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Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons

And now a few words from Noam Chomsky on the subject of the alleged “Quid pro quo” between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump:

“(Quid pro quo)… Of what? The ‘quid pro quo’ is that he’s increased military action on the Russian border? He’s created a huge military expansion — of the military budget aimed at Russia. He’s pulled out of the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) treaty, which is a major threat to Russia. What’s the ‘quid pro quo?’”

Adding…

“There’s been a focus on (what I believe are) marginalia… Take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. In most of the world, it’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts — weighs in the balance — as compared with what another state does… openly, brazenly, and with enormous support: Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done.”

Chomsky again:

“If you’re concerned with our elections and how they operate and how they relate to what’s happened to a democratic society, then taking a look at ‘Russian hacking’ is absolutely the wrong place to look.”

Chomsky, once more:

“For a long period, way back, U.S. elections have been pretty much bought. You can predict the outcome of a presidential or congressional election with remarkable precision simply by looking at campaign spending.”

*       *       *       *       *

Now, here’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Glenn Greenwald, debating David Cay Johnston on this morning’s DemocracyNow! program:

“And as for him being a Russian asset, it’s so irresponsible to say that, because the reality is that the conflict between the U.S. and the Russians are at a worse and higher level than they’ve been in many years, probably decades.

“How can you say Donald Trump is a stooge of the Kremlin when he’s right now trying to remove one of Vladimir Putin’s client regime states in Venezuela? Or when he’s trying to bully Angela Merkel out of buying Russian natural gas, probably the thing that’s most important to the Russian economy? Or when he sold lethal arms to the Ukrainians, something Obama refused to do on the grounds that it would be provocative to Russia? Or when he bombed Putin’s client state in Syria? Over and over, the Trump administration has taken actions far more adverse and aggressive and belligerent to the Russians than the Obama administration did. That’s why this whole narrative that Trump all along was being blackmailed by Putin, that he’s an asset of Russian intelligence, this is idiocy. It is completely irrational. It is contrary to all facts.

“And Bob Mueller’s investigation, who spent 22 months examining that core question—what is the relationship between Trump and the Russians?—concluded that there is no relationship. It’s time to stop these dangerous conspiracy theories that are ratcheting up tensions between the two most dangerous countries on the planet. The reality is, the Trump administration has been constantly belligerent to Putin, has constantly acted adverse to the Kremlin’s interests, and there’s zero basis for thinking or believing or finding evidence to assert that Trump in any way is beholden to Vladimir Putin and to Russia. The whole thing has been a joke and a fairy tale from the start.”

[I guess Trump must be one of those demon-possessed varieties of “puppet” — like if “Lamb Chop” suddenly butchered Shari Lewis and covered her with mint jelly… or if “Howdy Doody” suddenly took a hacksaw to “Buffalo Bob” and roasted him on a spit. But one can never be belligerent enough for today’s xenophobic “liberals” — everywhere they look, they see the bristly paw of the Russian Bear… and not even a shadow — not ever — of the domestic oligarchs who’ve degraded our elections to the point that they are the most corrupt in the Western world, per a 2016 Harvard University/University of Sydney study. (But what do those academic pinheads know? They don’t even mention the Russkies once! All they talk about is massive voter disenfranchisement, unaccountable dark money, and hackable, unauditable voting machines that produce results which would trigger an automatic recount in most of the civilized world… What a half-baked, peer-reviewed “conspiracy theory!”)]

Those who claim that there is no difference between the GOP and the Democrats are clearly mistaken, for that is hardly the case.

The GOP exists to throttle and suppress the best and noblest impulses of the right while assiduously doing everything possible to serve the mass-murdering, freedom-extinguishing corporatocracy that rules us all.

The Democrats exist to throttle and suppress the best and noblest impulses of the left while assiduously doing everything possible to serve the mass-murdering, freedom-extinguishing corporatocracy that rules us all.

Both parties are wholly corrupt, massively anti-democratic, and dominated by careerist sociopaths who work for the white-supremacist, corporate empire that since the 1980s has dismantled the rule of law, created more refugees and slaves than ever before in human history, revived fascism, and all but destroyed the ecosystem… endangering the future habitability of the planet and kicking off the Sixth Mass-Extinction event, while our oceans acidify and icecaps melt.

Both parties encourage their bases to battle each other and ignore the systematic war our government has been waging on America’s once-democratic institutions: our campaign finance and election systems, the free press, the judiciary, public education/parks/libraries, functioning infrastructure, the social safety net, and the middle class.

