The previous day (2/5/16), when asked at a CNN "Town Hall" meeting if there was still a "right wing conspiracy," she said: "Yes. It has gotten even better funded. You know, they brought in some new multi-billionaires to pump the money in. And, look, these guys play for keeps. They want to control our country. Senator Sanders and I agree on that completely. They want to rig the economy so they continue to get richer and richer, they could care less about income inequality. They salve their consciences by giving big money to philanthropy, and, you know, getting great pictures of them standing in front of whatever charity they donated to. But make no mistake, they want to destroy unions. They want to go after any economic interests that they don't believe they can control. They want to destroy our balance of power. They want to go after our political system and fill it with people who will do their bidding."
And Monday night ended with Ted Cruz and Sanders giving victory speeches, both of which attacked the establishment and major media:
To perhaps the biggest cheers of the night, Sanders said: "I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment."
Similarly, Cruz: "Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee for the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media. Will not be chosen by the Washington establishment."
If the establishment gets their way, the two insurrections will demonize each other and peter out instead of finding ways to build up.
And the parting on the leftIs now the parting on the rightAnd the beards have all grown longer overnightAnd I’ll tip my hat to the new constitutionTake a bow for the new revolutionSmile and grin at the changes all around
I was nearly moved to tears this week hearing WTMD in Baltimore, which barely gets into Washington, D.C., play Richie Havens’ rendition of The Who's “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It was a good week to hear that as Nature herself seemingly attempted to intercede and ground Washington, D.C. to a halt.
But officialdom knows no rest — and has built and used over and over the edifice of the two party system that virtually assures non-choice. That’s exactly the problem attempted to solve with VotePact.org — whereby populists from the left and right join together in voting.
The establishment onslaught was made clear in a number of recent events and statements, perhaps most vividly in a piece by the Washington Post in which Dana Milbank writes “I adore Bernie Sanders” while the point of the piece is “Democrats would be insane to nominate Bernie Sanders.”
I should clarify at the top, before showing how rotten this thinking is: I’ve been a critic of Sanders. I think his main problem is a lack of radicalness, especially on foreign policy.
But the logic that is being employed by Milbank and others is that as a “strategic” matter, one shouldn’t vote for Sanders because he won’t win in the general election. Milbank notes that the polls don’t bear that out, but argues that when the Republican propaganda machine gets through with Sanders he will be unelectable.
One of the main things that this ignores is that if indeed Sanders becomes unelectable, the culprit will not be simply Republicans, but the establishment media which has shifted from largely ignoring to largely deriding Sanders, including the Post itself. And Milbank does not take it upon himself to debunk the notion that Sanders will raise taxes to pay for healthcare and save millions of people a ton of money in the process by stopping their hemorrhaging of dollars to the health insurance giants, Milbank simply says that mythology will win out — so you’d have to be nuts to vote for Sanders. Resistance, even of the limited Sanders flavor, is futile.
But beyond that, what Milbank is explicitly arguing for is, at its heart, a renunciation of the slightest pretense of democratic process that has long been implicit in electoral thinking: The Democrats and Republicans must field the most establishment candidate so that they win in the general election. It’s the pundification of the populace.
A corollary to this line of thinking — which has, implicitly or explicitly, dominated political thinking in the U.S. — is that one should not vote for a third party candidate in the general election. Doing so is “throwing your vote away” and is “nonstrategic.”
So you, dear voter, are a fool by this establishment logic if you voice your views in the primaries and you’re a fool if you voice your preferences in the general election!
While such establishment logic may be very strategic for the status quo, it is not “strategic” at all from the voter’s point of view because the end result of this course of action is to further and further mute the power of the anti-establishment voter — which now seems to constitute a working majority of the public. The establishment of each party becomes stronger and stronger, even as it becomes less and less popular, and dissent from the establishment becomes weaker and weaker because it always has to cave in no matter how huge it gets.
Unfortunately, Noam Chomsky plays a part in this farce, since he granted an interview to Al Jazeera which apparently put out a rather skewed bit of his election analysis that some other mainstream and social media ate up — and did so several days before releasing the full video on Friday. As Ben Norton notes: “Essentially the only time Chomsky gets a mainstream platform in the media is when he is talking about partisan politics.”
When I emailed Chomsky about reports that — in the words of the seemingly ecstatic Politico headline: “Chomsky: I’d ‘absolutely’ vote for Hillary Clinton,” Chomsky stated “I never said I’d rather vote for Clinton” and indicated that he’d rather vote Green. Of course, Chomsky lives in Massachusetts, which is not a “swing state.”
