way for peace, will likely be out of her job as U.S. Congressperson within the next few years…hijacked and betrayed by her own party…rejected by the established status quo, which is and has always been powered by hate, death, and war.  In the quadrennial election/selection/faux-democracy, divide and conquer spectacle, there are eight words which must never be spoken…those are the seven words George Carlin said that must never be uttered on television plus that horrible four-letter utterance which has the potential to upend everything which our two-headed dragon of a political system has accomplished.  That word is “peace”.  No corrective emails, please.  I can count the letters in peace.

Peace on earth will not likely come from the assholes on the red side of the aisle.  So to the good folks who gather under the blue banner to fight for justice, battle racism, end misogyny, stop border wall construction, reverse climate change, and save the whales, I have a few words:  All of your good intentions are for naught, until you realize that the choice between war and peace is the only social issue of any real importance in these United States and worldwide.  How can we, with straight faces, speak of overcoming racism on home turf, when we’re dropping bombs on innocent people of all colors living in an undisclosed number of mostly vulnerable, resource-rich, third world countries?  Obama managed to juggle at least seven undeclared wars at once.  How can we meaningfully address climate change while our politicians on both sides of the aisle defoliate half of Asia, drop depleted uranium all over the Mideast, and turn the spoils of war (including the last remaining stands of rainforest) over to their Wall Street overlords for harvesting?  What good is equal pay for U.S. women, when their newfound wealth pays for, and is responsible for the bombs which routinely scatter the body parts of their sisters in foreign lands among the burned branches of their once productive olive orchards?

I’m inviting all loyal Democrats and other folks with good intentions to join me here in in the thankless periphery of The U.S. Empire, and to see your government for the ugly cancer upon earth which it has become.  Our beloved Founding Fathers were International Pirates, and they’ve passed down that baton to their scions for much too long.  The Great American Holocaust, which decimated the advanced culture once occupying the entire Western Hemisphere, dwarfed Hitler’s puny version.  The abomination of slavery fueled the “success” of capitalism.  Those International Pirates own and control the sham democracy of the exceptional people, and do so from positions of power on both sides of the political aisle.  This is an invitation to take part in the long overdue slaying of our favorite sacred cow…the election process…which has always been controlled, but which can now be done with the click of a mouse.  Let’s call it what it is:  A cruel joke…a tale told by an idiot…a fake choice between a sharp stick in the eye or a kick in the groin.  American Democracy, my ass!  It is time for a coup d’etat in this country, and the likely place to kick it off is from within the Democratic Party.

‘Tis high time to take control…to admit that we’ve all been played for fools, and to yell from the rooftops that we’re no longer going to take it…no longer will we vote for what appears to be the slightly less toxic of two groomed and approved candidates.  It’s time to demand…to DEMAND positive change from the Democrats, and to accept nothing less.  Perhaps there’s still time to resurrect Tulsi Gabbard’s bold bid for office…to realize that she’s one of the ones we’ve been waiting for…apparently the real deal…a breath of fresh political air.  Time to storm the offices of the Democratic elites and break out the tar and feathers (figuratively, of course).  Time to ditch those deceptive rose-colored glasses and find once again the 20/20 vision with which we were born.  Ed Abbey said that “Society is like a stew.  If you don’t stir it up once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.”  I just hope we can still force a spoon into the mountain of scum accumulated in our hallowed halls of government.  It will indeed take all the strength and resolve we can muster.  What say we find out just how exceptional we really are?

The Imminent Threat of Trump and the Value of Progressive Third Parties

As predictable as death and taxes is the quadrennial injunction from liberals for progressive third parties to cease and desist. Equally predictable is the admonition that this will be the most decisive presidential election in US history. Given the prospect of four more years of Trump, do they have a valid thesis or are they once again just sheep-dogging those of little faith back into the true church of the Democratic Party?

Prominent left-liberals Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Leslie Cagan, Ron Daniels, Kathy Kelly, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters and Michael Albert issued an Open Letter entreating third parties to “remove themselves as a factor” in the 2020 presidential election to “benefit all humanity and a good part of the biosphere.” They were addressing Howie Hawkins’ The Green Party Is Not the Democrats’ Problem. Hawkins is running for the Green Party’s presidential nomination.

Chomsky et al. “agree with much” that Hawkins argues except for the matter of whether third parties should engage in electoral politics. To be more precise, they think that it is perfectly copacetic for third parties to run in safe states where they don’t have a chance of affecting electoral outcomes, but not in swing states. Third parties should feel free to do what the Open Letter condescendingly describes as their “feel-good activity” if they are guaranteed to be ineffectual, but not otherwise. In short, these left-liberals are adverse to an independent left outside of the Democratic Party.

