Wednesday, January 25, 2017

(Media Slayer Dies at 56)   CIA As Organized Crime (Organized? Come On!) It's Just the Scary Russia Bit Again   (Obama's Legacy Disappears With Rest of Constitutional Rights?)  Trump's Trade Policies & Corporate Raider Tax Plan  (Repudiation of Non-Progressive Dems:  No Need To Win Dem Party If Donors Bolt?)  Nader Says Sanders Now Dem Party Leader and Should Rally Troops  (President Zuck (Not Finn))

BREAKING! US Intervention in Syria? Not under Trump

Udo Ulfkotte, Media Slayer, Dies in Heart-Attack As Germany Descends into dictatorship

If you believe in truth, freedom of speech, and democracy, th(e)n you want Dr. Udo Ulfkotte to haunt the (failed!) media profession AND his coward former “colleagues” who chose to take the easy road in life and pay lip service to their masters:  censorship, propaganda, and indoctrination.
Dr. Ulfkotte, author of Corrupt Journalists and Warning:  Civil War in Germany, had the courage to speak up against our corrupt media and expose their manipulation and political agenda. This meant sure career suicide, of course, but he took it, because he needed a clear conscience and (to) deliver hard facts. What must have driven him to the fringes of his own sanity, he nevertheless always presented in a calm voice and professional manner. His interviews on Youtube are a riot.
He will be remembered by thousands of compatriots in Germany, Europe, and in the rest of the world who are, just like he was, looking (on) in shock and despair at the fall of free Germany and Europe. How could this happen? Dr. Ulfkotte explained it:  Because the German key media are in complete cahoots with the regime.
This year Angela Merkel and her favorite ministers, Heiko Maas and Thomas De Maiziere, are going to prosecute most opposition, alternative and social media, and hunt down the popular resistance leaders (the AfD) They will effectively criminalize the native Germans by ruthless “hate speech laws” that will put an end to freedom of speech (if there ever was one).
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Journalist and German political scientist Dr. Udo Ulfkotte has passed (away). Ulkotte reveals how fake news permeates the mainstream media. 
His unbending commitment to truth in media as well as his legacy will be remembered. (Michel Chossudovsky, January 15, 2017)
Recently, Dr.Udo Ulfkotte went on public television stating that he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, also adding that noncompliance with these orders would result in him losing his job.
He recently made an appearance on RT news to share these facts:

I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.

But seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia — this is a point of no return and I’m going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray the people, not only in Germany, all over Europe. 
It’s important to keep in mind that Dr. Ulfakatte is not the only person making these claims; multiple reporters have done the same and this kind of truthfulness is something the world needs more of.
One (out of many) great examples of a whistle-blowing reporter is investigative journalist and former CBC News reporter Sharyl Attkisson.
She delivered a hard-hitting TEDx talk showing how fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests very effectively manipulate and distort media messages.
Another great example is Amber Lyon, a three-time Emmy award winning journalist at CC, who said that they are routinely paid by the US government and foreign governments to selectively report and even distort information on certain events. She has also indicated that the government has editorial control over content.
Ever since Operation Mockingbird, a CIA-based initiative to control mainstream media, more and more people are expressing their concern that what we see in the media is nothing short of brainwashing.
This is also evident by blatant lies that continue to spam the TV screen, especially when it comes to topics such as health, food, war (‘terrorism‘), poverty, and more.
Things have not changed, in fact, when in comes to mainstream media distorting information and telling lies. They have gotten much worse in recent years, in fact, so it is highly encouraging that more people are starting to see through these lies, even without the help of whistle-blowers like Dr. Ulfakatte.
One great example is the supposed ‘war on terror,’ or ‘false flag terrorism.’ There are even Wikileaks documents alluding to the fact that the United States government planned to “retaliate and cause pain” to countries refusing GMOs.
Mainstream media’s continual support of GMOs rages on, despite the fact that a number of countries are now banning these products.
The list of lies goes on and on. It’s time to turn off your T.V. and do your own research if you are curious about what is happening on our planet. It’s time to wake up.

And along the same line we have this newly published book:

by Douglas Valentine
Author of three books on CIA operations, Valentine’s research into CIA activities began when CIA Director William Colby gave him free access to interview CIA officials who had been involved in various aspects of the Phoenix program in South Vietnam. It was a permission Colby was to regret. The CIA would rescind it, making every effort to impede publication of The Phoenix Program, which documented the CIA’s elaborate system of population surveillance, control, entrapment, imprisonment, torture and assassination in Vietnam.

While researching Phoenix, Valentine learned that the CIA allowed opium and heroin to flow from its secret bases in Laos, to generals and politicians on its payroll in South Vietnam. His investigations into this illegal activity focused on the CIA’s relationship with the federal drugs agencies mandated by Congress to stop illegal drugs from entering the United States.
Based on interviews with senior officials, Valentine wrote two subsequent books, The Strength of the Wolf and The Strength of the Pack, showing how the CIA infiltrated federal drug law enforcement agencies and commandeered their executive management, intelligence and foreign operations staffs in order to ensure that the flow of drugs continues unimpeded to traffickers and foreign officials in its employ. Ultimately, portions of his research materials would be archived at the National Security Archive, Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center, and John Jay College.

This book includes excerpts from the above titles along with subsequent articles and transcripts of interviews on a range of current topics, with a view to shedding light on the systemic dimensions of the CIA’s ongoing illegal and extra-legal activities. These terrorism and drug law enforcement articles and interviews illustrate how the CIA’s activities impact social and political movements abroad and in the United States.A common theme is the CIA’s ability to deceive and propagandize the American public through its impenetrable government-sanctioned shield of official secrecy and plausible deniability. Though investigated by the Church Committee in 1975, CIA praxis then continues to inform CIA praxis now. Valentine tracks its steady infiltration into practices targeting the last population to be subjected to the exigencies of the American empire:  the American people.
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Chris Hedges on "On Contact" interviews the great Glen Ford, editor of the "Black Agenda Report," providing even more data on exactly what's threatening our lives from the professional management team (but whose we'd like to know):

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You may not want to listen to much more of Thom Hartmann, who has been shining light on the movement to get rid of middle- and lower-class protections in U.S. law for years now, and generally supporting Democratic in figures like Obama and Hillary Clinton (I value listening to his program for his coverage on other issues as well - especially on Free Speech TV, Link TV and RT), but no matter your past experience, you'd be making an incredibly huuuuge mistake to miss this dialogue just because you're tired of the past Obama/Hillary ones). On this Thom segment we hear this Dick, who is on our side; and for whom we should thank our lucky stars that there is at least one Dick (Richard Wolfe) out there trying to reform the economic system in our favor.

Our Dick elucidates what Trump's trade policies will undoubtedly result in:  billions less to the government in corporate taxes; trade wars with Mexico, China, etc.; and the laying off of millions of Federal and state workers. And this is just the start of what Trump's brand of libertarian politics will cause to descend on our country.

And as far as Trump's plans for the replacement program for the ACA/ObamaCare health insurance system? Larry Cohen, Bernie Sanders and Norman Solomon discuss the probabilities.

Trump's plan sounds great for the richest among us (or he might try to get the Mexicans to pay for it). Stay tuned!

John Pilger has been a sort of economic and political pillar of virtue for me since reading his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. He's even better now.

Professor Chomsky has a few history lessons for the Trump revolutionaries that might prove interesting. He mentions that looking at corporate wealth is far more definitive of world leadership than just looking at national wealth.

Click his name and Bill Black will help just about anyone understand just about anything we'd like to better in these most confusing economic times:  The Trump Era (no, not ERA).

Avedon Carol chimed in last week with suggestions for maintaining sanity for the polity:

One of the loopier themes I've seen on my Twitter feed accepts that Clinton was the wrong candidate but posits that this is because she wasn't a "sensible" candidate like, of all people, Barack Obama. This is a bit like the people who seemed to think that Michael Bloomberg was the perfect candidate. Or maybe they are even the same people, I don't know. After seeing the behavior of Democrats over the last few months, I have no idea how many of them might find excuses to support him, but the simple fact is that he's never been able to rouse much enthusiasm and there's every reason to believe he'd just be another loser.

But, as Branko Marcetic says in "Nobody for Bloomberg," the fetish of the elite for "sensible centrism" isn't sensible and certainly isn't popular among voters. Obama didn't win because he was "sensible", he won because he was charismatic and symbolic and anyway everyone was sick of Bush. But on policy, "Despite the certainty of political elites that the path to political success sits directly down the middle - a belief typically based on nothing but gut instinct - there is plenty of evidence that policies typically considered far to the left enjoy broad support."

Obama was certainly not being sensible when he referred to people who opposed Social Security cuts - about 90% of Americans - as "the crazy far-left." That's exactly the kind of thing that makes people lose their minds and vote for the likes of Trump.

"This is the trend for a whole host of other supposedly far-left policies. Large majorities of Americans believe money has too much influence on politics and want campaign finance reform. 58 percent favor replacing Obamacare with a federally-funded health insurance program, with only 22 percent in favor of repealing it with no replacement. 61 percent say the wealthy pay too little in taxes. Just over half think the Obama administration failed to do enough to prosecute bankers. And 54 percent agree with the statement that a 'political revolution might be necessary to redistribute money from the wealthiest Americans to the middle class. The ideas championed by 'firebrands' like Sanders are not fringe policies to be abandoned in the rush to the center. They are the center."

It's nice to know there is someone showing enough leadership to be talking about what matters. "Bernie Sanders: We need serious talk on serious issues:  In my view, the media spends too much time treating politics like a baseball game, a personality contest or a soap opera. We need to focus less on polls, fundraisers, gaffes and who's running for president in four years, and more on the very serious problems facing the American people - problems which get relatively little discussion. I hope that's what our town meeting on CNN tonight will accomplish."

* CNN Bernie Sanders Town Hall 1/9/17, with Chris Cuomo.

Meryl Streep made a little speech at the Golden Globes that upset right-wingers but generated lots of applause among everyone else. Almost, but James Risen had a real point at the end of December when he said, "If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama."

Norman Solomon, "The Democratic Party Line That Could Torch Civil Liberties - and Maybe Help Blow Up the World [...] Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials' emails and undermining Hillary Clinton's campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat. Of course partisan spinners aren't big on self-examination, especially if they're aligned with the Democratic Party's dominant corporate wing. And the option of continually fingering the Kremlin as the main villain of a 2016 morality play is clearly too juicy for functionary Democrats to pass up - even if that means scorching civil liberties and escalating a new cold war that could turn radioactively hot.

Glenn is absolutely right about anti-Russia hysteria, and his scathing evaluation of Howard Dean's McCarthyism is spot on. Watching this craziness is disgusting. And Glenn is also absolutely right that Democrats need to stop obsessing on Russia conspiracy theories and address the real and present danger of Republicans' plans to destroy our institutions. Now.

Jimmy Dore is right, too, that when even Tucker Carlson can tear you full of holes, you really need to get your act together - and nothing in this whole Russia scare is doing any good for the American people, or even for the Democratic Party.

