Monday, October 31, 2016

Neoliberal Undead Match

What better day for the flurry of breathless announcements that Hillary and Donald are now in a Dead Heat? They're allegedly in as tight of a race as the sales of their Halloween costumes. Oh, the Humanthony.

For purposes of oligarchy and wage-suppressing globalism, that overpriced and suffocating Clinton or Trump mask you might be wearing to scare the crap out of your friends and neighbors tonight was manufactured in China for mere pennies. Because USA! USA! USA!

The bummer of a plot twist in this year's contrived suspense is that since fully one-fourth of battleground state voters, and 21 million nationwide, have already cast their ballots, nothing that either candidate can do at this point will make a lick of difference. Even the final tranche of WikiLeaks emails expected to come out this week has the aura of anticlimax.

But it's a contest! Trump is gaining momentum! A professor who has correctly predicted presidential outcomes for the past three decades says so! It ain't over until CNN finally goes off the air on a cold day in hell and all the talking heads repair to their dusty, formaldehyde-filled jars for a long winter's nap.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Something Clicked This Way Comes

Just a few quick thoughts and speculations on the latest thrilling episode of Hillary's Life of Scandal.

--While a hypothetical President-elect Clinton would not have the immediate power to fire FBI Director James Comey for trying to spoil her coronation, she theoretically could grant herself the additional power to abolish the entire agency once she took office. Since dissension within the ranks of the Bureau was reportedly the impetus for Comey's letter to Congress about some newly-discovered emails, Hillary would remain highly vulnerable, with or without the current director's resignation.

 -- Look at the whole murky history of the FBI. Teddy Roosevelt did a sneaky summer end-run around an adjourned Congress in 1908 by unilaterally creating his own executive police force. Congress had refused to go along with the formal creation of such a federal agency, rightly fearing that it would operate in too much secrecy. Ominously, the plutocratic Attorney General directly tasked by Teddy with manning the Bureau just happened to be the grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. What one aristocratic Trust-buster and an Emperor's spawn giveth, a once and future mistrusted Empress can (hypothetically of course) easily taketh away.

--When Congress refused to give AG Charles Bonaparte any money for his spy agency, he ignored them, and simply appropriated personnel from the Secret Service. The FBI has been an illegal agency from the outset. But as has been its wont, Congress is loath to overturn an executive order or a secret legal opinion or stealth bombings and invasions once they are "done deals."

--Since the first official task of Roosevelt's quasi-public cop shop was to enforce the Mann Act, and crack down on female sex workers by infiltrating houses of prostitution, wouldn't it be a hoot if one of its very last recorded acts was the attempted destruction of a political campaign by way of cracking down on a male sex addict?

--Of course, the main impetus for the creation of the FBI was the growing popularity of socialism, which spawned widespread paranoia within the ruling class. Roosevelt, remember, only became president when his predecessor was assassinated by an "anarchist." The scary Other back then were not Muslims and Mexicans, but Germans and Italians and other European immigrants. Domestic espionage upon all manner of civil and labor rights activists and pacifists and other critics of the military-industrial complex has long been at the core of the agency's mission. See, for example, COINTELPRO and most recently, the outrageous FBI scanning of Yahoo email under the direction of the talented Mr. Comey. 

 In sum, Hillary, intelligence aficianado that she is, could and likely would simply replace the current FBI with a carefully purged new agency all her own, called the New Improved FBI. 

-- According to its own auto-hagiography, the current Bureau has prided itself from its very inception for selectively rooting out political corruption. In the First Gilded Age, as in our ongoing Second era of inequality, "corruption was rampant nationwide... with crooked political machines like Tammany Hall in full power." So, who knows, Comey might actually think he's a rare and bold adherent of the noble historic spirit of his spy agency.

-- For those willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, James Comey is simply doing his unpleasant job, creating an unavoidable smallish mess out of the pre-existing humongous mess created by Clinton herself. As noted above, he is probably bowing to pressure from the rank and file, said to be disgruntled by the government's prior kid-glove treatment of Hillary. As a group, law enforcement unions are almost uniformly supporting Law and Order candidate Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. This doesn't make a lot of sense, given Hillary's own established hawkishness and pro-police history. Then again, Hell tends to be murky.

-- Democrats who are strutting and fretting at Comey (see, for example, Paul Krugman's Twitter meltdown) for politicizing Clinton's mess should direct some of their wrath at President Obama, who in a fit of pathological bipartisanship nominated the shadow banking/surveillance-friendly Republican FBI Director in the first place. Comey's reputation for honesty was a huge selling point at the time. Fair is foul and foul is fair.

--Just when we thought the duopoly, rampant as it has been with promises of war, and threats and actual outbreaks of violence, and revelations of sexism and fraud in the highest echelons, couldn't go any lower, it just got lower. The direct intervention of an unconstitutional police state into the electoral process is something out of a Banana Republic. The attempted hijacking of the "Neoliberal Death Match" between a publicly loathed multimillionaire and a publicly loathed billionaire is just one end-product of the deeply ingrained corruption which has been integral to the American ruling establishment for a very long time. 

