NO FRIEND TO THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY… BUT CHUMMY WITH WALL STREET!

Kamala Harris is “tough on crime” when supporting the New Jim Crow, prison labor, police/prosecutorial misconduct, the War on Drugs, and the death penalty. And she’s an innovator, when it comes to jailing parents of truant children, disproportionately poor POC.

And let’s not forget that she “fought to uphold… wrongfully secured convictions.”

Stay incarcerated, you wrongfully convicted poor people! We need more prisoners to fight fires and serve as corporate America’s captive workforce for pennies an hour!

But in 2008, CA’s ambitious Attorney General, Ms. Harris, had a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for Trump’s future Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin — a Wall Street executive guilty of several thousand crimes, per Harris’s own investigators.

But Mnuchin was also a major donor to her campaign — $$$ !!!

So, she shut down the Mnuchin investigation, even as her investigators were telling her that they expected to find evidence of “many thousands more” crimes committed by the Wall Street executive — thereby putting herself on the national political career path and Mnuchin on the path to becoming a Cabinet Secretary!

(Crime pays! At least, for the elite.)

Today, Wall Street adores Harris, as do Clinton’s donors, who’ve clearly decided to anoint her as their candidate in 2020. And with the DNC making it even easier to rig the primary this time around (after the 2016 farce), she probably will be the Democratic Party’s nominee.

A losing bet, for sure.

And here’s why: The best way to win elections is to excite your base. Already, it’s clear that Harris turns off the Democratic Party’s base — just as Clinton did in 2016.

After years of “centrist” Democrat betrayals, POC largely failed to come out for Sec. Clinton in 2016 — giving Trump the edge he needed. Today, African-Americans are the most vocal demographic arguing against Harris’s nomination… just because she laughs and laughs when asked about incarcerating poor people, disproportionately people of color.

(Wait, I get it… No, sorry, I still don’t. What’s so funny about jailing poor people because they can’t keep their kids in school? …Senator?)

Predictably enough, Harris’s critics are already being called “misogynists” — despite the fact that most of us prefer HI-Dem, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an actual progressive… and a woman.

(I guess the Democrats really want another four years of Trump in the White House.)

From Briahna Joy Gray’s excellent article:

“She’s running for president as a progressive, but as attorney general of California, she criminalized truancy — making it a crime for kids to be late for school and dragging into the criminal justice system even more disproportionately low-income, predominantly black and Latino families. She’s overlooked the misconduct of her prosecutors and fought to uphold their wrongfully secured convictions. She defended California’s choice to deny gender reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate, and in 2014, she appealed a federal judge’s holding that the death penalty was unconstitutional.

“The list goes on and on. But in some ways, the details don’t matter. The problem isn’t that Harris was an especially bad prosecutor. She made positive contributions as well, encouraging education and re-entry programs for ex-offenders, for instance. The problem, more precisely, is that she was ever a prosecutor at all.

“To become a prosecutor is to make a choice to align oneself with a powerful and fundamentally biased system. As Paul Butler, former prosecutor and author of ‘Chokehold: Policing Black Men,’ told The Guardian, ‘as a lawyer who went to law school with a goal of helping black people and using my legal skills to make things better, the realization that the law itself was a mechanism to keep African-American people down was frightening.’”

(Not to Kamala Harris it wasn’t. Keeping African-American people down simply looked like a good career path to her. That, and sparing the top criminals of the 1%.)

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MY STRATEGY FOR DEFEATING TRUMP IN 2020:

My strategy for defeating DJT is about putting pressure on the Democratic Party to shift to the left and offer policies demanded by considerable majorities of Americans — POPULISM (minus the racist demagoguery of Trump and the GOP): Medicare-for-All, a $15 minimum wage, free public university, justice reform, gun control, and a Green New Deal, including the modernization of our infrastructure… for starters.

“Hold their feet to the fire!”

The only way we can do that is if we get the Democratic Party’s most progressive members — Justice Democrats, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (the largest caucus in Congress for many years, now, far larger than the Tea Party), the Congressional Black Caucus, and even AOC — to defect, en masse, to a party with an actual progressive platform, and which promises to help the ACLU, SPLC, EFF, Sierra Club, NARAL, Color of Change, Human Rights Watch, and a host of other progressive outfits advance their respective agendas.

These Democrats could defect to the Green Party, which has a bold progressive platform that most Americans would embrace. But the Democratic Socialists of America also seems worthy. And I like what Nick Brana’s been doing with his “People’s Party” organization, giving labor a voice again…

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter *which* progressive party these nominal lefties declare for. Mass-defections would force corporate Democrats to either shift to the left for real or admit that they are the Republicans they’ve been acting like over the last few decades.

(Any honest examination of the last few decades of policy reveals that Democrats have been far more successful at advancing the right-wing/corporate/MIC agenda than their GOP counterparts. They are literally the all-time champs of the far-right’s agenda — not the “lesser,” but the more effective evil, as Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford has asserted… Their rightward lurch explains how Democrats lost the working class and independents.)

The best thing about my strategy is that THE LEFT DOESN’T HARM ITSELF IN THE LEAST if these progressive defectors jump ship but continue caucusing with the Democrats against the GOP.

This hypothetical, principled left — a “Blue” coalition including a number of genuine progressives — would retain its majority in the House.

It’s also a reasonable expectation that the Green Party/DSA/third parties, generally, would get back into the presidential and congressional debates — taking the conversation in an anti-establishment, leftward direction — following a generation of lurching to the right after the Anheuser-Busch Corporation took the debates away from The League of Women Voters.

(We could again conduct an actual conversation, instead of a corporation-programmed “debate” farce: Trump vs. Clinton, reality TV at its worst!)

Infiltration, #DemEnter, has proven a spectacular failure. The Dems keep shifting rightward, making no concessions to the party’s base. If the last two years tell us anything, it’s that #DemEnter has literally no hope of getting the policies that liberals and progressives, both (and a bare majority of conservatives), want advanced. The Democrats are still — more than ever — pledged to the Corporatocracy, permanent war, and fossil fuels.

And “PayGo” guarantees that none of the progressive agenda can pass.

