While Thom Hartmann has had some consistent problems blundering into the quicksand of “lesser evil” partisanship, causing him to be a frequent apologist for one-half of our pernicious duopoly, I still consider him a fairly decent progressive who has occasionally contributed something of value to the national conversation.

In the following segment from his show, Hartmann and his guest describe how the Koch brothers virtually took over the Democratic Party in the 1980’s and 1990’s, funding the Third Way and its favorite son, William Jefferson Clinton – the closet Republican who helped dismantle the former party of FDR: https://www.thomhartmann.com/bigpicture/how-koch-brothers-helped-dismantle-democratic-party

And although the Kochs were notorious for their influence over the GOP, their investments in the neoliberal Democratic Party paid off handsomely for decades, including under President Obama: https://theintercept.com/2019/08/13/koch-brothers-third-way/?comments=1#comments

How else can we explain Obama’s zealous advocacy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade” deal? It is deeply depressing that Barack Obama pushed so hard for such an abominable piece of legislation – which overlooks slavery in Malaysia (further normalizing the practice, which is at an all-time high, globally, as has been reported in the L.A. Times) and which would have empowered a quasi-legal board of corporate lawyers to reign over sovereign nations, nullifying environmental and labor regulations across the globe.

- Obama overlooks slavery: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/malaysia-human-trafficking-tpp_n_55b66521e4b0224d8832fe28

- The practice of slavery is enjoying its heyday in the 21st century: https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-global-modern-slavery-report-20170918-htmlstory.html

But when we’re talking about the hostile takeover of our leading institutions by amoral, omnicidal corporatists (modern fascists), we make a critical mistake if we end our conversation with our corrupted and industry-captured political parties. (And if we end our conversation with condemnations of the GOP only, then we’re simple enablers of fascism – gullible, partisan rubes indifferent to the suffering of millions.)

As journalist Jane Mayer has detailed, the Kochs exercise virtual editorial control over even our most liberal mainstream news organizations. Here, she details their considerable influence over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/05/27/a-word-from-our-sponsor

My only point is that we will surely lose our fight against the oligarchs and warmongers if we fail to see the scope of the problem. If we are mere partisans. Because our country’s problems are systemic. Because all of our institutions – no exaggeration – have been corrupted by the Kochs and their ilk. And so far as our media outlets, it’s not just FoxNews that chiefly represents the interests of the far-right, but also the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, Mother Jones, MSNBC, CNN, and more.

Purge the rot from the system. Spare no sycophant to power. And certainly, spare no political party as entrenched and evil as the Democrats and Republicans. They exist to crush progressivism, human rights, and the rule of law. As the record clearly demonstrates, they have no other purpose.

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Demonstrating, yet again, that the Democratic Party has learned none of the lessons of 2016, the DNC appears hellbent on preventing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a staunchly anti-war progressive, from taking her place on the debate stage.

Rep. Gabbard has done far too well in her previous debate appearances, and her national support is steadily growing. She’s fought for election integrity, single-payer healthcare, a (specific, credible) Green New Deal, press freedom, a livable minimum wage, an overhaul of our deeply racist criminal justice system, and an end to Washington’s regime-change wars.

Like Bernie Sanders in 2016, her candidacy must be sabotaged by our political-media establishment, lest an actual liberal have a chance at the presidency. Because, from the Democratic Party’s perspective, defeating Donald Trump has never been as important as quashing the progressive movement.

When nearly two dozen polls from credible sources (The Economist, Emerson, Suffolk…) show that Rep. Gabbard has more than met the polling threshold to be on the debate stage — with over 130,000 unique donors (no PAC money) demonstrating considerable grassroots support — this is what the DNC resorts to… and not for the first time.

Here’s Noam Chomsky’s assessment of the “shenanigans” that determined the outcome of the 2016 farce that gave us President Trump:

“Here comes Sanders, somebody nobody ever heard of. No support from the wealthy, no support from corporations. The media ignored or disparaged him. He even used a scare word, ‘socialist.’ Came from nowhere. He would have won the Democratic Party nomination if it hadn’t been for the shenanigans of the Obama-Clinton party managers who kept him out. Might have been president.”

(Actually, Mr. Chomsky, poll after poll showed that, but for the rigged primary, Bernie Sanders would have become our 45th president, trouncing Donald Trump by an average of 9-15%, well outside the margin of error.)