But at one level, of course, Chomsky must know the media will use his statements as they do, which is to corral progressive Democratic voters to pull the lever for Clinton where Clinton needs it, part of the “sheepdogging” role Sanders plays as put forward by Bruce Dixon.
But even Sanders — flawed as he is — is in fight mode, yet Chomsky has allowed himself to broadcast the progressive terms of surrender already, which are virtually unconditional. While the media somewhat skew Chomsky’s words, the underlying capitulation is plain — though he did in my exchange with him tacitly accept the logic of VotePact.
Contrast this effective waving of a white flag with what billionaire Michael Bloomberg did this week. The New York Times reported on Jan. 23: “Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.”
Thus, if the anti-establishment wings, limited as they are, on the Republican and Democratic side gain the nominations, the media mogul Bloomberg will attempt to unite the establishment.
Or at least threaten to. It’s quite possible that Bloomberg is just threatening this in order to scare primary voters into voting for Clinton.
In either case, what Bloomberg is actually doing the perverse inverse of what I have been advocating with VotePact.
The idea behind VotePact is that a populist, anti-establishment center can rise. It would draw support from both principled progressives and conscientious conservatives.
That is, VotePact is an electoral strategy — a voting manifestation of the overdue populist anger. The commonalities between the left and right are continually treated like aberrations, but they now compose a great many political issues, from anti war to anti Wall Street to anti corporate trade deals to anti surveillance. Certainly left and right use different language and reasoning to come to some of those conclusions and their affirmative solutions often vary, but they could, with hard work, come to sensible consensus if they engaged in honest dialogue without demonization and were somewhat freed of the perennial manipulation of the establishment.
As events show, the emergence of an anti-establishment center is more desperately needed than ever: There are massive rallies for Sanders. And for Trump. Much of the public wants an end to the Democratic and Republican establishment regime.
Many thoughtful people are itching for a debate between Sanders and Trump. I’d like a dialogue. They could talk about both things that they agree and disagree about. Indeed, real media would now be facilitating a dialogue between their supporters.
But the current electoral and media logic pushes away such a dialogue and pushes voters — and ultimately candidates — toward the establishment center.
It’s past time that structures give rise to anti-establishment center candidates that skillfully appeal to both the left and right.
Chomsky in my exchange with him did accept the notion of VotePact, especially its potential as an organizing tool — that is, it encourages those on the left to dialogue and cooperate with those on the right, who are also against the establishment — that is, fellow populists of various orientations. He regards the potential number of people who would embrace that approach as very small and I think he’s very wrong on that; especially if “notables” embrace the concept and that facilitates proliferation of the idea.
In either case, part of Chomsky’s line of argument is to unite against the “lunatics” of the Republican party, based largely on their denial of human-caused global warming. At one level, this ignores commonalities even on issues where the left and right disagree: Trump and Rand Paul might not believe in global warming, but they might oppose subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which may do more to slow global warming than the actions someone of like Clinton, who claims to oppose global warming, but will almost certainly continue to back fossil fuel subsidies.
There’s other threatening lunacies coming from the establishment of both parties, as Robert Parry notes in his recent piece “A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity’” about the perpetual war stance of both Democrats and Republicans. Is the immediate threat of global warming really more than the threat of nuclear war from continuing wars and even provoking Russia?
And there’s a lunacy ultimately driving this: Saying you want the system to change when you signal from the onset that you will capitulate. Or that you should capitulate at all. The insanity of year after year having an alleged set of beliefs but then, using the vote, when people sacrificed and died to get this paltry tool, to in effect back establishment candidates you say you regard as criminal.
It’s past time to stop allowing election years to be when much organizing takes a rest and instead use the election — in part by fomenting a greater left-right alliance.
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and just as surely as we need to remember the Nazi holocaust, we have to understand how it has been manipulated. Saddam is Hitler, Nasser is Hitler, etc. At times it's been manipulated to silence those who want peace and to demonize those opposed to Israel's crimes.
But that insight of course shouldn't blind us to the reality of the massive suffering brought on in the Nazi Holocaust toward the many victims of the Nazi regime, including socialists, gypsies, Slavs, gays, dissidents, "asocials" and of course Jews.
During the blizzard this weekend, I painted snow. I've been painting all kinds of natural and other intricate objects lately, and since it snowed, I painted snowflakes.
