Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Trump and the Politics of "None of the Above"

Donald Trump is basically the "none of the above" candidate. The status quo is despised and he knows it. "Change you can believe in" has proven itself a fraud, so he's running on "change us back to the way we were" (i.e., "great"), which at least refers to a time period that's real (post WWII) if nothing else. Hillary Clinton is in some ways worse than Trump (she's more likely to get us into war with Russia, for example, which could be terminal), and is a status quo candidate if there ever was one. A President Hillary will send popular cynicism about politics soaring, emboldening more shameless reactionaries to run and perhaps win next time around. If a strong popular left doesn't emerge soon, deeper and more sophisticated than the "Feel the Bern" campaign, things could get very ugly.

Yes, it would have been nice if a New Dealer like Bernie Sanders had been the standard bearer instead of Clinton. But everyone knew the game was rigged against him well beforehand. Doesn't anyone remember the take-down of front-runner Jesse Jackson by his own party in 1988? Do we really think the "New Democrats" (i.e., anti-New Deal) don't really mean to say and do what they constantly say and do? For over 40 years a mild IMF style "structural adjustment" program has been applied to the U.S., deliberately eroding the New Deal, with the conscious support of both the Democratic and Republican parties. So how could we be surprised at what happened to Bernie Sanders in 2016?

Basically, his whole effort boiled down to expanding the Democratic base to benefit Hillary Clinton, a very predictable and disgusting outcome. Now as he goes back to his Senate committee work, he urges the young idealists that worked their hearts out for him to vote for Hillary, who gives six-figure speeches to Wall Street and transformed Libya from a stable country with the highest standard of living in Africa into a terrorist haven where ISIS marauds the beaches beheading people.

Far more important than who wins these quadrennial celebrity contests is establishing a broad democratic culture that won't allow the kind of revolting politics Washington has made itself famous for.

Let's get to work.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

You Say You Want a Revolution . . . .

". . . There are two cardinal differences between liberalism and radicalism. The first can be characterized as idealism versus materialism. Liberalism is idealist. The crucible of social reality is the realm of ideas, in concepts, language, attitudes. In contrast radicalism is materialist. Radicals see society as composed of actual institutions - economic, political, cultural- which wield power, including the power to use violence. 

"The second disagreement is on the primary social unit. Liberalism is individualist, locating the basic organization of society in the individual. Hence, liberal strategies for political change are almost exclusively individual actions. For radicals, the basic social unit is a class or group, whether that's racial class, sex caste, economic class, or other grouping. Radicalism of whatever stripe understands oppression as group-based harm. For liberals, defining people as members of a group is the harm. In contrast, radicals believe that identifying your interests with others who are dispossessed - and developing loyalty to your people - is the first, crucial step in building a liberation movement.

"Liberals essentially think that oppression is a mistake, a misunderstanding, and changing people's minds is the way to change the world. Hence, liberals place a tremendous emphasis on education as a political strategy. Radicals understand oppression as a set of interlocking institutions, and, one way or another, the strategy for liberation involves direct confrontation with power to take those institutions apart. 

"The Left in this country has embraced liberalism to the point of becoming completely unhitched from any notion of actually being effective. Activism has turned into one big group therapy session. It doesn't matter what we accomplish - what matters is how we feel about it. The goal of any action isn't to change the material balance of power, it's to feel 'empowered' or to feel 'community' or to feel our hearts open to our inner children because our mean, mean mothers never loved us, and all of it is endless and self-referential and useless. And the people who get caught up in this workshop culture will insist that their precious little navels have something to do with changing the world. Meanwhile, the planet is being eviscerated. . . . 

