Do you realize what you’ve done?

 

This obsession with Russia-gate among our liberal elites is absolutely bizarre. I lived through the later part of the Cold War, when President Reagan labeled the Soviet Union the “evil empire,” and I don’t recall this level of anti-Russian hysteria ever.

I believe that the ideology of American-exceptionalism, or more precisely, the notion that the U.S. believes it can intervene militarily anywhere in the world because it is spreading peace and democracy, is driving Russia-gate. If we’re honest, Trump is not any different from previous presidents. What’s different is that Trump’s proposals to end US regime-change policies have violated the tenets of this ideology.

Trump’s heresy particularly outrages liberals because, unlike their hero Obama, he makes it impossible to pretend that the US is a liberal democracy. They’ve also seized upon the idea that liberal supporters of “western civilization” should eschew any sort of reconciliation between the US and Russia because Trump and Putin represent authoritarian regimes. This is followed by the argument that the U.S. represents western civilization because of commitments to international agreements, regional organizations and specific allies and partners, and, most importantly, the tenets of liberal internationalism.

Set aside the dangers of a nuclear conflagration and the end of the world as we know it and focus on the logic behind this premise; that western civilization led by the US is a force for good, protecting liberal values, while Russia, led by Vladimir Putin is an evil authoritarian regime bent on world conquest.

After everything we’ve seen this century, I’m dumbstruck that anyone can make this argument. After all the death and destruction, does anyone still believe that the US is an upholder of liberal values?

Apparently.

I’ll focus on one example–Syria–to show how deceived we’ve become with regards to good and evil.

In Syria, we’ve been beset by images of children and civilians in the throes of agony because of Bashar Assad and his diabolical chemical-weapons and dastardly barrel-bombs. Syria has been condemned in the west for the bombing of civilian areas, and video footage by the White Helmets has provided constant images of dead and wounded men, women and children. And Russia, who intervened on the side of Assad and the Syrian government in 2015, is depicted as the contributor and held responsible for the savage attacks on helpless civilians.

But how much of this is true?

After 7 years of brutal fighting, the Syrian regime aided by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have largely triumphed and the actual facts and history are coming to light. What they show is that despite the ongoing “war on terror”, the US was using the same Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 to affect regime change in Syria. US planners have been fighting what the New York Times described as a “$1 Billion Secret C.I.A. War in Syria” while providing weapons to rebels through a program considered “one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A.” And, these “rebels” were Sunni-terrorists, Al Nusra (the official branch of Al Qaeda in Syria).

Because the US invasion of Iraq strengthened Iran, US planners welcomed rebel gains in Syria, including by rebel groups such as Al Nusra, who advocated genocide against Syria’s Alawite population, because these gains bolstered the broader US goal of toppling the Syrian government, in an effort to weaken its close allies, Iran and Hezbollah. US planners wished to see rebel gains in Syria, in spite of the obviously catastrophic consequences for Syrian civilians, including for Syria’s Sunnis, which rebel success would bring.

US support wasn’t limited to Al Nusra. At the same time that the world was recoiling from the head-chopping savagery of ISIS, the US was secretly aiding their escalations. The US preference for ISIS was explained by Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry shockingly admitted that US planners actually welcomed the ISIS push toward Damascus, which they felt they could leverage to put pressure on Assad to give up power to the US-backed opposition. The Syrian capital was on the verge of falling to the Islamic State (ISIS) in the summer of 2015 after ISIS, with the help of Al Nusra, captured all of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in the southern Damascus suburbs. Had Damascus fallen to ISIS, it is clear that many civilians in the city, including Christians, Alawites, Shiites, members of the LGBTQ community, and pro-government Sunnis, would have been killed.

Indeed, there was a long running US covert operation to use Al Nusra and other Sunni-terrorists to commit genocide and sectarian mass-murder in Syrian. This was clearly evident in the Syrian city of Latakia, which by the time of the Russian intervention in October 2015 was on the verge of falling to a coalition of Syrian rebel groups including Al Nusra and the US-armed and funded Free Syrian Army (FSA). Latakia has long been one of Syria’s safe zones, well defended by the army and its militias; there are tent cities full of people who have fled other parts of the country, including thousands from Aleppo. But in the summer of 2015, the rebels were closing in on the city limits, and mortars and rockets were falling downtown. If the rebels had captured the area — where Alawites are the majority — a result would almost certainly have been catastrophic. Robert Worth of the New York Times writes that “In Latakia, some people told me that their city might have been destroyed if not for the Russians.”

