Introduction: A coup has been underway to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from taking office and fulfilling his campaign promise to improve US-Russia relations. This ‘palace coup’ is not a secret conspiracy, but an open, loud attack on the election.
The coup involves important US elites, who openly intervene on many levels from the street to the current President, from sectors of the intelligence community, billionaire financiers out to the more marginal ‘leftist’ shills of the Democratic Party.
The build-up for the coup is gaining momentum, threatening to eliminate normal constitutional and democratic constraints. This essay describes the brazen, overt coup and the public operatives, mostly members of the outgoing Obama regime.
The second section describes the Trump’s cabinet appointments and the political measures that the President-Elect has adopted to counter the coup. We conclude with an evaluation of the potential political consequences of the attempted coup and Trump’s moves to defend his electoral victory and legitimacy.
The Coup as ‘Process’
In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means, which may help illustrate some of the current moves underway in Washington. These are especially interesting since the Obama Administration served as the ‘midwife’ for these ‘regime changes’.
Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups, in which the elected Presidents were ousted through a series of political interventions orchestrated by economic elites and their political allies in Congress and the Judiciary.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were deeply involved in these operations as part of their established foreign policy of ‘regime change’. Indeed, the ’success’ of the Latin American coups has encouraged sectors of the US elite to attempt to prevent President-elect Trump from taking office in January.
While similarities abound, the on-going coup against Trump in the United States occurs within a very different power configuration of proponents and antagonists.
Firstly, this coup is not against a standing President, but targets an elected president set to take office on January 20, 2017. Secondly, the attempted coup has polarized leading sectors of the political and economic elite. It even exposes a seamy rivalry within the intelligence-security apparatus, with the political appointees heading the CIA involved in the coup and the FBI supporting the incoming President Trump and the constitutional process. Thirdly, the evolving coup is a sequential process, which will build momentum and then escalate very rapidly.
Coup-makers depend on the ‘Big Lie’ as their point of departure – accusing President-Elect Trump of 1) being a Kremlin stooge, attributing his electoral victory to Russian intervention against his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton and 2) blatant voter fraud in which the Republican Party prevented minority voters from casting their ballot for Secretary Clinton.
The first operatives to emerge in the early stages of the coup included the marginal-left Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who won less than 1% of the vote, as well as the mass media.
In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO’s (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump’s victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a ‘first shot across the bow’, to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s electoral victory. However, Jill Stein’s $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous ‘Russian hackers’ and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!
The ‘Big Lie’ was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The ‘experts’ were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a ‘rigged election’. Everyday, every hour, the ‘Russian Plot’ was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a ‘banana republic’.
Like the Billionaire Soros-funded ‘Color Revolutions’, from Ukraine, to Georgia and Yugoslavia, the ‘Rainbow Revolt’ against Trump, featured grass-roots NGO activists and ’serious leftists’, like Jill Stein.
The more polished political operatives from the upscale media used their editorial pages to question Trump’s legitimacy. This established the ground work for even higher level political intervention: The current US Administration, including President Obama, members of the US Congress from both parties, and current and former heads of the CIA jumped into the fray. As the vote recount ploy flopped, they all decided that ‘Vladimir Putin swung the US election!’ It wasn’t just lunatic neo-conservative warmongers who sought to oust Trump and impose Hillary Clinton on the American people, liberals and social democrats were screaming ‘Russian Plot!’ They demanded a formal Congressional investigation of the ‘Russian cyber hacking’ of Hillary’s personal e-mails (where she plotted to cheat her rival ‘Bernie Sanders’ in the primaries). They demanded even tighter economic sanctions against Russia and increased military provocations. The outgoing Democratic Senator and Minority Leader ‘Harry’ Reid wildly accused the FBI of acting as ‘Russian agents’ and hinted at a purge.
The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for “betrayal” and “election fraud”.
As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing ‘national security’.
President Obama solemnly declared the Trump-Putin conspiracy was a grave threat to American democracy and Western security and freedom. He darkly promised to retaliate against Russia, “… at a time and place of our choosing”.
Obama also pledged to send more US troops to the Middle East and increase arms shipments to the jihadi terrorists in Syria, as well as the Gulf State and Saudi ‘allies’. Coincidentally, the Syrian Government and their Russian allies were poised to drive the US-backed terrorists out of Aleppo – and defeat Obama’s campaign of ‘regime change’ in Syria.
Trump Strikes Back: The Wall Street- Military Alliance
Meanwhile, President-Elect Donald Trump did not crumple under the Clintonite-coup in progress. He prepared a diverse counter-attack to defend his election, relying on elite allies and mass supporters.
Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term ‘lies’) for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He appointed three retired generals to key Defense and Security positions – indicating a power struggle between the highly politicized CIA and the military. Active and retired members of the US Armed Forces have been key Trump supporters. He announced that he would bring his own security teams and integrate them with the Presidential Secret Service during his administration.
Although Clinton-Obama had the major mass media and a sector of the financial elite who supported the coup, Trump countered by appointing several key Wall Street and corporate billionaires into his cabinet who had their own allied business associations.
One propaganda line for the coup, which relied on certain Zionist organizations and leaders (ADL, George Soros et al), was the bizarre claim that Trump and his supporters were ‘anti-Semites’. This was countered by Trump’s appointment of powerful Wall Street Zionists like Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary and Gary Cohn (both of Goldman Sachs) to head the National Economic Council. Faced with the Obama-CIA plot to paint Trump as a Russian agent for Vladimir Putin, the President-Elect named security hardliners including past and present military leaders and FBI officials, to key security and intelligence positions.
The Coup: Can it succeed?
In early December, President Obama issued an order for the CIA to ‘complete its investigation’ on the Russian plot and manipulation of the US Presidential election in six weeks – right up to the very day of Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017! A concoction of pre-cooked ‘findings’ is already oozing out of secret clandestine CIA archives with the President’s approval. Obama’s last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump’s incoming administration as dangerous. Trump’s promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia.
Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. Will Trump succumb? The legitimacy of his election and his freedom to make policy will depend on overcoming the Clinton-Obama-neo-con-leftist coup with his own bloc of US military and the powerful Wall Street allies, as well as his mass support among the ‘angry’ American electorate. Trump’s success at thwarting the current ‘Russian ploy’ requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump’s appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children’s future.
If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lacks support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton’s detested ‘basket of deplorables’). He embarked on a major series of ‘victory tours’ around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face ‘the real fire’, not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him.
The rising hysteria about Russia is best understood as fulfilling two needs for Official Washington: the Military Industrial Complex’s transitioning from the “war on terror” to a more lucrative “new cold war” – and blunting the threat that a President Trump poses to the neoconservative/liberal-interventionist foreign-policy establishment.
By hyping the Russian “threat,” the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, who include much of the mainstream U.S. news media, can guarantee bigger military budgets from Congress. The hype also sets in motion a blocking maneuver to impinge on any significant change in direction for U.S. foreign policy under Trump.
Some Democrats even hope to stop Trump from ascending to the White House by having the Central Intelligence Agency, in effect, lobby the electors in the Electoral College with scary tales about Russia trying to fix the election for Trump.
The electors meet on Dec. 19 when they will formally cast their votes, supposedly reflecting the judgments of each state’s voters, but conceivably individual electors could switch their ballots from Trump to Hillary Clinton or someone else.
On Thursday, liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. joined the call for electors to flip, writing: “The question is whether Trump, Vladimir Putin and, perhaps, Clinton’s popular-vote advantage give you sufficient reason to blow up the system.”
That Democrats would want the CIA, which is forbidden to operate domestically in part because of its historic role in influencing elections in other countries, to play a similar role in the United States shows how desperate the Democratic Party has become.
And, even though The New York Times and other big news outlets are reporting as flat fact that Russia hacked the Democratic email accounts and gave the information to WikiLeaks, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, told the London Daily Mail that he personally received the email data from a “disgusted” Democrat.
Murray said he flew from London to Washington for a clandestine handoff from one of the email sources in September, receiving the package in a wooded area near American University.
“Neither of [the leaks, from the Democratic National Committee or Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] came from the Russians,” Murray said, adding: “the source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”
Murray said the insider felt “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.” Murray added that his meeting was with an intermediary for the Democratic leaker, not the leaker directly.
If Murray’s story is true, it raises several alternative scenarios: that the U.S. intelligence community’s claims about a Russian hack are false; that Russians hacked the Democrats’ emails for their own intelligence gathering without giving the material to WikiLeaks; or that Murray was deceived about the identity of the original leaker.
But the uncertainty creates the possibility that the Democrats are using a dubious CIA assessment to reverse the outcome of an American presidential election, in effect, making the CIA party to a preemptive domestic “regime change.”
All of this maneuvering also is delaying the Democratic Party’s self-examination into why it lost so many white working-class voters in normally Democratic strongholds, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Rather than national party leaders taking the blame for pre-selecting a very flawed candidate and ignoring all the warning signs about the public’s resistance to this establishment choice, Democrats have pointed fingers at almost everyone else – from FBI Director James Comey for briefly reviving Clinton’s email investigation, to third-party candidates who siphoned off votes, to the archaic Electoral College which negates the fact that Clinton did win the national popular vote – and now to the Russians.
While there may be some validity to these various complaints, the excessive frenzy that has surrounded the still-unproven claims that the Russian government surreptitiously tilted the election in Trump’s favor creates an especially dangerous dynamic.
On one level, it has led Democrats to support Orwellian/ McCarthyistic concepts, such as establishing “black lists” for Internet sites that question Official Washington’s “conventional wisdom” and thus are deemed purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”
On another level, it cements the Democratic Party as America’s preeminent “war party,” favoring an escalating New Cold War with Russia by ratcheting up economic sanctions against Moscow, and even seeking military challenges to Russia in conflict zones such as Syria and Ukraine.
One of the most dangerous aspects of a prospective Hillary Clinton presidency was that she would have appointed neocons, such as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and her husband, Project for the New American Century co-founder Robert Kagan, to high-level foreign policy positions.
Though that risk may have passed assuming Clinton’s Electoral College defeat on Monday, Democrats now are excitedly joining the bash-Russia movement, making it harder to envision how the party can transition back into its more recent role as the “peace party” (at least relative to the extremely hawkish Republicans).
The potential trading places of the two parties in that regard – with Trump favoring geopolitical détente and the Democrats beating the drums for more military confrontations – augurs poorly for the Democrats regaining their political footing anytime soon.
