Monday, August 29, 2016


Only a couple more months to go before America Votes. 

So my question is this: will it be safe to come out of the free-thinking closet to criticize Hillary Clinton once she's elected, or will calling her out as a corrupt dual tool/member of the plutocracy continue to get you labeled a pathological hater and a racist misogynist and a stealth Trump supporter for the entire duration of her reign?

Pundits are calling this election a major realignment of the two establishment political parties. If we still enjoyed a modicum of democracy and the wishes of the majority really counted, this would mean that the Democrats are getting more progressive, and that the Republicans are getting more dead.

Unfortunately, what's really happening is that the corporate Democrats are sympathizing, if not directly joining forces with, the "good" Republicans. Their new mutual enemy is something called the Alt-Right, whose fringe-dwelling denizens are supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. As a result, some so-called liberals are actually championing Hillary Clinton's rescue of such mainstream misanthropes as House Speaker Paul Ryan (Ayn R) as well as almost the entire war crime cabal of George W. Bush. These pathocrats sure beat powerful and dangerous paranoid conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as well as whatever is still left of the KKK.

Don't they?

Following the Clinton script, liberal pundits are likewise becoming damned tolerant and inclusive enough that they're also willing to extend the welcome mat to the same sadists and warmongers they used to pretend to despise. Isn't it just terrible that a new radical fringe is taking over a whole radical fringe party?

Donald Trump is saying right out loud what slimeballs like Paul Ryan have been dog-whistling. Ryan concern-trolls the poor as he cuts funding to Planned Parenthood and food stamps, while Donald Trump blasts the phony concern-trollers at the same time that he denigrates women and immigrants.

Hillary Clinton, former Goldwater Girl who is proud of her own conservative roots, thinks it's travesty. She said so last week in Reno:
This is not conservatism as we have known it. This is not Republicanism as we have know it. These are race-baiting ideas, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas, anti-woman –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’
Now Alt-Right is short for “Alternative Right.”
The Wall Street Journal describes it as a loose but organized movement, mostly online, that “rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.”
(Hillary explained her own driftable conservatism as she knows it two decades ago):

The political theater is being exposed as political theater. The political process is being exposed as benefiting only the wealthy and the well-connected. The enemies we were urged to despise yesterday are supposed to be our new BFFs today. Fear is the glue binding all of us together.

E.J. Dionne even goes so far as to cast "the Republican Party as we know it" as a special interest group in need our protection. Much like Black Lives Matter, the headline to his latest column perversely goes, "Hillary Clinton's Republicans Matter."

Saving Privatizing Ryan: Why's Everybody Altways Pickin On Me?

Dionne repeats the centrist Clintonian dogma that there really is such a thing as a mainstream,reasonable Good Old Party. Compared to Donald Trump, who wouldn't sound good? Except that Dionne fails to notice, or pretends to ignore, the fact that Republicans have been acting out their own Trumpian fantasies for at least the last century. There was that one brief shining moment when progressive Republicans like John Lindsay and Nelson Rockefeller were indeed the foils of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Therefore, it has to naturally follow that neocons like Paul Wolfowitz and Robert Kagan are the natural foils of Donald Trump. And as such, we should all be on the same side.

And that is so cool, because such an alliance would put the kibosh on any annoying, lingering, gridlocky anti-war sentiment and pesky foreign policy differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. There would no longer be much of a need for the few diehard pacifists still left in Congress to make a stink about presidential war powers and the need to legislatively rubber-stamp every last invasion and bombing spree.

We can all be patriotically united in our hatred of Trump, who is, after all, nothing but a tool of Vladimir Putin, that bipartisan scapegoat we can all be taught to hate while Exceptional America bombs and invades at will. We can all overcome our dreaded "sickly inhibitions" against Permawar. We can all stop worrying and come together as one great big snuggley war party.

Dionne writes:
Others (the Never Trump Republicans) are a part of an unusual alliance between hawkish neoconservatives and Republican foreign policy realists who often disagree with each other but are joined in the view that Trump’s foreign policy, such as it is, is entirely outside the internationalist traditions their party has broadly upheld since World War II. Both ends of this anti-Trump alliance are especially suspicious of his friendly views of Vladimir Putin and his support of policies (on NATO and the European Union) that would advance Russia’s interests.
On foreign policy, there is some coming together between Clinton and her Republican allies. Dovish liberals worry about this aspect of the anti-Trump right. They suspect — partly on the basis of her history — that Clinton’s instincts are more hawkish than President Obama’s.
Her allies on international issues cast the issue somewhat differently — and more positively: that Clinton’s election could restore something close to an older consensus on foreign policy that was blown apart by the Iraq War. They argue that she occupies a middle ground between Obama and his hawkish critics. She is less interventionist than the neoconservatives but would, on some issues, be tougher in her approach to diplomacy than Obama has been.
Obama, of course, is now diplomatically bombing seven different countries. But the legend continues that he is some kind of weak pacifist. The pretense that Republicans and Democrats haven't always joined together and cooperated in appropriating unlimited and unaccountable funds for wars, surveillance and other Deep State activities continues.

The centrist discourse about Hillary Republicans is all about selling forever wars to the war-weary American people. And it might be working.