When Russia intervened militarily in Syria in October 2015, US planners responded by immediately increasing shipments of TOW anti-tank missiles to FSA groups, some of which then helped Al Nusra capture the strategic town of Murek in central Syria one month later in November 2015.

Obama administration officials themselves acknowledged tacit US support for Al Qaeda, admitting in November 2016 to the Washington Post that they had struck “a deal with the devil,” years before, “whereby the United States largely held its fire against Al Nusra because the group was popular with Syrians in rebel-controlled areas and furthered the U.S. goal of putting military pressure on Assad,” thereby confirming long standing Russian accusations that the US had been “sheltering Al Qaeda.”

What would have happened if the Russians hadn’t intervened?

Can you say Libya?

If the Sunni-terrorists, led by Al Qaeda and ISIS had prevailed in Syria there would have been massacres of Shiites, Christians, Kurds, Sunni supporters of the regime, and anyone who didn’t convert.

Lots of head chopping.

It would have been a bloodbath, but the neocons, liberal interventionists, and Zionists would have been gleeful. Hillary, or another of the bloodthirsty cohort would have been on CNN saying something like–we came we saw, he died! Syria would have been another failed state, weak and helpless exactly like the Yinon Plan envisioned, and millions more refugees would have flooded into Europe.

Going further, US support for the terrorists in Syria belies the myth of US benevolent liberal intervention, and the myth that any US intervention would be for the sake of preventing massacres and even genocide, rather than in support of it.

Tell me again how the US is a force for good?

To be fair, Bashar Assad is a dictator who’s responsible for terrible crimes, and there are numerous Syrian civilians who have legitimately protested the regime. However, these are not the people we’ve supported in our quest for regime change, a quest that dates back to 1949, by the way. No, the rebels that the US and its Gulf State allies have supported have been the Sunni-terrorists like Al Qaeda and ISIS. The number one reason is simple: Sunni-terrorists make great fighters. A close second is the fact that Sunni-terrorists can be proxies, or, if need be, patsies. This dynamic was on display in Syria, when after unleashing ISIS to affect regime change, the US turned around and used the threat of ISIS as a way to intervene in Syria.

I know. Just when you’ve hit peak cynicism there’s always another level of depravity.

In an amazing bit of synchronicity, the mastermind of this diabolical covert operation, code named Timber Sycamore, was none other that John Brennan, former CIA chief and current “Resistance” hero. Lately, Brennan has been all over TV calling Trump a traitor.

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but that’s a pretty amazing work of projection. The fucking guy who oversaw a covert operation to overthrow a foreign government, using the same terrorist outfit who flew planes into the twin towers, is calling Trump a traitor?

The Russian intervention in Syria prevented this horrific outcome for Syrians of all ethnic and religious identities, despite the best efforts of US planners to achieve the regime change they had hoped for.

Does Russia-gate make a little more sense now?

The corporate media ignored it but in a speech before the UN, Putin called out the west for its hypocrisy in supporting terrorists to affect regime change despite its professed “war on terror.” He asked–“Do you realize what you’ve done?”

 

 

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Give peace a chance

 

Who knew that peace was so threatening?

This headline from the British tabloid–The Times–perfectly encapsulates the frightening sentiment: “Fears grow over prospect of Trump ‘peace deal’ with Putin”.

Other headlines include– Trump hopes he and Putin will get along. Russia experts worry they will by the Washington Post, and Trump Will Finally Meet With Putin Next Month. That Should Terrify You by Mother Jones.

This follows a familiar pattern. A sizable cross-section of Americans believe that Russia poses an imminent threat and that Trump owes his presidency to Putin’s collusion because they have been told this repeatedly by the corporate media.

The Democrats, who have for decades posed as the party of peace and reconciliation, provided further proof that it was all just an act.

“Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy. President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. And, here’s Nancy Pelosi. “Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin.”

