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.


pissing-into-the-wind said...

Ah, yes. "When they go low, we go high," quoth the current First Lady.

But , "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” quoth President [not-so-]Peace[ful] Prize


Bringing a gun to a knife fight seems Chicago-smart, but not necessarily representative of "going high."

Or maybe that's just me.

annenigma said...

'We're great because we're good' is another one of Hillary's favorite sayings these days.

We mustn't forget. Killary-Obomba didn't assassinate unarmed Osama bin Laden. No, they 'brought him to justice' as if they had him arrested and charged, and he was convicted.

I recall reading that Obama also has black ops forces (private contractors no doubt) in dozens of other countries rendering 'justice'. They're probably stationed at the many embassies Hillary's State Dept was in charge of. Like Benghazi.

When they go low, we go lower.

The Black Swan said...

I've been watching videos on Youtube of Trump and Clinton rallies. Trump is getting thousands of people at his rallies, holding several rallies per day, and the comments on his videos are almost 100% pro Trump. Hillary is getting hundreds of people at her rallies, holding several per week, and the comments on her videos are almost 100% pro Trump. Is this an internet echo chamber? Are the polls that off? Is the media that complicit with her campaign? Just observing this objectively to gauge how the internet is viewing things and not just how the media is portraying things. I'm having a hard time seeing how she is polling so high.

annenigma said...

Here's a another Hillary virtue: Hillary speaks Truth to Power. We now know, thanks to Wikileaks, that that Power is acknowledged by the Clinton campaign to be the banking sector.

From the Podesta emails, we learned that her speechwriter deliberately added a part to her speech to throw off the public 'in case it ever leaked' by tepidly criticizing the banksters 'so it would show that Hillary isn't afraid to speak truth to power'.

As with most of the Podesta emails, it's all stuff we've suspected but it's helpful to have it acknowledged along with her campaign's eagerness to deceive the public. Throwing an occasional winking lie to the banksters is routine, such as claiming she opposes the TPP 'in it's present form'.

@The Black Swan

Money donated to campaigns tells us more than the polls do, particularly about how large the donations are and where they're coming from.

Follow the money. But where to start? Skipping over the decades where the Clintons have been selling political favors for money, let's just consider the Commission on Presidential Debates. It's owned by the Duopoly. They choose which polls they use to decide who makes it onto the Presidential debate stage, and those are our two options for President.

The CPT selected 5 polls this year which were all corporate media affiliated, not independents. They couldn't find a poll they trusted that wasn't owned or commissioned by a corporate media giant.

The polls selected for use by the CPD in 2016 were:

ABC-Washington Post
CBS-New York Times
CNN-Opinion Research Corporation
Fox News
NBC-Wall Street Journal

The media gets to decide who makes the news and what that looks and sound like. They also tout their own poll results repeatedly. They can phrase the questions and use a tone to pose the questions which sway the outcome, although they're trained not to - but paid to do just that.

The fact is, the right candidates must be chosen, built up, then one of them torn down. There's money to be made every step of the way, the same as with wars, because the whole predatory Capitalist system benefits. Indeed, the global empire is the ultimate winner.

Money can't buy love or crowds, but it can buy votes directly or indirectly through manipulation of the public through polls and 'news' coverage by the corporate media and the echo chamber of sycophants and stenographers.

In an imperialist country which worships money and the high priests of the state religion of Capitalism are willing to sacrifice our youth for profits, there's no limit as to what the money-grubbing warmongering whores will do to stay in power. They'll do whatever it takes.

That's revealing itself by the sabre rattling about Putin and Russia and they're really pushing the envelope. I saw a mushroom cloud campaign ad that looked like the old Daisy ad from the Johnson-Goldwater era. We've also seen Joe McCarthy rise from the grave and references to Trump being a Hitler clone. This is desperation and would be dangerous to our democracy - if we had one.

But let's all repeat together - Hillary is great. Hillary is good. Hillary is virtuous. She has no spots on her hands to wash out and her conscience is clear. She takes people to justice. Forget you ever saw and heard her say gleefully "We came. We saw. He died".