Both parties’ faithful partisans expend all their energies on hating those they are encouraged to hate, while Wall Street plunders our society for trillions. When the latest Princeton University study reveals that America is no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy, they go on fighting each other. When Pew polling results confirm that the United States is viewed (more than any other nation) as the greatest threat to world peace, they go right back to reflexively trusting in the CIA, Pentagon, Washington, DC, and the corporate media — which Noam Chomsky has called out for “uniformity and obedience” that “any dictator would admire.”

Our leaders torture, overthrow democracies, prop-up and arm dictatorships, flood non-compliant nations with neo-Nazis and terrorists, assassinate citizens with no due process, and invest trillions in war and “usable” nuclear weapons while mocking as heretics any who speak of dialogue and diplomacy with our adversaries. And when the latest Harvard University/University of Sydney study shows that America’s elections are the most corrupt in the Western world, the partisans do not appear to notice. Although the GOP and Democrats have blatantly rigged one election after another in recent decades — while pointing to “illegal aliens” and “Russian meddling” — their obedient partisans have unquestioningly swallowed those paltry, xenophobic lies and resumed dividing and conquering America and the world on behalf of the most destructive regime in human history.

But there are important differences between the parties, the chief one being that the Democratic Party has been far more successful, in recent decades, when it comes to duping the center and brutally suppressing its base — far more successful than the GOP when it comes to pushing the corporatocracy’s neo-fascist, environment-collapsing agenda.

While the GOP is more overtly fascist and morally repugnant — with its overt homophobia, misogyny, and racism — the Democratic Party is the wing of the duopoly that continues pushing the Overton Window to the right, usurping every position the corporatist far-right once held (passing laws the GOP never could)… while throwing many poisoned bones of hollow Identity Politics to fear-addled, culturally “superior” rubes.

(Mind you, the GOP’s base has its own problems with moral “superiority,” linked to the deformation of Christianity in America into a fascist, racist, militantly authoritarian entity that is the very antithesis of Christ’s teachings. There are rubes aplenty in this myopic, reactionary, barely literate land of ours.)

But again, here is the key, most critical difference between the two parties in our corporatist duopoly:

One party has done nothing but discredit far-right fascism in recent decades (the GOP), while the other party (the Democrats) have made far-right fascism fashionable and palatable to the masses in recent decades, aligning the center-left with the policies of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bush/Cheney, John Bolton, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, Wall Street, the fossil-fuel industry, the Brookings Institution, PhRMA, Monsanto, and the Military Industrial Complex.

While, the GOP’s base is unruly, anti-war, libertarian, agitated/reactionary, and bigoted in the extreme, the Democratic Party’s base is obedient, pro-war, complacent/comfortable, and subconsciously bigoted (mostly against conservatives and Southerners, but also blithely indifferent to The New Jim Crow and the present anti-Arab-Muslim holocaust… if we are to judge them by their actions, that is).

While the anti-intellectual, less literate classes prefer the Republican Party, the more thoughtful, educated, and compassionate Americans prefer the rhetoric of the Democrats — while completely missing the big picture: the GOP and Democrats are devoted partners in a completely fucked marriage made in hell. Both aggressively serve the same despotic masters and are always willing to iron out their differences in the interests of the serially racist, warmongering top .001%.

The one priority they both share is their unflinching service to modern fascists.

But that doesn’t make them “the same.”

(And who ever said they were identical in the first place? That’s just another straw man intended to discredit America’s few remaining critical thinkers, those who put principle before party.)

While even mainstream liberals have supported the racist, imperialist coup in Venezuela — and the transparent propaganda of our woefully corrupt corporate media and the Trump administration — America’s few remaining progressives have championed the respected independent journalists who have given voice to the Venezuelan majority: the mestizos and Afro-Venezuelans whom the corporate media has worked overtime to disappear from our national discussion.

Millions of Venezuelans have voted to elect President Nicolas Maduro, whose party has won 23 of Venezuela’s last 25 national elections in transparent, auditable, internationally monitored elections that Jimmy Carter once called “the best in the world.”

Yet the U.S. political/media establishment has responded to the Venezuelan majority by naming its own preferred “president” and seizing even more of Venezuela’s wealth and assets, preventing much food and medicine from entering the country — in what the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has called a “crime against humanity,” likening U.S. sanctions to a “medieval siege,” emphasizing that Washington is using starvation as a weapon of war.

Despite the devastating effect of massive, multi-pronged economic sabotage — orchestrated by Venezuela’s imperialist/racist/predatory foreign enemies in Washington, DC — the government of Nicolas Maduro has been subsidizing food and other aid to the Venezuelan people (contrary to Western propaganda), as documented in the videos presented to the United Nations by two of America’s few remaining independent journalists, Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate.

