Sunday, August 31, 2014
WEEKEND EDITION AUGUST 29-31, 2014
Computers as Weapons
Gadgets Turning Me Into an Idiot!
I feel challenged, at times dumb. I am constantly behind.
And that is where the multi-nationals want me to be. That is how they want me to feel: a total retard, a failure. Computers are evolving; smart phones, cameras and recorders are changing their operation systems. They are designed that way: a few months or years and into the garbage with them! Apple, ‘BB’, Canon and other manufacturers are making sure that everything changes with lightening speed, from the shape of batteries, to the size of plugs.
Is your SIM now a ‘nano’ size? Or is it full size, or something in between?
And how do you download footage from your camera? Oh, you need new software, possibly new cables? Whenever I buy a new phone, new camera or new computer, I have to spend several weeks or months trying to understand their complex manuals. And these days, many manuals are not even printed – they have to be studied online. And then, once I at least master some basics, it is time to get the next generation of the equipment, to throw the old, obsolete one into the garbage, without fully mastering it.
The way new-era-gadgets are designed is that after just 1-3 years they become obsolete: applications cannot be run or downloaded and everything becomes incompatible. Entire systems demand a periodical overhaul, but even overhauls have time limitation, at some point they cease to ‘be allowed’. And so, eventually, new equipment has to be purchased, and, that happens with increasing frequency.
We all know that this is how the ‘market’ works, that this is how ruthless, self-serving ‘entrepreneurship’ is shagging us. We are all bitching about it, but there seems to be nothing that can be done. We have simply become slaves of those vicious, greedy and twisted capitalist companies. We know that they only care about their profits and nothing about the advancement of society and humanity. They are clearly and determinedly robbing creative people, of both time and resources.
Often it feels that we are defenseless and unprotected.
The more time and money we spend playing their games, satisfying their gluttony by buying and buying, continuously learning absolutely useless new concepts about ‘operating systems’ or electronic menus, the less time and resources we have left for thinking and working on the improvement of life on our planet.
Of course that is most likely one of the essential parts of their grand design.
The logical conclusion of thinking people would be, “Let’s get rid of capitalism, corporatism and market fundamentalism,” if they had more time to read, study, concentrate and analyze the world that surrounds them.
Therefore, they should be kept busy and confused with indigestible manuals, forced to give up their old gear, to buy new and newer things, and kept constantly occupied with form, instead of substance.
Many readers who follow my work from countless conflict zones and areas where Western imperialism has been destroying the last flickers of freedom and resistance, most likely imagine that I keep things relatively simple, and that I still create, in the same vein as several of my ‘heroes’ from bygone days –such as Wilfred Burchett or Ryszard Kapuściński. Otherwise, how am I able to work in so many different places, in such short periods of time?
Yes and no.
Yes, I try to be mobile, to create differently, resisting turning myself into a technocrat. Instead of relying on equipment, I do my best to insert poetry, where there only seems to be left ash, tears and devastation. I go to many ‘extreme places’, located almost ‘at the edge’, in order to shed light on some of the most gruesome crimes committed by the Empire.
In order to get through to some damn hostile places, I have to ‘travel relatively light.’
But most of the times I still carry those heavy bags full of cameras, recorders, smart phones, chargers and other wires.
And the more I carry with me; the more my thinking actually becomes blurred; it is slowing down, diverted from real issues.
The honest conclusion is: “The more gadgets I have, the worse the results of my work are.”
Then why can’t I ‘lighten up’ even further?
Actually, to write my fiction or poetry, all I need is my notepads and a decent pen, or a small computer.
I essentially only need the same notepads and a pen, plus one Leica, to create vivid and detailed essays from warzones – what is called war reporting or ‘investigative journalism’.
And to make documentaries, a camera with a decent microphone would be enough for me, as I am not a purist.
A good Moleskin notebook costs up to US$20. A decent Japanese ‘Campus’ notepad goes for US$2. A Montblanc pen can last an entire lifetime. And Leica cameras can survive for decades.
Basically, this is all that I need, plus, a MacPro, and one portable studio audio recorder… and a sturdy smart phone.
A MacPro can last for many years, if it were allowed to, and so could the phone. Recorders, especially the analog, tape-based ones, can last for decades.
But strangely and suspiciously, we are encouraged, almost forced, to throw away great old equipment that is simple and perfect for what it was designed for.
Excellent professional machines are being replaced with idiotic, complex, toy-like gadgets; fit more for entertainment than for serious work.
Those old-fashioned enthusiasts, that tried to invent groundbreaking products, in order to improve the world, do not run design teams inside corporations, anymore. In the past, even in the capitalist system, some solid companies took pride in themselves for inventing great gear that could survive for decades. Many of these products were supposed to make both life and work much easier.
Now, the same companies are making sure that their products are too complex to be used, that they break down after a short period of time, and that they are full of electronics that will eventually block any upgrades and become incompatible with other equipment.
Even as one is being screwed, one is still expected to long for some new and idiotic phone, one has to be proud because he or she is in possession of the latest tablet, or cutting-edge car model, or pair of those ‘funky’ headphones with totally inadequate Hz response but with shiny colors and the perfect advertisement campaign.
The truth is: old tape-based portable professional studio recorders had much better, warmer sounds, than their present-day flashy, tiny digital cousins. Those old machines, after you purchased them, took them out of the box, and inserted batteries; everything was ready for work and for great performance, in just ten minutes.
Almost nothing has really improved, lately, in the field of optics or sound. Look at your parent’s HI-FI’s specs – that HI-FI that is now stored somewhere in the cellar. 50 years ago, most of the stereo components produced much better sound than what is now on display and in vogue. A few decades ago, all gear worked at least within the range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, which is the bare minimum for true HI-FI. Good stuff would go between 15 and 25,000 Hz. Now? Please check your phone or tablet. Usually there are no specs, because what you may find would be embarrassing!
Look back at F4 and F5 cameras; those metal frames, all the controls simple and exposed.
But the gear, producing crappy sound that they are selling to you now, requires a rocket scientist’s brain to figure it out.
Almost all that new equipment beats me. There are hundreds of useless functions. I am a writer, a philosopher, a film-maker, and still, I almost cannot figure out anything. I scroll through menus, pushing some tiny buttons, until I totally forget what it is exactly that I wanted to film, or to record. All my enthusiasm and inspiration are going to hell.
It is all thoroughly humiliating, too. I buy pieces of equipment in order to film, or to record sound, to communicate, for my fight against Western fascism.
But I am instantly transformed into a pathetic geek.
Instead of Gramsci and Camus, I read manuals.
Instead of researching, I spend time trying to figure out HOW to read, how to download, how to save and convert.
And believe me, there is always something to convert! There are always some new applications and programs that have to be downloaded, figured out.
In the process, all my private information is sucked out. In order to allow me to do what some of the great analog professional equipment used to let me do quickly, simply and discreetly, I am now forced to register, to give away my mailing address, my phone number, my credit card numbers, an email address and a bunch of passwords.
Gadgets keep breaking down, most likely because they are designed to break down.
Memory cards and extended memory cards constantly fail, and so we are encouraged to copy our important files, twice, three times, endless times, and send off our valuable images to some ‘clouds’.
The internal memories even in professional video cameras frequently collapse, but we are made to throw away our great HDV professional cameras, in the same way we were told to throw away our tape recorders.
Our smart phones, our expensive computers, constantly crash and collapse, too, as if they were programmed to collapse, with clockwork accuracy.
Nothing survives more than five years, and the lifespan is shortening.
In some parts of the world, particularly in Southeast Asian countries, but also increasingly in India, gadgets have fully overwhelmed society.
They have become the purpose of life, replacing culture and local art, deeply influencing and trivializing language, and the way that people communicate.
Creativity has fully collapsed.
