Monday, March 27, 2017

Democratic Party's Golf Cart of Doom

If Hillary Clinton is still wondering why she lost, she should look no further than the Washington Post op-ed recently penned by former aide Jennifer Palmieri.  This sermon is what the establishment wing of the Democratic Party believes will help to inspire the millions of struggling Americans who desperately seek some relief in their short, brutish, and nasty lives:
 At the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last summer, Jake Sullivan and I took to our golf carts one afternoon to make the rounds of the television networks’ tents in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center. It is standard for presidential campaign staffers to brief networks on what to expect during that night’s session. But on this day, we were on a mission to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.
There are three things in this gripping lead paragraph guaranteed to make the reader stop and grip the nearest bottle of antacids:

1. Rather than trudge a few hundred yards around the parking lot like mere sweating mortals, Hillary's minions drove around in golf carts.

2. The reader is needlessly reminded that the Democrats held their closed convention in a venue owned and named for one of the most corrupt, bailed-out financial institutions ever created to be too big to fail and too big to jail. Why even bring up Wells Fargo, which has such a nasty history of ripping off the very same Americans whom the Democratic Party is ostensibly trying to woo back into the tent? (Hint: they love and need Wells Fargo more than they need average voters.)

3. Palmieri oafishly admits that she was trying to dictate the news and plant a story. She makes no attempt to hide the collusion which normally exists within the media-political complex. She complains that the rightly distrusted mainstream media fell down on its job to disseminate propaganda in the corporate Clintonoid interest.  It's all the media's fault that they didn't come through for Hillary back when it counted, despite lack of evidence of any actual Russian "hack."

Hillary Clinton's communications director didn't think it was in her job description to ride her golf cart around to the network booths in order to talk about such policy ideas as health care and free state college tuition. She was in such a bubble that she assumed that the anxious viewers at home would be more in tune with palace intrigue than with how her Anointed One planned to solve problems in their own everyday lives.

And thus does Jennifer Palmieri proceed to cast some of the blame for her party's loss on the millions of struggling people who were far too distracted by their own problems and not focused enough on Hillary's. Her op-ed blathers on:
 Voters didn’t seem worried. Earlier that week, our campaign manager, Robby Mook, was mocked for telling CNN that the leak of stolen emails before our convention was an indication that Russia was trying to help Trump. We did not know, as FBI Director James B. Comey told Congress this past week, that the bureau had already opened an investigation into Russian interference — and into possible links between Trump’s associates and the Russian government, including whether they worked together on his behalf.
Thanks a lot, Obama. Thanks a lot, Comey. Thanks a lot, Deplorables.

But it's never too late to start World War III with Russia, voters! As Palmieri admonished us earlier this year, we mustn't let the Resistance to Trump be sucked up by such mundane concerns as a living wage and universal health care. The resistance is all about defending ourselves against Russian invaders and vindicating Hillary Clinton, just lately re-emerged from her Brothers Grimm part of the forest.
Now that Trump is president, though, the stakes are higher, because the Russian plot succeeded. The lessons we campaign officials learned in trying to turn the Russia story against Trump can help other Democrats  (and all Americans) figure out how to treat this interference no longer as a matter of electoral politics but as the threat to the republic that it really is.
No, the normally reliable mainstream media tented up in the Wells Fargo parking lot didn't pay enough attention to Golf Cart Jen when they still could have saved the Republic. And now, as a direct result of that failure, Trump is president. But who's to say that other corporate Democrats can't cash in on the manufactured hysteria? Since identity politics and attacks against deplorable Trump voters didn't elevate Democratic fortunes, perhaps the relentless fomenting of fear and panic will do the trick.

As someone who worked in the pathologically secretive Obama administration, Palmieri purports to be pleasantly shocked at how swiftly some normally close-mouthed security state types have been willing to go public with the anti-Russia party narrative. Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell, for instance, actually went on TV to sound the public alarm during the campaign. Palmieri fails to mention in her op-ed that Morell was also in line to become Clinton's CIA director, and openly advocated for all-out war in Syria.
I remember my jaw dropping as I sat in our Brooklyn campaign headquarters and read the op-ed Morell submitted to the New York Times in early August, in which he shared his view that Russia had probably undertaken an effort to “recruit” Trump and that the Republican nominee had become an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
Whether her jaw dropped at the evidence-free charges, or whether it dropped because the CIA normally hides its political motivations as it orchestrates coups  and meddles in foreign elections, Jennifer Palmieri does not say. But it was so totally awesome that everybody else was as slack-jawed with wonder as she was.

Were it not for the spectacle of Hillary dredging up an old insult that Trump had aimed at a former Miss Universe, we the people would have paid more attention to RussiaGate. Besides, everybody thought Hillary would win.

