MY State of the Union address…

It’s entirely safe to say in March of 2017 that our country, the United States of America, has gone completely off the deep end. Our institutions, public and private, from Washington, DC, to Wall Street, are deeply corrupt and mostly failing, at home and abroad. The Fourth Estate (aka, the “free press”) is dominated by just five companies, following the last two decades of mergers and acquisitions (thanks to Bill Clinton), meaning that we have a monopoly of media control under a handful of Rupert Murdochs: bigoted, right-wing, law-flouting war profiteers, far more concerned with manufacturing consent among the proles than informing anyone. Twenty-one years after the passage of the Telecom Act, hundreds of small-medium media outlets, disproportionately minority-owned, have disappeared entirely, crushed by the few remaining giants… again, thanks to Bill Clinton. As a result, most Americans, including the politicians, can no longer tell the difference between propaganda and news. Ignorance, cultural division, and jingoism in America are at record levels, with respect to the modern/post-WWII period, as we coast on the achievements of previous, freer generations of Americans (the ones who ushered in regulation of banks and businesses, democratic socialism, and taxation of the wealthy — all endangered or extinct policies today).

Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our schools and the U.S. Postal Service are under assault by profiteering privatizers (from Arne Duncan to Betsy DeVos) who couldn’t care less about the education of our children or the constitutional imperative of the USPS, keeping people connected. Our drinking water is less safe than ever, much like our bridges and dams. After over three consecutive decades of unflinching Reaganomics and neoliberalism, the country’s economic foundations and institutions have been badly eroded while its treasures have been plundered. We’ve allowed ourselves to be transformed from a nation of producers to a nation of consumers. The economy has been 66% financialized, producing nothing but titanic wealth for the top “earning” .01% (the investor class), and leaving most workers and society behind. Agriculture and industry have been decimated, along with the middle class, sped by globalization, monopolies/cartels, and “free trade” pacts, which have done nothing but impoverish the country while normalizing working conditions akin to slavery and placing ruthless corporations over elected governments (in case those governments ever get it into their heads to help their own people rather than the sociopathic corporations that prey on them).

As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges has observed, the corporate coup de tat is complete. All illusions and empty rituals aside, representative government in America is largely a thing of the past, just like upward mobility in our false meritocracy, as the data makes crystal clear (recent studies have shown that will of the American people, unlike the will of major political donors and lobbies, makes no difference in public policy; and that Europe, even with its entrenched aristocracies, enjoys far greater class mobility than the U.S., where the circumstances of one’s birth determine so much).

And then there’s the imperialism/neo-fascism that America has spent the past decades embracing and normalizing. In 1992, the entire world (and much of America) reacted in horror to Bush Sr.’s Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Paul Wolfowitz (who would go on to become one of the principle architects of the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, which in all likelihood left over a million Iraqis dead). This announcement of hegemonic intent was called the Wolfowitz Doctrine, and it made explicit Washington’s ambition to administer all global affairs, with no challengers or dissenters permitted, from 1992 until, presumably, the end of time (since the Cold War was over and we’d “won” it, we would tolerate no independent nations: the world was OURS FOREVER). Yes, America’s policy, articulated by Wolfowitz, was that ridiculous… and that terrifying, as Bush’s government merely pretended to rescind it after the nations of the world balked, shouting “Never again!”

Only nothing was truly rescinded — because Wolfowitz represented the vanguard of those the Pentagon’s old guard had dubbed “The Crazies” — radical military extremists who were then taking over U.S. foreign policy… and who’ve run it ever since. They were keen to move past the moral atrocity of the Vietnam War, and make the world safe, once again, for imperial aggression in the wake of 3-4 million dead Southeast Asians and nearly 60,000 dead American soldiers (not to mention all of the psychologically and physically maimed human beings that monstrously stupid war created).

Although The Crazies had flourished under Bill Clinton’s nation-bombing presidency, most of us first came to know them under Bush, Jr. — as the warmongering neocons, who owned outright the first six years of Dubya’s foreign policy. They were the conservative hawks responsible for the butchery in Iraq, the scumbags behind the “WMD” lies (a narrative that conveniently spares all of the neocons’ Democratic enablers, especially Sec. Clinton, who has spent her entire career just as pliant to the neocons’ will as GWB ever was). But the truth is that the neocons have held sway under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Neocon imperatives killed over a million Iraqis during the Clinton years, too, only most Americans are ignorant of that effect of the U.S.-tailored sanction regime (which, among other cruelties, denied potable water to countless Iraqi civilians).

“The era of big government is over!” Bill Clinton had jubilantly declared, introducing a “new” Democratic Party and a “new” liberalism… but neoliberalism wasn’t liberal at all, in the traditional sense. From that point forward, the United States would have just one political party, with two wings: the “Property Party” representing plutocrats only. And just as the Democrats under Clinton had signaled the demise of the Party of FDR on the economic front (killing the party of workers and organized labor, the party of regulated capitalism and the New Deal), they had also signaled complete surrender on issues of systemically racist mass-incarceration, police-militarization, mass-surveillance, and endless war, which entailed an all-out assault on civil liberties and the Constitution. With regard to such radical right-wing policies, the New (corporatist) Democrats would become just as committed as Republicans to America’s racially-divided, extraordinarily unequal, and societally devastated neo-fascist future. And they were arguably far more effective at ushering in that future than their GOP counterparts.