You sit in Bangkok, on the Sky Train, which is an extremely overprized mode of ‘public transportation’, a privately-owned type of people mover, and you see that nobody reads anything printed on paper. The entire car is glued to the monitors of their smart phones. Repulsive and cheap, but loud, advertisements beam from the overhead monitors. The “market” propaganda is so loud that even if someone wanted to read, it would be impossible to concentrate. Sky train and smart phones are part of the ‘lifestyle’. It is not ‘good or bad’, but it is ‘how it should be’; how the market has decided that we should live.
Here, to understand gadgets, is essential, if one wants to be inside that integral part of the society ‘that matters’.
Who rules Thailand after the military putsch, is, for many, not as important as the ability to send cute faces from one tablet to another. Or say, “Sent from my iPhone,” attachments are. And that is what really matters, isn’t it?
Southeast Asia became totally infantile. What a joy for corporations, elites, military and the West, to manufacture and then control such societies!
What can be done to resist this toxic trend of people being converted into slaves of technology?
Definitely, to put substance over the form, and to remember what these gadgets are really supposed to be for.
Phones should help us to communicate with each other, to send meaningful information from one person to another, to hear each other’s voice.
Cameras, especially professional ones, are here to capture important images, and to document life, to help fight against injustice, to sound alerts, to improve life.
Computers should be meant to help us to communicate, to study, and to create.
It is clear that our regime, our Empire and therefore our corporations, are trying to make total brain-dead beings out of us. They want us to waste as much time as possible. They want us to study and consume nothingness, to get busy reading for months, their manuals about how to use some degenerate gadget that should have, in theory, just a few simple buttons.
We are not supposed to think about life. Our life is supposed to be reduced to a form, to a labyrinth, to a trap.
Technology is not here to help us to study and to create, anymore. It is supposed to keep us away from thinking. It makes sure that we are too busy. Instead of communicating deep thoughts, we are constantly thinking about the form – how to communicate.
It used to be simple: you were hit by some great idea. You picked up the receiver and dialed the number. “I was thinking…!” you would say to a relevant individual at the other end of the line.
Now, at least in many parts of the world, you open some program, like Tango, Line, or WhatsApp, and, with your big fingers you begin banging into the screen of your smart phone, hitting and missing, confused. Can one really create and communicate important thoughts, while typing into smart phones? Would important thoughts actually survive such a mode of communication?
The crimes of market fundamentalists are too apparent and so the leaders of the corporate-political mafia are really petrified that one day, more and more people will open their eyes and will begin to shout just like in that old fairytale: “But the Emperor has no clothes!”
And so they want to make us dumb, as quickly and irreversibly as possible.
After many years of research I have come to the conclusion that some parts of the world, particularly Southeast Asia, were being used as guinea pigs in a lab for experiments on human beings. After some horrifying coups and bloodletting, people have been fully indoctrinated with market fundamentalism. The fetish of gadgets was injected with tremendous force, at the same time as hundreds of millions of people were contaminated with the lowest form of pop culture. Those who resisted were murdered or made irrelevant. Thinking and creativity were discouraged and discredited.
It has worked. And now, the same system is being implemented even in the core of the Empire – in the US and Europe.
Culture has been ruined and propaganda has become accepted as the truth, even in the places like Paris, London and New York.
I will soon return to this subject. I am writing a long essay on the topic of cultural destruction in Southeast Asia, and on the experiment conducted on the people of that region.
Pop culture and unbridled consumerism, right-wing propaganda and advertisements, they are all made from the same stuff, and they are responsible for creating that brave new world of Southeast Asia, as well as many brave new worlds all over the planet.
The model should be studied in depth, because, it is a toxic, horrifying model. And if we do not fight it with determination and courage, it will soon become the future of our humanity!
I repeat: the gadgets are turning me into an idiot! They are killing my creativity and taking me away from the essential issues. I am resisting, but it is hard.
There is nothing wrong with computers, phones or cameras. But the way capitalism uses them; they are being converted into extremely dangerous psychological weapons of destruction – weapons that are slowing our thinking, diverting us from real issues, making us as busy as possible as we try to figure out an irrelevant multitude of digits and commands on confusing menus.
Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. ‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.
Friday, August 15, 2014
AUGUST 14, 2014
When Will the Europeans Wake Up?
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Are Western propagandists fooling anyone but themselves?
The latest absurdity coming out of Ukraine, the EU and Washington is that the humanitarian aid that Russia and the Red Cross are trucking into the former Russian territories that comprise eastern Ukraine is a trick, a deception, a pretext for Russia’s invasion forces. Such a preposterous lie tells us that Western propagandists have no respect whatsoever for the intelligence of Western peoples.
Even a moron should understand that if Russia wants to send military forces into Ukraine, Russia doesn’t need any pretext, much less a joint humanitarian venture with the Red Cross. The eastern Ukraine, following Crimea’s lead, has already voted both independence from Kiev and in favor of rejoining Russia. If Russia needed an excuse, the decisions by the eastern Ukrainians made months ago suffice. But Russia needs no excuse to rescue Russians from being slaughtered by Washington’s stooges like Palestinians in Gaza.
By its inaction, the Russian government is providing Washington’s vassal states in Europe time to comprehend that Washington, not Russia, is the problem, and that Washington intends for the cost of its conflict with Russia to fall on Europeans.
The opposition from Washington, Washington’s EU vassals, and Washington’s stooges in Kiev to the inflow of humanitarian aid is due to the West’s desperate attempt to keep the world from knowing about the massive destruction by Washington and its stooges of civilian lives, housing, and infrastructure in those former Russian territories who are directly threatened by the Russophobic extremists that Washington has installed in power in Kiev.
The Western presstitute media has added yet another failure to its long inglorious history by failing to report the atrocities inflicted on a people who see no future for themselves in a country ruled by murderous Russophobic criminals installed in power by Washington.
The demented NATO generals, Pentagon chief, and US senators are spreading hysteria about a looming Russian invasion not only of Ukraine but also of the Baltics, Poland, indeed, all of Europe. This hysteria is engulfing the West despite the total evidence of any sign whatsoever of Russian preparations or motives for such invasions. The lie is being spread by Washington that Putin intends to reconstitute the Soviet Empire. This is the same Putin who had the former Russian province of Georgia in his hands and let it go.
Washington’s propaganda is working. Polls reveal that a majority of Americans, who should be awake by now after being lied to about Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Iran, have again, in their infinite gullibility, fallen victim to the propaganda and regard Russia as a threat. Among the misinformed and propagandized American population, the question of the day is: “How are we going to stop the Russians?” Thus has the corrupt and deceitful Obama regime again prepared Americans for war.
The hope for peace is that the Russian counter-sanctions, a response to the sanctions against Russia that Washington forced its European vassals to implement, will end up falling on the deluded American taxpayers. The Polish government has demanded that Washington purchase the apples and agricultural products that Washington has made impossible for Poland to sell to Russia. As Poland is Washington’s choice for the US missile base directed at Russia, the Polish government has leverage. Once Washington gives in to Poland, Washington will be faced with similar demands from hard-hit Greece and Austria and from the rest of Europe to compensate Europeans for the costs that Washington’s sanctions have imposed on its vassal populations.
The fraud perpetuated on the world by the United States in the 21st century is extraordinary. Nothing comparable has ever been witnessed in history. Not only are there the frauds of the numerous wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, almost Iran and Washington’s illegal military actions within the borders of Pakistan and Yemen, but also the vast financial frauds perpetuated on the world. Among the costs of Wall Street’s frauds are the European debt crisis, the infringements of national sovereignty of European countries by the IMF bailouts of sovereign debt, and the impoverishment of “rescued” Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, along with Eastern Europe.
One day the Europeans will wake up. When they do, they will realize that Washington does nothing for them except to protect them from a non-existent “Russian threat,” while imposing dramatic costs upon them by employing Europeans as levies in Washington’s war for hegemony over the world. Sooner or later Europeans must realize that this role assigned to them by Washington is not in their interest and leads directly to World War III in which Europeans will be the first casualties.
Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
There are only cool loving friendly people i in Venezuela, in Cuba, in Argentina, in Italy, in China (Chinese people are very cool), but there is no love in USA. Most people in USA lack love, do not love others and behave like robots, walk like robots and think like robots. Most americans are mind-manipulated by TV, so their opinions are all provided, the behaviour patterns and physical gestures are all given to them by the TV role models that kill people on TV with guns like Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Gerard Butler, etc And that's why americans lack love. Another cause of why most people in America hate each other is that there is a theory that claims that the popular masses adopt the same behaviour and same philosophy of life of their ruling classes.
And because most people in USA are so evil, the right way to behave in America is to be evil. According to the political realism of the book "The Prince", when a person behaves good among so many other men, that are not good, he will dig his own grave.
Which is what happens with leftist presidents try to be too good (among so many evil men) like John F. Kennedy, Salvador Allende, Zelaya and the former Ucranian president. They all get overthrown
Let's be realists about USA. The whole USA is mental hospital of evil people. And you don't have to kill, and steal to be evil. The majority of americans are evil, even if the great majority are not killers and are not thieves. They are evil because they hate politics (hating politics is a form of evil), and they don't talk with their own neighbors and with strangers in the streets. Ignoring people like americans do is a type of evil
Ignoring people, evading people, hating people is the national sport of the USA. But USA like Israel will be punished by God, by being 2 satanic nations of evil rulers and evil citizens
Thursday, June 19, 2014
DO NOT VISIT THE WEBSITE INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE OF TOM FEELEY. HE DOESN'T RESPECT FREEDOM OF SPEECH. HE IS A CLOSET NAZI
Do not visit the website of Tom Feeley. He is just trying to get rich with his articles
THE USA IS A NATION IN SILENT ANGER. A GREAT ARTICLE WRITTEN BY THE COMMUNIST PHILOSOPHER MANUEL VALENZUELA ABOUT HOW MOST AMERICANS ARE SAD AND ANGRY BECAUSE OF CAPITALISM, AND HOW ONLY A DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT CAN GIVE AMERICANS 100% HAPPINESS
A Nation in Silent Anger
By Manuel Valenzuela
05/09/07 "ICH " -- - Can you hear that deep, silent anger inside you, pounding like a heavy iron fist on a wooden door, banging relentlessly every time you notice the America of your dreams vanish more each and every day, instead becoming a most unwelcome nightmare that you are impotent to wake up from? Can you feel the hollow pain in your bones, the restlessness running through your veins every time another freedom is gutted or another right is eviscerated, every time your government climbs one more step up the stairwell of corporatism?
Can you feel the reverberations of resentment echoing in your mind every time a politician votes to expand the power of the elitist and corporate world, once more ignoring the will of the constituency? Can you feel the frustration of being impotent to the machinations of a government once defined as of, by and for the People serving only the interests of money and becoming a government of, by and for the corporatist world?
Can you feel the collective anger of millions as the embedded myth of American exceptionalism is quashed through the attainment of knowledge, transforming the fictions of good into the realities of wickedness, mutating what we once believed into an inconvenient truth? Can you feel the betrayal of millions who for decades have been made to believe in the American myth of a nation benign and altruistic, only to become aware that only wickedness, greed and criminality define the Empire, that beyond the smoke and mirrors America’s government is ruthless, corporatist and concerned only for the interests of the elite?
If you can indeed feel the passions of anger and resentment, of pain and restlessness, of frustration and a sense of betrayal, you are not alone, for growing in this country can be heard a silent anger by a silent majority that has realized over the course of the last six years that there is something fundamentally wrong taking shape in their country. Thanks in large measure to 9/11 and the rise of the Internet, millions of human beings throughout the globe have confronted the perpetual conditioning, brainwashing, deception and propaganda disseminated by government and business to control and manipulate humanity.
In the last six years, the myths and fictions of yesteryear have given way to the reality and truth of today, almost as if the paradigm shift caused by 9/11 has managed to create a mental tidal wave of knowledge and truth seeking. Almost as if 9/11 shook the foundations of thought and the precepts of the real, almost as if it awoke millions of humans from the doldrums of hypnosis, today in the present can we see both the reality of the past and the ominous trends of the future. Today, more than ever, the myth of America is being eroded, it is being revealed for what it really is, exposing the lies and the corruptions and the criminality that has for decades been the norm, both in government and with so-called leaders.
The growing vibrations now being felt are the recalcitrant tremors of an awakening populace sensing a profound decadence destroying the very fabric of America. Millions now see with the clear eyes of knowledge, leaving behind the myopic deceptions of propaganda and brainwashing. Millions now realize the lies and deceptions they have been forced to live in and with for so long, living a life full of purposeful charades and delusions, spoon fed to us on a daily basis by our political overlords and the complicit lackeys we once confused for journalists. The enemies of reality are thus exposed to the growing army of truth.
In the thirst for knowledge that has absorbed millions of Americans who are tired of the lies and distortions fed to us by corporatist journalists and corporatist politicians, a strong realization has dawned that among many adversaries We the People face in corporatist America, two do substantial damage to our collective power. Millions of us are now aware, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, that America’s two party system is but a charade hiding a two headed hydra, or duopoly, oftentimes espousing the same ideology and platform. Indeed, since 9/11, one has become more conservative, thus more fascist, while the other, once liberal minded, has become what the conservative one used to be, practically replacing it with the same conservative thought of yesteryear. Yet both are mere fronts for the corporatist world, hiding the fact that democracy is extinct and choice is but a fantasy. In this post 9/11 world, both parties have shifted further right, further in pursuit of war, and further in the direction of imperial hubris. The end of one regime in 2008 will give rise to another, again switching heads but little else, once again having to prove to its masters that it can wage war and conquest, this time competently.
By the same token, the corporatist media has also become over the years, but especially since 9/11, a very dangerous adversary to We the People. This institution has the power of the television, the greatest weapon of mass control ever devised, and thus it possesses the power of influence, of control, and of concocting views and opinions. This adversary, once a bastion of truth and integrity, has over the years become a tool of corporatism to dictate reality and its version of truth to the people. It lies and deceives to protect the interests of corporations and the state, and its journalists turned propagandists do nothing to dispel the rumor that they are nothing but stenographers to those in power. The corporatist media has over the last six years hidden inconvenient truths from the people, as well as distracted us from reality through the tele-trash they saturate the airwaves with. By hiding truth now known through the Internet and telling us the endless lies of the state as if they are sacrosanct its true nature has been exposed for all to see. A greater adversary to truth and We the People does not presently exist.
Both adversaries are further discussed below.
Adversary One: Political Duopoly
Millions see that government and the corporate world have fused together, becoming bedfellows in the rape of the citizenry, slowly but surely transforming the world entire in the unyielding shadow of a small elite. Through greed and the addiction to power corporatism has been birthed, becoming an anti-Christ to billions of human beings, condemning all but a few at the top to evolved serfdom and slavery. The awakened have become aware that corporatism has become the enemy of the people, the greatest threat to humankind, the 21st century’s version of totalitarianism. The awakened have been forced to confront the truth that the state has itself stopped serving the people, becoming not our servant, but a malicious adversary, our corporatist master. In present day Earth, six and a half billion human beings are the enemy of the state, the corporatist state.
With new understanding and realized truths millions are uncovering their eyes to a matrix of deception and concocted fictions, seeing for the first time reality once hidden through a dark, impenetrable veil of fantasy. Today there exists a growing understanding that elected representatives have become the prostitutes of control and the elite, perpetually bending over, unzipping pants and welcoming in the thrusting commands of their masters. Impregnated by greed and power, inhabiting a cesspool of corruption and decadence, the so-called representatives of the people thus spawn the progeny of corruption and criminality, nurturing and rearing the growing corporatism creeping over our lives.
It is now understood that those elected to represent the people are traitors to the principles by which America stands, betraying their sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution, our rights and freedoms. They have and continue to commit treason in the pursuit of protecting the interests of a foreign nation over those of the United States, choosing to accept subservience to today’s debased version of Sparta (not to mention today’s version of apartheid South Africa) while ignoring the long term health of America.
