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

Although every day gives us LESS reason to believe the evidence-free CIA/MSM claims of “Russian hacking,” let’s suppose it’s all true. Let’s suppose that the Kremlin DID reveal (by disseminating 100%-authentic documents) that the leaders of the Democratic Party are bigoted, corrupt, anti-democratic, primary-rigging authoritarians with the ethics, values, donor list, and policy priorities of the worst Republicans…


It should mean something to decent, principled liberals that no one has denied the authenticity or accuracy of the leaked documents (so damning, revealing so much festering rot in our nation’s corporatized political-media establishment).

My question for the Left: at what point did THE TRUTH become less important to us than mere partisanship (in the service of the failed candidacy of a blood-soaked Wall Street neocon, no less)? Don’t you feel the least bit silly — as a liberal — carrying water for warmongers, “trade” proponents, neo-McCarthyites, and our democracy-overthrowing CIA? (In short, acting like a foot-soldier of the far-right.)

Before we embarrass ourselves any further, here’s some of the best JOURNALISM I’ve encountered concerning the allegations of the “Russian hack” (including a few voices who’ve been consistently right over the years — those who’ve steadfastly refused to drink the Washington “Kool-Aid”):






Fair questions remain. Despite all the appearance of an orchestrated propaganda campaign, maybe it WILL turn out that the Kremlin did something to affect the 2016 U.S. presidential election. IT’S POSSIBLE. But even if it was a Russian hand that pulled back the curtain revealing the corruption within the Democratic Party and U.S. election systems, I’D RATHER KNOW about the rot within our system than remain ignorant of that reality.


Sad, but true. (And if we’re going to try to rebuild the Left, we need to start from a place of TRUTH. Virtually everyone at the top of the Democratic Party, CNN-NBC-WaPo-NYT, should be fired or demoted. This swamp needs draining ASAP and we need to start listening to the marginalized folks and progressives who’ve been getting it right all these years.)

The time for name-calling is over. "Divide & Conquer" is kicking all possible ass.

These kinds of protests may feel righteous and cathartic (and maybe some of them are more constructive than I’m giving them credit for), but it feels like the establishment left is playing right into the hands of the corporate media and oligarchs who want us tearing our society into pieces (while they loot it and put the last few nails into the coffin of our once-democratic republic). It is always right to stand up against racism and misogyny, but these post-election protests don’t appear to be highlighting present injustices against people of color or women. Rather they seem to be nakedly partisan expressions of rage and rejection of the election result — burning human effigies and chanting “NOT MY PRESIDENT!” How does such behavior not mirror conservatives’ worst conduct after Obama was elected? Such actions call into question the president-elect’s very legitimacy, which aside from being societally dangerous, comes across as petty and vindictive. This angry, fearful liberal reaction also consistently disdains and traduces — as “deplorables” and sexist “bros” — large swaths of Trump voters, progressives, and neoliberalism-weary independents.

Why not be civil to our anti-establishment counterparts on the grassroots right? They hate the corruption of our government by big money just as we do. Why not tell them that we respect their anti-establishment vote and hope their candidate governs well? At least the present circumstance does not resemble the aftermath — and stench of injustice — following the stolen 2000 presidential election (committed by Republicans, sanctioned by Democrats) or the rigged 2016 presidential primary (committed by Democrats). After decades of relentless, society-collapsing, bipartisan regress, why not seek reconciliation and progress, on a grassroots level, for the sake of the future? There is OPPORTUNITY in this moment (beyond just using Trump’s election as a reminder to ramp up our support for Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Public Citizen, FAIR, Democracy Now!, the SPLC, EFF, WikiLeaks, Black Lives Matter, the Green Party, and a few other worthies).