With the ascent of the Clinton/DLC wing in the Democratic Party, the era of two-party government, with competing agendas and interests, was over. Average people no longer had a champion in Washington, just two different brands of bullshit to choose from, while both parties conspired to rob us blind — and unravel the rule of law — on behalf of corporations. That’s when America began courting fascism in earnest. As the 20th century made clear, fascism is birthed in the fires of broken liberalism — “liberalism” that caters to the conservative/wealthy class while betraying everyone else: warmongering, bankster-abetting, worker-betraying PSEUDO-liberalism (like that offered by post-1980s Democrats, who joined the GOP in every meaningful way possible… when they weren’t outdoing the deplorable, knuckle-dragging Republicans.)

When the Democrats under Clinton embraced the conservative (neocon) agenda, killing millions in the Middle East and beyond — including more than half-a-million babies in Iraq, during Bill Clinton’s tenure — it truly signaled the end of the American experiment in democracy. At home and abroad, there was no longer an opposition to the vampiric oligarchs and Nazi neocons. Unsurprisingly, torture was normalized. Murder of journalists and human rights workers has also become standard operating procedure for the Washington boys, over the past two presidencies. Freedom of speech has become a laughable notion, with the assassination of dissenting Americans (and their children) official policy in the post-9/11 environment, thanks to Bush-Obama, and now Trump. Mass-surveillance to crush dissent was also ushered in, making Orwell’s “Big Brother” look like an amateur, compared to us. And practically every meaningful law and regulation that once gave Americans prosperity, health, and some semblance of liberty has been eviscerated. Posse Comitatus, habeas corpus, and the heart of the Civil Rights Act have been undone, along with most of the Bill of Rights. Cruel and unusual punishments have become commonplace in America. Only the rich retain the rights to a speedy trial and representation… but then we don’t ever charge the rich for their crimes anymore, so it’s kind of a moot point.

The rise of the neoconservatives and the normalization of permanent war are among the more stark signs that America the Beautiful has perished, replaced by something like AmeriKKKa or the Fourth Reich. Although it’s hard to argue against the notion that America was forged in white supremacy and has been imperialist and warmongering for most of our history, America did enjoy a period of around a century, roughly — between the Civil War and the 1970s — during which our institutions were frequently willing to challenge the would be oligarchs and racist rulers, exposing and resisting their worst crimes. Only now, with the passage of the 1980s and the success of the Reagan “Revolution” (a “revolution” of the rich, blessed by Democrats), the oligarchs have won. They’ve run the table, and all the power is theirs, along with most of the wealth, in our once democratic republic.

NEOCONS: The simplest way to understand the neocons is to see them as picking up where the Third Reich left off. They want nothing short of world domination by unrestrained corporate giants (not even American companies, but international predators), and they’re willing to butcher millions to get their way. Sure, they’ve swapped Muslims for Jews, demonizing Islam the way Hitler demonized Judaism, but otherwise they’re cut from entirely the same cloth. They want the end of the Enlightenment and a return to might makes right and the medievalism of the Crusades, only with industrialized methods, like the Nazis had… which explains why the oceans and climate are collapsing. Industrialized mass-destruction, with no checks or balances, is more powerful than an Old Testament god having a hissy fit. Our leaders are the real harbingers of doom, whether modern conservatives and liberals want to acknowledge that reality or not.

And none of this is surprising, as our leaders have been flirting with fascism since the end of WWII. Operation Paperclip, which brought over 1,600 Nazi scientists, engineers, and doctors into the U.S., was only the tip of the iceberg. Top SS and Gestapo figures — with no technical knowledge or value beyond their hatred of Russia and the left — were shielded at the highest levels of our government. Many of them were given beautiful homes and cushy lives in the USA. Others were too hot to handle, so we placed them in South America (Argentina and Bolivia, mostly). Virtually all of them were guilty of appalling massacres and outrages against human decency, but Washington’s shadow operators saved them from ever facing justice for their crimes, because they saw them as useful allies in America’s own bid for world domination. This is why so few top Nazis were ever tried for their crimes: they were Americanized instead and deployed in various theaters across the world, making the world safe for U.S. imperialism.

Washington’s premier power brokers, including the all-powerful Dulles brothers (very likely behind JFK’s assassination), fundamentally shared the Nazis’ ideology and rescued thousands upon thousands of butchering sadists, folding them into Washington’s efforts to launch and prosecute the Cold War. They made a liar out of FDR, who’d promised Stalin we would join the USSR in prosecuting the Nazis, and spiked America’s relationship with Russia for decades to come. Since the USSR’s demise, our senior power brokers no longer feel it entirely necessary to hide their admiration for Hitler and his Reich, as has been documented by the journalist, Jeff Sharlet, in his essential book, “The Family.” Sharlet details his experiences infiltrating the highest levels of “The Family,” the highly secretive, pseudo-Christian, Caucasian-dominated organization that effectively runs the U.S. government, regardless of who the American people elect to office. They are the ultra-rich descendants of the robber barons and the ideological doppelgangers of the Nazis, whom they openly admire. There is nothing they hate more than liberalism, populism, and democracy — which is why they’ve done all in their considerable power to squelch the left at home and abroad.

And not only are the Nazis back (or at least their inheritors), but the robber barons are back, too. Usury is back in a big way, at rates that have been historically criminalized. Keeping individuals and entire nations in massive amounts of debt (where they can never get to paying down the principle) has become the pillar of the global banking regime, what modern economics is all about… in addition to speculation. Rampant speculation is back, crashing whole economies to the ground — which is why such speculation was punishable by death in the 17th century. After learning the hard lessons of the Great Depression, speculation in America was restricted to investment banks — gambling with their own money, rather than the taxpayers’ money — from the time of FDR to the age of Clintonian “Democrats” (conservatives in liberals’ clothing). Only those days are gone. Today, thanks to the modern Democrats’ complete abdication of their historic role, there is no liberal party in Washington advocating a return to regulation of banks and other destructive juggernauts.