If Democratic leaders press ahead, in alliance with neoconservative Republicans, on demands for escalating the New Cold War with Russia, they could precipitate a party split between Democratic hawks and doves, a schism that likely would have occurred if Clinton had been elected but now may happen anyway, albeit without the benefit of the party holding the White House.
The first test of this emerging Democratic-neocon alliance may come over Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Exxon-Mobil’s chief executive Rex Tillerson, who doesn’t exhibit the visceral hatred of Russian President Vladimir Putin that Democrats are encouraging.
As an international business executive, Tillerson appears to share Trump’s real-politik take on the world, the idea that doing business with rivals makes more sense than conspiring to force “regime change” after “regime change.”
Over the past several decades, the “regime change” approach has been embraced by both neocons and liberal interventionists and has been implemented by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Sometimes, it’s done through war and other times through “color revolutions” – always under the idealistic guise of “democracy promotion” or “protecting human rights.”
But the problem with this neo-imperialist strategy has been that it has failed miserably to improve the lives of the people living in the “regime-changed” countries. Instead, it has spread chaos across wide swaths of the globe and has now even destabilized Europe.
Yet, the solution, as envisioned by the neocons and their liberal-hawk understudies, is simply to force more “regime change” medicine down the throats of the world’s population. The new “great” idea is to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia by making its economy scream and by funding as many anti-Putin elements as possible to create the nucleus for a “color revolution” in Moscow.
To justify that risky scheme, there has been a broad expansion of anti-Russian propaganda now being funded with tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money as well as being pushed by government officials giving off-the-record briefings to mainstream media outlets.
However, as with earlier “regime change” plans, the neocons and liberal hawks never think through the scenario to the end. They always assume that everything is going to work out fine and some well-dressed “opposition leader” who has been to their think-tank conferences will simply ascend to the top job.
Remember, in Iraq, it was going to be Ahmed Chalabi who was beloved in Official Washington but broadly rejected by the Iraqi people. In Libya, there has been a parade of U.S.-approved “unity” leaders who have failed to pull that country together.
In Ukraine, Nuland’s choice – Arseniy “Yats is the guy” Yatsenyuk – resigned amid broad public disapproval earlier this year after pushing through harsh cuts in social programs, even as the U.S.-backed regime officials in Kiev continued to plunder Ukraine’s treasury and misappropriate Western economic aid.
But the notion of destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia is even more hare-brained than those other fiascos. The neocon/liberal-hawk assumption is that Russians – pushed to the brink of starvation by crippling Western sanctions – will overthrow Putin and install a new version of Boris Yeltsin who would then let U.S. financial advisers return with their neoliberal “shock therapy” of the 1990s and again exploit Russia’s vast resources.
Indeed, it was the Yeltsin era and its Western-beloved “shock therapy” that created the desperate conditions before the rise of Putin with his autocratic nationalism, which, for all its faults, has dramatically improved the lives of most Russians.
So, the more likely result from the neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” plans for Moscow would be the emergence of someone even more nationalistic – and likely far less stable – than Putin, who is regarded even by his critics as cold and calculating.
The prospect of an extreme Russian nationalist getting his or her hands on the Kremlin’s nuclear codes should send chills up and down the spines of every American, indeed every human being on the planet. But it is the course that key national Democrats appear to be on with their increasingly hysterical comments about Russia.
The Democratic National Committee issued a statement on Wednesday accusing Trump of giving Russia “an early holiday gift that smells like a payoff. … It’s rather easy to connect the dots. Russia meddled in the U.S. election in order to benefit Trump and now he’s repaying Vladimir Putin by nominating Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.”
Besides delaying a desperately needed autopsy on why Democrats did so badly in an election against the also-widely-disliked Donald Trump, the new blame-Russia gambit threatens to hurt the Democrats and their preferred policies in another way.
If Democrats vote in bloc against Tillerson or other Trump foreign-policy nominees – demanding that he appoint people acceptable to the neocons and the liberal hawks – Trump might well be pushed deeper into the arms of right-wing Republicans, giving them more on domestic issues to solidify their support on his foreign-policy goals.
That could end up redounding against the Democrats as they watch important social programs gutted in exchange for their own dubious Democratic alliance with the neocons.
Since the presidency of Bill Clinton, the Democrats have courted factions of the neocons, apparently thinking they are influential because they dominate many mainstream op-ed pages and Washington think tanks. In 1993, as a thank-you gift to the neocon editors of The New Republic for endorsing him, Clinton appointed neocon ideologue James Woolsey as head of the CIA, one of Clinton’s more disastrous personnel decisions.
But the truth appears to be that the neocons have much less influence across the U.S. electoral map than the Clintons think. Arguably, their pandering to a clique of Washington insiders who are viewed as warmongers by many peace-oriented Democrats may even represent a net negative when it comes to winning votes.
I’ve communicated with a number of traditional Democrats who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because they feared she would pursue a dangerous neocon foreign policy. Obviously, that’s not a scientific survey, but the anecdotal evidence suggests that Clinton’s neocon connections could have been another drag on her campaign.
I also undertook a limited personal test regarding whether Russia is the police state that U.S. propaganda depicts, a country yearning to break free from the harsh grip of Vladimir Putin (although he registers 80 or so percent approval in polls).
During my trip last week to Europe, which included stops in Brussels and Copenhagen, I decided to take a side trip to Moscow, which I had never visited before. What I encountered was an impressive, surprisingly (to me at least) Westernized city with plenty of American and European franchises, including the ubiquitous McDonald’s and Starbucks. (Russians serve the Starbucks gingerbread latte with a small ginger cookie.)
Though senior Russian officials proved unwilling to meet with me, an American reporter, at this time of tensions, Russia had little appearance of a harshly repressive society. In my years covering U.S. policies in El Salvador in the 1980s and Haiti in the 1990s, I have experienced what police states look and feel like, where death squads dump bodies in the streets. That was not what I sensed in Moscow, just a modern city with people bustling about their business under early December snowfalls.
The police presence in Red Square near the Kremlin was not even as heavy-handed as it is near the government buildings of Washington. Instead, there was a pre-Christmas festive air to the brightly lit Red Square, featuring a large skating rink surrounded by small stands selling hot chocolate, toys, warm clothing and other goods.
Granted, my time and contact with Russians were limited – since I don’t speak Russian and most of them don’t speak English – but I was struck by the contrast between the grim images created by Western media and the Russia that I saw.
It reminded me of how President Ronald Reagan depicted Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua as a “totalitarian dungeon” with a militarized state ready to march on Texas, but what I found when I traveled to Managua was a third-world country still recovering from an earthquake and with a weak security structure despite the Contra war that Reagan had unleashed against Nicaragua.
In other words, “perception management” remains the guiding principle of how the U.S. government deals with the American people, scaring us with exaggerated tales of foreign threats and then manipulating our fears and our misperceptions.
As dangerous as that can be when we’re talking about Nicaragua or Iraq or Libya, the risks are exponentially higher regarding Russia. If the American people are stampeded into a New Cold War based more on myths than reality, the minimal cost could be the trillions of dollars diverted from domestic needs into the Military Industrial Complex. The far-greater cost could be some miscalculation by either side that could end life on the planet.
So, as the Democrats chart their future, they need to decide if they want to leapfrog the Republicans as America’s “war party” or whether they want to pull back from the escalation of tensions with Russia and start addressing the pressing needs of the American people.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.
You need to remember the names Chuck Schumer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Steve Israel. These are all blood-pouring-from-the-fangs Zionists, and, not coincidentally, recently in charge of the people who run as Democrats in national American politics. They have consistently picked extreme right-wing candidates to run, so right-wing that they are not acceptable to most Democrat voters. If these ridiculous candidates win, they vote as ‘blue dogs’, mostly with the Republicans. If they lose, which recently has been the trend, a Republican is elected. The Zionists don’t care. Their only criterion of electoral success is if a hard-line Zionist ends up elected. The result of years of this treason has been the apotheosis of the Republican Party, and too many Wars For The Jews to count, with the accompanying impoverishment of the country.
Hillary was picked by the ‘donors’ – code for Jewish billionaire ‘one issue guys’ – as the candidate who would most reliably support extreme Zionist goals, including expansion of the Zionist Empire across the Middle East employing more Wars For The Jews and general Yinon state-splitting techniques. Russia is perceived as the only real impediment to extreme Zionism, as the kind of terrorist states which are to be constructed through Yinon techniques are correctly perceived by the Russians as an existential threat. Thus, Hillary’s main job was to tie up Russian actions by rapidly increasing cold war tensions leading to WWIII and, hopefully, regime change in Russia replacing Putin with Zionist stooges.
I pause to note that no ‘respectable’ person can possibly notice any of this, let alone write it, as utterly obvious as it is.
These . . . contradictions . . . in the Democrats have now led to electoral disaster. The problem is that there can be no fault in the institutional structure of the party as that would lead to reforms which would upset the Zionist apple-cart. Scapegoats must be found outside of the party. The FBI, ‘fake news’, and, of course, Putin’s personal disruption of the American political system by providing accurate information to American voters. ‘Fake news’ is the information provided largely by the social media which the Jewish billionaires have not yet been able to stifle. Of course, the Jewish billionaires own most of the American mainstream media, and are hemorrhaging money largely because the obvious truths provided by the social media are driving out the obvious lies provided by the mainstream media. People have noticed that their lives are wrecked largely as a result of political decisions based on these lies. Thus Trump. I note that Trump’s win with much less money spent has broken the Jewish billionaire model that elections must be won by funneling political donations – aka bribes – to media outlets owned by Jewish billionaires.
You may say that such an explanation is simplistic, not to mention ‘anti-Semitic’, but it explains everything, the collapse of the Democratic Party, the odd inability to acknowledge that there might be a problem so something might be done to fix it (remember everything is fine because of ‘demographics’), the specific nature of the scapegoats provided in lieu of taking responsibility, and the general collapse of the United States, and the destruction of the lives of so many of its citizens, under the weight of so many Wars For The Jews with no conceivable American imperial advantage.
The fake campaign to blame ‘the Russians’
The New York Times and Washington Post, the nation’s two top national newspapers, have been breathlessly reporting of late, with little sign of any appropriate journalistic skepticism, on a purported massive and successful Russian conspiracy to throw the US election to their “favored” candidate, Donald Trump. But the Chicago Tribune has weighed in with a more measured piece, suggesting that while the CIA, a particularly secretive and politically driven organization, may be making that claim, the FBI is not convinced.
While even the Tribune sometimes ignores inserting the requisite “alleged” that should precede any reference to unproven claims that Russia is behind the hacking of the Democratic Party’s (and the Republican Party’s) email server, the paper does also note that Democrats in particular are “frustrated” by the “murky nature” of the FBI’s analysis, with outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), calling on FBI Director James Comey to resign.
