Saturday, December 10, 2016

So, It's Come to This?  Dick Cheney Back in Fashion  (The Gaslight Economy)  Dismal Jobs Report  (Pittsboro NC Plans for Our Future)  The Politics of Rage

Don't miss this. (Trump stealing from the progressive playbook?)

It's like not having to pay the gypsy.

Just watch.

And listen (and save your money):

Gee, I'm so glad we have Elizabeth Warren and Robert Reich and Ralph Nader and Bill Black and Russ Feingold and Jill Stein and . . . oh well . . . no one with real power to ensure that the feared, horrific Trump War events on the horizon do not occur. (Except for our nation's citizens.)

The real winners have turned out once again . . . to be Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America . . . have I left anybody out?

I keep thinking that if we'd been able to read all those missing emails that we'd have been more ready for the reign of the forever rulers.

You know.

The ones we don't need to vote for directly.

We get them no matter what we do.

And since what they have done in the past was not legal, why would anyone think what they will do in the future will be?

Is it too late to just recall that whole last election "event?"

Things are sliding downhill at such a rapid pace now that recalling all of the last two years may be our only hope.

Anyone got a spare time machine?

Reporting from the excellent commentary found in the world of blogtopia:

The Purges Begin

The New Red Scare:  Fake News

Media Assisted Suicide Watch Continues

I don't want to have to say too much more about fake organizations fooling Americans about fake Russians (or other fakes) but . . .

The suppression of truth website, "PropOrNot," which hides behind a secret identity in order to libel truth-tellers, claims that the Russian government worked with 200 websites, described as “Russian agents,” in order to achieve the election of Donald Trump. A number of Hillary advocates include Trump as a member of the conspiracy.
Trump himself told "Time" magazine:  “I don’t believe Russia interfered.”
Indeed, how would the accused websites reach millions of red state Americans? I doubt many of them read my website, and if they did they would probably regard me with suspicion.
Americans know what happened to them financially under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. They don’t need “Russian agents” to tell them that they are suffering. They heard Trump say that the system doesn’t work for them. Finally a presidential candidate told them what they already know and have been waiting for a politician to say. They didn’t need Putin to tell them to vote for Trump.

You didn't think the Hillary troops were napping, did you?

They may have lost.

But they haven't quit.

Blacklisted by fake organizations?

Only in the USA! USA! USA!

Yves Smith, the founder and widely respected writer at "Naked Capitalism" has appeared on RT television on several occasions. In the interview featured below from 2010, she was afforded the time to make her brilliantly cogent points on the systemic corruption on Wall Street that has yet to be remedied despite the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression. In 2011, Smith alerted her readers that she was going to be appearing on "RT America," noting that she “seemed to be banned from US TV channels, but the flip side is this was a much more substantive conversation than you’d find on the usual suspects here.” Indeed, "RT America" has allowed independent journalists and professors adequate time to make detailed arguments against establishment group-think in America, something that is regularly lacking on corporate-controlled news media in the U.S.
Another independent journalist landing on "PropOrNot" ’s blacklist is Paul Craig Roberts, the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan, a former Associate Editor of the "Wall Street Journal" and a former columnist at "BusinessWeek." In this segment on RT television, Roberts states that the “political system in the United States is as corrupt as it is integrant.” In another appearance on RT, Roberts spoke favorably of Senator Bernie Sanders, stating that “he has independence” and that the special interest groups “don’t like candidates who think for themselves.”
The long-tenured and widely respected Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, Mark Crispin Miller, has landed on the "Professor Watchlist." In this RT interview, Miller called U.S. media a “disgrace,” adding that the quality of journalistic material is “embarrassingly low.” Miller went on to characterize U.S. media as a “cartel,” stating that “we have a system that’s owned and dominated by a handful of huge corporations.”
The above comments made by Smith, Roberts and Miller on RT television are completely factual and are views shared by tens of millions of fellow Americans. Rather than attempting to censor their well-founded arguments that America is dangerously headed in the wrong direction, perhaps we should get to work on the critical problems they are attempting to bring to the fore.

Oliver Stone constantly enlightens us.

Or tries.


Whistleblower Special:  Oliver Stone on Edward Snowden & the Extradition of Lauri Love (E361)

U.S. Shields Its Torturers and War Criminals, Now Officially Honors Them

By Glenn Greenwald
December 07, 2016
"The Intercept"
As vice president, Dick Cheney was a prime architect of the worldwide torture regime implemented by the U.S. government (which extended far beyond waterboarding), as well as the invasion and destruction of Iraq, which caused the deaths of at least 500,000 people and more likely over a million. As such, he is one of the planet’s most notorious war criminals.
President Obama made the decision in early 2009 to block the Justice Department from criminally investigating and prosecuting Cheney and his fellow torturers, as well as to protect them from foreign investigations and even civil liability sought by torture victims. Obama did that notwithstanding a campaign decree that even top Bush officials are subject to the rule of law and, more importantly, notwithstanding a treaty signed in 1984 by Ronald Reagan requiring that all signatory states criminally prosecute their own torturers. Obama’s immunizing Bush-era torturers converted torture from a global taboo and decades-old crime into a reasonable, debatable policy question, which is why so many GOP candidates are now openly suggesting its use.

But now, the Obama administration has moved from legally protecting Bush-era war criminals to honoring and gushing over them in public. Yesterday, the House of Representatives unveiled a marble bust of former Vice Cheney, which — until a person of conscience vandalizes or destroys it — will reside in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol.

At the unveiling ceremony, Cheney was, in the playful words of NPR, “lightly roasted” — as though he’s some sort of grumpy though beloved avuncular stand-up comic. Along with George W. Bush, one of the speakers in attendance was Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke movingly of Cheney’s kind and generous soul:

As I look around this room and up on the platform, I want to say thank you for letting me crash your family reunion. I’m afraid I’ve blown his cover. I actually like Dick Cheney. … I can say without fear of contradiction, there’s never one single time been a harsh word, not one single time in our entire relationship.
Leading American news outlets got in on the fun, as they always do, using the joviality of the event to promote their news accounts and generate visits to their sites.

As NPR put it, “This was not an event for Cheney critics — on the war or torture or related topics.” Totally:  why let some unpleasant war criminality ruin a perfectly uplifting ceremony?

It is a long-standing trope among self-flattering Westerners and their allies that a key difference between “us” and “them” (Muslim radicals) is that “they” honor and memorialize their terrorists and celebrate them as “martyrs” while we scorn and prosecute our own.

