Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Political Outrages Surfacing Today: Dark Money, False Flags, and Poisoned Drinking Water

On Democracy Now this morning (Jan. 20) Amy Goodman interviewed New Yorker writer Jane Mayer about her new book Dark Money about the Koch Brothers and other sources of unregulated political money. According to Mayer, these people constitute a secret third political party—oh those Supreme Court Boobs who imagined that opening the floodgates wouldn’t change much! (Or did they hope it would?!) 

But what really got me was her discovery that the Republicans had a powwow when Obama was elected, where they had to decide whether to support him on occasion as the opposition party, or to oppose systematically everything he proposed. The latter position was urged on them by then Senator Jim DeMint, a moral gnome who went on to other insidious work. And of course, they adopted it. This was really a Rubicon for those idiots, basically abandoning their oath of office of fealty to the Constitution in order to try to block everything Obama did. It really amounts to a form of soft treason, and certainly disqualifies them from holding public office.

The next program on WBAI, Guns and Butter, featured Richard Dolan talking about his book project about false flag operations. Having just finished reading Webster Tarpley’s 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA, I was thoroughly primed. It’s so deeply nefarious, it’s (to borrow James W. Douglas’s word) unspeakable—the extent of the official subversion going on to turn us into an authoritarian state. Dolan described the various security agency's terms "white opps" (open, publicly announced operations), "grey opps" (where an operative poses as an independent journalist and issues a highly tendentious report), and "black opps" (where a criminal act is attributed to an enemy force but really choreographed by the agency–the false flag operation).

Dolan spoke of fascism—sugar-coated, pop-culture-coated. He didn’t mention the late Sheldon Wollin’s insightful term “inverted totalitarianism” from Wollin's book Democracy, Inc., which I find very useful—it’s the tacit agreement in the media and polite public discourse not to talk about or give credence to anything other than the official narrative about traumatic events, effectively covering up the government’s role in manipulating public opinion (from the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations on to 9/11 with many stops in between) and discrediting any exposure of false flag operations, even as they become more commonplace, as "conspiracy theories."

And in today’s Times we have the increasingly familiar spectacle of a politician apologizing for an egregious infraction once he’s discovered having caused or ignored it for an unconscionably long time. It shows again that the distance from contempt to contrition is as short as the one from the remote to the TV. It’s Rick Snyder, of course, Michigan Gov. “Just the Figures, Please,” apologizing for the brain damage that the lead in the Flint drinking water did to its swarthy children (whose parents didn’t vote for him anyway). The decision was made by an austerity commission that he had appointed, not responsible to the people, of course, until there is press attention to the resulting brain damage. Protesters are now demanding his resignation and prosecution, and he’s talking “humbly” about bucks stopping here—now. Just like Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago, after sitting on the video of the police shooting of teenager Laquan MacDonald by officer Jason Van Dyke for more than a year.

 So it takes black martyrs, who pay with their bodies, to expose these criminals in suits and uniforms.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bernie Lies Outside the Times' Categories

In a front page article in today's Times (Jan. 17), the headline reads "Clinton Allies Have Regrets Over Strategy." In it Hillary supporters regret that they didn't take Bernie's campaign more seriously and attack him vigorously from the beginning. Now he appears to be surging in Iowa, and Hillary seems to be in the same situation she was with Obama in 2008.

What's amusing is the Times' writer Patrick Healy's characterization of Bernie's position as his "archliberal message," indicating that the journalist's thinking is confined to the archaic linear graph that extends from radical to liberal on the left to conservative and reactionary on the right, and that it's all a matter of policy. What he can't acknowledge, either because he's unaware of it or because the Times won't allow it, is that this is no longer a democratically run country, where power is in the hands of the People, as our Constitution stipulates. We are an oligarchy, run by by the superwealthy few, who control our politics, our financial institutions, and our military and try to control our economy.

Bernie is actually threatening (promising) to reign in this oligarchy and return power to the people. Threatening the oligarchy is extremely dangerous to one's health, as JFK found out. Obama maintains a healthy respect for them, which is why he never became the transformational President that Jesse Jackson and many others said we needed when he was first elected. He would have been much too easy a mark for them, too, since the racism that he evoked in the pathological sector of the electorate would have provided an abundance of willing patsies to do the deed—and then be conveniently disposed of (as Oswald was). Hopefully, Bernie, if elected (and that's now a distinct possibility) will be savvy about his own physical security and take appropriate precautions.