It’s time to stop the wishful thinking — “Next time Hope & Change will be real” — without ever holding the Democrats accountable for the way they tack further and further to the right. It’s time to actually hold the Democrats’ “feet to the fire.”

America desperately needs a strategy for pressuring corporate Democrats to move the party leftward and reform it — while also strengthening the progressive alternatives.

I’ve laid out mine.

(If you’ve got a better strategy for reviving the left in the Age of Trumpism, I’d love to hear it.)

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Planned Parenthood vs. the Far-right…

Who remembers the reprehensible “selling baby parts” smear by the sham group, The Center for Medical Progress? It was obviously hacked up (dishonestly edited) video intended to make Planned Parenthood look like monsters. And the group presenting the video, the CMP, was sketchy as hell — no one outside of Breitbart’s readers should have given those claims any credence.

And yet Sec. Hillary Clinton called the allegations in the video “troubling” and called for an investigation… OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD!

That was either before or after she’d selected her far-right, “Pro-Life” running mate. And it was long after Clinton had expressed her willingness to compromise on a woman’s right to choose, using the anti-Choice crowd’s rhetoric when discussing late-term abortions…

With “friends” like these, who needs enemies?

Clinton’s pandering concessions to the right on this issue explain why 95% of Planned Parenthood’s membership exploded with rage on PP’s Facebook page (yielding a 20 to 1 ratio of outraged to approving members) when the organization’s president unilaterally endorsed Clinton over Sanders in 2016 — without giving its membership a chance to weigh in. Silly members, thinking that Cecile Richards would allow them to endorse the candidate with the most sterling Pro-Choice record, Bernie Sanders!

At the time, Sec. Clinton’s appeasement of far-right, misogynist nutjobs reminded me of when President Obama and the Democrats lent critical support to a different right-wing activist’s efforts to kill off ACORN, based on a raft of dishonest claims and another dishonestly edited (and racist) video: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/2009-acorn-scandal_us_5ae23fa6e4b02baed1b86696?fbclid=IwAR1JYV115fA4N_RRwxCbW8JXHqDN-S4U0j6KDR4Q08t8F6FVzZIU1e3LRzw

Somehow it goes down easier for reflexive Team Blue voters when it’s a Democrat doing the heavy lifting for the far-right. When Dems expand neocon wars to seven countries, slash Medicare and Social Security, or threaten a woman’s right to choose, their voters simply smile approvingly and go back to sleep… if they noticed the far-right’s agenda taking off under their “liberal” heroes, in the first place!

When a Democrat kills off a progressive organization that for decades provided assistance to impoverished, mostly POC — registering voters, etc. — their “LOTE” bots simply swoon and return to the Party Talking Points and corporatocracy-approved messaging: “Democrats protect minority voters’ rights, defending POC from the GOP…” (Hilarious.)

Sorry, ACORN. You die now!

(Thanks, President Obama.)

And when Democrats disenfranchise millions of poor, marginalized voters in their corrupt primaries, or help Wall Street wipe out the post-Civil Rights Era economic gains of African-Americans, Team Blue just smiles, gulp their lattes, and go back to pretending that “Bad Cop” has no partner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3miskt9ssQk&t=5s

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MY DREAM TICKET COULD COME TRUE: GABBARD/SANDERS 2020 (or, more realistically, SANDERS/GABBARD 2020 — either way, I’m stoked)!

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, one of the only DC politicians left who opposes war and fights political corruption, just made a public statement that she is beginning to explore a run for president. Hooray! That’s about the best news I’ve heard since Sen. Sanders threw his hat into the ring in 2015! Only now the establishment’s rat-f***ers are out in full force, looking to draw blood — because Rep. Gabbard is an actual progressive, an actual liberal, not just another posturing, corrupt fraud, cozy with Wall Street and down with endless war.

Today, I am writing to counter the U.S. political/media establishment’s latest attempts to smear the reputation of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (the smears are not new; they began the moment Gabbard began defying the powers that be; they’ve been refuted before, it’s time to refute them again):

Establishment Smear #1: Rep. Gabbard is “not progressive.”

Fact-check says “BULL$**T.” (The PTB must have been thinking of their boy, Beto.)

While Rep. Gabbard came from a very socially conservative family — and took bigoted, socially conservative positions when she was a teenager and young adult — she has unequivocally repudiated those positions, not just with her words, but with her actions.

During her years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tulsi Gabbard has never espoused or defended the regressive views of her youth — quite the opposite. She has a 100% voting record in support of reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. She supports single-payer/Medicare-for-All healthcare, free tuition for higher education, racial justice, gun control, the Fight for $15, and the Green New Deal…

In fact, Rep. Gabbard supports just about every progressive position going — something the political operatives behind the “anti-progressive Tulsi” smear know all too well (the establishment is rushing to sabotage her candidacy because she’s a progressive who champions policies favored by majorities of Americans… you know, a “far-left radical”).

When it comes to foreign policy, Rep. Gabbard stands head and shoulders above the rest. She is about the only Democrat left who genuinely opposes war. A veteran of the U.S. military who served two tours in Iraq, Gabbard knows, firsthand, how counterproductive and immoral the West’s post-9/11 GWOT has been. In the U.S. Congress, there are no more vocal opponents of the neocon agenda than Rep. Gabbard — which is why our genocidal foreign policy establishment views her as a threat.

Establishment Smear #2: Gabbard is an ally of Narendra Modi, the neo-fascist prime minister of India.

Fact-check says “BULL$**T.”

Rep. Gabbard is the first-ever Hindu member of the U.S. House of Representatives — so yes, she has received donations from Hindu nationalists, including individuals who have also contributed to the Modi. That said, Gabbard doesn’t espouse or defend Hindu nationalist views or Modi’s government (which, conversely, was embraced by President Obama’s administration when Modi was first elected and which continues to boast warm relations with the U.S., now that Donald Trump is in the White House).