--But the extinction of American representative democracy is nothing compared to the ongoing extinction of two-thirds of the earth's animal species. Since that scenario of dusty death is too frightening to contemplate, you are all hereby urged to turn on CNN in order to get fully briefed on DikiLeaks, as well as to get fully hoodwinked by those insipidly incessant and multicultural "I'm An Energy Voter!" commercials sponsored by the planet-destroying petroleum industry.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Nought's had, all's spent/ Where our desire is got without content;/ 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy/ Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. -- Lady Macbeth.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Man Versus World

A shocking new study released this week reveals that 67 percent of the world's wildlife could die off within the next couple of years.

Only days after this report came out, to little fanfare in the mass media, a group of freelance militants was acquitted by a nullifying jury of their white peers on charges of taking over and doing probably irreparable damage to a wildlife refuge in Oregon.

And for the past several months, another group of uniformed, state-sanctioned militants has been arresting and assaulting, with absolute impunity, the people protesting an oil pipeline on pristine land long protected for both environmental and cultural reasons.

This week's score: Man 3, Earth 0. 

First, let's mull over the frightening, yet much-ignored, news that wild vertebrates are dying at a rate about three times faster than had previously been believed. This die-off is an unexpected surge in the mass extinction being caused by climate change, wars, and pollution: a/k/a the cancer of unfettered capitalism.

From The Guardian: 
The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.
The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.
Much of the extinction is caused by the habitat destruction of farming and logging. Only 15 percent of the earth's surface is protected by law. Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit, with animal populations down by nearly 80 percent since the 1970s. The culprits are water extraction for industrial agriculture in dry areas like California, dam construction, and chemical pollution.

This accelerating (unprecedented since the dinosaurs) loss of wildlife will rapidly become part of a lethal closed feedback loop of human conflicts building upon each other. Human greed produces conflicts, which engender food and water insecurity, which engenders more competition for survival and more escalating conflicts.

Despite the grim statistics, the Living Planet report does contain some optimism. The Giant Panda is starting to recover, thanks to human protective efforts. And  more people are abstaining from the consumption of polluting meat, especially beef, which could also help slow down the environmental disaster.

But tell that to the Bundy Clan of Nevada, whose self-bestowed right to graze their cattle on protected public lands led to both a stand-off with Feds in that state, and their subsequent invasion of a federal wildlife sanctuary in Oregon. All seven of those charged with the armed insurrection were acquitted on Thursday. As reported by the New York Times,
The surprise acquittals of all seven defendants in Federal District Court were a blow to government prosecutors, who had argued that the Bundys and five of their followers used force and threats of violence to occupy the reserve. But the jury appeared swayed by the defendants’ contention that they were protesting government overreach and posed no threat to the public....

In a monthlong trial here, the defendants never denied that they had occupied and held the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters for nearly six weeks, demanding that the federal government surrender the 188,000-acre property to local control. But their lawyers argued that prosecutors did not prove that the group had engaged in an illegal conspiracy that kept federal workers — employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management — from doing their jobs.
The Bundy clan are, at least, still in federal custody as they await a separate trial on the Nevada charges, by another jury of their Wild West peers.

As famed author and Oregon resident Ursula K. LeGuin wrote during the Bundy siege, the Malheur occupation was never, as widely reported in the press, about defending their Constitutional rights or "freeing federal land."

It was probably because of the very remoteness of the venue from ruling class East Coast movers and shakers that the "occupation" was allowed to go on for so long - far longer in fact, than the Occupy Wall Street encampments of 2011. Le Guin blogged last winter,
If a federal property in New Jersey was occupied by armed outsiders calling themselves “militiamen,” justifying their occupation by a radical theocratic re-interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, and calling for mass resistance to law enforcement, would four of them be allowed to continue the occupation indefinitely?
If important ongoing scientific studies and reclamation programs under federal auspices in a suburb of Chicago or Washington were being paralyzed and trashed by four hooligans carrying guns, how long would they be allowed to continue the irreparable destruction?
And that brings us to our third and final related story of the week: the siege at Standing Rock Sioux tribal lands of North Dakota, where uniformed officials, armed to the teeth with their high-tech surplus military grade weapons, are not showing quite the same patience with Native American protesters as they did, for such a long patient time, with the white nativist Bundy Clan.


(Associated Press)

The latest escalation in the months-long standoff between protesters and police acting on behalf of the Dakota Access Pipeline came Thursday with more than a hundred new arrests. Some 200 local police officers in riot gear pushed the people off the land with armored tanks, and dispersed them with pepper spray.