The reason for the Democrats’ frustration is also made clear. As the Tribune reports:
With so much of the evidence about Russia’s alleged role in the election shrouded in secrecy because of strict classification rules, Democrats and Republicans in Washington who have access to the underlying intelligence say they have struggled to make their respective cases, leaving an already deeply divided public convinced that both sides are shading their conclusions to help the candidate they backed on Election Day.
The reality is that the CIA has presented no hard evidence that Russia is behind the hacking of the DNC’s or or Clinton’s private home server. The excuse is given that the Agency doesn’t want to disclose any of its sources, so the reader is left with the pathetic plea, from both the Agency and the White House: “Trust us.”
But why would anyone trust the CIA or the White House on anything? We’re talking about an agency and a Executive Branch that between them are known to have lied (during the GW Bush years) about anthrax labs in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, lied about what were aluminum tubes imported to make irrigation equipment being evidence of missile-building, lied about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda, and (during the Obama years) lied about Syria’s government using Sarin gas on its own people in Damascus, lied about the details of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, lied about the role of a murderous CIA agent captured by Pakistani police while posing as a US consular employee, lied about the extent of National Security Agency Spying both at home and abroad, and lied about Russia invading Ukraine and shooting down a civilian Malaysian jumbo jet.
If one were to take a moment and think about what is being alleged here by Democrats — that a national presidential election was successfully subverted by the releasing of hacked emails showing major corruption and malfeasance by the Democratic Party leadership in undermining the fairness of the party’s presidential primary to benefit one candidate — Hillary Clinton — and to destroy the candidacy of her opponent Bernie Sanders — it should lead to one of two alternative conclusions.
Either the Russians did Americans a favor, by exposing the epic corruption of one of their two major parties and one of the candidates seeking to become president — something that a more independent and aggressive domestic media would have and should have done on their own, if not by hacking then by paying attention to, instead of ignoring and blacking out, what frustrated insiders like DNC Vice Chair Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii who quit in disgust saying the DNC was undermining the primaries on behalf of Clinton’s campaign. Or alternatively, we’re being told that our 240-year-old democracy is so shriveled and weak that an outside government can easily undermine it and manipulate the outcome as if we were some corrupt and fragile banana republic.
Either conclusion is rather pathetic and depressing to contemplate.
Meanwhile, the media feeding frenzy over unsubstantiated claims over Russian subversion of our last election ignores the reality that this kind of thing is something the US has been doing abroad at least since the end of World War II and the onset of the Cold War. Not content to just undermine elections through dirty tricks, fake news and secret payments in Europe, Latin America, later in Eastern Europe and Russia, and in Asia, the US has also fomented countless coups to overthrow or attempt to overthrow existing elected governments, most recently in Honduras, Ukraine, Venezuela and Brazil, and so has no grounds to complain by claiming that the Russians were allegedly doing the same thing here.
On the other hand, if the Democratic Party leadership had kept its hand off the scale during the primaries, and had not made such heavy-handed efforts to get major news organizations like the Times, MSNBC, the Daily News, Post and others to help it undermine Bernie Sanders, Sanders would have won both the party’s nomination and the presidency, and probably the Congress also into the bargain, and we wouldn’t be looking at a looming Trump presidency and Republican Congress.
Not only that, but with a genuinely popular candidate running for president in both parties (like it or not Trump was wildly popular among a significant segment of the population), no Russian propaganda campaign would have had a prayer of impacting voter opinion or the results of the voting.
If indeed there really was a Russian effort to swing this recent election, it could only have succeeded in a situation where the electorate was disgusted by its choices and was voting negatively for a lesser evil. And that situation only could arise where the two major parties were so corrupted that they were trying desperately to keep genuinely popular candidates from winning the nomination.
In fact that is what happened. The Republican leadership tried mightily to keep Donald Trump, a loose cannon who has disavowed many basic and long-held Republican principles, such as backing US empire and Israel, supporting any and all trade agreements, and viewing Russia as an existential enemy, from winning their party’s nomination. They failed, but not for lack of trying. The Democratic leadership tried everything, too, to prevent insurgent self-described “socialist” candidate Sanders from winning the nomination, and thanks to underhanded manipulation of the primaries, corrupt meddling in media coverage of Sanders, an anti-democratic voting block of locked-in “super delegates,” committed to backing Clinton whatever the result of the primaries, and some crooked efforts to depress voting in key primary states including New York and California, they succeeded in throwing the nomination to Clinton. She of course was doomed, by their very ham-handed interference in the primaries, to go on to lose the general election.
That corrupt fiasco has left Democratic Party leadership hacks and their backers in the corporate media with nothing to do but find a scapegoat for their disastrous performance, hence the fake “Russia-did-it” claims.
It’s a sad commentary on the pathetic decline of democracy in the United States, but is also a clarion call for a rebirth of grassroots democratic resurgence.
If there’s a bright spot in the new situation, it’s that progressives, socialists, radicals and disaffected citizens of all kinds now should have a clear understanding of how corrupt the Democratic Party really is.
One of two things must happen. That party must be completely swept clean of the hacks, frauds, crooks, compromisers and charlatans who populate its leadership and who hold most of the elected posts remaining in Democratic hands in Congress. Alternatively, the Democratic Party must be abandoned as unsalvageable, with progressive forces, from labor organizations, advocates of the poor and elderly, environmental activists, human rights and peace groups, women’s rights and minority rights organizations, civil libertarians and others rallying both to create something new to replace it, and organizing in the street to resist the new Trump government.
Any new left party needs to abandon the fraudulent tactics of so-called “identity politics,” in which a basically pro-corporate Democratic Party has sought to appease and cajole support for its corporatist candidates and agenda by catering to individual issues of various groups leaning its way by default. Instead, the really big issues need to be tackled head on: expanding Social Security, making Medicare universal for everyone of all ages, restoring genuine progressive taxation on the wealthy, ending foreign wars, closing overseas bases and slashing the military, obeying international law (including treaties with sovereign Native American nations), making public college free to all, nationalizing support for primary and secondary education so that all communities have well-funded, quality public schools, declaring a national mobilization to quickly end reliance upon fossil fuels to combat climate change, and creating jobs for everyone through a massive public spending program on job training and infrastructure repair and modernization.
These and other ideas are things that most Americans can and would get behind, not simply efforts to pander to various specific interest groups.
Do this and the Russians — assuming they even have been trying to manipulate our elections — wouldn’t have a chance of influencing anyone.
For most long time exiles from the Democratic Party, the post election liberal meltdown as a result of HRC’s historic, unexpected loss continues to gratify as photos of White House staff in tears do little to stir sympathy.
But unexpected? Only in the eyes of Democratic party stalwarts who wouldn’t know what to say to a Trump supporter, if they met one.
After all, how could she lose with the unwavering support of every institution in American life that mattered including every media conglomerate at the DNC’s fingertips – but even that boomeranged on the impending coronation.
Having digested Wikileaks emails re the MSM and partisan collusion, it was of no small interest then to view the Anderson Cooper and the Jake Tapper interviews on CNN’s Sunday morning talk shows two days before the election with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Tapper who hosted the Presidential town hall debate in Columbus, Ohio and Cooper who co-hosted the last debate in St. Louis are both regarded as credible liberal reporters, synonymous with being fair and respectful, professional and amenable to alternative points of view. Their respective interviews with Conway proved none of that to be true.
On that Sunday, HRC was leading in the polls and expected to win up to 320 electoral votes. What was revealing was that, even in the face of Wikileaks confirmation, the MSM continued to unabashedly favor Clinton which did not go unnoticed by ‘deplorables’ around the country. Media bias for Democrats came as no surprise but what was unexpected was proof -positive that the media has been infiltrated by political partisans such as CNN’s Donna Brazile (she of the passing debate questions scandal). MSNBC, of course, is rife with political operatives who have moved into hosting their own shows masquerading as objective journalists.
As if deliberately thumbing their nose with a certainty that the mass of American voters are semi literate, bumbling racists who don’t know how to think, corporate media continued to display an obvious partiality, disputing any analysis that did not conform with their high opinion of HRC as they persisted in following Clinton’s grievously flawed candidacy down the tubes to ignominious defeat.
Obviously Conway’s choice of candidate is irrelevant to her right to speak freely on publicly-owned airwaves without being humiliated and bullied by big name, multi-million dollar media stars who believe that as journalists they inherited a God-given right to influence an election by disparaging one candidate against another – some of those same media stars who believe steadfastly in their own arrogance were so utterly wrong and ethically compromised on election evening for all the world to see.
As Anderson and Tapper approached their prospective interviews with Conway, they had to know beforehand that she had already proven to be an intelligent, knowledgeable and savvy politico as any Presidential campaign manager on the national stage should be. It was clear watching their performance that there was a deliberate intent on ‘cracking’ her composure and breaking her resolve. As millions of women watched, some of whom may not have yet voted, saw the Cooper/Tapper assault as another example of Big Media anti Trump overreach.
In what might easily be seen by HRC’s female supporters as sexual harassment, both Cooper and Tapper ‘s behavior was consistently unprofessional and discourteous as they repeatedly interrupted Conway, spoke over her so as to drown out her comments and otherwise continued a harangue they never would have unloaded on John Podesta .
While much media attention was focused on Trump’s sexual indiscretions of more than a decade ago, the Big Blue Propaganda Machine was banking on voters believing that liberal men are paragons of virtue immune from sexual misconduct. White female voters proved to be more discriminating as economic issues mattered more with 53% voting for Trump over Clinton.
Lest you think this essay is only about how high powered men in positions of power publicly mistreat women in comparable positions of power, Conway’s interview on The View in early October was equally appalling. In an insightful if excruciating ‘view’ of how liberal women treat other women who have a different political point of view, there was no evidence of Sisterhood. Whoopi Goldberg grilled Conway about Trump’s tax returns claiming that HRC’s ‘transparency is insane” while another member of the panel suggested that Trump spent money in Cuba during the US embargo equated to ‘treason’.
Throughout all three interviews which millions of women who vote were watching, Conway, a smart, experienced political strategist, stayed on message, never lost her cool and maintained an admirable poise. As the first woman to successfully manage a Presidential campaign, Conway is tough enough to understand that being female and a Trump supporter made her an object of ridicule and an irresistible target for the Hollywood/New York City and MSM elites.
Clearly, if the MSM does not agree with the message, the DNC playbook is to attack the messenger. Any communications professor might consider using either of these interviews to teach their students how not to conduct an interview.
