Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

on the mad planet...


If that sounds a little complicated, don’t worry, folks, it’s really not! The ruling classes and the corporate media just provided us with a demonstration of the Putin-Nazi-Terrorist-O-Matic in action, which proves how easy-to-use it is. In the span of just a single week, they whipped up so much mass paranoia that, by the weekend, millions of hysterical liberals were calling for a Deep State coup, and the arrest and internment of all registered Republicans, because a right-wing loon had sent a bunch of non-exploding bomblike devices to prominent members of the neoliberal “Resistance,” or rather, to their respective mail-screening services.

These Putin-Nazi Terrorist “bomb-like devices” were “intercepted” throughout last week. Their targets were a roll call of Resistance heroes, Soros, Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, the offices of CNN, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters, Joe Biden, and, yes, even Robert De Niro! Putin-Nazi panic paralyzed the nation! The neoliberal corporate media (who, remember, are serious, respected professionals, not conspiracist nuts like Alex Jones) began pouring out pieces informing the world that Donald Trump was behind these attacks, or had encouraged, “emboldened,” or “inspired” whoever was with his violent, neo-Hitlerian rhetoric.

The Washington Post went full Shakespearean with Dana Milbank’s What Hath Trump Wrought? The New York Times explained how Trump was employing a strategy called “stochastic terrorism,” i.e., inspiring random acts of violence that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable! “Trump’s words have consequences,” The Guardian lectured. “Words matter,” CNN concurred. John Brennan, who courageously continued to appear on television, despite the ongoing terrorist threat, affirmed that Trump’s “un-American” rhetoric had “emboldened individuals to take matters into their own hands.” Even “alternative” Resistance outlets like Truthout joined the chorus of voices reporting that “Trump’s Rhetoric Emboldens Violence!”


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Back then:

The US president capped a mind-boggling week by asking his staff to invite the Russian leader to the White House in the autumn, just before the midterm elections.

“It’s remarkably bad timing,” said Rick Tyler, a political analyst. “Putin might as well come and campaign in the midterms.”

Trump’s first summit with Putin in Helsinki last Monday is assured a place in the history books. It culminated in a joint press conference that left the political, media and national security establishments picking their jaws from the floor, Democrats demanding answers about Trump’s cryptic relationship with Russia and everyone asking anew how long this most singular presidency can survive.

Yet for all the intrigue and slapdash diplomacy, the episode seemingly did little harm to Trump among his loyal ranks of supporters, merely reinforcing suspicion of his critics and suggesting that, from his point of view, the summit might not have been such a mistake after all.

First, Trump and Putin spent more than two hours in conversation with only interpreters for company. Trump’s national security officials admit they still have no idea what was said or promised. Then came the press conference beneath crystal chandeliers, against a backdrop of American and Russian flags, the scene framed in gold leaf. Trump stood taller and broader than Putin but the judo black belt would soon turn the weight of his opponent against him.

Attempting to blow his own trumpet, Trump declared: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” Putin’s face was inscrutable. There were involuntary giggles among the White House press corps.


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sitting-down comedian...



As bad as the previous stand-up comics...

mid-term democracy difference...

Last week's US midterm elections received saturated media coverage. Why? The reality is that elections in the US don't change much, if anything, because America has a regime and is not a genuine democracy.

The US midterms – and you'd have to have been locked in a wardrobe all week to have avoided hearing about them – reminded me of a great song by the 1980s indie-rock band The Smiths. No, not 'This Charming Man', in reference to Donald Trump, but 'What Difference Does it Make?' Remember that one? It should be played on a loop every time America goes to vote.

Because every couple of years, whenever 'big' elections come along in the US of A, we are treated to the same spectacle. Ordinarily intelligent people making fools of themselves in the belief that the elections are 'tremendously important'. When will they ever learn that the best thing to do on a US election night is to go to bed early with a nice hot water bottle and a good book.

Let's take presidential contests first.