Today, the establishment has its sharpest knives out for the only Democrat running to Bernie’s left, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The most searched candidate following each of her first two debate performances, Rep. Gabbard has been relentlessly smeared by the mainstream media and sabotaged by both Google and Twitter:

Google’s shenanigans - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8A2kzeEqGA

Twitter’s fuckery - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS8zZijEkiA

Now, the big tech companies’ pals at the DNC are trying to simply “disappear” Rep. Gabbard from the debates — cheating to exclude the only progressive Democrat running for president (the one other bona fide progressive running for the office is Sen. Sanders, an independent).

I guess the DNC understands that the only way for a corporatist to “win” the Democratic Party’s nomination is by hook and by crook, and they’re back to their old tricks.

The DNC must really want another four years for Trump and the MAGA crowd.

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In the early 2000’s, the corporate media, virtually in lockstep, told us that Saddam Hussein had “WMD” — systematically burying all evidence to the contrary. All skeptics and dissenters were purged, including the NYT’s Pulitzer-winning journalist, Chris Hedges. And, as if to illustrate the one true priority of corporate “news” — propagandizing the American people — MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for questioning the WMD claims, even as his show was the top-rated on their network.

And over a million Iraqis died unnecessarily, thanks to that unconscionable and massive dereliction of journalistic duty.

The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NPR, and their ilk provided us with a graphic demonstration of just how corrupt the Fourth Estate had become in the USA — corporatized state media, utterly subservient to the oligarchy and Military Industrial Complex.

Today, following an unprecedented war on investigative journalism (initiated by Bush/Cheney, accelerated and normalized by Barack Obama, continued by Donald Trump), matters are considerably worse. Leading news organizations have become mere propagandists for empire, simply repeating the warmongering claims of anonymous intelligence agency spooks and government officials, re: Russia, Wikileaks, Venezuelan President Maduro, Syria’s Assad, and more.

More often than not, today’s MSM doesn’t just bury countervailing claims, it fails to report them entirely. Just as it largely failed to report the CIA’s Operation Timber Sycamore, itself: the regime-change op predicated on flooding Syria with tens of thousands of al Qaeda butchers, Sunni militants keen to unseat Assad and deprive Shi’ite Iran of a key ally (Mujaheddin 2.0, backed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, trained and coordinated by the CIA).

Having learned no lessons from the run-up to our illegal war on Iraq, many Americans seem to accept — without compelling evidence — the claims that Bashar al-Assad has “gassed his own people.”

Following the 2002-03 media debacle that led to the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents, that is truly shameful.

Adhering to the same journalistic and political malefactors who have repeatedly lied to us before, many Americans simply believe the propaganda — even as several credible skeptics have emerged, from legendary journalist, Robert Fisk, to former U.K. ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, to U.N. lead investigator, Carla Del Ponte, who after finishing her 2013 fact-finding mission to Syria said the following:

“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals, and there are strong, concrete suspicions, but not yet incontrovertible proof, of the use of sarin gas. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”

(The New York Times has also reported that the anti-Assad “rebels” used chemical weapons scores of times in Iraq and Syria over just a few-year stretch.)

And now, evidence has come to light that the United Nations’ agency for evaluating the WMD allegations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has been politically compromised, burying its own analysts’ conclusions that the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria was “staged.”

Aside from the fact that he’s been winning the war decisively with conventional weapons, there are hundreds of good reasons to doubt the claims that Bashar al-Assad has resorted to the use of chemical weapons in this conflict.

While voicing such doubts does not absolve Assad of other serious war crimes, it’s fair to ask why Syria’s leader would cross the one “red line” that would guarantee heightened U.S. involvement and potentially reverse the tide of the war? Why would this clearly intelligent leader do something so blatantly stupid and unnecessary, when already his regime had all but assured itself of victory?

One doesn’t have to be “anti-war” or a fire-breathing “isolationist” to regard these WMD claims — coming from the usual suspects, a parade of war criminals — with extreme skepticism.

One simply has to have an ounce of human decency, knowing that taking at face value such unfounded, dubious claims could well lead to an escalation of yet another Washington-provoked Middle Eastern conflict — claiming hundreds of thousands of more innocent lives — once again, on a pack of lies.

And yet most Americans, including members of the liberal class, apparently have become neocon true believers, as hawkish as any Bush/Cheney Republican. As blithely willing as any MAGA moron to believe despicable things about foreign leaders, thanks to a fundamentally Orientalist mindset.

