Tuesday, July 17, 2018

New Litmus Test For Patriotism: Loyalty To the Police State

Treason is in the air. If you hate everything that Trump stands for, but still agree with him that #Russiagate is a fraud*, then it naturally follows that you are just as much a traitor as he allegedly is. 

Hysteria is in the air. Trump betrayed the United States by meeting with Vladimir Putin, who did attack us, is attacking us, and will continue to attack us. If you don't believe it, then you weren't paying attention when actor, Hillary Clinton supporter and #MeToo critic Morgan Freeman made the big announcement last year. He informed the nation that we are at war with Russia, and he urged Congress and the Intelligence agencies to act. And they listened. Because Morgan Freeman is so much better at playing President than Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is such a lousy actor, in fact, that he  committed the cardinal sin of presidents. He actually criticized what is hideously euphemized by its media enablers as the Intelligence Community. He has made this critique before, of course,  mainly on Twitter, but on Monday he did it with Vlad the Impaler standing right there at his side. 

Elite heads proceeded to explode.

 James Clapper, the former NSA chief who lied to Congress about spying on everybody, and John Brennan, the former CIA chief who couldn't even get confirmed in Obama's first term because he helped implement Bush's torture program, are under attack by the Treasonous Traitorous Trump (see the New York Times's Charles Blow, who got the whole treasonous media ball rolling with his pre-TrumPutin Summit column.)

Since the punishment in the United State for high treason is death, look for the next phase in the media hysteria to be a debate over how to execute Donald Trump. The more passionate pundits will probably opt for bringing back the electric chair, while the liberal humanitarian interventionists will suggest nitrogen gas.

Of course I'm kidding. They don't really want to put Trump on trial for high treason. They don't want to gift him with such a ratings bonanza, especially since his martyrdom would include a stirring speech with the theme "I regret that I only have one life to give for My Company."

 They just want to weaken him a bit while spreading their scare stories and raising donor money for the mid-terms. They'd prefer he lose a second term to a centrist Democrat, aka moderate Republican, who will be loyal to the unaccountable rogue police state and spy agencies whose own main function is enabling corporate global plunder and protecting the oligarchs against the restive global rabble. The elite media-political complex wants somebody who will stay mum on all the meddling in foreign elections which the United States has done, is doing, and will continue to do until the American Empire collapses under the weight of its own hubris and greed.

Trump is acting too much like an outside critic of Empire and not enough like its discreet marketer. His idea of the presidency is being the star of his own reality show. To impress one another and portray themselves as righteous to the rest of the world, therefore, our elite Thought Leaders must pretend to despise him, despite the mammoth tax cuts he recently gifted to the wealthiest among them. They want the rest of the world to forget the record hundreds of billions of dollars they just gifted right back to Trump's own war machine by a very compliant and corrupt Congress.

This recent Russophobic hysteria is very much an internal war between the two political right wing factions of the ruling class: the Dollarcrats and the Reprivatans. Since the latter abhor regular people by rewarding the private interests of capital at every opportunity, they should just remove the "public" part of their moniker and exhibit a little honesty for a change.  Ditto for the Dems. The people, or Demos, have become too utterly subservient to the big money gilding the Big Tent into a virtual gated community to have their name co-opted any longer.

Totalitarianism is alive and well in the Land of the Free. The FBI and the CIA and the NSA have usurped what used to be the purview of the independent press and have become an all-powerful and highly weaponized fourth branch of government. 

Why else would a Congress pretending to despise Trump just confirm a known torturer, "Bloody Gina" Haspel, to head the CIA at Donald Trump's own specific and very personal behest? They love Trump, but they just can't admit it in public.

* Update. Never mind. Trump has officially caved. He is not willing to die, not even for his brand, his dynasty, or his company:


I can barely stand any more to look at the propaganda tool of the "Deep State" which the New York Times has unabashedly (rather than heretofore stealthily) become - but I have nonetheless submitted a few more comments in recent days. Readers who express even the slightest skepticism in the comment threads about the inherent goodness and honesty of the Police/Surveillance State are becoming fewer and farther between. Propaganda absolutely does work, even upon the minds of otherwise very intelligent people.

Maureen Dowd, who used to write such fun and shallow pieces on Trump's antics, is now deadly serious about the Great Orange Evil and his puppet master Vlad. Ever the name-dropper, she shares that she and some other celebrity pundits once had dinner with Putin at the 21 Club and were so put off by his icy cold stare and his sanguine attitude toward a Russian submarine disaster that they lost their appetite for all that fine service and overpriced food. 

  So not to be outdone by the hysteria and overwrought angst of her corporate media cohort, Dowd has finally seen the careerist light. She bloviates:
Trump hugging Putin even as Putin stabs at our democracy is an incomprehensible mystery.
Flummoxed and craven Republicans scramble to go along with a president who has turned the traditional heroes and villains of the G.O.P. topsy-turvy, berating our European allies, NATO, the N.F.L., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., and canoodling with the mendacious and scheming Russians.
On the eve of the Helsinki summit, which Trump has arranged as a very intime pas de deux, it is still befuddling and alarming to watch him kowtow to Putin.
When you are as disloyal to football as you are to the police state and the permanent war machine, any lingering doubts about your patriotism will get flushed right down the toilet. 