The "Baltimore Sun" has William Binney and Ray McGovern saying the Emails were leaked, not hacked, and they certainly have more credibility than all these other "experts."

Leonid Bershidsky has no love for Putin, but even he doesn't b(u)y the Russian hacking story. The trouble with these "security" people who think they know what happened is that they start with inference and keep building. Their stack of assumptions makes the whole story shaky, weak as the foundation is.

Meanwhile, people are working overtime to make Julian Assange look like the villain who gave Trump the election - even at the "Guardian," which ginned up some juicy quotes it made up and spread all around the net.

At "The American Conservative," the whole thing looks like "Christmas Crackers, Moscow-Style." I just can't help but concur.

And Matt Taibbi says, "Something About This Russia Story Stinks." Well, it does.

And Marcy Wheeler On the Joint Analysis Review, AKA the False Tor Node Positives Report says, "As I noted here, everyone agrees that the Joint Analysis Report released with Obama's sanctions package is a shitshow (here's the best explanation of why). But aside from complaining about how the shitshow JAR undermines the Administration's claims to have confirmed Russia's role in the DNC hack, no one has tried to explain why the Administration would release such a shitshow report."

Micah Lee checked some data. "The U.S. Government Thinks Thousands of Russian Hackers May Be Reading My Blog. They Aren't. After the U.S. government published a report on Russia's cyber attacks against the U.S. election system, and included a list of computers that were allegedly used by Russian hackers, I became curious if any of these hackers had visited my personal blog. The U.S. report, which boasted of including 'technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by Russian civilian and military intelligence services,' came with a list of 876 suspicious IP addresses used by the hackers, and these addresses were the clues I needed to, in the end, understand a gaping weakness in the report. An IP address is a set of numbers that identifies a computer, or a network of computers, on the internet. Each time someone loads my website, it logs their IP address.

So I searched my web server logs for the suspicious IP addresses, and I was shocked to discover over 80,000 web requests from IPs used by the Russian hackers in the last 14 months! Digging further, I found that some of these Russian hackers had even posted comments (mostly innocuous technical questions)! Even today, several days after publication of the report (which used a codename for the Russian attack, Grizzly Steppe), I'm still finding these suspicious IP addresses in my logs - although I would expect the Russians to stop using them after the U.S. government exposed them. [...] I found out, after some digging, that of the 876 suspicious IP addresses that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of National Intelligence put on the Russian cyber-attacker list, at least 367 of them (roughly 42%) are either Tor exit nodes right now, or were Tor exit nodes in the last few years."

Barry Lynne in "The Washington Monthly," "Democrats Must Become the Party of Freedom: Re-embracing anti-monopoly will reinvigorate American liberty and beat back Trumpism."

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"Here's what to tell people who love to remind blacks that Democrats were pro-slavery in the 19th century"

In 1932, about 70% of blacks voted for Republican Herbert Hoover but by 1936 a historic realignment began. Most Blacks were poor before the Great Depression and they continued suffering, even more than whites, during it; black poverty and unemployment rates were about twice as high than for whites. Though Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies did not target black poverty - and Southern Democrats managed to carve out huge, racist exceptions that severely disadvantaged blacks - millions of blacks benefited. FDR's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, also pushed him toward black equality, earning her the enmity of sexists and racists alike. As a result of tangible gains, African Americans started voting Democratic. In 1936 71% voted for FDR, perhaps the single most dramatic shift of any group of American voters in a four-year period.
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Matt Taibbi, "The Vampire Squid Occupies Trump's White House" - It does seem that Trump is appointing an awful lot of people who Obama should have put in jail.

Did I mention that Trump's expected nominees seem to be mostly people who should have been prosecuted by the Obama administration? Well, they are. And Steve Mnuchin is one of those people who should have been aggressively prosecuted for numerous documented crimes leading up to and evolving from the financial crisis, but funnily enough, he was never prosecuted. Who was the state AG who made that decision? "The Elephant in the Room Is a Donkey (Reflections on Kamala Harris) [...] In other words, how many Democratic leaders wish they had run the general election with Sanders in the lead? Not one. Just listen; you won't hear a single regret.

There's no point in controlling the country, as they see it, if they don't control the party as well. Without control of the party, which of their donors would back them?

With Sanders jailing Wall Street bankers, where who would pay Chuck Schumer to stay in office? With Sanders in the White House, the current class of Democratic leadership would have to find new donors - actual humans perhaps, as Sanders did - or retire from public life on their previous gains and lobby for a living."

* David Dayen wrote the story on Mnuchin on 3 January, with a follow-up on the 5th, "Kamala Harris Fails to Explain Why She Didn't Prosecute Steven Mnuchin's Bank. Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday vaguely acknowledged "The Intercept"'s report about her declining to prosecute Steven Mnuchin's "OneWest Bank" for foreclosure violations in 2013, but offered no explanation. 'It's a decision my office made,' she said, in response to questions from "The Hill" shortly after being sworn in as California's newest U.S. senator. 'We went and we followed the facts and the evidence, and it's a decision my office made,' Harris said. 'We pursued it just like any other case. We go and we take a case wherever the facts lead us.'"

But as near as I can tell, her office advised her to prosecute, and the decision not to was made entirely by Kamala Harris.

It's always worth remembering The Powell Memo:  A Call-to-Arms for Corporations.

Naturally, Al From is in the "Guardian" trying to sell more of his snake oil. "Conventional wisdom among many pundits and Democratic strategists is that to win over more of them, we need to offer a populist agenda - associated with senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren - that rails against the wealthy. This thinking would also relegate the growth-oriented New Democrat-Third Way agenda associated with President Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, which I played an active part in promoting, to the scrapheap of history. I disagree. In fact, I believe the opposite is true."

What he does believe is warmed-over GOP rhetoric that was a lie when we first heard it, and still is.

"TPP:  How Obama Traded Away His Legacy: Donald Trump is preparing to wipe President Barack Obama's legacy from existence.

The Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank and protections for the environment and immigrants all are set to disappear in no part small part thanks to President Obama himself and his relentless advocacy for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) right through Election Day."

Paul Street, "Barack Obama's Neoliberal Legacy:  Rightward Drift and Donald Trump" - The Inauthentic Opposition Earned Us This.

Cornell West, "Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama: Our hope and change candidate fell short time and time again. Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility." West actually gives Obama more slack than I would.

Gaius Publius, "How Obama Traded Away His Legacy: I'm about to say the obvious, but with so many dots getting connected in this post-election, pre-Trump interregnum, I want to connect just these two and let the obvious sink in.

Obama's push for TPP not only cost Clinton the election (among other factors, of course), it very likely cost Obama his legacy - all of it."

Jon Schwarz, "Chuck Schumer:  The Worst Possible Democratic Leader at the Worst Possible Time: When Barack Obama leaves the White House, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer will almost certainly be elected Senate minority leader - and therefore become the highest ranking Democratic official in America.

That's a terrible roll of the dice for Democrats, because Schumer might as well have been grown in a lab to be exactly the wrong face for opposition to Donald Trump."

He's got a list.

Torture apologist Alan Dershowitz says he'll leave the Democratic Party if Keith Ellison is made chair of the DNC.

Dershowitz has gone full-Likud since 9/11, it's embarrassing.
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With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.

The new rules allow employees doing intelligence work for those agencies to sift through raw data collected under a broad, Reagan-era executive order that gives the NSA virtually unlimited authority to intercept communications abroad. Previously, NSA analysts would filter out information they deemed irrelevant and mask the names of innocent Americans before passing it along.

The change was in the works long before there was any expectation that someone like Trump might become president. The last-minute adoption of the procedures is one of many examples of the Obama administration making new executive powers established by the Bush administration permanent, on the assumption that the executive branch could be trusted to police itself.

Executive Order 12333, often referred to as “twelve triple-three,” has attracted less debate than congressional wiretapping laws, but serves as authorization for the NSA’s most massive surveillance programs — far more than the NSA’s other programs combined. Under 12333, the NSA taps phone and internet backbones throughout the world, records the phone calls of entire countries, vacuums up traffic from Google and Yahoo’s data centers overseas, and more.

In 2014, "The Intercept" revealed that the NSA uses 12333 as a legal basis for an internal NSA search engine that spans more than 850 billion phone and internet records and contains the unfiltered private information of millions of Americans.

In 2014, a former state department official described NSA surveillance under 12333 as a “universe of collection and storage” beyond what Congress has authorized.

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who gave reporters documents that revealed the breadth of the 12333 surveillance, tweeted this:

As the rule change made its way through the review process, Robert Litt, the top lawyer for the intelligence community, publicly explained the rationale:  The rules “respond to the widely recognized lesson learned from the 9/11 attacks that intelligence should not be ‘stovepiped’ by individual agencies but should be shared responsibly within the intelligence community.”

But this massive database inevitably includes vast amount of American’s communications — swept up when they speak to people abroad, when they go abroad themselves, or even if their domestic communications are simply routed abroad. That’s why access was previously limited to data that had already been screened to remove unrelated information and information identifying U.S. persons. The new rules still ostensibly limit access to authorized foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes — not ordinary law enforcement purposes — and require screening before they are more widely shared. But privacy activists are skeptical.

Activists have long been concerned about the erosion of barriers between law enforcement surveillance and NSA spying.

With access to the NSA’s intercepts, law enforcement could search Americans’ private information for evidence of criminality without going to a judge — a loophole privacy activists have called the “backdoor search loophole.”
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My favorite comic reporter (or is that reporter comic?) provides insight into what the Women's March was supposed to achieve:

Published on Jan 21, 2017
Yes Obama DID commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence! But before you start throwing your panties at Barry, let us not overlook a presidency that includes a disgraceful invasion of our privacy and countless ignored requests for public information that exposes government waste, fraud and abuse. Lee Camp tells Trump about the legacy he’ll inherit and more on "Redacted Tonight."

Eamonn Fingleton from Forbes Magazine calls in from Ireland to speak with Thom Hartmann about the coming Trump failure based on a number of factors including that manufacturing cannot be brought back from Asia as the U.S. would be unable to compete with the high-tech manufacturers and would have to institute tariffs against the entire world (which will not work now by the way). He's full of unacknowledged quips.

Allan Lichtman (on CBS) predicted the Trump win in spite of the Trump Campaign (while also saying that Comey and the Russians had nothing to do with it).

(Long after I did. Honest. Look it up.)

His method of analysis is quite interesting and it relies quite a bit on the inadequacies of the Democratic Party under Obama while also explaining how pollsters and clerks (like Nate Silver) can be so spectacularly wrong (as he was this time).

P.S. He lists all the reasons that Trump could be impeached. And he expects it. Heck, he predicts it.

(This video has had over 1,100,000 views.)

Published on Nov 9, 2016
Big Picture Interview:  Ralph Nader, Breaking Through Power:  It's Easier Than We Think. If Donald Trump's election represented anything - it was the complete and utter repudiation of the Clintonite Democratic establishment. Are we about to witness a permanent realignment of the parties?
How Did the Elites Get This So Wrong?