After the last two decades of assassination attempts on Venezuela’s chosen leaders, extreme violence aimed at Venezuela’s robust democratic institutions, and coordinated economic sabotage, none of this is surprising… except to those who blithely gulp down MSM/government propaganda.

But the rest of the world, 75% of which opposes this coup, knows better.

While Reuters, CNN, the AP, and the New York Times have followed FoxNews into the dark universe of neo-fascist “journalism” — uncritically regurgitating official propaganda in support of war and corporate rule — America’s finest independent journalists have consistently gotten this story right… that is why they’ve been given a platform at the United Nations. In a badly corrupted media environment that does little more than “manufacture consent,” they are truth-tellers. A rarity.

(The non-corporate media, all that remains of the free press, have been getting this story right from the beginning. They’ve even forced the New York Times to correct the record about the U.S. “aid” trucks the Colombians and right-wing exiles tried to ram through the border… and then set on fire with their Molotov cocktails.)

Kudos to Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate for exposing themselves to vicious smears, simply because they’ve given voice to 80% of Venezuelans — especially the poor and oppressed who have supported the Chavista movement from the beginning.

While many nominal liberals spout empty platitudes about their support for the media — while championing those who have degraded and corrupted the institution while demonizing independent journalists — there remain a number of us who legitimately value honest reporting and side with the vulnerable instead of the powerful.

When 100,000 wealthy, white Venezuelans march on the streets to protest Maduro’s government, the corporate media splashes images of their marches everywhere. Good for them! Protest is a healthy thing, and the vast majority of these marches have been peaceful, unmarred by violence committed by the protesters or the state.

After all, this isn’t Occupy Wall Street we’re talking about — a peaceful protest movement violently crushed in an illegal, federally-coordinated, 18-city crackdown: they burned our libraries, tore down our encampments, and arrested hundreds — blasting pepper spray in our faces and firing tear gas canisters into protesters at point blank range. I’ve seen the bruises myself, having spent time at several OWS camps.

But when half a million Venezuelans of color protest against the Washington-backed coup, the MSM declines to cover their actions. Few Americans see the images of the Maduro government’s throngs of peaceful supporters, the indigenous and dark-skinned, those of African descent.

The MSM, which feigns outrage at Trump’s racism, has unequivocally sided with the wealthy, white Venezuelans who call themselves “Spaniards” and routinely called dark-skinned, curly-haired Hugo Chavez, the most popular leader in the hemisphere before his untimely demise, “MONKEY.”

In the coup-supporting Western media, the vast majority of Venezuelan people are disappeared, as if they simply don’t exist. That is what this coup is about: erasing two-thirds of Venezuela’s population — the millions lifted out of poverty by Hugo Chavez and his movement — because the Chavistas have stood in the way of the Koch Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and British Petroleum, slavering to get their tentacles on the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

(The Chavistas have had the temerity to channel the profits from their nation’s top resource into social programs that aid the poor. They cut poverty in half, rose literacy to over 90% for men and women, reduced infant mortality, and instituted land reforms that have protected the rights of the indigenous. They also put in place a people’s constitution, ratified by the citizenry, and created an election system that Jimmy Carter has called the best and most transparent in the world.)

I highly recommend Jimmy Dore’s twopart interview with the BBC’s Greg Palast, following his recent visit to Venezuela.

Palast has spent much of his career as a journalist exposing the schemes of white-supremacist conservatives to disenfranchise people of color, stealing one election after another. He covered the GOP’s theft of the 2000 presidential election, which required the purging of tens of thousands of African-Americans from the voter rolls in Florida. More recently, he covered Georgia Republicans’ theft of the governor’s race in 2018, thanks to Brian Kemp’s purging of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans from the voter rolls.

Today, Palast is focused on the Washington-instigated coup in Venezuela — which, if successful, will invalidate the votes of some eight million POC in that country, mestizos who’ve been resisting foreign-supported oppression ever since their movement won power 20 years ago.

You wouldn’t know it from watching CNN, but Bernie Sanders’ highest approval rating has consistently come from African-Americans. Coming in at a close second are Hispanics, followed by Asian-Americans.

(Review the data, if you dare.)

73% of African-Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders.
68% of Hispanic-Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders.
62% of Asian-Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders.

Compare these numbers to the bare 55% of men (vs. 58% of women) and just 52% of white Americans who have a favorable opinion of the country’s most popular politician (white Americans being the most fascism-prone, establishment-content demographic in the good ole’ USA).