"The related dead end of individualism is the extreme personal purity of the 'lifestyle activists.' Understand: the task of an activist is not to negotiate systems of power with as much personal integrity as possible - it's to dismantle those systems. Neither of these approaches - personal psychological change or personal lifestyle choices - is going to disrupt the global arrangements of power. They're both ultimately liberal approaches to injustice, rerouting the goal from political change to personal change. This is easier, much easier, because it makes no demands on us. It requires no courage or sacrifice, no persistence or honor, which is what direct confrontations with power must require. But personal purity only asks for shopping and smugness. The mainstream version involves hybrid cars, soy milk, soy burgers, and soy babies, and checking off the 'green power' option on your electric bill. On the very fringe, there is a more extreme version which offers a semi-nomadic life of essentially mooching off the employed. To point out the obvious: power doesn't care. Power doesn't notice the existence of anarchist freegans and it certainly doesn't care if they eat out of dumpsters. Power will only care when you build a strategic movement against it. Individual action will never be effective."

         -----Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth, pps. 264-5

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Liberal Hysteria Continues to Make Trump Look Semi-Rational

The uproar over Donald Trump's continued failure to spew out sound bites favored by U.S. policy elites has gone beyond comic absurdity to reach the heights of satire incarnate. Authenticity simply cannot be tolerated.

The question of the week is whether or not the unpredictable Donald "can be trusted with the nuclear codes." Note that the issue is not that the world can be incinerated at a moment's notice, but that a candidate who doesn't swear to uphold the dogmas that eventuated in this insanity might be voted into power. God help us.

Hardly anyone seems to realize that the United States is always already using nuclear weapons in the same way that a bank robber uses a gun without actually having to fire it. People get awfully cooperative when a gun is waved in their face, and governments do too when they hear Washington loudly proclaiming that "all options are on the table" in pursuit of "regime change." How much imagination do we need to realize that this is a threat to nuke entire countries off the map?

On the other hand, it takes considerable imagination to conclude that Trump was calling for the assassination of Clinton when he recently noted that "2nd amendment people" would be the only ones who might be able to stop her from "abolish[ing] the 2nd amendment" if she becomes president. While certainly no AIPAC, the NRA nevertheless does have considerable influence on U.S. political culture, which makes the overturning of the 2nd Amendment much more complicated than a president simply appointing gun control advocates to the bench. Recall that a previous Satan in the Oval Office (George W. Bush), though favoring a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion proved unable to overturn Roe. v. Wade, and liberals hardly needed to resort to arms to achieve their victory. And let's not even get started on how gunning down a sitting president would make it harder to implement a gun ban. Please liberals, take a tranquilizer.

Trump, let us also recall, is a voice of restraint on Ukraine, one of the world's hot spots most likely to erupt in a nuclear war. He was, in fact, called to task for asserting - correctly - that Vladimir Putin had not invaded the country, but rather, had troops in Crimea as part of international agreements, just as Washington has troops in Bahrain without being accused of invading that country.

And, of course, in the wake of a Washington supported coup in Ukraine, Crimeans voted by a 96% majority (with over 80% turn-out) to be part of Russia, with ethnic Tatars and Ukrainians voting overwhelmingly in favor along with ethnic Russians. A parallel poll in Russia showed that 90% of the Russian people also favored re-unification, confirming longstanding sentiment that the two territories are actually one.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continues to label the democratically elected Vladimir Putin a "dictator," always a signal that a country has been targeted for regime change, while NATO moves nuclear weapons practically up to the Russian border, a provocation inviting a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Except maybe the outcome won't be so lucky this time.

Friday, August 5, 2016


An anonymous source said to be anonymous by another anonymous source is claiming that Donald Trump is using muslim blood to write anti-semitic hate speech on dead mexican immigrant bodies and that after that he cooks and eats the unborn children of some of the dead mexicans and muslims and then beats his wife.

The anonymous source could not be confirmed by an anonymous expert on hate crimes and anonymous sources but despite this we felt a responsibility as liberal progressive citizens and not just media hustlers to make this news known to as many people as possible as quickly as possible in the interest of warning the american people about just how rotten a scum sucking bastard this guy is. Really, can you believe how rotten he is?

If he were president we'd have unarmed black men shot dead by the police and we'd spend 26 billion dollars on our pet industry while half a million of our people were living in the streets and we'd have military bases all over the world and be killing muslims by the hundreds of thousands and destroying islamic homelands in the middle east and creating terrorists who would hate us for good reason..

We've got to stop him before it's too late!!!