Wednesday 26th of February 2020

the game is rigged... we know...

rig

Let’s not beat around the bush. The game is rigged. The fix is in.

I’m not just talking about the neofascistic Donald Trump, the Republican Party, the Republican-controlled United States Senate and the fake-impeachment trial that body just concluded. I’m talking about their neoliberal enablers, the Democrats too.


Certain Depressing Things Explained

The deeply conservative corporate and imperialist Democratic Party politics and media complex is determined to deny the progressive neo-New Deal Democrat Bernie Sanders the presidential nomination.

So what if Sanders is the Democratic presidential candidate most likely to organize the working- and lower-class the corporate Democrats – the nation’s Inauthentic Opposition Party of Fake Resistance (IOPFR)– have been betraying demobilizing for decades?

So what if this makes Sanders the most electable candidate against an incumbent president and a party that pose existential fascistic and ecocidal threats to what’s left of democracy, the republic, and life itself?

So what if Sanders’ key policy proposals, including Single Payer health insurance (health care as a human right) and a Green New Deal (to put millions to work trying to roll back the soulless capitalist destruction of livable ecology) are urgently required for the common good and human survival?

So what if Sanders’ proposals are conservative in relation to the savage scale of the inequality and environmental destruction neoliberal class rule has been inflicting for several decades on Americans and livable ecology?

So what if nearly half (47%) of Sanders supporters will not commit to voting for the Democratic presidential candidate in November if it isn’t Bernie, making it likely that any other candidate is likely to usher in the tragedy of a second Trump term?

The Democratic establishment is determined to stop Sanders at all costs. As I’ve been saying for years, the corporate Democrats prefer to lose to the ever more viciously right-wing Republicans and the demented fascist oligarch Trump than to the moderately left wing of their own party.

This is why the establishment Democrats and their many media allies (at the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and elsewhere) have issued repeated dire warnings over the supposed “radical Leftism” and “extremism” of the mildly social-democratic Sanders.

It’s why Democratic Party-affiliated funders and media opened the campaign season by touting the clownish center-right dementia victim Joe Biden as their “front-runner.”

It’s why those funders and media shifted to the slimy Wall Street plaything Pete Butiggieg after Biden re-exposed himself and pseudo-liberal Kamala Harris proved unable to stand strong in the “pragmatic” center-right Clinton-Obama-Tony Blair-Emanuel Macron lane.

It’s why the establishment “liberal” media harps constantly on Sanders’ supposed un-electability even as polls show him solidly beating Trump.

It’s why former Barack Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, former global derivatives trader and right-wing MSDNC (I mean MSNBC) host Stephanie (class-) Ruhle, and the noxious neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol recently joined forces on MSNBC to viciously denounce Sanders as “the worst candidate” to run against Trump.

It’s why the Democratic National Committee is working to reinstate the authoritarian veto power of unelected establishment “superdelegates” on the first ballot of the Democratic National Convention – a move clearly driven by establishment fears that Sanders could accumulate enough delegates to sweep to a first ballot victory under current rules.

It’s the reason for the Elizabeth Warren-CNN hit job in the last Iowa Democratic presidential debate – the one where Warren and the cable network conspired to falsely smear Sanders as a sexist.

It’s why MSDNC and CNN went into overdrive trying to portray Sanders’ campaign as “divisive” after Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib responded to Hillary Clinton’s malicious personal attacks on Sanders with an ill-timed reaction MSDNC blew up into “the boo heard around the world.”

It’s why MSDNC and CNN have played along with Hillary Clinton’s despicable and false claim thar Sanders didn’t work hard to help Mrs. Clinton’s (horrific and depressing) campaign during the 2016 general election.

It’s why the Democratic Party has changed its presidential debate qualification rules so that mega-billionaire and center-right Republocrat Mike Bloomberg can ascend to the top candidate stage on a magic carpet of money after skipping the campaign process in the early caucus and primary states.

It’s why the insufferable MSDNC bully Chris Matthews (the Ted Baxter of cable news) lost what little composure he has when Sanders’ campaign co-chair Nina Turner accurately called Bloomberg “an oligarch” (more on this amusing and revealing episode below).

It’s why the New York Times has been running deceptive commentaries warning falsely about the supposed “radical extremism,” “fiscal irresponsibility,” “rudeness” and “nonviability” of Sanders and his backers.

It’s why the California Democratic Party’s centrist managers are doing their best to make it difficult for independents to vote for Sanders, the state’s leading presidential candidate.

It’s probably why the Des Moines Register Star (which endorsed Elizabeth “Capitalist in my Bones” Warren) strangely decided not to release its usual “gold standard” Iowa poll of the state’s first-in-the-national caucus-goers prior to the big (and shockingly wrecked) event last Monday.