Shamelessly, the Open Letter proclaims: “we too are furious at Democrats joining Republicans in so many violations of justice and peace.” These left-liberals agree the Democrats have indeed become ever more odious and indistinguishable from the Republicans. They understand that the degeneration of the Democratic Party has progressed so far that sugar-coating it doesn’t pass the red face test.

The left-liberal mantra is support the Dems despite their politics, not because of their politics, to avoid an even greater evil. Their solution, however, is to reward bad behavior by pledging – even before the primaries – to vote for whomever the Democrats dredge up.

Hawkins advises the Dems to stop obsessing about third parties and concentrate on mobilizing their base because they have more registered voters than the Republicans. In the long run, replace the Electoral College with a direct popular vote. Republicans Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016 lost the popular vote.

Further, the best way for the Democrats to avoid losing votes to a progressive third party is to preempt their issues for combatting global warming, reducing income inequality, dismantling the national security state, and ending militarism. A left alternative in the electoral arena challenges the Democrats to be progressive. Otherwise they have little incentive to raise these crucial issues and instead can content themselves by continuing to whip the dead horse of Russiagate. Removing a third-party challenge from the left is tantamount to encouraging the Democrats to shift to the right with the assurance that their progressive-leaning captured constituencies such as ethnic minorities and labor have nowhere else to go.

When Ralph Nader ran for president in 2000 as a Green, he offered to drop out of the race if Democratic candidate Al Gore would adopt a minimal progressive platform. Gore refused. If progressive third parties don’t contest and raise the important issues of the day, those issues will die in the “graveyard of social movements,” also known as the Democratic Party.

The Open Letter, it should be noted, calls for progressive third parties to capitulate even before the Democratic presidential candidate has been chosen and the platform drafted. This is the opposite of moving the Democrats in a progressive direction.

To use a popular term, there is no quid quo pro. Progressives are entreated to drop out but get no assurances in return. What is virtually assured by the Open Letter strategy is that Democrats will run on a de facto single-issue platform: we are not Trump. Wall Street backers of the Democratic Party will be delighted.

The fact that the Open Letter demands that third parties abstain from effectively raising issues is symptomatic of the crisis of liberalism within the Democratic Party and the larger polity. As Chomsky himself perceptively observed, Republican Richard Nixon was “the last liberal president.” Nixon created the EPA and OSHA, recognized the People’s Republic of China, supported the equal rights amendment, expanded food stamps and welfare assistance, substantially cut military spending, and signed a suite of environmental and affirmative action acts. Since Tricky Dick, virtually no major progressive legislation has passed.

Liberalism, which made progressive contributions in the past, is dead but not down. As exemplified by the Open Letter, liberalism today has been relegated to (1) attacking and suppressing the independent left while (2) legitimizing the purveyors of neoliberalism and imperialism. The authors of the Open Letter have made immense contributions to progressive causes in the past. Yet leaning on their well-earned laurels does not obviate the bankruptcy of their current position.

Yet does the imminent threat of Trump render all other concerns moot? From a left perspective, the Open Letter is right on target in cautioning that the reelection of Trump would be “global catastrophe.” But would election of a Democrat avoid such an outcome or is the problem deeper?

The Democratic Party is now the full-throated proponent of neoliberal austerity at home, aggressive militarism abroad, and the ubiquitous national security state. Democrats gave landslide approvals to a record high war budget and renewal of the Patriot Act, while Pelosi’s “pay-go” act doomed prospects for future progressive legislation. The last Democratic president’s deportations, drone strikes, wars in seven countries, multi-trillion-dollar upgrading of the US’s nuclear war fighting capacity, multi-trillion-dollar quantitative easing gift to finance capitalists, extension of the tax cut for the rich, and so forth also rise – giving credit where credit is due – to the level of catastrophe.

But what about the environment? Here, giving credit where credit is due, the Dems may be better but not better enough, if avoiding environmental disaster is our metric. The biosphere, to use the terminology of the Open Letter, has the choice of climate change deniers and those who recognize global warming and do nothing about it.

Actually, that is giving the Dems more credit than they deserve. To quote no lesser an authority than Mr. Obama: “Suddenly America is the largest oil producer, that was me, people … say thank you.”  When oilman Bush the younger was president, US oil production declined; under Obama, it nearly doubled.