Perhaps my most moving moment during the storm was when it hit me that if I let snow land on cold metal instead of paper, as I'd been doing till then, and immediately sprayed it with cold paint, the individual snowflakes could be preserved. So I got a window screen I'd just recently purchased at Community Forklift, a local reuse nonprofit, and started spray painting the snowflakes as they fell in. Consciously or not, the can of paint I grabbed was yellow. The second I started spraying and saw the individual flakes, it hit me that I was making a Nazi Holocaust Memorial -- since of course the Nazis made Jews wear yellow Stars of David in the buildup to their plans of extermination and the most extensive of the snowflakes were six sided.
On the street outside my home with one hand I held up the screen as the snow fell. I tried to focus and gently gather and "save" each snowflake as I sprayed with the other hand and the snow began to taper off.
Some of the results are below, photographed with a phone camera barely up to the task. Unfortunately, I got to this idea late in the snowstorm, after quite a bit of experimentation throughout the weekend, so wasn't able to make it as extensive as I'd have liked. So I, perhaps nearly alone among adults in D.C., eagerly await the next snowstorm.
Yes, Trump plays a bully boy and is appealing to populist (good), nativist, xenophobic, racist sentiments (bad).
Those things need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged rather than dismissed by self-styled sophisticates, noses raised.
We've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we've had, we would've been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.
Wenonah Hauter is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch and the author of Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America. She said today: “Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with. Any merger that consolidates this market into fewer hands will give farmers fewer choices and put them at even more economic disadvantage. And it will make it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed. The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”
Diana Moss is president of the American Antitrust Institute. She said today: “Any merger on the agricultural inputs side of DuPont and Dow will get antitrust scrutiny. Some of the markets for biotech and seeds are highly concentrated, which has been driven by Monsanto having made so many acquisitions in the past. If you put a new merger in the this mix, it’s going to raise concerns about leaving only two or maybe three firms. That’s a market landscape that doesn’t promote competition, entry, and innovation. Farmers could be squeezed even more and consumers could pay higher prices.”
Below is a statement I wrote for an accuracy.org release on Dec. 3, the day after the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 a week ago. Unfortunately, much of it continues to apply. -- Sam Husseini
Ritualistic denouncements of ‘violence’ are ubiquitous after the murderous shooting Wednesday afternoon in San Bernardino, Calif. They come from many — including U.S. officials in an administration conducting bombing campaigns as well as from grassroots Muslim activists affiliated with groups backing bombing campaigns.
It’s remarkable that Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s notion, which goes back at least to the 1980s, that the U.S. government participates in ‘wholesale terrorism’ is so rarely invoked in progressive, to say nothing of mainstream, discussions of ‘terrorism,’ even as many note hypocrisies like Christian and Muslim suspects being treated quite differently. See: 'Noam Chomsky: Obama’s Drone Assassination Program Is "The Most Extensive Global Terrorism Campaign The World Has Yet Seen,"' and The Real Terror Network, by Edward S. Herman; see below for excepts.
This massive oversight obscures all discussions of terrorism, as the elephant in the room of U.S. government violence is not meaningfully discussed. Under those conditions, discussions are not going to lead to solutions.
As I write, there’s endless media discussion along the lines of ‘Police have not identified a motive for the shooting. They have not ruled out terrorism.’ (NPR) But terrorism is not a motive. It’s a tactic to peruse a political motive or goal, like to dominate the Mideast (an apparent U.S. government motive) or violently coerce the people of the U.S. to stop their government from dominating the Mideast (an apparent al-Qaeda motive).
Nor should the word ‘radicalized’ be demonized. Radicalized can and should mean to gain a greater political understanding, to see root causes of problems; it’s antithetical to someone who decides meaningful solutions lay in slaughtering 14 civilians.
Restrictions on information often seem designed to make officialdom appear prescient, or at least have that effect. For example, a name of one of the suspects, Syed Farook (or, rather, a mangled form of it) was mentioned on Twitter at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday — some seven hours before it was made public by officialdom and major media, but well before President Obama suggested — apparently for the first time — that people on the quite problematic no-fly list should be particularly restricted from buying guns.
A summary of the votes in question on Nov. 3 on the UN's website states: "The text, entitled 'No first placement of weapons in outer space,' reaffirmed the importance and urgency of the objective to prevent an outer space arms race and the willingness of States to contribute to that common goal." The UN summery references a "draft treaty, introduced by China and the Russian Federation. ... The draft was approved by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Ukraine, United States, Georgia), with 47 abstentions." Yet, James, in her remarks painted Russia and China as the aggressors.