The only way to stop Hillary is to vote for and elect Donald Trump. That's exactly the dilemma they intended us to face.

annenigma said...

In regard to polling, there's discussion of the deliberate 'oversamples on polling' by Podesta as revealed in the leaked Podesta emails. Eric Draitser discusses this and more inconvenient Trump truths in his Counterpunch article titled 'Dear Liberals: Trump is Right"


'And why won’t they discuss the fact that Trump’s claim that the polls are establishment/corporate media distortions is, on the whole, accurate. Consider the Wikileaks release of emails from Democratic Party hack extraordinaire, and current Clinton campaign Chairman, John Podesta, who openly described the need for “oversamples on polling” to “maximize what we get out of our media polling.”

Essentially, he’s suggesting the tried and true tactics of hucksters and con men everywhere – stack the deck in order to achieve a desired outcome. By deliberately over-representing certain groups, and underrepresenting others, once can mold the poll results to any preconceived, politically expedient result. For instance, a few extra Black and Hispanic voters in a sample of 100 or 500 likely voters might skew the poll results by a few percentage points, thereby giving the appearance of more support for Clinton than she has.'

Kat said...

Oh for Pete's sake did you see the latest scare mongering in the dedicated Trump space of the NYT? Wise ol' Buddha has his latest top rated banalities. Here is a much better and far more measured analysis https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/10/democratic-party-clinton-trump-white-voters-workers/
(BTW- one commenter "feared for his property and maybe "even his life" if he put up a Hillary sign.)
Although I believe that Hillary will win (cough) "legitimately", I believe that there would be rigging going on if Trump were close. I believe Ohio was rigged in 2004.

Kat said...

Here was my reply to one commenter from Alexandria, Va. Very few Trump signs there showing their superiority:
Ah yes-- Alexandria, a city for whom government has been good. And by government, I mean defense contractors. Welfare for the wealthy. Our tax dollars keep your property values up.

Kat said...

Couldn't the Times get some photos of these people holding confederate flags? If you're looking for deplorables, you can always find some. The Times is performing its usual task of fanning the flames of division in the service of the Clinton democrats which always involves demonizing the opposition. The newspaper has already lost most of its integrity by being the stooge of the Democratic establishment, but it is showing it can always slide lower.
That was a commenter from Georgia and seems pn the money to me. The NYT is divisive.

Karen Garcia said...


The Times article, placed so prominently in the top left corner of the homepage, is propaganda for the express purpose of fomenting elite disdain toward "white trash." It invites readers to indulge themselves in an orgy of virtue-signalling, and is actually more dangerous than the mythical peril it purports to warn about. Hillary Clinton is presented as a vulnerable target of white yahoo assassins, as though she didn't have whole protective armies at her disposal. The entire article is psychotic. It also broadcasts the elite fear that the polls are wrong and that Clinton could either lose, or just barely scrape past Donald Trump, leaving her without any "mandate" to speak of.

I just read an excellent book by Alexander Zaitchik called "Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Trump's America." The interviews with Trump supporters reveal only a small number of them to be bigots. Many of them can't stand Trump as a person, but they can't stand their joblessness, their low wages and their generalized precarity even more strongly. They're not so much voting for Trump as they are voting against Clinton. A Trump victory would let them at least experience one fleeting and joyous moment of power over the elites. Voting for Trump is about the only way they have left to make their voices heard.

I have a lot more empathy for Trump supporters with black lung disease from working in the closed coal mines than I do with comfortable upper middle class Democrats and their stale diversions and identity politics.

Sabotaging Bernie Sanders was the party's worst mistake. I hope this election is the beginning of the end for the duopoly, and the beginning of a new bottom-up convergence of activist groups like Black Lives Matter into a more solid and unified movement. We'll have to wait and see whether Bernie's "Our Revolution" has any teeth, or whether its SuperPac status has doomed it from the outset.

The Black Swan said...