It’s why the Times, CNN, and MSNBC (the last outfit is broadcast media’s ground-zero for fake-progressive Wall Street centrism ) tout Butiggieg as the winner of Iowa’s spoiled caucus even though Sanders won the same number of state delegates and triumphed decisively in the popular vote (please see and disseminate Fairness and Accuracy in Media’s reflection on “How Corporate Media Makes Pete Look Like He’s Winning”).

It’s why CNN anchors smirkingly opine that Sanders “under-performed” and “failed to meet expectations” even after he won the Caucus.

Iowa Black-Apped

And it’s likely why the Iowa Caucus got app-f*#^ed, with the contest’s results rendered unavailable to the public for days. The deadly Shadow app’s “failure” and the mind-boggling dysfunction and confusion of the error-ridden count that followed (so extreme that we’ll probably never know the real numbers) robbed Sanders of a momentum-building election night victory speech – and gave Trump another reason to gloat about the pathetic nature of the Democratic Party.

It turns out that the Shadow app that crashed the Iowa Caucus and threw Sanders’ Iowa victory down the media memory hole was less than politically neutral. Hardly known for leftist conspiracy theorizing, USA Today offered some chilling reflections the morning after:

‘What’s this about Shadow and where did the app come from? The app was created by a company called Shadow Inc., and issued by Jimmy Hickey of Shadow Inc., metadata of the program that the Des Moines Register analyzed Tuesday showsA LinkedIn profile for James Hickey lists him as COO of Shadow and an engineering manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Two other former Clinton campaign workers, former Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis, co-founded Shadow…The New York Times has reported that ACRONYM – a Democratic nonprofit founded in 2017 “to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” according to its website – supported Shadow. Its founder and CEO is Tara McGowan, a former journalist and digital producer with President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, The Los Angeles Times reported….Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price, who also worked as Clinton’s 2016 Iowa political director, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday about the relationship between the party and Shadow, which it paid $63,184 for website development and travel expenses…’

It gets worse. According to the Los Angeles Times, in an article titled “Tech Firm Started by Clinton Campaign Veterans Linked to Iowa Caucus Debacle”: “Among Shadow’s clients is Pete Buttegieg’s presidential campaign, which paid $42,500 to the firm in July 2019 for ‘software rights and subscriptions,’ according to disclosures to the FEC.”

So, Shadow, Inc. got money from Wall Street Pete (from the financial sector via Butiggieg, that is), a former consultant with the infamously dark and globalist McKinsey Company and a onetime U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer.

Further feeding the sense of the Iowa Caucus Debacle as a CIA/military intelligence Black Op, Butiggieg proclaimed himself the Iowa victor with zero precincts reporting last Monday night! How Juan Guaido was that?

It worked. The fact that Sanders won Iowa was turned into a public non-fact. The confusion bought Mayor Pete a couple of days to take some undeserved victory laps across the “liberal” media, boosting him in New Hampshire.

The Democrats Did “More to Undermine Faith in Our Elections than Russia Ever Could” 

No talking head has captured the evil of it all more effectively and bitingly than The Hill’s Krystal Ball yesterday morning. Her comments merit transcription and lengthy quotation:

“Let [this sink in]: Twitter is doing a better, more accurate job of tabulating the results than the Democratic Party. What else might be wrong through incompetence, malice, or a combination of both, God only knows. But as if that’s not enough, after Pete claimed a fake victory thanks to the complicity of the Iowa Democratic Party and the media, it turns out that, surprise, surprise, they saved the best precincts for Bernie Sanders to be counted and included last, because of course they did. I’m sure it was all just a coincidence, though, guys. And meanwhile, a new tracking poll shows that Pete’s fake win in Iowa has given him a big boost in New Hampshire, lifting him 9 points in 3 days.”

“What is truly criminal to me, though, is this: the people who gave Bernie Sanders this hard-fought and well-deserved win are people like this: immigrant workers at a pork-processing plant, who had to fight to even be able to cast their ballots in a caucus that conflicted with their work schedule. They were the very first to vote and among the last to be counted. For four days, their voice and their vote were completely erased, as were the Latinos who participated in satellite caucuses and went overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders. It is absolutely outrageous.”

“Do you remember the endless, three-year rant at RussiaGate and over how a foreign power spending a million or two over a month on lousy, ungrammatical Facebook ads inside a billion dollar election was the biggest threat to our constitutional republic and was material to Hillary’s loss in 2016? Let’s be completely clear here. The Democratic Party in Iowa has done more to undermine faith in our elections than Russia ever could. Period. But don’t expect a Democratic House to hold months-long hearings into the Iowa Caucus debacle. Don’t expect any degree of self-reflection on the part of the party bosses and consultant grifters who deserve to be fired en masse. Instead, the same folks who think they should be able to take the nomination from Bernie with their Superdelegates, the same folks who tweak the process so it suits them, the same folks who are now leaking out partial wrong results in a mockery of manipulation masquerading as transparency…these people will continue to run the Democratic Party in Iowa and elsewhere until and unless an anti-establishment candidate like Bernie throws them all out. ….”