It is easily seen how these charlatans, born in wealth and elitism, being of diluted blood and long-extinct talent, possess only the skills to deceive, lie, cajole and enrich themselves and their interests, possessing the worst morals in humanity, being devoid of scruples or human decency, manipulating the masses into being elected, later betraying their voters by pursuing not the will of the people, but the investments of the elite.
This small club of miscreants – commonly called politicians – it has become well known, are the worst humanity has to offer, yet their kind are elected over and over again, with the masses forever falling for the never-ending stream of lies, spin, smiles, talking points and public relations stunts. These individuals rarely vote in the interests of the people, almost always choosing to strengthen corporatism, yet the people vote them in nonetheless. Theirs is an exclusive club where to join wealth and power and corruption must be presented and proved. They will do and say anything to get elected, becoming pathetic creatures of insecurity and immorality. The Congress, therefore, is a club of the elite, for the elite and by the elite, and only they and their progeny can join.
In the years since 9/11 those who have woken from their slumber have realized that there is no major difference between the two political parties in America. This duopoly, or two headed hydra, is but two sides of the same coin, representing the same corporatist interests, the same small elite that is invariably molding America further along the corporatist model.
While one party is more fascist and criminal than the other, they both nonetheless help to expand the world’s right-wing dogma, whether it is related to the political or business world. Regardless of which party controls the presidency, the interests of the corporate world, that bastion of authoritarianism and conservative thought, of wealth and elitism, together with its perpetual expansion of power and control, is always priority number one.
The usurpation and destruction of democracy, freedom and human rights around the world also becomes a priority if the strategic interests of America or that of her corporations is challenged by a liberal, leftist or nationalist leader caring about the wellbeing of his or her people. Whether a Republican or Democratic president sits in power, in the last sixty years America has overthrown more than 50 democratically elected leaders, either by coup, assassination or clandestine operations designed to subvert the will of the people. In place of democracy, America installs right-wing, conservative tyrants, dictators, puppets, proctors and kings, all supported, financially and politically, by whichever party retains power in America. This intervention will be done through war, if need be, or through clandestine pressure, regardless, as always, of party loyalty.
Regardless of party affiliation, government fills itself up with criminals and murderers, charlatans and corrupt miscreants, war mongers and greed addicts, all playing upon the illusion that democracy exists, that the will of the people is real. In reality, elections cannot be said to be democratic or free of fraud when only two parties are allowed to run candidates, are allowed to participate in debates, are given media time, and control the very apparatus that decides electoral reform and decision making. The charade that Americans have choice, that real differences exist between parties, that elections are democratic and not predetermined through manipulation, omission, distortion and selection of candidates by those in power is yet one more illusion that those who have woken up now see.
When one party seeks to start an illegal and immoral war and the other party does nothing to stop it, even though the blatant lies, deceptions and fictions used to sell the war are known and understood for the chicanery they are, it cannot be said that an opposition exists. When said war turns out to be the greatest strategic disaster in the history of the nation and the so-called opposite party remains silent and indifferent, it cannot be said that an opposition exists. When the Bush administration has proceeded to abrogate the Constitution, Bill of Rights, freedoms, liberties and rights of Americans, and the so-called opposition party stands idly by and in many instances votes to destroy those same principles, (think Patriot Act and its progeny, Military Commissions Act, Habeas Corpus, Posse Comitatus Act, martial law, wiretapping) it cannot be said that an opposition exists. When the Geneva Convention is ignored, torture becomes the new normal and gulags roam the planet, without so much as a whisper of dissent from Democrats, it cannot be said that an opposition exists.
When Democrats chose to remain silent when confronted about the truth of 9/11, when they refuse to acknowledge what really happened, when they ignore the voice of millions who want accountability, when they refuse to call for an independent investigation into the worst act of mass murder in American history, it cannot be said that an opposition exists. When the Republican Party has concocted a fictional war on terror, espousing perpetual fear for perpetual profit, exporting terror and insecurity to America, instilling fear into the American psyche, and the Democrats fail to speak out, act out, and try to stop the madness, it cannot be said that an opposition exists. When the Democratic Party chooses to play politics with the Iraq war, putting the expected attainment of presidential power in 2008 ahead of the lives of thousands of Iraqis and American soldiers, allowing Iraq to disintegrate further into hell in order to secure the presidency and the Congress, creating the illusion that it wants to end the war, yet knowing full well that it will continue well into the future, it cannot be said that an opposition exists.
With both parties beholden to the corporate world, to the Israel Lobby, to the same vices and corruptions, both eager to please their masters and the elite that support them, it cannot be said that true democracy still exists in America. When America’s foreign policy in the Middle East is decided and controlled by the state of Israel because AIPAC, JINSA, the American Enterprise Institute and New York moneyed elite are masters to those in Congress, democracy does not exist. When the military-industrial complex can dictate war, when it can pillage our treasury, aided and abetted by our so-called representatives, democracy does not exist.
In truth, the last two elections were stolen, becoming a fraud against the American people, yet the losing party hardly complained or fought for justice. It hardly fought to stop a war it knew was fraudulent from the very beginning, nor does it act to stop the criminal profit making schemes of the energy industry, which is raping the American citizenry. It does nothing as the middle class is destroyed, our jobs and salaries being eroded and dismantled, the easier to enslave and control us. The so-called opposition has done nothing as the evisceration of education continues unabated, destroying the intelligence and ability to reason of future generations. Knowing that 9/11 was an inside job, as dumb they are not, the so-called opposition bobs and weaves in the pathetic attempt to ignore truth and avoid confronting reality. When the truth serum is injected into their bodies, they can only wither and hide.
Such is the state of democracy in America today.
Adversary Two: Ministry of Truth
Thanks to a perpetual stream of lies, distortions, omissions and purposeful propaganda ever since 9/11 millions of human beings now see that news and media are but the stenographers and propagandists of corporatism, becoming the tools of brainwashing and conditioning, the means by which the fascist state controls us. The corporatist media hides truth, skewers reality and serves to condition us to the policies and machinations of those holding power. This is, sadly, the role to be played by corporatist media in the 21st century, becoming a tool of psychology, of hypnotizing the masses into ignoring what should not be divulged and to believing exactly what is disseminated.
If truth is ignored or made to disappear, if it ceases to be mentioned, then it never existed, it never happened, and it should be discarded and forgotten. If fiction is espoused and showcased, if it is allowed to permeate the airwaves, it is to be accepted as truth, becoming the reality we must believe in and accept. This is the function of the corporatist media, a branch of the Ministry of Truth, an office in the Department of Propaganda, a place where doublespeak is created and furthered, truth is erased from memory, fiction is given life, propaganda is nurtured, where enemies are concocted, fear and terror is disseminated, and reality is manufactured. In short, it is here where the front lines in the war against the American people is fought.
Acting as the propaganda tool of those at the highest echelons of power, the corporatist media serves to make viewers submissive patrons to the decisions of our rulers. When the Democratic Party secures the presidency in 2008, for example, the corporatist media will shift, as they always do, from supporting and facilitating the policies and lies of the Republicans to those of the Democrats, just as they did when Bush I gave way to Clinton and when Clinton gave way to Bush. This is, of course, the role of the sycophants, talking heads and stenographers who work for the corporatist media. They enable power, hide its lies, obfuscate its crimes, create consensus among the masses and promulgate submissiveness and acquiescence among the populace.
We are not allowed to know what those in power do not want us knowing, and this the corporatist media accomplishes by erasing from reality the truth thought inconvenient. Using the distraction of tele-trash and infotainment, of celebrity and gossip, of talking heads and talking points, of spin and counter spin, reality is therefore hidden and ignored, made to disappear from our minds. Instead, lies are propagated and given the aura of uncompromised truth. Myths are elevated to the realm of reality. In the end, up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery and war is peace.