As reported by The Guardian, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault is requesting that the Obama administration send in federal troops to protect the people from the corporate state-sanctioned militants:
  DOJ can no longer ignore our requests. If harm comes to any who come here to stand in solidarity with us, it is on their watch. They must step in and hold the state of North Dakota and Morton County accountable for their acts of violence against innocent, prayerful people.
The Obama administration has asked DAPL to voluntarily halt construction until the review process has been completed, but DAPL has ignored these repeated requests. By deploying law enforcement to support DAPL construction, the State of North Dakota is collaborating with Energy Transfer Partners and escalating tensions.
We need our state and federal governments to bring justice and peace to our lands, not the force of armored vehicles.
We have repeatedly seen a disproportionate response from law enforcement to water protectors’ nonviolent exercise of their constitutional rights. Today we have witnessed people praying in peace, yet attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound and concussion cannons. We urge state and federal government agencies to give this tense situation their immediate and close attention. We also call on the thousands of water protectors who stand in solidarity with us against DAPL to remain in peace and prayer. Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here. We invite all supporters to join us in prayer that, ultimately, the right decision—the moral decision—is made to protect our people, our sacred places, our land and our resources.
We won’t step down from this fight. As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.
The late ecologist Raymond Dasmann observed decades ago that World War III has already begun. And now there's no denying the fact that it's a war of late stage industrial human capitalists against the whole Earth and all its living things. The greedsters haven't gotten the message that there is only so much you can deplete out of the planet in the Bundyesque name of "freedom" before the whole thing collapses in upon itself.

What he called The First Law of the Environment goes like this: "No matter how bad you think things are, the total reality is much worse."

And that is probably why climate change and the environment have not been considered fit topics for discussion in the quadrennial winner-take-all electoral sweepstakes which I have dubbed, quite aptly I think, Neoliberal Death Match 2016.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Buzzed On Virtue

"When they go low, we go high."

 That smarmy phrase, first mouthed by presidential consort Michelle Obama at July's Democratic convention, has become the go-to platitude of party operatives and media sycophants as they race toward the electoral finish line.

To deflect the public's attention from the daily embarrassments contained in the WikiLeaks email dumps from Clintonland, Democrats are engaged in a frenzied campaign of virtue-signalling so sanctimonious that it would make even Chaucer's hypocritical Pardoner blush with embarrassment.

Virtue-signalling is the practice of denigrating a disliked character or institution - say, Donald Trump - for the express purpose of elevating the status of the speaker.

  British journalist James Bartholomew, who claims to have invented the term, and expresses 'umble amazement at how globally viral it's going, says that virtue signalers can be either subtle or not ("We go high!)
By saying that they hate the Daily Mail or Ukip, they are really telling you that they are admirably non-racist, left-wing or open-minded. One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous. It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all.
As I wrote awhile back about Hillary's infamous "basket of deplorables" speech, her implicit message to her high-rolling donors is that denigrating the stinking, bigoted Trumpenproletariat is tantamount to elevating the Moral Majority of the Moneyed Minority to their own pristine heights of goodness and glory. All you have to do is swear your undying hatred of Donald Trump and all his supporters, and you are hereby absolved of such mundane foibles as underpaying The Help, or lobbying for continued slashes to the social safety nets for the poor, or investing in the high tech munitions and mass surveillance stock of Raytheon or General Dynamics. 

For paying their pittance to Hillary Clinton, the wealthy are plentifully indulged with another in a whole series of gracious Chaucerian pardons:
Some pence and nobles that are bonafide.                    
It is an honor for each one who's here
To have a competent pardoner near
To absolve you in the country as you ride,
In view of all the things that may betide.
  Because who could ever be as much of a tax cheat or racist or misogynist or narcissist as Donald Trump? So go ahead and canonize yourselves, banksters and war-mongers and corporate media pundits and and philanthro-capitalists and trust fund kiddies! Regardless of where you come from or who you love, you're all better, together, within the big gilded tent of the neoliberal Clinton Restoration. 

As Blaise Pascal so pensively observed about the liberal-industrial class (fully three centuries before James Bartholomew came along to virtue-signal his own contempt of the virtue-signalers): "Pity for the unfortunate does not clash with our appetites. On the contrary, we are glad to offer our friendship, and to acquire a reputation for kindness without giving anything."

Thus does Hillary Clinton make herself look humane by glibly contrasting herself with Donald Trump. Her chilling promises of Permawar, her boastful embrace of unfettered capitalism, her finger-flicking dismissal of Bernie Sanders progressives would never be a winning strategy without the Trumpian foil.

And Barack Obama, virtue signaler bar none, has seen his own approval ratings skyrocket as he travels around the country, cracking jokes about Trump and praising Hillary's looming "pragmatism" as well as her various other cold-blooded urges - including, but not limited to, the execution of Osama bin Laden.

Obama got so into bragging about his superior manners and "tone" while blasting Trump's Islamophobia and foul mouth the other night, TV host Jimmy Kimmel forgot to ask him about his own grotesque eight-year record of death and destruction. As reported by Rolling Stone this week, here are some of Obama's smartest accomplishments:
—2,499 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq so far under President Obama, according to the independent Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

—Of those, 1,906 have been killed in and around Afghanistan, and 593 in Iraq.

—Under Obama, the United States has been at war for 2,687 days. That's longer than under George W. Bush — or any other U.S. president, for that matter.

—Obama has conducted airstrikes on seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. (That's three more countries than George W. Bush bombed.)