There is enough common ground in America — against the agenda of our far-right establishment — that the left should SEIZE THIS DAY! Let’s stop pretending that we’re immeasurably better human beings than our right-wing contemporaries and instead latch on to the healthiest aspects of this expression of the voters’ will. There’s anti-war sentiment in this result — and anti-authoritarianism, too. And a bid for economic justice, including decent jobs and infrastructure investment. It’s not all ugliness, and to suggest that it is is mean-spirited and counterproductive — just when we need to be demonstrating better values and offering to work with the grassroots right, in order to push Trump to keep his better promises: ending the slavery-permitting/corporation exalting “trade” pacts; scaling back the neocon wars; working with Russia, where possible, rather than flirting with WWIII; protecting Social Security and Medicare; offering a student debt repayment program 12.5% more progressive than the Obama/Clinton policy; investing in our infrastructure; keeping the “Patient’s Bill of Rights” and other positive parts of the ACA.

*            *            *

Election post-mortems are showing that majorities of Trump voters (within demographics) actually voted for Obama in 2008/2012 — so they’re hardly card-carrying members of the KKK. In 2016 they were mostly voting against the corrupt, pro-war, Wall Street establishment and the devastating neoliberal assault on our society. DO many of Trump’s voters have subconscious racism — and others, conscious racism? Sure, but the left is hardly innocent of that extremely American sin: the Clintons dramatically expanded the New Jim Crow, and the American left just spent the last eight years acting as if Black Lives don’t Matter, as if Identity Politics is THE WHOLE BALL GAME. Most liberals did nothing as President Obama threw African-Americans to the Wall Street wolves. OWS created awareness and highlighted inequality, but the establishment, liberal and conservative, attacked us. Where were the left’s angry protests when Wall Street’s militarized thugs beat us, burned our libraries, and tore down our encampments in an illegal, federally-coordinated 18-city crackdown? Thanks to the President Obama’s deference to Wall Street crooks, systemically racist banks plundered the post-Civil Rights Era gains of black households and hollowed out the American middle class.

Meanwhile, Obama has expanded on militarized, “broken windows” policing. And on his watch America has increasingly become a country where peaceful assembly, journalism/exposing criminality, and protesting are criminalized (OWS through Standing Rock, Assange, Snowden, Drake, Kiriakou, Sterling, and beyond). It’s worth considering the notion that only President Barack Obama could have governed in such draconian fashion, with the left silent. And Obama has all but ignored the crises in American policing and systemic/environmental racism, as in Rahm Emmanuel’s Chicago and Flint, MI. Any other president would have had his feet truly held to the fire to address these nightmares. Do you recall mainstream America’s outrage at the police beating of Rodney King on camera? Well, we’ve seen outright murders of blacks — on camera — during the Obama era, with very little mainstream outrage and next to no activism from the left, outside of Black Lives Matter, which has been marginalized.

Considering the American mood in 2008-09, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Barack Obama delivering so devastatingly for Wall Street, the civil rights-opposing authoritarians, and the warmongering neocons (of his own volition, having literally nothing to do with Republican opposition, in most cases). The American people would have crucified a president with a less brilliant liberal patina — a “President McCain” — if he’d tried to accomplish half the insanity that President Obama has gotten away with on behalf of the Corporatocracy. Progressives who argue that the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” has proven more dangerous than the obvious, loathsome “wolf” are exactly right. Throwing millions of lives and American society into chaos, Obama consummated Wall Street’s $16-trillion coup — in a way no Republican could have managed, with no prosecutions or meaningful reforms, leaving TBTF worse than ever. Even more stunningly, he resuscitated and expanded the neocon agenda: normalizing assassination and torture, expanding war to SEVEN Muslim nations, putting Washington back in bed with the Saudis and al Qaeda, hellbent on regime-change in the Middle East.

In championing militarist Barack Obama and neoconservative-darling Sec. Clinton, today’s American liberals have been acting oblivious to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. But those Muslim lives matter, too, not just the ones that Trump threatens.