Many Americans, for example, have now seen the blatant complicity of the corporatist media in concocting and selling an illegal war and occupation, in essence lying and deceiving us into a strategic disaster by granting lies a bully pulpit from which to manipulate minds and by ignoring the myriad number of truths that contradicted that same mountain of lies that led us into war. This media has kept war hidden from us so that it may continue, hiding its violent and malevolent reality, ignoring the death of hundreds of thousands, the maiming and plight of American soldiers, the complete debacle in Mesopotamia. It has failed to expose the deceptions and the lies, the criminality and corruption, the truth of the enemy America really fights. Instead, the propaganda is maintained, the illusion of Al-Qaeda as enemy remains, even as it is Iraqi freedom fighters fighting occupation, dehumanization and the rape and destruction of their land that are fighting America.
Thanks to 9/11 and the debacle in Iraq, millions now understand that if the corporatist media fails to report a story, if it chooses to ignore it, it is likely that it is a truth and a reality too inconvenient or damaging to those in power. Such a truth will in all likelihood be erased from reality, as if it never happened, as if its memory is but a hollow fantasy now trapped in the black hole of nothingness. Such is the case with the events of 9/11, which the corporatist media refuses to touch with a ten foot pole, that increasingly allows people everywhere to see for themselves that the corporatist media is as complicit in the atrocities, and the conspiracy, as those who carried it out.
While it was all too eager to do its part in unleashing psychological warfare against Americans on September 11, 2001 by disseminating an unending stream of horror and carnage on television, thereby planting the seeds of anger, hatred and a hunger for vengeance in the American mind, the corporatist media has shown a tremendous reluctance in conducting an investigation as to what indeed transpired on that fateful day. It is very strange that a pillar of America that claims to report truthful news, conduct investigative journalism and hold the power of the state to account has remained silent and inactive regarding the monumental events of the early 21st century. An institution that had a reputation for questioning the state has decided, almost without debate, to follow and believe, point for point, the official narrative of what really happened on 9/11.
The corporatist media has not once gone back to take an in-depth look at the seminal events of a day that resulted in the death of 3,000 people, choosing instead to take the government at its word regarding a conspiracy theory that looks more and more kooky the more time passes. Not once has the corporatist media questioned the official conspiracy theory, even when so many contradictions exist, even when so many so-called coincidences are apparent. Not once has the corporatist media done even a preliminary investigation into allegations that have and continue to surface.
One would think such an important event of history altering ramifications, the new Pearl Harbor of the 21st century, the destruction of three skyscrapers of the World Trade Center, the crashing of a plane into the most heavily defended building on the planet, would garner more than a cursory introspection or reliance on the official conspiracy theory. Yet when it comes to celebrity deaths, paternity tests and multi-million dollar inheritances the corporatist media will leave no stone unturned in order to bring us the truth of what really happened.
If bloggers and ordinary Internet reporting and investigating can uncover the lies and deceptions that led to an illegal war, if they can find the evidence pointing to the many scandals of the Bush administration, if they can find the vast evidence pointing to 9/11 being an inside job of monumental proportions the question arises why the corporatist media fails time and again to expose truth. The answer is not farfetched, nor is it hard to contemplate. The corporatist media are not a bunch of idiots, or buffoons, though they are a bunch of opportunists addicted to power and greed. Most know exactly what the bloggers and the Internet investigators have found, they simply ignore it, for this truth will get you burned.
Most know 9/11 was an inside job designed to become the New Pearl Harbor, opening up the globe to American hegemony, perpetually enriching the military-industrial-energy complex. They understand geostrategic decision-making and the hunger for profiteering through endless war. They understand the system is hungry, its appetite needing to be satisfied through the blood of Arabs and the flow of oil. To these individuals in the corporatist media, it is better to make a deal with the devil than to starve at the hand of truth. They understand that during war the state and those in power offer the corporatist media either the chance to be with those in power or against the state. Most chose to be on the side of the state, knowing that censorship must increase, dissent must disappear, debate must cease to exist and the views and policies of those holding the reins of power must be given credence above all. You are either with the state or against it, becoming a stenographer, a propagandist and an abettor of lies and deceptions or an enemy of those in power, your life ruined, your career in shambles, your reputation destroyed.
In times of war, the corporatist media is the Ministry of Truth and the Department of Propaganda fused together, lest the people be made aware what is done in their name, lest we see the horrors and destruction our leaders unleash upon humankind. Mobilized and conscripted to unleash psychological warfare against the people of America, the corporatist media thus becomes a most important weapon the state possesses, a way to hide the criminality and mass murder of the state, and our leaders.
For the many pseudo-journalists not banished or fired or censored for standing up to principle, those that remain and sell their souls to war and death and destruction, becoming manipulators, liars and propagandists, the silence and deceptions and lies they promulgate make them complicit in the worst crimes being committed by the state and its leaders. Betraying the foundations and principles of their profession, these little Goering’s become complicit in the same crimes they help cover up as well as those they help create.
In hiding truth and altering reality, in remaining silent and indifferent to the decimation of America’s rights and freedoms and liberties, to the death of 3,000 of her sons and daughters, to the creation of an illegal and immoral war based on lies and deceptions, the destruction of the foundations of America itself, they have become treasonous criminals to the principles and virtues of America, betraying 300 million Americans in the process. In a more perfect world, they would be held accountable for their crimes.
The Calling of Our Time
We must rescue the America we love from the duopoly ruining the country, its corruption and ignorance and indifference to the great silent majority becoming apparent each passing day. We must rid the airwaves of the vermin and the cockroaches who have sold their collective soul to the demons living among us. The process of transformation so many of us want, that of returning America to her people, while taking time, can be accelerated by altering the mechanism of duopoly and the role of the media. Both pillars of America have become corrupted beyond repair, becoming cesspools of waste onto themselves, needing complete destruction of their foundations so that they may live again, and flourish.
Both institutions need to be put out of their misery, needing desperately to find transfusions of new blood. They need new oxygen to breathe and thrive, having become corrosive tentacles of a system that is destroying America from within. The mobilization of Americans against duopoly, of ridding the country of the pestilence rotting Washington from inside, of sending out to pasture the elite that comprise the Congress and returning the House and Senate to their rightful owners must commence with an understanding that failure to act will only lead to greater corporatism, greater inequality and injustice, greater disaster for the masses, for all of us. We the People must awaken to the realization that the system is getting more corrupted, more criminal in nature, infested with worse and worse human beings. It will only get worse, and failure to act will lead to an America that we will soon not recognize. Those in Washington are ruining our country, our ways of live and the future of our children. It is time to return Washington to the People. It is time to return America to her children. It is time we leave our children better off than ourselves. It is time we actually mean it. Only a complete evolution of thought and governance can achieve this goal.
The corporatist media is dumbing us down, making us ignorant sheeple indifferent to the criminality taking place. It is ruining the minds of our youth, most of whom have become too disinterested in life beyond the self to take part in activism. Entire generations of children are addicted to television, unable to think for themselves, having the corporatist media implant thoughts and opinions into their minds. We must educate these millions of teens, twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings, whose idea of activism is downloading songs on to their IPod, in the reality and danger of our times. We must teach them truth and knowledge of what is being done to them and their futures. We must show them what 9/11 really was, and what it means for their lives. We must succeed in transforming them from indifferent couch potatoes into knowledgeable activists, for they are the future, they will be the ones who take the torch from the activists of the past.
The American people are at war with the corporatist media, and we must be victorious in the battle for truth. Since it will never expose 9/11 for what it was, and is, and will only tell lies and hide reality, We the People must become active in the dissemination of truth. We do not have its resources, but we have truth on our side. We do not have its money, but we have strength in numbers. We do not have its power of persuasion, but we have billions of hands and eyes, we have the collective mind of hundreds of millions of human beings, each possessing incredible and diverse talents and abilities. All that is needed is desire, passion and a quest for truth. We do not have its machinations, but we have momentum.