—U.S. combat forces are deployed on the ground in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. That's one more war than Obama inherited, and which his successor will likely have to contend with.
When Trump goes low with #PussyGate, Obama goes as high as a Predator drone. He's buzzed on his own virtue.

Like Chaucer's Pardoner, Obama plays at being self-deprecating and imperfect while paying seriously honest homage to the "normal" values and customs of the ruling order. This is not only to hide his real misdeeds, but to render them harmless before his rapt congregation of penitents.

 If you will just renounce The Donald and all his works, and fork over your cash and your votes to the right party, then piecemeal selective salvation can be yours for the indulging. Feel the virtue, liberals, right along with feeling the fear. Whether you're filthy rich or whether you're still fiercely insisting that you're not a middle class refugee, there's a place for you. Join Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in feeling the elite feminist disgust at Donald Trump. Thrill to vicarious victimhood even as you revel in the prestige of despising him with all the goodness that you can muster.

  And above all, feel the guilt if you've discerned the inconvenient truth in some of his critiques of the oligarchic establishment, to which we are all so indebted. He might have a point about free trade and stupid endless wars, but remember, ladies and gentlemen: the man is an inveterate potty mouth, a swindler, and a womanizer. 

  Now, good men, God forgive you your trespass
And guard you from the sin of avarice.                      
My holy pardon saves you from all this;
If you will offer nobles, sterlings, rings,
Some brooches, spoons or other silver things,
Just bow your head beneath this holy bull.
Come up, you wives, and offer of your wool;                 
Your name I'll here enroll, then you may know
Into the bliss of heaven you will go.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Trump of Doom

If the polls are correct, Hillary Clinton has this election in the bag. And so, as the quadrennial travesty draws to a close, the media are now entering their own final phase of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching. They've converged into an elitist mob intent upon stomping Trump's political corpse into an unrecognizable blob so that they can all move on and forget they ever had a hand in creating the monster in the first place.

To cover their sensitive asses, they're supplementing their contrived agony with an exercise in soul-searching. Their self-defined insular dilemma is this: how do they treat Donald Trump on the day after he loses and on all the post-loser days and months to come? Do they continue covering him, or do they just ignore him?

Frank Bruni of the New York Times has nobly volunteered his own therapeutic services to his peers. As a pundit who has made Trump the centerpiece of his jeering, shocked and outraged biweekly columns for well over a year now, he now strokes his chin and ponders how on God's lush green earth he and his colleagues can rid themselves of their Trump addiction in a proper and seemly manner:
We need rules for quitting him, guidelines for the circumstances in which coverage of him is legitimate and those in which it isn’t. That distinction is all the more crucial because he seems poised to undermine important institutions and the democratic process itself. We can lend that effort more credibility or less by paying rapt attention to it or not.
 He’s already teeing up a stunt: his possible rejection of the election returns. How much should we indulge this tantrum, and for how long? If Trump actually marshals the necessary strategy and resources for legal challenges in states where the results allow them — if he hires lawyers and files paperwork — that’s an indisputably newsworthy development. If he simply rages? That’s not.
But like many an addict before him, Bruni ditches rehab in favor of scapegoating his co-dependent enablers: the rapt audience. Were it not for the hordes of shallow, celebrity-obsessed consumers of journalistic content, pundits like Bruni never would have been tempted to indulge themselves with the Trump drug.
 The greatest power resides with the audience — which bears much of the culpability, too. Never before have news organizations been able to judge so quickly and accurately what our consumers respond to. If those consumers hadn’t demonstrated such intense interest in Trump, we probably wouldn’t have, either. And if they turn from Trump, they can be sure that most of us will, too, without much equivocation or delay.
You really have to hand it to Bruni. First, he foists upon the electorate the magical ability to have learned about Trump by pure osmosis, without the aid of mass media. And at the same time he demotes them from citizens to consumers. Maybe, without their knowledge, they learned about Trump from searching for bargains in Walmart. Who knew that millions of people had so much power? And the mouth-breathers then had the nerve to hook the hapless mass media with their disgusting addicting drugs. Shame on them! They should have flushed Bruni's stash down the toilet at the same time they flushed their own.

But Bruni vows to show "courage and restraint" in his Trump coverage in the future. The goal of post-Trump punditry is to improve upon style, not substance. He concludes it's all about "the tone."

My published response:
It's not whether the media can overcome the Trump habit, it's whether they're willing to explore and help wipe out the root causes of Trumpism.

Don't just quit cold turkey. Because where he came from, there's plenty more cheap demagogic crack just waiting to be smoked. He may disappear, but the rage and precarity he feeds upon will not.

If Hillary is elected as expected, and especially if Democrats win back the Senate and many House seats, the extreme centrists of the media-political complex must also resist the temptation to sniff any more of that lethal GOP glue in the name of "bipartisanship."

On your road back to health, stop treating Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan with such ridiculous respect. His ability to string together sentences into complete paragraphs shouldn't be confused with governing in the public interest. So quit smoking his high-grade hashish, too.

 Now that you're getting sober, demand single payer health care. Who knows? Starting from such a "radical" position might end up getting us the public option as a compromise, rather than as a weak negotiating starting point designed to fail from the get-go.