What is needed is a break from rapacious capitalism, and this will not happen with either of the two parties of capital. Voting for the lesser evil of your choice does not break the calamitous rightward trajectory of worse and worse presidential prospects but perpetuates it. So, yes, Trump is arguably worse than Dubya (now viewed favorably by a majority of the Dems) or Romney or McCain.

The downward political spiral precipitated by lesser evil voting is reflected in Time magazine’s observation in 2011: “Now Obama is fashioning his own presidency to follow the Gipper’s [Ronald Reagan] playbook.” If the vicious cycle of voting for the lesser evil is not broken, future generations of progressives may look back nostalgically to the Trump years.

Left-liberals toil to influence the Democratic Party from within – what could be characterized as their feel-good activity – which gave us hawkish Hillary Clinton in 2016. (To be evenhanded, the outcomes to date seem to suggest that working within the Democratic Party and working outside have had similarly quixotic results.)

The progressive third-party strategy is to pull the political spectrum to the left from the outside, which has a greater potential than unconditionally joining the lesser evil party. To paraphrase Hawkins, third parties don’t spoil elections; they improve them.

Indeed, left third parties must contest the Democratic Party’s presumptive electoral hegemony with its ruinous directions in both warmongering and environmental turpitude, often outdoing the Republicans in the former and peddling a go-slow, soft-denialist approach to the latter.  The Open Letter is correct that the situation is dire. Their solution is to make it more so.

Trump is the hook; the Dems are the bait. Don’t swallow it and get reeled in by the two-party duopoly. A better world is possible.

Now Three Years into the Reign of Trump, What’s Left?

On January 20, Donald G. Trump completed his third year in office. My one blog that received five-digit Facebook shares predicted Trump would lose in 2016. I was spectacularly wrong but not alone. Even the Las Vegas bookies thought Clinton was a shoo-in with her unbeatable two-punch knockout of (1) I’m not Trump and (2) World War III with the Russians would be peachy at least until the bombs start falling. What could possibly have gone wrong?

More to the point, the unexpected victory of Trump was the historical reaction to the bankruptcy of Clinton-Bush-Obama neoliberalism. Now after three years of Mr. Trump, what’s left?

During the George W. Bush years – he’s now viewed favorably by a majority of Democrats – Democrats could wring their tied hands to the accolades of their base. My own Democrat Representative Lynn Woolsey stood up daily in the House and denounced Bush’s Iraq war. For a while there was a resurgent peace movement against US military adventures in the Middle East, which was even backed by some left-leaning liberals.

But the moment that Obama ascended to the Oval Office, the Iraq War became Obama’s war, Bush’s secretary of war Gates was carried over to administer it, and Woolsey forgot she was for peace. No matter, Obama, the peace candidate, would fix it. Just give him a chance. For eight years, Obama was given a chance and the peace movement went quiescent.

Trump takes office

Surely a Republican president, I thought, would harken a rebirth of the peace movement given the ever-inflated war budget and the proliferation of US wars. The US is officially at war with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger. To the official list are any number of other states subject to drone attacks such as Iran, Pakistan, and Mali. And then there are some 30 countries targeted with illegal unilateral coercive measures as form of economic warfare. Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the demonstration.

With Republicans in control of both Congress and the White House, my expectation was that Democrats would safely take a giant step to the right in accordance with their Wall Street funders, while safely keeping a baby step to the left of the Republicans appeasing their liberal-leaning base. To certain extent, this is what happened with Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy. The Democrats could and did claim that their hands were once again tied…wink, wink to their Wall Street handlers.

Yet on many more fundamental issues, the Democrats did not take advantage of paying lip service to their base’s economic priorities by attacking the Republicans on their weak left flank. No, the Democrats mounted an assault on the Republicans from the right with what The Hill called Pelosi’s “fiscally hawkish pay-as-you-go rules,” increasing the war budget, and launching Russiagate. Instead of appealing to working people on bread and butter issues, the Democrats gave us turbo-charged identity politics.

Bernie Sanders had raised genuine issues regarding runaway income inequality and plutocratic politics. However, Sanders was suppressed by a hostile corporate press and an antagonistic Democratic Party establishment, which arguably preferred to risk a Republican victory in 2016 than support anyone who questioned neoliberal orthodoxy.

Sanders’ issues got asphyxiated in the juggernaut of Russiagate. His legacy – so far – has been to help contain a progressive insurgency within the Democratic Party, the perennial graveyard of social movements. Had Mr. Sanders not come along, the Democrats – now the full-throated party of neoliberal austerity at home and imperial war abroad – would have needed to invent a leftish Pied Piper to keep their base in the fold.