In an October 31 appearance on Morning Joe, Conway commented that since “Hillary Clinton was engendering boos for the FBI and the FBI director at her rallies yesterday,” she asked “Are we going to start asking if she’s going to accept the result if she loses” and “are we going to start asking her if she’s inciting violence.”
As if a prescient answer to Conway, much of the nation may have been surprised to see thousands of young people in the streets to protest Trump’s election with a disturbing level of violence, property destruction and their own version of intense hatred. While it is encouraging to see young’uns feel passionate about civic engagement and stand up for principle as they take advantage of their constitutional rights, they have been duped.
What the MSM has described as ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations were generated by MoveOn.org which has been a thinly-disguised front for the Democratic party since its inception. Created in 1998 in response to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about his sexual indiscretions, MoveOn (aka Change.org) has a reported membership of eight million members and received funding of $1.4 million from Big Blue oligarch, international financier and currency speculator George Soros who recently donated $50 million to the ACLU which promptly issued a challenge to President-elect Trump.
As a Wikileaks release in August described, this is the same Soros, who has a history of funding and fomenting protests around the world and in 2011 instructed Secretary of State HRC to overthrow the government of Albania including the need to “forestall further public demonstrations.” Days later, HRC followed Soros’ instructions to a T.
On March 11th, the NY Times reported on the cancellation of a Trump rally in Chicago due to ‘violent scuffles’ and protestors who “engaged in intense disputes” with security officials. What the Times did not report was that MoveOn took credit for the mob violence sending out an email that read “This is what standing up to hate looks like” citing an ‘outpouring of peaceful opposition” which was actually not peaceful.
So in orchestrating protests that fan the flames of fear, violence and civil disorder, high school and college students are being taught that lawless, violent behavior is appropriate and to be condoned if a valid election result does not meet their expectation. Adult liberals have also reacted with shock in discovering that much of country does not necessarily think as they do.
The issue here is not that Trump’s rhetoric did not deserve an appropriate response; he is clearly a flawed individual and will be watched for authentic evidence of violating his oath of office. However, the 2016 election is not a replay of 2000 when the Democrats rolled over as the election was stolen. MoveOn could have then provided a useful public service but GW was akin to the influential oligarch elite class which would have presumably been satisfied with either Gore or Bush.
The larger problem is that partisan-connected oligarchs have a personal agenda that threatens the integrity of a constitutional democracy as they found and fund public interest groups which manipulate its members that, in turn, benefit the oligarchs own financial and political gain.
Despite anxiety and concern generated by HRC and MSM that Trump would not accept election results thereby causing riots, civil unrest and perhaps beginning a civil war, there have been no signs of Trump supporters confronting the protests – so who exactly is perpetuating the violence and hostility?
The emptiness of defeat
Obama’s legacy is in tatters, and that is good news. Donald Trump’s victory was not just a win over Hillary Clinton, but against Democratic Party policies that silenced the rank and file. For years Democrats became convinced that the only means of keeping Republicans at bay was to go along with their party leadership without complaint. If they wanted to expand trade deals that stole workers’ jobs, so be it. The people who marched against the invasion of Iraq folded their tents when Democrats became the party of endless war. When Obama promoted austerity and “grand bargains” with Republicans not a word was uttered. Even Black Lives Matter refused to point out that the Obama Justice Department left killer cops unpunished.
Barack Obama is nothing if not consistent. While Democrats take to the streets in protest against president elect Trump, Obama declares that the man he once called unfit is not an ideologue, but a “pragmatist.” No one should be surprised about the conciliatory tone. Obama never had a problem with Republicans. They may have obstructed him, but he was always happy to assist them because he wasn’t really opposed to their policies.
The most obvious example of Obama’s lack of substance was his relationship with black Americans. His disdain and contempt for the people who loved him the most was clear to anyone who paid attention. Jokes about “cousin Pookie” and parents serving fried chicken for breakfast should have been seen as the racist screeds they clearly were. But the desire to see a black face in a prominent place endures to our detriment.
Obama won by making himself palatable to white people while also taking advantage of undeserved black pride. Hillary Clinton would be the president elect if the new voters who emerged in 2008 had remained committed to the Democratic Party. But their loyalty was to the imagery of Barack Obama as president. Their joy was confined to seeing him meet the queen of England alongside his first lady or disembarking from Air Force One with his signature swagger. The sight of Barack and Michelle hosting a state dinner was enough to make black hearts swoon. Policy initiatives need not intrude upon the love fest.
The end result of this unrequited and superficial love was six million fewer votes cast for Hillary Clinton in 2016 than for Obama in 2012. The apocryphal cousin Pookie stayed home and no one should be surprised. There is no secret to keeping voters engaged. They are engaged if their needs are met. Deliver for voters and they deliver in the voting booth.
Even the unpopular and shady Hillary Clinton could have won Michigan if the people of Flint had received the federal help they needed so badly. Not only did the Obama environmental protection agency allow the beleaguered city to be given contaminated water, but he showed up for a photo opportunity and did nothing else as residents suffered. He drank a glass of water, posed for the cameras and returned to Washington. The people of Flint are still living under conditions Americans think of as being “Third World.”
The response to Trump’s victory should mean more than protesting policies the Democrats now have little ability to fight. This moment presents an opportunity for much needed introspection and mea culpas. Millions of people did more than just accept Democratic Party policy. They supported actions they would have rejected if carried out by a Republican or a white Democrat. They supported Muammar Gaddafi when Republicans were president but averted their eyes to his murder when committed by a Democrat. They even voted for the person who bragged about the killing. Democratic voters must ask themselves why they said nothing when their party promoted trade deals that were against their interests. Ultimately that acquiescence led to defeat at Trump’s hands.
The Obama team’s propaganda skills were legendary but the day of reckoning revealed the emptiness of what they produced. The corporate media acted like scribes under White House direction and declared that Russia was an enemy state and its president a 21st century Hitler. Now it is Donald Trump, the self-promoting reality television star, who declares his willingness to talk to his Russian counterpart. It is the sort of behavior that Democrats once valued.
Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton began the tradition of getting Democrats to support what they didn’t like. Obama perfected the art, which ultimately led to the debacle. He will certainly not be the last to tempt the party faithful but in 2016 Democrats sold their souls and ended up with nothing. Defeat creates the most hollow feelings of all.
Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
By John Chuckman | Aletho News | November 10, 2016
Brushing away the extreme claims and rhetoric of much election analysis, there are some observations which deserve attention. These unfortunately mostly provide hard lessons and not a lot of encouragement for people who hold to principles of democracy, enlightenment, and progressivity.
The election demonstrated perhaps better than ever, and better than has generally been recognized, that American is, indeed, a plutocracy. It took a genuine American Oligarch, a multi-billionaire, a man with a lifetime’s economic empire-building, to defeat a family which could provide the very definition of being politically well-connected, a family which had laboriously constructed and carefully maintained a kind of deep well ever-flowing with money for their ambitions.
It was the ever-flowing well of money, drilled by Bill Clinton with help from some extremely shady friends, such as Jeffrey Epstein, that made the Clintons keystone establishment figures in the Democratic Party. It was not personal charm or exceptional political generalship – although Bill, in his heyday, displayed some of both of those – that earned the Clintons their place, it was the money, the “mother’s milk of politics.” In what is euphemistically called “fund raising,” many hundreds of millions of dollars were provided for the party over the last couple of decades by Bill Clinton’s efforts.
Hillary fully appreciated the fact that money buys power and influence. She lacked Bill’s superficial charm, but she certainly more than shared his ambition. On the charm front, when she was ready to move into running for office, she adopted, perhaps under Bill’s tutelage, a kind of forced clown face with arched eyebrows, bugged-out eyes, and a smile as big as her lips would allow, and these expressions were accompanied by little gestures such as briefly pointing to various on-lookers or waving helter-skelter whenever she campaigned.
Her gestures reminded me of something you might see atop a float in a Christmas Parade or of the late Harpo Marx at his most exuberant. These were not natural for her. They were never in evidence years ago when she spent years as a kind of bizarre executive housewife, both in a governor’s mansion and later in the White House, bizarre because she indulged her husband’s non-stop predatory sexual behavior in exchange for the immense power it conferred on her behind the scenes over her far more out-going and successful politician-husband.
Anyway, Hillary knew that gestures and simulated charm do not get you far in American politics. She determined to build a political war chest long ago, and there are many indications over the years of her working towards this end of making this or that change in expressed view, as when running for the Senate, when sources of big money suggested another view would be more acceptable. She was anything but constant in the views she embraced because when she ran for the Senate she spent record amounts of money, embarrassingly large amounts.
In her years of speaking engagements, she aimed at special interests who could supply potentially far more money than just exorbitant speaking fees. Later, in the influential, appointed post of Secretary of State – coming, as it does, into personal contact with every head of government or moneyed, big-time international schemer – she unquestionably played an aggressive “pay for play” with them all. Covering up that embarrassing and illegal fact is what the private servers and unauthorized smart phones were all about.
A second big fact of the election is that both major American political parties are rather sick and fading. The Republican Party has been broken for a very long time. It hobbled along for some decades with the help of various gimmicks, hoping to expand its constituency with rubbish like “family values,” public prayer and catering to the Christian Right, and anti-flag burning Constitutional amendments, and now it is truly out of gas. That is precisely why a political outsider like Oligarch Trump could manage to hi-jack the party.
He was opposed by tired, boring men like Jeb Bush, seeking to secure an almost inherited presidency, and a dark, intensely unlikable, phony Christian fundamentalist like Ted Cruz, and it proved to be no contest. It was a remarkable political achievement, but I think it was only possible given the sorry state of the party.
The Republican Party had been given a breather, some new life, by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He had an extremely mixed record as President, but he was popular, held in some affection, and did have a clear vision, but his effect on the party was not lasting. Trump could be seen as another Reagan, but I think the comparison is superficial. Trump literally hi-jacked the party, and he was not deliriously crowned by its establishment.
The Republican Party itself was formed not long before Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy out of the remains of worn out and collapsed predecessors, including the Whigs and Free-Soil Democrats. Parties do not last forever, and here was Trump creating something of a minor political revolution inside a tired and fairly directionless old party, a phenomenon which I do not think was sufficiently noticed.
The press was too busy attacking him from the start to take notice or do any intelligent analysis, and he was attacked precisely for the potential damage to the establishment he represented. His most promising quality is his potential for creating a new coalition of interests and one excluding the continuation of the Neocon Wars Hillary vigorously embraced and would expand.