I highly recommend the following exchange between one of America’s few remaining adversarial journalists, the latest “Izzy” Award recipient, Aaron Mate (formerly at Democracy Now!) and respected arms expert, MIT professor Theodore Postol.

In addition to laying out credible doubts about specific claims against the Assad regime, Postol notes just what has happened to journalism in the U.S. in recent decades:

“It’s a farce. What’s shocking is the news media today has done such a poor job asking questions about this. When I used to work with news media, 30 years ago, say, I’d get into the papers quite a lot with my work. And every reporter I worked with who was good — and there were lots of them — the first thing that would happen when I called them up and said, ‘Look, there’s an issue here that you may want to think about an article for,’ the first thing they’d ask me is, ‘What’s behind what you’re saying?’ In other words, can you show me, can you prove it to me, can you give me the evidence? That’s good! That’s the right thing any journalist should do when they’re confronted… when a story is proposed to them or when they think there’s a story worth looking into.”

“That doesn’t happen anymore.”

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Bush-Obama’s methane legacy — “Freedom Gaschoking the biosphere

From the article:

“Between 2005 and 2015, fracking went from producing 31 billion cubic meters of shale gas per year to producing 435 billion cubic meters.

“Nearly 90 percent of that fracking took place in the U.S., while about 10 percent was done in Canada.”

Like domestic oil production, hydraulic fracturing exploded under President Obama — spearheaded by Sec. Clinton’s efforts to spread this uniquely destructive fossil-fuel to the rest of the world: https://www.theguardian.com/…/how-hillary-clintons-state-de…

But no one should have any illusions that Donald Trump is any better than Obama on this front. As with so many policies, Trump has picked up right where Obama left off: http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=3489

“Freedom Gas” or “bridge fuel” — either way, the duopoly works only for the omnicidal oligarchy that’s overthrown our democracy.

As citizens of the world and members of the human race, we are morally obligated to resist the destruction of our planet’s biosphere. It’s up to us to reform our governments, holding all politicians accountable (not just the personally ugly, less educated ones) — either that, or quit pretending to have any morally-grounded, reality-based objections to the presidency of Donald Trump.

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Russiagate defined.

Russiagate = supporting the neo-fascists behind the genocide of millions of predominantly Arab-Muslim civilians (under Trump’s three predecessors alone: 1+ million under Clinton, 1+ million under Bush, 500,000+ under Obama) in order to convey to one’s bourgeois peers one’s purely symbolic condemnation of racism.

Mathematically expressed: Russiagate = omnicidal fascism + a facade of “liberalism” (protecting the mind-bogglingly amoral, despotic, and destructive agenda of the (patriarchal/white supremacist/Christian Dominionist) American oligarchy that’s spent the last six decades eradicating the rule of law, normalizing global war, and initiating the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem, ushering in the Earth’s Sixth Mass-Extinction event).

Note: The ability to believe and become passionate about Russiagate’s central claims — and to characterize Trump as some kind of an anomaly in U.S. politics — is predicated on one’s near-total ignorance of decades of astonishingly destructive U.S. policies… and politicians, many of whom have been far more effectively (and overtly) racist — and considerably more destructive — than Donald Trump has been, to date, deplorable demagogue that he is.

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Lies, damn lies, and… deliberately screwing with polling data to deceive your audience.

Katie Halper continues her great reporting on U.S. politics, noting how the corporate media systematically misreports polling data in order to cheat progressives and elevate establishmentarians like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.

(Echoes of 2016, with the 1% pulling out all of the stops to morph journalism into sheer political shilling, blatantly campaigning for the oligarchs’ preferred politicians — and smearing anyone remotely progressive — in order to help the 1% rig our elections for Trump’s ideological and moral equals… like his old family friend, the equally corrupt, primary-rigging, serial racist warmonger, Hillary Clinton.)

The “liberal” (corporate/far-right) media and “liberal” institutions, like the post-1980s Democratic Party, have only one mantra in the 2020 election cycle, the same one they’ve had for years, nakedly exposed in 2016: destroy progressives (no holds barred, no laws or concerns for democracy or fair play applicable).

This is why we can’t have nice things.

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Trump Pranked! The #McResistance Lives! Green New Deal… *not* imminent.

More proof that the “Russian puppet” meme will never die, no matter how many times Russiagate is debunked

Recently, the 45th President of the United States gave a speech before a group of teenage (high school) “deplorables” gathered for a conference in Washington, DC — with Trump standing before a massive image that was subtly designed to portray him as a treasonous agent of Moscow!