So, after three years of Trump, the more than ever needed mass movement against militarism has yet to resurrect in force, notwithstanding promising demonstrations in immediate response to Trump’s assassination of Iran’s Major General Soleimani on January 3 with more demonstrations to come.

Imperialism and neoliberalism

Dubya proved his imperialist mettle with the second Iraq war; Obama with the destruction of Libya. But Trump has yet to start a war of his own. Though, in the case of Iran, it was not from lack of trying. The last US president with a similar imperialist failing was the one-term Carter. But Trump has 12 and possibly 60 more months to go.

In his short time in office, Trump has packed his administration with former war industry executives, increased troops in Afghanistan, approved selling arms to the coup government of Ukraine, made the largest arms sale in US history to Saudi Arabia, supported the Saudi’s war against Yemen, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and killed more civilians in drone strikes than “Obomber.” In the empire’s “backyard,” Trump tightened the blockade on Cuba, intensified Obama’s sanctions on Venezuela to a blockade, oversaw the devastation of Puerto Rico, and backed the right wing coup in Bolivia. The Venezuelan Embassy Protectors are fighting the US government for a fair trial, while Julian Assange faces extradition to the US.

Now that Trump has declared the defeat of ISIS, the US National Defense Strategy is “interstate strategic competition” with Russia and China. This official guiding document of the US imperial state explicitly calls for “build[ing] a more lethal force” for world domination. Giving credit where it is due, back in 2011, Hillary Clinton and Obama had presciently decreed a “pivot to Asia,” targeting China.

Closer to home Trump has been busy deregulating environmental protections, dismantling the National Park system, weaponizing social media, and undoing net neutrality, while withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on global warming. What’s not to despise?

Russiagate and impeachment

Russiagate – in case you have a real life and are not totally absorbed in mass media – is about a conspiracy that the Russians and not the US Electoral College are responsible for Hillary Clinton not getting her rightful turn to be President of the United States.

For the better part of the last three years under the shadow of Trump in the White House, a spook emerged from the netherworld of the deep state and has toiled mightily to expose wrongdoers. This man, former head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, we are told is only one miracle short of being canonized in blue state heaven. Yet even he failed to indict a single American for colluding with Russia, though he was able to hand out indictments to Americans for other wrongdoings not related to Russia.

Undeterred by this investigation to nowhere, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initiated impeachment proceedings against the sitting president in the Democrat’s first successful step to promote Mike Pence as the next POTUS.

When an unelected and unaccountable CIA operative in secret collusion with opposition politicians (e.g., Adam Schiff) and with backing from his agency seeks to take down a constitutionally elected president, that is cause for concern. Operating under the cloak of anonymity and with privileged access to information, national security operatives skilled in the craft of espionage have the undemocratic means to manipulate and even depose elected officials.

What has arisen is an emboldened national security state. The CIA, lest we forget, is the clandestine agency whose mission is to use any means necessary to affect “regime change” in countries that dare to buck the empire. Latin American leftists used to quip that the US has never suffered a coup because there is no US embassy in Washington. There may not be a US embassy there, but the CIA and the rest of the US security establishment are more than ever present and pose a danger to democracy.

Now Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence and serial perjurer James Clapper holds the conflicted role of pundit on CNN while still retaining his top security clearance. Likewise, Obama’s former CIA director, torture apologist, and fellow perjurer John Brennan holds forth on NBC News and MSNBC with his security clearance intact.

Class trumps partisan differences

The Democrats and Republicans mortally combat on the superficial, while remaining united in their bedrock class loyalty to the rule of capital and US world hegemony. The first article of the Democrat-backed impeachment is the president’s “abuse of power.” Yet, amidst the heat of the House impeachment hearings, the Democrats, by an overwhelming majority, helped renew the Patriot Act, which gives the president war time authority to shred the constitution.

Contrary to the utterances of the Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail about limiting US military spending, the latest $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is $22 billion over the last. The Democratic Progressive Caucus didn’t even bother to whip members to oppose the bill. On December 11, in an orgy of bi-partisan love, the NDAA bill passed by a landslide vote of 377-48.

President Trump tweeted “Wow!” Democratic Party leader and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith called the bill “the most progressive defense bill we have passed in decades.”

This bill gifts twelve more Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets than Trump had requested and green-lights funding of Trump’s border wall with Mexico. Stripped from the bipartisan NDAA “compromise” bill were provisions to prohibit Trump from launching a war on Iran without Congressional authorization. Similarly dropped were limits to US participation in the genocidal war in Yemen.