Jon Stewart returns briefly to comment on the Trump win.

Stewart elucidates exactly what makes the Trump presidency horrible.

Lee Camp at "Redacted Tonight" deals with all the crap we don't want to.

President Zuck?

Kind of a Huck Finn moment.

Except way more evil. Look out Jim!

(I'm keeping a personal look out for the Duke and the King.)

At this point, I’ve seen enough. It’s becoming quite clear that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants to be President of these United States.

The topic first piqued my interest about a week ago when I read an article published at Vanity Fair entitled, Will Mark Zuckerberg be Our Next President?
Increasingly, a number of influential people in Silicon Valley seem to think that Mark Zuckerberg will likely run for president of the United States one day. And some people, including myself, believe that he could indeed win. “He wants to be emperor” is a phrase that has become common among people who have known him over the years.

We’ll get to my theory on what that means a little later. First, let’s zip through the myriad indications that he might choose to throw his hoodie into the ring. Last year’s Facebook proxy statement articulated that Zuckerberg can run for office and still maintain control of his company. (To this end, Trump’s controversial precedent may facilitate any thorny political complications regarding the matter.) Then, over the holidays, Zuckerberg responded to a question about being an atheist, a belief he once professed, with a decidedly more politically circumspect answer: “I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.” (No one likes a president who doesn’t believe in some sort of God.)

More recently, President Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe, joined the philanthropic Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to lead policy and advocacy. Other politicians from both parties have also joined the organization. And then there was the most obvious intimation: earlier this year, Zuckerberg, who has a habit of posting his annual New Year’s resolution on his Facebook page, declared that after conquering the previous challenges of learning Mandarin, and building an artificial-intelligence butler for his home, this year he was going to meet “people in every state in the US.” He noted that he’s “spent significant time in many states already, so I’ll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete this challenge.” I wonder how many of those states are swing states?

If he does want the job, Zuckerberg definitely has the personality for it. When Facebook went public in 2012, I co-authored a profile of the young C.E.O. During the reporting, I heard from several friends about his penchant for playing world-conquering board and video games. Early childhood pals told me that one of Zuckerberg’s favorite video games as a boy was "Civilization," the game in which you have to “build an empire to stand the test of time.” Others have told me that, to this day, Zuckerberg loves to play Risk, a strategy board game where you have to essentially take over the world. Believe it or not, he ended up applying some of these theories while forging and managing the extraordinary growth of Facebook, organizing his product teams in similar ways to his battalions in the board games. (According to someone close to him, these days Zuckerberg loves "Game of Thrones" and enjoys cooking a meat-laden “Dothraki Feast” while watching Westeros fall in and out of anarchy.)

Then, this morning, I came across the following tweets.

Zuck recap:
1) No longer an atheist
2) Will visit every state
3) Hires Obama 2008 campaign manager
4) …..

— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) January 10, 2017

Naturally, Zuck doesn’t spend all of his free time smooching on Texas babies. So what’s he doing in between the professional photo shoots, Dothraki feasts, and playing cuddly tech oligarch for “ordinary” Americans? Well he’s suing native Hawaiians to get off his 700-acre, $100 million estate on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, of course.
As reported by the "Daily Mail:"

Mark Zuckerberg is suing Hawaiian families in an attempt to get them to sell their land to make his 700-acre property more secluded, a Honolulu newspaper reported Wednesday.

Almost a dozen of small parcels on the Facebook co-founder’s $100 million Kauai property belong to Hawaiian citizens who acquired them through legislation dating back to 1850, called the Kuleana Act, according to the Star Advertiser.

As such, these land owners are allowed to walk through Zuckerberg’s domain. But the billionaire is believed to have filed lawsuits against a few hundred people in the hope that they will sell their parcels at a public auction.

Using the law to induce land sales, which isn’t uncommon in Hawaii, can be viewed as problematic because it severs the native Hawaiian community’s link to ancestral land. 

Zuckerberg is believed to have sued a few hundred people via several companies that he controls, the Star Advertiser reported. Some of these people, who inherited or owned interest in the land, are dead. 

Similar auctions have in the past led to below-market sales, but according to the Star Advertiser, some of those involved in the Zuckerberg cases believe the billionaire will offer a fair amount of money.

I know that’s a lot to take in, so let me end this post with a little humor.

So there, peasants!

Remember what they can do to us at whim.

Dr. Udo Ulfkotte

Dr. Udo Ulfkotte is a top German journalist and editor and has been for more than two decades, so you can bet he knows a thing or two about mainstream media and what really happens behind the scenes.

Friday, January 20, 2017

(Free Media Dead? Assault on the Commons)  Promoting Democratic Farce & Don't Even Mention the Israelis  (Playing Russian Tigers)  Davos Chitchat  (Deep State Parthian Shot?)  What We Have Allowed Our World to Become  (Cross-Checked Elections Forever?)

Talk about an intel report . . . !

Will it crank up . . .

Or calm down somewhat under Trump?

Bets are on the table.

Real Purpose of Intel Report on Russian Hacking with Abby Martin and Ben Norton

January 15, 2017
On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges is joined by journalists Abby Martin, host of the "Empire Files," and Ben Norton to discuss the declassified U.S. intelligence report on Russia’s alleged “influence campaign” on the U.S. presidential election. They explore the allegations and why a large portion of the report is dedicated to RT America’s programming. RT correspondent Anya Parampil details the charges made in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence report.

Funniest political analysis today (and quite possibly the best, although in no way politically correct) comprises the following essay.

Anyone taking odds?

Not like there's anything wrong with Trump's policies . . . (h/t "Seinfeld")

But who would object to a "Deep State" parthian shot?

If you've read this blog for very long, you realize that the game-on against the Russian Detente plans between the ultra/neoliberals and the neocons is not new news. The Tucker Carlson-Glenn Greenwald bromance is. (Equating Comey/Clapper lies however? Don't ask. As no one will respond. And completely give up on the Trump "choices.")

As for the Russian foreign influence? Don't equate it to the Ukraine/Saudi/German/British ones. Please!

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Campaign to Destabilize the Trump Presidency

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, January 04, 2017
Since this article was published (January 5), the US media in liaison with US intelligence has launched another wave of smears directed against President elect Donald Trump.

The most recent propaganda ploy has gone into high gear. The objective is to destabilize the Trump presidency. We are dealing with a carefully planned operation, a “conspiracy” in the true sense of the word.

A fake “Intelligence Dossier” portrays Trump as an instrument of Moscow, “cultivating and supporting him for at least five years”. The dossier intimates that Russian intelligence “has compromised Trump” to the extent that he can be “blackmailed” on account of his “sexually perverted acts.”

This mysterious intelligence dossier released by BuzzFeed has gone viral. While the document is acknowledged by US intelligence as being fake, the media (CNN in particular) is now intimating that Trump is not only involved in an act of treason (by calling for the normalization of US-Russia relations), he is also controlled by the Kremlin, which is blackmailing him into submission.

This pseudo Intelligence Dossier surfaced in the days following the Director of National Intelligence announcement James Clapper that Russia’s alleged hacking constitutes an “Existential Threat” against America.

While no proof of Russian interference in the US elections has been forthcoming, US tanks and troops have nonetheless been dispatched to Russia’s border under Obama’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve” and NATO’s European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). They are to be fully deployed prior to Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. And the media remains silent. The dangers of an all out war with Russia and its devastating consequences are not front page news.

Are these deployments of US tanks and troops part of Obama’s “act of retribution” against Russia in response to Moscow’s alleged hacking of the US elections?

Is this a “fast-track” procedure on the part of the outgoing president, with the support of US intelligence to create chaos prior to the inception of the Trump administration on January 20th?

While the alleged hacking is casually tagged as an An Act of War against the American Homeland, “Operation Atlantic Resolve” (involving a massive deployment of troops and military hardware on Russia’s border) is categorized as an Act of Self Defense.”

We are dealing with a diabolical foreign policy agenda:  The alleged Russian hacking is being used as a pretext and a justification to wage a preemptive war on Russia.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down.

In this article, we describe a coordinated and carefully planned operation to destabilize the Trump presidency involving several stages, both before and after his inauguration. What is at stake is Trump’s US Foreign Policy stance. The recent smear campaign largely confirms a strategy intent upon delegitimizing the president-elect.

Read carefully through this article: What is at stake is an unprecedented constitutional crisis, an attempt to unseat an elected-president before his inauguration or shortly thereafter. There is a power struggle unfolding between two powerful corporate factions.
January 11, 2017
*      *      *

Obama has formally accused Moscow of interfering in the US elections on behalf of Donald Trump. These are serious allegations. Whereas the sanctions are directed against Russia, the ultimate intent is to undermine the legitimacy of president-elect Donald Trump and his foreign policy stance in relation to Moscow.

According to the US media, the sanctions against Moscow were intended to ”Box in President-elect Donald J. Trump” because Trump “has consistently cast doubt” that Putin was involved in the alleged hacking of the DNC. In an earlier report on Kremlin meddling, the NYT (December 15) depicted Donald Trump as “…a Useful Idiot”… an American president who doesn’t know he’s being played by a wily foreign power. (emphasis added)

But the accusations against Trump have gone far beyond the “Box in” Narrative. The unspoken truth pertaining to Obama’s Executive Order is that the punishment was intended for Trump rather than Putin.

The objective is not to “Box-In” the president-elect for his “unfamiliarity with the role of intelligence”. Quite the opposite:  The strategy is to delegitimize Donald Trump by accusing him of high treason

In recent developments, the director of National Intelligence James Clapper has “confirmed” that the alleged Russian cyberattack constitutes an “existential threat to our way of life”.   “Whether or not that constitutes an act of war [by Russia against the US] I think is a very heavy policy call that I don’t believe the intelligence community should make,” said Clapper.

That “act of war” not by Russia but against Russia seems to be have been endorsed by the outgoing Obama administration:  several thousand tanks and US troops are being deployed on Russia’s doorstep as part of Obama’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve” directed against the Russian Federation. Are these military deployments  part of Obama’s “act of retribution” against Russia in response to Moscow’s alleged hacking of the US elections?

Is this a “fast-track” procedure on the part of the outgoing president with the support of US intelligence, intended to create political and social chaos prior to the inception of the Trump administration on January 20th?

According to Donbass DINA News:  “A Massive US military deployment [on Russia's border] should be ready by January 20.”

Political Insanity prevails.

And insanity could potentially unleash World War III. 

Meanwhile the “real story” behind the hacking op. is not front page news. The mainstream media is not covering it.

Destabilizing the Trump Presidency

The ultimate intent of this campaign led by the Neocons and the Clinton Faction is to destabilize the Trump presidency.

Prior to the November 8 elections, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leo(n) Panetta had already intimated that Trump is a threat to National Security. According to "The Atlantic," Trump is a “Modern Manchurian Candidate” serving the interests of the Kremlin.