Yesterday, the U.S. government unambiguously signaled to the world that not only does it regard itself as entirely exempt from the laws of wars, the principal Nuremberg prohibition against aggressive invasions, and global prohibitions on torture (something that has been self-evident for many years), but believes that the official perpetrators should be honored and memorialized provided they engage in these crimes on behalf of the U.S. government. That’s a message that most of the U.S. media and thus large parts of the American population will not hear, but much of the world will hear it quite loudly and clearly. How could they not?

In other news, U.S. officials this week conceded that a man kept in a cage for 13 years at Guantánamo, the now 37-year-old Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, was there due to “mistaken identity.” As Joe Biden said yesterday, “I actually like Dick Cheney.”


mike · 2 hours ago

The word 'Good' comes from the Latin for sword. The man who carried the sword and fought the wars was; 'good'. In the history of The British Empire the profits made from slavery were invested in huge estates back in the UK. The colonizers who first made space by committing genocide against the indigenous people before setting up their slave plantations eventually adopted the grandiose manners and grand mansion style buildings of their British forefathers. In England the refined manners and ways of speaking and thinking are designed to elicit respect and convey authority. 'Public' schools are designed to turn out ruthless kids able to assert power over the masses. We honor criminals like Chenney as we have always done, it is part of our imperial traditions dating back throughout European history, and the USA is just an offshoot of Europe. We know the refined English gentleman, able to sit atop the moral high ground. Who is able to ignore the fact that his estate was bought and paid for, as was his education and prestigious career by roasting Kenyans alive in the 1950s. Admitted to in the UK parliament just recently. Such gentlemen are given honors by Her Majesty The Queen, we call them lords and ladies. Our whole cultural edifice is about projecting the power of a ruthless elite over an unsuspecting horde of sheep.

(Glenn Greenwald is one of three co-founding editors of "The Intercept." He is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four "New York Times" best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place to Hide, is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world.)
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Fake News Alert:  CNN Finally Admits “White Helmets” Staged Fake Video

Having people in national positions of authority calling real news fake and fake news real:   this is actually terrifying information although it is being casually dismissed currently as just S. O. P.

Welcome to the new America.

The Military America?

S. O. P.

The mainstream corporate media is desperate.
They want to suppress independent and alternative online media, which it categorizes as “fake news”. 
Readers on social media are warned not to go onto certain sites. 
The intent of this initiative is to smear honest reporting and Truth in Media.
Our analysis confirms that the mainstream media are routinely involved in distorting the facts and turning realities upside down. 
They are the unspoken architects of “Fake News”.  
One area of routine distortion is the use of fake videos and images by the mainstream media. 

Four Notorious Cases of  Media Distortion

These are four examples and there are many more. The manipulation of videos and images is routine. In some cases, these manipulations are revealed by readers, independent media and social media. In most cases they go undetected. And when they are revealed, the media will say “sorry” we apologize:  they will then point to technical errors. “we got the wrong video”.
What is important to emphasize is that these media distortions are invariably deliberate.
(Professor Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario:  The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at

Read the entire essay here.
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Ready for the bloodbath? The Trumpian Bloodbath?

We have a simple thesis that is being reinforced by each new appointment or policy utterance of the nascent Trump Administration. Namely, there's going to be a fiscal bloodbath in 2017, not a giant Trump Stimulus. And it is in the vasty deep of the ultimate beltway swampland - the Pentagon - where the Trump Reflation fantasy will sink into oblivion.

Have you been affected yet by the seething unrest now being felt amongst the population becoming more and more worried about Trump's domestic policy screwups/rational choices and less focused on his no-war promises? (Can you hear the Hillary troops deciding not to move out quite yet?)

Put it all together. A man with the temperament of an earthquake, utterly devoid of self-control, with no one around him apparently capable of reining him in, a man who admittedly lives for revenge and retribution, who is completely incapable of absorbing criticism without having a very public meltdown, who knows little of the world, and who thinks nothing of throwing people who commit minor acts of dissent in prison … this man is about to be invested with astonishing legal powers. Make no mistake:   Donald Trump wants to make history, and he doesn't give a damn how he does it. His ego demands nothing less.
We live in a country where executive powers involve extreme, rights-secondary muscle. Martial law. Suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act. These are clubs in Mr. Trump's bag. Safeguards against abuse of these provisions have been in place for many years, but those were drastically watered down by the Bush administration in 2007, and again by the Obama administration in 2012. Terrorism, you see. Imagine Trump reacting to a serious act of terrorism in the US. Those two options will be waiting on his desk. There is no guarantee he will use them, but again, there is no guarantee he won't.
. . . The unrest over Trump's looming presidency is only going to grow as his policies begin to sink their teeth in. If Paul Ryan and the Republican-dominated Congress are able to do as they wish and gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, that unrest will explode in all manner of unexpected directions. Trump and the GOP can bring the nation to the brink of chaos and beyond, and his administration will have the option of using the powers of the presidency to sweep away anyone who doesn't like it.
He's got just the people to help him, too. National Security Advisor Mike Flynn sees enemies everywhere. Stalwart Tea Partier Mike Pompeo will have the CIA under his control. Hell, the guy Trump is considering to run the Department of Homeland Security wants to send a million people to Guantanamo Bay. Through it all will be Jeff Sessions as Attorney General saying everything they do is perfectly legal. If Trump and his GOP friends are able to get a couple of Scalia clones on the Supreme Court, Richard Nixon's fever dream will become a stark reality:  If the president does it, it's not illegal.
Will Trump nuke the world? Maybe. Will he abuse the powers of his office? You can damn near count on it. If and how he does so will be the whole ballgame. Take appropriate precautions.
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December 06, 2016

Our "Gaslight" Economy

Charles Hugh Smith

Here's a chart of full-time employment. Does that tiny blip higher after eight years of "recovery" look like a widely distributed boom to you?

What else can we make of the vast gulf between the status quo's ceaseless projection of "the economy is strong" and these charts - and our own experience? As for memory - those of us who have been working for the past 40+ years recall real prosperity - the past eight years are not at all like periods of prosperity in the past.
Rather, the few at the top have amassed vast wealth while the bottom 95% have experienced stagnant wages and declining real wealth.
If you don't like what these charts are saying, please notify "The Washington Post" to add the St. Louis Federal Reserve to its list of Russian propaganda sites.

And as to increasing, not solving the neoliberal educational morass for which our citizens had hoped they had voted?

UnKoch My Campus:  Opposing Billionaires' Efforts to Infiltrate Higher Education
Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout:  Students and faculty across campuses in the US are mobilizing to oppose the influence of Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers have been using their money to actively interfere with academic governance, faculty autonomy and course content at cash-strapped public and private institutions.
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And how about that new jobs report?

Not really as advertised (as usual).


The presstitute media delivered the false news, not from Russian propaganda websites such as the Washington Post accuses this one of being, but from Obama’s US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The false news is that the collapsing economy continues to boom with 178,000 new jobs in November and a further fall in the rate of unemployment to 4.6%.
What are the facts? Nothing you will ever hear from the presstitutes or the corrupt Obama regime.