Other antidotes to Trumpism: a guaranteed living wage and jobs for the millions who are justifiably outraged by the "free trade" deals and outsourcing and privatization scams that have destroyed lives and livelihoods. Scrap the cap on FICA taxes, and make Social Security solvent into perpetuity.

And overturn Citizens United.

Help America breathe again.
Thanks to the WikiLeaks theft/dump of Clinton campaign director John Podesta's emails, we've learned that the Democratic Party, with the aid of the vulnerable media, deliberately set Trump up as a "Pied Piper candidate" to destroy more threatening and substantive run-of-the-mill GOP sadists like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The objective was to pit the unpopular Hillary Clinton against an opponent so scary that even the Republican establishment would disown him and flee to her own outstretched arms. There was a method to the madness of holding interminable staged "debates" in sporting arenas, with Trump the last showman standing.

From a DNC strategy document dated April 7, 2015:  
The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to:
Ted Cruz
Donald Trump
Ben Carson
We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.
The press was more than happy to comply. They gave Trump more than a billion dollars' worth of free air time and newspaper website space, and in his turn Trump brought them about an equal amount of rewards in terms of viewership, readership and ad revenue. He brought them the drug of clicks and eyeballs.

The only trouble is, the Trump profiteers will now have to pay the Piper. The candidate fulfilled his part of the bargain by ridding the field of the more dangerous rats. But in the process, he has captured the imagination of  multitudes of the aggrieved in numbers that the Establishment never saw coming.

 The Pied Piper legend itself is based on an actual event that transpired in medieval Germany, possibly during an outbreak of the Plague. The town fathers of Hamelin refused to pay him for his services, and he obliged by "throwing a tantrum" and leading all the children to an undisclosed location, far away from elite establishment control.

Trump even made an early appearance in Victorian poet Robert Browning's version of the tale:
“Come in!”--the Mayor cried, looking bigger: 
And in did come the strangest figure! 
His queer long coat from heel to head 
Was half of yellow and half of red 
And he himself was tall and thin, 
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin, 
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin, 
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin, 
But lips where smiles went out and in--
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire 
The tall man and his quaint attire. 
Quoth one:  “It’s as if my great-grandsire, 
Starting up at the Trump of Doom’s tone, 
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!”

There goes that irritating "tone" again. It's been the bane of the elites since time immemorial.


Speaking of the WikiLeaks, I was 'umbly proud to discover that an unflattering 2014 article I wrote about Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan is buried deep within the purloined Podesta email cache. Apparently, Hillary's campaign manager is a subscriber to Truthout, which had reprinted my piece. Whether Podesta actually read it, or whether Vladimir Putin actually read it before he allegedly stole it for Julian Assange and Donald Trump, is still as much a mystery as the whereabouts of the Pied Piper's abductees.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Debate & Switch III: The Ultimate Clump

For those of you who wisely missed the big event, here's a condensed and creative but essentially accurate transcript of Wednesday's final "debate" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Pitching the softballs at Team Clump was Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Chris: I want to drill right down.... like an oil rig in fragile, shallow Arctic waters. No audience participation will be tolerated. What -- you thought this was a participatory democracy and the debates weren't funded and controlled by the corporations that own the place? So shut up already, and let these two plutocrats spew their dreck at the enthralled TV audience.

First topic, Supreme Court. Will you let the Founders lead the country from their graves?

Hillary: You know, what kind of country is this going to be? We need a Supreme Court that will stand up for women's rights and do away with the kind of dark money that my campaign has had absolutely no qualms about accepting.

Chris: Trump, same question.

Donald: I love all the amendments but mostly the Second, which is under trauma.

Chris: Clinton, what's wrong with everybody having a gun?

Hillary: Nothing. I love guns and I love gun-owners. Arkansas and Upstate New York, which I represented, are chock-full of the yahoos with guns. But I sure wouldn't want someone to kill us with one. Especially a redneck toddler. We have to keep guns out of the chubby little hands of toddlers living in trailer parks in Arkansas and Upstate New York.

Chris: Trump?

Donald: Hillary is very strongly against the Second Amendment. She was very angry about the Heller decision. People were angry about her anger.

Hillary: I hate it when hordes of toddlers go around shooting each other. Their deplorable parents don't lock up their guns.

Chris: Trump, you support national open-carry.

Donald: Chicago has the toughest gun laws and the most violence. Just thought I'd get the obligatory racist dog whistle out of the way early. I will appoint only Second Amendment lovers to the Court.

 Chris: Now that you mentioned violence, let's naturally segue into the hot button issue that wasn't a hot button issue until I said it was. Abortion. Trump, will you overturn Roe v Wade?

Donald: Let the states decide. For purposes of this election, I am pro-life. I have no other choice as a Republican.

Hillary: I love Roe v Wade. Donald hates cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. He wants to punish women who get abortions.

Chris: As a loyal Fox News employee, I will now gratuitously bring up the constitutional rights of Fetuses. Why, Clinton, are you against fetuses?