Vanity Fair
November 1 2016

"The Atlantic"
October 8 2016
In the wake of the Grand Electors’ Vote (in favour of Trump) and Obama’s sanctions against Moscow, the accusations of treason directed against Donald Trump have gone into high gear:

A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump.

He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a “ridiculous” political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.” ("Boston Globe," December 16, emphasis added) Liberals are suggesting President-elect Donald Trump is guilty of treason after President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia and Trump praised Vladimir Putin’s response to the sanctions.” (Daily Caller, December 30, 2016, emphasis added)

Coordinated Operation to Destabilize the Trump Presidency?

Is Trump “in bed with the enemy”?

These are serious accusations allegedly backed up by US intelligence which cannot be brushed away.

Will they just be forgotten once Trump accedes to the White House? Unlikely. They are part of a propaganda campaign on behalf of powerful corporate interests.

What is at stake is tantamount to a carefully coordinated operation to destabilize the Trump presidency, characterized by several distinct components.

The central objective of this project against Trump is to ensure the continuity of the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda geared towards global warfare and Worldwide economic conquest, which has dominated the US political landscape since September 2001.

Let us first review the nature of the Neocons’ foreign policy stance.
Background on The Neocons’ Foreign Policy Agenda

In the wake of 9/11, two major shifts in US foreign policy were devised as part of the 2001 National Security Strategy (NSS).

The first pertained to the “global war on terrorism” against Al Qaeda, the second introduced the preemptive “defensive war” doctrine. The objective was to present “preemptive military action” – meaning war as an act of “self-defense” against two categories of enemies, “rogue States” and “Islamic terrorists:"

“The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. … America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.(National Security Strategy, White House, 2002,

The preemptive war doctrine also included the preemptive use of nuclear weapons on a “first strike” basis (as a means of “self-defence”) against both nuclear and non-nuclear states.

This concept of a preemptive first strike nuclear attack was firmly endorsed by Hillary Clinton in her election campaign.

In turn, the “Global War on Terrorism”(GWOT) launched in the wake of 9/11 has come to play a central role in justifying US-NATO military intervention in the Middle East on “humanitarian grounds” (R2P), including the instatement of so-called “No Fly Zones.” GWOT also constitutes the cornerstone of media propaganda.

The military and intelligence dimensions of the Neocons’ project are contained in The Project for the New American Century formulated prior to the accession of George W. Bush to the White House. The PNAC also posits a “Revolution in Military Affairs” requiring a massive budget outlay allocated to the development of advanced weapons systems including a new generation of nuclear weapons.

The PNAC initiative was launched by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, whose wife Victoria Nuland, played a key role as Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State in engineering the Euro-Maidan coup in Ukraine.

The Neocon project also includes a menu of “regime change,” “color revolutions,” economic sanctions and macro-economic reforms directed against countries which fail to conform to Washington’s demands.

In turn, the globalization of war supports Wall Street’s global economic agenda:  The (secretly negotiated) Atlantic and Pacific trade blocks (TPP, TTIP, CETA, TISA), coupled up with IMF-World Bank-WTO “surveillance” are an integral part of this hegemonic project, intimately related to US military and intelligence operations. 

“The Deep State” and The Clash of Powerful Corporate Interests

Global capitalism is by no means monolithic. What is at stake are fundamental rivalries within the US establishment marked by the clash between competing corporate factions, each of which is intent upon exerting control over the incoming US presidency. In this regard, Trump is not entirely in the pocket of the lobby groups. As a member of the establishment, he has his own corporate sponsors and fund raisers. His stated foreign policy agenda including his commitment to revise Washington’s relationship with Moscow does not fully conform with the interests of the defence contractors, which supported Clinton’s candidacy.

There are powerful corporate interests on both sides, which are now clashing. There are also overlapping allegiances and “cross-cutting alliances” within the corporate establishment. What we are witnessing are ”inter-capitalist rivalries” within the spheres of banking, oil and energy, the military industrial complex, etc.

Is “The Deep State” divided? These corporate rivalries are also characterized by strategic divisions and clashes within several agencies of the US State apparatus including the intelligence community and the military. In this regard, the CIA is deeply embedded in the corporate media (CNN, NBC, NYT. WP, etc.) which is waging a relentless smear campaign against Trump and his alleged links to Moscow.

But there is also a countervailing campaign within the intelligence community against the dominant Neocon faction. In this regard, the Trump team is contemplating a streamlining of the CIA (AKA purges). According to a member of the Trump Transition team (quoted by the "Wall Street Journal," January 4, 2017), “The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized, … They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.” This project would also affect CIA operatives responsible for propaganda embedded within the mainstream media. This would inevitably create profound divisions and conflicts within the US intelligence apparatus, which could potentially backlash on the Trump presidency. It is unlikely that a Trump administration would be able to undermine the inner structures of US intelligence and CIA sponsored media propaganda.

Continuity in US Foreign Policy?

Crafted in the late 1940s by US State Department official George F. Kennan, the “Truman Doctrine” sets the ideological foundations of America’s post-war hegemonic project. What these State department documents reveal is continuity in US foreign policy from “Containment” during the Cold War to today’s post 9/11 doctrine of “Pre-emptive Warfare.”

In this regard, the Neocons’ "Project for the New American Century"’s blueprint (cited above) for global conquest should be viewed as the culmination of a post-war agenda of military hegemony and global economic domination formulated by the State Department in 1948 at the outset of the Cold War.

Needless to say, successive Democratic and Republican administrations, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been involved in carrying out this hegemonic blueprint for global domination, which the Pentagon calls the “Long War.”

In this regard, the Neocons have followed in the footsteps of the “Truman Doctrine.” In the late 1940s, George F. Kennan called for building a dominant Anglo-American alliance based on “good relations between our country and [the] British Empire.” In today’s world, this alliance largely characterizes the military axis between Washington and London, which plays a dominant role inside NATO to the detriment of Washington’s (continental) European allies. It also includes Canada and Australia as key strategic partners. Of significance, Kennan underscored the importance of preventing the development of continental European powers (e.g. Germany, France, Italy) which could compete with the Anglo-American axis. The objective during the Cold War and its aftermath was to prevent Europe from establishing political as well as economic ties with Russia. In turn, NATO largely dominated by the US has prevented both Germany and France from performing a strategic role in World affairs. 

Trump Foreign Policy Realignments

It is highly unlikely that a Trump administration would depart from the mainstay of US foreign policy.

While the Trump team is committed to a socially regressive and racist right wing agenda on the domestic front, certain foreign policy realignments are possible including a softening of the sanctions against Russia, which could potentially have an impact on the multibillion dollar contracts of the military industrial complex. This in itself would be a significant achievement which could contribute to a period of Detente in East-West relations.

Moreover, while Trump has put together a right wing cabinet of generals, bankers and oil executives, which largely conforms to the mainstay of the Republican Party, the bi-partisan “entente cordiale” between Democrats and Republicans has been broken. Meanwhile, there are powerful voices within the GOP who are supportive of the “anti-Trump faction.”

The divisions between these two competing factions are nonetheless significant. With regard to US foreign policy, they largely pertain to US-Russia bilateral relations which have been jeopardized by the Obama administration as well as to the ongoing US military agenda in Syria and Iraq. They also have a bearing on the European Union, which has been affected by Obama’s economic sanctions against Russia.

The sanctions have resulted in a dramatic decline in EU trade and investment with the Russian Federation. In conformity with the “Truman Doctrine” discussed above, US foreign policy under the Neocons, particularly since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, had sought to dismantle the Franco-German alliance and weaken the European Union.
Of relevance in relation to recent developments in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, George F. Kennan explicitly pointed in his 1948 State Department brief, to “a policy of containment of Germany, within Western Europe”. What Kennan’s observations suggest is that the US should be supportive of a European Project only inasmuch as it supports US hegemonic interests. And that is precisely what the Neocons have achieved under the Bush and Obama administrations:

“Today both Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel are taking their orders directly from Washington. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a turning point. The election of pro-US political leaders (President Sarkozy in France and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany) was conducive to a weakening of national sovereignty, leading to the demise of the Franco-German alliance. ” (Michel Chossudovsky America’s Blueprint for Global Domination:  From “Containment” to “Pre-emptive War.” Global Research, 2014)
The more significant question is whether this realignment under a Trump administration will restrain the deployment of NATO troops and military hardware in Eastern Europe on Russia’s doorstep. Will it be conducive to nuclear disarmament?

While Trump’s foreign policy agenda has been the target of “dirty politics” by the Clinton faction, the new administration has powerful corporate backers who will no doubt challenge the Neocons including those operating within the intelligence community. It is worth noting that Trump also has the support of the pro-Israel lobby as well as Israeli intelligence. In December, the head of Mossad met up with the Trump team in Washington.
The Timeline of the Destabilization Project

At the outset, prior to the November 8 elections, the project to disrupt and destabilize the Trump presidency consisted of several coordinated and interrelated processes some of which are ongoing while others have already been completed (or are no longer relevant):

  • the media smear campaign against Trump, which has taken on a new slant in the wake of the November 8 elections (ongoing);ongoing);
  • the engineered anti-Trump protest movement across the US, coordinated with media coverage, petitions, with the objective to disrupt (ongoing);
  • The vote recount in three swing states, (No longer relevant)
  • The passing of  H.R 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which includes a section directed against so-called “pro-Moscow independent media”, in response to Moscow’s alleged interference in the US elections in support of Donald Trump;
  • The Electoral College Vote on December 19 (No longer relevant)
  • The Petition launched by California Sen Barbara Boxers on pertaining to the electoral College vote (No longer relevant)
  • The ongoing “Disrupt” Campaign intent upon disrupting the January 20, 2017 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.
  • The possibility of an impeachment procedure is already contemplated during the first year of his mandate.
The Catch Phrase is “Disrupt.” The Objective is “Disrupt.”
In turn, the website is calling for the disruption of the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017:

#DisruptJ20 is supported by the work of the DC Welcoming Committee, a collective of experienced local activists and out-of-work gravediggers acting with national support. We’re building the framework needed for mass protests to shut down the inauguration of Donald Trump and planning widespread direct actions to make that happen. We’re also providing services like housing, food, and even legal assistance to anyone who wants to join us.

What are the Possible Outcomes?

The propaganda campaign together with the other components of this operation (protest movement, anti-Trump petitions, etc.) are used as a means to discredit an elected-president.

This media propaganda campaign against an incoming president is unprecedented in US history. While the MSM routinely criticize politicians in high office including the president of the US, the media narrative in this case is fundamentally different. The incoming president is the target of an organized media smear campaign which will not subside upon Trump’s accession to the White House.

Concurrently, an engineered and coordinated protest movement against Trump has been ongoing since November 8. In fact it started on the evening of November 8 prior to the announcement of the election results. The protests have all the appearances of a “color revolution” style op.

The media also provides a biased coverage of the engineered protest movement. The organizers and recruiters are serving the interests of powerful corporate lobby groups including the defence contractors. They are not serving the interests of the American people.