And that is the true story of 21st-century America. It’s why the vast majority of employment opportunities have disappeared; why even two incomes barely suffice when just one used to carry an entire family; why education has become corporatized and unaffordable, for most; why unions have all but disappeared; why healthcare is woefully inadequate for all but the wealthy; why our elections are no longer transparent, auditable, or democratic; why being black, Muslim, or Hispanic has been all but openly criminalized; why the most venerable and respected of our “news” organizations have been reduced to nonstop propaganda-appendages of the deep state; why our natural resources are being despoiled and plundered at unprecedented rates; why our institutions refuse to do anything meaningful to combat climate change, even as it is clearly dooming the planet; why fracking has gone gangbusters, even though it apparently causes earthquakes and unquestionably befouls the water supply; why an unqualified, extraordinarily ignorant, and reckless boob is the new president of the United States… rather than an unconscionably evil warmonger who worked only for the MIC and Wall Street (the fix was in, but it wasn’t quite enough to stop the populist backlash that put Trump in the Oval Office).

Not that we’ve anything to celebrate in the establishment’s 2016 defeat, because it’s only a temporary setback for these imperialist goons. They’re co-opting Trump’s presidency as I type these words, forcing out anyone not on board with World War III. In a functioning democracy, Bernie Sanders would be our president, right now, and the nation would be experiencing the kind of course-correction the people have been demanding for over a decade. Only the powers that be absolutely refuse to let anything like that happen. Our owners despise the left every bit as much as Paul Ryan and Hillary Clinton do… which does not bode well for the future.

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One Sick Puppy vs. “The Next Hitler”

Do you want to resist the worst excesses and legitimate dangers posed by a Trump presidency? Well, SO DO I – but if our “dog in this fight” is the Democratic Party, maybe we should take at least some interest in its overall health.

(How is that principle not a sound one? Please take a minute to explain it to me, if you think I’m wrong.)

Because by restricting our political expression to transparently partisan and hollow condemnations of the new president — which has only marginalized the left and hardened Trump’s support (as predicted) — we are choosing to send into this gravely serious fight one DOG of a dog, positively riddled with vermin and disease. And that, my friends, is simply not good enough. In fact, it’s easy, cheap, and lazy, in addition to being patently irresponsible. We must do better — and be willing, even, to do a little self-examination — if we genuinely want to win this fight.

In short, Glenn Greenwald’s recently articulated thesis (about how best to defeat Donald Trump) is precisely what I’ve been arguing, these past few months. From his February 9th Intercept article, which also provides evidence, if more were needed, that the 2016 Democratic Primary was rigged by the warmongering, democracy-loathing corporatists who still dominate the party:

“One can spend all of one’s time and energy denouncing Donald Trump. But until the systemic causes that gave rise to him are addressed and resolved, those denunciations will do little other than generate social media benefits and flattering applause from those already devoted to opposing him. Focusing on and attempting to counter the fundamental flaws of the Democratic Party is not a distraction from #TheResistance; it is a central priority, a prerequisite for any kind of success.”

Bingo (was his name-o).

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Another Win for the Deep State

Before reading today’s entry, please give a listen to Glenn Greenwald on last Thursday’s “Democracy Now!” (but bear in mind that this is the miserable SOB* who makes a living saying what I’ve been thinking — only more articulately and with far more authority, facts, and, dammitall, verve).

And now for the truly good stuff…

Gen. Michael Flynn has been defenestrated by the Washington foreign policy establishment for advocating detente with Russia and greater international cooperation against ISIS and al Qaeda. While most on the left will cheer this development, I encourage you to revisit Flynn’s interview with al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, providing a rare glimpse into U.S. foreign policy:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG3j8OYKgn4

In short, radical Salafist militants have provided the bulk of the fighters for Washington’s regime-change operations in the Middle East — the CIA’s second Mujaheddin, in effect — responsible for initiating the ethnosectarian carnage in Syria that has left over 400,000 people dead and created over 10 million refugees. Gen. Flynn has been sharply critical of the policies that led to this modern holocaust, which is why he’s been forced out of top government positions in intelligence. Twice now, with Trump today emulating Obama a few years back. More’s the pity.

For those unaware of the myriad ways that President Obama brought to Syria the same kind of devastation that George W. Bush brought to Iraq, this primer on the origins of the conflict includes links to Pulitzer Prize winners and mainstream news sources, including The New York Timeshttp://invitation2artivism.com/?p=944

But back to Michael Flynn and the significance of this moment: The general’s Islamophobic ignorance and partisan foolishness aside, the Trump administration just lost one of its few remaining voices pushing back against the genocidal neocon agenda in the Middle East… and against World War III, if anyone cares. And yet the left will surely celebrate his departure, as the “centrist” neo-fascists who run America’s foreign policy establishment take a major, dissent-crushing step toward co-opting Donald Trump’s presidency entirely — like Obama before him — and bringing a dangerously ignorant president on board the monstrously bloody train that’s been running at full steam since George W. Bush’s time.

“Hooray for our side.”

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*(Figuratively speaking, Glenn… Honestly, I’m just jealous. The truth is that all of us, here at Invitation2Artivism.com, think you’re just the GREATEST! Keep up the outstanding work, stealing my best thoughts and backing them up with exemplary reporting and cogent commentary.)

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“On Russia, Trump is a CODE PINK Republican” (Bloomberg)

Jaw dropping: This jingoistic Bloomberg article (linked to photo above) tries to smear Donald Trump by comparing him to CODE PINK — an outstanding peace organization which the “rah-rah” author, Mr. Lake, denigrates and mocks. Even worse, the article recklessly (if predictably) celebrates the few modest concessions Trump has made to the warmongering DC establishment. (Liberals and moderates say they fear Trump’s warlike tendencies, and then condemn him for being “Putin’s puppet” over a bunch of anonymous CIA/DNC claptrap while pushing our unstable new president to get on the WWIII bandwagon! Because more and greater wars will surely bring out the best in President Trump??! Sorry to sound like a broken record, but this evidence-free anti-Russia campaign is the height of self-harming, values-inverting stupidity from self-identified “liberals and moderates.”)