Without the participation of the silent majority the cover-up will continue, those responsible will never be brought to justice and America will never recover from its moral erosion. We must push beyond the boundaries of our limitations, seeking truth and justice at every street corner, disseminating 9/11 and Iraq war truth at every opportunity. Using the Internet we must spread like a virus, reaching into every mind that wants to know truth. Using the power of video we can spread truth like a wildfire burning through dry weeds, with flames jumping fences and gaining strength, becoming a giant firewall unstoppable and powerful.
There are millions of minds that are eager to have their eyes opened; they are only waiting for truth to touch them. We must open minds and rekindle long lost flames, sparking the fire of anger and the heat of activism. Millions want to join the Truth Movement, they are just waiting to see truth, to feel the silent anger inside their bodies and minds, to have truth point the way. Slowly, but surely, an entire army of truth will join us, ready to return enlightenment to America, ready to resurrect a nation slowly rotting to its core.
One activist can reach 1,000 people if he or she so chooses, using a plethora of tools at his or her disposal. One activist can do what the corporatist media cannot, spreading truth to the millions of spirits who desperately want to hear it, millions who are simply waiting to have their flame of truth lit. One activist, using her talents and abilities, can in one day change and alter the lives of a thousand people, and they in turn can change or alter the lives of 100,000 more. Her battlefield is the street corner, public transportation, freeways, bridges, email, her voice, DVDs and her undying passion for truth. Her main weapon is truth, for it is contagious, spreading like a most welcome virus from host to host. It engenders strength and conviction, passion and bravery.
In time, through great struggle and patience, under strength and unity, combining the many talents and abilities of the army of truth, the great silent majority, those waiting for truth to come knocking on their door, those angered by what America has become, what 9/11 spawned, will in a not too distant September morning march lock step to the Congress and the White House, demanding to reclaim what rightfully belongs to the People, banging the drums of change and of destiny, ready to alter or abolish a system that has failed miserably, ready to restore a nation crumbling, ready to unleash a new rebirth.
This is the Calling of Our Time, for 9/11 was a war declared against us, a battle not of our choosing, yet a battle against us nonetheless. In its clouds of toxic poison a pendulum was birthed, capable of swinging in two opposite and mutually exclusive directions: one, in the direction of the People, ready to take back their country and their government, returning freedom and rights and liberty to where they belong, saving the America we love, to be cherished by our future generations, or two, in the direction of corporatism and the elite, creating a police state, a nation of cameras and harassment, of invasive measures and censorship, of free-speech zones and authoritarianism, of ignorance and dumbed down minds, of work making one free, of slavery of thought and serfdom of life.
Only time will tell which way this 9/11 pendulum will swing, but swing it will do. Ominous times are upon us, yet so are days of bravery and courage. Corporatism and Power of the People are gearing up for a giant conflagration, and this can be read in history’s trends and seen in the present’s direction and path. Corporatism will be the inevitable result of failing to act, of failing to unite as one, as it has been growing over the last few decades. A clash of futures and destinies is on the horizon; which one will be victorious is up to the People, for only they can decide, only they can chose to become awake or remain asleep, only they can take action.
Can you hear that deep, silent anger inside you, pounding like a heavy iron fist on a wooden door, banging relentlessly every time you notice the America of your dreams vanish more each and every day, instead becoming a most unwelcome nightmare that you are impotent to wake up from? Can you feel the hollow pain in your bones, the restlessness running through your veins every time another freedom is gutted or another right is eviscerated, every time your government climbs one more step up the stairwell of corporatism?
Can you feel the reverberations of resentment echoing in your mind every time a politician votes to expand the power of the elitist and corporatist world, once more ignoring the will of the constituency, once more ignoring the voices of the electorate? Can you feel the frustration of being impotent to the machinations of a government once defined as of, by and for the People serving only the interests of money and becoming a government of, by and for the corporatist world?
Can you feel the collective anger of millions as the embedded myth of American exceptionalism is quashed through the attainment of knowledge, transforming the fictions of good into the realities of wickedness, mutating what we once believed into an inconvenient truth? Can you feel the betrayal of millions who for decades have been made to believe in the American myth of a nation benign and altruistic, only to become aware that only wickedness, greed and criminality define the Empire, that beyond the smoke and mirrors America’s government is ruthless, corporatist and concerned only for the interests of the elite? Can you feel the animosity growing against the corporatist media, whose lies and deceptions make it complicit both in the greatest crime ever to befall America and in the greatest strategic disaster ever?
Can you feel the silent anger growing, its tremors rising through the faults, ready to send shockwaves, knocking crumbling and corrupt foundations down? Can you feel the Calling of Our Time, that beautiful epoch fast approaching, when finally after years asleep, millions suddenly awake? Can you feel momentum, rising like a cloud, heading for the heavens, proclaiming truths aloud? The truth it is a rumbling, waking millions up, in time we will have an army, reclaiming a land once lost. The Calling of Our Time is upon us, let its pendulum swing towards truth.
Let silent anger light our flame, let truth guide our way.
Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog,http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com and at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela is also author of Echoes in the Wind, a fiction novel. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, May 23, 2014
This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.
WEEKEND EDITION MAY 23-25, 2014
Come Back Monica Lewinsky
Stop Hillary Now … Before She Kills Again!
by ANDREW LEVINE
There is an outstanding book by Nomi Prins about the machinations of the deregulated financial predators let loose upon the world during the Clinton years. It is called It Takes a Pillage. Too bad that the title is therefore unavailable; it could come in handy in the weeks and months ahead.
It would be a fine taunt to use in polemics about the author, the official one, of the 1996 bestseller It Takes a Village, a public relations confection contrived to repackage Hillary Clinton’s persona in time for her husband’s run for a second term.
The Hillarycare episode had to be shoved down the memory hole and, along with it, the image of a policy wonk with an unwomanly penchant for political hardball — one who ends up on the losing side anyway.
Evidently, the flacks trying to sell the public on a second Clinton term felt they needed a softer, more caring First Lady to stand by their man. Obligingly, the Mrs. addressed traditionally feminine topics like parenting and education in a soft and caring way.
Even so, by today’s standards, the saccharine concoction that came out under her name seems a tad risqué. It upholds notions of cooperation and social solidarity – as ends in their own right and as means for rearing children right.
Clinton’s PR people permitted – indeed, encouraged – that high minded message because the neoliberal worldview that went along with the kinds of policies she and her husband were promoting had not yet entirely taken hold.
To praise cooperative ideals back then was hardly edgy; if anything, Clinton’s book suffers from too much pious cant. It was only later that traditional values took on a more sinister coloration. That happened around the time that “socialist” became a dirty word; a phenomenon the Clintons also helped to bring about.
Back then too, women who were high-flyers were still supposed to be nurturers and care givers first. This was a fine point Clinton’s handlers felt they needed to pin down.
Since then, times have changed and Hillary Clinton along with them. The persona she presents now is tougher and less gendered. The Hillary of Hillarycare is back.
Nowadays, this is OK for a candidate, but still not for a First Lady. By “partnering” with Bill, Hillary spoiled the First Lady gig for her successors. Michelle Obama, potentially a more capable leader than either Hillary or Barack, understood this from Day One.
Too bad for First Ladies; life is unfair. And too bad for serious critics of Clintonian politics that, after Nomi Prins, the best title imaginable for a book about the Clinton phenomenon is now out of bounds.
The wicked have all the luck. Hillary had a good thing going for a while; Michelle is stuck in a golden cage, planting vegetables and steering fat kids away from junk food. And Hillary’s detractors, the hordes of them who are not morally or intellectually serious, have no need for apt book titles or clever turns of phrase. Turn on Fox News and see for yourself.
Prins’s title is doubly apt. It describes the world the Clintons have brought upon us; a world in which the super-rich loot and plunder. And, it suggests what we need to do to rid ourselves of their depredations — when “niceness” is simply not enough.
Taunt Hillary with that? As the eminently quotable Sarah Palin would say: “you betcha.”
But why bother? After all, in America today, it makes little difference if she loses or wins. In the real world of electoral politics, the ship of state stays on a neoliberal course no matter what happens at election time.