“… Single moms arranged babysitters to participate in this caucus. Nurses gave up shifts, lost 12 hours of pay to participate in this caucus. People rolled in with their wheelchairs. They weren’t with their kids or doing their college homework…Volunteers donated hundreds of thousands of hours of time. Banging on doors, hosting house parties, managing selfie lines, and all for what? So that all that time, all that energy could be turned into a giant joke that makes everyone who participated in the process feel like a fool….”

“People that we invite into this process are made a sacred promise that this activity s meaningful and necessary. And then to watch such manifest incompetence, cronyism, obfuscation, and selective disclosure in what is supposed to be the most critical election of our lifetime makes a joke out of democracy and spread cynicism like the Coranavirus of the civic soul…This whole democracy looks like a Potemkin Village farce where the GOP and Democratic Party insiders seem to almost laugh at the rubes who take this whole thing as serious and sacred.”

I’ve never had the same degree of faith n U.S. electoral politics that Ms. Ball (who would likely and wrongly consider me a victim and purveyor of cynicism) seems to have had in the past, but that is an extremely powerful denunciation of what happened to Sanders and his backers – and the democratic ideal – in Iowa this week.

(At least we know for certain that voters are ready to pull the rusty chain on Joe Pool Chain Biden. Too bad for the companies who were gearing up to mass produce record players for the poor in response to Joe “Record Players for the Poor” Biden’s promise of Vinyl New Deal.)

This is Who the Democrats Are

Butiggieg knows he’s never going to be president. “Alfred E. Neuman’s” role is to muddle public perceptions, screwing Warren and Sanders in the early states to help set up “Mini-Mike” Bloomberg (I am borrowing Trump’s frankly clever nicknames for these right-wing candidate), who is Wall Street’s next Great Stop Sanders Hope in the wake of “Sleepy Joe’s” predictable (and widely predicted) collapse.

MSDNC is cable news central for the IOPFR’s Campaign to Stop Sanders and Re-Elect the Neofascist Trump with Yet Another Centrist Neoliberal Creep. Two days ago, the network’s “Morning Joe” hosts used the very Iowa fiasco that their on-the-ground ideological comrades created to promote Bloomberg and Super Tuesday as the alternatives to “radical” Bernie and the early caucus and primaries. The “progressive” Kissingerian network (I’ve heard MSNBC hosts praise the blood-drenched war criminal Henry Kissinger on numerous occasions) didn’t try hide its corporatist agenda to any serious degree.

“Democrats,” a popular Internet meme featuring pictures of Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi runs, “are afraid that American voters are going to interfere in the 2020 election.”

Thank you. Exactly right.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Democratic Party isn’t about social justice, democracy, and/or environmental sanity. It isn’t even primarily about winning elections. “History’s second most enthusiastic capitalist party” (as former Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips once accurately described the Democrats) is about serving “elite” corporate and financial sponsors above all, and those sponsors prefer a second fascistic Trump term to a mildly progressive first Sanders one.

Oligarchs “Take Advantage of a Broken and Dysfunctional System”

In an amusing and telling episode on MSNBC prior to the Caucus, Nina Turner told Chris Matthews that voters worry about “the oligarchs” who buy American elections. “Do you think Mike Bloomberg is an oligarch?!” an outraged Matthews asked. “He is,” Turner retorted. “He skipped Iowa. Iowans should be insulted. Buying his way into this race, period. The DNC changed the rules. They didn’t change it for Senator Harris. They didn’t change it for Senator Booker. They didn’t change it for Secretary Castro.”

Thank you. Exactly right.

Matthews then incredulously asked Turner is she really believed Bloomberg purchased his way into the presidential debates – as ifthere is the slightest hint of a scintilla of an iota of a sliver of a wisp of a rumor of a scent of doubt about.

After Matthews finished idiotically interrogating Turner, MSDNC anchor Brian Williams turned to MSDNC pundit Jason Johnson. Johnson also disapproved of Ms. Turner’s description of the oligarch Bloomberg as an oligarch.

“Oligarchy, in our particular terminology,” Johnson intoned, “makes you think of a rich person who got their money off of oil in Russia, who is taking advantage of a broken and dysfunctional system.”

You can’t make shit like that up! No, Jason Johnson: imperialist, Russophobic, and American Exceptionalist doctrine and bad reporting make you think that way. Merriam-Webster defines “oligarchy” as: “government by the few; a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.” There’s an abundance of solid academic research showing that the United States today fits the definition very well. Here are four for Johnson to start with: Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens, Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What we Can Do About It (University of Chicago, 2018), Ron Formisano, American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class (University of Illinois, 2017); Jeffrey Winters, Oligarchy (Cambridge University Press, 2011, with the United States as a leading case study); Paul Street, They Rule: They 1% v. Democracy (Routledge, 2014).