(photo by Alex Wong/Getty)

Yes, it’s all true.

Amusingly enough, on the giant screen behind Donald Trump at this conference for young conservatives was a mock version of the official U.S. government seal featuring the words “SEAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” circumscribing the image of an eagle.

Only the eagle behind Trump on this seal was a two-headed eagle — borrowed from Russia’s state seal (with a couple of clever modifications: 1) there’s a wad of cash in one of the eagle’s taloned claws and some golf clubs in the other; and 2) the “Latin” phrase across the banner reads “45 es un títere,” or “45 is a puppet” in Spanish).

Displaying the modified seal behind the president was clearly someone’s idea of a prank, zinging Trump for being a “Russian puppet.”

(Hilarious. “Saddam’s WMD” level hilarious.)

Neither the event’s hosts nor anyone on the President’s staff noticed the subtly transformed “official” seal behind the speaker.

Nor did the speaker, himself.

Ever the buffoon, Trump gave his speech in front of an image designed to humiliate him. (He even missed the fact that it had his number on it: 45.)

The pranksters (whoever they are) used the hybrid U.S./Russia government seal image created by Bush/Cheney enthusiast and “former” Republican, Charles Leazott, a hard-right conservative who believes in Russiagate with all his heart… or at least in the conspiracy theory’s ability to politically damage Donald Trump (when it’s obvious that Russiagate has done the opposite, benefitting the far-right dramatically and increasing Trump’s chances for reelection… all while bringing us closer to WWIII).

While Trump and his people’s obliviousness to the practical joke is nearly as amusing as it is sad, it’s still notable (and equally depressing) that the #McResistance continues to be led by current and former Republicans, especially the Bush/Cheney crowd (including Robert Mueller, David Frum, William Kristol, Michael Hayden, John Brennan, and James Clapper): modern fascists pushing a third world war over a bunch of warmongering, neo-McCarthyite propaganda — propaganda that began as a reprehensible presidential candidate’s excuse for losing to a reality TV huckster.

This is what happens when the center-left bets the progressive farm on neocons, intelligence agencies, and current/former Republicans.

#McResistance, propaganda, and war have triumphed over diplomacy, journalism, and any semblance of actual resistance to the rise of neo-fascism.

So much for the progressive agenda! So much for a Green New Deal

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If Donald Trump is the closest thing we have to a non-interventionist (after Tulsi and Bernie), then we’re in a great deal of trouble…

From the excellent CounterPunch article by Rob Urie:

“Two years plus of taunting Donald Trump from the right has left the left holding the baggy for untethering his steely anti-interventionist resolve from the hitchin’ post. And while it’s proper to question the metallurgical integrity of said resolve, he did ask questions in his run for President that landed like an oriole’s chide at Spring’s late arrival apropos the American military’s history of cluster-fuckery.”

*       *       *

It’s a sad state of affairs when only one presidential candidate in 2016 acknowledged the existence of Washington’s second “Mujaheddin” army (created after the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq for the purpose of regime-change operations guided by the U.S.) — and it was Donald F’g Trump!

But after President Obama needlessly rescued Bush/Cheney’s radical agenda in his first term, the neocons reunited with their first love, the Democratic Party, which they have since overtaken — save for a few members of “The Squad.”

And that is why the liberal class is so lost and disoriented, right now: they’re “resisting” Donald Trump by championing the warmongering agenda of modern Nazis. While the mainstream-left slept, the worst war criminals under Bush/Cheney were rehabilitated and raised to new levels of power by President Obama. Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, mass-surveillance, domestic propaganda, and due process-free assassinations were all normalized, as was the Global (permanent) War of Terror.

The uniforms have changed, but the neocons — associated with the GOP during the Bush years — emerged from the Obama era more powerful than ever, and more closely affiliated with Democrats than Republicans. (They had, after all, had their way with Obama almost as much as Bush, instigating wars in Libya, Ukraine, and Syria; erecting siege-like sanctions regimes against Venezuela and Iran, paving the way for future confrontations; unleashing genocide in Yemen, putting millions of innocents at risk; birthing RussiaGate, inviting global war…)

Today, with the duopoly’s backing, the neocons still seek total control over Donald Trump, with varying degrees of success. But Trump, like President Obama, is not fully on board with the neocon agenda (distinguishing both presidents from Sec. Clinton and most of today’s Russia-gating “liberals”).