But the Democratic Party is in serious trouble, too. It has a great deal of internal rot, as the Wiki-Leaks material from the DNC clearly shows us. Arrogance, lack of direction, ignorance of the people it has always claimed to serve, bad decision-making, and the absolute prostrate worship of money are the major symptoms.
It would have been impossible for the party to have so made up its mind and committed its resources to Hillary Clinton without serious rot. She has always had strong negatives in polling, always been (rightly) suspected concerning her honesty.
The Wiki-Leaks material tells us about many internal conflicts, including harsh high-level judgments of Hillary’s decision-making, resentment over the back-stabbing character of daughter Chelsea who is said to resemble Hillary in her behavior and attitudes, and the belief of some that Hillary just should not have run. And, frankly, she had become for many a rather tiresome, used-up figure from whom absolutely nothing spectacular in politics or policy could possibly be expected. But they not only blindly supported her, they broke all their own party rules by internally and secretly working to defeat a legitimate and viable contender, Bernie Sanders.
Sanders might well have been able to win the election for the Democrats, but their establishment was blind to the possibility and rejected his candidacy out-of-hand. After all, there were Bill and Hillary beckoning to their running well of money. In hindsight, it might be just as well that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination. He proved a weak individual in the end, giving in to just the forces he had claimed to oppose and leaving his enthusiastic followers completely let down. There he was, out on the hustings, supporting everything he ever opposed personified in Hillary Clinton. Men of that nature do not stand up well to Generals and Admirals and the heads of massive corporations, a quality which I do think we have some right to expect Trump to display.
Another important fact about the election is that it was less the triumph of Trump than the avoidance of Hillary that caused the defeat. The numbers are unmistakable. Yes, Trump did well for a political newcomer and a very controversial figure, but Hillary simply did badly, not approaching the support Obama achieved in key states, again something reflecting the documented fact that she is not a well-liked figure and the Party blundered badly in running her. But again, money talks, and the Clintons, particularly Bill, are the biggest fundraisers they have had in our lifetime. No one was ready to say no to the source of all that money.
Now, to many Americans, the election result must seem a bit like having experienced something of a revolution, although a revolution conducted through ballots, any other kind being literally impossible by design in this massive military-security state. In a way, it does represent something of a revolutionary event, owing to the fact that Trump the Oligarch is in his political views a bit of a revolutionary or at least a dissenter from the prevailing establishment views. And, as in any revolution, even a small one, there are going to be some unpleasant outcomes.
The historical truth of politics is that you never know from just what surprising source change may come. Lyndon Johnson, life-long crooked politician and the main author of the horrifying and pointless Vietnam War, did more for the rights of black Americans than any other modern president. Franklin Roosevelt, son of wealthy establishment figures, provided remarkable leadership in the Great Depression, restoring hopes and dreams for millions. Change, important change, never comes from establishments or institutions like political parties. It always comes from unusual people who seem to step out of their accustomed roles in life with some good or inspired ideas and have the drive and toughness to make them a reality.
I have some limited but important hopes for Trump. I am not blind or delirious expecting miracles from this unusual person, and after the experience of Obama, who fairly quickly proved a crushing, bloody disappointment, I can never build up substantial hopes for any politician. And what was the choice anyway? Hillary Clinton was a bought-and-paid one-way ticket to hell.
Trump offers two areas of some hope, and these both represent real change. The first is in reducing America’s close to out-of-control military aggressiveness abroad. This aggressiveness, reflecting momentum from what can only be called the Cheney-Rumsfeld Presidency, continued and grew under the weak and ineffectual leadership of Obama and was boosted and encouraged by Hillary as Secretary of State. Hillary, the feminists who weep for her should be reminded, did a lot of killing during her tenure. She along with Obama are literally responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of women and their families, many of them literally torn apart by bombs.
The other area of some hope is for the welfare of ordinary American people themselves who have been completely ignored by national leaders for decades. By welfare, I do not mean the kind of state assistance that Bill Clinton himself worked to end.
George Bush’s lame reaction to Hurricane Katrina (before he was internationally shamed into some action) has become the normal pattern for America’s national government when it comes to ordinary Americans. The truth is that the legacy of FDR has withered to nothing and no longer plays any role in the Democratic Party, and of course never did in the Republican Party.
Nothing can impress someone not familiar with America’s dark corners more than a visit to places like Detroit or Gary or Chicago’s South Side, parts of New Orleans, or Newark or dozens of other places where Americans live in conditions in every way comparable to Third World hellholes. No, I mean the people’s general well-being. Trump’s approach will be through jobs and creating incentives for jobs. I don’t know whether he can succeed, but, just as he asked people in some of his speeches, “What do you have to lose?” Just having someone in power who pays any attention to the “deplorables” is a small gain.
People should never think of the Clintons as liberal or progressive, and that was just as much true for Bill as it is for Hillary. His record as President – apart from his embarrassing behavior in the Oval Office with a young female intern and his recruitment of Secret Service guards as procurers for women he found attractive on his morning runs – was actually pretty appalling. He, in his own words, “ended welfare as we know it.” He signed legislation which would send large numbers of young black men to prison. He also signed legislation which contributed to the country’s later financial collapse under George Bush. He often would appoint someone decent and then quickly back off, leaving them dangling, when it looked like approval for the appointment would not be coming. His FBI conducted the assault on Waco, killing about eighty people needlessly. A pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was destroyed by cruise missiles for no good reason. There were a number of scandals, including the suicide of Vince Foster and the so-called Travelgate affair, which were never fully explained to the public. It was his Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who answered, unblinkingly, a television interviewer’s question about tens of thousands of Iraqi children who died owing to America’s embargo, “We think it’s worth it.” He committed the war crime of bombing Belgrade. When news of the horrors of the Rwanda genocide were first detected by his government, the order secretly went out to shut up about it. No effort was made to intervene.
No, any real change in America could never come from people like the Clintons, either one of them.
By Doug Steil | Aletho News | November 9, 2016
As luck would have it Hillary Clinton’s landslide loss was so big that massive election fraud by Democratic Party operatives in various cities could not overcome her deficit.
The “shock” by insiders of having lost obviously reflects their earlier certainty of prevailing, which hints at the extent of their vote rigging schemes. The unverifiable system of voting in America is so flawed that foreign observers are now being blocked from monitoring US elections. The topic of fraud can no longer be swept under the rug.
Surely Clinton and the media will try to make a big deal of having “received more votes” than Trump in the popular vote total, which according to the current tabulation has already occurred, with an even higher differential to come once West Coast state results are all counted.
Those inside the DC Beltway and within elite campuses will claim that this is “unfair” and that Hillary really “should have won”.
However, this assertion should be vociferously challenged. Surely this surplus is artificial. Is it really possible that so many Americans would have ignored the prospect of going to war with Russia?
The question needs to be raised publicly: How many hundreds of thousand votes were switched from Trump to Clinton altogether and how many invalid (illegal) votes were registered for her?
Aside from that — assuming all the votes were legitimate — the electoral college system is intended to prevent, say, a concentration of votes in urban centers to the detriment of rural voters across the country. As is the case in Maine and Nebraska, voters in individual states can decide how to allocate their electoral votes, so it doesn’t have to be a winner-take-all system.
It is a tribute to the designers of the US Constitution that the Electoral College mechanism still exists. It’s almost as if though they might also have already suspected long ago that there could be illicit efforts in the future to change an election outcome simply by stuffing the ballots in a few locations. The indirect US electoral system has saved the country from a big crisis brought on by election fraud. Instead of changing the Constitution future election reforms should focus on making vote fraud impossible or extremely difficult to carry out.
By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | Noember 1, 2016
The longer this soap opera drags on, it’s becoming more and more evident that the Russia government did not ‘hack’ into the DNC, and Moscow is not feeding John Podesta’s emails to Wikileaks. For those who are deeply invested in this now official conspiracy theory, this might be a hard pill to swallow.
The White House and the Hillary Clinton campaign are now married to the idea that ‘Putin is hacking the US elections.’ In response, the President is weighing his options – tougher economic sanctions, revoking diplomatic status to Russian envoys in the US, or even deploying his newly developed ‘malicious cyber-activity’ tools.
Even VP Joe Biden wants in on the action, threatening Moscow by saying,”We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it.”
It seems that where ever you turn nowadays, someone in Washington is issuing a threat against Russia. Are US-Russian relations really that bad, or does this trend have more to do with the defense industry and power struggles within the US?
What was previously a stance reserved for right-wing neoconservative hawks and Cold War hold-outs has now infected America’s left-wing, and is a firm plank in the Democratic Party platform, as evidenced by Hillary Clinton’s constant anti-Russian rhetoric throughout this 2016 election cycle. Along with the White House, Clinton has now transformed the Democrats into the vanguard of Washington’s new anti-Russia movement.
On July 27th, Josh Rogin from the Washington Post wrote, “The Clinton campaign has decided to escalate its rhetoric on Russia. After Trump suggested Wednesday that if Russia had indeed hacked Clinton’s private email server it should release the emails, the Clinton campaign sent out its Democratic surrogates to bash Russia and Trump in a manner traditionally reserved for Republicans.”
Anyone who was paying attention back then knew this ‘Russian hack’ talking point was purely political, but then again, who’s really paying attention these days? Certainly not the US media.
Backed by the Obama White House, Clinton and the media pressed ahead blaming Russia – not only for the controversial DNC leaks, but also for hacking into US election systems in Arizona – a charge devoid of any evidence other than innuendo and speculation. The media’s coverage on this issue was deceptive from the onset. In a leading news release, entitled, Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system, we can see how after the cock-sure headline, the first paragraph would always sound definitive:
“Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state.”
But then by the time you advanced down the story, the report would quickly retreat into a zone of uncertainty:
“The bureau described the threat as “credible” and significant, “an eight on a scale of one to 10,” Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R), said Monday. As a result, Reagan shut down the state’s voter registration system for nearly a week.”
And then, down to almost nothing…
“It turned out that the hackers had not compromised the state system or even any county system. They had, however, stolen the username and password of a single election official in Gila County.”
At no point was any evidence ever given. Only ambiguous statements like, “Cyber security officials agree that this looks very much like a Russian government-directed hack.”
Are American politicians so callous as to tempt geopolitical conflict in order to further their short-term political ambitions? Better yet, has American political life really arrived such a dark cul de sac (translated in French: ‘bottom of the bag’) where politicians in power are so insecure as to make-up and propagate wild international conspiracy theories – in the middle a national election cycle? It’s a very depressing prospect, and yet, this is exactly what we are seeing in this 2016 Presidential Election.