There’s a very good reason that prominent black leaders (Cornel West, Michelle Alexander, Ta Nehisi-Coates, Keith Ellison, Glen Ford, Killer Mike, etc.) urged African-Americans away from the Clinton ticket. Neoliberal presidents like Clinton and Obama have meant the obliteration of the left in America and the loss of freedom/citizenship for millions of Americans, mostly POC. Ranking with the worst Republican presidents, neoliberal Democrats have wrought death and destruction on countless millions of Muslims, Latinos, and indigenous peoples, the world over. The humanity-butchering, environment-destroying corporate agenda has only accelerated under Obama — dramatically. We must never forget that the cruelest mass-deporter of immigrants in American history has been President Obama, the deporter of 2.5 MILLION human beings (more than all 20th-century presidents combined). He is the president who unleashed ICE across America and escalated the for-profit incarceration of immigrants (and the immigration “reform” bill he championed would have only legalized working conditions comparable to slavery — though something akin to slavery is already the norm in American prisons, consistent with how most “American” goods are made. To which captive populations can our corporations pay the fewest pennies for their labor? That is the question… under Republicans and Democrats alike.).

In order to appease reactionaries on the right, President Obama also de-listed domestic terror groups, condemned Colin Kaepernick, and had a beer with the racist cop who treated Prof. Henry Luis Gates like a criminal in his own home. This is, after all, the same Barack Obama who threw his good reverend – and all of Black Liberation Theology — under the bus in 2008, and had the headscarf-wearing Muslim women removed from crowds standing directly behind him on camera. This is the same Barack Obama who, as president, okayed blanket police surveillance of Muslims in the U.S. and vacuum-collection of all citizens’ data. As he’s repeatedly told the foreign press, by most standards he would be considered a conservative. (He’s also recently described President-Elect Trump as merely the captain of a rival “intramural” squad — “we’re actually all on one team.” ——– Ain’t it the truth!)

If the folks who are presently so mad at Trump’s ascension cared so deeply about minorities and the oppressed, one would think they would’ve spent the last eight years fighting Barack Obama, tooth and nail, alongside CODE PINK,, OWS, BLM, and the rest of us constituting what’s left of the left. President Obama has been one of the all-time appeasers of the far-right (bailing them out needlessly, when they were completely at his mercy, insolvent and discredited… and demonstrably guilty of outrageous crimes against humanity). He’s also been one of the all-time worst oppressors of the world’s most vulnerable. He’s needlessly capitulated even on those occasions when he’s held all the cards and there was nothing the Republicans could do to oppose him. Now, that is APPEASEMENT. In his own way, President Obama has done more to embolden racism and the radical right than any number of “deplorable” presidents could, all while advancing the far-right’s policy agenda. And that’s a big part of how we arrived at this dark place.

So, it’s time to stop pretending we’re the last decent people left in America and Trump voters are a bunch of Skinhead scum. We helped build this rotten ship. It’s time to fix it — or the future will be as nightmarish as you can imagine, for people of all colors and stripes. The oceans are signaling collapse, folks, whether our establishment has noticed or not (it hasn’t). It’s long past time for a popular movement that wrests our government from the hands of corporate pirates. The time for name-calling is past.

From May 10th of this year:

Either fight for Bernie or embrace Chancellor Trump!

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

(Photo by DSK, AFP/Getty Images)

Check out what The Hill and USA Today are reporting, folks: Sec. Clinton is TIED/LOSING to Trump in critical swing states (the raw polling data has shown for months now that Clinton is particularly vulnerable to Trump).  Not only is she the furthest-right Democratic nominee imaginable, nominating Clinton is apparently the shortest path to electing Donald Trump……whereas the same polling data shows Bernie, an actual progressive, clobbering Trump by double-digit margins, including in swing states!

Consider this excerpt from Seth Abramson’s excellent recent article in The Huffington Post:

“Sanders outperforms Clinton against Donald Trump in nearly every state where head-to-head general-election polling data is available. While some of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that Sanders beats Clinton by between 30 and 40 points among Independents — itself a major warning sign for a Clinton candidacy this fall — the rest is explained by the fact that when voters come to know Bernie Sanders as well as they already know Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they tend to prefer him to these two by clear margins.”

Trump beats Clinton. Bernie beats Trump. It really is that simple.

And the Democratic Primary is far from over: Bernie only needs 56% of the remaining pledged delegates to pass Clinton, with very favorable terrain ahead. Let’s keep working to win the nomination for Bernie — unless we want “Chancellor Trump” in office!