Since we have a bi-partisan congressional military/industrial/complex the Republicans lost little time getting into the act.

“I think the president should listen to his security council and our secretary of Defense and our NATO allies on anything of substance dealing with the U.S. military posture. We’ve got to be careful, we’ve got to be strong,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently led a congressional delegation to Russia.

In a predictably timed move, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on various charges of conspiracy against the US, days before Trump’s summit with Putin, charges Mueller has been sitting on for months.

The Mueller indictments offered no proof of the claims but at this point it’s become obvious that facts are of no concern to the always-war Beltway crowd. The facts are also of little importance to the corporate media, which endlessly repeats the lie that Russian interference in the 2016 election was confirmed by the entire intelligence community.

That account is what we in the reality based community call a lie.

Former ambassador Jack Matlock, says that, “In fact, the U.S. “intelligence community” has not done so. The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as “proof” of “Russian interference.”

Instead, on Jan. 6, 2017, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released an evidence-free report that was compiled by “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA, offering an “assessment” that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of the Democratic e-mails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency.

In my opinion, Russia-gate has always been intended to prevent Trump from pursuing detente with nuclear-armed Russia. It’s also been used as a cudgel to force Trump to maintain the NATA alliance that largely serves as a way to market US weapons to newly minted Eastern European NATO clients.

In fact, the eastward expansion of NATO after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, is a big part of  Russian actions that our corporate media describe as Russian expansion. NATO’s continued existence — and, in fact, its expansion — has mostly served to resuscitate the very issue it was created to solve: Russian aggression. According to declassified documents, both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were repeatedly assured by the first Bush and Clinton administrations, respectively, that NATO wouldn’t expand eastward, something Russians viewed as unacceptable.

Of course, US officials lied then, just as they are lying about the dangers of Trump’s summit with Putin now. It’s what they do.

Indeed, there are many reasons the bipartisan US establishment hates Trump. His heresies from neoliberal orthodoxies on immigration and trade are prominent. But top among them is his oft-stated intention to improve relations with Russia.

US reconciliation with Russia would yank the rug out from under the phony justifications for spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually to counter a threat that ceased to exist over a quarter century ago. That’s why when it was reported soon after his January 2017 inauguration that Trump was seeking to open dialogue with the Kremlin and set an early summit with Putin there was a hysterical counteraction. In this context, the Democratic Party-led Russia-gate appears to have been used not only to explain away Clinton’s defeat but to stop Trump — possibly via impeachment or by inflicting severe political damage — because he talks about cooperation with Russia.

That kind of talk is seditious to the deep state, where war truly is the health of the state.

Look, I’m not a Trump supporter. But if he proposes a good policy, like improved relations with nuclear-armed Russia, I’m all for it. If your hatred of Trump has clouded this essential point, then you, dear reader, are a threat to our species.

Remember kids, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and peace is treason.

Update: Caitlin’s right.

“I’ve been writing about Russiagate since it started, and I can honestly say this is the worst it’s ever been, by far. The most hysterical, the most shrill, the most emotional, the most cartoonishly over-the-top and hyperbolic. The fact that Trump met with Putin in private and then publicly expressed doubt about the establishment Russia narrative has sent some political factions of America into an emotional state that is indistinguishable from what you’d expect if Russia had bombed New York City.”

 

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Double-Truth

 

I know it’s hard to turn away from the ongoing dumpster fire that is the Trump administration but it’s imperative to understand how we got here.

Can you say neoliberalism?

The neoliberals first gathered at Mont Pelerin, circa 1947, in the aftermath of the Great Depression, and implementation of the New Deal. These right-wing economists, led by Friedrich Hayek, plotted to regain the the intellectual initiative after being relegated to the sidelines by  FDR, and the economic philosophies of John Maynard Keynes. After 70 years of dedicated work, employing a collection of affiliated think-tanks, neoliberal economic departments, astro-turf operations, and lavish amounts of funding, it’s clear that their efforts have won the day.

Trump is the latest indicator, even if he wasn’t the neoliberals first choice.

Indeed, it’s increasingly obvious that we’re under a bipartisan neoliberal regime: a marriage of governmental and corporate interests, pretending to be a democratic republic. In the process, neoliberalism has become ubiquitous, advancing into every aspect of our lives, economically, culturally, and politically. It’s like the air we breath.