The Intercept’s latest anti-Gabbard offensive was neatly dismantled by the article’s “most respected” commenters, including “NavyVeteran,” whose indictment of TI’s xenophobia earned him/her “most respected” comment in the thread:

“I might consider analyzing this article a bit further later, but had to stop and comment on this passage: ‘Nearly one-third of Gabbard’s overall donations — $1.24 million — came from more than 800 individual donors with names, according to an expert consulted by The Intercept, that are of Hindu origin’

“‘Names… that are of Hindu origin’
“‘Names… that are of Hindu origin’
“‘Names… that are of Hindu origin’

“How exactly is this not xenophobic? Are all people with names ‘of Hindu origin’ necessarily Hindu nationalists? Do all people with Hindu sounding names support Modi?”

So much for the smears. Back to the candidate…

If Tulsi Gabbard’s history tells us anything, it’s that she consistently, courageously opposes fascism. Her commitment to democracy helps us understand why she quit the corrupt, primary-rigging DNC in 2016 (at great risk to her future political career). Her opposition to modern fascism is also evident in her crusade to end the bloody neocon wars that have ended millions of lives.

So let’s put the flurry of attacks on Rep. Gabbard in their proper political context:

Gabbard, a U.S. military veteran, is anti-neocon and anti-tyranny, with the battle scars to prove it. She’s risked her political future, more than once, on principle. Furthermore, Gabbard is a charismatic progressive championing the most popular domestic agenda in the country (Bernie Sanders’ agenda)… and she’s just announced her interest in the presidency.

IOW, she is a target.

Over the years, this independent-minded progressive has earned the hatred of our reactionary right-wing (corporate) media and neo-fascist political establishment. The neocons are simply trying to destroy Tulsi Gabbard before her campaign gets any momentum. Too bad that establishment Democrats won’t tolerate an actual progressive as their candidate and have to stoop to such smears.

But after the shenanigans of 2016, nothing should surprise us.

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Is there a stronger candidate than Chris Hedges for the most astute American political analyst working today?

In his latest writing about the brewing 2020 election circus, Pulitzer-winning journalist, lecturer, teacher, and author Chris Hedges continues to demonstrate the remarkable political acumen we’ve come to expect from him:

“The corporate media ignores issues and policies, since there is little genuine disagreement among the candidates, and presents the race as a beauty contest. The fundamental question the press asks is not what do the candidates stand for but whom do the voters like. As for now, Warren—the only nationally known Democrat except Julian Castro to form an exploratory committee for a presidential bid—is not winning this popularity contest. A CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll—yes, polling in Iowa already has begun—puts her fourth, with only 8 percent of support among the Democrats surveyed, behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke.

“Our corporate rulers do not need to denounce democracy. Democratic laws, such as who can fund campaigns, have been subverted from within, their original purposes redefined by the courts and legislative bodies to serve corporate power.”

[Hedges later resumes his analysis of the corporate media...]

“The goal is entertainment. Politicians who are good entertainers do well. The poor entertainers do badly. The networks seek to attract viewers and increase profits, not disseminate information about political issues. Voters have little or no say in who decides to run, who gets funded, how campaigns are managed, what television ads say, which candidates get covered by the press or who gets invited to presidential debates. They are spectators, pawns used to legitimize political farce.

[And proceeds to quote the acclaimed American political philosopher Sheldon Wolin...]

“’At issue is more than crude bribery,’ the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes in ‘Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.’ ‘Campaign contributions are a vital tool of political management. They create a pecking order that calibrates, in strictly quantitative and objective terms, whose interests have priority. The amount of corruption that regularly takes place before elections means that corruption is not an anomaly but an essential element in the functioning of managed democracy. The entrenched system of bribery and corruption involves no physical violence, no brown-shirted storm troopers, no coercion of the political opposition. While the tactics are not those of the Nazis, the end result is the inverted equivalent. Opposition has not been liquidated but rendered feckless.’”

[Hedges goes on to quote Matt Taibbi, another fairly astute commentator on modern American politics...]

“The differences between the right-wing media and the liberal media are minuscule. As Taibbi writes in ‘Insane Clown President: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus,’ they are ‘really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism’… ‘Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they’re about money,’ Taibbi writes. ‘The people who sponsor election campaigns… want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, anti-trust waivers and dozens of other things… They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population.’”

[No doubt. Hedges concludes with his own observations about the dismal place to which American politics has devolved...]

“Trump is the epitome of the human mutation produced by an illiterate, dumbed-down age of electronic images. He, like tens of millions of other Americans, believes anything he sees on television. He does not read. He is consumed by vanity and the cult of the self. He is a conspiracy theorist. He blames America’s complex social and economic ills on scapegoats such as Mexican immigrants and Muslims, and of course the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, in turn, blames Trump’s election on Russia and former FBI Director James Comey. It is the theater of the absurd.”

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Yes, metaphorically speaking, Donald Trump is a Nazi…

I have lost track of how many zillion times I’ve encountered this metaphor since Trump blundered into the world of U.S. politics (with the assistance of the 2016 Clinton campaign and the Bernie-disappearing media it controlled).

And although I think the Trump:Nazi comparison is ultimately simplistic and reductive — forgiving all manner of appalling crimes against humanity committed by Trump’s predecessors — I concede that the analogy is apt enough, considering Herr Drumpf’s demagoguery alone.

But while we’re comparing Trump to Hitler, we might also take into account the way the current resident of the Oval Office has been saber-rattling against Russia (however unfashionable it might be to ponder our nation’s Reich-like aggression, in these neo-McCarthyite times).

Along those lines, Trump has been: arming the West’s neo-Nazi proxies doing most of the killing for our puppet government in Ukraine; expelling scores of Russian diplomats and closing the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg; continuing Obama’s belligerent sanctions against Russia (and threatening new ones); conducting military exercises on Russia’s border; and proceeding with Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s massive investment in “usable” nuclear weapons.

So let’s at least try to be intellectually honest and morally consistent: When it comes to embracing the very essence of fascism — world-destabilizing, mass-murdering lawlessness and destruction — what U.S. presidents, these days, aren’t metaphorical Nazis?

Consider the history: The Third Reich is notorious for murdering millions of innocents in a mostly Jewish holocaust, arguably the greatest war crime of the last century.