So how shocking that we all woke up on this Summit morning-after, still breathing and the sun still shining, and Amazon Prime still delivering. The nuclear war that the Neocons and the Liberal Interventionists are hankering for will have to wait for another time, especially since the one lone anti-nuke protester at the Summit was summarily ejected from the room by our very honorable patriots, aka police state strongmen.

My (not highly recommended) published response to Dowd:
Trump is a master of spectacle. Since the show's the thing, he doesn't care as long as he's still #1 at the box office and on Twitter. Pathological lying? Meh. As long as he gets the wall-to-wall coverage from our pathologically consolidated media, he's a winner in his own stunted little mind.

A gaslighter for the ages, he saturates the news cycle till it's as flat and stale as yesterday's pancake. Still, the manic over-coverage of the TrumPutin Apocalypse does serve to distract our attention from our own day-to-day problems, such as lack of a living wage, lack of savings, unaffordable rents, unaffordable health care, and so much student debt that people are actually dying before they're able to pay it all back.

So while we blame Russia for hacking our "democracy," the culprits much closer to home can remain free, screwing the body politic with the immunity and impunity to which they've become accustomed.

 Trump is the symptom, not the core problem. The scary thing is that unless our politics is replaced by some actual representative democracy, our future presidents will not only be like Trump, they'll be smarter than Trump.

Meanwhile, the Blimp above Parliament is sadly something we're not allowed to see above US seats of power, given that the moneyed interests running this show have barricaded themselves below their no-fly zones and behind their armed luxury fortresses.

So down with the Ugly, and up with the beauty of social democracy. Oh, and happy Bastille Day!
Now on to Paul Krugman, who thankfully didn't go full Russophobe himself because he already had a column in the can about the nasty Republicans - and again, it's only the nasty Republicans - waging a war on poor people. The newest gimmick in this endless war is declaring that since the war on poverty was such a success, who needs anti-poverty programs any more anyway?  Certainly not the rich. 

Sadly though, neither poor people nor Krugman's own narrow views on poverty are trending topics  on the Times today, thanks to the Bromance Armageddon Hysteria completely hogging the front page. So, fewer readers than normal weighed in with comments on something so mundane as massive record poverty in the richest country on earth. Outrage can only go so far on any given day and on any given topic, after all. 

Anyway, here's my own published submission: 
The "official" way the US defines poverty paints a falsely rosy picture. According to current standards, only individuals earning less than about $11,000 are deemed poor, while a household of four must fall below $24,000 to qualify for the honor. Thus, "only" about 12% of the US population are that badly off.

A more accurate metric is the Supplementary Poverty Measure, which takes into account the rising costs of rent, food, clothing and utilities. In actuality, at least a third of the population, or 110 million people, can be considered poor or nearly poor. They are:

51.9 percent of children under the age of 18
40.7 percent of adults between the ages of 18-64
42.5 percent of elderly
45 percent of women and girls
33.9 percent of Whites.
60.3 percent of Blacks.
65.1 percent of Latinos.
41.1 percent of Asians. 

 This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's Poor People's March on Washington, which he didn't live to lead. But now we have the Poor People's Campaign, which has been staging protests (with many arrests) all over the country as well as a major rally in D.C. a few weeks ago. There has been little to no corporate media coverage of this movement of. by and for the poor.

If you're wondering why that is, the operative word is "corporate."

Trump isn't the only corrupt entity looking a humanitarian crisis in the face and callously pretending it doesn't exist.



stranger in a strange land said...

Thanks Karen, it was your New York Times commentary that brought me here several years ago - please keep up the good work, stomach-turning as it may be to visit that mire of propaganda. Speaking of which, I am seeking advice for ways to be persuasive (not simply dismissive) towards friends and family whom are thoroughly under the Russiagate spell, suggestions appreciated!

Jay–Ottawa said...

@ Stranger

Try this (no reading skills needed, just 25 minutes of video):

The Joker said...

@stranger in a strange land

One basic entry point for discussion is their wallet. Ask them whether Russiagate, one way or the other, makes any difference in what their medical insurance costs, what their home or apartment rent is, what college tuition for their kids or grandkids is or will be.

A second focus can be the environment, both the natural world and the built infrastructure around them. Will Russiagate make the any difference in whether clean water is delivered when they turn on the taps, or the air is fit to breathe, or their roads are in Third World condition?

In fact, in both broad categories, it will either make no difference, or will lead to a worse outcome in those various areas, because the while the public is being distracted from those issues of true importance to them, they are being undermined by those with significant vested interest in doing that.

Get them to understand that there is an operative principle at work in U.S. politics (and also many other nations as well): don't look here, look over there, with "there" often being some ideological and/or external "threat". Once you can get people to understand that that's how they are being manipulated, they should be more attuned to its future manifestations. And once they understand that it's not an anomaly, but rather political modus operandi, they will begin to be "woke", with all that implies.

Karen Garcia said...

Thank you, Stranger and Jay.

When I engage with people on politics, I talk about history, such as the history of the CIA and FBI and the meddling of Harvard's "Washington Boys" during the Clinton presidency after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which helped bring about the rise of Putin and the Russian oligarchs. I point out that Trump is very likely embroiled with these mafia-like characters, which is a whole different thing than betraying his country. I point out that Bill Clinton not too long ago pocketed a cool half-million speechifying to this seamy Russian cartel.

Speaking of propaganda, Charles Blow is at it again in the New York Times. Since I caught him early, I not only commented early, I commented first. I am duly braced for neoliberal impact!