It is unlikely that these various initiatives including the Disrupt campaign will have a significant bearing on Trump’s inauguration. Our assessment suggests, however, that the president-elect will accede to the White House amidst an aura of controversy.
Impeachment is the “Talking Point”

The propaganda campaign will continue in the wake of Trump’s inauguration intimating accusations of treason. The impeachment of Donald Trump has already contemplated, prior to his accession to the presidency. In the words of the "Huffington Post" (January 1, 2017):

“There is only one constitutional way to remove a president, and that is via impeachment.
What’s needed is a citizens’ impeachment inquiry, to begin on Trump’s first day in office.
The inquiry should keep a running dossier, and forward updates at least weekly to the House Judiciary Committee. There will be no lack of evidence.” which organizes the engineered protest movement has launched a petition to impeach Trump . . .

The American People are the Unspoken Victims:  The Need for A Real Mass Movement

The American people are the unspoken victims of this clash between competing capitalist factions. Both factions are serving the interests of the elites to the detriment of the US electorate.

In turn, meaningful real grassroots opposition to Trump’s right-wing racist social policy agenda has been “kidnapped” by an engineered protest movement financed and controlled by powerful economic interests. The organizers of this movement are acting on behalf of powerful elite interests. People are misled. What is required in the months ahead is that the development of real” social movements against the new Trump administration with regard to broad social and economic issues, civil rights, health care, job creation, environmental issues, foreign policy and US led wars, defense expenditure, immigration, etc. Independent grassroots movements must consequently be divorced from the engineered protests backed and financed (directly or indirectly) by corporate interests. This is no easy task. The funding and “manufacturing of dissent,” the manipulation of social movements, etc. are firmly entrenched.

Ironically, neoliberalism finances activism directed against neoliberalism. “Manufacturing dissent” is characterized by a manipulative environment, a process of arm-twisting and subtle cooptation of individuals within progressive organizations, including anti-war coalitions, environmentalists and the anti-globalization movement. “Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites – which control major foundations – also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order.”
(Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, September 20, 2010)
Is America Gearing Towards a Deep-Seated Constitutional Crisis
At this stage it is difficult to predict what will happen under a Trump administration. What seems abundantly clear, however, is that America is gearing towards a deep-seated political crisis, with major social, economic and geopolitical ramifications.

Is the tendency (at some future date) towards the adoption of martial law and the suspension of constitutional government?

(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.

So, as said here and in many other places, it's the Democratic Party that has come apart with no leaders or policies agreed upon by the majority of those who called themselves Democrats formerly.

Not that the Republicans are that much better off. Sure, they've got lots of billionaires/multi-millionaires teed up for all the coming competition for national and local offices . . . but what else are they offering at this momentous time in political history?

Before we move too deeply into the mire, I think it's amusing to see how a mixed household previously reacted to this new moment in politics. I'm surprised that Miss Dowd voluntarily entered this morass, her own personal "little basket of deplorable:"

“You can call me, Arthur can call me, I would love to hear,” he said. “The only one who can’t call me is Maureen. She treats me too rough.”
Then I had to go home for Thanksgiving and deal with my family scolding me about the media misreading the country. I went cold turkey to eat hot turkey: no therapy dog, no weaving therapy, no yoga, no acupuncture, no meditation, no cry-in. 
The minute I saw my sister’s Trump champagne and a Cersei figurine as the centerpiece — my brother, Kevin, nicknamed Hillary “Cersei” during this year’s brutal game of thrones — I knew I wasn’t in a safe space.
My little basket of deplorables, as I call my conservative family, gloated with Trump toasts galore, and Kevin presented me with his annual holiday column with an extra flourish.
My colleague Paul Krugman tweeted Friday that “affluent, educated suburbanites” who voted for Trump are “fools.” What else is there to say, he asked.
Well, here is what Kevin, an affluent, educated suburbanite, has to say in his column, titled an “Election Therapy Guide for Liberals”:
Donald Trump pulled off one of the greatest political feats in modern history by defeating Hillary Clinton and the vaunted Clinton machine.
. . . Mr. Trump received over 62 million votes, not all of them cast by homophobes, Islamaphobes, racists, sexists, misogynists or any other “ists.” I would caution Trump deniers that all of the crying and whining is not good preparation for the coming storm. The liberal media, both print and electronic, has lost all credibility. I am reasonably sure that none of the mainstream print media had stories prepared for a Trump victory. I watched the networks and cable stations in their midnight meltdown.
. . . Here is a final word to my Democratic friends. The election is over. There will not be a do-over. So let me bid farewell to Al Sharpton, Ben Rhodes and the Clintons. Note to Cher, Barbra, Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham: Your plane is waiting. And to Jon Stewart, who talked about moving to another planet: Your spaceship is waiting. To Bruce Springsteen, Jay Z, Beyoncé and Katy Perry, thanks for the free concerts. And finally, to all the foreign countries that contributed to the Clinton Foundation, there will not be a payoff or a rebate.
As Eddie Murphy so eloquently stated in the movie “48 Hrs.”: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” And he is going to be here for 1,461 days. Merry Christmas.
Maureen Dowd

So, that's one family's response.

There are others.


Southamptoner - East End  November 27, 2016
Wow. So, Maureen Dowd phones it in and allows her conservative right-wing brother to write her column for her? Where he gets to lecture minorities like myself, whose rights are in danger, to just "suck it up, buttercups"?
This is a weirdly cruel and nasty Thanksgiving missive from Ms. Dowd, it is awful by any standard. This is bizarre, and I am seriously re-considering my Times subscription. Your Op-Ed pages are a dusty mausoleum of unbelievably stale 90s thinking. Friedman, Brooks, Dowd, Douthat- no one in the real world cares one bit about what they have to say, they are dinosaurs. Sorry to say, but the Times is a dinosaur too, there is some serious shake-ups needed, because I cannot believe how quickly the Times as slipped into irrelevancy. It is drastic, how badly the Times has lost the esteem it once held. Maybe get rid of garbage columns like this if you want to stay relevant, it's a disgrace.

Rima Regas - Southern California  November 26, 2016

"My colleague Paul Krugman tweeted Friday that “affluent, educated suburbanites” who voted for Trump are “fools.”

I've been scolded, too, Maureen, for saying what Krugman said, but about affluent white Democrats who voted Clinton and continue, after three failures in a row, to support an establishment the rest of the party, those who are not affluent, but on the brink of despair, just refused to support. This election, as Naomi Klein quite aptly pronounced, was a failure of neoliberalism. I agree. This election wasn't a victory for conservatism, whatever brand Trump represents, but a rejection of centrist policy.

For a third time in a row, we are at a point where the vanquished resign their positions of leadership and clear the way for new leaders. It appears, again, that the neoliberal establishment's claws are ensconced. Chuck Schumer got himself elected and, in turn, gave the next two positions to other neoliberals. He threw Sanders a non-descript bone, a new position, but not a significant one. La Pelosi appears to be on her way to another term as leader of House Dems. The White House is opposed, it seems, to Keith Ellison's candidacy to head the DNC. We are on track for more of the same from a party that should have reformed itself in 2012, without so much as pretending we will analyze where the party went wrong. See :

Hillary Clinton lost an election she should have won handily. Why? Because white working class and former middle class Democrats wanted what Bernie Sanders offered. The Clinton campaign engineered the Sanders campaign’s demise through a combination of media control, with journalists and some think tanks practically taking dictation from the DNC and Clinton campaign headquarters, well-known columnists literally changing the life narrative of millions of voters, and cable news networks presenting obvious political operatives as analysts. Voters tuned out en-masse.
The 2012 and 2014 Democratic losses should have been followed by a post-mortem process. They weren’t. The warning signs from various quarters of the Democratic voter base not only went completely unheeded, but it seems that a conscious decision was made to change the narrative, rather than address reality head on. From 2014 on, the focus of the media has been to construct a narrative of Democratic success in spite of the GOP’s obstruction.

Unfortunately, one cannot look a hungry person in the eye and inform them that they just had a full meal. But that is what was done. Paul Krugman of the "New York Times" moved away from his usual economic op-eds after the 2014 election. It was at that point that we were treated to op-ed after op-ed extolling the successes of the Obama administration. While the Obama presidency has acquitted itself admirably given what it has had to deal with, the economy is hardly healthy, and millions among those who live in it, are still very much at-risk. But the narrative was manipulated, using the smoke and mirror tools hidden in the way the unemployed are counted.
But the snow job the media was in the process of laying the groundwork for didn’t stop there. The biggest slight to Democratic voters was completely changing the narrative Bernie Sanders almost won the primary with:  painting the angry white voter as uneducated and Republican and completely erasing blue collar and former middle class Democrats who have anxiously been waiting for their turn in this jobless, low-wage recovery.
Well-known economist pundits wrote column after column depicting the economic recovery as not ideal, but mostly complete, when it couldn’t be any further from the stark reality tens of millions of Americans of all backgrounds are living, as members of a new social class called "precariat." White working class Democrats have been angry. Black middle and working class Democrats have been angry. White millennials are angry. Black millennials are angry and despondent, both for the same economic reasons as their white counterparts, plus the devastating police brutality of the last few years.
Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were ridiculed for talking about unemployment in terms that were divergent from the narrative the media concocted. While Trump’s recitation of the facts wasn’t altogether precise, Sanders’ was:
The Clinton campaign and a DNC completely under its control waged a war of gender, class, and race divide and conquer, pitting Democrats of different ethnic and economic backgrounds against each other, going as far as planting anti-Semitic news stories in order to heighten the suspicions of susceptible voters against a largely unknown Senator Sanders, even as there were cries of media bias. Those cries not only went unheeded, but pundits doubled down on their attacks against Sanders, as did the Clinton campaign.
This election was always about trade, jobs, and racial justice. On racial justice, the Clinton campaign’s strategy of delegitimizing a former civil rights activist was pure evil genius. That campaign started in the summer of 2015, immediately after Netroots Nation and Black Lives Matter’s intervention on Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. Hillary Clinton didn’t attend the event. While Senator Sanders’ handling of the situation left something to be desired, the media’s reaction was puzzlingly brutal, especially to Sanders:
As the weeks went by and Senator Sanders was making genuine attempts at making amends, the media stayed mad, even as some civil rights activists were praising Sanders for his new platform for racial justice. When Clinton finally had her encounter with Black Lives Matter activists, media reception was very muted:
In an effort to retain the Black vote, the DNC convention was used to showcase the Mothers of The Movement, without so much as a mention of its name, Black Lives Matter, or that of its founders. But this tone-deafness didn’t stop with the dog and pony show that was the DNC convention. As late as September, right as several deadly police shootings took place, Hillary Clinton took to Black radio and said “maybe I should talk to white people…The emphasis ended up being on the word “maybe.” Clinton never broached the subject with white voters. She never adopted Bernie Sanders’ platform for racial justice, which was by far superior to hers.
When the unrest began in North Dakota a few weeks ago, with Native Americans protesting the pollution of their drinking water and the desecration of their ancestral land, Hillary Clinton remained completely silent.
She has remained almost completely silent as daily WikiLeaks email dumps revealed the ugly sight of the sausage-making operation that has been the Clinton campaign. As every single one of Black and progressive voters’ suspicions was confirmed, the chorus from the media and Clinton campaign grew louder, accusing Russia of interfering with the U.S. election, rather than dealing with the content of the revelations. No explanations were forthcoming, with the exception of one small detail Hillary Clinton insisted on clarifying during her first debate against Donald J. Trump. No apologies were made. No reversals were announced. No fears were allayed. The Kabuki play continued uninterrupted, even as the heavens thundered and the lightning struck the stage.
Hillary Clinton, wrongly, in retrospect, decided she could pretend to pivot left and avoid courting progressives after she clinched the nomination. In fact, over the entire summer, Hillary Clinton was largely absent from her own campaign, as progressives angrily stewed.