As most Americans have been operating in a vacuum of information — or, more accurately, drowning in a sea of propaganda — with respect to recent U.S.-Russian history, Bloomberg apparently feels free to peddle great gobs of anti-Russia hogwash. How many outright lies are in this trash? I lost count. Under George W. Bush, the expulsion from our corporate media of nonpartisan experts — in all fields — accelerated dramatically, which was considered alarming at the time, but in recent years the absence of experts in American “news” has become the new normal. (Consumers just can’t get enough of Bill Kristol, Judith Miller, James Clapper, and Lindsay Graham!)

For those with open minds, willing to consider the record, I highly recommend the excellent work of Stephen F. Cohen… and I advise that you read Bloomberg and the rest of the corporate media’s similar “reporting” as if you’re holding a copy of The Onion.

It’s getting increasingly difficult to find any objective, rational, informed human beings in today’s America, but here’s one of them, Stephen F. Cohen, America’s preeminent Russia expert (and therefore persona non grata in U.S. “mainstream” news), subjecting himself to a tough interview, where his facts are routinely challenged. If you’re unfamiliar with his written work, I suggest you acquaint yourself with Mr. Cohen today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdCcR8pEm3g

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Are we still allowed to discuss what Orwell tried to teach us?

The above video, courtesy of TED-Ed’s Noah Tavlin, provides an excellent primer on the difference between simply “authoritarian” and actually “Orwellian.” If we can apply this lesson to our present political situation (even in the current environment, which strongly discourages critical thinking and dissent), I would say that the last two presidents have been authoritarian, in practice. But the worst Orwellian tendencies of our government have grown each year following 9/11 — making President Barack Obama, ironically, more Orwellian, in practice, than his predecessor, whose authoritarian excesses Obama was elected to reverse.

It was, after all, President Obama, whose brilliant use of language made it possible to continue torturing “folks” (including American whistleblowers) and unleashing CIA-armed/trained Salafist terrorist “rebels” on the world (continuing Bush’s monstrous, post-OIF, “Redirection“)… to the effect that hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed on his watch. And most Americans didn’t even fucking notice, even with the resulting greatest flood of refugees in recorded human history. Most believed that the neocon agenda had been rolled back… when it actually had been dramatically expanded (look at what’s happened to JSOC… and Yemen! during the Obama years).

That is Orwellian, indeed.

And even more to the point, it was President Obama who effectively repealed habeas corpus and turned due process-free assassination of Americans uncharged with crimes (and their children) into the “targeted killing of terrorists” (the kid should’ve had “a more responsible father” — IMAGINE IF THAT ZINGER HAD COME OUT OF TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION!).

We should never forget that it was Barack Obama who championed and signed into law the worst provisions of the 2012 and 2016 NDAAs, which, respectively: ended Posse Comitatus and repealed the Smith-Mundt Act, the longstanding prohibition against propagandizing the American people (2012); and authorized a veritable Ministry of Truth (2016), creating a government office to determine which news is “real” and which is allegedly “fake” (from now on, everything that contradicts the state’s propaganda is officially fake news, thanks to President Obama… with a little anonymized assist from PropOrNot and the neo-fascist hacks at the Washington Post).

As many close observers have noted in recent years, by doubling down on the most authoritarian of the Bush/Cheney policies, President Obama has put in place everything that a would-be dictator could possibly desire, including a surveillance system that would make Big Brother greenly envious. Trump doesn’t need to change a thing, when it comes to the legal framework and lethal programs he’s inherited. Obama did it for him. Nixon’s theory of the Unitary Executive, once considered terrifying and radical, is now the respected, consensus opinion in Washington.

I understand that some people reading this might actually like/admire Barack Obama and imagine him to be liberal — so did I, once — but we on the left have to reconcile ourselves to history if we’re to have any chance of opposing Orwellian authoritarianism, under any president: http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=1491

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Still tilting at windmills, hoping to bring the left back to its senses…

HERE, MY GOOD FRIENDS, IS HOW WE UNITE THE LEFT AND WEATHER THE TRUMP YEARS (which we can limit to four, if we’re smart):

A. Put massive pressure on the Democratic establishment, now, to support the progressive policies backed by strong majorities of Americans, per poll after poll. Here’s how, practically speaking, we can apply that pressure:

Change your voter registration from Democrat to whatever and then write the DNC a handwritten letter telling them why you did so.

1. Tell them that we refuse to support the party of “superdelegates” and primaries rigged to assure the victories of corporate, far-right, neoconservative candidates (Third Way/New Democrats who largely reflect the GOP establishment’s values and agenda);

2. Tell them that our presidential hopefuls for 2020 are Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Zephyr Teachout, Kshama Sawant, and Nina Turner… unless they want to draft Medea Benjamin or Amy Goodman. And that we reject, out of hand, party favorites like Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Rahm Emmanuel, Michelle Obama, Al Franken, Kamala Harris, or any of the other corporate-financed frauds and neocon DINOs they’re likely to try and ram down our throats in 2019 (in the next rigged primary, if we don’t act now);

