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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is Orwellian, indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Still tilting at windmills, hoping to bring the left back to its senses...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last call, friends...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gen. Mattis is RIGHT:
Torture does NOT work!

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

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

Restore habeas corpus!
Repeal the 2012 and 2017 NDAAs!

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

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

Release the Senate Torture Report!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Help Pres. Trump repeal NAFTA!

Help Pres. Trump restore Glass-Steagall!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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