A new Space Force is authorized to militarize the heavens. Meanwhile the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set the doomsday clock at 2 minutes before midnight. Unfortunately, the Democrat’s concern about Trump’s abuse of power does not extend to such existential matters as nuclear war.

Trump’s renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (i.e., USMCA), an acknowledged disaster, was renewed with bipartisan support. On the domestic front, Trump cut food stamps, Medicaid, and reproductive health services over the barely audible demurs of the supine Democrats.

Revolt of the dispossessed

Behind the façade of the impeachment spectacle – Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz are now on Trump’s legal team – is a ruling class consensus that trumps partisan differences. As political economist Rob Urie perceptively observed:

The American obsession with electoral politics is odd in that ‘the people’ have so little say in electoral outcomes and that the outcomes only dance around the edges of most people’s lives. It isn’t so much that the actions of elected leaders are inconsequential as that other factors— economic, historical, structural and institutional, do more to determine ‘politics.’

In the highly contested 2016 presidential contest, nearly half the eligible US voters opted out, not finding enough difference among the contenders to leave home. 2020 may be an opportunity; an opening for an alternative to neoliberal austerity at home and imperial wars abroad lurching to an increasingly oppressive national security state. The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbord and before them Occupy point to a popular insurgency. Mass protests of the dispossessed are rocking France, India, Colombia, Chile, and perhaps here soon.

Impeach the Impeachers

Disclaimer:  The author in no way implicitly or explicitly supports the pretensions of the US regime to commit overt or covert acts of aggression or interference in the internal affairs of other sovereign states by its constitutional or extra-legal institutions whether performed by executive, legislative or judicial institutions or their respective officers, agents or assigns. The accidents by which such violations of customary and explicit (treaty-based) international law are regularly committed by the regime is in the author’s view a matter of joint and several liability. No “branch” of the regime can transfer liability or culpability to another branch whether for convenience or to satisfy its own unique interpretation of international law or the scope of “national interest” under the colour of law.

*****

Given the aforesaid, the articles of impeachment submitted to the US Senate, as the chamber charged historically with representing the wealthiest in the respective states, by the US House of Representatives, the chamber charged with representing the wealthiest individuals among the population, in the case of the servile president of the United States, charged with representing the combination of unelected covert and overt institutions of the US empire, is first of all proof that the United States of America is represented by some of the most poorly educated and simultaneously pretentiously arrogant people in recorded history.

The first impeachment trial in US history, against President Andrew Johnson, was justified by the fact that a congress dominated by a Republican party intent on enforcing the results of the recently ended US civil war could argue that the serving president failed to execute laws enacted by Congress which, as executive officer, it was his duty to enforce. Despite the prima facie case that President Johnson, undoubtedly sympathetic to the slaveholder regime which had prevailed until 1864, had failed to enforce the laws adopted by Congress at the time, the bill of impeachment failed in the Senate. (It should be noted, however, that even in Andrew Johnson’s impeachment the bill accused him of violating a law which formally had little to do with the latent grounds for impeachment.)

The second impeachment, against President Richard Nixon, alleged after intensive investigation, that he had violated ordinary criminal laws and collaborated in such a way as to hinder prosecutions which ultimately were successful — that is to say by virtue of convictions could be established as crimes in which the Mr Nixon in his capacity as president was clearly complicit. Whether the Senate would have convicted him became a moot question since Mr Nixon resigned (and was subsequently pardoned by the Vice President appointed to replace a Mr Agnew who resigned because of crimes for which he was also later convicted. There were even proper allegations that Mr Nixon acted in pursuance of covert foreign policy objectives to which there was increasing popular political opposition and hence a need for individual sacrifice from among the ruling elite — to which Mr Nixon never actually belonged, and therefore could finally be deemed expendable. Some would say that Nixon was smart enough to know first hand that one could be removed from office by termination with extreme prejudice and therefore chose San Clemente retirement — with later rehabilitation.

The third impeachment, against President William J. Clinton, alleged that he committed crimes in civil matters which had also not yet been conclusively adjudicated. No pretense was made that Mr Clinton committed any felonies which in any way impaired his capacity to conduct the usual vicious policies of US empire. He notoriously ordered the bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in Africa during the proceedings under the pretext that producing locally otherwise expensive drugs was a terrorist act to be punished by  the US. That impeachment failed in the Senate, not only because of the incompetence of those responsible for lodging the action but also because of implicit consensus that sexual offenses are not an exclusive domain of the Executive but constitute a sphere of activity among all branches of the constitutional government of the US.