To me it’s clear that the neoliberals have been successful largely because of their doctrine of double-truth, where there’s an esoteric truth for the neoliberal elite and an exoteric one for the rest of us, who are encouraged to be ignorant. Since this is America, where the neoliberals, along with their conservative allies, have waged a 40 year campaign against public education, this ignorance is baked in.

In Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, economic/historian Philip Mirowski, says that double-truth allows the neoliberals to have their cake and eat it too. For example, the neoliberals preach that the market is the unforgiving arbiter of all political action; “but they absolve themselves from its rule.” They wax poetic about libertarian freedom but maintain a regimented hierarchy in their own political organizations. They endlessly sermonize about a spontaneous economic order, while seizing the state. And, now that they’ve taken over the state, they’ve elevated the sacred “market” as a site of truth for everyone except themselves.

A key component of double-truth is a tactic we’ve talked about before: agnotology. Agnotology is the deliberate sowing of doubt, confusion and ignorance. It’s the intentional manufacture of doubt and uncertainty in the general populace for specific political motives. Agnotology is very different from propaganda, where rather than emanating from  Big Brother, agnotology is a set of market based procedures. It situates the manufacture of doubt in the professions of advertising and public relations with help from think tanks and lobbying firms.

Think of the campaigns by the cigarette companies to cast uncertainty over the health effects of smoking, or the efforts by the Koch brothers to cloud the consensus over global warming.

This being America, where historical knowledge and perspective are in short supply, the agnotology efforts have been amazingly successful, as our recent history has convincingly demonstrated. Ask yourself why no one has been held accountable and there’s been no changes made to our neoliberal economic arrangement 10 years after the Wall Street Crash?

The 2008 economic meltdown was comparable to the stock market failure of 1929 that brought about FDR and the New Deal. After the 2008 crash, instead of the Pecora Commission, nationalization of banks, and prison time for the perpetrators, we got Barak Obama, the first bank president. In fact, Obama’s role was to prevent the changes that voters hoped to see, and indeed that the economy needed to recover: financial reform, debt writedowns to bring junk mortgages in line with fair market prices, and throwing crooked bankers in jail. Obama rescued the banks, not the economy, and turned over the Justice Department and regulatory agencies to his Wall Street campaign contributors.

Not only did Obama save the banks, but under the guidance of neoliberals like Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke, the toxic mortgage-backed-securities of Wall Street that caused the crash were transferred onto the federal governments balance sheet burdening us with the debt while leaving the profits of the banks in private hands.

Since then we’ve had a chorus of voices, (think the Tea Party), denouncing government debt, and loudly calling for austerity, which has resulted in fire sales of government assets, firing unionized state employees and crude attempts to lower wages and renege on pensions.

You almost have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the neoliberals and their fellow travelers. With their strategic deployment of agnotology, coupled with Americans dim understanding of the events, the story turned out to have a familiar narrative–it’s all the fault of government. Even Obama, our progressive, community-organizer, president played along, lecturing us that the US government is just like a household and in response to the mountains of debt foisted upon us by Wall Street, we all needed to tighten our belts.

You can’t make this shit up.

Now I have to ask. Faced with the overwhelming power of neoliberalism, is resistance even possible? Is there really no alternative?

As I see it, if the neoliberals can use double-truth, then so can we. If they can treat laws as arbitrary then so can we. If their mantra is there is no society, only the market, then ours should be–Fuck-you! I won’t do what you tell me.

Of course there is a society. We just need to get busy building and fortifying it.

Here’s how.

 

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A Madness to the Method

 

A wise man said that the purpose of a nation is to build unity and deconstruct division.

That doesn’t describe our country, does it?

No, we’ve become a nation of the haves and have nots, riven by false partisan conflict. Team Red vs Team Blue.

Especially in the age of Trump. Since the election, liberals have lost their minds, depicting Trump as some sort of immaculate evil who came out of nowhere. However, Trump has simply tapped into the hatred that huge segments of the American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them.

Contrary to neoliberal propaganda we don’t have free markets, but we do have a billionaire-class that owns the government. What that means is that we have a capitalism without free markets that doesn’t provide the benefits of capitalism, and a democracy which has been captured by oligarchy which doesn’t provide the benefits of democracy.