Hillary: I am for the health of mothers.

Donald: I think that is terrible! Hillary just wants to rip babies right out of wombs! In the final day of the ninth month!

Hillary: That's not what happens. You should meet with the women I've met over the course of my life. The government should stay out of wombs.

Chris: Since climate change is never an issue at Fox News, let's move on to immigration. Trump?

Donald: In the audience are four parents of kids killed by illegals. You have thousands of relatives all over the country. Drugs are pouring in. The border patrol endorsed me. Hillary and Obama cause heroin addiction. We have some Bad Hombres here and we have to get them out. 

Chris: Clinton, is he wrong?

Hillary: When he was talking I was getting my next talking point lined up. I met a girl in Vegas named Carla whose parents are going to be ripped away from her the way Donald's imaginary full-term fetuses are getting ripped out of wombs. I don't want to rip. I am not a ripper.

Donald: Hillary wanted that Wall!

Hillary: I only want appropriate walls.Trump exploits undocumented shadow-workers.

Donald: Obama deports record numbers of my undocumented shadow workers!

Hillary: I do so too want borders! Why can't Trump be more like Saint Ronald Reagan? And my other Republican icon, the great George W. Bush?

Chris: But in $260,000 WikiLeaks speeches, you said you wanted open borders!

Hillary: But not for people. That was only for capital. Read the whole WikiLeaks why don't you. Oops, on second thought, don't, Because it's a Russian plot to rig the election. Why can't Trump just admit that he is a secret Russian agent?

Donald: That was a great pivot from open borders.

Chris: Hold on a minute. This is getting out of my express control. Silence!

Trump: Putin has no respect for Hillary.

Hillary: He'd rather have a puppet president.

Donald:You're the puppet.

Hillary: No you're the puppet.

Donald: Am not!

Hillary: Are too! The Russian plot is deeply disturbing to the secret heads of a multitude of secret American agencies which collect all your emails and phone records without your knowledge or permission.

Chris: Hey, what about me? Trump - will you condemn Putin or won't you?

Donald: Sure. I have no idea.

Chris: Wait, this has nothing to do with immigration!

Hillary: He wants to put his short fingers on the nuclear button in a very casual fashion. I am terrified. It would take Donald Trump only four minutes to blow up the whole entire world.

Donald: I have 200 generals and admirals and Medal of Honor recipients. Am too!

Hillary: The United States has kept the peace! The only way to keep the peace is enlisting many other NATO countries to spread the war around.

Chris: Now the economy. I hope you handle this as well as you handled immigration. I'm gonna drill down in your icy cold shallow waters a little bit more now, and hope the blow-out preventer gizmo works better than it did in the Gulf. So, Clinton, what about jobs and growth?

Hillary: If I can believe in more middle class Ladders of Opportunity, so can you. Think lovely thoughts. Donald doesn't believe in Ladders. He only believes in Chutes. He's a sore loser.

Donald: Saudi Arabia must pay. Also too Germany and South Korea and Japan, not to single them out, but why aren't they paying for our free college tuition? We're going to cut business taxes on massively rich people very massively. We're dying at One Percent GDP.

Hillary: Let me translate that if I may, Chris.

Donald: No you can't.

Hillary: I will not raise taxes on poor struggling people who make only $249,000 a year. When my husband, on whose coattails I am riding, was in office, we had a surplus caused by the bubble economy that was pumped up and later blown apart by deregulation. So we know how to control hot air. Obama's austerity measures for the middle class and poor then cut the deficit by two-thirds. Hooray for the plutocracy! We have to invest in people to make money off of people. Free-market neoliberalism with a happy face works for the One Percent!

Chris: So more Obama stimulus? Since I work at Fox News, let me get the usual dig in and falsely assert what a total drag it was on the economy.

Hillary: I've never seen plutocrats so physically distraught from an economic catastrophe as they were in the  Bush administration. It was touch and go for the poor things for a couple of months. President Obama simply doesn't get the credit he deserves for ensuring that more than 90% of the gains have gone straight back to them. It was a terrible recession for them.

Donald: The economy is so bad I should be winning. Clinton can brag, but the results of NAFTA didn't kick in until they were out of office. Now she wants to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She lied, they fact-checked, and I was so honored.

Hillary: When I saw the final fine print of TPP when I announced my candidacy I decided to be against it. Unless it "creates jobs, increases national security and raises incomes" I'll be against it after I am president too. And that is being deliberately vague and pragmatic. As I said in my leaked speech to bankers, there is a public stance and a private stance. And Donald built his Tower with Chinese steel.

Donald: You had a chance to stop me for 30 years and you didn't. You're a mess.

Hillary: When I was working for the Children's Defense Fund for a minute, Donald was kicking children out of their homes. When I was going against teachers' unions in Arkansas, he was inheriting millions from his Daddy. When I wore a soft powder pink suit to China as the consort of a president, he was fat-shaming Miss Universe. When I was curled up in the Situation Room, watching the violent porn of the Osama bin Laden execution, Donald was taping Celebrity Apprentice. Oh the humanity. Oh the things I have endured for this country.