3. Tell them that, in order to restore the left’s credibility in the eyes of mainstream Americans, they need to demonstrate that they are capable of being reasonable and respecting the choice of the electorate; NOT BY CAVING TO TRUMP’S WORST IMPULSES, but by trumpeting their willingness to work with Trump on the few progressive policies he promised (which are very popular, by the way — part of how he won):

a. Fix/repeal NAFTA and other slavery-overlooking/regulation-nullifying/sovereignty-effacing “trade” pacts;

b. Invest in our crumbling infrastructure, modernizing (GREENING) it and putting millions of Americans to work;

c. End the GWOT and reduce the threat of WWIII by working with Russia against ISIS/al Qaeda, forgoing the genocidal neocon agenda which has resulted in the deaths of millions of Muslims (from Clinton-Obama);

d. Reinstate Glass-Steagall, so the taxpayer isn’t on the hook the next time Wall Street’s casino economy goes bust;

e. Resist PhRMA’s predatory pricing through drug-reimportation and allowing the government to negotiate lower prices; and

f. Protect Social Security and Medicare from any and all cuts/regressive restructuring designed to “save” the programs (the hollow promise of the Paul Ryan/Barack Obama “Grand Bargain”).

If we don’t press Democrats to battle for progressive priorities — when the incoming, hard-right president and GOP are on the record in favor of them… well, then we are just plain STUPID. Joining the grassroots right when they are on our side is the best way to achieve true unity and resist the way the neo-fascist state has divided Americans against one another along cultural/educational/class lines.

4. Tell the sore losers to drop the “Russian hacking” allegations, as the Deep State has failed, thus far, to produce even a scrap of evidence supporting these highly provocative and inflammatory claims. What little they’ve come forward with, to date, has been roundly debunked: http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=1653

5. Finally, tell the Democratic Party to battle like zealots for the smart, popular, progressive policies that Trump and the GOP haven’t offered, but which deserve our full-throated support and could help us win back working class voters and vulnerable populations abandoned by the Democratic Party over the last few decades:

a. A $15 minimum wage, indexed to inflation (so we don’t have to keep fighting this battle);

b. Tuition-free public education at the college level;

c. The end of the privatization/charter school movement, which has always been a hollow, right-wing farce;

d. Universal healthcare based on a single-payer model/Medicare-for-All (rather than the ACA, which leaves 20 million uninsured, even at full implementation, and does nothing to rein in skyrocketing costs);

e. Restore the Smith-Mundt Act and prohibit the propagandizing of the American public;

f. Repeal the 2012 NDAA and restore Posse Comitatus (the U.S. military should never be deployed on American soil against the American people, unless we’re actually courting another Civil War);

g. Cede no ground on a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own choices, with regard to reproductive health (Sec. Clinton was signaling retreat on third-trimester abortions and even found herself supporting unfounded attacks on Planned Parenthood waged by the bogus Center for Medical Progress; such “commitment” to a woman’s choice/freedom clearly falls short of our values);

h. End the practice of global assassination and restore the rule of law (repeal the PATRIOT Act and stop allowing the vacuum-collection of all of the world’s personal data);

i. Close GITMO and end the practices of indefinite detention and torture;

j. Prohibit fracking until the evidence supports that it is safe (so far, all of the evidence points to the opposite conclusion: earthquake-causing and water-polluting, terrible for carbon emissions…);

k. End “broken windows” policing, the Drug War, and for-profit incarceration;

l. Make access to potable water a HUMAN RIGHT and stop Nestle from privatizing our last reserves;

m. Restore integrity to U.S. elections (pass Instant-Runoff Voting; end gerrymandering; end dark money; replace hackable, unauditable voting machines with proven methods and countable, paper ballots; bring international monitors on board); and

n. Do everything possible to nullify or eliminate the corrupting influence of money out of U.S. politics (Lawrence Lessig’s “Republic, Lost” offers a lot of sensible prescriptions for addressing this problem, which, more than any other, has led us to this neo-fascist moment in our history).

There are scores of other horrible policies in need of reversing, passed under the last few U.S. presidents, but these items would be a fine place to start. Here is the DNC’s mailing address:

Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

B. PRONG TWO: COMBATING THE FAKE NEWS – And while we’re “reading the Riot Act” to the corporatist, institutionally racist “Democratic” establishment, now is an excellent time to drop our subscriptions to propagandist rags like the NYT, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Mother Jones, The Nation, BuzzFeed, etc. — and stop watching corporate news of all flavors (ABC-CBS-NBC-CNN-Fox-PBS-NPR). Hit them where it hurts: subscriptions and ratings. Unlike their Facebook pages, let them Tweet to themselves, sans “Followers” (stop being a follower).

MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T FORGET TO TELL THEM — IN WRITING — WHY WE’RE DOING SO, in order that they are clear that journalistically derelict faux-liberalism, in the service of a bloody, environment-collapsing, right-wing corporatist agenda (and WAR, WAR, WAR), is nothing we’re willing to support with our dollars… or our time.

And while they contemplate reforming themselves, some sensible places to get one’s news in the present, chaotic period, include: The Intercept, Consortium News, Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!”, Truthdig, Jacobin Magazine, CounterPunch, The Humanist Report, The Jimmy Dore Show, Black Agenda Report, WikiLeaks, The Sane Progressive, FAIR, the ACLU, RT… anyplace that regularly gives a platform to genuine progressives and non-partisan experts like: Glenn Greenwald, Kshama Sawant, Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Randall Robinson, Michelle Alexander, Chris Hedges, Michael Hudson, Arundhati Roy, Mahmood Mamdani, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Zephyr Teachout, Daniel Ellsberg, Eric Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Alfred McCoy, David Swanson, Medea Benjamin, Col. Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, Bill Binney, James Bamford, Helen Caldicott, Diane Ravitch, Thomas Frank, Brian Stevenson, Nomi Prins, Naomi Wolf, Robert Fisk, Jane Mayer, Ralph Nader, Laura Poitras, John Perkins, Norm Finkelstein, Juan Gonzalez, Antonia Juhasz, Matt Taibbi, Juan Cole, Ta Nehisi-Coates, Stephen F. Cohen, Phyllis Bennis, Jeffrey Sachs, Tariq Ali…

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Last call, friends…

If we don’t come at the Democratic establishment right now like a horde of rabid Tea Party piranhas, demanding an independent audit of the 2016 “Democratic” primary (performed 100% transparently by a blue-ribbon, internationally-composed panel — with proportionate representation determined by population, including all nations — overseen by Pope Francis, Bishop Tutu, Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Randall Robinson, Mahmood Mamdani, Naomi Klein, and Noam Fucking Chomsky!) we will be in the wilderness for a very long time. We need to come at these Deep State/Wall Street-conjoined frauds — and I mean HARD — for conducting a biased farce of a primary, wherein millions of voters were systemically disenfranchised, and one corrupt official after another was scandalized and fired. Letting a rigged primary stand sends an unambiguous signal to independents and conservatives that we, on the left, don’t actually give a damn about the integrity of elections in America. And if we’re talking about the DNC, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and the “New” Democratic Party, the record is clear: they don’t. They unequivocally do not actually give a damn about the integrity of elections in America… or Honduras, Egypt, Brazil, Haiti, Ukraine, Syria, Palestine, Venezuela, Greece… anywhere, really. But if we let them get away with this, they are going to shit on us and shit on us, and end up cutting so many fucked up deals with Pres. Trump that you will lose all faith in humanity… But way too late. NOW is the time to bare our Tea Party fangs — or remain toothless forever. Your indifference to such matters is what’s putting the future in doubt… and all of us (and our most vulnerable friends) at risk.

STEP ONE: Change your voter registration from Democrat to whatever and then write the DNC a handwritten letter telling them why you did so, and that our presidential hopefuls for 2020 are Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Kshama Sawant… unless they want to draft Amy Goodman... Here is their mailing address:

Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003


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CONSTRUCTIVE, INTELLIGENT MESSAGING may yet save the day, so protest wisely, my friends…

The response to Trump’s election — with anti-inaugural gatherings of smug hypocrisy and angry denials of reality — is playing exactly into the oligarchs’ hands. The neo-fascist .1% want us unhinged, Divided and Conquered! And that’s where we’re being incomprehensibly stupid, giving them just what they want. We would be much better off touting our common ground with the anti-establishment, grassroots right (and, ironically, the PEOTUS) and demonstrating our reasonable willingness to work with our counterparts where we agree (like Bernie has said) — rather than leading with obstinate, deranged, red-baiting fury that discredits us and loses us the sympathies of mainstream Americans.

If we continue in this vein, the left will be truly DEAD – for many, many years to come. The establishment will have gotten its new Cold War (or worse) and “No Fly” zone in Syria, and it will be, in part, because we pushed for it, unhappy about the election result – beside ourselves that a dark money-fueled, primary-rigging neocon wasn’t able to acquire the White House! Meanwhile, the infrastructure, economy, and rule of law will continue to crater because we never pushed President Obama to do anything not in the tradition of Bush/Cheney.

In that environment, how will we fare under the dictatorial powers that have been seized by the last few presidents? THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT, MY LEFTY FRIENDS: All we have to do is stop bullying and hating and calling millions of Americans “deplorables,” just because it feels good. We also need to stop refusing to recognize the opportunities presented in a new, establishment-loathed president who apparently wants detente with Russia — and infrastructure investment, Wall Street regulation (the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall) and drug reimportation from Canada (and a few other genuinely positive policies). Who also, by the way, hates the slavery-overlooking/regulation-nullifying Trans-Pacific Partnership (and NAFTA, TTIP, CAFTA, etc.) and is harshly critical –and even a little informed – when it comes to al Qaeda-supporting regime-change wars: the neocon agenda.

Goddammit, there is opportunity in this moment, and we are fucking blowing it!

The truth is that most Trump voters are just like most lefties: more scared and ignorant than anything else. Only the hysterical left (in this uniquely disorienting and traumatic moment) have been doing nothing but preaching hate and behaving like infantile, badly-spoiled children — and when it comes to the Clinton-Obama fans, outrageously hypocritical ones.

But it’s time to reach out and work together, if we care one whit about the future — either that, or stop pretending we’re superior. LOVE trumps hate. Either we understand that elementary concept, or we don’t. Mockery and loathing — and a desperation to delegitimize Trump so potent that we’re willing to embrace the radical right — adds up to a surefire formula for catastrophe.

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So, as we prepare for demonstrations marking President Trump’s inauguration, here’s the kind of REASONABLE, PRINCIPLED, CONSTRUCTIVE MESSAGING necessary for the left to get back on our feet and ultimately win (unless we’re bound and determined to go the way of those who “battle monsters”):

BERNIE IS RIGHT: Work WITH Pres. Trump
to end “trade pacts” and permanent war!

Work with Russia to defeat ISIS?
Good idea, Pres. Trump!

Trump wants to negotiate lower drug prices — DEMOCRATS, take note, and take on PhRMA!

We will GLADLY work w/the PEOTUS and grassroots-right to:
- Repeal NAFTA and other “trade” pacts
- Restore Glass-Steagall and protect taxpayers
- Protect entitlements from cuts/privatization
- Demand clean water for all Americans
- End legalized bribery in U.S. campaign finance
- Restore auditable, transparent elections in the U.S.
- Modernize America’s infrastructure (w/open bidding, transparency)
- Free the U.S. military from “regime-change” wars in the Middle East
- End U.S. support for Salafi-extremist militias and their GCC sponsors
- Restore transparency and accountability to Washington, DC

To the so-called “Deplorables” –
Thank you for knocking off not one but TWO
Appallingly awful Political Dynasties!