Ironic as it may be, Donald Trump — like Obama before him — is feebly, sporadically resisting the fascist elements who’ve largely run the U.S. since 1963, following their murder of President Kennedy.

Imagine if the “left” in 2017 had rallied around Trump’s few liberal and statesmanlike impulses — while fighting his regressive domestic policies and court appointments, tooth and nail — instead of lining up behind the modern equivalent of Nazis and pushing for WWIII over a bunch of inflated, generally risible claims (comporting themselves just like a reactionary, partisan mob of conservatives).

Donald Trump wouldn’t be poised for reelection today. And John Bolton wouldn’t be anywhere near the White House.

Talk about lost opportunities!

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Listen to Niko House and tell me, honestly, whether you think he’s full of crap or Sen. Warren is… The answer is not hard to reach.

When neoliberal and neoconservative billionaires fund Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren (to the tune of millions) — but not Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard (ever) — are we supposed to think that’s an accident?

Are we supposed to think that these privatization/war-obsessed oligarchs are morons? Incapable of recognizing the politicians who will do their bidding?

Sen. Elizabeth “Cherokee” Warren (who tells Palestinians and Native Americans alike to f’ off) is nothing more than Hillary 2.0 — a neoliberal politician funded by billionaires and oligarchs, and totally willing to lie about it. But she’s “progressive,” says the center-right! (Same as they said about far-right Hillary Clinton in 2016, despite all the evidence that Sec. Clinton spent her career in the neocon vanguard and was the candidate of Wall Street and the .01% in 2016, running well to the right of Donald Trump!)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who I’ll grant is not the worst of the worst — is about as “progressive” as Barack Obama, the president who normalized torture, assassination, full-society surveillance, journalist-persecution, and the permanent War on Terror.

Even her election, defeating Donald Trump (highly unlikely), would prove a defeat for the left, in the long run.

She’s willing to take PAC money and is funded by the same neo-fascists who backed Sec. Clinton. Because she has never fought for the left, the bourgeois simply love her, and the establishment trusts her implicitly. The genocidal neocons know that they have a champion in Elizabeth Warren.

(All the best reasons we should fear this serially dishonest agent of the far-right.)

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Now on display at the Sun Gallery in Hayward…

Statement of the Artist: James O’Donnell III

If one has spent decades obsessively following politics, economic trends, cultural shifts, and global war, as this artist has, one ends up witnessing an infinite galaxy of plundering Orwellian swine murderously choking The Green, Gaea, Liberty, the Future, the Life, out of our planet… gobbling up the biosphere.

In painting this piece — mindful of James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, James Baldwin’s writing/activism, David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed essays — it occurred to me that if we were honest about our country’s historical and spiritual essence, we wouldn’t have a Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, but a Ku Klux Klan Memorial, acknowledging our nation’s white-supremacist, Christian Dominionist heritage and dark soul. (In this painting, that “KKK Memorial” is depicted sunk to the bottom of the ocean, decaying, as befits such a monument.)

This painting bears witness to what its author has painstakingly observed over decades: that the absence of progressive/liberal institutions in a period marked by rising oligarchy and inequality — under a brutal, corporatist establishment (serially racist, endlessly warmongering, bankster-abetting, and democracy-subverting) — has contributed mightily to the rise of modern FASCISM.

The moral and intellectual collapse of the institutional left hasn’t merely given us the Bush/Cheney regime, Donald Trump, Theresa May (U.K.), the Le Pens (France), Netanyahu (Israel), Modi (India), bin Salman (Saudi Arabia), Bolsonaro (Brazil), El-Sisi (Egypt), Macron (France), et al. — and brought us to the precipice of World War III on a barrage of neo-McCarthyite hysteria — the dismal duopoly has also given us melting glaciers, acidifying oceans, Colony Collapse Disorder, and CO2 levels that no credible scientist considers sustainable. It has ushered in Earth’s Sixth Mass-Extinction event, putting millions of species at risk.

It’s likely that the despotic, frack-happy duopoly has given our civilization and world a terminal prognosis, with little chance of survival for any of us in the long run, let alone the millions of people currently in our empire’s crosshairs (Russians, Koreans, Syrians, Venezuelans, Iranians, Yemenis, Somalis, etc.).

These “PIGS” — today’s fascists — are DEVOURING OUR WORLD.

(A child could see it. Millennials, who are not children, see it clearly: Ecology 101 is for the woke.)

Last chance to save the planet, people. No more dawdling. Our final exam is today.

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