The fourth impeachment, against President Donald Trump, alleges that he committed crimes which are essentially questions of “good taste” or “manners”. After a tortuous three quarters of Mr Trump’s term, the partisans of the Bush-Clinton enterprise — in which the Clintons have been the junior “white trash” partners — have been unable to find anything substantive with which to charge Mr Trump in which they are not themselves complicit. The bill is most curious because its central accusations are based upon principles which are utterly inconsistent with more than two centuries of constitutional practice.

The core of the complaint — to the extent it is not simply sophomoric — is that President Donald Trump refused to execute the foreign policy of the United States. This is also called the “national interest” in the bill — a recognised euphemism for whatever corporate objectives can be imposed through the regime and what it expropriates from ordinary people both domestically and abroad. This is patently ridiculous. It has become a matter of conventional if not explicit constitutional law that the foreign policy of the United States is the prerogative of the Executive, the President of the United States. While the Constitution states that treaties are to be ratified by the US Senate, there has never been either a constitutional or a statutory basis for the Congress to formulate, let alone execute, foreign policy. At the most it can legislate to restrain or it can refuse funding or it can deny the confirmation of those ambassadors and other plenipotentiaries appointed by the POTUS to facilitate such policy.

One can therefore conclude that even if there were no Republican majority in the Senate — were that chamber to be composed of persons with some semblance of legal education and cognizance of constitutional law and national history — then this allegation in the articles of impeachment would fail on its own without further consideration of the facts. It is simply constitutional nonsense.

The next amusing point is the allegation that President Trump committed acts that were calculated to influence elections not yet held against candidates not yet extant. In contrast Mr Nixon was accused of acts during an election campaign when actual candidates could be deemed to have been harmed. Even if the acts alleged to have been taken by President Trump could have caused harm to another corrupt politician, the fact is that neither the campaign nor the election to which the articles refer have commenced. A potential candidate does not enjoy special protection from examination of his corrupt conduct simply because he might be the nominee of the party most likely to oppose the serving POTUS. One can only interfere in an election that is actually in process. It is ridiculous to assert interference in an election campaign that might not even occur.

Much is made of the special prerogative of the US House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings. The argument presented, however, is actually quite different. The bill of impeachment insists that — like the much criticized grand jury method in Anglo-American law — the House is entitled to deny due process and the rights of the accused. The US Constitution, unlike its progenitor the British Constitution, does not establish parliamentary supremacy. The Executive is constituted as independent and co-equal with the Legislative. Thus the only moderating power — that was conceived by the slave-holding founding fathers — is the third estate, namely the judiciary.

Mr Nixon was charged with obstruction of justice not because he refused to cooperate with the Congress but because he refused the authority of the Judiciary. Then the Congress requested testimony and evidence and failing its delivery by the President or his officers, sought judicial relief. When this was granted Mr Nixon and/ or his officers frustrated judicial process. This constituted a valid charge since the Executive has never been held to be immune from judicial process, per se.

Curiously the inquisitors in the House have never sought judicial relief through the courts. (The Justice Department, to which the FBI also belongs as a subordinate agency, is part of the Executive and not the Judiciary,  a point easily missed by those whose legal system is based on the continental European inquisitorial model.) Is it because they knew that they could not satisfy even the most rudimentary evidentiary rules to establish the probity of their claims? We can only speculate. However, reading the bill of impeachment itself shows that the drafters must have come from either the least literate of the legal staff or perhaps comprised attorneys whose only claim to membership in the profession are exams from some offshore diploma mill.

There are a few questions to ask those who demand the removal of Trump. One of them is whether they are essentially supporting the Vice President, Michael Pence. Strangely we hear nothing about presidential succession from those who claim that removing Mr Trump is the holy mission of all liberals. If the loud and visible Mr Trump were to leave or be removed, then the silent but no doubt equally deadly Mr Pence would assume office. What kind of improvement would that be? Perhaps this is what some less vocal advocates of impeachment really wish — having seen Pence as the man with real POTUS stature but like a Bush practically unelectable — they would now like to remove the man who got the votes and replace him with their man who knows how to play the game. In such a case might it also make sense to keep Mr Trump in office just long enough to get past the elections and then fire him, so to speak? After all it is clear that there is no Democratic alternative capable of uniting the rich, the naive, and those who traditionally only want to vote for the winner. Who really benefits from a Trump conviction?

Of course, there are reasons enough for impeaching any President of the United States and there always will be as long at the chief executive of the US is head of the largest military-industrial warmongering apparatus on the planet. However, those are not the reasons for which any majority in the Congress would deign to impeach.