But haven’t you noticed the mostly Muslim holocaust that’s been taking place over the last few decades, the result of Western wars? In case you haven’t, you should consider the fact that several million Arab/Muslim human beings were killed under Trump’s three predecessors alone, and two of those predecessors were “liberal” Democrats.

You should also consider the fact that 75-90% of the dead in modern wars are civilians, women and children, specifically. Because in the Global War On Terror (GWOT) era, all military-age-males are automatically deemed combatants, whether armed or unarmed, guilty or innocent.

Consider the question objectively:

Was Bill Clinton being the opposite of a Nazi when he killed between 550,000-880,000 Iraqi babies, tots four and under, per the World Health Organization?

(Beyond the hundreds of thousands of babies who died under Clinton’s brutal sanctions, it is likely that scores, if not hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis — pregnant women, children five and older, the ailing and elderly, etc. — also died from lack of potable water. Only no one counted them. That’s how “liberal” modern Western institutions are! Our governments butcher the innocent and our politicians and media work overtime to keep the populace ignorant!)

President Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, unflinchingly defended the draconian sanctions responsible for those hundreds of thousands of deaths — even as they were condemned by the international community, even as they only served to strengthen Saddam’s iron grip over Iraq.

Was Sec. Albright demonstrating her profound liberal values and moral convictions when she deemed those deaths “worth it”?

Clearly, she was not. In truth, Sec. Albright, a staunch, neoliberal Democrat, was acting as a dutiful propagandist for a genocidal policy, like a good… (hmm, what’s the word?) Nazi.

End Part I

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SOME PRAISEWORTHY WORDS (a semi-respectable op-ed) FROM A NONETHELESS SLIPPERY POLITICIAN: RO KHANNA CRITICIZES THE NEOCON AGENDA WHILE VOICING HIS SUPPORT FOR ITS CONTINUATION.

It’s rare that Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) impresses me favorably, but I’m grateful (overall) for his recently published op-ed. With regard to several points he makes, I couldn’t agree more. For instance:

“President Trump is receiving an onslaught of criticism for his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Congressional Democrats should not pile on without offering an alternative vision.”

And:

“Trump’s Syria decision… is in compliance with U.S. and international law. The presence of U.S. troops in the Syrian civil war was never authorized by Congress. We are also violating international law by invading Syria without the approval of the United Nations.”

Well said, Congressman!

But it’s worth noting that we’re also “violating international law” by bombing Syria — murdering hundreds of civilians at a time, as the U.S. did in Raqqa. Furthermore, it was a violation of international law when our rogue nation flooded Syria with Salafist militants keen to overthrow Assad from without (I’m referring to the Bush/Bandar-birthed Mujaheddin 2.0 — responsible for scores of WMD attacks and scores, if not hundreds of thousands of deaths).

Sadly, Rep. Khanna also covers for the neocons when he refers to the invasion of Syria as a “civil war.” That is some serious propaganda there — and on whose behalf? Only the worst mass-murderers since the Nazis.

From its very inception, the catastrophically destructive war in Syria has been a proxy war between the United States (coordinating with the Saudis, Turkey, and Israel) and Iran — and ultimately between the West and the Sino-Russian alliance, with Russia presently backed into a corner.

And that proxy war was initiated by Washington, DC, and Riyad with suicide bombings and the violent co-option of Syria’s Arab Spring. The West sidelined Syria’s indigenous resistance and flooded the country with al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, CIA/MI5-recruited Wahhabi radicals who would soon be purging whole Syrian towns of minorities, including Kurds, Christians, Shi’ites, Alawites, Yazidis…

*        *        *

But Rep. Khanna is on point when he writes that “Trump… deserves credit for standing up to the war hawks within his own administration who started inventing rationales for remaining in the country: countering Iran and seeing an end to the Assad regime. That is the definition of mission creep.”

Well said, Congressman! (Even though you’ve deliberately obscured the fact that it was your party’s president who invaded Syria and greenlit that “mission creep” in the first place — resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and some 10 million refugees.)

Here is where Khanna shamelessly signals his support for a continuation of the neocons’ appalling agenda:

“One alternative to an immediate withdrawal in Syria… would give us time to prepare local forces and to deploy intelligence platforms and networks…”

Let’s just break that down, shall we: 1) “Deploy intelligence platforms” likely means expanding U.S. covert CIA/JSOC/drone-surveillance operations and outsourcing yet more military operations to unaccountable, mass-murdering privateers like Erik Prince; and 2) “prepare local forces” almost certainly means re-arming the genocidal terrorists whose lives the Syrian government has repeatedly spared… at Washington’s behest (we can’t have Assad killing our covertly-created proxies, can we?).

Apparently, Rep. Khanna is determined to breathe new life into the neocons’ failed regime-change policy in Syria!

And what does that ethnic-cleansing, suicide-bombing, WMD-employing policy look like from outside of the American bubble? Absurd. Filled with contradictions (Washington has gone from officially supporting al-Nusra, which turned out to be al Qaeda, to officially supporting the “White Helmets,” who turned out to be al Qaeda, to officially supporting al-Sham, which turns out to be al Qaeda… The U.S.A.F. has repeatedly bombed soldiers fighting ISIS and helped the terrorists acquire strategically important ground.

Just as the 1980s Mujaheddin were a U.S. creation, so, too, is the 21st-century Mujaheddin — again, with the Saudis as our partners.

(It is a very sad commentary on the U.S. political class that Donald “Birther” Trump was the only presidential candidate in 2016 — in a very crowded field — to acknowledge that the U.S. is back in the business of creating and deploying genocidal armies.)

*        *        *

Here, Rep. Khanna is back on track:

“We have spent more money in Afghanistan than we did in the Marshall Plan and continue to spend more than $40 billion each year. Our military approach has not worked. After the 2008 surge, the Taliban now exerts influence or maintains control over 70 percent of Afghan territory instead of just 40 percent.

“There should be a short timeline for bringing home our troops to allow for a smooth transition. We should engage in direct talks with the Taliban and seek a negotiated settlement, involving regional actors such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China and India.”

Absolutely brilliant! I agree with every word!