We will know far more, once final voting data is published. What was to be the year of the woman didn’t translate into votes for Hillary Clinton. Women didn’t turn out in force for Hillary. Her image as a feminist didn’t catch on beyond the upper registers of what’s left of the US middle class. Even accounting for voter suppression, Black voters, Hillary’s firewall, didn’t turn out, either. A campaign that relied almost exclusively on the fear of Trump and no substance was doomed to failure. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was exposed for its cynicism, corruption, elitism, and raw ambition for power over the welfare of those it claimed to protect. The more exposed the campaign became, it unashamedly and unapologetically soldiered on, and was ripe to be the recipient of the public’s wrath.

Hillary Clinton made the wrong judgment when she decided she could pretend to pivot left and avoid courting progressives after she clinched the nomination. In fact, over the entire summer, Hillary Clinton was largely absent from her own campaign, as progressives angrily stewed. If voters couldn’t readily explain what it was about the Clinton campaign that angered them, the Clinton campaign should have known and compensated for it. They didn’t:

For at least half of the Democratic party, likely the half that is in economic distress or on the brink of it,  in the end, the calculus must have been that it would be better to suffer through four years of Trump than another potential sixteen years of neoliberal control of a Democratic party that is as badly in need of reform as the GOP.

Aside from the candidate, herself, John Podesta, David Brock, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Donna Brazile and many other Democratic political operatives, who else is to blame? NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and just about every newspaper in the nation.

I’ve been writing in these pages for the last two years that, what lays at the center of every single problem that ails America is a complete breakdown in ethics. Our system is rotten to the core. In an election in which a vast majority of voters demanded change, Hillary Clinton publicly insisted on running on a platform of continuity while privately planning to take America back to the 1990’s. Voters who survived the tech bust of the early 2000’s only to succumb to the Great Recession would have none of it.

Donald J. Trump, as distasteful as he may be, will be subject to the same constitution every other president has presided under. Given what we know about the legal challenges ahead of him, it is doubtful he will serve a full presidential term.

Who won this election? The American people. In the four years of hell to come, there may be a silver lining. The progressive movement that Bernie Sanders started should emerge as the dominant bloc in the Democratic party. Should resistance to its ascent continue to be forbidding, Progressives should splinter off no later than the start of the new year and form their own party and mount an immediate campaign to claim state houses and congressional seats in the 2018 mid-term election. The two party system has failed. The time for a new progressive party is now.

Pundits are telling readers not to pay attention to polls until closer to the general election on one hand. On the other hand, they're telling people that Bernie Sanders would have lost no matter what. Convenient? Well... you be the judge.
We knew all year how unhappy both sides were with their leadership. What will Dem voters do about it?

These guys will provide an opportunity to spin your head around to start the new thinking.

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are always right on target when there's corruption afoot.

Lee Camp and Chris Hedges discuss the best and the worst.

Kidding. So little best.

A Massive Election-Rigging Scandal Gave Trump the White House. But the Media Has Ignored It.

By Thom Hartmann and Richard Greene, Alternet

12 January 2017

In 27 states, a program called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck suppressed and purged minority votes.

The election of 2016 may well have been stolen — or to use Donald Trump’s oft-repeated phrase — “rigged,” and nobody in the media seems willing to discuss it.

The rigging was a pretty simple process, in fact:  in 27 Republican-controlled states (including critical swing states) hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of people showed up to vote, but were mysteriously blocked from voting for allegedly being registered with the intent to vote in multiple states.

Greg Palast, an award-winning investigative journalist, writes a stinging piece in  Rolling Stone magazine (August 2016 edition), predicting that the presidential election had already been decided: “The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters.” He also wrote and produced a brilliant documentary on this exact subject that was released well before the election, titled The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

He said a program called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck had been quietly put together in Kansas and was being used by Republican secretaries of state in 27 states to suppress and purge African American, Asian and Hispanic votes in what would almost certainly be the swing states of the 2016 election.

Crosscheck was started by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach back in 2007 under the guise of combating so-called voter fraud. In the ultimate thumb in the eye to the American voter, the state where Crosscheck started was the only state to refuse to participate in a New York Times review of voter fraud in the 2016 election, which found that, basically, there wasn’t any fraud at the level of individual voters. Turns out, according to Palast, that a total of 7 million voters — including up to 344,000 in Pennsylvania, 589,000 in North Carolina and up to 449,000 in Michigan (based on available Crosscheck data from 2014)—may have been denied the right to have their votes counted under this little known but enormously potent Crosscheck program.

Yes, that’s way more than enough votes to swing the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. But no one seems to care.

Not Hillary Clinton, not the DNC, not the New York Times, not the Washington Post, not even MSNBC. In fact, on November 26, MSNBC Host Joy Reid ended her interview of Greg Palast by saying, “I wish more people would listen to what you have to say.”

But he was never asked back, by Joy or anyone else at MSNBC.


Why wouldn’t the media and lawyers swoop in to every swing state and demand that every single purged, provisional or uncounted vote either be counted or verified to be illegitimate?

Why is it more relevant to focus on a crazed and completely unsubstantiated and untrue allegation about 3 million “illegal aliens” voting, but not a claim by a fellow journalist that 7 million American citizens weren’t allowed to have their votes counted?
Yes, Hillary was insistent that we must accept the results of the election, but doesn’t that require legitimate, verified or verifiable results? A coach who questions a call on the field is not challenging the system, he just wants to make sure the result is accurate.
So maybe investigative journalist Greg Palast is completely wrong. Completely inaccurate. Maybe there weren’t 7 million voters who were at risk of being excluded, with millions of them being handed “placebo” ballots (provisional ballots) that almost never get opened or counted. Maybe it’s only a million or two citizens. The problem is that the Republican secretaries of state are refusing to say, and the press has dropped the topic.
What we do know is that there is a program called Crosscheck implemented in 27 states that serves to disqualify voters who are not qualified to vote, trying to vote multiple times, or trying to defraud the electoral system. And if Palast’s reporting (and interview of Kobach) is accurate, that system is primarily being used to disenfranchise large numbers of African American, Hispanic and Asian voters.
In 2000, the United States Supreme Court wrongly ruled that America was not allowed to count the votes that were cast in Florida that determined the presidency of the United States.
In 2016, the Democratic Party and the American media and American people have wrongly decided that America should not count the votes that were notcast in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and so many other places that determined the presidency of the United States
The DNC and the press need to get on this story now.

And what about the chat at the Davos gathering of the rich, influential and hoping-to-be?

The great and the good of Davos agree they have a problem with populism. Finding a solution is the hard part.
On the second day of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss Alps, delegates disagreed on how best to address the upending of the western political order, a debate made doubly urgent by the string of elections in Europe this year where anti-establishment parties could gain more ground.
While International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde urged a list of policies from programs to retrain workers to more social spending, others fretted that the turbulence is only starting. Hedge Fund billionaire Ray Dalio warned on a panel chaired by Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua that “we may be at a point where globalization is ending, and provincialization and nationalization is taking hold.”
That leaves technocrats trying to patch together potentially expensive remedies to make the current system of global trade, banking and business links that the Davos club represents acceptable to the public at a time when newcomers like U.S. president elect Donald Trump threaten to dismantle it by scrapping trade deals and introducing tariffs.
“We need to go to a system where we are protecting workers, not jobs, and society will help people retrain or reorient,” Richard Baldwin, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said in an interview in Davos. “There may just be a need to man up. We have to pay for the social cohesion that we need to keep our societies advancing, and accept that this may be a higher tax burden on people.”
Lagarde said policy makers “really have to think it through and see what can be done” given the feedback from voters who say "No.” Among measures that could be implemented are fiscal and structural reforms, she added.
But it needs to be granular, it needs to be regional, it needs to be focused on what will people get out of it and it probably means more redistribution than we have in place at the moment,” Lagarde told the panel entitled “Squeezed and Angry:  How to Fix the Middle-Class Crisis.” Excessive inequalities were a brake on sustainable growth, she said.
Davos over the decades has become synonymous with globalization and open markets, but in the background this year is the failure of business and political elites to predict any of the seismic political events that shaped 2016. That has raised questions over whether they are capable of understanding and addressing the anti-establishment forces that have roiled the U.S. and Europe over the past year.
After Trump and Brexit, there are more votes coming this year. Elections are due in the Netherlands, France and Germany, with a possible early poll in Italy following a constitutional referendum where voters rallied against the government.
Even in Davos, there are those who are ready to scrap major pillars of the postwar European order. Two Nobel prize-winning economists, Joseph Stiglitz and Angus Deaton, suggested that in Europe in particular, things need to change. 
Stiglitz said that if the euro can’t be made to work, it should be dropped. Deaton, who has written on inequality in the global economy, said in an interview that the cleft between voters and their elected officials has never been wider. In part, he blamed the European Union.
“Breaking up the European Union would certainly help, even though it would do a lot of other bad stuff,” he said. “There’s a sense of overreach. There’s the sense that people have very little control of what the EU does.” 
The panel on middle-class anger saw former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers attacking Donald Trump while Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, struck a more pessimistic tone than Lagarde.
“I want to be loud and clear: populism scares me,” Dalio said. “The No. 1 issue economically as a market participant is how populism manifests itself over the next year or two.”
Read More: What’s Happened at Davos So Far?
Now at Harvard University, Summers said populism is “invariably counter-productive” for those it claims to help. “Our President-elect has made four or five phone calls to four or five companies, largely suspending the rule of law, and extorting them into relocating dozens or perhaps even a few hundred jobs into plants in the United States,” Summers said.
The panel also discussed how to combat the backlash against governments and the elite by taking back control of the political narrative.
Summers’s recipe for dealing with populism twisted Trump’s campaign slogan. “Our broad objective should be to make America greater than ever before,” Summers said. “That’s very different from making it great again.”