Concerned about rich people “taking advantage of a broken and dysfunctional system”? Look no further than the world’s self-proclaimed “greatest democracy”! No other “democracy” in the so-called developed world remotely matches the United States of Dark Money when it comes to giving big donors unregulated power in their national electoral processes. Along with other and related characteristics of its election and party system — winner-take-all contests with no proportional representation, rampant partisan gerrymandering of election districts, voter registration problems, corporate media bias and the “federalist” decentralization and partisan control of U.S. election process — this plutocratic campaign finance free-for-all is why the Electoral Integrity Project (a research undertaking funded by the Australian Research Council with a team of researchers based at the University of Sydney and Harvard University) ranks the democratic election integrity of U.S. elections below that of all 19 North and Western European democracies and also below that of 10 other nations in the Americas (Costa Rica, Uruguay, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Jamaica, Grenada, Argentina, Barbados and Peru), 10 nations in Central and Eastern Europe, 9 Asian-Pacific countries, 2 countries in the Middle East (Israel and Tunisia) and 6 African nations. The U.S. ranks dead last among “Western democracies.”

Don’t take it from a radical eco-Marxist like me. As the distinguished liberal political scientists Page (Northwestern) and Gilens (Princeton) showed in their expertly researched 2017 book mentioned above:

“the best evidence indicates that the wishes of ordinary Americans actually have had little or no impact on the making of federal government policy.  Wealthy individuals and organized interest groups – especially business corporations – have had much more political clout.  When they are taken into account, it becomes apparent that the general public has been virtually powerless… Majorities of Americans favor…programs to help provide jobs, increase wages, help the unemployed, provide universal medical insurance, ensure decent retirement pensions, and pay for such programs with progressive taxes.  Most Americans also want to cut ‘corporate welfare.’ Yet the wealthy, business groups, and structural gridlock have mostly blocked such new policies [and programs] (emphasis added).”

The Table is Tilted: Beyond the Cynical Brilliance of George Carlin

It was nice of the professors to quantify and document what working-class Americans have always known: money talks, bullshit walks. My old Finish socialist Aunt Mary (a high school graduate who worked for decades as a department store clerk in downtown Elgin, Illinois) understood Page and Gilens’ point very well. In the famous words of George Carlin:

“There’s a reason education sucks and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the REAL owners, now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions — forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations; they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State houses, the City Halls; they’ve got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear.”

“They gotcha by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying — lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want — they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that, that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting f***ed by the system that threw them overboard 30 f***ing years ago. They don’t want that.”

“You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. …All day long, beating you over the in their media telling you what to believe — what to think — and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.”

“…They don’t give a fuck about you, they don’t…They don’t care about you – at all. At all, At all. At all. At all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care … that’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue d**k that’s being jammed up their assholes every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth — it’s called the American Dream … ‘cuz you have to be asleep to believe it.”

The problem with Carlin’s brilliant rant is of course it’s extreme, well, cynicism. Millions upon millions of Americans do notice and do care. They aren’t asleep. They are capable of critical thinking. They very much want to un-rig the game, level the table, and change the system – make a people’s democratic revolution and save humanity. I run into and talk to and try to energize and learn and get energy from these people regularly. They haven’t surrendered to the American authoritarian-sexist-racist-nativist-nationalist-fascist nightmare yet. 

I share with many of these people a basic underlying spiritual sense that giving up and letting the owners – our financial and political owners, yes – win is irrational and indeed morally corrupt. Let’s say the chances of collapsing the nation’s un-elected and interrelated dictatorships of money, empire, white-supremacism, and patriarchy are just 3 or 2 or even 1 in 10 (I think the real odds may be much higher). Why bring them down to zero by giving in to fatalism – to “it’s never going to change?” It makes no sense to give up: you lose nothing by believing in the possibility of democratic transformation and revolutionary change; you lose everything by not believing. Try some radical existentialism!

Tactical Support

Should people caucus and vote for Bernie in the rigged Democratic Party nomination process? Sure, for three reasons. First, there’s a(n admittedly slim) chance Sanders could prevail and lead the enactment of changes that would make a very positive difference in peoples’ lives and capacity to fight back against American Oligarchy, which is now taking significant steps towards openly authoritarian rule.

Second, doing some work with the Sanders campaign puts you in contact with masses of people who are changing all the time (like all phenomena), people-in-process who are capable of engaging on the critical topics of how and why we must move beyond the rigged games and systems that capture and depress our energies and how and why we must begin to organize for a real revolution.