And then ask yourself why the corporate media keeps slandering this old civil rights crusader and ally of the vulnerable as someone who “mostly appeals to young white males.”

And then remember that the same corporate media told us in 2008 that then-Senator Obama’s supporters were misogynist “OBAMA BOYS.”

Apparently anyone who doesn’t adore Wall Street neocon Hillary Clinton is a sexist, racist jerk… It couldn’t possibly be that we decry the catastrophic and morally grotesque right-wing policies she’s championed over the years, resulting in the doubling of the U.S. prison population, the 2008 Wall Street crash…and two genocides in Iraq (1990s sanctions and 2003 invasion), a revived slave-trade in Libya, and more genocide in Syria and Yemen (the latter ongoing).

Maybe the ones with the race problem are the same soulless careerists who spend seven days a week pushing propaganda and demonizing foreign leaders, and whipping the American people toward war, war, war, war, war…

Here we go again, with the white-male dominated corporate media telling African-Americans who their favorite politician is: Wall Street favorite and “New Jim Crow” prosecutor, Kamala Harris.

In 2016, the MSM had a similar narrative to peddle, ignoring considerable evidence to the contrary — because the establishment loved Sec. Clinton (far more than black people did) and wanted Bernie Sanders out of her way. But I’ve seen that some of the most significant early pushback against “centrist” Harris is coming from black Americans.

(Deja vu all over again.)

We should view with great skepticism the claim that the Clintons are much beloved by the African-American community.

Because it wasn’t just Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander expressing doubts about the Democratic Party’s pre-selected candidate, back in 2016. Actor/activist Danny Glover, MLK-friend and actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte, former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Congresswoman Nina Turner, and other prominent black Americans also saw Bernie Sanders as the clear choice over Sec. “We came, we saw, he died” (ha ha ha) Clinton.

(That was Clinton responding to news of Qaddafi’s brutal rape/murder by terrorists the U.S. supported in the West’s overthrow of Libya’s government. That regime-change operation, pushed aggressively by Sec. Clinton, ended up being President Obama’s greatest regret in office. Clinton’s project from the start, her “greatest moment” as Secretary of State, resulted in a failed state and the return of open-air slave markets in Africa.)

Black voters saw how Sanders had fought, his entire life, for civil rights and equality. And how Bernie allowed BLM activists to speak at his events — to take over the microphone, even — while Sec. Clinton had Black Lives Matter activists forcibly ejected from the room.

I seriously doubt that an overwhelming majority of black voters were fooled by Sec. Clinton in 2016, any more than will be fooled by Sen. Kamala Harris in 2020. Because I don’t think an accurate vote tally happened in Southern states where Clinton supposedly did so well with the African-American community. The outcome was a lie. Just like the narrative that “black folks adore the Clintons” was a lie.

Rapper “Killer Mike” and Dr. Cornel West, along with other black leaders, were having a big effect on the electorate and the black community, rallying people against the right-wing Democrat and toward the progressive Vermont independent. In early 2016, Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” wrote in The Nation that “Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.” And James Rucker, of Color of Change, detailed all of the dirty race-baiting, “Southern Strategy” tactics the Clintons used against then-Senator Obama in 2008 (even resorting to a little “Birther” politics, casting doubt on Obama’s birthplace and Christian religion).

I couldn’t believe then, and don’t now, that black Americans were so taken with serial racist and Wall Street neoconservative, Hillary Clinton. A purely corporate candidate, best known for being inauthentic, corrupt, and untrustworthy.

And I cannot remove from the equation the paperless, unauditable voting machines that likely played a role, possibly even a decisive role, in Clinton “winning” the South. A peer-reviewed Stanford University study in 2016 documented that the exit polls were far, far off from the recorded tallies, particularly in Southern states, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the primary.

For decades, African-American voters have been the savviest demographic in America, consistently anti-war and liberal. So, I doubt that they were as easily fooled into voting against their interests in 2016 as the corporate media would have us believe. The African-American community’s refusal to show up for Clinton in the general — even with Trump her opponent — speaks volumes.

And it’s hardly likely that they’re going to turn out in great numbers for the establishment’s latest Chosen One… particularly with Harris’s egregious record of wrongfully convicting poor people, disproportionately POC, for the profit of corporations and others who would reduce them to near-slavery (Harris’s office argued against early prison release for non-violent offenders, on the basis that they were needed as barely-compensated fire-fighters, risking their lives for $2.00 an hour).