That’s the real choice we face.

First they came for the Native Americans, and virtually wiped them out. Then they came for the African-Americans… and they’ve never stopped coming for them, caging them and forcing them to work for nothing (only today it’s called “mass incarceration” and it’s the Democrats who ushered in that unprecedented modern practice — and never looked back). Then they came for the communists, socialists, and leftist artists and intellectuals (they called it the “Red Scare” and McCarthyism — which almost faded away, before the Clinton 2016 campaign and modern Democrats revived it, angling for political advantage at home and World War III abroad). Then they came for the last few liberal activists capable of organizing a movement, and they crushed that movement with mercenaries, militarized-police brutality, and violence against journalists and peaceful protesters alike — and that was the end of Occupy Wall Street, thanks to President Obama and the newly pacified “left,” which didn’t make a peep in protest. Then they came for Democracy itself, stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections for George W. Bush and the 2016 Democratic Primary for Hillary Clinton (who has also vociferously advocated in favor of that “Wall” we dishonestly associate with Trump and Trump alone). Then, the last three presidents came for what was left of our laws, diverse media, and the middle class… and today there simply aren’t any democratic institutions left (only the illusion of them, thanks to slick corporate media — which replaced the free press, after Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Telecom Act and after President Obama made it the new normal to hunt honest whistleblowers and actual journalists like “enemies of the state”). And today, they’re coming for the last resources of a dying planet, happily profiteering off of genocidal wars — mostly against Muslims — and crushing anyone, anywhere, who makes the slightest feint toward democracy or humanitarianism. Because that’s what happens after the institutional left folds tents and joins Them (which is, after all, what the last 30 years in American politics has been all about… which is why the planet is fucked, along with 99% of humanity).

Voting for the Green Party and Dr. Jill Stein has nothing to do with sour grapes or a protest over what should have been. It’s about embracing the ONE strategy left for saving liberalism in the U.S. Remember, the vast majority of states are not in play — are NOT “swing states.” If the Green Party gets 5% of the vote in 2016, then they get $10,000,000 in matching funds in 2020, a place on the ballot, and a likely seat at the debate table. The true left — which champions policies favored by 50-70% of the American people — will finally have a voice and an opportunity to reach the mainstream.

Conversely, pretending that welfare-slashing, mass-incarcerating, Wall Street-defending “Super-predator” Sec. Clinton is somehow — more than rhetorically… occasionally — to the left of Donald Trump (or Bush/Cheney, Reagan, or Nixon) means sanctioning the establishment and the “nominee” that was forced on us in a blatantly rigged primary that disenfranchised millions of Americans.

Voting for Clinton effectively kills off the left and empowers the far-right, both in terms of policy victories (neocon wars, “trade” pacts, mass-incarceration, etc.) and by swelling the ranks of the “deplorables” — uneducated/ignorant whites, predominantly, who understand, correctly, that the establishment that’s screwing them over is monstrously corrupt, but don’t know who to blame. These folks are extremely vulnerable to demagoguery, as Trump’s race-baiting “anti-establishment” popularity is demonstrating. Such people increasingly associate liberalism, tolerance, and diversity — the Democrats’ hollow platitudes — with the devastation and tyranny of the establishment. (Robert O. Paxton’s “The Anatomy of Fascism” makes clear that there is no surer path to bona fide fascism than warmongering, bankster-championing pseudo-liberalism… which discredits liberalism itself. This is why the most insightful, policy-informed analysts have identified Clintonian neoliberalism as “the disease” and Trump-style demagoguery as merely the “symptom.” And trust me, after 4-8 more years of the status quo, the next “would be fascist” that neoliberalism produces will be well to Trump’s right, Ted Cruz-style, or worse.)