Donald: You're fired. Go directly to jail.

Chris: Clinton?

Hillary: He never says he's sorry for anything. At least I admit that mistakes were sometimes made and I might do things differently all over again if I possessed even a smidgen of insight. But Donald even went after my war-mongering Republican friend John McCain. Ugh. Very, very dark. That's not who America is.

Donald: I'd love to talk about ISIS and stuff.

Chris: Okey-dokey. What about the emails and the corrupt Clinton Foundation, Clinton?

Hillary: Everything I did, I did for America. I'm thrilled to talk about it. So let me dodge the question and say that the Trump Foundation is for the enrichment of Donald Trump.

Donald: We put up the American flag at Mar-a-Lago.

Hillary: Release your tax returns!

Donald: It's because of people like you that I can avoid taxes. You could have changed the laws when you were a senator. Your donors are just like me and even worse than me.

Hillary: Chinese steel.

Chris: Will you accept the result of this election, Trump?

Donald: I see dead people. Voting. Stay tuned. It's rigged because Hillary should be in jail and never have been allowed to run.

Chris: But tradition, tradition!

Hillary: Horrifying to only now pretend to discover that Trump is not a gracious person. The FBI investigated me for a whole year. What more can you ask of a candidate? What's more, he complained he was cheated when he didn't get an Emmy for Celebrity Apprentice.

Donald: I should have.

Hillary: His mindset is funny, yet troubling. He's a big fat loser. This is not how democracy works. Democracy is a game and, as Obama said, you should not start whining before the game is even finished. Donald is rudely denigrating and talking down to a sporting event.

Chris: Hold on, folks. This kind of straight talk is no good to anyone at the top of the heap. So on to Foreign Hot Spots. What's hot and what's not? Give it your best Michelin Guide ratings. How's about Mosul? 

Hillary: So glad there are boots on the ground and I will forever object to boots on the ground. And then on to Syria! We desperately need an intelligence surge. And a no-fly zone with lots of collateral damage and death in order to humanely protect Syrians.

Donald: So sad. MacArthur and Patton are rolling in their graves.

Hillary: Donald went on the Howard Stern show to support the invasion of Iraq.

Donald: Did not.

Hillary: Did too. I got audio. He thinks he's better than me just because I voted for a sham war. I watched bin Laden get brought to justice with a hundred bullets while he was doing stupid Celebrity Apprentice. Nonny nonny boo boo. He's unfit every time he talks.

Donald: No, you are. John Podesta said some horrible things about you, and he's right. Bernie said you have bad judgment.

Hillary: Bernie really likes me and he really hates you.

Chris: Let's go to Aleppo! Trump, you falsely said it had fallen.

Donald: No, I said it was a catastrophic mess. Heckuva job, Hillary.

Chris: A hotshot general said your no-fly zone would mean war with Russia, Clinton.

Hillary: War saves lives and makes wars end. But maybe we can strike a deal. Rome wasn't built in a day. And I am not letting any Syrian refugees in without being vetted. Even that little boy in the ambulance with the blood and dirt all over his face who we use as propaganda. We rely on Muslim Americans to spy on other Muslim Americans. And let me gratuitously add that the Muslim American who shot up the Orlando gay nightclub was born in the same New York borough as Donald! We have to up our war games and be smarter.

Donald: ISIS is in 32 countries. Don't make me spell them out.

Chris: OK. Now let's move on to the false claim that Social Security and Medicare are going broke.  Why are you both ignoring this totally non-existent crisis?

Donald: I am going to create tremendous jobs.

Hillary: Back when Saint Ronald Reagan was president, Donald took out a full page ad and said America was the laughingstock of the world. I don't add to the national debt, which is indeed a very serious problem of the very serious people. We are going to politely beg the wealthy to pay their fair share. I want to invest in people and make them grow just like commodities. Donald's father was a millionaire and my father was only comfortably bourgeois.

Donald: I'm going to stick with the lie that cutting taxes on rich greedy bastards will create more jobs.

Chris: But what about entitlements for greedy widows, orphans and retirees?

Donald: Repeal and replace Obamacare. I'm not saying with what.

Hillary: Replenish the Social Security trust fund by taxing Donald Trump more -- unless he can figure a way to get out of it.

Donald: Such a nasty woman.

Hillary: Means-test Social Security, which is a sneaky way of turning it into a welfare program ripe for future cuts, instead of the social insurance program it is at the present time. I am euphemizing this for debate purposes as "harder decisions."

Chris: On a lighter note, let's end with some funny unrehearsed closing statements on why people should elect either one of you president. Clinton, it's your turn first.

Hillary: It's my turn. Awesome, incredible, mission, life's work, children, families.

Donald: She's raising money to control people. Me, I want to Make America Great Again.We have to take care of the military better than we take care of immigrants. We need law and order in mainly black inner cities. I will do more for them than she can ever do in ten lifetimes.

Chris: That brings to an end this series of corporate-controlled sham debates to which third and fourth party candidates have been barred because of low poll numbers caused by deliberate lack of coverage by the mainstream media. Now, America, the decision is up to you.