The facts are that November produced only 9,000 full time jobs, an improvement over the previous month when full time employment declined by 103,000 jobs — another fact that you did not hear about from the presstitutes.

According to the BLS payroll jobs report, the jobs available in November were waitresses and bartenders, temporary help, and ambulatory health care services. These are not the kind of jobs that result in home ownership or an independent existence.

As there are no jobs, which is reflected in the continuing decline in the labor force participation rate, how did the rate of unemployment fall to 4.6%?

The answer is that the unemployed are simply moved into the uncounted category of discouraged workers who are so discouraged about finding a job that they have ceased looking. If you are not looking for a job, you are not considered to be part of the labor force. Therefore, your unemployment is not counted.

As John Williams ( put it, the drop in the November unemployment rate was the result of kicking the unemployed out of the labor force faster than the unemployed could find a job.

Occasionally the presstitutes screw up and report news that contradicts the the fake news picture of the recovering economy that Americans have been force fed sine 2009. On November 30, 2016, the "Wall Street Journal" reported:  “The number of subprime auto loans slipping into delinquency climbed to the highest level since 2010 in the third quarter, and is following a pattern much like the months heading into the 2007-09 recession, according to fresh data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

So somehow we have all the claimed jobs, GDP growth, etc., etc., but people can’t pay their car payments.

Democracies are afflicted with false news, because false news is the way the ruling oligarchy controls the explanations given to the public. The public must be kept in the dark about their exploitation by the oligarchy, or they might revolt against the handful that rule them.

The oligarchy learned this during the Great Depression when the public, aware that they were being ruined by the rich, were approaching a state of rebellion. In his history, The Crisis of the Old Order, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., reports the many warnings from seasoned politicians that something must be done to relieve the hardships or revolution was on the horizon.

FDR, a rich aristocrat, saved the oligarchs with rhetoric and a few public spending programs that appeared helpful until he could get America into World War II. The war scooped up the unemployed youth and put them into the military, and put the rest of the unemployed to work producing guns, ammunition, tanks, airplanes, and naval vessels. War rescued the oligarchs.

Today the situation is worse than Roosevelt faced. In FDR’s time, the factories were shuttered, but they were still there. Today America’s factories are gone, moved to China and other areas of Asia. The supply chains are closed down. The skilled workforce is dying off.

Essentially, Wall Street and the global capitalists have de-industrialized America. They have destroyed the ladders of upward mobility that made the United States an “opportunity society.”

It remains to be seen if Trump, even if so inclined, can do anything about the economy that globalism destroyed.
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Max and Stacy visited Pittsboro, North Carolina to learn about the ongoing rebuilding of the American economy.

If you believe that nothing very progressive is going on in the South, allow this video to unconvince you.

[KR1001] Keiser Report:  Neoliberalism Strikes Back

Posted on December 4, 2016Stacy Herbert
We discuss neoliberalism “striking back” as China gets to have a plan:  one that involves buying up German high tech companies. In the second half, Max visits Piedmont Biofuels, a community-scale biodiesel project in Pittsboro, North Carolina, to talk to its president and co-founder, Lyle Estill.

[KR1002] Keiser Report:  Restoring Faith in Capitalism

Posted on December 7, 2016Stacy Herbert  
We discuss restoring faith in capitalism with executive pay curbs as the ‘let them eat cake’ of the neoliberal era. In the second half Max continues his interview with Lyle Estill, president and co-founder of Piedmont Biofuels and author of Small is Possible, to talk about a world in which small is big business.
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Charles Hugh Smith elucidates:
Slander and managed news - and the slandering of any dissenting narratives as "fake news", the ultimate irony of a regime that depends on propaganda and collusion for its survival - these are the weapons of a cornered, enraged beast that has lost the narrative battle but which refuses to cede its power or pay-to-play wealth.
In this war of the rising and fading elites, there is no common ground or incentive to compromise. Either the rising Elite's agenda and narrative are completely destroyed and the globalist neoliberals remain ascendant, or the rising Elite's narratives and agenda survive the furious onslaught of paid protesters, fake news protesting fake news, and the brainwashed supporters of the Neofeudal, Neo-Colonial pillaging machine known as (in the perfection of doublespeak) "progressive neoliberalism."
The sad truth is a system of pay-to-play global racketeering that has enriched the top .1% at the expense of the bottom 95% for decades cannot be "progressive" unless the word has been turned on its head. The hubris of the neoliberal "progressives" knows no bounds, and they still cannot quite believe the debt-serfs rebelled against the neoliberals' benign impoverishment of everyone outside their protected cliques.
The fading elite will render the nation ungovernable rather than concede its power, wealth and global influence. This is the inevitable result of profound political disunity, which arises when The Ruling Elite Has Lost the Consent of the Governed (October 20, 2016).
I recently discussed ungovernability and the loss of the consent of the governed with Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert: (from 12:50)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

(Rethinking Your Vote?)  Italy's Referendum a Surprise or a Given?  (2018 Dem Triumph Gloating)   Trumped Worse than Bushed? Who Cares! Pox on Both!  (The Most Dangerous Country on Earth:  Was 11/8 a New 9/11 Or Has Nothing Really Changed?)

Trump and His Betraying Makeover

Italy’s Referendum Should Be a Warning to Donald Trump

Much like Donald Trump’s appeal to the working class in America, Renzi took office in 2014 on an anti-establishment campaign. Ironically, or perhaps not, Renzi used the identical words as Trump, promising to clean out “the swamp.” The swamp in Italy includes the same cronyism, political pay-to-play and entrenched corruption that has Americans outraged and seeking drastic change from the status quo. Opposing voices who triumphed in yesterday’s referendum painted Renzi as too chummy with bankers and financiers, a narrative that is increasingly coming into sharp focus in Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointments.

Donald Trump’s Senior Counselor/Chief Strategist in the White House will be Steve Bannon, a previous Goldman Sachs banker and right-wing propaganda filmmaker. For one of the most powerful posts in government, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Trump has tapped a former 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, Steven Mnuchin. An heiress to a family worth more than $5 billion, Betsy DeVos, was tapped by Trump for Education Secretary while billionaire investor and corporate raider Wilbur Ross has been named by Trump as his nominee for Commerce Secretary.
Trump, himself a billionaire, has attempted to justify his packing his administration with millionaires and billionaires by saying these people “know how to make money.” In many cases, however, the money has been made on the backs of the very working class to whom Trump made elaborate promises. While the U.S. legislative system does not function like European Parliaments, a President who makes grandiose promises to the little guy, then works on behalf of the one percent, would suffer a serious loss of credibility in U.S. opinion polls. This could result in backlash against Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.