If we objectively examine the record, the last two Democratic presidents have already done worse than most things people imagine Trump promises to do. In Syria alone, by continuing Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy, Obama is responsible for the deaths of over 400,000 Syrians and the creation of over ten million refugees (he marginalized Syria’s indigenous resistance and flooded the country with CIA-armed radical Salafists who began ethno-sectarian cleansing of whole towns and suicide-bombing, primarily targeting civilians). President Obama is also the ICE-unleashing, family-jailing (for-profit) Deporter-in-Chief, is he not? And the man who gave Wall Street criminals $16 trillion and facilitated their coup de grace to the middle class (especially minorities), with zero penalties or meaningful reforms. He’s the president who’s allowing Nestle to drain what’s left of our groundwater (effectively for free) while subjecting millions of Americans to carcinogenic water and worse (Flint, replicated thousands of times over, thanks to an industry-captured EPA). Yes, “The Donald” is an unthinkable, abhorrent train-wreck — and bosom chum of the Clintons — but he’s frequently taken positions to the LEFT of today’s neoliberal establishment, especially when it comes to the warmongers’ agenda and sovereignty-effacing “trade” pacts like the TPP. (It’s no mystery why the neocons, Kochs, Bushes, banksters, and other stalwarts of the far-right have rallied behind Sec. Clinton’s candidacy: she is 100% their horse in this race.)

Backing Clinton tells the establishment that you accept the neocons, their genocidal wars, policies of rampant assassination and torture — with the vast majority of victims being women and children, the vulnerable, and the impoverished. Voting “Blue no matter who” sends the clear message that you’re OK with the Obama-led assault on civil rights, democracy, journalism, whistleblowers, African-Americans, and the rule of law. Worse, it sends the message that you’re fine with the destruction of the planet’s life-sustaining systems, which has been dramatically accelerated by post-1980s “Democrats.”

FORGET THE RHETORIC AND THE CORPORATE BRANDING: What did President Obama’s representatives do at the Paris Climate Conference but demand that carbon emissions goals NOT be legally binding? That polluters must NOT be held responsible for the devastation they’ve wrought. It’s like the recent conference on refugees: the administration’s representatives demanded that language protecting children from incarceration be stripped from the final document. While green-lighting thousands of oil pipelines, the Obama administration has sold fracking to the world and opened up the oceans and the Arctic for deep-water drilling — at the same time that these same oceans are signaling collapse, and the sixth Mass-Extinction event is underway. At the same time Colony Collapse Disorder is wiping out our most vital pollinators, the bees (and Monsanto has no greater advocates than today’s Democrats). And the TPP deal that President Obama is championing, which Hillary Clinton has touted as “the gold standard” of trade pacts, will allow corporations to continue dictating our environmental laws, labor laws, food safety laws, and other regulations — in perpetuity — meaning, there won’t be any. Bizarre though it may seem, this position alone puts President Obama and Sec. Clinton to Trump’s right, when it comes to regulations of all types. (Not that a vote for Trump is REMOTELY an option — the demagoguery he’s spouting is even uglier and more dangerous than the race-baiting Birtherism the Clintons threw at Sen. Obama in 2008… not that they originated that smear; they merely trafficked in it, as The Guardian reported at the time… which the Clinton campaign admitted at the time, merely professing that their distribution of the “Kenyan Obama” photo was “misunderstood.”)

With a vote for Sec. Clinton, we surrender the last of our principles and proclaimed values in defense of one of the all-time movers of the far-right’s agenda: the planet-fracking, election-rigging, Nazi-funding, al Qaeda/ISIS-arming, Planned Parenthood-backstabbing, race-baiting, labor-crushing, school-privatizing, entitlement-slashing neoliberal candidate. For good-hearted, well-intentioned Americans to believe that Sec. Clinton represents liberal values — in any way — is a triumph of the corporate media and an indication that the SIX companies that generate 90% of everything that most Americans see and read have done their job and can now rest. It means that liberalism in America is officially extinct… like the free press and Bill of Rights (it was, after all, Obama who crushed peaceful assembly and OWS with a militarized and brutal, illegal, federally-coordinated, 18-city crackdown).

And that’s what I’ve been battling for over 20 years, with all my heart and soul: the death of liberalism. We cannot let it happen, and we sure as hell shouldn’t be voting for it. Peace, love, and friendship, but it’s time to champion facts and reality over corporate propaganda. It’s time to stop voting like sheep and right-wing dupes: