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Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons

(I didn’t think so.)

So, why should we embrace the same process — initiated by a Bush administration holdover — when it’s led us to a new Cold War with Russia?

(We shouldn’t.)

In the early 2000’s, Dick “Dark Side” Cheney requested “raw” intelligence — unvetted by analysts, kept secret from the professionals — to cherry-pick the claims that supported the neocons’ “WMD” and “al Qaeda-Baghdad relationship” B.S., excluding all contradictory evidence.

Thus, Cheney and his neoconservative inner circle were able to bamboozle the mentally lazy, morally feckless George W. Bush into believing the causus belli for Washington’s illegal invasion of Iraq (which resulted in 1.5 million to 3.4 million Iraqi deaths, according to an analysis by CODE PINK’s Medea Benjamin and Nicolas JS Davies, compiling data from a number of sources including: the peer-reviewed 2006 Johns Hopkins’ study which appeared in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet; the 2007 study by the British polling firm, Opinion Research Business; the 2011 study by Just Foreign Policy; and the 2015 study by Physicians for Social Responsibility).

In 2016, CIA Director John Brennan did the same thing Cheney had done, only with the intent of convincing President Barack Obama that the Russian government was attempting to interfere with the U.S. presidential election in order to get Donald Trump into the White House.

Brennan was a holdover from the Bush administration. He’d advocated for the use of torture, warrantless surveillance, and rendition, and helped sell the neocons’ bogus case for war to policymakers and the public. When just-elected Barack Obama first tried to make John Brennan, a “loyal Bushie,” his CIA Director, anti-torture and anti-war progressives strenuously objected, and Obama withdrew him from consideration, retaining him as his Deputy National Security Adviser and special Assistant to the President.

In this way, President Obama ensured that Brennan could avoid a messy, far-from-certain confirmation process (“forward looking” Obama, who acknowledged that “we tortured some folks,” bypassed the Senate in order to elevate to new levels of power an unrepentant war criminal from the Bush years).

In his second term, Obama made John Brennan his Director of Central Intelligence, after all (having already conceded much of his presidency to the neocons in his first term, flooding Syria with al Qaeda “rebels” and overthrowing the government of Moammar Qaddafi in Libya).

Per the New York Times, Brennan had already been tasked by first-term Obama with managing the president’s “Kill List.” The Kill List effectively repealed both due process and habeas corpus — allowing any president to target anyone with lethal force, including American citizens uncharged with any crime… on American soil or anywhere else the Chief Executive/Executioner deems necessary.

(So much for the rule of law!)

In his new job, Brennan continued to advocate for torture, illegally hacked the computers of the Democrat-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee investigating CIA torture, destroyed government documents, and continued pushing the neocon agenda, resulting in hundreds of thousands more deaths, in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

(A John Bolton-like figure, Brennan was one of Obama’s senior-most advisers throughout his presidency, representing a tragic betrayal by the former candidate of “Hope & Change.”)

AND NOW, FOR RUSSIAGATE HOLDOUTS STILL CLINGING TO THEIR CONSPIRACY THEORY, HERE IS THE KEY PART OF THIS STORY (per anti-torture whistleblower, former CIA analyst John Kiriakou, and journalist, Aaron Mate, whose Russiagate-skeptical coverage won him one of journalism’s most prestigious awards, The Izzy, named for the intrepid reporter, I.F. Stone):

In 2016, John Brennan, notorious neocon warmonger and inveterate liar, desperately wanted Barack Obama to believe that Moscow was trying to throw the election to Donald Trump — even though America’s intelligence agencies, including his own, could not support such a conclusion.

So, Brennan, following in the footsteps of Dick Cheney, ordered up some “raw” intelligence to make his case. He bypassed his own analysts and kept his president in the dark, feeding him shit, like a common mushroom… or George W. Bush.

I don’t like it any better than you do, my liberal friends, but facts are facts: Russiagate is a fool’s errand that has only damaged the left and dealt a crippling blow to American journalism, while advancing the neocon agenda and greatly enhancing Trump’s reelection chances.

So, when are mainstream liberals going to stop working for Bush-era neocons and torture proponents, in the service of the far-right’s genocidal agenda?

Despising Donald Trump is not sufficient cause to suspend our critical thinking skills and blithely fall in line behind some of the worst war criminals in American history over a bunch of evidence-free claptrap, with as much legitimacy as “Saddam’s WMD.”

It’s time to grow up and stop treating American politics like pro wrestling. There are villains aplenty, and neither side is pure and good. By and large, both parties work for the same plundering corporations and plutocrats.

Try sticking to principle: Oppose torture-promoting fascists and their baseless wars. That’s as good a place to start as any. Russiagating liberals might find that adhering to a consistent set of values makes for a refreshing change of pace.

Like reading what’s actually in the Mueller Report, partisan liberals just might discover that standing on principle and holding consistent values can be a salutary and salubrious experience, not just a novelty.

Enact Universal Healthcare for California just NUKED ME for criticizing their group’s endorsement of Sen. Warren — which blatantly misrepresents her (ever-waffling) position on Medicare-for-All.

Here’s the comment that got me censored and prevented from even “Liking” their posts:

I find it hard to believe that Enact Universal Healthcare for California is defending this longtime establishment stalwart and enemy of single-payer healthcare.

There is simply no way that I can support EUHC when you’re promoting the self-serving lies of one of our movement’s most serious enemies.

From the excellent article by Jeremy Toback, originally published on Medium (that article blocked, apparently, by Facebook):

“Warren’s complete inconsistency on keystone structural reform like Medicare-for-All reveals the jive behind her recent zeitgeist calls for ‘big structural change.’ While Warren has at moments voiced support for M4A, most notably during the second Democratic debate, support and a commitment to win the legislative fight of our lifetime are not nearly the same thing. Warren not only conspicuously neglects M4A in her stump speeches, she still doesn’t have a healthcare section on her website… Six months into her campaign. **Read that again. Given the unprecedented scale of the opposition, Warren’s clear lack of commitment makes it certain that M4A would never happen under her presidency.

“It gets worse. Warren has on many occasions deliberately undermined the healthcare discourse: ‘When we talk about Medicare for All, there are a lot of different pathways. What we’re all looking for is the lowest cost way to make sure that everybody gets covered.’ This is a lie. M4A is existing legislation, with slightly different House and Senate versions, both of which feature specific, guaranteed paths to a single-payer, M4A system. M4A is not, as Warren claims, a ‘concept’ that people interpret in different ways. Nor does the legislation include any of the radically insufficient options she goes on to describe. Warren’s simply making things up to mask her inevitable retreat.

“She doubled down on this different-paths nonsense in the NY Times in June. Then, after she pivoted back to support during the second debate, she once again positioned M4A as a ‘goal’ at a subsequent campaign stop… And went into full equivocation mode in an interview with David Axelrod, where she talked about negotiating ‘the pieces to get there’ with ‘everyone at the table.’ Remember what I said about stakeholders and civil conversations? And now, while I’ve been typing, Warren just Tweeted about expanding ‘access’ to healthcare, which is blatant, ACA-era code for abandoning universal guarantees.

“Warren is a high-powered attorney trained to be specific in her speech. We can be certain that her pivots and obfuscations aren’t rhetorical errors. She leveraged the debate stage to signal support for M4A to a mass audience and has since used less publicized occasions to signal retreat to power donors and brokers. Warren’s blatant dishonesty not only confuses many into believing incorrectly that she supports M4A, it makes more work for those of us committed to winning it. She is in no uncertain terms an enemy of the movement for Medicare-for-All.”

I would add the following about Sen. Warren:

In 2016, she sabotaged Bernie Sanders — the candidate of Medicare-for-All — in order to support the historically racist, deeply corrupt, warmongering candidate of Wall Street and the MIC (Sec. Hillary “(Single-payer) Will Never, Ever Come to Pass” Clinton).

She’s voted for every record-breaking war budget passed during Trump’s time in office, giving a dangerous imbecile more money than he requested to wage war.

She’s sided with Trump on Venezuela sanctions (called a “crime against humanity” akin to a “medieval siege” by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights).

She’s called Julian Assange a “bad actor” who “needs to be held accountable,” making her a threat to all independent, adversarial journalism.

She’s promoted charter schools and school privatization for decades and recently had a charter school proponent introduce her at a California rally.

She’s backpedaled on student loan forgiveness.

She’s refused to support a complete fracking ban (only on public lands), dooming the planet.

She’s taken millions of dollars from corporations, billionaires, and oligarchs, and pledged to take millions more in dark money, PAC money, all monies from all parties, in the general election.

She’s been working overtime to reassure Hillary Clinton and the far-right wing of the party (the Third Way Democrats who’ve endorsed her) that she will not challenge the system.

She failed to support the Standing Rock Sioux, even as she claimed to have Native American ancestry.

She’s promised to “greenwash” the neocons’ wars, not end them.

Her strongest base is affluent whites (71% of her support comes from them), while less than half of her supporters are women. Contrast this to Bernie Sanders’ supporters: Most are non-white; most are women; and his least favorable demographic is white, affluent males (Warren’s best demographic).

She admitted in 2017 that the 2016 Democratic Primary had been “rigged” (duh) and then backtracked immediately, when the party bosses told her to.

In short, as a “progressive” she is a total fraud and as a politician she is a profile in political cowardice, duplicity, and hypocrisy.

That this group — which I have previously supported (never again) — would endorse a lifelong enemy of the progressive movement is wholly discrediting to the leadership of Enact Universal Healthcare for California.

For goodness’ sake (literally), reexamine your position. You’re backing a neoliberal warmonger and obvious charlatan. Elizabeth Warren’s Bernie-sabotaging candidacy spells death for the left.

But that’s precisely the argument that was posited, recently, by a mainstream Democrat at a progressive news-hub I regularly visit.

Although the commenter’s post includes the concession that Clinton is “far from a pacifist,” they nonetheless insisted that describing the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State as a “war mongerer” is a left-wing delusion — the result of a Russian smear “manufactured… out of the troll farms of St. Petersburg!”

Aside from feeding the dead and buried Russiagate zombie, way to minimize Hillary Clinton’s lifetime of service to the neoconservative agenda!

Not only is Hillary Clinton “far from a pacifist,” she has repeatedly demonstrated herself to be in the neoconservative vanguard, right there with John Bolton, William Kristol, Joe Biden, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney… going way back.

In the 1990s, as Bill Clinton’s co-president — “two (presidents) for the price of one,” they boasted — First Lady Clinton wholeheartedly supported her husband’s draconian sanctions regime in Iraq, which denied potable water to millions of human beings.

That sanctions regime was “genocidal” per Denis Halliday, the career U.N. development worker tasked with implementing the program. In fact, he and two of his colleagues ultimately resigned in disgust, reporting that Clinton’s policy had killed “well over a million” innocents, more than half of whom were children under five years old.

That is monstrous, and it’s not some propaganda from the Russkies, but a frank accounting of the policy, coming from an Irish human development professional who helped administer the program:

“I had been instructed,” (Halliday) said, “to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults. We all know that the regime, Saddam Hussein, is not paying the price for economic sanctions; on the contrary, he has been strengthened by them. It is the little people who are losing their children or their parents for lack of untreated water. What is clear is that the Security Council is now out of control, for its actions here undermine its own Charter, and the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention. History will slaughter those responsible.”

Under her husband’s abominable successor, “Dubya,” Sen. Clinton didn’t just vote to authorize Bush/Cheney’s illegal invasion of Iraq — as egregious as that would be — she was among the top few Democrats vigorously repeating every debunked, scaremongering claim the Bush administration was pedaling. Already, she was seen as a future presidential candidate, and she used that clout to relentlessly push for war — spouting Bush and Cheney’s propaganda, left and right.

And unlike Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, for instance (the most fierce opponent of the neocon agenda, at present), Hillary Clinton learned nothing from that genocidal debacle, which, like her husband’s sanctions, killed well over a million Iraqis, mostly innocents, per peer-reviewed studies appearing in the respected British medical journal, The Lancet (as reported by CODE PINK’s Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J S Davies).

(As poorly as the Democrats, writ large, resisted that unconscionable war crime — obviously sold on lies — few politicians in either party were as zealous as Clinton when it came to selling that neoconservative project to the public.)

Later, as Secretary of State, Clinton personally talked President Obama into the regime-change operation in Libya — the greatest regret of his entire presidency and a major escalation of the neocon agenda (which threw Libya into chaos and brought open-air slave markets to the country).

When Clinton learned of Qaddafi’s bayonet-rape/murder, she actually laughed, following that morally grotesque reaction with an even more sacrilegious “joke” — “We came, we saw, he died.”

(Of course, this is the same neo-fascist politician who also “joked” about assassinating Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, “Can’t we just drone this guy?”)

Also, according to Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, Sec. Clinton helped Bob Gates — Bush and Obama’s Secretary of Defense (an old Iran-Contra figure) — corral Obama into doubling down in Afghanistan, our nation’s longest war… after Obama had repeatedly requested a drawdown plan, only to be stymied and stonewalled by his top generals and cabinet officials.

Furthermore, it was Clinton’s State Department that financed and directed the Ukrainian coup that put oligarchs and neo-Nazis in charge of the country, ethnically cleansing much of the Eastern European/Russian populace until they hit a wall in Crimea.

Leaked recordings revealed that Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs – Dick Cheney acolyte, Victoria Nuland — helped orchestrate the coup that ousted Ukraine’s democratically-elected leader, Viktor Yanukovych, and openly discussed who would be acceptable in the new government Washington was setting up.

That would be Victoria “Fuck the EU!” Nuland

Finally, we must never forget that Sec. Clinton was a driving force behind the Washington/Riyadh-instigated regime-change operation in Syria that has killed 600,000 Syrians and displaced over 11 million, helping fuel the international refugee crisis that’s created a nationalistic/xenophobic backlash in Europe.

Implementing the CIA’s plan to flood Syria with Salafist militants hellbent on regime change — Operation Timber Sycamore — President Obama and his warmongering Secretary of State fundamentally did to Syria what Bush/Cheney had done to Iraq, destroying the country and throwing millions of lives into chaos and despair.

(You will note that the Russians have not a damn thing to do with this history. Hillary Clinton’s blood-soaked record speaks for itself.)

In short, there are very few politicians in America who have been more instrumental to the neocon agenda than Hillary Clinton has. Her history exposes her as an unrepentant, unflappable true believer in the genocide of Arab/Muslims that’s been authored by the neocons — the modern successors to the Nazis, by any standard, with the blood of millions on their hands.

On a separate issue, also broached by the Clinton apologist mentioned at the beginning of this writing…

Finally, with regard to your last point, I really don’t think you want to defend Clinton’s “environmentalist” record, when it was her State Department that pushed other nations to adopt the uniquely destructive practice of hydraulic fracturing — at a time when the climate catastrophe was already metastasizing and the Sixth Mass-Extinction Event was well underway.

[Of course, the water-befouling, earthquake-causing, methane-releasing practice of fracking skyrocketed under President Obama, with nearly 90% of the increase coming from the United States, whose reckless disregard for the unfolding climate catastrophe was also reflected in his dramatic increase of oil production — making Barack Obama the No. 1 president in U.S. history for domestic oil production.

And then there was Obama’s unprecedented opening up of the Arctic for deepwater drilling, an unconscionable act denounced by leading climate activist, Bill McKibben of

“No one can really listen to what he’s saying” (re: Obama’s rhetorical concern for the environment) “especially because there was an important paper in [the journal] Nature which specifically identified the Arctic as one of the few places that absolutely had to be off limits if we are to have any hope of meeting our climate targets.”

Mind you, President Obama had already sabotaged those climate targets at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, insisting that the rest of the participating nations drop their demands for legally-binding carbon limits and liability for polluters.]

Also on the environmental front, Sec. Clinton allowed some of her 2008 campaign’s top donors, including TransCanada — deeply invested in the Keystone XL pipeline project — to hijack her department’s “Environmental Impact” report on that project. Siding with the dirty tar sands-hawking industry, Clinton’s State Department forewent an actual, credible study of the proposed pipeline’s environmental impact in order to precipitously greenlight the project (over 90% of which was completed by mid-2013, thanks to President Obama’s behind-the-scenes acquiescence).

At the time, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) issued a harsh condemnation of the process, noting “It’s easy to find ‘no significant impact’ if you do no significant study.”

Likewise, The Guardian published an article excoriating the Clinton State Department’s complete abdication of duty, detailing the thoroughly corrupted “environmental impact” review process — and the close ties between Clinton’s top staffers (formerly her top campaign officials) and the companies pushing for Keystone XL pipeline.

From that article:

“Nick Berning, the communications director with Friends of the Earth, said the newly released documents offer clear evidence of a conflict of interest involving the Secretary of State and her staff, which is unfairly tipping the scales in favor of the oil industry at the expense of public health and welfare.

“’The State Department’s job is to act in the public interest, but this document implies State was looking out for a private oil firm instead,’ Berning said.

“Friends of the Earth received 34 documents from the State Department in response to its freedom of information request, but plans to ask for more. Damon Moglen, the organization’s climate and energy director, said attachments referenced in the emails are missing, along with notes that would have been routinely taken during meetings that TransCanada had with State Department officials. There is also evidence that some official business was being conducted between Elliott and State Department staffers via their personal email accounts…”

Only a blinkered partisan — indifferent to oceans of human suffering — could dismiss Clinton’s indefensible, warmongering history as “Russian propaganda.”

And only an imbecile could mistake Hillary Clinton — a pro-fracking, pipeline-expediting, neoliberal corporatist — for anything resembling an “environmentalist.”

But that’s what partisanship does to otherwise intelligent people: It makes them morally and intellectually incoherent when discussing politics and world events. In pushing partisan narratives, they blind themselves to history and align themselves with the Clintons, Bushes, Cheneys, Nulands, and Boltons of the world.

It’s precisely this kind of obscurantism and hypocrisy — not Moscow’s machinations — that landed Donald Trump in the White House.

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:

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:

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:

– The practice of slavery is enjoying its heyday in the 21st century:

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:

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.

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 –

Twitter’s fuckery –

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.