But then Khanna backslides, abysmally, into reaffirming the Bush/Cheney/Obama (Nixon) view of presidential power and American “exceptionalism” (i.e., “If the President does it, then it’s not illegal.”):

“We should also retain the right to strike terrorist cells that directly threaten our homeland…”

Rep. Khanna has signaled his willingness to further cement into U.S. practice the radical powers claimed by Bush/Cheney (expanded later by Pres. Obama) — including rendition, torture, indefinite detention, drone warfare, including signature strikes and “Kill Lists.”

Khanna is fundamentally agreeing that international law, including the Geneva Conventions, has indeed been rendered “quaint” and “obsolete” by this “new (GWOT) paradigm” (paraphrasing the “torture memo” authored by John Yoo).

The “Justice Democrat” is vouching for a radical interpretation of presidential authority that first Nixon, then Bush/Cheney asserted publicly — in both instances, met with a chorus of derision and outrage.

(But that was before President Obama officially retired the rule of law. Now, when “some folks” are “tortured,” we simply look forward — to yet more neo-fascism.)

I’ll add that it’s a nice touch that Ro has also adopted the “homeland” phraseology of the Bush administration — which GWB’s speechwriters unwittingly appropriated from… Adolf somebody.

*        *        *

Here’s another instance of Rep. Ro Khanna speaking out of both sides of his mouth: “…we will pass the War Powers Resolution, which would remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Yemen except to fight terrorism as allowed by the 2001 war authorization.”

Let me get that right: We’re to remove U.S. forces… except whatever forces are allowed by the 2001 AUMF!??

- Would that be the same 2001 AUMF that’s already been used to justify mass-slaughter across the globe (millions of dead, 70-90% of whom have been women and children)?

- Would that be the same 2001 AUMF that’s excused every Congress-free war crime that any “Commander in Chief” (even Trump) deems necessary?

*        *        *

Since ‘tis the season to be jolly, I’ll do my best to end on a positive note.

THANK YOU, Rep. Khanna, for your closing words of wisdom: “let us… find common ground in a foreign policy of greater restraint, one that would entail responsibly extricating ourselves from bad wars.”

Yes! Let us!

Trump is so rarely right about anything. When he is, it’s up to the few remaining sane people in the country to support those policies.

Doing so does not amount to supporting the current resident of the Oval Office. In the present instance, it simply amounts to opposing the bloody neocon agenda… at long last!

Also, now that Trump has successfully cajoled Congress into repealing some of the more draconian “tough on crime” laws from the 1990s, including “three strikes you’re out,” we on the left shouldn’t reflexively begin strenuously defending the New Jim Crow laws passed by “tough on crime” Bill Clinton.

That would be foolish… RussiaGate foolish (neocon agenda-supporting foolish).

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A Civil Conversation, Part VIII: Battle of the economic theories (Pareto and Marx), JBP resuscitates the “Cultural Marxist” bogeyman, academic institutions purge liberals and hire war criminals… THE END.

INSTALLMENT THE EIGHTH: Jordan Peterson vs. Marx, the Pareto Distribution, and the purge of liberals from academia (making room for war criminals and other neo-fascists)

(Concluding my response to “Lenny”)

It’s possible that Peterson has more to offer than I suspected…

However, with regard to JBP’s references to “Marxism:”

You wrote, “I don’t hear any discussion of JP’s criticism of Marxism and the idea that Marxists ignore the Pareto Distribution.” and also that: “These are ideas that form the basis of Marxism and JP criticizes them. Where is the left’s rebuttal of that?”

First, I disagree that Marx and progressives (the real left) “ignore” the Pareto Distribution. My understanding of Marx and his theories — enhanced most recently by the arguments of Chris Hedges and the lectures of noted Marxist economist, Richard D. Wolff — is that Marx’s case against the “revolutionary” and “destructive” force of capitalism would encompass the Pareto Distribution. (And the reason Marx doesn’t mention it himself, obviously, is that the PD theory was first published 13 years after his death… 29 years after the publication of “Das Kapital”).

The Pareto Distribution focuses primarily on wealth distribution, right?

It seems to me that Marx/his followers address wealth distribution in capitalist societies, asserting that capitalism inevitably results in a distribution of wealth that is highly inequitable and destabilizing, resulting in gobs of destruction and human suffering.

French economist Thomas Piketty’s highly acclaimed book, Capital, published in 2013, offers mountains of data supporting that basic argument of the Marxists: that centuries of history demonstrates that capitalism is inevitably destructive and always impoverishes the vast majority while creating ungodly amounts of wealth for the ownership class. Capitalism, whatever its strong points, inevitably leads to that dark place we call fascism in the modern era (the fascism of Mussolini: pure corporate hegemony, making democratic systems impossible).

While some economists seem to think that the Pareto Distribution’s 20/80 wealth distribution is ideal (i.e., the government-overthrowing “Chicago School” of economists), some of the world’s most brilliant, celebrated liberals (like Naomi Klein) have documented the massive failures of such systems. They’ve chronicled how the Pareto Distribution has been forced on societies — usually through foreign invasions, assassinations, and violent coups — and the results have always been disastrous. One of the more notorious examples would be Pinochet’s Chile after the CIA assassination of Salvador Allende.

The atrocious record of the PD’s 20/80 paradigm has been detailed — fairly thoroughly and with great specificity — in such acclaimed books as Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. And Piketty’s book only solidifies her case — and the Marxist critique of capitalism.

As a 2014 Princeton University study concluded, the U.S. version of capitalism has rendered our society wholly undemocratic, a pure oligarchy, wherein only the super-rich are represented by the government, and the will of the people is systematically ignored.

“Cultural Marxism” as a bludgeon

I agree with Doc that JBP, like countless other conservatives before him, uses phrases like “Cultural Marxism” to obfuscate, rather than illuminate. Instead of forwarding an edifying discussion about the pros and cons of capitalism and communism, he seems to be reformulating decades of risibly superficial right-wing smears of communism and Marx. (In this way, he’s every bit as neo-McCarthyite as the reflexively RussiaGating right-wingers calling themselves “liberal” these days.)JP and the conservative school to which he apparently belongs, use “Marx” as a bogeyman, as Doc says. Equating Marxism with “tyranny,” they use nonsensical phrases like “Cultural Marxism” as a cudgel to clobber anyone who champions social justice, liberal open-mindedness, feminist ideals, compassion, and tolerance of all people.

They particularly disparage those who demand justice for patriarchy’s long-suffering victims.

Perverse beyond words

But alleging that the rare few Americans who aggressively champion society’s most victimized, unrepresented communities are the real “tyrannical oppressors” is… perverse beyond words. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing conservative white men hysterically shrieking:

“THEY are taking over OUR universities — with political correctness, Identity Politics, and left-wing ideology! The ‘liberals’ are brainwashing our kids!”

Baloney.

The truth I see is that academia – like the news industry and other institutions that once tolerated some liberalism — has largely surrendered to our neo-fascist establishment.

Universities have forced out one anti-establishment liberal after another (Ward Churchill immediately springs to mind… and Steve Salaita… and Cornel West… and Norman Finkelstein…).

And while liberals and progressives have been persecuted and forced out, war criminals like John Yoo — the “Torture Memo” author — have been hired… by prestigious universities like Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, etc.

Gen. David Petraeus, genocidal torturer and mass-murderer, has received the same treatment. So has Michael Hayden, Bush’s NSA Chief who lied repeatedly about torture, Saddam’s “WMDs,” vacuum-surveillance, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Ditto for Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger, two of the worst war criminals of the last half-century (hired by Stanford and Harvard, respectively).

The End.

(Amen and hallelujah.)

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A Civil Conversation, Part VII: “Liberals” demonstrate that reactionary hate is a bipartisan phenomenon… and Jordan B. Peterson turns out to be a classic right-winger, after all.

INSTALLMENT THE SEVENTH: “Can’t we just drone this guy” liberals, the new McCarthyites, and Jordan B. Peterson revealed (desiccated right-wing claptrap in a brand new suit)

The undeniable efficacy of Two Minutes Hate “journalism”

The worst conserva-liberals say things like: “Julian Assange/Edward Snowden/Donald Trump/Chelsea Manning/Glenn Greenwald/Chris Hedges/Susan Sarandon/Jimmy Dore/Bashar al-Assad/Ralph Nader/Michael Hastings/Saddam Hussein/Glen Ford/John Kiriakou/Vladimir Putin/Bill Binney/Moammar Qaddafi/Caitlyn Johnstone/Yasser Arafat/Max Blumenthal/Prof. Stephen Cohen/Seymour Hersh/Cornell West/Hugo Chavez/Eva Bartlett/Aaron Mate/Hassan Nasrallah/Jeremy Corbyn/Moqtada al-Sadr/Bernie Sanders/Greg Palast… should just STFU forever — or prepare to be incarcerated, executed, lynched, or assassinated… ASAP!”

As Sec. Hillary “No-Fly Zone/We came, we saw, he died” Clinton said of Julian Assange:

“Can’t we just drone this guy?”

[Clinton “can’t recall” making the comment -- unless it was a “joke.” (“It would have been a joke...”) Robby Mook won’t comment on the matter. But WikiLeaks reported it, and every single story WikiLeaks has printed, to date, has been verified as accurate, every leaked document authentic.]

And anyway, why shouldn’t she have said it? As stereotypically fascist as Sec. Clinton’s “joke” was, it perfectly reflects the current political climate. Fringe-right Republican, Peter King, Joe Biden, and others, had already called the WikiLeaks publisher a “terrorist.” (Tellingly, Obama never refuted these remarks, concerning a world-celebrated publisher — uncharged with any crime — who has repeatedly exposed the worst criminal malefactors of our time, from Bush/Cheney to Barack Obama to the CIA to the Clintons.)

Fascism-exemplifying comments like Sec. Clinton’s would have been unthinkable in the country’s brief, idealistic period before JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X were gunned down… before the death penalty was reinstated, kicking off the rollback of the peace-mongering, anti-establishment culture of the 1960s-early ‘70s… before Reagan’s orgy of unbridled, irrational materialism… and before “Sa-damn” made it possible for America to go to war again, to “(bury) forever in the desert” the “specter of Vietnam.”

(That’s George H.W. Bush, getting the neocon agenda rolling, with D’s and R’s — and the propaganda-parroting corporate media — united behind the 1991 invasion of Iraq. And all parties involved were good enough to minimize/ignore the ensuing parade of war crimes — a favor they repeated, in spades, for Clinton, Bush’s son, and Obama.)

Illiberal conservatism where critical thinking and compassion once resided

Witnessing the moral and intellectual corruption of the liberal class — and being close to so many people who have been affected by it — has been devastating for me, personally. I’ve been watching (and resisting and debating), as many people I’ve long respected and cared for — a host of kindly, gentle, brilliant Dr. Jekyll’s — have gradually morphed into a mob of morally-corrupt, critical thinking-impaired “Mr. Hyde’s: neo-McCarthyite, neoliberal, neoconservative, fact-averse (reality-hostile), easily programmed, and sadly predictable…

They are the latest proponents of classic Reagan-conservatism: reflexively partisan defenders of deregulation, “trade” pacts, and the war on journalism. Textbook conservatives, they’re arguing for all-of-the-above energy “solutions” and defending charter schools (condoning the assault on the public school system when it’s Obama, Arne Duncan, and Rahm Emmanuel doing it — but not when it’s Betsy DeVos). They’ve championed RomneyCare, with virtually no cost controls.

Worst of all, they’ve embraced the neocon agenda, running with the new McCarthyism and RussiaGate, which has been little more than a stream of flimsy claims, show-indictments, and sensationalized bombshells that are lucky if they survive one news cycle before being utterly debunked.

So partisan are these folks, they appear willing to risk a major confrontation with Russia, inviting a third world war, on a host of wild, lurid, evidence-free claims — claims that Noam Chomsky has called “laughable.”