Race and Class in Trump’s America
Cash and Carrier:  Trump and Pence Put on a Show

Taming Trump:  From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Twitter Only Tech Firm of Nine to Say No to Helping Build Muslim Registry
Obama and "Propornot"
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
WSPA:  The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism

Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
The Coming War on China
The Return of HUAC?
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Harris Corp FCPA Declination First Time Company Avoids Prosecution Even Though Employee Was Sanctioned 
The CETA Vote:  Will the European Parliament Learn from BREXIT and Trump?
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This past week "CounterPunch" and other reputable independent media outlets were accused of spreading fake news during the presidential election – stories allegedly fabricated by the Russkies. The baseless accusations originated from an obscure new anonymous outfit called PropOrNot, which claims that the “overall Russian effort is at least semi-centralized, with multiple Russian projects and influence operations working in parallel to manage the direct and outsourced production of propaganda across a wide range of outlets.”
"CounterPunch," they asserted, was one such outlet.
Last week "Washington Post" journalist Craig Timberg used "PropOrNot" as a primary source for an article he wrote titled, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say”. Russia’s goal, the group appears to claim, was to hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign and elevate Donald Trump. While Timberg did not cite "CounterPunch" directly as a purveyor of fake news, he did attempt to legitimize the group’s bogus findings:
"PropOrNot" ’s monitoring report, which was provided to the "Washington Post" in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, "PropOrNot" estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.
. . . this leads one to speculate whether this blacklist campaign is a government operation or just an insignificant group of befuddled Democrats, angered that Trump knocked Hillary off her perch. "PropOrNot" assures me they are not funded by the Pentagon or associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign or anyone else. However, "The New Yorker" reports that "PropOrNot" provided a preliminary report to staff of Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. “[A]fter reviewing our report they urged us to get in touch with you and see about making it a story,” the group said.
Without the "Post" giving "PropOrNot" undue credit, we’d likely have never heard of this shady little group or their work. "PropOrNot" ’s blacklist is not just frivolous, it’s potentially dangerous as it directly discourages dissenting points of view like the ones we provide on a daily basis. Timberg and his editors dropped the ball and it’s our hope the "Post" issues a mea culpa in the form of a retraction and apology.
(Joshua Frank is managing editor of "CounterPunch." His most recent book is Hopeless:  Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank.) 

Naked Capitalism's Yves, for one, hired a lawyer for an incredibly interesting class action suit against the pathetic McCarthyist wannabe "Washington Post:"

We have another post today that describes how the few things that are verifiable on the "PropOrNot" site don’t pan out, as in the organization is not simply a group of inept propagandists but also appears to deal solely in fabrications. If the site is flagrantly false with respect to things that can be checked, why pray tell did the Washington Post and its fellow useful idiots in the mainstream media validate and amplify its message? Strong claims demand strong proofs, yet the Post appeared content to give a megaphone to people who make stuff up with abandon. No wonder the members of "PropOrNot" hide as much as they can about what they are up to; more transparency would expose their work to be a tissue of lies.
Yves, I would very much question your description of The Washington Post being "taken for a ride.” over this story.

It’s worth pointing out that the newspapers owner Jeff Bezos was hired by the Secretary of Defense to a rather sinister sounding organisation called the ” Defense Innovation Advisory Board ” in July. The Boards mission statement is to……..”focus on new technologies and organizational behavior and culture.” Also, in addition……… “identify innovative private-sector practices, and technological solutions that the DoD could employ in the future.”
Lyle James
I’ve been a lifelong journalist, 10 years on a daily newspaper, 20 years freelancing for magazines. The Wapo story so blatantly violated fundamental journalistic standards I cannot believe any experienced editor would not have realized that. My only possible conclusion is that irresistible pressure was placed on editors to publish the story.
With all due respect it isn’t speculation that Bezos has been hired by the secretary of defence to the Defence innovation advisory board. I think you have to be very naive if you think he has little input into the editorial running of the paper. Why else buy a newspaper these days? They hardly make much money.

I suspect that this outfit "PropOrNot "was set up before the election of Trump. They assumed Clinton was going to win and this was the beginning of an onslaught against the so called alternative media that was going to be waged once Hilary was safely inside the White House. Full regulation of the Internet is their aim. This agenda has been pushed in other so called liberal newspapers. The British "Guardian" for example has been running articles and pushing a campaign of “The Internet we want.” Which seems to consist of all criticisms of what it believes being censored.

As to Yves point about the amateur nature of this list, and the attack on sites like NC in the article, Yves shouldn’t assume that all these people are geniuses. It won’t be the first or the last time that powerful people who run businesses make complete fools of themselves. I doubt they thought they were going to be called out on it, and if Clinton won the election it didn’t really matter because they would have the power to come after the alternative media. Trump's election has put a spanner in the works … for now. It remains to be seen if he will try to censor the Internet under pressure from elites.

Much as I would believe anything about Bezos/WP, the article is so amateurish its very hard to believe it is part of an active top-down conspiracy. I’d be more inclined to think that it ‘became known’ among WP staff that certain Very Important People believe in the Russian propaganda conspiracy and that any articles highlighting this are more likely to be published than others.
Ralph Johansen
Well, there’s negligence, and then there’s wanton, feckless, scurrilous, criminal negligence. Recompense accordingly.

They certainly know or ought to know that, with the entire left field virtually empty, the Bill of Rights in the round hole, and because they’ve foreclosed global working class solidarity with walls, laws and red tape, (if that’s too much of a stretch you don’t belong), all they have to do is squirm at us and we crash.
The stealthy, Eric Schmidt-backed startup that’s working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 09, 2015

An under-the-radar startup funded by billionaire Eric Schmidt has become a major technology vendor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, underscoring the bonds between Silicon Valley and Democratic politics.

The Groundwork, according to Democratic campaign operatives and technologists, is part of efforts by Schmidt—the executive chairman of Google parent-company Alphabet—to ensure that Clinton has the engineering talent needed to win the election. And it is one of a series of quiet investments by Schmidt that recognize how modern political campaigns are run, with data analytics and digital outreach as vital ingredients that allow candidates to find, court, and turn out critical voter blocs.

. . . In this exclusive report, distinguished research psychologist Robert Epstein explains the new study and reviews evidence that Google’s search suggestions are biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. He estimates that biased search suggestions might be able to shift as many as 3 million votes in the upcoming presidential election in the US.