To the so-called “Deplorables” — THANK YOU
for voting AGAINST the NEOCON AGENDA!

Modernize U.S. infrastructure
and put Americans to work!

STOP CRIMINALIZING WHISTLEBLOWING –
Make the CRIMINALS exposed pay for their crimes!

To the so-called “Deplorables” — WE RESPECT
your principled vote against the deeply corrupt establishment.

To the so-called “Deplorables” — THANK YOU
for voting against Wall Street tyranny and the MIC!

To the so-called “Deplorables” — WE SHARE
your contempt for the Corporate Media!
(which, btw, is anything BUT “liberal”)

Gen. Mattis is RIGHT:
Torture does NOT work!

No more voting for the “Lesser” Evil –
IRV/RANKED VOTING NOW!

TRANSPARENCY NOW:
END DARK MONEY IN U.S. ELECTIONS!

Restore habeas corpus!
Repeal the 2012 and 2017 NDAAs!

Pres. Trump: Keep your (sane) promises to
the American People or… YOU’RE FIRED!

Keep your word, Pres. Trump: ADVANCE DETENTE WITH RUSSIA!
MSM hacks: Quit peddling Neo-McCarthyite “WMD/Hacking” BS!

Release the Senate Torture Report!

End the “War on Drugs” and the New Jim Crow TODAY.
Either Black Lives Matter or America is a LIE.

Dems: Embrace the GOP’s best idea in years:
Restore Glass-Steagall in Trump’s first 100 days!

Pardon the truthtellers:
- Pvt. Chelsea Manning
- Edward Snowden
- Thomas Drake
- John Kiriakou
- Jeffrey Sterling

Dear MSM hacks: Principled, anti-establishment conservatives
KO’d both the Bush and Clinton dynasties — THANK THEM.

RESTORE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:
Thoroughly AUDIT the 2016 Primaries & General Election!

No more UNELECTED “City Managers”
Restore democracy in Detroit and Flint!

Save the U.S. $350 billion/year:
Medicare-for-all-NOW!

Note to the MSM and Establishment “Left:”
PEOTUS Obama ALSO chose to surround himself with
bankers, privatizers, self-dealers, and neocons…
And YOU SAID NOTHING.

Keep President Trump to his word:
NO CUTS to Social Security or Medicare!

Help Pres. Trump repeal NAFTA!

Help Pres. Trump restore Glass-Steagall!

RESTORE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:
Bring back Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus!

Don’t use the Espionage Act like Obama did:
Protect honest whistleblowers & journalists!

We hope/pray Trump does well, whatever our fears.

Or we can continue with our Trump-immolating effigies and hypocritical mobs of hate, because the “wrong” race-baiting, sexist, deeply corrupt, warmongering right-wing demagogue came out on top of the 2016 presidential election… even though doing so will make it easier for the neo-fascist establishment to co-opt Trump and utterly crush us, long after we’ve exhausted the sympathies of mainstream Americans.

SECOND PRONG: Include a bunch of “#DemEXIT” signs to pressure the establishment-Left (if interviewed, talk about how “#DemEnter” is a fine strategy, but not viable if the Democratic Party leadership remains the same and continues to rig primaries and pursue the corporate — neoliberal and neoconservative — agenda).

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David Swanson hits a grand slam home run, urging the left to remember our principles!

David Swanson is an outstanding anti-war progressive who I met in 2008 at the CODE PINK House in Washington, DC. He has been an essential voice of morality and clear-thinking in the post-9/11 era, and I highly recommend his blog: http://davidswanson.org/

This recent Facebook post of his simply took my breath away. It’s been nightmarishly sickening watching the left self-destruct in this way, betraying our principles over neocon propaganda and hysterical pee-pee ravings.

How very critical it is that we get this moment right. But Swanson says it best:

“If the new fascist misogynist racist president comes in and ends Obama’s cold war and slows the nuclear weapons expansion of the liberal Nobel-Peace laureate, and the peace movement doesn’t have the walk-while-chewing-gum sophistication to support that move without feeling like racist sexist Republican Exxon Mobil backers, it ought to go back to preschool and try to start over. This is not that complicated. It just requires acting on principle rather than party. Our principles ought to include peace. They ought not to include professions of undying faith in claims of the CIA. This ought not to need saying.”

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For what it’s worth, here’s my ebullient response, lauding Swanson’s sound advice:

Emphatically, yes! WTF is wrong with the unhinged left today, championing the CIA, neo-McCarthyism, and genocidal neocons??? Good progressives now stand with lying warmongers in Washington and the Deep State. In a horrifying display of contorted/inverted values, good progressives are buying into the corporate media’s Democrat-absolving, outrageously hypocritical demonization campaign, marked by rage, rage, rage… and not an iota of common sense or rationality. The leadership of the left — including some people I love and deeply respect — seem to have lost their minds… and their principles. We’re witnessing a wholly self-inflicted disaster for the real left — not the establishment liberals and closet hawks, but the actual, once-principled LEFT.

Your post today, David, feels lifted from my stream of consciousness. “Fuckin’ A, right!” I said to myself, reading it, and immediately shared it with my wife. Over the last year, we feel like we’ve been living a nightmare, watching our best liberal friends and bona fide progressives move smoothly and without question to the DARK SIDE of U.S. politics, supporting the extreme-right and a new Cold War because… identity politics? The MSM said so? Pee pee?