For more on Davos, see our special report on the World Economic Forum 2017.
He suggested three major steps. First, “public investment on an adequate scale starting from infrastructure” also embracing technology and education; second, “making global integration work for ordinary people” and third, “enabling the dreams of every young American” including education, finding work and home purchasing. 
And if that seems distant in the U.S., in Europe there may be even less chance of a big policy effort in a region still weary from the sovereign debt crisis, with budgets stretched and debt levels high.
Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told the panel that Britain’s departure from the European Union and Trump posed a challenge to policy makers.
“They have a vision, we don’t have a vision in Europe, not a vision which is comparable in terms of powerful message,” he said. “Sorry to be pessimistic, but that is the case.”

And as far as viewing this issue from both sides?

Get real

I think we can all admit that there are plenty of reasons why Americans might reasonably object to the policies and appointments of the incoming president, but the same thing has been true of every other president we’ve had since George Washington’s day. Equally, both of our major parties have long been enthusiastic practitioners of the fine art of shrieking in horror at the other side’s behavior, while blithely excusing the identical behavior on their side.

Had the election last November gone the other way, for example, we can be quite certain that all the people who are ranting about Donald Trump’s appointment of Goldman Sachs employees to various federal offices would be busy explaining how reasonable it was for Hillary Clinton to do exactly the same thing — as of course she would have.

That said, I don’t think reasonable differences of opinion on the one hand, and the ordinary hypocrisy of partisan politics on the other, explain the extraordinarily stridency, the venom, and the hatred being flung at the incoming administration by its enemies. There may be many factors involved, to be sure, but I’d like to suggest that one factor in particular plays a massive role here.

To be precise, I think a lot of what we’re seeing is the product of class bigotry.

Some definitions are probably necessary here. We can define bigotry as the act of believing hateful things about all the members of a given category of people, just because they belong to that category. Thus racial bigots believe hateful things about everyone who belongs to races they don’t like, religious bigots do the same thing to every member of the religions they don’t like, and so on through the dismal chronicle of humanity’s collective nastiness.

Defining social class is a little more difficult to do in the abstract, as different societies draw up and enforce their class barriers in different ways. In the United States, though, the matter is made a good deal easier by the lack of a fully elaborated feudal system in our nation’s past, on the one hand, and on the other, the tolerably precise dependency of how much privilege you have in modern American society on how much money you make. Thus we can describe class bigotry in the United States, without too much inaccuracy, as bigotry directed against people who make either significantly more money than the bigot does, or significantly less. (Of course that’s not all there is to social class, not by a long shot, but for our present purposes, as an ostensive definition, it will do.)

Are the poor bigoted against the well-to-do? You bet. Bigotry directed up the social ladder, though, is far more than matched, in volume and nastiness, by bigotry directed down. It’s a source of repeated amusement to me that rich people in this country so often inveigh against the horrors of class warfare. Class warfare is their bread and butter. The ongoing warfare of the rich against the poor, and of the affluent middle and upper middle classes against the working class, create and maintain the vast disparities of wealth and privilege in contemporary American society. What upsets the rich and the merely affluent about class warfare, of course, is the thought that they might someday be treated the way they treat everyone else.

Until last year, if you wanted to experience the class bigotry that’s so common among the affluent classes in today’s America, you pretty much had to be a member of those affluent classes, or at least good enough at passing to be present at the social events where their bigotry saw free play. Since Donald Trump broke out of the Republican pack early last year, though, that hindrance has gone by the boards. Those who want to observe American class bigotry at its choicest need only listen to what a great many of the public voices of the well-to-do are saying about the people who votes and enthusiasm have sent Trump to the White House.

You see, that’s a massive part of the reason a Trump presidency is so unacceptable to so many affluent Americans:  his candidacy, unlike those of all his rivals, was primarily backed by “those people.”

It’s probably necessary to clarify just who “those people” are. During the election, and even more so afterwards, the mainstream media here in the United States have seemingly been unable to utter the words “working class” without sticking the labels “white” in front and “men” behind. The resulting rhetoric seems to be claiming that the relatively small fraction of the American voting public that’s white, male, and working class somehow managed to hand the election to Donald Trump all by themselves, despite the united efforts of everyone else.

Of course that’s not what happened. A huge majority of white working class women also voted for Trump, for example. So, according to exit polls, did about a third of Hispanic men and about a quarter of Hispanic women; so did varying fractions of other American minority voting blocs, with African-American voters (the least likely to vote for Trump) still putting something like fourteen per cent in his column. Add it all up, and you’ll find that the majority of people who voted for Trump weren’t white working class men at all—and we don’t even need to talk about the huge number of registered voters of all races and genders who usually turn out for Democratic candidates, but stayed home in disgust this year, and thus deprived Clinton of the turnout that could have given her the victory.

Somehow, though, pundits and activists who fly to their keyboards at a moment’s notice to denounce the erasure of women and people of color in any other context are eagerly cooperating in the erasure of women and people of color in this one case. What’s more, that same erasure went on continuously all through the campaign. Those of my readers who followed the media coverage of the race last year will recall confident proclamations that women wouldn’t vote for Trump because his words and actions had given offense to feminists, that Hispanics (or people of color in general) wouldn’t vote for Trump because social-justice activists denounced his attitudes toward illegal immigrants from Mexico as racist, and so on. The media took these proclamations as simple statements of fact - and of course that was one of the reasons media pundits were blindsided by Trump’s victory.

The facts of the matter are that a great many American women don’t happen to agree with feminists, nor do all people of color agree with the social-justice activists who claim to speak in their name. For that matter, may I point out to my fellow inhabitants of Gringostan that the terms “Hispanic” and “Mexican-American” are not synonyms? Americans of Hispanic descent trace their ancestry to many different nations of origin, each of which has its own distinctive culture and history, and they don’t form a single monolithic electoral bloc. (The Cuban-American community in Florida, to cite only one of the more obvious examples, very often vote Republican and  played a significant role in giving that electoral vote-rich state to Trump.)

Behind the media-manufactured facade of white working class men as the cackling villains who gave the country to Donald Trump, in other words, lies a reality far more in keeping with the complexities of American electoral politics: a ramshackle coalition of many different voting blocs and interest groups, each with its own assortment of reasons for voting for a candidate feared and despised by the US political establishment and the mainstream media.  That coalition included a very large majority of the US working class in general, and while white working class voters of both genders were disproportionately more likely to have voted for Trump than their nonwhite equivalents, it wasn’t simply a matter of whiteness, or for that matter maleness.

It was, however, to a very great extent a matter of social class. This isn’t just because so large a fraction of working class voters generally backed Trump; it’s also because Trump saw this from the beginning, and aimed his campaign squarely at the working class vote. His signature red ball cap was part of that - can you imagine Hillary Clinton wearing so proletarian a garment without absurdity? - but, as I pointed out a year ago, so was his deliberate strategy of saying (and tweeting) things that would get the liberal punditocracy to denounce him. The tones of sneering contempt and condescension they directed at him were all too familiar to his working class audiences, who have been treated to the same tones unceasingly by their soi-disant betters for decades now.

Much of the pushback against Trump’s impending presidency, in turn, is heavily larded with that same sneering contempt and condescension - the unending claims, for example, that the only reason people could possibly have chosen to vote for Trump was because they were racist misogynistic morons, and the like. (These days, terms such as “racist” and “misogynistic,” in the mouths of the affluent, are as often as not class-based insults rather than objective descriptions of attitudes.) The question I’d like to raise at this point, though, is why the affluent don’t seem to be able to bring themselves to come right out and denounce Trump as the candidate of the filthy rabble. Why must they borrow the rhetoric of identity politics and twist it (and themselves) into pretzel shapes instead?

There, dear reader, hangs a tale.

In the aftermath of the social convulsions of the 1960s, the wealthy elite occupying the core positions of power in the United States offered a tacit bargain to a variety of movements for social change.  Those individuals and groups who were willing to give up the struggle to change the system, and settled instead for a slightly improved place within it, suddenly started to receive corporate and government funding, and carefully vetted leaders from within the movements in question were brought into elite circles as junior partners. Those individuals and groups who refused these blandishments were marginalized, generally with the help of their more compliant peers.

If you ever wondered, for example, why environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth changed so quickly from scruffy fire-breathing activists to slickly groomed and well-funded corporate enablers, well, now you know. Equally, that’s why mainstream feminist organizations by and large stopped worrying about the concerns of the majority of women and fixated instead on “breaking the glass ceiling”—that is to say, giving women who already belong to the privileged classes access to more privilege than they have already. The core demand placed on former radicals who wanted to cash in on the offer, though, was that they drop their demands for economic justice—and American society being what it is, that meant that they had to stop talking about class issues.

The interesting thing is that a good many American radicals were already willing to meet them halfway on that. The New Left of the 1960s, like the old Left of the between-the-wars era, was mostly Marxist in its theoretical underpinnings, and so was hamstrung by the mismatch between Marxist theory and one of the enduring realities of American politics. According to Marxist theory, socialist revolution is led by the radicalized intelligentsia, but it gets the muscle it needs to overthrow the capitalist system from the working classes. This is the rock on which wave after wave of Marxist activism has broken and gone streaming back out to sea, because the American working classes are serenely uninterested in taking up the world-historical role that Marxist theory assigns to them. All they want is plenty of full time jobs at a living wage.  Give them that, and revolutionary activists can bellow themselves hoarse without getting the least flicker of interest out of them.

Every so often, the affluent classes lose track of this, and try to force the working classes to put up with extensive joblessness and low pay, so that affluent Americans can pocket the proceeds. This never ends well.  After an interval, the working classes pick up whatever implement is handy—Andrew Jackson, the Grange, the Populist movement, the New Deal, Donald Trump—and beat the affluent classes about the head and shoulders with it until the latter finally get a clue. This might seem  promising for Marxist revolutionaries, but it isn’t, because the Marxist revolutionaries inevitably rush in saying, in effect, “No, no, you shouldn’t settle for plenty of full time jobs at a living wage, you should die by the tens of thousands in an orgy of revolutionary violence so that we can seize power in your name.” My readers are welcome to imagine the response of the American working class to this sort of rhetoric.

The New Left, like the other American Marxist movements before its time, thus had a bruising face-first collision with cognitive dissonance: its supposedly infallible theory said one thing, but the facts refused to play along and said something very different. For much of the Sixties and Seventies, New Left theoreticians tried to cope with this by coming up with increasingly Byzantine redefinitions of “working class” that excluded the actual working class, so that they could continue to believe in the inevitability and imminence of the proletarian revolution Marx promised them. Around the time that this effort finally petered out into absurdity, it was replaced by the core concept of the identity politics currently central to the American left: the conviction that the only divisions in American society that matter are those that have some basis in biology.

Skin color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability—these are the divisions that the American left likes to talk about these days, to the exclusion of all other social divisions, and especially to the exclusion of social class. Since the left has dominated public discourse in the United States for many decades now, those have become the divisions that the American right talks about, too. (Please note, by the way, the last four words in the paragraph above: “some basis in biology.” I’m not saying that these categories are purely biological in nature; every one of them is defined in practice by a galaxy of cultural constructs and presuppositions, and the link to biology is an ostensive category marker rather than a definition. I insert this caveat because I’ve noticed that a great many people go out of their way to misunderstand the point I’m trying to make here.)