(Cheers, applause, spin, mainstream media becomes uniformly aghast that Trump thinks the whole process is rigged at the very same time they keep spreading the fear that Russia is trying to rig the election.)

Now, to be totally fair to all concerned, and in case you suspect that my creative editing of the debate transcript is too over the top for belief, here's a supplementary video that truly captures The Banality of Clump. It's going viral under the alternate title of "Creepy Grandma Grin."


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shake, Rattle, and Rickroll

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
Her voice was shaking so dramatically, I thought for a minute that First Lady Michelle Obama was talking about the latest lethal attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital by American forces or their Saudi surrogates. Or maybe she was reacting to one of the almost daily shootings of a black person by militarized American police, or the shocking news that one American citizen is being arrested on a drug charge every 25 seconds.

But why dwell on such mundane nightmares affecting vulnerable people, both near and far, when one can pretend to be shocked that Don John Trump is a vile-mouthed oafish sexual predator who forgot to take a charm school course in the Fine Art of Seduction? It's been common knowledge for decades that the man has been a gross serial groper of women, but nobody important much cared until the final weeks of the presidential campaign. When they weren't ignoring his criminal history, they were laughing at him. When they weren't laughing at him, they were giving him more than a billion dollars' worth of free advertising, the better to ignore Bernie Sanders's liberal policy ideas and Hillary Clinton's own scandals, lackluster campaign, and paranoid penchant for secrecy. As America's highest paid media mogul Les Moonves gushed to a group of Morgan Stanley bankers last winter, Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damned good for CBS." 

If disgust at Trump during the final weeks of the campaign isn't enough to propel consumer-citizens to the polls to vote for Hillary, then maybe shaming them and intimidating them and impugning their patriotism will do the trick.

Today's message from The Establishment: if you report on or even so much as read the hacked Podesta emails, you're going to hell in a deplorable hand basket.  

There's more than one reason that elite cores are shaking this week. As reported by The Hill, Clinton's Deep State advisers held a McCarthyesque emergency conference call with reporters on Friday to hysterically warn them that revelations about the shoddy inner workings of their corporate political party are a threat to national security and to democracy itself.

"I'm simply enraged by these Russian hacks," fumed Clinton surrogate and former acting CIA Director and CBS analyst Michael Morell.“It shakes me to my core. This is a direct assault on our democracy. It’s a direct assault on how we choose our leaders. And quite frankly, I can’t think of a more serious issue at the moment than Russia trying to interfere in our election.”

It matters little that no proof exists that Russia is actually behind the leaked emails. The truthiness is out there in a million Tweets and Retweets and Clintonoid propaganda in the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and MSDNC.

It matters little to Morell that the CIA's entire 70-year-old raison d'etre has been to interfere in the politics of other countries and to foment violence, coups, proxy wars, and death. It matters little that in the leaked emails, Hillary Clinton acknowledged - and not for the first time - that Saudi Arabia (recipient of billions of dollars' worth of American weaponry) is the prime backer of ISIS and other extremist groups.

What matters is the deflection of public attention away from the tawdry content of the Clinton machine's anti-democratic correspondence and toward the alleged source of the damaging information. What matters is ramping up the attack on press freedoms and the public's right to know what our candidates and our government are doing in all our names.

The waning days of this dreadful election season have devolved into the two kinds of pornography that sell the best: sex and violence. The elites have all but abandoned any pretense at caring about poverty, health, jobs and most of all, climate change.

Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump's imploding campaign and psychopathy and the endless reverential coverage of the pseudo-rattled First Lady's feminist outrage at same, a meeting on Friday of her husband's National Security Council to weigh a deadly escalation of the undeclared American war in Syria went almost unnoticed by the media. Ditto for the US naval missile attack on poverty-stricken Yemen the previous day, in a direct escalation of that undeclared war. Ditto for the American-backed Saudi bombing of a Yemeni funeral last week that resulted in the deaths of 150 innocent people. Including many women and children.
  But pay no attention to the mass atrocities and the  looming World War III and unhinged American aggression abroad. Instead, be outraged and amused and shaken to your very core by the unhinged Donald Trump and #PussyGate. Support President Obama's pledge to vanquish Putin by secretly launching an "unprecedented" cyber-attack of our own on the Kremlin.

In case you hadn't guessed, the media-political complex is attempting to punk, or "rickroll" the American public with the usual weapons of mass distraction. But their methods are becoming increasingly desperate. They're as inept at disseminating their self-serving propaganda as Donald Trump apparently is at consummating his own serial predations.

From all accounts, the Trump victims coming forward this week managed to escape his grotesque slimy tentacles right in the nick of time. It's too bad we can't say the same for the silent and silenced victims of the unending state-sanctioned economic, social, physical and mental violence directed at millions of innocent people all over this country and all over this world.
America you don't really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.-- Allen Ginsberg, 1956. 
 "I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact." -- Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzi, then 17, recounting her October 2013 meeting with Barack and Michelle Obama and one of their daughters in the White House.
Visibly Shaken Right Down To Their Apple Cores

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