Returning to Jordan Peterson…

I admit I’m not well-versed (at all) in his writing. That said, I began my investigation into him with an open mind, expecting to encounter an interesting, anti-establishment thinker. I watched a few videos posted by his followers, engaged his fans in conversation, and read an article by two sensible-sounding writers who’d read his book and attended one of his speeches. They seemed fair-minded, expressing admiration for at least some of his ideas along with their criticisms, which seemed well-founded to me.

Generally, I find myself agreeing with JP’s critics, including Peter Coffin. IMO, there’s something to his core message — and in the clearly political space he’s chosen to fill — that is unmistakably conservative, in the worst, most reactionary sense. I’m referring to his consistent, strenuous defense of our corrupt, patriarchal, Christian Dominionist/white-supremacist establishment. Peterson seems to be telling his audience, in coded language, no doubt, that it’s okay to be regressive and bigoted, especially against women and the LGBTQIA community… which I realize is a mouthful.

(From the outside of that community, one is tempted to add “BCDEFGHIJKLMNOP,” as the virtual parade of letters in this ever-lengthening acronym is flat-out confusing and alienating to many mainstream Americans. But I try to be open-minded, and I like “LGBTQIA” — and not just because I’m a Scrabble fan who likes being able to use a “Q” without a “U.” I feel that this acronym represents real people, honoring their identities and helping them unite and resist those who would oppress them… including those who would leave their beaten and tortured corpses bound to a fence in Wyoming.)

Not only does JP seem to be reviving a lot of stale, old conservative tropes – repackaged in more subtle language for an age when most people are trying to unyoke themselves from such retrograde ideas — he appears genuinely hostile to feminism and Identity Politics.

(That doesn’t take a lot of courage or radical thinking, in my opinion; quite the opposite.)

In sum, Peterson appears to be a particularly sophisticated and cunning flimflammer, to borrow Boris’s term, cynically exploiting the resentments of white-males, particularly those who have been discarded and repeatedly disparaged by our (right-wing; faux-liberal) establishment.

In stoking such resentments, I believe Peterson is courting chaos, just as Trump does. They’re largely playing to the same audience, and both encourage victimhood and resentment against historically vulnerable and marginalized groups and philosophies.

Taking on “Cultural Marxists” (with a plethora of bigoted, right-wing claptrap)

Like “Tommy Robinson,” another right-wing con-man IMO, they act as if they’re battling a corrupt, oppressively liberal establishment (the tyranny of “Cultural Marxism”) — when in reality they’re reinforcing the age-old, bigoted claptrap of a right-wing, white-Christian-male-dominated establishment. (An establishment that makes Trump look like an amateur — and a liberal — by comparison. The establishment’s real objections to Trump stem from the fact that he exposes and discredits them. He too accurately and nakedly reflects their core values… and he’s difficult to control.)

But returning to JP, I don’t see anything “liberal” about picking on transgender people, feminists, and “Marxists” (who practically don’t exist in the U.S.).

Why go after historically marginalized groups, already the targets of vicious attacks from the right? What’s the point, besides riling up reactionary conservatives by playing to their prejudices?

And having followed the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, I’ve already heard most of JP’s arguments about how hard it is for men in the workplace to know “the rules” for avoiding sexual harassment accusations. I remember it like yesterday: all those Republican politicians shrugging and wondering aloud, “How can a guy know if his advances are welcome? It’s impossible to navigate this mine field! They’re wearing dresses and make-up, what do they expect? Men are being victimized!”

Peterson doesn’t help his image any when he offers his unscientific theories about the proper role for a woman: nurturing/caregiving, raising children, supporting a successful man. He seems to be echoing traditional conservative stereotypes, sounding more like a Promise Keeper than an academic.

All that said, I admit I was surprised when you informed me that, “JP has been highly critical of Universities who have replaced tenured Professors with adjunct instructor who , non-tenured, low paid, and easily fired. That doesn’t seem right wing to me to defend teachers. That’s seems very liberal.”

Fair enough. It doesn’t change my overall assessment, but you certainly have a point: Here, JP is offering a solidly liberal argument with which I strongly agree. He’s addressing a very serious situation, which I’ve been following with growing concern. I have no disagreement with him on this issue, whatsoever — and I’m reminded that everyone has nuances; everyone is multifaceted.

It’s possible that Peterson has more to offer than I suspected.

END PART VII

NEXT: Jordan Peterson vs. Marx, the Pareto Distribution, and the purge of liberals from academia (making room for war criminals and other neo-fascists)

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A Civil Conversation, Part VI: The conservative “disgust factor” infects liberals… and a modicum of liberalism infects Jordan B. Peterson.

INSTALLMENT THE SIXTH: “Lenny” asserts that Liberalism entails open-mindedness and offers evidence that Jordan B. Peterson can be liberal, too; I agree and resume my post-mortem of Liberalism in America…

Lenny – James Charles O’Donnell III, I agree on many points you make. I love the idea of pillars of liberalism (tolerance, reason, education, idealism) but I’d also put being open minded in there. But as Conservatives have mostly abandoned all of these a long time ago I see the left doing the same thing recently. I mean I see many of my left wing friends (which are the majority) talk with disdain and contempt about working people, saying things like ‘education is a waste of time bc it’s all patriarchal mind control’ or peddling conspiracy theories, or openly expressing hatred for white men. All of these things go against what I would consider liberalism.

So the anti-intellectualism and intolerance that infected the right has now infected the left and this has left the middle wide open for the taking. That’s where JP has stepped in.

I wouldn’t call myself a follower but I have learned quite a bit from him that I think is valuable. I also find it refreshing that an academic has risen to become a mainstream popular figure. A criticism of Al Gore in the 2000 election was that he was boring and too professorial. And the reaction to that gave is GW Bush. In college I learned thing that blew my mind. I had professors who seemed to be trying to find truth. So I believe in education. And To his credit JP has been highly critical of Universities who have replaced tenured Professors with adjunct instructor who , non-tenured, low paid, and easily fired. That doesn’t seem right wing to me to defend teachers. That’s seems very liberal.