Wikileaks Reveals Google’s “Strategic Plan” To Help Democrats Win The Election, Track Voters

Zerohedge was listed as a “fake news” site but, as I’m sure many here know, they do great, hard hitting economic analysis and have had their projections and theories confirmed many times with a far better track record than the mainstream sites covering the same subject.
James Miller
My heartfelt support (and contribution) will be with you as you take on one of the most egregiously insulting to its’ readers and rot-riddled collection of hacks and mouthpieces. Now a propaganda outlet but once at least a flaky effort at journalism, today's Washington Post has earned an encounter of the costly kind with a good lawyer or two, many times over.

Illegitemi non carborundum! (Don’t let the bastards wear you down!).

The above back-and-forth (almost repartee) just reminds me about Obama's recent speech concerning the ever-present deep state not being disturbed by any outlier candidate actually winning a position of importance as its control was hard-wired or baked into the cake (system) a priori.

Speaking of that (our) deep state's enemies list inhabitants:

Here's one that might help save our economic behinds (if only it were still possible - dependent undoubtedly on how well-done the cake already is):

The list of the oligarchy’s enemies has created problems for the trolls who describe me in comment sections as a Reaganite tool of the oligarchy. As it is not possible to be both an enemy of the oligarchy and a tool of the oligarchy, I suppose the trolls will now have to say that my inclusion on the enemies list is protective deep cover.

As the old saying goes, those who spin webs of deceit get caught up in them, and that is where the American oligarchy and their presstitutes are, caught up in a web of lies.

The fight is far from over. Now that the ruling oligarchy understands their danger, things will get very dicey. Please respond to my quarterly call for your support. Serving your need for reliable information brings me powerful enemies.

My thanks to the many readers who expressed their wishes that I would be Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury and to Rahul Manchanda for his tribute in Veterans News Now.

The oligarchy did not lose the election by a large enough margin for me to be confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury. I would bring into the Treasury people like Michael Hudson, James Galbraith, Herman Daly, Pam Martens, Nomi Prins. I would put Dave Kranzler in charge of financial regulation and have him break up the Fed’s rigging of the bullion market. Ellen Brown’s campaign for public banks would be given impetus. The issue of abolishing the Federal Reserve and bringing the power back into the Treasury would be examined.

The American electorate gave too much support to the oligarchy’s candidate for such major changes to be possible. The American people have some more waking up to do. Major change requires a runaway electoral victory for the American people, the equivalent of a revolution.

If Trump proves to be sincere, let’s support him on the main issues and build momentum for the future.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

If you are really interested (enthralled?) by American politics and how we got to here (Hell warmed up), don't skip this first essay.

It will tear you a new one in the consciousness of your deep state politically correct psyche.

Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not

I would have rather bathed in vomit than voted for Hillary Clinton.  I thought that before she astonished the world by losing to Donald Trump, and I have not changed my mind.

That Trump is likely to be an even more awful President than George W. Bush changes nothing.  As of now, for sheer awfulness, the Bush presidency is the gold standard.  It wasn’t just the class war he waged (on the wrong side) or his assaults on civil liberties; Bush broke the Middle East, with consequences that will continue to reverberate for years to come.  The Donald could be worse.

Nevertheless, I do not regret not voting for Hillary and trying to persuade others to do the same – not one bit.

Along with nearly everyone else, I thought that Hillary would win.  The pollsters said so, and they seemed to know what they were talking about; they certainly had enough data.  Common sense said so too – this side of a real revolution, how could someone backed by the entire power structure lose?

And I was confident that even an electorate that reelected Bush in 2004, would not stoop so low as to elect a buffoon who, whatever his own views (if any) may be, ran a nativist, misogynist, and outright racist campaign directed against vulnerable populations which, together, comprise roughly half the electorate.

Of course, I knew that anger was on the rise against the neoliberal order with which the name “Clinton” will forever be associated. According to the conventional wisdom, Hillary was a whiz at getting things done.  I knew that just the opposite was the case:  that she had made a mess of nearly every project she has undertaken.  She certainly botched her Secretary of State gig; and only the willfully blind could deny what a piss poor candidate she was.  Even so, I was sure that even she could not lose to someone as embarrassingly risible as the Donald.
I was wrong.  Hillary did get the most votes, but, unless recounts in three “battleground states” show otherwise, she lost the election – thanks to a Constitution which assigns the role of electing Presidents to an antiquated, deliberately undemocratic institution, the Electoral College.

I will have more to say about those recounts presently.  One sure thing is that they will not put Hillary back in the White House.  That would require a lot more than the electoral equivalent of a Hail Mary pass – not least because, at this point, overturning the results of the election would unleash a civil war.

In trying to persuade people, liberals especially, not to vote for Hillary, I did use the argument that it was pointless to pile on votes for her because she was bound to win anyway, so why not send her a message?

I also pointed out that, if Jill Stein were to get five percent of the votes, the Greens would get federal funding and easier ballot access the next time around. There seemed to be a good chance of that – after Bernie Sanders betrayed the movement his campaign got going.

A less marginalized Green Party would damage the duopoly party system that has all but undone democracy in America – not by a lot, but enough to make a non-negligible difference.

For what it’s worth, I voted for Stein. And, as it turned out, Hillary got schlonged in the Electoral College, the Democrats didn’t even take back the Senate, and Stein didn’t come close to five percent.

If I had somehow figured out in time how wrong I was, I would, of course, have stopped using the argument that Hillary couldn’t lose. That would have made trying to persuade others to vote against Hillary more complicated.  But I would not have changed my vote.


Now is not the time to go back over the case for and against lesser evil voting.  My view is that, for American presidential elections in this historical period, the case against is more compelling than the case for.  For the past eighteen months at least, that perennial question has been debated ad nauseam; for the time being, it is best given a rest.

Neither is there much point in debating which of the two, Clinton or Trump, actually was the lesser evil.

For most liberals, the answer is obvious:  Hillary was.  I disagreed – mainly, but not only, because I thought that she was the more likely of the two to unleash a Third World War.  I still do; and that trumps all.

Trump is hardly a pacifist or an anti-imperialist, but while running for office, he did, for the most part, advance anti-interventionist positions.  Who knows if he meant any of it – like any good huckster, he says what he intuits his marks want to hear, and now that the campaign is over, he seems to agree with whomever he spoke with last.

Also, he is impetuous and erratic and inclined to act out.  This is worrisome, to say the least.  Even if he and the Russians do reach some sort of understanding, he could start a nuclear war nevertheless.

But Hillary is a Russophobe with a fondness for military “solutions” to problems that she and her husband and their collaborators helped to create.  Worse still, she favors “regime change” whenever and wherever neocons and “humanitarian” interveners deem it in the empire’s best interests.

At a time when seemingly the entire foreign policy establishment, in league with The Washington Post and other media accomplices, is hard at work reviving the Cold War – demonizing Vladimir Putin, blaming (unnamed and probably imaginary) “Russian hackers,” along with every other damn Ruskie nogoodnik they can think of for all sorts of real and imagined offenses – this is a lethal combination.