Impeachment, even under British law — from which the principle derives — has always been a political instrument for partisan purposes. One of the longest impeachment trials in recent British history was that of Warren Hastings who was accused by the Commons and tried before the House of Lords for abuse of power and enrichment as a servant of the British East India Company. Parliament assumed jurisdiction over his actions because the East India Company enjoyed a royal charter. The trial lasted for years and ultimately Hastings was acquitted. His acquittal was not because he had not enriched himself or abused power in India but because sufficient numbers in the Lords understood that Hastings’ governance of India was profitable for enough of them too.

There is no judicial or quasi-judicial remedy for the abuse of power, corruption and viciousness of the US regime whether in Congress assembled, as President elected and inaugurated, or as court sitting. The illusion that a spectacle on the floor of the US Senate will change anything in the way the US regime acts at home or abroad is poor entertainment and degenerate politics.

The capacity of the US media — from “Left” to Right — to absorb the world with this spectacle in which no real crime will ever be mentioned let alone deliberated is obscene. It is difficult not to find US political culture the epitome of pornography but without the least erotic titillation. Or perhaps that is mistaken. In a country that is unable to transcend anything except gender, titillation is both primitive and presidential and the prurient interest extends to all branches of the government so constituted.

Dear Young Progressives: The White-Supremacist Anti-Immigration Anti-Political-Correctness Free-Speech Fascists Are Your Friends

Yup. The ruling elite are doing everything they can to divide you. They are doing everything they can to promote hate between you.

In this article, I argue that the real enemy is the ruling elite, which manipulates us all. I explain that the Western USA-based ruling elite is desperate these days, and exceptionally adversarial, which is driven by the successful rise of Eurasia (economically led by China, and supported by Russia), and by increased global abundance of extractable energy reserves. We allow ourselves to be collateral idiots and pawns in this saga.

The ruling elite and the captured media want you to be convinced that their oppression of everyone comes from either a tsunami of irrational “socialism” or spontaneous upsurges of “fascism”; that fascist cells are nucleating and growing at an unprecedented rate, and that you and all your immigrant, brown, black, LGBTQ compatriots will be deported or imprisoned or deprived of medical attention, if the said cells are not deplatformed, censored, run out of town, punched in the face, and exterminated.

Actually, no, that is not true.

The ruling elite in the USA, and in the Western world, by projection, are comprised of two opposing and collaborating factions: The “Democrats” and the “Republicans”, which represent different and overlapping blocs of the Western ruling elite.1;2;3;4

Both blocs or networks agree to use military force and covert means to exploit and extort, in the world that they consider their plantation. Both networks use their influence to constantly transform national and global rules to their advantage, to the point even of literally writing the laws, and to the brink of destabilizing the USA domestic society itself,5 and the global economic and strategic balance.

The ruling elite (acting together, consistently and deeply) manipulate, socially engineer, and exploit the rest of us, to different qualities and degrees, depending on social class.  The main mechanism is to divide to conquer. The divisions are first along class lines, and, within classes, along cultural, race, religion, and gender lines.

Democracy is a constant threat to the ruling elite. Therefore, democracy must be constrained to a manageable form, and crushed wherever it actually emerges. The remnants of electoral democracy are used in more-or-less a show-competition between the two opposing networks, which serves them both by floating the illusion of popular participation and by dividing the public.

The “Democrats” are tied to global finance and push for a global carbon economy, and global “development”, in the image of their malicious interest. Their deep-state base is the CIA and they excel in media and entertainment-industry control.

The “Republicans” are more tied to the USA domestic-energy sector (such as the exploded shale-oil economy), to the army, and to the armament industry. They are more nationalist in their power centre, more into the extraction and wage-slave-production industries in Latin America and Africa, via USA corporations, and have less use for the UN in their manipulations.

Both ruling-elite networks have collaborated together since the end of the Second World War, with the deep state, to establish and maintain the USA dollar as the global currency, which is their most potent weapon of global exploitation, and now overt extortion, backed by violent military interventions, campaigns of economic devastation, and covert coups and proxy wars.[6;

Fast-forward to today: Two global tectonic shifts have and are occurring, which fundamentally threaten the USA/Western ruling elite, in that USA hegemony itself is challenged.

The first global tectonic shift is the continuous rise of Eurasia, economically led by China, with strategic, diplomatic and organizational support from Russia. This coincides with Russian emergence in protecting its national interests in Syria and Venezuela, while offering military technology (S-400 air-defence missile system) that neutralizes USA air dominance, to Turkey and others.