Going further, the rewards showered upon society’s handful of winners have grown astronomically greater, while the rest of us are battered by austerity. The outcome is exactly what anyone would expect: people will do anything to be among the winners.

This poisonous morality has created a race to the bottom, where the billionaire-class argues that we can’t have fair financial markets, or worker safety, or clean air, or water, if we want to be rich. The only way that we can become wealthy is to get on board with their agenda, and subsume their values.

Examining the political parties and the interests they represent in this milieu is instructive.

The Republicans, if anything, are more honest. They make no bones about their unwavering support for the wealthy and corporations they own. They straight-up support plutocracy and yearn to return to the Lochner era of the early 20th century.

The Democrats pretend to support workers and claim to value diversity, but it’s all an act. They too support plutocracy. After all, they are neoliberals, where they believe that markets, rather than the demos is sacrosanct. And, since neoliberalism is predicated upon intervention to bring about the types of government and markets that the neoliberals believe are necessary for the success of capitalism, the Democrats have been busy. Rather than treating inequality as a bug, they believe that the plutocrats are the winners and urge the losers to up their game through education and re-training. We’re admonished to burnish our human-capital so that we can compete in the market.

To differentiate themselves from Republicans, the Democrats tout their commitment to identity politics. However, their support of identity politics sure seems insincere.  The Democrats care about identity politics–supporting more women, people of color and LGBT candidates–only when it doesn’t interfere with their embrace of neoliberalism and plutocracy, as the 2018 primary elections between progressives and establishment candidates bears out.

What’s so funny about the whole phony team red vs team blue partisanship is that it’s all kayfabe, where both parties support plutocracy, while dividing the electorate into rival camps, while their wealthy backers whistle all the way to the bank.

What’s not so funny is that the rhetoric is getting dangerously out of control, with partisans threatening violence.

However, this is a dangerous game.

It’s also a false read on our nations serious problems to put all of the blame on Trump and his supporters.

Genuine resistance is admitting and confronting our root problems which are deeply engrained and systemic. It means coming to terms with the fact that both parties support the plutocrats. It means accepting that Obama presided over George W. Bush’s third and forth terms and Trump is presiding over the fifth.

Obama’s terrible policies were deserving of intense criticism as are Trump’s, but thinking that merely switching out the  president is going to magically fix our problems is deranged.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mittens ‘R’ Us

 

I wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper expressing my surprise that they haven’t connected the bankruptcy of Toys ‘R’ Us with Mitt Romney, the man who’s poised to become our next senator. Mittens, as I like to call him, made his millions at Bain Capital, the private equity company at the heart of the Toys ‘R’ Us bankruptcy story

Don’t get me wrong, I fully comprehend the political economy of the mass media having read Manufacturing Consent, where Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman lay out a propaganda model of the corporate media. In light of their bias toward capital, it would be out of character for them to protest the “creative destruction” of a toy company. If anything, they would depict it as the unfortunate but inevitable risk of modern financial capitalism.

Still, it’s hard to believe that in a state that claims to value families and children the saga of a well known toy company that was driven into bankruptcy and who’s employees lost their pensions in the process would not be newsworthy. In other parts of the country the shocking and tragic bankruptcy has been noteworthy, while even congress has gotten involved. Perhaps the fact that Toy ‘R’ Us is stiffing workers on their severance, after petitioning the bankruptcy court in September to pay executives $20 million in incentive bonuses, was too obvious a case of looting to ignore.

A story in The Week,How vulture capitalists ate Toys ‘R’ Us,” recapped the slow strangulation under too much debt, after Bain, KKR, and Vornado bought the company in 2004 for $6 billion, with only $1.2 billion of that in equity:

“Whatever magic Bain, KKR, and Vornado were supposed to work never materialized. From the purchase in 2004 through 2016, the company’s sales never rose much above $11 billion. They actually fell from $13.5 billion in 2013 back to $11.5 billion in 2017.