The propaganda being spooned out by the corporate media calls for a new Neoconservative/Neoliberal Coalition in the service of limitless American hegemony. People will have to get killed, of course, and that might make many of us feel a bit queasy, but it sure beats death by Donald Trump. Alt-right? All right?

In Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky tells how liberal pundit Walter Lippman wrote the original, finger-lickin' good recipe for his heirs in the Media-Political Complex:
He argued that what he called a "revolution in the art of democracy," could be used to "manufacture consent, " that is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn’t want by the new techniques of propaganda. He also thought that this was a good idea, in fact, necessary. It was necessary because, as he put it, "the common interests elude public opinion entirely" and can only be understood and managed by a "specialized class "of "responsible men" who are smart enough to figure things out. This theory asserts that only a small elite, the intellectual community that the Deweyites were talking about, can understand the common interests, what all of us care about, and that these things "elude the general public." This is a view that goes back hundreds of years. It’s also a typical Leninist view. In fact, it has very close resemblance to the Leninist conception that a vanguard of revolutionary intellectuals take state power, using popular revolutions as the force that brings them to state power, and then drive the stupid masses toward a future that they’re too dumb and incompetent to envision for themselves. The liberal democratic theory and Marxism-Leninism are very close in their common ideological assumptions. I think that’s one reason why people have found it so easy over the years to drift from one position to another without any particular sense of change. It’s just a matter of assessing where power is. Maybe there will be a popular revolution, and that will put us into state power; or maybe there won’t be, in which case we’ll just work for the people with real power: the business community. But we’ll do the same thing. We’ll drive the stupid masses toward a world that they’re too dumb to understand for themselves.


Maureen Dowd, in her latest stinging column, writes that even though The Alt-Right Is All Wrong, Hillary Clinton has nonetheless provided it with some legitimacy by simply talking about it and deflecting attention away from her own corruption. (She even helped hand out chocolate truffles to the masses in Reno, in true, Marie Antoinette fashion!)
If Hillary had a normal opponent, her vulnerabilities would be more glaring. She would have spent the last week getting peppered with questions about how the F.B.I. discovered 14,900 more emails from her private server, which are going to drip out through the fall.
But Hillary does not have a normal opponent. She has one who manages to self-destruct in every news cycle. So instead she was soaring above her own paranoia and mocking Trump’s paranoia, soaring above her egregious messes and gamboling through Trump’s egregious messes....

.... Many people believe that Trump is so demented and dangerous that any criticism of Hillary should be tabled or suppressed, that her malfeasance is so small compared to his that it is not worth mentioning. But that’s not good for her or us to leave so many things hanging out there, without her ever having to explain herself.
Letting her rise above everything for the good of the country is not good for the country.
As per usual in the post-Bernie era, the most highly-rated reader comments were those that supported Clinton and berated Dowd. The consent has been skillfully manufactured and Chomsky has been proven all too right. Reality truly is in the eye of the propagandized beholder.

My relatively unpopular and even much-despised ("a bitter, hate-filled screed," according to one Hillarian) published comment:
It's so true that Bill and Hillary have always paradoxically benefited from the "vast right wing conspiracy." The more outlandish the attacks against them, the more we circle the Clinton wagons. Does anybody still remember that the progressive MoveOn was initially formed to defend Bill after the Lewinsky scandal? Even Gloria Steinem rushed to his defense back then, as the Clinton administration imposed sanctions on Iraq, and half a million children died as a result. Madeline Albright, who later said that there's a special place in hell for women who don't support Hillary, allowed that this was a hard choice, but ultimately worth it.

 Thus did last week's 20th anniversary of the Clintons' odiously named Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act pass practically unnoticed amidst the latest outbreak of manufactured outrage.The extreme poverty rate has doubled as a result of cutting off cash aid to mainly black single moms and forcing them to take low-wage jobs minus the promised child care and training. It was a breathtakingly callous betrayal of the poor.

So, thanks to Trump, we're all invited to Hillary's great big happy "Better Together" family of billionaires and neocons, the latest of whom is war criminal Paul Wolfowitz.

Trump is only one psychopath among very, very many.


Jay–Ottawa said...

E. J. Dionne is a case: a bright Rhodes scholar, the ultimate middleground liberal, close to the Catholic Church, and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. He's been writing consensus articles for the Washington Post for a very long time, their equivalent of the Times's Nicholas Kristof. His never-diminishing aspiration is Edward Hicks's vision, on canvas, of The Peaceable Kingdom. Truthdig, curiously or not-so-curiously, given Robert Scheer's unfailing directives close to the finish lines to stick with the lesser-of-two evils, has been printing his articles for years.

Dionne's themes and tone are generally along the lines of what is, is good––or at least defensible, just so long as the establishment does it. He shakes his head at badass, divisive purists and preaches patience with the PTB and the isms doing us harm. Dionne is radical centrist ballast keeping Scheer's flagship Truthdig from tipping too far left with the likes of Chris Hedges and the occasional borrowing from TomDispatch or Paul Street. As a journalist Dionne jabs lightly, and always with good form; but he never unleashes a haymaker, effectively a lovable sheepdog in sheep's clothing within Scheer's fold.

Jamie said...

"Obama, of course, is now diplomatically bombing seven different countries. But the legend continues that he is some kind of weak pacifist."

Very well written article. I think Obama is a poll-driven overt war pacifist, especially with war weary America. When it comes to covert wars, he is as born-again hard as Dick Cheney.