So poor Jennifer Palmieri says she was stuck in a Catch-22 situation. How on earth to make the stupid voters take a paranoid and contrived narrative like RussiaGate as seriously as she did? Like Milo Minderbinder in the Joseph Heller novel, perhaps she "could see more things than most people, but could see none of them too distinctly."
We didn’t want her to talk too much about Russia because it wasn’t what voters were telling us they cared about — and, frankly, it sounded kind of wacky. At the same time, we understood the issue would never rise to the front of voters’ minds if we weren’t driving attention to it. It was already pretty clear they weren’t going to hear much about it in the press.
Thanks a lot, Comey. Thanks a lot, Obama. Thanks a lot, press. You left Hillary and Golf Cart Jen twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

And even now, millions and millions of dumb Americans are not paying sufficient attention to the Russian takeover of their government. Trump's mundane outrages -- like the attempted destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the stuffing of the White House with some of the same financial institutions as Clinton and Obama -- are taking valuable attention away from what really matters: starting a war with Russia. Therefore, Jennifer Palmieri is going to work her heart out to convince dumb Americans to develop the acceptable and preferred kind of fear and dread that not only has always made our nation exceptional, but also has the potential to sweep more Democrats in to office in the midterms and beyond.
In another era, Americans would have been able to count on both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to stand up to this kind of threat. A lot of Democrats like to play the “If we were Republicans” game. I usually hate it; I don’t want to behave like the Republicans do. But it’s useful here. If Clinton had won with the help of the Russians, the Republicans would have impeachment proceedings underway for treason. No doubt. Instead, dealing with Russia falls nearly solely on Democrats’ shoulders.
It is very painful to be a liberal who has to come clean on one's own greed and bloodthirstiness and brutality. But that is what sometimes has to happen in the topsy-turvy world of the Duopoly. Even communications experts like Jennifer Palmieri occasionally have to communicate the distasteful truth that her prime allegiance is to the oligarchic war machine. Donald Trump simply cannot be allowed to grab more than his fair share of the booty.

What more can a liberal communications guru do but morph into Joseph Goebbels and tell a major major major lie often enough so that eventually, every last one of those dumb Americans will come to believe it?
But Democrats can break out of the Catch-22 of the campaign: If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us.
That was actually a pretty stupid thing for such a savvy PR flack to admit. This op-ed could be a case study in how not to subtly manufacture public consent. She very publicly discloses the neoliberal strategy designed to literally hound us into a state of abject submission. She very liberally promises that Democratic Party functionaries will talk about nothing but Russia in every one of their TV appearances. Russia is more important than a living wage, Medicare for All, restoration of Glass-Steagall and a tax on high speed trades, stopping the obscene control wielded by a few billionaires over both major political parties, and most of all, the amelioration of man-made pollution and climate change.

The detritus of a dwindling middle class, extreme wealth inequality, outsourced jobs, plummeting wages, rising homelessness and the worst drug catastrophe in American history is not the fault of the bipartisan, privatization-happy Neoliberal Thought Collective. Golf Cart Jen would lose her ride if she ever admitted such a thing. 

Her manufactured message is this: If you think that your life sucks and you feel too helpless and apathetic and unpatriotic to vote for the self-dealing corporate Democrats, then it is obviously all Russia's fault. Must.Resist.Putin.
The worst part about our lackluster collective response to Russia’s interference is that it represents exactly what the Russians were hoping to produce: apathy. Their goal, in addition to installing a president sympathetic to their views, was to undermine Americans’ belief in our democracy. For Americans to think that none of this really matters, that it’s all a game. That’s how they truly erode U.S. moral authority and strength over the long term. It’s what they have sought to do to European adversaries for many years, and now they have brought this seed of destruction here.
And thus does Golf Cart Jen end her screed, with all the inspirational garbage at her disposal.



 "The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn’t earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major’s father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa.” -- Joseph Heller, Catch-22.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love it, Karen!

You are so good that you belong in that golf cart (just kidding!).

At least in front of the cameras.

We have to continue to speak truth to power.

Every single day.

All independent reporters should be lining up behind you.

Or beside you.

In a very long line.

Infinity would be my preference.

Courage!

annenigma said...

Darth Cheney agrees with the Democrats that alleged Russian meddling in our election is an 'act of war'. How low will Democrats go to foment war with Russia? Apparently to the bottom of the (rifle) barrel.

Where is our Joseph Welch to ask "At long last, have they left no sense of decency?"

Jay–Ottawa said...

Hi Anonymous

Would you believe there is someone else around here with your lovely name? She was here yesterday, or was it the other anonymous from the day before? How shall we distinguish you from the other anonymouses? Imagine if everyone in the phone book had the same name. Imagine if just two siblings of the same family had the same name. Those anonymous monikers sure do look alike, and analyzing your typing, syntax and politics to keep straight the distinctions of who's who and who's saying what is so difficult.