Incidentally, the Times reveals its political naiveté again today (January 17) in its story of Jeb Bush's good manners ("Manners Fit Jeb Bush, If Not an Uncouth Race" by Ashley Parker, p. 25). The implication is that he's too well-bred to descend to the level of Trump and start swinging, so we can lament the passing of the age of political decorum (??) and resign ourselves to Jeb not getting the nomination, denying the Grand Old Party access to the White House for yet another four years—since there just aren't enough crazies to vote Trump or Cruz into office. Incidentally, one power broker who successfully seduced the Times management with his good breeding and collegiality was Allen Dulles, the first CIA director, who led the agency from the early Eisenhower years through the beginning of Nixon's presidency. According to David Talbot's excellent new book on Dulles (The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and America's Secret Government), Dulles began his career by serving the power elite, working for the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, and continuing to serve them as CIA director, by subverting democratic leaders in Iran, Guatemala and the Congo, and by avoiding an honest investigation of JFK's assassination (in which he was most probably involved, if not directing). So much for decorum.

What the Times misses (again) is that the support for Trump and Cruz is the measure of the frustration with the GOP establishment who've used its resentful rank-and-file to vote in pro-corporate chumps (like W and the Republican majoritarians in Congress) who pass laws and instigate wars that siphon treasure out of the public purse and into the accounts of military suppliers, bank profits, and other giant corporations. We can complain about increasing inequality all we want, but the super-rich have already bought out those who make the rules, and who were elected by the folks now in revolt.

What these good yeomen don't realize is that a demagogue like the Donald is deeply susceptible to slavishly serving the wealthy once in office. This is the story of every fascist and extreme right-wing candidate who attains power.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Republican Candidates Caught with Their Warmongering Pants Down & other issues of the day

The swift resolution of the naval crisis with Iran yesterday (January 13), exposed Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as the demagogues they are—in case anyone had any doubt. The US patrol boat that wandered into Iranian territorial waters and were captured by the Iranians became a cause for these two clowns to explode with threats and bluster, attacking Obama for his recent diplomatic success with the nuclear agreement with Iran, and boasting of their belligerent, provocative response if they had been President. Of course, they were simply opportunistically taking advantage of a confrontation to raise the hackles of their  mythomaniacal and rather benighted supporters. The callowness with which they seem to be capable of leading us into a war with Iran (if they had the power to do so) outdoes even Bush's cynical ignorance, but if they were in that position, they would probably be restrained by cooler military minds.

Meanwhile, today's Times (January 14) sported an op-ed by lifelong Republican Peter Wehner, who inventories the reasons he could never support the Donald as a Presidential candidate. They're the reasons all of us are thoroughly familiar with, so I suppose the Times, which harbors right-wing mouthpieces David Brooks and Ross Douthat (presumably to keep its reader-members of the financial oligarchy from deserting to the Wall Street Journal, so Bulgari & Co. will still advertise with them) considers this worthy of note. But since rational, principled folks like Kevin Phillips and Lincoln Chaffee have left the GOP, this only leaves people who endorse the defunding of Planned Parenthood, climate-change deniers, immigrant bashers, Obama diabolizers and corporate tax dodging strategists, whom we must presume Wehner to still cavort with. So it's a little like commending a rapist for not attacking women under 16 on principle. Bully!

As many commentators have pointed out, Trump merely spouts the vulgar, extreme version of what most of the rest of the candidates endorse. He attracts disaffected GOP voters who have finally realized that they've been used by the corporate and bankster moguls, who kept these voters' support by dangling various hot-button social issues ("values" issues) in front of their noses, as well as dog-whistling the tunes of their racist prejudices, but giving them nothing of substance. But these voters don't think; they just react, so they're easily cozened by a demagogue, or Donaldgogue. And the beauty part is that, while they only represent about 9% of the total electorate, if they ever do get their champion nominated, not only would he be certain to lose, but he might just bury the Republican party once and for all, sending it to join the Whigs in political hog-heaven (or hell). The Democrats are enough of a corporate party (unless Bernie turns the ship around...) leaving room for a new People's Party. The Greens? The Tax Wall Street Party? Would lifelong oligarchs actually be capable of switching parties? For example, could the Koch Brothers ever turn Democrat? Would they be willing to hire Bill Clinton at $2000/hour to tutor them? The mind reels at the possibilities.