It is therefore a close call, but I come down on the side of those who think that having the fate of the world in the hands of a wheeler-dealer who never quite matured beyond adolescence is less worrisome than entrusting it to an ideologically committed warmonger — at a time when Cold Warriors in both the government and the media are back with a vengeance, and when the understandings that made “mutual assured destruction” work have, for all practical purposes, lapsed.

I thought, and still think, that this makes Hillary the greater evil all things considered.

But if, while flip-flopping his way out of the tangle he put himself into during the campaign, Trump decides to change his views about interventionism and relations with Russia, or if it looks like he will cede power to the miscreants and dunces he is putting in charge of foreign policy and military affairs, and if they, in turn, start itching for war with a fervor equal to or greater than Hillary’s, or if, drunk with power, the Donald’s mental balance deteriorates enough to make it likely that in a fit of pique he would just let loose — it may become necessary to rethink this assessment.

Even then, however, it wouldn’t follow that those of us who voted against Hillary ought to rethink our vote.

The current Deporter-in-Chief, President Drone, has been cut endless slack by liberals and others who seem to believe that, no matter what he does, he is one of the good guys.

Hillary would likely have been able to get away with murder too, at least for a while – until the consequences of her warmongering turned liberals against her in much the way that, generations ago, liberals turned against Lyndon Johnson, a far more worthy figure in every respect.

When Trump is in charge, liberals will cut him no slack.   From even before Day One, there will be no get-out-of-jail-free cards for him.

There was no peace movement to speak of when Nobel laureate Obama was continuing Bush’s wars and starting others of his own.   Liberals with “beautiful souls” didn’t want to upset the boat when a Democrat – especially the first African-American elected to the office — was at the helm.

Those days are over now; this is the good news.

The bad news is that, if Trump stays true to the word he gave to his most “deplorable” supporters, the harm he causes could make everything Obama has done look like small potatoes.

If that happens, there will be ample reason to rethink the who-was-the-greater-evil question.  But the how-ought-one-to-have-voted question is something else.

The reason why it was right to oppose Hillary, and to urge others to do so too, has nothing to do with how much worse or better she might be compared to Trump.


Trump has neither ideological convictions nor fixed views, except in a very general sense.  He has instincts – most of them bad.

A vote for Trump was a way of sending a message to those who needed to hear it.  But the message conveyed was profoundly, indeed fatally, flawed.

It is not hard to understand, though, why many voters thought otherwise.  Voting for an obscenely rich vulgarian who dumped on political and media elites at every opportunity, seemed like a good way to say “fuck you” to a regime that has been fucking over a lot of Americans, some say as many as ninety-nine percent, for decades.

There were better ways, of course; but they were problematic too.

One would have been not to vote at all, or to vote only in down ticket contests.  Many did precisely that; many always do.

But it is never clear what message, if any, not voting conveys:  are non-voters abstaining in a principled way, perhaps because they want to do no evil?  Or are they merely irresponsible or lazy?

Or all of the above?

This is why casting a protest vote is almost always a better choice than casting no vote at all.

One way to do that would be to write in a name, and hope that somebody notices.

Another way, in this last election, would have been to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson.  He was on the ballot in all fifty states; votes for him were therefore sure to be noticed.  Since many Republicans identify with (small-l) libertarianism, it should not have been hard for many of them to make their disgust with Clinton and Trump, and with Democrats and Republicans, known this way.

And for anyone left of the dead center, there was Jill Stein.

Being less of a threat to the guardians of the status quo, Johnson was not quite as thoroughly marginalized as Stein, but neither of them got significant media attention.  It was as if they didn’t exist.  This made it hard, even for those who knew better, to take their candidacies seriously.

How ironic therefore that major media are now deigning to bring Stein and the Green Party to the attention of an anxious public — for calling for recounts of the votes in three states that Hillary almost won: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In those “battleground states,” all of which regularly go for the Democrat in presidential elections, Republican governors and secretaries of state did their utmost to suppress voter turnout in communities “of color” and among the young.  They also had ample opportunities to rig vote counting; and there appear to have been many instances in which the exit polls and the official vote count diverged enough to create at least a presumption that they did just that.

One would think Democrats, not Greens, to be the ones initiating the call for recounts. Why did they have to be embarrassed into going along?

Robert Frost’s quip — that liberals are people who won’t take their own sides in arguments – is surely relevant.  Frost attributed this trait of theirs to excessive broad-mindedness.  But the liberals he knew back in the day put the Clintonian kind to shame.  The problem now is not so much broad mindedness as muddle-headedness.

This accounts for another part of the explanation; that Democrats probably believe the babblers who are even now telling them to lay off because if there is a recount and Trump still comes out on top, as he likely will, it will somehow “legitimize” his presidency.

Do they really think that anybody cares?  In the 2000 election, there was little doubt about the illegitimacy of George Bush’s election, but that didn’t stop him or his éminence grise, Dick Cheney, from going on to wreck the world just as soon as Osama Bin Laden gave them a pretext, and a terrified public gave them a chance.

Anyway, the Clinton campaign is now on board; after the Stein campaign got the process going, they could hardly do otherwise.

It is hard to figure out what Stein thought she would gain by demanding a recount.

Many leading Greens are opposed.  They do not want their party to do anything that has any chance at all of helping Hillary; they also think that decisions of such importance should be made at the party level, not just by the candidate and her close advisors.  These are good, if not compelling, reasons.

Stein says her concern is for the integrity of the voting process; this too is a good, if not compelling, reason.

I think there is a better reason, though nobody mentions it.  Demanding a recount is a way, when all else has failed, to put the Green Party on the political map.

At this point in the history of a party that has been floundering in obscurity ever since its inception, and that does nobody any good by remaining marginalized, gaining significant media attention is – or ought to be — Priority Number One.

Once it became clear that the Sanders insurgency would fail – thanks mainly to Democratic Party machinations – there was nothing at all good that could come out of this last presidential election except a slightly less marginalized Green Party.  For a while, it looked like even that wouldn’t happen.  But now it has!

Bravo, therefore, to Jill Stein.

The pundits made Hillary out to be a “pragmatist,” and Bernie Sanders an idealist with his head in the clouds.  Had they mentioned Stein at all, it would have been only to say that Sanders seems downright hard-headed in comparison. & But Stein outsmarted them both – leaving Sanders stranded on the Dark Side and Hillary out of luck.

At least we have that


There are strains of moral philosophy that accord greater weight to the rightness or wrongness of actions, or to the integrity of moral agents, than to the consequences of what they do.
Politics, on the other hand, is about consequences – not entirely, but mainly.