On its own, that shouldn’t have been catastrophic. The problem was the massive financial albatross the leveraged buyout left around Toys ‘R’ Us’ neck…

In other words, if Bain, KKR, and Vornado had never come along, Toys ‘R’ Us wouldn’t be doing stellar, but it probably could’ve muddled through. As recently as last year, the company still accounted  for 20 percent of all U.S. toy sales.”

And, USA Today featured an op ed by Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Congressman whose district included the company’s headquarters for 16 years: Amazon didn’t kill Toys R Us, greedy Wall Street profiteers did it.

Today Mittens won the Republican primary election, all but guaranteeing him a senate seat in red-state Utah come November. In his victory speech, Mittens lectured us about the evils of debt. “The country should live within its means.”

Ha, ha. That’s pretty rich coming from Mittens. Shameless doesn’t even come close to describing the vast hypocrisy. Rolling Stone’s gonzo journalist, Matt Taibbi, well describes how Mittens made his millions in an article that Utah journalists should be familiar with, but, of course, are not.

“And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.”

Americans are unaware of Mittens backstory because the corporate media maintains a discrete silence about this dark underbelly of our “new economy.” All the supposedly adversarial paper, The Salt Lake Tribune, was concerned with was what role Romney might play in regards to President Trump. Would he be, “a counterpoint or a cheerleader?” This follows a familiar pattern. They’ve been running a series of clueless articles wondering why Trump won the 2016 election, and why Utah’s continue to support him.

In my opinion, Trump won because elites like Mittens pretend to be moral counterpoints to the president, while in reality they’re both criminals who’ve looted the republic under the watchful eye of the corporate media. Trump also won because of the behavior of the so-called opposition party. Obama ran on a platform of Hope and Change but delivered neither. Instead he bailed out the bankers who destroyed the economy, while turfing millions of Americans out of their homes.

Many Americans may not comprehend all of the intricate details of the vast looting operation but they understand that their lives have gotten worse and the realize that the lives of their children will be worse still.

If we lived in a just society a con-man like Mittens would be in prison rather than poised to win a senate seat.

Is this a great country, or what?

 

 

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Look Around

 

The US has been at war since 9/11. First Bush, then Obama, now Trump, waging forever war.

With all the outrage directed at the Trump Administration’s actions at the border it’s like Americans have developed amnesia about our forever wars and the blowback that’s incurred.

Wake the fuck-up and look around. Bombing families and children with drones and murdering them with death squads is way more evil than separating them.

It’s time to be outraged at what our government is doing in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Venezuala, and Honduras.

Yes, Honduras. Where do you think those refugees at the border are coming from? Our Nobel-Peace-Prize president, Barak Obama, with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, green-lighted a coup in Honduras back in 2009, that brought  a vicious right-wing junta to power. The junta put an end to land reform and efforts to raise living standards, employing death-squads and criminal gangs to drive the process. All this was strongly encouraged by US corporations, who benefit from the low wage hell-hole that Honduras has returned to. The result has been an exodus of Hondurans who are desperately seeking a new life in the US.

So yeah, be outraged at what’s going on at our southern border, but put this outrage into some context.

Perversely, we should be thankful for our schizophrenic president. Under Trump’s watch the contradictions of late stage imperial capitalism, with the emphasis on constant war and financialization, are becoming both much more intense, and more obvious. And that’s scaring the hell out of our sociopathic elite.

Trump’s recent actions include: threatening to withdraw from NAFTA, potentially disrupting US multi-national supply chains; angering European allies with his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and insistence on Russian inclusion in the G7 summit; overturning 70 years of US bellicose foreign policy towards North Korea, in the process trashing the whole neocon Axis of Evil formulation.

Trump’s surprise election threw the corporate media, the military-industrial complex, and the intelligence agencies into a panic as they confronted a crisis of legitimacy. Now firmly aligned with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, their response was to pre-empt Trump’s threatened rapprochement with Russia with insinuations of treason. In the process they have further delegitimized virtually every U.S. institution, all the while blaming Vladimir Putin.

Furthermore, it’s like our whole country has gone crazy since Trump was elected. For example, we get tweets like this from former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh: “America is the brightest, most benevolent nation on earth. North Korea is the darkest, most horrific regime on Earth. We just gave them equal billing. We just sat at a table with them. There had better be something really, really good coming in return.”