If you really listen to the stump speeches of both candidates, and not the media horse race madness, you get a very different picture than the one being pressed on us by the MSM. Trump may disparage certain individual people, or he may speak ill of foreign groups, but he never insults Americans. He welcomed Bernie Sanders supporters after Bernie lost, he even says he holds no ill will towards anyone who votes for Hillary. It is Hillary and her lackeys who are pushing the politics of hate and divisiveness, calling Trump supporters 'deplorable' and Sanders supporters 'basement dwellers' or 'uninformed' or 'naive'.

I live in a very liberal west coast city and I'm finding it to be increasingly intolerant of anything that doesn't fit the PC narrative. If one so much as expresses support for even Jill Stein you are met with "do you want Trump to win? are you mysogynist, racist, bigoted, xenophobic, homophobic, etc?" Don't even try and support Trump. Being outside the group in liberal America is like being a closeted homosexual in the Bible Belt. Heck, it might be worse, attitudes about homosexuality have changed drastically in this country, just look at the R convention, but attitudes about those deplorables keep getting worse.

The ideology behind Clinton and her campaign is so foul that it makes me want to support Trump just to keep this mindset out of power. And I don't think I'm alone. I imagine there are millions of Americans who feel the same, who feel afraid to say this out loud, and who will vote for Trump in the end because Clinton has made herself such a loathsome proposition.

I don't want to live in a society that sees male braggadocio as a greater evil than war.

Kat said...

Okay, so when Trump was in the southern part of the state here during the primary race, the local news had a snippet of his speech. He was talking about the TPP. Didn't fit the NBC/NYTimes narrative. And I have read enough quotes from Trump supporters to know that there are many who are holding their nose while they vote for him.
You know, I watched a documentary on the coal wars in WV and you know who hasn't changed their tune-- still unrepentant classists? The NYT. There was a headline form the paper at that time bemoaning these backward people (the union was integrated) that "only time will help". Same old, same old.
Bernie should have been spending less time on college campuses. (if he was indeed in earnest. questionable. But I don't know his motivation. It seems like above all he likes to hear himself speak.)

Kat said...


I wonder how integrated the neighborhoods from which these individuals who cry "racism" at every turn are? Somethng tells me the objects of their venom live in more racially diverse neighborhoods.

Karen Garcia said...

Speaking of neighborhoods, the residents of upscale Chappaqua, NY, home of the Clintons, have announced a big fat "NIMBY!" to some very minimal low-income housing - despite a discrimination lawsuit settlement with the Feds. They won't even allow a Dunkin Donuts in, because it would spoil the liberal ambience. Of course, this has nothing at all to do with race or class. It's all the Republicans' fault, say residents. You see, the upscale residents had conveniently voted out all the Democrats who'd signed onto the low income housing scheme! Oops. And Hill and Bill have conveniently stayed mum themselves.


Kat said...

Well, Bill did his part in dismantling actual public housing. Now it is all "low income housing tax credits".
Yes, Democrats are all about affordable housing. We have one party (D) rule here, so we are just loaded with affordable housing! Not.

Kat said...

Remember when the NYT was inciting violence courtesy Judith Miller... well that ain't nothing compared to the 50* people they said were talking post election violence after scouring Trump rallies in seven or eight states.

*For some reason more of the quotes spoke of resignation or despondence rather than violence, but whatevah.

Kat said...

More on the dismantling of public housing under Clinton:

vouchers-- to conveniently remove inconvenient residents from choice real estate.
Comes with case management of course!

annenigma said...

'Michael Moore: People will vote for Donald Trump as a giant “F**k you” — and he’ll win'


A giant 'Fuck You!' sounds good to me.

Jay–Ottawa said...

It would be so grand––for a moment––on November 9 to see a victorious Trump doing his version of Harry Truman holding up the Chicago Tribune's DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN. Then watching Hillary slouching out of history in ignominious defeat. Because her defeat would make the comfortable very uneasy.

Ain't going to happen. Clinton by a landslide within a record low turnout.

But please don't stop me from dreaming Jill Stein has a shot at getting at least 5%.