In 1992, Bill Clinton was hailed as 'the president for the people' after 12 years of Republicans in the White House. Bill deregulated the financial sector and Wall Street enjoyed a bonanza. In 200,0 George W. Bush was billed as 'the president who wouldn't meddle', after Clinton had bombed Yugoslavia, Iraq and Sudan. Bush then invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. His successor Barack Obama was going to stop the wars – and was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He bombed Libya and helped set fire to Syria. The 'reset' in relations with Russia ended with Russia being sanctioned. The closure of Guantanamo Bay never happened. See the pattern? Then in 2016 Donald Trump was going to be 'the president who drained the swamp'. But he's appointed swamp dwellers to his inner circle. He was also going to stop bombing countries and rebuild relations with Russia. Well, he's carried on bombing and US-Russian relations are at an all-time low. The president who was going to tell the neocons where to go in no uncertain terms has told them 'Join my team, partners – let's do Iran!'

I was one of those who, very naively, believed two years ago that Trump would be preferable to Hillary Clinton, due to her record of warmongering. The sad truth is that it made no difference. On the campaign trail Trump repeatedly referred to his opponent as 'Crooked Hillary' and promised that if he won, Clinton would be investigated by a special prosecutor. However, on getting elected he said "I don't want to hurt them (the Clintons). They're good people." He's made fresh calls since then, but can anyone see Clinton ever being prosecuted?

It's hard to escape the conclusion it was all a charade, like everything else connected with American politics. The rich people who attack each other in public for the benefit of the voters all know each other and their families are all friends. They attend the same weddings.

English writer G.K. Chesterton got it right when he said: "When the Founding Fathers talked about democracy they did indeed mean, doubtless, the government of the people, by the people, for the people. But they meant the government of the people they knew, by the people they knew, for the people they knew."

The midterms again saw people invest enormous emotional energy on trying to 'stop Trump' – as if he was an aberration – instead of being just a typical US President (albeit with different hair coloring), increasing profits for Wall Street and threatening other countries who don't pay Danegeld to the Empire. Yes, we do need to stop Trump, but we can only do that if we understand that The Donald is not the root cause of the problem. The utterly corrupt American political system is.

The Democrats, the other, slightly more 'liberal' half of the 'Permanent War Party', are an integral part of that system. They were hailed last week as 'saviours of democracy' for capturing the House. But on the issues that really matter there'll be no major change.

Because if things could be changed in a significant way via elections in the US then they simply would not be held. Elections serve a valuable function in that they give the public the illusion of democracy. They're a safety valve which stop people marching on Capitol Hill with torches and pitchforks, crying 'Enough is Enough!' They keep people compliant.

Political power lies not with the voters, but with the powerful lobby groups who 'buy' elected representatives, who then act in their interests, and not the people's. It's not those we see at election time who really call the shots, but those we don't. Those hidden behind the curtain. Those who write the cheques.

That's why whoever wins we'll never get any meaningful gun control, no matter how many mass shootings take place. It's why neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will introduce an American National Health Service. Why the power of Wall Street and finance capital won't be curbed. And why in foreign policy, presidents and Congress will always do the bidding of the military-industrial complex and Israel. It is absolutely revealing that the US' only real 'breach' with Israel in recent decades came in December 2016, when the Obama administration did not veto an anti-settlements UN resolution. Obama had just literally days left in the White House.

Identity politics enhances the 'democratic' charade. We're all meant to be terribly excited by the fact that a record number of women have been elected to the House.

Of course sexual equality is a good thing, but the crucial question is: Will these new women in Congress mean the US following different policies? Don't forget two of the worst and most pro-war US Secretaries of State in recent years have been women, namely Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton.

The color of legislators and their sexual orientation is another great diversion. What did America's first black president do for Afro-Americans?

What did Obama do for Africa – save bomb Libya, the country with the highest Human Development Index in the whole of the continent, back to the Stone Age.


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