Won't you save us from the burden of feckless confusion and choose a nickname for yourself? As unrevealing as you please; even a number will do. You need only be labeled by that name while stepping forward to comment here; after that you're free to melt back into the world of the anonymy.

BTW, don't think I'm singling you out in an unwelcoming way. If you explore the Sardonicky archive, you'll find this same plea must be issued on a recurring basis. Karen herself steps in at times with the request for non-anonymity, but maybe she tires of repeatedly repeating the same old, same old. Me, I'm happy to play the little helper today asking the eternal schoolyard question, "What's your name?"

Jack Albrecht said...

Excellent post.

Zee said...

@Karen--

Wonderful "takedown" of the Democratic Party's "Russian red herring!"

Still, I read the WaPo article before reading your post, and reviewed the comments at some length.

The number of die-hard Clinton loyalists is truly staggering, viz., those who firmly believe that (1) the Rooshians really did steal the 2016 election from Hillary; and, (2) that what amounts to little more than a political "dirty trick"--and not a very effective trick at that--represents a "constitutional crisis" and/or serious threat to the very foundations of the Republic.

Who are these goofballs?

stranger in a strange land said...

Zee, did you click on the embedded YouTube video? Clips from Manufacturing Consent film - propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.

"And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us."

Chomsky's documentary depicts near-total capture of American media by The Great Owners decades ago - the allowed thought boundaries are narrow - and people, in spite of their individual capacity for cleverness e.g. linguistics, are easily herded.

Down well-trodden corridors into the valley of steel.

voice-in-wilderness said...

Instead of promising a pony for everyone, maybe Trump should promise a golf cart for everyone! And claim that it is better than any golf cart from the Democrats!

JK said...



I don't think Russian influence story was as big a blip on Palmierie's or Mook's radar as pulling the Bernie faction into the establishment democratic party at the convention. Its easy for the Clinton campaign leaders to quarterback this in retrospect. If there is any blame for the Russian hack story not getting enough attention it could be laid at the feet of Loretta Lynch. With all of the intelligence organizations investigating this at her disposal (at least since July 2016 - Lynch was investigating HSBC for Russian money laundering since 2012)she might have been one of the few 'control point' people in the administration who had the power to pull on the brakes - at least called for an immediate investigation.

Two things: Lynch may have been gun shy because they had incomplete information. Inaction, and the inevitable election timeline was working against her. But second, the Clinton Foundation was receiving gifts through HSBC. We will never know if Lynch was investigating donors who were laundering money through HSBC, but Bill Clinton made it a point to chit chat with Lynch in the DOJ jet on the tarmac in Phoenix about family matters. So Lynch's inaction may have arisen from overload; or an impossible head-exploding conflict if she were to blow the whistle on both candidates. She knew where the brakes were - she didn't pull.

...said by JK

Zee said...

@stranger in a strange land—

I confess that I had not viewed the embedded video, Manufacturing Consent before making my last remark.

I’ve done so now, but I’m not sure that it has told me anything really new, but rather reinforced things that I’ve known, or at least suspected, for quite some time now.

As you say, “…people…are easily herded.”

So I suppose that I should not be surprised that even many of my highly-educated friends and acquaintances—not to mention the myriad other readers of the WaPo and NYT—are absolutely convinced that “(1) the Rooshians really did steal the 2016 election from Hillary; and, (2) that what amounts to little more than a political "dirty trick” [IMHO]…represents a "constitutional crisis" and/or serious threat to the very foundations of the Republic.”

And there is absolutely no room for reasoned discussion—or the proffering of other news sources with differing perspectives—beyond that.

Our “republican democracy” has truly become a “managed democracy,” and WE are the “managed.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

Neil said...

Golf carts are very popular in Florida with old folks who sometimes use them in place of their Cadillacs, Crown Vics and bus passes... alligators are not that popular here... especially when they jump into a boat of stupid people...

Alligator jumps into passing boat!
https://youtu.be/1K5YLtwlwCE

Regarding healthcare, I’m not sold on Medicare for All... which is a misnomer... it’s Medicare for All for the proletariat that don’t get the healthcare Bernie gets... see,

On Health Care, We’ll Have What Congress Is Having
http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/on-health-care-well-have-what-congress-is-having

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program - OBM
https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Employees_Health_Benefits_Program

I want what Bernie gets... including a $600,000 lakefront summer home vacation property - not only for me, but one for everyone... that’s socialism, right?

"Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, bought a summer house on Vermont’s Lake Champlain Islands, according to multiple reports. The $600,000 beachfront residence in North Hero, Vt., is the newest addition to the couple’s collection of homes in Burlington, Vt., and Washington." - Snopes.com

"Sanders, a socialist, campaigned against income inequality, targeting the 1 percent richest Americans." - Snopes.com

"O’Meara Sanders said that she had inherited a vacation home in Maine, but the family was unable to make use of it due to its distance from their primary residence in Vermont, so she sold it and used the proceeds to finance the purchase of a more suitable vacation home in North Hero" - Snopes.com

http://www.snopes.com/2016/08/10/bernie-sanders-buys-summer-home/

Bernie Sanders, a socialist with better healthcare than the 99%...

Bernie Sanders, a socialist who benefits from capitalism’s laws of inheritance... to own a collection of homes in Burlington, Vt., and Washington...

What is Socialism for the 99%? PAY YOUR RENT!

Pearl said...

Neil: I think you can do better than this.

Neil said...

Hello Pearl, good to hear from you.

Yes, I can do better, even much better if I had a good assistant, and more ink and paper, and more money, and more love, and MORE FOOD!

I likely stand corrected on whether members of congress are currently allowed to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Apparently there is no ObamaCare Exemption for Congress, which may account for the push to overturn ObamaCare, see

Congress ObamaCare: ObamaCare Exemption for Congress
http://obamacarefacts.com/congress-obamacare/

Also see FactCheck.org (correction of old information)
Health Care for Members of Congress?
http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/health-care-for-members-of-congress/

"For a full discussion of current health insurance options for members of Congress, see the 2015 Congressional Research Service paper "Health Benefits for Members of Congress and Designated Congressional Staff."

The link is actually to a newer CRS paper, Jan-13-2017, Health Benefits for Members of Congress and Designated Congressional Staff: In Brief"

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43194.pdf

[Previously] "House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families." "It’s not a "single-payer" system where the government acts as the one and only health insurance company."

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/health-care-for-members-of-congress/

Old CRS Report, Health Benefits for Members of Congress, Congressional Research Service, Sep-25-2007, http://mcmorris.house.gov/uploads/August2009HealthCareBenefitsforMembersofCongress.PDF

Appreciate your comments Pearl. You always have good links too. Take care.

Pearl said...

Neil: I'll throw a question at you which I alluded to in a recent column I wrote on Karen's one about Fear which reminded me of the fear I lived through during the
McCarthy years.
My question is why is there so much emphasis on the questionable "fact" that Russia definitely influenced the election when articles not so long ago have indicated that real proof is not that clear and which have not been mentioned lately. Many Democrats are livid about so called Russian interference and meanwhile all the information recently found at the White House is not available to anyone and Trump is unusually silent about it all pivoting to other topics he is attacking.
I believe what is being hidden is Trump's financial shenanigans in Russia which could really get him in treasonable trouble while Russia's election interference(?) will focus on that issue for years to come not being able to show real proof of the accusations.
Just recall that his EXon Mobile Secretary of State is waiting for the lifting of U.S. constraints which will enable him to start building oil rigs in certain areas of Russia that he has title to and make more money for everyone involved.
Thank you for any comments you may have and sorry I cannot provide you with any creature comforts.

Neil said...

Pearl: Politics is a very dirty business. Folks need to understand that fact before applying ordinary sensibilities to what they perceive as wrongdoing. I encourage people to consult an attorney who can investigate the particular circumstances of their situation. In the alternative, if folks cannot obtain adequate counsel, they must study and apply the law to their legal question. In my opinion that is very difficult to do correctly.

This is my nonlawyer opinion. This is not legal advice.

I am sorry about what happened to you in 1954. There may be more accountability now, if you have concerns about the present.

The FBI is an investigative agency in the U.S. Department of Justice. See,

28 U.S. Code § 531 - Federal Bureau of Investigation
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/531

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the Department of Justice."

The FBI can only investigate matters; it cannot prosecute crimes. U.S. Attorneys prosecute crimes. The FBI in 1954 was led by J. Edgar Hoover. See this C-Span2 Booknotes interview by Brian Lamb of Cartha D. "Deke" DeLoach on YouTube

https://youtu.be/dUbBx6vjMHI

"Mr. DeLoach, a former FBI Deputy Director under J. Edgar Hoover, talked about his recently published book, Hoover's FBI, published by Regnery. It focuses on the FBI during the controversial tenure of J. Edgar Hoover. It attempts to disprove the many allegations against Mr. Hoover, including his sexual behavior and secret files."

Regarding Russian interference, what happened that would be prohibited? Nothing that I read or know about. In Florida there are computer-related crimes, see

CHAPTER 815, COMPUTER-RELATED CRIMES

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0800-0899/0815/0815ContentsIndex.html&StatuteYear=2016&Title=%2D%3E2016%2D%3EChapter%20815

815.06 Offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices.—

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0815/Sections/0815.06.html