This is what the great social theorist Max Weber had in mind when in “Politics as a Vocation,” he distinguished what he called an “ethic of responsibility” from an “ethic of ultimate ends” – an ethic for persons engaged in real world political affairs, and an ethic for persons who aspire to live in accord with the demands of morality, as moral theorists from Biblical times through to the present day have conceived them.

Normally, the two are not at odds.  But there are times when they are – and therefore when acting responsibly in political contexts can involve acting wrongly from a moral point of view, and vice versa.

It is emphatically not because I want to live in accord with an ethic of ultimate ends, or its political equivalent, that I would not vote for Hillary. Moral fastidiousness is not driving this conviction; neither is a sectarian urge for ideological purity.  I would vote for Clinton or for Trump or for the Devil Himself if that really was what a defensible ethic of responsibility called for.

In this instance, it does not – not because it is debatable who the lesser evil is, or because voting for one or the other would lead to even more degraded choices in the future, and not even because, with the downward spiral set off by past episodes of lesser voting already presenting us with a Clinton-Trump choice, enough is enough.   No doubt, there are thresholds that even committed lesser evilists should hesitate to cross that both Clinton and Trump do cross, but that is not the reason either.

Even were Hillary the lesser evil, which is still far from clear; and even were there no reason to think that the choice next time, if there would be a next time with her calling the shots, would be even worse than it was November 8; and even if she weren’t awful enough for plausible threshold considerations to kick in, a vote for her, in the current conjuncture, would be indefensibly irresponsible, in roughly the sense that Weber had in mind.

The Clintons and their supporters are good at blaming everyone but themselves for Hillary’s defeat.
Some of their arguments are transparently bogus: of these, the idea that she lost because she is a woman heads the list.

To be sure, no woman has been elected President yet, though, as long ago as 1984, the Democrats nominated one, Geraldine Ferraro, for Vice President.  She ran with Walter Mondale who lost, big time, to Ronald Reagan.  It was argued back then, and still is, that her presence on the ticket added to Mondale’s woes.  Perhaps so, but her lady parts are not what did him harm.  Her husband’s real estate machinations did.  In those halcyon pre-Clinton, pre-Trump days, candidates themselves, and their husbands and wives had to be beyond suspicion.

Then in 2008, the Republicans nominated Sarah Palin to run with John McCain. The consensus view on that is that, though a laughing stock, she actually helped the ticket – because “deplorables,” the folks whom Clinton apologist say would never elect a woman, loved her.

There is also the irksome fact that, in important sectors of the electorate, more women voted for Trump than voted for Hillary.  Katha Politt, writing in The Nation, has an answer for that: internalized misogyny.  There you have it: a second wave feminist who is eloquent in exposing Zionist nonsense about “self-hating Jews,” going on about “self-hating women.”

She is right of course in pointing out that Hillary bashers in the Age of Trump are not shy about using misogynistic slurs.  But so what?  Obama bashers used, and still use, racist slurs, and he was elected President twice.  When civility fails, people will let their prejudices loose; they will say what is on their minds.  But that doesn’t determine how they will vote.

Liberals say unseemly things about spoiled, rich frat boys when they rage at George Bush.  I, for one, have no problem with that!  I suspect that no one at The Nation does either.  Like Pollit, I do have a problem when unseemly taunts are leveled against women; also against persons of color, gays, people with disabilities and so on.  Such behavior is reprehensible.  But it doesn’t mean that an African American or a woman or a homosexual or a disabled person cannot be elected President, or even that the bigot vote is a force to be reckoned with in presidential elections.

If anything, Hillary’s gender was more of an asset than a liability.  She lost despite, not because, she is a woman.

The more interesting excuses – the ones that involve blaming white workers – are not quite so entirely off the mark.

Hooray for corporate media, the Republican and Democratic Parties, and the labor movement too.
After years of denying that there even is a working class, they now talk of nothing else.

Too bad, though, that their marker for working class membership is lack of a college education, not relation to means of production; and that instead of viewing the working class as the bearer of new, more fully human, social relations, they see it as a relic of an historically superseded world – full of gun crazy, aging, unpleasant people.  But, what the hell, something is better than nothing.

Bernie Sanders made talk of “socialism” almost respectable, even though New Deal liberalism was all he had in mind. 

Either way, he brought a pre-Clintonian (pre-neoliberal) sensibility back into our political discourse.  Ironically, Trump helped with that, by turning some of the most justifiably aggrieved victims of the neoliberal order into useful chumps.   And, now that Hillary blew the election, mainstream Democrats making excuses for her defeat are helping too.

More amazing still, a kind of vulgar Marxist sensibility is seeping into mainstream media accounts of the political scene.  When Marx famously said that he was not a Marxist, he meant, among other things, that he did not think, as some self-declared Marxists did, that everything political has an economic explanation.

For Marx, the nature and trajectory of capitalist development constrains what is possible within the political sphere; sometimes it also gives rise to political exigencies of various kinds.  But what actually happens depends on class struggles and the political forms through which they are realized and expressed.

Media pundits who see the Trump phenomenon and cognate movements in Europe as inevitable consequences of current economic exigencies should take a look, for example, at The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon or Marx’s writings on the Paris Commune, among countless other examples.

The Trump phenomenon — and the Brexit vote and the likely vote against Matteo Renzi’s proposed constitutional changes in Italy, and the vote next year in France that may put the National Front in power — are not mere epi-phenomenal expressions of unavoidable perturbations in the capitalist world system.  They are political uprisings.  They are grounded in underlying economic realities, but they obey a logic of their own — specific, in each case, to their own particular situations.

“Populism” has so many vague and disparate meanings that it is best not used without abundant clarification.  However, the term has become so trendy of late that it is difficult to avoid.

Allowing, then, for some inevitable imprecision, it would be fair to say that these “populist” backlashes have everything to do with the (justifiable) disgust people living in overripe capitalist societies are experiencing; that “populism” is what happens when politicians, like the Clintons, pursue neoliberal agendas too hard for too long.
In countries where there is still a flourishing Left – Greece and Spain come immediately to mind – populism has taken on a left-wing coloration.  In today’s world, however, it is more often a creature of the Right.
For the first part of 2016, there were populist insurgencies of both kinds going on at once in the United States.

The Clintonite dead center killed off the one, the progressive one of course, and then got killed off by the other.  

This is only fitting; the Clintons and other neoliberals have always been more contemptuous of the Left than of the Right.

But the news is that the tide has finally turned against neoliberalism; even in its heartland, the United States.