Behind Clinton’s wild hyperbolic rants about the Kremlin and Wikileaks, you will find the White House…
On October 7th, the Obama Administration formally accused the Russian government of stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and other high-profile individuals including Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta – giving them to Wikileaks.
Soon, there was a queue of ‘national security’ politicians eager to hitch a ride on this bandwagon. Senator Ben Sasse (NE-R), a member of the Homeland Security Committee spouted out, “Russia must face serious consequences. Moscow orchestrated these hacks because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin believes Soviet-style aggression is worth it. The United States must upend Putin’s calculus with a strong diplomatic, political, cyber and economic response.”
According to a Washington Post report by technology editor, Ellen Nakashima, the only ‘evidence’ that seems to be available on this story is a corporate analysis of the alleged ‘Russian government hacks’ – provided by a US cyber security company called Crowdstrike. No actual specifics are given, so we are meant to take private firm Crowdstrike’s word for it.
IMAGE: Crowdstrike cyber security.
The Post’s Nakashima then added:
The administration also blamed Moscow for the hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the subsequent leak of private email addresses and cellphone numbers of Democratic lawmakers.
An online persona calling himself Guccifer 2.0 has claimed responsibility for posting the material. Those sites and that persona are “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the joint statement said. “… We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
Moscow’s press secretary’s reply: “This is some sort of nonsense,” said Dmitry Peskov.
Despite the constant repetition by Democrat media surrogates, and as CNN’s Maria Cardona said last night, no US national intelligence agency has really “confirmed” that Russia was behind the email hacks – and still no evidence, other than speculative guesswork, has been presented.
Likewise, US intelligence agencies have never actually said definitively on record that “Russia did it,” thus, leaving the door open to walk-back the accusation at a later date. Standard Washington procedure of ambiguity. This little detail doesn’t seem to matter in this hyperbolic political climate though. It seems that the White House, Hillary Clinton and media operatives like Cardona – are quite happy living in what John Kerry recent dubbed as a ‘parallel universe.’
Still, during the final Presidential debate, Hillary Clinton proudly crowed how “17 US intelligence agencies” aka the “Intelligence Community” all agreed that Russia did it. Some might call that propaganda.
“We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election,” said Clinton. “I find that deeply disturbing.”
What’s even more disturbing is the fact that Clinton is lying in front of a national audience. The highest levels of the Kremlin? Really? Here are Clinton’s ’17 agencies’:
Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Energy Department, Homeland Security Department, State Department, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Navy Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
What does the Coast Guard Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or the Drug Enforcement Administration know about John Podesta’s emails? Answer: nothing.
The exact same thing happened following Wikileaks first trove of DNC emails back in July 2016. The US government issued a vague accusatory statement, but would not actually name the culprit.
In both instances, the Obama Administration refused to present any evidence. Translated: there was no evidence. If there had been, the White House would have been shouting from the rooftops and using it as leverage to apply muscle in the UN over Washington’s flagging efforts in Syria. Both Obama Administration announcements were nothing more than dog whistles for Democrats and “journalists” working for hopelessly partisan outlets like New York Times and CNN – none of whom have bothered to press the White House for one ounce of evidence pertaining to the Party’s decree that “Russian is hacking the US election process.”
To be fair, Hillary would have every reason to believe that the Kremlin is behind the hack – because her staff read it to her from the campaign’s daily intelligence briefings, presumably, supplied from the US government’s much vaunted Intelligence Community. Of course, that’s the same Intelligence Community that briefed George W Bush about Saddam’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program, and who also briefed Cowell Powell about Iraq’s imaginary “Winnebagos of Death” aka mobile anthrax labs disguised as senior double-wide camper vans. So, of course, they would know if Putin directed the DNC leaks and Podesta email hacks.
For those us who are skeptical of the great oxymoron known as ‘Washington Intelligence,’ I can almost hear the mainstream rebuttal now, “No, that was Iraq, that was Bush. We’re not like that. No, this time it’s different. This time we are sure the Russians did it!”
In 2014, Obama claimed that Kim’s notorious “Bureau 121” hacked into Sony Pictures.
This isn’t the first time that President Obama has cried wolf on a foreign ‘hack’ and then tried to sell it for political purposes. Back in December 2014, Obama claimed that North Korea had hacked Sony Pictures in Hollywood. Pentagon-CIA media proxy CNN quickly chimed in to support Washington’s conspiracy theory, floating a colorful story that Kim Jing-Un had deployed a secret underground hacking unit called ‘Bureau 121.’ Just like with today’s “Russian Hack” theory, no member of the mainstream press dared to question the White House’s ridiculous North Korean claim, and like the ‘Russian Hack’ claims, the only source cited for Sony hack was analysis provided by US firm Crowdstrike.
Jumping the Shark
After their Democratic Party Convention on July 27th, the Clinton campaign machine put all of its chips on their Putin narrative.
Soon after, a cadre of top Clinton national security surrogates then accused Trump of emboldening Russia in their evil plot to “destabilize and dominate the West.” Tom Donilon, a former national security adviser then accused Russia of ‘interfering’ with elections all over Europe and then accused Trump is helping Russia directly. At that point, they were in too deep to turn back.
Clinton spin doctors Josh Schwerin and Michael Fallon would stoop even lower by accusing RT of having possession of the Podesta emails even before Wikileaks did. Their only ‘evidence’ seemed to be Twitter posts by RT News which Clinton held up as ‘proof’ that the Kremlin was front-running Wikileaks email dumps. The Clinton braintrust failed to note that the Podesta emails were posted on Wikileaks own website well before RT News had tweeted about them. At that point that it became obvious that the Clinton campaign was panicking and hysterically grabbing for any excuse they could get their hands on. We then watched, as one RT reporter after another dismantled the Clinton campaign’s desperate claims. It was embarrassing.
They could not face the uncomfortable fact that it was WikiLeaks head Julian Assange who chose the timing of the release of the DNC and Podesta emails. Rather than attack Assange himself, who happens to be popular with millennials (the very group Clinton struggles to connect with), her operatives opted to target Russia and Trump instead.
Either way, the political strategy here is clear – to shoot the messenger. The Clinton campaign is stuck in permanent rear-guard mode, because based on the content of both the DNC Leaks, Wikileaks files, and Project Veritas video – their own Democratic Party has been discredited and exposed as a corrupt political organization.
Their other big problem is that despite all the outrage from Democrats and their mainstream media surrogates, none of the leaked content has been challenged on the basis of its authenticity. The results speak for themselves. The initial DNC leak of 20,000 emails resulted in the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They revealed the unthinkable: the Democratic National Committee actively worked to undermine the Presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of the establishment choice in Hillary Clinton. Sanders never had a chance. Honest commentators called this an affront to the democratic process, while party insiders and Clinton supporters pretended to be aloof as if it never happened.
To prove this point, both President Obama and Hillary Clinton then gave Wasserman-Schultz glowing endorsement on the way out. “For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back. This afternoon, I called her to let her know that I am grateful,” said Obama. Not surprisingly, Clinton thanked Wasserman Schultz, presumably for helping to knock her only competitor Sanders out of the Democrat primary race. “I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership,” said Clinton.
The party had sold its soul to devil and no one seemed to care too much about it.
Wasserman Schultz’s replacement didn’t fair much better. DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile was installed to serve as interim chair through the remainder election, but Brazile was soon skewered by subsequent Wikileaks batches – showing how, on more than one occasion, she fed debate questions obtained from corrupt mainstream media operatives – straight to Hillary Clinton.
“A March 12 email exchange shows Brazile stating that she received a town hall question from Roland Martin, a TV One host who co-moderated a March 13 town hall with CNN’s Jake Tapper.”
“A March 5 email shows that she shared a question with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and communications director Jennifer Palmieri that was to be asked in a March 6 debate hosted by CNN in Flint, Mich.” (Source: Daily Caller)
Brazile’s audacious fraud also helped contribute to her party’s planned sabotage of Democrat challenger Bernie Sanders. Watch Brazile go into full meltdown when confronted here:
Completely corrupt and still, Brazile even had to temerity to deny doing it when pressed on FOX News last week. Brazile’s reputation is so bad now that even CNN has severed ties with her – and that’s saying a lot.
In addition, it was also revealed how CNN’s head political commentator, Gloria Borger, was named by Podesta as one of a shortlist of ‘journalists’ the Clinton campaign would “work with” to gain favorable coverage. You’d think that CNN would have dropped Borger after this was revealed, but no. Amazingly, Borges is still leading CNN’s election coverage.
Clearly, CNN cannot be trusted to police itself when it comes to matters of outright collusion with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Worse Than Watergate
Perhaps a bigger scandal which the Obama White House and Clinton campaign operatives would like to bury – is the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal confirmed the existence of an internal feud between the FBI and the Justice Department, over whether or not to pursue an investigation into Clinton issue:
“Some investigators grew frustrated, viewing FBI leadership as uninterested in probing the charity, these people said. Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying Mr. McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case. It isn’t unusual for field agents to favor a more aggressive approach than supervisors and prosecutors think is merited. But the internal debates about the Clinton Foundation show the high stakes when such disagreements occur surrounding someone who is running for president.”
There’s more. It was also revealed last week how Jill McCabe, the wife of FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, received $467,500 in campaign funds in late 2015 for her Virginia State Senate run. This unusually large donation came via a political action committee run by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe – a Clinton Foundation board member. After the funds were donated, Andrew McCabe was then put in charge of the Clinton Email case. In normal times, this one scandal would be bigger than Watergate, but these are not normal times.
So why is Washington going all out to deflect to Russia, and cover-up the Clinton scandals, and the Wikileaks document dumps? One reason is because the Clinton email issue goes all the way to the top – to the President himself.
What 21WIRE reported on Oct 21st is how President Obama lied when first confronted about whether or not he knew about the existence of Hillary’s unauthorized private server. Obama told CBS News on March 7, 2015 that he only found out about Clinton’s server “the same time everybody else learned it through news reports.” The President’s lie was confirmed when newly released FBI documents showed that:
“Obama used a pseudonym [firstname.lastname@example.org] when communicating with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by email, and at least one of those emails ended up on Clinton’s private email server.”
So, not only did Obama lie on national TV, but he also broke strict White House security protocols by carelessly exchanging private emails “off grid” with Hillary Clinton on a unsecured and unauthorized mail server – maybe to avoid the same scrutiny one would have on a government system. Who knows why he did it.
Sure, he’s not the first US President to lie, but like, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Obama just joined that exclusive liars club – caught out lying to the American people.
On top of this, any communications made by the President of the United States are de facto labeled as “born classified.” The same goes for any State Department communications with other foreign ministers.