Don’t expect any comment section of most places to be anything more than an incoherent shouting match. I don’t waste my time. There are plenty of JP fans out there that have zero ability to think critically and will just defend anything he says. You can’t have a rational, open, intelligent conversation with those people. That’s not how they function. You’ll find the same thing in any mob.

I’m much more interested in specific ideas rather than personalities. Many of these criticisms of JP are about his personality not his ideas. And that to me is how we got to Trump.

I studied Marx and Marxism in graduate school. I don’t hear any discussion of JP’s criticism of Marxism and the idea that Marxists ignore the Pareto Distribution. Let’s talk about that. I find many people have no idea about Marx, have even read one page,of Das Kapital, or understand any of his most important ideas. These are ideas that form the basis of Marxism and JP criticizes them. Where is the left’s rebuttal of that?

James O’Donnell III – As with Doc’s comment, your first response — to my initial (“chiming in”) comment — has a lot that I agree with and some statements I’ll contest. I’ll try to keep my response under 4,000 words… just for kicks.

Conservatives and the “Disgust Factor”

I agree with you that open-mindedness belongs on any list of traditional liberal values. Being liberal-minded usually implies being open-minded — whereas conservative minds, whatever their values (some perfectly respectable), are generally more apt to be closed minds, full of certainty with regard to a great number of things… concerning lifestyle, culture, morality/religion, politics, diet, and more.

I read an interesting article many years ago that’s stayed with me. It described certain differences between conservative-minded and liberal-minded people. According to the study being reported, one of the primary differences between the two groups has to do with the “disgust” factor: Conservatives, apparently, have a much stronger “disgust” response than liberals. I’ve always found that conclusion interesting and reasonable: a closed, conservative mind could be an outgrowth of that mind’s heightened disgust response. As in, “Eiww, I’m not going to try that…” (food, drink, philosophy, book, film, art museum, position in the Kama Sutra – you name it, they’re not trying it!).

Also, I strongly agree with you that “…as Conservatives have mostly abandoned all of these (traditional liberal values) a long time ago I see the left doing the same thing recently.”

Chasing the Overton Window, the Liberal class defenestrates itself…

Today’s liberal class (present company excluded; this group is open-minded, compassionate, etc.) has caught up with yesterday’s raving lunatic conservatives. They chased after that rightward-speeding Overton Window, so hard and so recklessly, they’ve ended up defenestrating themselves, shooting right past the GOP, in many respects (McCarthyism, groupthink, “trade” pact promotion (overlooking slavery), historical amnesia, primary-rigging, warmongering, opposing diplomacy, persecuting journalists and whistleblowers, etc.).

I have a few theories that might begin to explain this phenomenon, but whatever the causes, I’ve seen the majority of liberals (especially in the post-Bush years) become as dogmatic, hypocritical, and imperious as the average 1990s-early 2000s conservative.

Many are every bit as inclined as their conservative forerunners to idolize politicians and censor, shut-down, and disparage anyone espousing a different political philosophy.

Sadly, millions of post-Obama liberals appear to be thoroughly propagandized, unable to distinguish facts from “white propaganda” (which was illegal before Obama repealed the Smith-Mundt Act). The vast majority appear to swallow virtually every drop of the “Kool-Aid” …in every flavor of “Kool-Aid” being peddled — by the same individuals and institutions that have lied to the public countless times and been caught doing it!

(Between ultra-conservative conservatives, then, and ultra-conservative “liberals,” today, I feel that I’ve been grappling with the same people for over three decades, now. They’re more alike than either side would care to admit. Neither group appears to object to the destruction of the rule of law, the neoliberal assault on our society, or the holocaust our last several presidents have unleashed upon tens of millions of Muslims.)

I’ve posted several blogs commenting on the frightening transformation of the liberal class. Here are two: http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2692 and… http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2580

The conservative “disgust factor” infects liberals

Another eerie parallel: Like yesterday’s “Moral Majority,” today’s more ideological liberals seem all but incapable of sympathizing with those who have been vilified — or disappeared — by the MSM, which routinely traffics in stereotypes. As a result of such divisive stereotypes, liberals hold millions of their neighbors in unmitigated contempt, calling them “deplorables” — IMO a pretty shameful term to apply to any group of human beings, let alone one’s fellow citizens.

And while I also agree with you that comment sections often bring out the worst in people, I’m not so sure that undermines my argument that our society has devolved considerably on both sides of the exaggerated political divide. And such behavior is hardly limited to anonymous internet exchanges. Politicians and professional journalists, with the cameras running, don’t conduct debates so much as shouting matches

Here are some representative/typical sentiments I’ve heard from self-described liberals:

“We should just let (Hurricane ____) swamp Florida, the bunch of idiots, re-electing Rick Scott…” (The same sort of sentiments are routinely directed at residents of Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, etc., when natural disasters strike in those “Red” states.)

“Why not just let (any “Red” state, particularly in the South) secede and self-destruct without our ‘Blue’ state revenue?”

The common theme is, “To hell with those racist ‘Red’ state scuzz-buckets!”

(As if the populations of “Red” states aren’t victims, too. As if their economies haven’t been plundered, too. And they disproportionately serve in the military, many coming back traumatized and broken, suicidal, addicted… and racist. In short, these people, their economies, their children, their futures… are at least as pitiable as they are deplorable.)

Two Minutes Hate

Then there’s the endless flow of bile directed at a whole range of individuals, people who’ve essentially been designated enemies of the state – some, admittedly terrible; others, among the greatest heroes of our time. In either case, the rule is simple: every individual who exposes or publicly defies the Corporatocracy is subjected to hate (of the “Two Minutes” variety) in the “news.”

All detractors of the establishment — not the imaginary “despotic liberal” establishment, but the real, ultra-conservative one — are systematically demonized by the politicians and media of the .001%. And the lies repeated, ad infinitum, by Fox and CNN and NBC and PBS and Vox and The Young Turks… are identical — the same exact lies and narratives. Because they’re all taking dictation from the same government sources, whose identities they generously protect.

“Official sources say…” journalism.

END PART VI

NEXT: “Can’t we just drone this guy” liberals, the new McCarthyites, and Jordan B. Peterson revealed (desiccated right-wing claptrap in a brand new suit)

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