The personalities at the top change; everything else stays the same. At the policy level, even cosmetic changes are now so rare that they seem almost out of reach.
When Obama came out of nowhere to run for president in 2008, it looked like there would be at least a few cosmetic changes ahead.
But none were forthcoming. The knight in shining armor was an illusion in Freud’s sense, an unconscious expression of a wish. He did fool a lot of people, though — for a while.
By now, however, everyone who is not willfully blind has figured out that there will be no “hope” or “change” on his watch.
And, with Obama in mind, it is dawning on the voting public too that it doesn’t matter what winners say — or let people believe — during political campaigns.
Hence the question: if all comes out the same in the end, why be concerned that Hillary Clinton is on track for 2016?
That there is no significant political difference between her and husband Bill is not reason enough. It would make no difference if there were.
The idea of a Clinton in the White House again is alarming — but no more than the thought, say, of a President Joe Biden, the other “rival” Obama empowered.
There are other imaginable “mainstream” (actually, right-wing) Democratic contenders out there who may seem less onerous. But that is only because we know less about them. If they are mainstream enough to be taken seriously, they are cut from the same cloth.
In any case, it is Hillary, not Biden or anyone else, who is on the move right now; and therefore, if any of them must be stopped, it is she.
But why must anyone be stopped when candidates are not where the action is?
The short answer is that even when it doesn’t matter who wins elections, it sometimes matters who runs.
Who runs in the 2016 Democratic primaries matters more than usual because, barring momentous developments that cannot now be foreseen, the winner will win the general election too. Those primaries are therefore bound to focus the collective mind.
Whoever wins will become the next president because the GOP will again be unable to produce a candidate that sane Republican and “independent” voters can abide and that plutocrats can entrust to look after their interests. Their “base” won’t let them.
The problem is not that the Republican base is “populist” in a way that might give “establishment Republicans” reason to bolt.
We don’t hear much about “false consciousness” these days, but the benighted souls the GOP has recruited into its ranks since Nixon’s “Southern strategy” took off are a textbook case — always at the ready to sacrifice their own material interests for the benefit of one per-centers who wouldn’t otherwise give them the time of day.
But because there are so many of them and because they are obstinate to a fault, they have made the GOP hostage to their warped sensibilities.
Much has been made lately about how the hyper-rich have decided to throw “free speech” at the problem. They want the Tea Party out, and respectable candidates in – provided, of course, that the more respectable candidates are as subservient to their needs.
Perhaps they will get their way; they will certainly spend huge sums trying. But even if they succeed, the payoff will only be that someone like Mitt Romney will again be their standard-bearer.
If this happens, the Republican base will probably acquiesce once more. But grudging acquiescence is not enough.
The demographics are now such that without an energized base of hate-filled, subliminally racist, patriarchal, gun toting, Bible thumping, white folk growing old gracelessly together, a Republican presidential candidate doesn’t stand a chance. 2016 will be 2008 and 2012 all over again.
This doesn’t mean that 2014 will be a bad year for Republicans; quite the contrary. Thanks to understandable indifference on the part of those who should know better, gerrymandering, voter suppression, the peculiarities of our electoral institutions, and, above all, the largesse of billionaires, Republicans can still control Congress, along with many state governments.
This year, they will probably retain control of the House of Representatives, and may well become the majority party in the Senate.
But the White House is out of reach for the foreseeable future – because their candidate will either be despised by the yahoos in the base or will be abhorrent to everyone else.
Republicans can still win governorships and state houses in states with sizeable contingents of reactionary voters; and Congress is full of Tea Party whackos. Lately, a few have even made it into the Senate – Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are among the most prominent examples.
But the presidency? Not a chance; not even with the Electoral College having the ultimate say.
In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, and if all the votes cast in Florida had been counted, he would have lost Florida’s electoral votes too. But five partisan Supreme Court Justices made sure that Florida’s votes wouldn’t all be counted, and Bush was inflicted upon the world.
This was only possible because it occurred at a time when, despite yawning cultural differences, the pillars of the Republican Party and their useful idiots still got along tolerably well.
This has not been the case for some time; and since Romney’s defeat in 2012, the rift has widened. It is not about to close.
We can therefore be confident that, whatever happens in this year’s elections, the next president will be a Democrat.
Therefore if the nomination goes to Hillary Clinton, expect the Clintons to move back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in January 2017.
This would be a revolting development – but not because a Clinton presidency would be significantly more awful than the presidency of anyone else, Democrat or Republican, whom our plutocrats might decide to bless. On the awfulness scale, they would all register about the same.
Four or eight more years of Clintons in our face would be too much for normally sensitive people to bear; this “aesthetic” problem is hardly irrelevant. But it too is not the main reason why it is important to stop Clinton now.
The reason for that is that if she isn’t stopped – or, at the very least, if there isn’t a serious and sustained effort to stop her – opportunities opened up by the approaching primary season will be squandered.
There are two general problems with lesser evil voting in contests between Democrats and Republicans in the United States today.
For one, the practice is myopic.
Even if we concede, what is far from obvious, that, say, President Obama made better appointments and proposed better initiatives than John McCain or Mitt Romney would have if they had had the chance, his presidency made the ostensibly Lesser Evil party more pusillanimous and more conservative than would have otherwise been the case.
Between 2006 and 2008, when there was still a Republican president and when Democrats controlled the House, there were intimations of what even post-(Bill) Clinton Democrats could do. Impeaching George W. Bush was high on the list.
That effort, even if unsuccessful, would have made it harder for Bush to keep his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going, and harder still for Obama to take up where Bush left off.
But the Pelosiite leadership in the House made sure to quash any chance of impeachment along with every other worthwhile initiative – ostensibly to help elect a Democrat in 2008.
A more plausible explanation is that they too are Clintonites (neoliberals, liberal internationalists) under the skin. These explanations are not mutually exclusive.
The Democratic leadership in the House is less noxious, or at least less risible, than the Republican leadership that has run that institution since 2010. But, it is far from obvious even so, taking all factors into account, that electing Democrats is the way to assure that less evil outcomes will result.
A combative Democratic Party in Congress is worth a dozen Barack Obamas in the White House.
The other problem is that lesser evil voting doesn’t take a long enough view.
Even if Democrats really are the lesser evil at a particular moment in time, voting for them as they shadow the greater evil on its rightward course fosters a race to the bottom — or rather to the hellish wasteland our political scene has become.
The consequences become more apparent with each election cycle.
But these considerations don’t apply, at least not directly, to intraparty primary elections.
The only worthwhile purpose Republican primaries serve is to provide material for late night comedians. The increasingly tedious and unfunny MSNBC pundits who come on earlier in the evening use the same material, but that doesn’t count.
Democratic primaries sometimes have more redeeming features.
Even if there is no one to vote for, only against, making the less bad choice as good as can be is sometimes worth doing.
And, when all the choices are equally bad, as they usually are, Democratic primaries nevertheless provide opportunities for voting expressively, for making a statement.
Writing in names of candidates not officially in the running can be a productive way to “waste” a vote. Voting for a mainstream Democrat on the ballot is almost always an unproductive way.
Since voting for a Republican is unthinkable, that option hardly warrants mention. I will therefore say no more about it.
For years, I have been writing in the names of my dogs. This year, I plan to do better; I will write in Edward Snowden for something, maybe for everything. Hardly anyone, certainly no Democratic muckety-muck will notice, but maybe a few county-level party functionaries will.
Until “none of the above” – or some functional equivalent, like casting a blank ballot — becomes an option that the powers that be will be unable to ignore, voting for a hero, or an estimable pet, is as good a way as any to cast a protest vote.
Sometimes, though, we can do better than that. This can happen in primary elections at the local level, and it sometimes happens in primaries that pick candidates for president. It happens whenever there are candidates, outliers, whom a person can in good conscience vote for.
In local elections, there is sometimes a chance that such a candidate can win. In presidential elections, there is no chance – not with corporate media working diligently to marginalize the candidacies of anyone not one hundred percent in the pocket of the one percent.