Are the divisions listed above important when it comes to discriminatory treatment in America today? Of course they are — but social class is also important. It’s by way of the erasure of social class as a major factor in American injustice that we wind up in the absurd situation in which a woman of color who makes a quarter million dollars a year plus benefits as a New York stockbroker can claim to be oppressed by a white guy in Indiana who’s working three part time jobs at minimum wage with no benefits in a desperate effort to keep his kids fed, when the political candidates that she supports and the economic policies from which she profits are largely responsible for his plight.

In politics as in physics, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, and so absurdities of the sort just described have kindled the inevitable blowback. The Alt-Right scene that’s attracted so much belated attention from politicians and pundits over the last year is in large part a straightforward reaction to the identity politics of the left. Without too much inaccuracy, the Alt-Right can be seen as a network of young white men who’ve noticed that every other identity group in the country is being encouraged to band together to further its own interests at their expense, and responded by saying, “Okay, we can play that game too.” So far, you’ve got to admit, they’ve played it with verve.

That said, on the off chance that any devout worshippers of the great god Kek happen to be within earshot, I have a bit of advice that I hope will prove helpful. The next time you want to goad affluent American liberals into an all-out, fist-pounding, saliva-spraying Donald Duck meltdown, you don’t need the Jew-baiting, the misogyny, the racial slurs, and the rest of it.  All you have to do is call them on their class privilege. You’ll want to have the popcorn popped, buttered, and salted first, though, because if my experience is anything to go by, you’ll be enjoying a world-class hissy fit in seconds.

I’d also like to offer the rest of my readers another bit of advice that, again, I hope will prove helpful. As Donald Trump becomes the forty-fifth president of the United States and begins to push the agenda that got him into the White House, it may be useful to have a convenient way to sort through the mix of signals and noise from the opposition. When you hear people raising reasoned objections to Trump’s policies and appointments, odds are that you’re listening to the sort of thoughtful dissent that’s essential to any semblance of democracy, and it may be worth taking seriously. When you hear people criticizing Trump and his appointees for doing the same thing his rivals would have done, or his predecessors did, odds are that you’re getting the normal hypocrisy of partisan politics, and you can roll your eyes and stroll on.

But when you hear people shrieking that Donald Trump is the illegitimate result of a one-night stand between Ming the Merciless and Cruella de Vil, that he cackles in Russian while barbecuing babies on a bonfire, that everyone who voted for him must be a card-carrying Nazi who hates the human race, or whatever other bit of over-the-top hate speech happens to be fashionable among the chattering classes at the moment—why, then, dear reader, you’re hearing a phenomenon as omnipresent and unmentionable in today’s America as sex was in Victorian England. You’re hearing the voice of class bigotry: the hate that dare not speak its name.
I have to say I enjoyed this one. I have some serious problems with Trump, but I'm also fascinated to see what he does over the next four years - and I'm hopeful that some of it will live up to his better promises and improve this country. If he wants to normalize relations with Russia, start extracting us from the mess in Syria, implement some tariffs and trade barriers to encourage home-grown industry, bully corporations who are moving jobs overseas, and push through a big infrastructure bill--sign me up for all of that. I'll be thrilled. I don't trust him on health "care", despite the fact that I despise our current health insurance system, and I worry that he and Republicans are going to throw a number of people under the bus and cause a good deal of unnecessary pain both there and in other realms. But honestly, one of the things I'm fascinated to see is how he interacts with Congressional Republicans, who in many regards are pushing a VERY different agenda than him. Sometimes he seems to be going along with it, and then suddenly he pulls the rug out from under them. I find it compelling. Some of the reaction to the election has seemed completely over the top to me. The Russia nonsense is embarrassing and, I have to admit, slightly infuriating to me. Let's say that Russia did indeed conduct the DNC and Podesta hacking and released the documents purely to harm Clinton and help Trump. So? What's your point? This country has been jaunting all over the world for how many decades now undermining democracies, overthrowing governments, starting color revolutions, meddling in the affairs of any country we so desire to, and now that someone MAY have turned around and done a very mild version of the same to us, we've gone into complete meltdown hyperventilation mode and are screaming at the top of our lungs for blood. Are you kidding me? The hypocrisy is disgusting and contemptible. The level of propaganda that has emerged after this campaign is a mixture of hilarious and terrifying. Frankly, I'm sick of all of it. I'm pretty sure Trump is going to do some terrible things over the next four years. With luck, he'll also do some of the good things he's talked about doing and put in place some good people who would never stand a chance under a traditional administration. I'm pretty sure Congressional Republicans will attempt far worse than him; I'm popping some popcorn in anticipation of the fights between them and Trump. But I don't think all those actions are going to tear this country apart over the next four years - at least any more so than we've already been slated to tear ourselves apart. And the sheer hyperbole and terror of his term is bizarre to me. Just listen to the guy:  he's a narcissistic blowhard who talks a huge game in order to brilliantly manipulate the media and rally his supporters to his side, with some good ideas and some bad ones thrown in the mix, and who very consistently walks back the most extreme statements he makes and likely won't follow through on most of them to the rhetorical extremes he states them. That's a mix of unnerving and entertaining, but I don't find it terrifying, and I think the obsessive focus on worst case scenarios is weird and self-defeating (and also virtually guarantees an impotent opposition for him; if Democrats can't focus on winnable issues and instead play the "Trump is evil and we must scream about every breath he takes" game, they're going to lose, and badly). In addition to class bigotry, I think there's also a good share of mental breaks over the hit to the idea of progress. Believe me, I've talked to people who are all in on Obama and all out on Trump, and some of them have stated quite clearly their disillusionment at the break in their religious (progress) beliefs. They simply did not believe this could happen, they are trying to regain their footing, and the battle against Trump is essentially a religious one: the fight to put progress back in place. It's messy out there on the leftward end of things right now. But I'm still fascinating to see where this all goes. I just hope it doesn't go too far awry, because everything feels a little dangerous to me right now. (P.S. I hope you don't mind if I ask people to go check out the latest blog post at "Into the Ruins" and contribute their thoughts about what they plan to do in 2017 to help mitigate the many crises facing us. Contributions will be considered for printing in the fourth issue of the magazine as a letter to the editor. Also, I'm offering free shipping on issues of the magazine this month as well as discounts on issue bundles; click here for more, if you haven't already checked out the magazine or want to gift it to a friend or spread the word amongst potential readers.) 1/18/17, 3:52 PM 
Blogger Rita said... 
A member of a discussion group I am part of (we discuss each issue of "The New Yorker") actually used the phrase "those people" in reference to Trump supporters. I told her it was offensive and she responded "its meant to be." Then I reminded her that the term "those people" had been applied to the ethnic group she was part of and asked how that felt. No response. Splitting the working class by letting some have prosperity and labeling them middle class instead has worked very well for our elite. We are told over and over again that America is a middle class country. Part of this is based on rates of home ownership. But of course few actually own their homes, as mortgages take decades to pay off. And, I have noticed from commercials on the morning news show my mother watches, that the "use your home as a bank" meme is starting up again in ads for equity loans. Also seeing more ads for reverse mortgages. I figure that so long as you rely on a paycheck and will lose your home and car and security if that paycheck stops, you are working class. Even people who are highly paid tend to have insufficient savings or investments to weather a prolonged period without a job. I realize that this collapses your categories of wage vs. salary, but back in the 70s when Boeing was laying off employees it occurred to me that the engineers would end up in the same line for unemployment checks that the janitors stood in. So I don't think that earning enough to make payments on a car, a boat, a RV, etc. makes someone middle class. There are a few comments on lower class whites self-identifying as an ethnic group in the last chapters of _White Trash_, but the book was researched and written well before the current election. It mainly discusses such identification at the semi-serious, "proud to be a redneck" level. I just finished _The Year of Voting Dangerously_ by Maureen Dowd. Comprised of her columns on Hillary Clinton and on Donald Trump, some dating back to the 90s. A lot about Hillary's political faults, including her willingness to attack the women with whom Bill dallied, the mistakes she made with the plans for a health bill in the 90s, the disastrous demolition of the Libyan state, and the whole email thing. Also some columns quite critical of Obama's failures to step into the political fray and fight for the causes he advocated. Even things as simple and obvious as inviting Congress members to meals and events at the White House were neglected. I am frankly disgusted by those who act as though Obama has been the greatest president of our times. But I suppose it is impossible to criticize the first Black president without branding oneself a racist because his most vehement critics are genuinely racist. In a way the crazed racists have done him a favor.
1/18/17, 6:29 PM
Blogger Jason B said... 
While I agree with your analysis of the history of the left in US politics, I wonder why you don't introduce statistics showing that the average Trump voter makes more than the average HRC voter (in order to counter those arguments). Based on my small sampling of Trump supporters, they seem generally to be of white and middle class stock. How does your analysis square with this, for instance: Also, it does seem that Trump's cabinet appointments might be a bit more outrageous than would HRC's picks. Steve Mnuchin, for example, has strong ties to George Soros. I suspect that the potential outrage from the right, were HRC to nominate someone of his ilk, might dissuade her from doing so. I saw a good interview on this subject on the Corbett Report with the interviewee being Micheal Krieger from Liberty Blitzkrieg. I guess if anyone's interested they should google it. You're really doubling down here JMG. I've heard from a few 'people of color' now who are just flat out innervated by the divisive tone that Trump constantly sets forth with. He certainly seems to be sending strong signals not so much to working class voters but to middle and upper middle class white voters who might have moved to gated communities to escape the rabble. I am related to people like that (upper middle class white gated community Trump supporters), and to working class folk in flyover country who say they would never ever have voted for someone like Trump. I guess we just hold differing realities.
1/18/17, 6:31 PM
Blogger J. Gamer said... 
Thanks for the laughs tonight John Michael. Bludgeoned about the head and shoulders indeed. Personally, I’m finding myself more and more sandwiched between the sparring factions. Members of my fairly well-to-do family and more than a handful of friends from university become apoplectic whenever I start to question the current narrative that the Russians tipped the election. On the other side of the coin, I have a number of ‘working class’ co-workers whose dander is raised more than a little whenever I start critiquing several of Trump’s appointees. The chips on their shoulders become visible from miles away. 
1/18/17, 6:36 PM
Blogger Unknown said... 
Excellent post as always JMG, The topic of class bigotry makes me question whatever happened to the concept of noblesse oblige. It seems like somewhere along the line, the American elite stopped seeing the middle and lower classes as their fellow citizens that they had some level of obligation to lead and help("with great power comes great responsibility.") I wonder if it is just a consequence of the old-school WASP power class who were homegrown in America for the most part being replaced by a rootless global elite that views countries as temporary bases of operation rather than as homes to be protected and bettered. Perhaps this explains some of the Donald's success, as he does a good job of projecting the image of the elite from a century ago that at least the older generations of the working class still have memory of.
1/18/17, 6:37 PM
Major Shifts in Consciousness Observed Throughout the Animal Kingdom

Smart Dust Is Here

So, at least we've got that.