COVER-UP: John Podesta and Huma Abedin on the Hillary campaign jet (Image: ABC News)
It should be well known by now after watching both Attorney Generals Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch in action – that the Obama Justice Department (DOJ) is one of the most politicized in history. Bear that in mind when looking at the latest leg of the Hillary Email case.
On Friday, FBI Director James Comey set the election alight after announcing that the FBI would be reopening the Clinton email case – currently examining 650,000 emails found while investigating a laptop belonging to former US Congressman Anthony Weiner (estranged husband of top Clinton aid and long-time confidant Huma Abedin) who was snared in a ‘sexting’ scandal, allegedly involving a under-aged female. So which DOJ person is in charge of this investigation? None other than Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik. Who is Kadzik? Zero Hedge reports:
“Oh yes. Recall our post from last week, “Clinton Campaign Chair Had Dinner With Top DOJ Official One Day After Hillary’s Benghazi Hearing” in which we reported that John Podesta had dinner with one of the highest ranked DOJ officials the very day after Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony? It was Peter Kadzik.”
Incestuous is an understatement, and on the whole, Americans are sick of it.
Blame the Russians
These are just a few scandals surrounding the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, along with the many exposés revealed through Wikileaks, and the Podesta email batches. Those are actual scandals with real tangible evidence – unlike the ‘Russians hacking the DNC and John Podesta and passing those to Wikileaks.’
Suffice to say, the Democratic Party machine has already demonstrated that it is prepared to say anything in order to deflect and divert attention away from the damning Wikileaks material, and also blame Donald Trump in the process. It should be obvious by now that in their desperation to push a highly comprised Hillary Clinton over the finish line on November 8th, the Washington establishment has concocted the story that ‘Putin is trying to influence our electoral process in the US.’ They’ve tried to lay this at the feet of Donald Trump, who Obama and Clinton claim has some secret special relationship with Vladimir Putin. The liberal mainstream media have made a meal out of this talking point, and anti-Russian war hawks on the Republican side love it too. For the White House and the Clinton campaign this seemed like the ultimate clean sweep – a perfect double entendre.
The geopolitical strategy behind this move was twofold. First, this non event would be used to advance immediate calls for sanctions against Russia. Secondly, the US could continue to lean on Russia in the UN over Syria. Previously, 21WIRE reported how Washington’s State Dept and UN delegations, led by the dynamic trio of John Kerry, Samantha Power, and John Kirby, already lied when levelling charges against Russia for war crimes in Aleppo, and again while accusing Russia and Syria of conducting an airstrike on a UN Aid Convoy in Syria. As we have already shown – that raid was mostly likely a ground attack carried out of US-backed ‘rebels’ Al Nusra Front, or Nour al-Din al-Zenki.
With so much at stake geopolitically, why would Washington lie about a potential World War III trigger event? If they are prepared to lie about this, what else are they prepared to lie about?
The demonization of all things Russian has definitely accelerated since late 2013 when the US engineered a coup d’etat in Kiev, Ukraine. Ever since then it’s been a go-to talking point for ginning-up and new transaltlantic arms race, as with Republican war hawks – and a convenient scapegoat for any politician requiring misdirection, like Clinton and the Democrats. When the new year rang in 2015, the newly appointed head of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andrew Lack, announced the new challenges facing America’s own state-run media arm that includes U.S. overseas propaganda assets including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Asia. Lack said, “We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram,” He was forced to resign shortly after that.
What’s clear is that when it comes to all things Russian, there is an established pattern of compulsive lying by this US Administration. The list is too long to chronicle here, although ‘Russian-backed Rebels Shooting Down MH17,’ and ‘Assad Regime Sarin Attack in Damascus in 2013‘ certainly comes to mind.
That said, it’s hard to imagine a lie as egregious and potentially destructive than one which accuses the Russia government, a world nuclear power and member of the UNSC, of ‘Hacking Into the US Electoral Process.’ When you examine history however, you will plenty of evidence documenting exactly how the US government and the CIA have altered and flipped 100 foreign elections throughout history, the attempted assassination of over 50 foreign leaders. Knowing all this, one might find it hard to take seriously Washington’s claims that Putin and Trump are trying manipulate the 2016 Election.
On Oct 9, 2016, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov laid it all on the table:
“We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances when it comes to the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of U.S. policy towards Russia. It’s not just a rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps that really hurt our national interests and pose a threat to our security.”
Self-serving, career political operatives in Washington are playing a dangerous game. History will mark this as one of the biggest political follies of the Obama-Clinton era.
Still, we’re waiting for the emergence of an adult in the room in Washington – before its too late.
America the inexorable
I had the misfortune of watching a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. For those who are not familiar with the show, it is an HBO weekly one hour long feeding frenzy consisting of a series of rapid fire overwhelmingly progressive half-truths cheered relentlessly by a select audience that is constantly engaged in hooting and jeering while giving the pollice verso to any designated victim who finds himself targeted by a smug Maher. The episode I saw was filmed on July 29th, shortly after the conclusion of the Democratic convention. Guests included Matt Welch of Reason magazine, Alex Wagner of The Atlantic, Professor Cornel West and former Congressman from Massachusetts gay activist Barney Franks. The episode can be seen on HBO on demand for those who have that service and bits of it are also available on YouTube.
Openly expressed hatred of Donald Trump by a mainstream media that has de facto become part of the Hillary Clinton campaign is one of the more interesting aspects of the current electoral cycle. One might therefore have expected that the Real Time ridiculing of Trump would be a constant, driven mostly by Maher himself but also picked up on with some alacrity by the others. Even though I knew in advance that the show would be blood sport targeting Trump, I had tuned into the program because I have a great deal of respect for Cornel West who, to me, maintains some of the best traditions of the old and now nearly dead type of liberalism that was such a powerful force in America in the 1950s and 1960s. West is genuinely anti-war and pro-people and not afraid to stick by his guns when confronted by the powerful, metaphorically speaking. He recently went to bat for the Palestinians while serving on the Democratic platform committee and on the Maher program dared to mention the repression taking place on the West Bank, which produced a stone faced response from the progressive-except-for-Israel Maher.
To his credit West, when asked his opinion of Hillary Clinton, opined that she had vast experience in government but is completely lacking in integrity, an assessment that was poorly received by Maher, who had spent the early part of the show eulogizing the Democratic candidate. So to hear what else West had to say I put up with Franks’ blathering and Maher’s invective as well as the occasional interjections by Welch and Wagner, who played secondary roles in the proceedings.
Inured to hearing a load of old codswallop I was nevertheless really blown away by Barney and Maher’s launch into an explanation of something that had occurred at the Democratic National Convention. For those who have not seen it, the July 28th prime time speech by Hillary national security adviser General John Allen is positively Strangelovean, pledging to rid the world of “evil” and declaring that “America is great because America is good.” Reportedly intended to bolster the Dems national security credentials and possibly to welcome into the fold disenchanted neocons, it is as red blooded, American-exceptionalism-laden a presentation as anyone is likely to witness anywhere, replete with a backdrop consisting of a stage full of American flags. It is available online and is highly recommended to anyone who doubts that Hillary and her entourage are as nutty as fruitcakes in their own way, more than eager to assume the mantle of American global military dominance without any hesitation or reservations.
When Welch and Wagner expressed surprise at the Democrats embracing such a chauvinistic display, Franks explained emphatically though somewhat oddly that the speech by Allen and the rhythmic chanting of U-S-A U-S-A by the audience that accompanied it were all due to Donald Trump, who has embraced that vicious thug and “one of the worst men in the world” Vladimir Putin. The highly charged nationalistic Democratic crowd reaction was per Franks both a warning about Trump and a direct challenge to Putin to keep his hands off those wonderful little democracies springing up everywhere in Eastern Europe. Trump’s “encouragement” of Putin, per Franks, has made the United States complicit in Putin’s “brutality” and the Democrats were responding to that challenge.
When Cornel West attempted to object to the militarism implicit in the Allen speech and interject the failed project represented by Libya into the discussion Maher and Franks made sure that everyone understood that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was also a “horrible dictator” and thug who fully deserved to be overthrown and subsequently killed by having a bayonet inserted in his anus. If Hillary Clinton had been present she might have added with a laugh, “We came, we saw, he died.”
So this is what passes for progressive thought on war and peace as seen by the Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton, Barney Franks and Bill Maher. I would prefer to describe it as Democratic Party Derangement Syndrome. And, of course, there is a back story to it all that Maher chose to avoid. The chanting of U-S-A was apparently organized by Hillary’s team on the Democratic National Committee, which clearly connived at rigging the nomination process in favor of Clinton before focusing on marginalizing and silencing Bernie Sanders’ supporters at the convention. That the “Bernies” would stage a significant and disruptive demonstration on the convention floor was particularly feared. There were white noise speakers placed inside the hall to make incomprehensible unauthorized chanting while Bernie supporters had their signs taken away from them before entering the venue. It has also been reported that many Bernie delegates coming back to the convention hall on the second day found that their seats had disappeared, being replaced by blocked off reserved seating where no one was actually allowed to sit.
When Allen got well into his speech and his message became clear, Bernie supporters began to chant “No More War.” The technicians running the light and sound for the event immediately followed their instructions and killed the lights and microphones in the area where the chanting was coming from so that the media present around the floor would be unable to film the disruption. Meanwhile Clinton’s team converged and surrounded the Bernie supporters, holding up previously distributed USA signs to block the protesters from camera view while themselves chanting “U-S-A” to drown the dissidents out. By some accounts, Hillary’s people in the hall were supplemented by an organized group of counter-demonstrators who were in this case responding to instructions on what to do if anyone attempted to disrupt the proceedings. If all of that is true it was a shameful episode, reminiscent of what was done to Ron Paul at the 2012 Republican Convention in Charlotte.
And there is also a bit of a back story on retired Marine Corps General John Allen. Allen, one recalls, became mired in the same security investigation regarding the mishandling of classified information that brought down philandering CIA Director and former General David Petraeus. And, ironically, Allen’s own path to an early retirement was the result of an email problem, curiously reminiscent of the issues that have plagued the woman he has so enthusiastically endorsed for President of the United States of America.
Allen reportedly became heavily involved with someone else’s wife, in this case Tampa socialite Jill Kelley. Kelley, an “honorary ambassador” to U.S. Central Command, hosted numerous parties at her waterside mansion for the CENTCOM and U.S. Special Operations Command senior officers, including both Allen and Petraeus. While subsequently serving in Afghanistan as commander in chief, Allen’s many hundreds of “inappropriate emails” to Kelley cost him both his job and his expected nomination to become the commander of U.S. military forces in Europe (EUCOM).