There will be much to protest — on principle — over the next four years (this is in no way a defense of Trump or what he represents), but these protests are not cathartic; they’re FUCKING SUICIDAL for the left, and not even CODE PINK seems aware of this simple fact. This is a complete and total nightmare we’re living, so thank you, Mr. Swanson, for providing a voice of sanity… though it must be damn lonely.

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Abandon ship? First, see if it can be saved! (But keep preparing the lifeboats, you fools!)

In 2005, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close friend and fellow activist, Harry Belafonte, offered the following prescient words: “We must look through the ravages of the Democratic party to see if there is anything worth salvaging.” As 2017 dawns, it seems to me that Mr. Belafonte’s advice is more poignant and timely than ever. In the wake of the recent string of calamities befalling the Democratic Party (virtually all of them self-inflicted), the American left is debating whether or not to stay with the former party of FDR.

Two options, too often presented as mutually exclusive, are being considered:

Option A: Grassroots progressives, our organizations still brimming with energy from the Bernie Sanders movement, should #DemEnter the party across the country, and take it over from within, returning the Democrats to progressive/liberal values, starting at the community/local level (Bernie Sanders’ preferred course); and

Option B: Progressives and liberals should decisively and conspicuously remove ourselves from the corporatized Democratic Party, continuing the #DemExit that began when the party’s leadership and dark money donors decided to rig the 2016 Democratic Primary for a deeply flawed candidate who didn’t remotely represent the party’s traditional base or values.

Personally, I’ve been disappointed and more than a little worried by the acrimonious discourse suggesting that we’re in an “either/or” situation. Because #DemEnter vs. #DemExit doesn’t have to be a zero-sum proposition and shouldn’t be.

While I feel that the current leadership of the Democratic Party is entirely hopeless (composed of bona fide authoritarians with neo-fascist priorities and values), I strongly approve of the efforts underway to elect as many “Bernie progressives” as possible into positions in the Democratic Party — at all levels — to see what influence can be made “working from the inside.”

My guess is that we’ll find some sympathetic fellow travelers. After all, not all Democratic Party insiders, at all levels, favor slavery-permitting/regulation-nullifying “trade” pacts, Wall Street-appointed presidential cabinets, or the neocons’ endless regime-change wars, fought by Salafist, neo-Nazi, and mercenary proxies. Not all Democratic Party insiders, at all levels, condone what the party has become. (How could they?) So let’s see how many of them we can inspire with a progressive agenda not authored by plutocrats and lobbyists for the MIC, mass-incarcerators, the fossil-fuel industry, PhRMA, and the usual corporate suspects.

That said, if we fail to invest in Plan B, making the threat of #DemExit real, then we won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of altering anything in the neoliberal party of Wall Street, war, and neo-McCarthyism. In short, we have no choice but to continue working on the third party exodus strategy — or we’ll be right back to the LOTE/abused-spouse syndrome, voting (out of fear) for an ambiguously “lesser” evil that only assures more rightward drift and outright corruption, while the planet burns.

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FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE’VE GOT TO STOP “LIBERALS” FROM ACTING LIKE BUSH-PARTISANS IN THE RUN-UP TO THE IRAQ WAR.

As we #DemEnter and work to see if the party can be saved, let’s also endeavor to bring establishment-friendly Democrats back to sanity, with regard to the warmongering hysteria centered on allegations of “Russian hacking” of the U.S. presidential election. Glenn Greenwald was excellent on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” program, last week, talking about the lack of substance behind these allegations — and the fact that his propaganda-debunking journalism has provoked more savage attacks from the establishment than at any time previous in his career (translation: not even the pro-Iraq War goons were as hostile to journalism as the folks pushing the anti-Russia narrative today… actually, they’re pretty much the same people — literally, the SAME people who lied to us the last time — only they’re more brazen today and aligned with the Democratic Party rather than the incoming Republican administration).

Here’s the Pulitzer-winning Mr. Greenwald, brilliantly illuminating, as always (where would the world be without journalists like Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman?):

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/5/glenn_greenwald_on_dearth_of_evidence
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/6/glenn_greenwald_democrats_eager_to_blame

And here’s David Swanson’s superb overview: http://davidswanson.org/print/5403

Frighteningly, today’s propaganda campaign makes the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq seem like an exercise in measured, rational thinking, with very little “groupthink” — that’s the kind of nightmare America’s in. This topsy-turvy political reality features the nominal Left — and virtually all of the “liberal” media, marching in lockstep — attacking an arguably neo-fascist president-elect FROM THE RIGHT, urging him TOWARD war!!! (A war Trump consistently says he doesn’t want, indicating he’d rather cooperate with Russia to roll back ISIS and al Qaeda…)

It bears repeating: today’s neoliberal Democratic Party and the corporate media are urging the greatest “wild card” president-elect in American history TOWARD WAR, on the basis of a pack of anonymous, evidence-free claims coming from the same intelligence agencies and war-hawking miscreants who’ve repeatedly lied to the American public during major propaganda campaigns of the recent past…

Another factor to consider: Didn’t President Obama sign the 2012 NDAA, which effectively repealed the venerable Smith-Mundt Act, which for over six decades prohibited the government from propagandizing the American public? Sadly, he did. That’s also a part of the present political reality in America that should be a part of today’s “Russian hacking” discussion.

We are witnessing nothing less than the collapse of mainstream American journalism and much of the American left, so the situation couldn’t be more critical. Whatever doubts I hold about the future, I desperately hope that we succeed in pulling the Democratic Party back to its historic values and back from the brink of warmongering, post-election insanity… because right now, we’re losing it.

In any case, I hope the articles I’ve linked here (and elsewhere), will help progressives and liberals sort truth from fiction in the current blitz of propaganda — and help us drag the Democratic Party to Trump’s LEFT, where it belongs. If not, we won’t have any choice but to #DemEXIT for good.

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