A vote for Hillary would have been a vote for the neoliberal status quo, just when the realization that the old order is dying has taken hold.
Nearly all Democrats these days are Clintonites, but Hillary is their Queen – she played a role in shaping the neoliberal order and she embodies all that is wrong with it.
It would have therefore been the epitome of irresponsibility, in Weber’s sense, to support her, even against Trump, and no matter which Trump she was running against – the one who, in past lives and during the campaign, sometimes outflanked her from the Left, or the one who is now assembling a cabinet comprised of the vilest and most reactionary plutocrats, Islamophobes, and rightwing ideologues in captivity.


Had Hillary won, as she surely would have were she a less flawed candidate, opposition to her would take off in short order.   Those who support her now would soon turn against her in much the way that half a century ago, Lyndon Johnson’s supporters turned against him.  The Vietnam War did LBJ in; Hillary would be done in by the wars she has up her sleeve – if a nuclear war she brought on didn’t do everybody in first.

Johnson was, of course, a far more worthy figure than HRC – he actually did accomplish great things.  Also, in 1964, he ran against an undeniably greater evil, Hillary’s first political hero, Barry Goldwater.

If Trump turns out to be nothing more than an out-of-control Hillary, he will be undeniably a greater evil too.

But this is a reason to oppose him and all his works and everyone associated with him – a reason to boycott his hotels and golf courses and office towers and apartment buildings along with everything else he is involved with; and a reason to boycott everything he and his complicit children sell.  It is a reason to turn the name “Trump” from a marketable brand into a stigma that even those who are drawn to conspicuous displays of bad taste and over the top glitz would feel compelled to avoid.

Because Democrats lack backbones, they won’t obstruct Trump’s doings with a tenth the zeal that Republicans obstructed every little thing Obama did.

This is something “we, the people” will have to do instead.

But, still, this is not a reason to have voted for Hillary or to regret now not having done so.

Stopping Trump is our job; how much priority to give it in the short run will depend on how awful he and his underlings turn out to be.   So far, all indications are that they will be awful indeed.

Had she not flubbed so badly, stopping Hillary would have been a job for us too – though, in that case, Republicans could be counted on to do their fair share and more, albeit for the wrong reasons.

But more important than using votes to try to stop greater or lesser evils – a fool’s errand, in any case – there is a more fundamental and long rage task that people involved with political affairs who seek to act responsibly cannot shirk.

That would be to turn back the neoliberal tide that has made the Trump phenomenon, along with so many other horrors, possible; in other words, to smash Clintonism.   In this last election, not voting for Hillary was one way, the best available, of doing precisely that.

This is why, for anyone trying to live in accord with a defensible ethic of responsibility, supporting Clinton is more than distasteful.  In much the way that voting for Trump would be, it is unthinkable.

No doubt, those who voted for Hillary in order to stop Trump were acting with the best of intentions.  But, as has been clear all along, all they succeeded in doing was deflecting attention away from the paramount struggle of our time – the struggle against all that Hillary and husband Bill epitomize and represent.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless:  Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Not just trumped.


Deja vue.

In Michigan, a Donald Trump campaign staffer was convicted on all 10 counts of felony election fraud stemming from a judicial race in 2012. Brandon Hall, 27, forged signatures on petitions in an effort to get candidate Chris Houghtaling on the ballot.

Donald Trump and Brandon Hall
Donald Trump and Brandon Hall (inset) Photo credit: Dario Steckley / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and hallforhouse / YouTube.
The ruling could not come at a less opportune time for Trump, with his people and the GOP arguing against the merits of former Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s ongoing recount efforts.
In June, Hall’s legal team argued that the charges should be misdemeanors, and the case reached the state’s supreme court. That didn’t go so well
Trump’s Michigan campaign team hired him anyway.

“Donald Trump has made claim after claim calling the integrity of the election into question, but his Michigan campaign had no problem hiring a staff member facing election law charges,” Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, told the Grand Haven Tribune on Wednesday.

Reminds one of the Bernard Kerik era, don't it?

The Most Dangerous Country on Earth

December 1, 2016

Was 11/8 a New 9/11?

The Election That Changed Everything and Could Prove History’s Deal-Breaker 

By Tom Engelhardt

For decades, Washington had a habit of using the Central Intelligence Agency to deep-six governments of the people, by the people, and for the people that weren’t to its taste and replacing them with governments of the [take your choice: military junta, shah, autocrat, dictator] across the planet.  There was the infamous 1953 CIA- and British-organized coup that toppled the democratic Iranian government of Mohammad Mosadegh and put the Shah (and his secret police, the SAVAK) in power. 

There was the 1954 CIA coup against the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala that installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas; there was the CIA’s move to make Ngo Dinh Diem the head of South Vietnam, also in 1954, and the CIA-Belgian plot to assassinate the Congo’s first elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, in 1961 that led, in the end, to the military dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko; there was the 1964 CIA-backed military coup in Brazil that overthrew elected president Jango Goulart and brought to power a military junta; and, of course, the first 9/11 (September 11, 1973) when the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown and killed in a U.S.-backed military coup. Well, you get the idea.

In this way, Washington repeatedly worked its will as the leader of what was then called “the Free World.”  Although such operations were carried out on the sly, when they were revealed, Americans, proud of their own democratic traditions, generally remained unfazed by what the CIA had done to democracies (and other kinds of governments) abroad in their name.  If Washington repeatedly empowered regimes of a sort Americans would have found unacceptable for ourselves, it wasn’t something that most of us spent a whole lot of time fretting about in the context of the Cold War. At least those acts remained largely covert, undoubtedly reflecting a sense that this wasn’t the sort of thing you should proudly broadcast in the light of day. In the early years of the twenty-first century, however, a new mindset emerged. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, “regime change” became the phrase du jour. As a course of action, there was no longer anything to be covert about. Instead, the process was debated openly and carried out in the full glare of media attention.

No longer would Washington set the CIA plotting in the shadows to rid it of detested governments and put in their place more malleable client states.  Instead, as the “sole superpower” of Planet Earth, with a military believed to be beyond compare or challenge, the Bush administration would claim the right to dislodge governments it disdained directly, bluntly, and openly with the straightforward use of military force.  Later, the Obama administration would take the same tack under the rubric of “humanitarian intervention” or R2P (“responsibility to protect”).  In this sense, regime change and R2P would become shorthand for Washington’s right to topple governments in the full light of day by cruise missile, drone, and Apache helicopter, not to mention troops, if needed. (Saddam Hussein’s Iraq would, of course, be exhibit A in this process and Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, exhibit B.)

With this history in mind and in the wake of the recent election, a question came to me recently: In 2016, did the American people leave the CIA in a ditch and potentially do to themselves what the Agency (and more recently the U.S. military) had done to others? In other words, in the strangest election of our lifetimes, have we just seen something like a slow-motion democratic coup d'état or some form of domestic regime change?