Third, even if he doesn’t win, it’s good to make the screwing over of Sanders as transparent and instructive as possible. This could help motivate millions of Americans to break in revolutionary fashion from a “broken and dysfunctional [American] system” of class rule. It could help spark millions to join a people’s movement that works beneath and beyond the rigged elections cycle and system to heroically reclaim the commons and save humanity.

There’s a lot of good and potentially radical energy out there. It needs to go somewhere positive once the “coffin of class consciousness” (in the words of the radical historian Alan Dawley) that is the American ballot box fails to deliver yes…yet once again. The capitalists hardly restrict their political pressure to the electoral process – just wait to see what happens if Sanders (somewhat miraculously) makes it into the White House. We must and can develop an anti-capitalist (and now anti-fascist) politics that fights back in ways that transcend those savagely time-staggered moments when our owners permit us to make marks next to the names of politicians who can generally be trusted to put their own interests above ours and those of the common good.

“Except for the rare few,” Howard Zinn once wrote, “our representatives are politicians, and will surrender their integrity, claiming to be ‘realistic.’ We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth.”

 

 

Read more:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/07/the-game-is-rigged/

train wreck...

 

From Chris Floyd

 

"Well, the train has pulled into the station:
It's putting out a poison steam.
The cloud is rolling across the platform;
It's like you're living in a fever dream..."


Don't Get on the Train, by the Holy Fools

One reason why it’s so hard to get a handle on American politics, to say anything sensible about it, is that it takes place almost entirely in a hallucination. The country that most Americans feel they are living in does not actually exist. 

In this, as in so many other ways, Trump’s reign has been a powerful – I would even say unprecedented – rending of the veils. Just as he has shown us the true face of the gangster capitalism that has long lurked behind the mask of law; just as he has revealed the howling, lashing race-hate and Other-fear at the root of American Exceptionalism; just as he has stripped bare our long-proclaimed, utterly hollow pieties about family, fidelity, personal morality, honesty, civility, knowledge and prudence; so has he revealed to us the genuine irreality and freakishness of American actuality. For where else but in a bizarre and brutal freak show could someone like Trump rise to the pinnacle of power — and what’s more, literally be worshipped by millions of people?

“Human kind cannot bear very much reality,” as that old Missouri tomcat, T.S. Eliot, once said. But Americans now seem unable to bear any reality at all. Witness the earnest liberals of today, those who tout their “complex” – even “dark” – view of American society. They “know” that the nation was built wholly on the hideous evils of slavery and genocide, sustained over centuries. They “know” that these foundational American systems of rapine and domination have been extended across the face of the earth. They “know” our military has committed (and enabled) sickening atrocities and mass murder throughout the whole of our history, right down to this very hour. They “know” our “intelligence community” (one of the more sick-making expressions in the American lexicon) engage in surveillance, subversion, coups, assassinations – skullduggeries of every imaginable stripe. (And no doubt some that we proles have not yet imagined.) 

They “know” our “law enforcement agencies” have become bristling, militarized occupation forces, gunning down minorities with literal impunity while demanding blind obedience and copious tribute in form of tax money. (As I write this, the Attorney General of the United States has just stated openly that police work in America is a protection racket, not a public service. If certain unspecified communities don’t start paying more respect to cops, says Bill Barr, then “they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” I’m also writing this on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark at the hands of Chicago police and the FBI.) These good liberals even watch Martin Scorsese movies and “know” that the criminal “underworld” is so intimately and corruptly entwined with the “overworld” of politics and business that there is no discernible borderline between these realms.

But dip into the timeline of any number of these earnest folks and you will find a touching, childlike belief in the essential goodness and rightness of the “American experiment” — however much the noble character of this bold and progressive adventure has been tragically perverted by one’s political opponents at any given time. You will find that despite “knowing” all of the above, they don’t actually live in that grim reality but in a dream world, where the CIA and FBI — known purveyors of murder, lies and gargantuan corruption — have become “heroes of the resistance,” moral champions motivated solely by selfless public service and faithful adherence to our “true” ideals. They’ll even enthusiastically push CIA agents and imperial warriors for public office.

Elsewhere, you’ll see ghastly imperial time-servers like Robert Mueller – who fervently pushed the lies that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq – serenaded by “edgy” comedians on national television and beseeched by the millionaire “journalists” of MSNBC to save us. You’ll see Nancy Pelosi – the multimillionaire Speaker who, as I write, has just sneeringly dismissed her own party’s belated efforts to begin to address the climate catastrophe as “the green dream or whatever,” casually condemning generations of all those outside the cocoon of riches, power and privilege that she shares with Trump to a beastly future in a blighted landscape — treated with fandom gush as a “cool, badass woman,” fighting for the common people. 

Again, we’re speaking here of good liberals, highly educated people “in the know,” people who are “savvy,” who are proud of their complicated, critical, conflicted patriotism — so much more nuanced than the blind, cartoonish faith of the Right. Yet even they feel there exists some normative, essential goodness in the American character: in the nation’s history, society, politics – indeed, in its very teleology, which they believe actually exists and is, like the arc of the universe in the 19th-century quote made famous by Martin Luther King Jr., forever “bending toward justice.” And thus all the manifest evils that have beset the “American experiment” since the beginning – and are overwhelming it like a tsunami today – are seen as aberrations and terrible distortions of what the country really is.

How can there be a sensible way forward for a people trapped in such a fever dream?

 

Read more:

http://www.chris-floyd.com/mobile/articles/the-hallucinated-nation-livin...

as much as we don't like trump's hubrises...

Pearls clutched, hair on fire, heads exploding — pick your favorite image to describe the left’s latest reaction to President Trump. Once again, the end is near, he’s gone too far, this time we got him.

His outrage against all that is good and pure was to pink-slip star impeachment witnesses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

“Friday Night Massacre” screamed the usual suspects, a not-very-subtle reference to Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre.” The difference, unmentioned, is that Trump was already acquitted, whereas the Nixon impeachment hadn’t formally started.

Still, assuming this is not the end of the world, something more important demands attention. Namely, that conventional wisdom got it right when it declared that Trump had one of the best weeks of his presidency while Democrats had one of their worst.

He beat impeachment, they screwed up the Iowa caucuses, he gave a roaring State of the Union address and Nancy Pelosi was reduced to being a paper shredder. Friday’s boffo jobs report was the icing on Trump’s cake, then he got the cherry when a federal appeals court unanimously rejected a suit by 200 Dem lawmakers over foreign payments to his businesses.

But arrogance springs eternal in the land of nattering nabobs and expect media bigs to assure their fellow never-Trumpers that soon enough, the world will be set right. Trump, they will say with certainty, can’t sustain the momentum and Pelosi, she of the alleged brilliant political skills, will lead Dems back to their entitled supremacy.

Anything is possible and there is no denying that Trump has a bad habit of stepping on his own good stories. But the larger notion that last week was an aberration strikes me as fanciful if not delusional.

I believe the lopsided outcomes reveal something close to the actual state of play and relative strengths of the combatants. If true, that means Trump and congressional Republicans have an enormous opportunity this year.

The heart of the case is that Dems dug themselves into a hole and won’t drop the shovel. They have nothing to show for their 2018 House victory except a partisan impeachment that was rejected by the public before the Senate killed it.

The celebration over getting Sen. Mitt Romney’s vote on one article is like cheering because your team avoided a shutout. You still got crushed.

Wonder of wonders, party leaders reacted by vowing to stay the course. Pelosi, not a whit embarrassed by her shameful stunt of tearing up the president’s State of the Union address, launched into another hateful rant.

Saying Trump looked “sedated,” she called his speech a “manifesto of mistruths” and claimed he “shredded the truth in the speech, shredded the Constitution in his conduct, and so I shredded his state-of-mind address.”

Equally telling, Rep. Jerry Nadler said the Judiciary Committee likely will subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton; other Dems said the many investigations into Trump and his businesses will continue.

In other words, they learned nothing from last week, or the last three years for that matter. Blinded by their personal contempt for the president and his supporters and captive to the wacko wing of the party, Pelosi’s team still acts as if there is a magic button that will persuade even the deplorables to turn on the president.

Meanwhile, Dems obviously intend to fritter away their two years of power without producing a coherent agenda that would give swing voters a reason to reelect them. A November platform of resistance, rage and failed impeachment is a narrow base appeal, not an effort to win the middle.

The party’s presidential candidates are also lost in space and aren’t even generating the expected enthusiasm among primary voters. The counting debacle in Iowa obscured a larger problem: the caucus turnout was about 25 percent below estimates.+

The Friday-night debate was another pointless race to far left field, with no clear winner. The only guarantees are that Joe Biden is near the end and there will be a freakout among big donors if Sen. Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire and becomes the clear front-runner.

With Michael Bloomberg’s billions hovering off-stage, the blood-letting is just beginning.

This is all great for Trump, but the fact that he is in his strongest position yet is not owing solely to Dems’ errors. His policy successes are undeniable, starting with the economy. Its continued expansion is simply remarkable and when the president says it is the envy of the world, he’s not exaggerating.

His poll numbers rose 10 points during impeachment and Gallup’s finding that he gets a whopping 63% approval on the economy confirms that more and more people are seeing and believing the jobs boom.

Gallup also found that 90% of Americans, the highest ever, report they are satisfied with their personal lives, and that a record 65% say they are “very satisfied.”

Those kind of numbers rip the heart out of the claim by Sanders and others that the economy is working only for the rich. In fact, wages are rising faster at the bottom of the income ladder than at the top.

While Dems are busy feuding and feeding their base, the president is broadening his outreach by stealing some of their policies. Paid family leave, curbing prescription-drug prices and prison reform all run counter to GOP orthodoxy, but Trump is embracing them while keeping near-unanimous Republican support.

And to judge from his gallery guests at the State of the Union, Trump is eager to make direct appeals to black and Latino Americans on pocketbook and family issues. He talks about an “inclusive” agenda and notably included Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. in a list of American heroes. He continued that theme in a visit to a North Carolina community college.

His approval ratings among those groups already are far above the vote totals he got in 2016. Even modest increases in November could be decisive in key states.

To be sure, the election is a long way off and events, like Trump, are unpredictable. But for now he is on a roll while the other team is stuck in a hole.

Architecture booby prize 

The gem of the week comes from Myron Magnet’s Wall Street Journal op-ed in support of Trump’s plan to require new federal buildings to be built in the classical style.

Magnet skewers modern buildings and their cheerleaders this way: “The Pritzker Prize in architecture, like the Nobel Peace Prize, almost guarantees the honoree will be the Yasser Arafat of architecture, the very opposite of what the prize claims to honor.”

 

Read more:

https://nypost.com/2020/02/08/its-pearl-clutching-democrats-who-got-mass...

 

Read from top.

 

Great writing, poor democracy... but the Democrats have destroyed their own umbrellas...

toyed with like dolls...

 

The USA’s Doll House: A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions

 

By Edward Curtin

 

 

"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 clamouring 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 hairstyle, 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 John 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. 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.[


Robert Kennedy assassin hospitalized after prison stabbing.”[4]


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 flashback 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.[5] 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 Malcolm 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.[6]


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.”[7]


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 liberal 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.[8]


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, Chelsey 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.

 

 

Read more:

 

https://off-guardian.org/2020/02/09/the-usas-doll-house-a-vast-tapestry-...

 

 

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impartiality? in what century do you live?...

by Dr Kim Sawyer

 

A former whistleblower advocate has exposed the level of Trump's corruption in the outcome of his impeachment trial, writes Dr Kim Sawyer.

 

POLITICS HAS BECOME too tribal for its own good. Partisanship has come to dominate principles. There is no better example than in the trial of Donald Trump. It was not a trial. It was a Republican convention. 

Truth is the first casualty of corruption. Reputation is the second. Trump has corrupted more than the Presidency. Trump has corrupted those who once stood for something.

 

The testament to his corruption is Senator Charles Grassley, the most senior Republican in the Senate. Grassley was known for his advocacy of whistleblowing. Now he is known for his hypocrisy.

 

In his speech to acquit Trump, Senator Grassley deemed the trial open and transparent. This was a different form of transparency. He did not mention the whistleblower. He did not mention the witnesses who testified to the House. He did not mention the one witness who should have been heard. It was very different from the transparency he had long advocated.

 

He spoke of the need to investigate corruption but not the corruption that mattered. He accused the Democrats of hypocrisy. He accused the House of weaponising whistleblowers.  He argued against a dangerous precedent but it was he who was establishing the precedent. He was projecting onto others what he failed to see in himself. He had become like Trump.

 

Charles Grassley was not quite as he was seen. He maintained that he opposed politicisation of the judiciary yet he helped to politicise the Supreme Court. In 2016, he refused to allow confirmation of President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court. 

 

Whistleblowers understand the conflict between the higher and lower path. It is a conflict of the conscience. Higher commitment requires the partisan to become impartial. The Senate trial required impartiality. Mitt Romney understood. Charles Grassley did not.

 

Listening to Senator Grassley, I heard what I have heard many times before. Grassley argued as opponents of whistleblowers argue. He diverted from the truth rather than commit to the truth.

Corruption inverts more than the truth. Grassley failed the Ukraine whistleblower. He failed the witnesses who supported the whistleblower. In his most important vote of all, he failed himself. He failed the test called whistleblowing.


Read more:
https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/senator-grass...


Gus:

What did President PKRQrump do?

"POLITICS HAS BECOME too tribal for its own good."


Excuse me? When has politics become too tribal? In the fight between the Athenians and the Spartans? The biffo between Henry VIII and Pope whatshisname? When JFK got assassinated? When Clinton got exonerated for having his dick sucked in the oval office? Com’n, Dr Kim Sawyer, you're a senior fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. You can do better than this crap...

And did you examine the evidence? Was Donald asking the President of Ukraine for some dirt on Biden placing the future of the USA at risk, if he “did"? The simple answer to this is NO.

Was this an errant chase? The simple answer is NO. Why not? Because the CIA and other agencies would have to know that Biden was doing shit in Ukraine on behalf of Obama...

Did Joe Biden do some unsavoury PRIVATE crap in Ukraine? the answer is YES. 

Was Joe Biden’s son involved to the eyeballs? YES. you know this, don’t you?…

Is Mitt Romney, honest and impartial? .......... NO!  I have the feeling he was used as the irrelevant moral dipstick for this affair by the Republican party...

If you don’t know any of this, you’re an idiot. 

The democrats chose not to get Bolton to testify in the House, but to testify in the Senate to which the Republican senators said NO. Bolton is a loony warmonger who was used as a buffoon sidekick by Trump in order to give him a lollipop to suck on, while doing his preferred economic warfare. When Bolton stopped sucking, Trump sacked him.  Meanwhile if you don’t know, watch the videos of Crises and that of DemocracyNow!. They should tell you that Biden is a nasty piece of shit… If you don’t see that, change job and become a street cleaner. You would be more useful.

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glorious GOP debt...

It may have slipped by you, but last week Donald Trump suggested that he may be about to give U.S. farmers — who have yet to see any benefits from his much-touted trade deal with China — another round of government aid. This would be on top of the billions in farm aid that Trump has already delivered, costing taxpayers several times as much as Barack Obama’s auto bailout — a bailout Republicans fiercely denounced as “welfare” and “crony capitalism” at the time.


If this sounds to you like a double standard — Democratic bailouts bad, Republican bailouts good — that’s because it is. But it should be seen as part of a broader pattern of breathtaking fiscal hypocrisy, in which the G.O.P. went from insisting that federal debt posed an existential threat under Obama to complete indifference to budget deficits under Trump. This 180-degree turn is, as far as I can tell, the most cynical policy reversal of modern times.


And this cynicism may win Trump the election.


If Trump does win, there will be many recriminations among Democrats, especially about the vanity candidates who continue to fragment the field despite having no realistic chance of becoming the nominee. But while these recriminations will have much truth to them, the biggest factor working in Trump’s favor is a strong economy — not as strong as he claims, but good enough to provide a significant political lift (unless growth is derailed by the coronavirus).

And what’s driving the U.S. economy now is the very deficit spending Republicans pretended to be horrified by during the Obama years.

Trump likes to bad-mouth the Obama economy. In reality, from 2010 onward, America experienced steady growth in both G.D.P. and employment — and there was no upward break in the trend after 2016. But recovery from the 2007-9 recession could and should have been faster.


What slowed recovery? Unprecedented fiscal austerity. In particular, government spending grew far more slowly during the Obama recovery than it did under either George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan.


Does fiscal austerity hurt growth? Yes. We’ve seen this fact demonstrated again and again over the past decade, most recently in Japan, where an ill-advised effort by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reduce the budget deficit sent the economy plunging at a 6 percent annual rate. And the austerity of the Obama years definitely slowed recovery; without those spending cuts, unemployment might well have fallen to 4 percent as early as 2014.


So who was responsible for all this austerity? The answer, overwhelmingly, is Republicans in Congress. Remember, they threatened to create a financial crisis by refusing to raise the debt limit unless Obama cut spending.

Again, they insisted that austerity was essential because government debt was an enormous threat to America. But they lost all interest in deficits as soon as one of their own occupied the White House. Trump inherited a $600 billion deficit; he’s blown that up to $1 trillion — and hardly a single Republican in Congress has expressed dismay.


How much have Trump’s deficits boosted the economy? Well, they’re poorly designed stimulus; the biggest item was tax cuts for corporations, which corporations used to buy back stock rather than to expand their businesses or raise wages. But while the Trump stimulus probably didn’t deliver much bang per buck, it involved a heck of a lot of bucks.


And Trump’s economy also gets a lift from the fact that Republicans have ended the de facto economic sabotage that prevailed throughout the Obama years.


Incidentally, the experience of the past three years also refutes two of the main arguments used to justify the disastrous turn to austerity after the financial crisis — claims that deficits would hurt confidence and lead to a sharp rise in interest rates. None of this has happened.


So how can Democrats run against Republican fiscal hypocrisy? Not by warning about the dangers of deficits — that’s both wrong on the substance and politically ineffective, because nobody cares.


They might do better by pointing out that while Trump has rushed to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, he has been shortchanging the future. Ignoring his campaign promises, he has done nothing to raise much-needed spending on infrastructure. And despite its obvious indifference to budget deficits, his administration seems determined to deprive children of the adequate health care and nutrition they will need to become productive adults.


And there’s an important lesson for Democrats going beyond this election — namely, how to deal with what I’ve called the Very Serious People, centrists who spent years insisting that government debt was the most important issue of our time (and also believing, or pretending to believe, that Republicans were sincere in their supposed concern about debt).

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/opinion/trump-2020-debt.html

 

 

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