But if true outliers are heard at all – in candidate debates, for example – they can expand the universe of discourse, at least for a while.
This was what Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel did in the 2008 Democratic primaries. To them, much credit is due.
This time around, there are more plausible candidates being talked about; they could therefore do even more good than Kucinich or Gravel did.
The two most likely, at this point, are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. They both command media attention, and they both fall enough outside the neoliberal mainstream to give one percenters and free market theologians cause for concern.
Also they both seem to know how to be oppositional while remaining “viable within the system.” Persons of a certain age will recall that this was Bill Clinton’s express reason for not resisting the draft in a more militant way than dragging out a student deferment. It worked for him; it can work for Sanders and Warren too.
To be sure, there is no reason to think that either of them would turn American diplomacy around or dismantle the national security state.
Neither is there any reason at this point to think that either of them would do much to steer the world away from environmental catastrophes.
But we can infer a priori that they wouldn’t be worse in these regards than the malefactors now running the show.
Of the two of them, Warren has to be the favorite, if only because hers is a fresher face, and because her candidacy would help keep on board voters who think that the most important thing, this time around, is electing the first woman president.
Needless to say, many who think like that are politically on the Clintons’ page. No doubt some of them can be weaned away, however; even aging baby boomers can still learn.
Because hope springs eternal, I am tempted to add that maybe Sanders or Warren could play a role in the process of de-Clintonizing the Democratic Party.
The god-awful collection of “lesser evils” that the Democratic Party has become is probably beyond redemption. But since there is no “third party” that the media won’t ignore, and since there seems to be no way to get rid of our duopoly party system, the best chance we have to salvage anything out of our electoral politics, in the short run anyway, is to try – even if only in vain –to make the Democratic Party better or, better yet, to refashion it altogether.
This would involve more than just stopping Hillary in her tracks. But stopping her is an indispensible first step.
What it would take would be a campaign organized from the bottom up, as in peoples’ movements in Latin America and elsewhere.
Campaigns organized from the top down, like the ones that got Obama elected twice, are no doubt less messy. And they too can energize masses of voters; we know this from the Obama fiascos.
But they lead nowhere good. In Obama’s case, they led to drones, 24/7 surveillance and carte blanche for banksters and anyone else willing and able to stuff Democratic Party coffers.
Would campaigns for Sanders or Warren be any different? It is not impossible; those two seem less cooptable than most, and instinctively more (small-d) democratic.
But it will only happen if their electoral efforts build more on the Occupy movements of 2011 than the Obama frenzy of 2008.
This is unlikely at best. But it will be impossible if, like Obama in 2012, Hillary Clinton gets to turn all the positive energy there could be in the next two years into the usual electoral detritus.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Nevertheless, joining forces with Republican Hillary-bashers is out of the question, and not just because they are utterly vile.
Karl Rove says that he suspects that Hillary is brain damaged from a concussion. The man aptly called “Bush’s brain,” should know about damaged brains. But he is only blowing air.
Even Fox News watchers, the ones who still have some grey matter left, are bound to figure that that out soon enough.
Then there are the pending Benghazi hearings.
It would be extremely useful to investigate what the CIA was up to in Libya. Among other things, we might learn the extent to which our “humanitarian interveners,” in league with their French counterparts, deliberately or inadvertently armed fanatical Islamist and Christian militias in sub-Saharan Africa, where many of the arms they sent ended up.
The Obama administration has long wanted a larger military footprint in Africa; to what extent were its post-invasion, post-coup activities in Libya part of this project? It would be good to know.
But the Obama administration will never come clean on its own, and Congressional hearings set up by House Republicans are unlikely to shed much light. Their only aim is to damage the woman they expect their man to run against in 2016.
In this, their brazenness rivals JFK’s feigned alarm over a “missile gap” with the Soviet Union when he ran against Richard Nixon in 1960. Kennedy knew that Eisenhower’s Vice President could not disclose the real extent of American military dominance. So he squeezed all the benefit he could out of talking tough on “defense.”
Similarly, Republicans know that Obama’s former Secretary of State cannot reveal the nature and extent of the CIA’s shenanigans in Africa or the American military’s plans for dominating that poverty-stricken but resource-abundant continent. Republicans don’t know much, but they know that.
Kennedy’s ploy worked; this one won’t. Unless some truth comes out of the House investigation, even Fox News won’t be able to sustain interest beyond a few mindless news cycles.
Someday, no doubt, the world will know all about what went on in the American Consulate in Benghazi; and what we learn will not redound to Clinton’s or Obama’s credit. But unless a whistle-blower as courageous as Edward Snowden materializes soon, that time is not now.
What is coming instead will be unseemly and uninformative. And it is more likely to backfire on the Republicans than to harm Clinton’s electoral prospects. This is only to be expected; Republicans are not the brightest bulbs on the tree.
Democrats who counseled having as little to do with the coming charade as possible were probably right. But the hearings will probably work to the Democrats’ advantage anyway. Time will tell.
In any case, those of us who want to stop Hillary for the right reasons would do well to steer clear of the impending farce altogether.
It would be wiser by far to take the high road.
If this means mobilizing behind a Sanders or Warren candidacy, then so be it. Now might be a good time to dust off the hoary but still useful notion of “critical support.”
There is no reason not to take the low road too, so long as Republicans don’t sully it first. Doing so would at least make the struggle against Clintonism entertaining.
Where the Clintons are involved, there are so many low roads to take!
Is it an accident, for example, that Monica Lewinsky is back in the news, thanks to the article she wrote for Vanity Fair?
Lynne Cheney thinks Bill and Hillary are behind it; she thinks they want to get that story out of the way. Could she, for once, be right?
It goes without saying that the Cheneys outdo even the Bushes and the Clintons for sheer noxiousness. Their politics is as bad as it gets.
And they are rank ingrates. If our country was governed by the rule of law, the Paterfamilias of that wretched clan would now be doing hard time for war crimes, crimes against the peace, and crimes against humanity.
Instead, Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, protect him assiduously. Yet, the Cheneys heap abuse upon Obama (for all the wrong reasons) with the zeal of a Sean Hannity or a Glenn Beck.
Still, even Cheneys sometimes speak the truth. The idea that the Clintons are behind the Vanity Fair article may be one of those times. There is no smoking gun — but the contention rings true.
In any case, well-timed preemptive strikes don’t always work.
What a delicious prospect it would be too: to remind the world of Bill Clinton’s finest moment. “Not (having) sex with that woman, never” ranks up there with (maybe) smoking weed but (certainly) not inhaling.
I am being facetious, of course, but these really were the best things the man has done.
Before 2008, I called for the establishment of Monica Lewinsky Democratic Clubs in every corner of the land. “That woman” deserves no less.
For her – admittedly inadvertent — role in bringing about a situation that made it impossible for her paramour to privatize Social Security, as he was hankering to do, she did more for her country than any woman in Bill Clinton’s life – bar none.
But much like my efforts in behalf of Socialists for Bush – an organization (with two members) that I cofounded in 1992 when Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination in order to go back to Little Rock to superintend the judicial murder of Ricky Ray Rector, a brain damaged convict on death row — that call fell on deaf ears.
Socialists for Bush is now a dead letter; history has moved on.
But as long as there are Clintons threatening, “the Lewinsky matter” lives on.
This time, it is Hillary’s enthusiasms that constitute the clear and present danger.
More even than the future of Social Security is at stake because the forces behind the Clintons now are targeting more than just the feeble welfare state institutions we still have left.
As the economy that sustains the American empire falls into permanent decline, the goal of the one percent now is to make the world safe for the military-industrial-national security state complex. Hillary Clinton has made this cause her own.
In this, she even surpasses Obama – witness her greater fondness for using military force.
Libya was an especially egregious example, but it is not the only one.
And her efforts to encourage a new Cold War raise the threat level she poses to the very highest order of magnitude.
The country and the world need Monica’s help again – now more than ever.
ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy.
His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).