The investigation of Allen’s email contact with Kelley did not result in any formal charges by the military but he was forced to resign his commission in February 2013. Obama subsequently rewarded the feckless Allen with an appointment as Special President Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in 2014, a position he held until October 2015. He was largely unsuccessful in that role, witnessing on his watch the conquest of much of Syria and Iraq by ISIS. He now has a sinecure position at the Brookings Institution in its Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, and apparently came to Hillary’s attention when he rounded up a group of military retreads who were willing to support her for president.
Bill Maher’s Real Time is certainly real, but it is symptomatic of everything that is wrong with the American media. It has plenty of one-liner joking, laughter and mugging for the camera but is astonishingly light on content and heavy on pretense. In the episode I watched, it largely consisted of saying Donald Trump followed by either a laugh line or an expression of disgust. Serious discussion regarding what Trump is saying about out of control immigration, endless wars in the Middle East and why a reset of relations with Russia is imperative appear to be of no interest.
The Donald Trump candidacy might well be regarded as a joke by many of the punditry but Hillary Clinton is arguably worse in that while The Donald has undeniably said terrible things she has actually been the driving force behind some horrific policies, most notably regarding Libya and Syria. And then there is her persistent dishonesty and readiness to lie to conceal her mendacity. She continues to dissimulate about her emails, saying in a recent interview that “Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.” That is a lie from top to bottom and one has to wonder why Real Time with Bill Maher doesn’t seem interested in giving a little equal time to that story if only as a brief respite from his incessant pillorying of Donald Trump.
Media report that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is meeting with advisers in Vermont on Sunday.
This last week, many spoke laudingly of the recently deceased Muhammad Ali.
As some noted, Ali’s great contribution was not being a talented athlete, heavy weight champion — there are many such prominent sports figures, but they don’t play a historic role. His true greatness came because at the height of his fame and powers, he challenged an oppressive system: He refused to go into the Army during the Vietnam War. It cost him a great deal of money and stature — and tremendously helped the world and assured his canonization.
Sanders has a similar opportunity now. As pundits are voicing alleged ecstasy over Hillary Clinton “shattering the glass ceiling” by becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, the first female president in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has been ousted in a defacto coup. This has been fostered by establishment media in Brazil, as for-profit media often plays the role of king maker in ways stark and subtle in every country, including the U.S., as we’ve seen in this current election.
Rousseff’s cabinet was diverse, both in terms of gender and ethnically. The new government is all white males. Rousseff was set to investigate corruption, including in the Brazilian Senate, and the coup was planned out by corrupt senators. Indeed, the anticorruption minister in the new coup government was recently forced to resign when a tape was leaked about how he was trying to cover up corruption. All this and more is being done with U.S. government silence and tacit support.
Certainly, Sanders has challenged the power of Wall Street and the wealthy from within the Democratic Party. But, largely because of the role of the media in fostering a mantle of celebrity around Hillary Clinton (and Donald Trump for that matter), they are the likely nominees.
But perhaps, for all the good that Sanders did, he might feel a measure of remorse for what he hasn’t done: Spoken serious about the U.S. government’s role in the world. Even in his discussions of inequality, he’s confined himself to inequality inside the U.S. But what about global poverty?
Has Sanders been moved by slums in Latin America? Refugee camps in the Mideast? Stark poverty in Africa? Sweatshops in Asia? He went to a Vatican conference where Bolivian President Evo Morales also spoke. They chatted. What can be built from that? How can progressive leaders work together globally? How can movements cross boundaries? Are not movements weakened when they confine themselves to national barriers?
Ali took himself out of his comfort zone. He focused not just on getting a seat on a bus for himself, and not just for African Americans, but spoke against the Vietnam War. Sanders has not transcended himself. As Ben Jealous has said, Sanders “has been giving the same damn speech for 50 years.” Well, that’s not necessarily a good thing. There are people living in horrible conditions around the world, in large part because of economic, political and military policies determined in marble facade buildings in Washington, D.C. Sanders has been remarkably mute about that.
The power of the establishment rests in large part because of its global connections. But progressive forces have been reluctant to wield such power. Recall shortly before the invasion of Iraq, there were quasi-global protests against the war on Feb. 15, 2003. Just after that, the New York Times called the peace movement “the second super power.” Yes, that didn’t stop the war, but that was because there was only some global solidarity late in the day. The answer is more solidarity sooner.
And now, Sanders has campaigned in all 50 states. It’s late in the day, but not too late for him to break the wall and seriously engage the rest of the world. That should start with going to Brazil and meeting with Rousseff. It would help overturn the coup, thus doing a tremendous service to the people of Brazil and it would put the heat on the U.S. government regarding its behind the scenes machinations. It would also highlight the fake feminism that surrounds the Clinton campaign. Do we want women in officialdom simply so that they can be as murderous and corrupt as men have been? Or do we want a different kind of politics that is inclusive in terms of gender, but that is based on solidarity and uplift rather than “I got mine”?
Clinton’s crimes on foreign policy constitute quite a rap sheet. Sanders has at best scratched the surface. From bombing Libya, to voting for the Iraq war, to backing Netanyahu, to backing the Honduran coup and responsibility for the killing of Berta Cáceres, it’s a gruesome tail that few have really come to grips with.
And perhaps Sanders, struck by fear of Trump, desperately wants to look away. He doesn’t want a sun rise, he wants a sunset. Does he want to be a pawn in the Clinton machine? See the roles that other past “insurgent” candidates play now: Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich. They played the role of what Bruce Dixon has called “sheepdogging” — they ended up being little more than a tool of the Democratic Party establishment to get presumably serious progressives to end up supporting an increasingly pro-corporate Democratic Party. That same fate of accessory or marginalization awaits Sanders.
Now, the consultants and “advisers” he’s meeting with this weekend are probably pushing Sanders to accept what bread crumbs he can get from Clinton & Co. After all, they have their careers to think about, and their careers are with the Democratic Party machine or some appendage of it.
But real power, real greatness, doesn’t come from accepting such a role. That’s why we remember the name Muhammad Ali and forget many, many others.
Here we go again. Earlier this year, some were surprised to see Project For The New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and longtime DC fixture Robert Kagan endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.
They shouldn’t have been. As is now clear from a policy paper [PDF] published last month, the neoconservatives are going all-in on Hillary Clinton being the best vessel for American power in the years ahead.
The paper, titled “Expanding American Power,” was published by the Center for a New American Security, a Democratic Party-friendly think tank co-founded and led by former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy. Flournoy served in the Obama Administration under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the next secretary of defense, should Hillary Clinton become president.
The introduction to Expanding American Power is written by the aforementioned Robert Kagan and former Clinton Administration State Department official James Rubin. The paper itself was prepared in consultation with various defense and national security intellectuals over the course of six dinners. Among the officials includes those who signed on to PNAC letters calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, such as Elliot Abrams, Robert Zoellick, Craig Kennedy, Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross, and Flournoy herself, who signed on to a PNAC letter in 2005 calling for more ground troops in Iraq.
The substance of the document is about what one would expect from an iteration of PNAC. The paper cites a highly revisionist history of post-World War II American policymaking, complete with a celebration of America’s selfless motives for every action. Left out is any mention of overthrowing democratically elected and popular governments for US business, or the subsequent blowback for such actions in Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
For the neocons and liberal interventionists at the Center for a New American Security, the United States has always acted for the benefit of all.
The paper primarily focuses on the economy and defense budget, and American security interests in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Supporting the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are considered the highest priority, as they will bind the main drivers of the US-led “liberal world order”—the US and Europe—closer together.
According to the paper, “Even in a world of shifting economic and political power, the transatlantic community remains both the foundation and the core of the liberal world order.” In other words, the West must maintain control of the planet, for the good of all, of course.
Part of the European concerns are a rise in nationalist sentiment in eastern Europe and the United Kingdom, for which the paper blames Russia, even bizarrely claiming that Russian funding is the cause of the disunity within the European Union—a claim without foundation, especially in the UK’s case.
The revisionist history continues, as the paper makes an astonishingly absurd claim on the US role in Asia, stating, “U.S. leadership has been indispensable in ensuring a stable balance of power in Asia the past 70 years.” No mention of the calamitous US war in Vietnam or its reciprocal effects in the killing fields of Cambodia. Nor is the US role in the genocide in East Timor dispensed with anywhere.
Then we come to the Middle East, where things really get slippery. The paper breezes past the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a sorry, not sorry statement: “Despite recent American misjudgments and failures in the Middle East, for which all recent administrations, including the present one, bear some responsibility, and despite the apparent intractability of many of the problems in the region, the United States has no choice but to engage itself fully in a determined, multi-year effort to find an acceptable resolution to the many crises tearing the region apart.”
And with that, the paper demands regime change in Syria and that “Any such political solution must include the departure of Bashar al-Assad (but not necessarily all members of the ruling regime), since it is Assad’s brutal repression of Syria’s majority Sunni population that has created both the massive exodus and the increase in support for jihadist groups like ISIS.” Left out is the US role in destabilizing Iraq and arming jihadist rebels in Syria.
The paper goes on to regurgitate alarmingly facile claims about regional tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia that could have been written by the government of Saudi Arabia itself, such as, “We also reject Iran’s attempt to blame others for regional tensions it is aggravating, as well as its public campaign to demonize the government of Saudi Arabia.” It also states that “the United States must adopt as a matter of policy the goal of defeating Iran’s determined effort to dominate the Greater Middle East.”
If that appears like a commitment to more reckless regime change in the Middle East, that’s because it is.
But the overriding concern of the entire paper, with all its declarations about bipartisanship and universal altruism, is a concern with the American people being increasingly apprehensive towards the empire, and that concern leading to further defense budget cuts and unwillingness to support adventurism abroad.
The authors of the paper hope an improved economy can help change the current situation. “Ensuring that the domestic economy is lifting up the average American is still the best way to ensure support for global engagement and also contribute to a stronger, more influential America,” they write, though they see no end in sight, regardless of public support, claiming, “the task of preserving a world order is both difficult and never-ending.”
That this is what a think tank closely associated with Hillary Clinton is openly claiming should be concerning to all. While such analysis and declarations no doubt please the Center for a New American Security’s defense contractor donors, the American people are less-than-enthused with perpetual war for perpetual peace.
Former Secretary Clinton already affirmed her belief in regime change during the campaign, but now it looks like those waiting in the wings to staff her government are anxious to wet their bayonets.