Ha, ha. That’s funny. Ole Joe might believe that shit, but a lot of Americans are starting to ask questions.

For starters, why is America locked into forever war?

In my opinion, the forever war continues because it’s profitable for the the sociopathic elite and corporations that control our country. You know, the deep state, which should be thought of as the military/industrial/complex, the financial sector, Silicon Valley, and the corporate media.

Never forget that a mere 6 companies control 90% of the media in the U.S. Guess who runs these mega media corporations? That’s right. The same sociopathic elite who closely coordinate with government agencies like the NSA, CIA, Pentagon and DHS. Can you say Jeff Bezos?

Our reality is shaped by the corporate media narrative, but what the media presents is often determined by the complex reality of empire rather than by the factual evidence. In fact, there’s a systematic use of lies, plots and conspiracies to maintain our sociopathic elite power. For example: In Syria, the US accused Damascus of using poisonous gas against its own people in order to justify the US cruise missile attacks. In Libya, Obama and Hillary Clinton claimed President Gaddafi distributed Viagra to his armed forced to rape innocent civilians, precipitating the US-EU bombing of the country and rape and murder of President Gaddafi.

I suspect that many Americans have had this uneasy feeling for decades that despite their voting and petitioning governmental representatives, nothing seems to get better for non-rich people. Social services never get better. Wages never go up. Corporations do whatever they want. Criminals who are wealthy and connected never go to jail.

The wars go on and on.

So, yeah, look around and get mad. The only way to stop the madness is when Americans show up in the streets to demand an end to the forever wars.

 

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Is that all there is?

 

Gazing around our world it’s clear that neoliberalism has narrowed the possibilities.

Is that all there is?

Massive student debts, opioid addiction, homelessness and suicides. An economy based largely on scams and fraud, that leaves the vast majority of Americans poorer. Indeed, thanks to our pay-to-play political process, Wall Street was allowed to create an epidemic of mortgage backed security fraud that foreclosed the American-Dream for millions of our neighbors, while the bankers walked away with billions. In hindsight, it’s obvious that Barak Obama was elected precisely to not prosecute Wall Street.

Despite all the happy-talk by the corporate media about the surging economy, many American workers eke out a precarious existence. Just to make sure that there’s no confusion, CEO’s recently proclaimed that there will never be a raise again.

If you are fortunate to have a good, well paying job, your company could be taken over by Bain Capital and saddled with enormous amounts of debt so that the hedge fund guys can walk away with millions, while you’re kicked to the curb.

And if finding gainful employment with benefits wasn’t torturous enough, Silicon Valley wonder kids are promising a future of robots.

Jesus-fucking-Christ!

I believe that Trump won the 2016 election because of this narrowing of options for average Americans. He also won because of so-called free-trade deals that favor corporations and investors over workers. If you will recall Trump ran to the left of Clinton with his vociferous criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and NAFTA. Now, to give the devil his due, he’s right to demand a sunset clause for NAFTA.

Right now the sociopathic elite that control our country are doubling down on the same neoliberal economic policies while stepping up their censorship of counter narratives. With the loss of their favored candidate–Hillary Clinton–and the general mood of rebellion, epitomized by the teachers strikes, they realize that internet censorship is necessary for their continues domination of American society.

Meanwhile, the political party that’s traditionally represented workers believes that it’s your own fault for not getting enough education or training, or having the right skill set, or maximizing your unique “human capital.”

You’d think that in this “marketplace of ideas,” a political party would arise to meet the demand for an economy that works for the rest of us.

In my opinion, the last two elections we’ve witnessed this demand. With Obama and now Trump, Americans are searching desperately for any alternative. However, instead what they get is more of the same.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I do not see meaningful reform coming until the status quo in American party politics is repudiated and renewed again with a more democratic focus on people.

Our sociopathic elite will not go easily into the good night. The powerful, those who built and have been fabulously rewarded by the current system, will oppose any threat to their exorbitant privilege, which they see as perfectly justified and fully well-deserved by their education and hard work, never mind the sheer capriciousness of life.

Reading the business press, I’ve come to believe that the end game is autonomous robots, where the sociopathic elite can simply rule by force with no need for the messy manufacture of consent required.

We need to get busy. We don’t have much time.

 

 

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