The second global tectonic shift is the increased global abundance of easily extractable fossil-fuel reserves.  It turns out that shale-oil is everywhere, as is natural gas; and Chinese coal, not counting secure imports,7 is plentiful enough to power China, using modern centralized generation and transformation stations, for decades. There is oil and gas in Venezuela, Russia, Syria, Iran… Canada, USA… more places than can easily be controlled to starve competitors, to ensure high prices for preferred producers, and to keep the petro-dollar alive.6

These global tectonic shifts divide the ruling elite, as they scramble to settle and impose a response strategy, and as their differing economic interests collide.

The globalist “Democrats” want an enforced carbon economy (to save humanity) and a crypto-currency that they control,8 and, in their daydream, want to include Eurasia, the whole shebang. They don’t want all-out trade wars that drive Eurasian exclusionary integration. They prefer covert power rather than military campaigns, and prefer to preserve the UN as a tool. They are content to deprive their ruling-elite adversaries of oil-supremacy if they can keep finance supremacy, enforced by military might as needed. They are habituated to occupation by social engineering, and hope for an entire world woke to climate change, public health by vaccination, life-extension by big-pharma, food abundance by GMOs and glyphosate, and human rights by gender-change medical and pharmaceutical procedures, “anti-racism” and “gender equity”.6;9

The nationalist “Republicans” want to control oil by force, using blockades, sanctions, and military occupation (Russia, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, even Canada in a pipeline-propaganda war),10 sell USA oil at top dollar (with an emphasis on “dollar”), save the USA-dollar-as-world-currency gravy train, and extort military-protection rent and arms sales from its “allies”, while making Eurasia enemy number one.

In a nutshell, the governing elite are running a vast and violent exploitation and extortion racket that is now in decline in the world. The decline is putting tremendous pressure on the scheme, and the elite are desperately lashing out to slow or reverse the inevitable. Their disagreements are more urgent than ever, and they are willing to have unprecedented adversarial battles in the open, and to use us all as triggered or engaged idiots.

“White supremacists” are just ordinary folks sick of being manipulated and cheated by the ruling elite. “Black bloc” anarchists are ordinary youth sick of being brushed aside and made irrelevant by the ruling elite. Both need to see the strings and stop looking for schoolyard fights. Our best friends need to be all those harmed by the same elite manipulators. Our worst immediate enemies are the collaborators.  We need to treat words as words, and stop looking to punish our compatriots. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and the “white supremacists” are thereby eminently your friends.

Free-speech enthusiasts are right, of course, but they need to see those wanting false protection from censorship as merely misguided targets of the common enemy. It is the enemy that is implementing the censorship, not snowflakes. The elite will censor using any pretext. Woke automatons are just proof of the broad destructive power of social engineering. Woke automatons are not the enemy of the Right: Ignore them, insult them if this has civil-jolt value, but focus on the real enemy. The real enemy determines school curricula, writes laws, attacks democracy, censors speech, funds everything, and campaigns for war.

  1. U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses”, Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019, by Michael Hudson, The Saker, 25 July 2019.
  2. “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy”, by Michael Hudson, ISLET-Verlag, 2015, ISBN 13: 978-3-9814842-8-1.
  3. “Denis Rancourt Democrats & Republicans Use Identity Politics As Cover For Economic Devastation”, Jamarl Thomas – YouTube Channel, 24 July 2019.
  4. The Classic Political Theories of Socialism, Capitalism, and Anarchism are Unrealizable”, by Denis Rancourt, Dissident Voice, 12 August 2015.
  5. Cause of USA Meltdown and Collapse of Civil Rights”, by Denis Rancourt, Dissident Voice, 7 September 2017.
  6. Geo-Economics and Geo-Politics Drive Successive Eras of Predatory Globalization and Social Engineering: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, and anti-racism as State doctrines”, by Denis G. Rancourt, Ontario Civil Liberties Association, OCLA Report 2019-1, April 2019.
  7. China’s `Friendly’ Neighbors Seize Coal Share From Australia”, Markets – Bloomberg News, 26 April 2019.
  8. Is The Fed Preparing to Topple US Dollar?”, by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook (NEO), 1 September 2019.
  9. From Dollar Hegemony to Global Warming: Globalization, Glyphosate and Doctrines of Consent”, by Colin Todhunter, Dissident Voice, 10 June 2019.
  10. Over a Barrel”, Documentary Film, 8 October 2019 (Canada), producer Shane Fennessey, based on the research of Vivian Krause.