Hillary Clinton: Another of Her "Nudes?"

New uncomfortable revelation has just ruined the image of the supposed North American democracy.  

Thus wrote last Friday the journalist Roberto Casín in The New Herald whose article was named: THE MARIA RAMOS’S KITTEN.  

At some point in his text he refers the scandal of the electoral agreement between Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

He added: "nobody with an ounce of self-respect endorses the old stereotype that some belong to the party of the rich and others to the party of poor."  

In his writing he asserted that the dividing line of money between Republicans and Democrats, if there was ever one, has already vanished.  

Casín added that certain honest voices among democrats admit that the concept is obsolete and that the party has been disconnected from the minds and hearts of the country.  

He said that the great ethical slap has just been delivered to the puritans of the politics of the former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, after the former chairman for the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile revealed in a book the existence of a secret agreement between her and highest echelon of the party that confirms the suspicions of Bernie Sanders‘s followers regarding the blockade to his nomination as democrat candidate for the White House last year.  

According to the pact, undersigned in August 2015, in exchange for helping the Committee to collect funds, Clinton obtained a huge control of the party machinery. The money in control, and it won't be illegal – claim the lawyers - although goes beyond the boundary of vile and immoral.  

And finally the Herald journalist meant that from now on the lady won't be able to do what María Ramos kitten does, throwing the stone and hiding the hand. Neither begs to the universe of her admirers to blindly believe in her.

  • Published in Specials

‘Hypocritical democracy’: 2016 US election was full of ‘lies & farces,’ China says

The 2016 US presidential election was full of “lies and farces” and was driven by “power-for-money deals,” which in itself was sign of “hypocritical nature of US democracy,” a Chinese government agency stated in a report on America’s human rights record. 

“In 2016, money politics and power-for-money deals controlled the presidential election, which was full of lies and farces,” read an annual report released by the China’s State Council Information Office, as cited by Xinhua news agency. 

Read more Wall Street spent a record $2bn trying to influence US elections – report

© Andrew Kelly

There have been “no guarantees of political rights,” and the election itself, accompanied by large-scale protests, provided “full exposure of the hypocritical nature of US democracy,” the government paper stated.

Beijing’s paper then went on to criticize the US for “continued deterioration in some key aspects of its existent human rights issues last year,” mentioning “the gunshots lingering in people’s ears behind the Statue of Liberty, worsening racial discrimination and the election farce dominated by money politics.” 

These instances once again saw Washington undermining “its human rights ‘myth’ with its own deeds,” the report added.

In conclusion, China chastised its geopolitical rival for continuing “to trample on human rights in other countries, causing tremendous civilian casualties” in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The government paper was released just days after the US State Department published its annual report on human rights practices, which lashed out at aspects of China’s domestic policies, criticizing Beijing for neglecting civil and political rights. It also stated that the government curtails freedoms in Hong Kong and Macau.  

“Repression and coercion” of civil society remained severe, the State Department maintained, adding, “As in previous years, citizens did not have the right to choose their government and elections were restricted to the lowest local levels of governance.”

The report also claimed the existence of “arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life, executions without due process, illegal detentions at unofficial holding facilities known as “black jails,” torture and coerced confessions of prisoners… and others whose actions the authorities deemed unacceptable.”

READ MORE: US possible withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council ‘misguided & shortsighted’ – HRW

The report was not launched by new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who broke a long-standing tradition by declining to make a public appearance to announce the release. The practice existed for more than 40 years, as previous secretaries of state took part in the public launch or made public comments to mark the report’s publication.

Meanwhile, there are some indications that Washington might be considering withdrawal from the 47-member UN Human Rights Council, a major international agency which oversees the state of human rights and liberties worldwide.

In late February, Politico reported, citing a former State Department official, that the Trump administration was apparently considering the measure due to the council’s critical attitude towards Israel and its alleged inefficiency. 

“There’s been a series of requests coming from the secretary of state’s office that suggests that he is questioning the value of the US belonging to the Human Rights Council,” the source said. The UN director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), Lou Charbonneau, said such a move would be “misguided and shortsighted.”

  • Published in World

Alleged Fraud in USA Presidential Elections Will Be Investigated

Washington, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) US president Donald Trump called for a major investigation into alleged fraud in the November 8 elections.

In those elections, the Republican tycoon defeated the Democrat aspirant Hillary Clinton by the electoral vote, but he lost in the popular vote.

According to Trump, the investigation will include 'those registered to vote in two states, the illegal ones, and even the voters registered to vote that were dead (and many of them for a long time).'

'Depending on the results, we will strengthen voting procedures,' the head of state said in his personal Twitter account.

Before his victory, Trump repeatedly denounced that the elections were rigged in Clinton's favor by the massive vote of millions of undocumented immigrants, dead people and those who exercised their right to vote in two or more states.

Several lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and reporters have rejected the president's statements because in their view there is no evidence of electoral fraud.

  • Published in World

‘Who gave them this and why?’ Trump blasts leaks of secret report on ‘Russian hacking’

Donald Trump criticized leaks to several media outlets detailing contents of a classified report on alleged Russian hacking of the presidential election. The leaks came before Trump’s own briefing on those details by the intelligence community.

The 50-page report was delivered to US President Barack Obama on Thursday, and is to be delivered to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday by top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, the Washington Post reports, one of several outlets that were given priority over the president-elect in learning the details of the document.

CNN and NBC News also reported on the classified report, sparking outrage from Trump.

“How did NBC get ‘an exclusive look into the top secret report he (Obama) was presented?’ Who gave them this report and why? Politics!” Trump said in a tweet. He later demanded a congressional investigation of the leak.

 

According to the reports, US spies cited as evidence of Russian interference intercepted communications between Russian officials who called Trump’s victory a geopolitical success for Russia. The report also said that US intelligence identified the ‘go-betweens’ who allegedly handed over stolen Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks. The US media did not name those individuals or explain how they were linked to the Russian government.

Many Russian officials made no secret of their preference for a Trump presidency after his surprise win in November. The Russian parliament even stood and applauded at the news. The president-elect is perceived by many as capable of restarting relations with Russia with a clean slate, while his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was blamed for policies which in part have led to numerous conflicts between Russia and the US.

Both Russia and WikiLeaks deny allegations that the website had received sensitive emails from the Russian government. A WikiLeaks insider claimed that the DNC emails were not stolen, but rather leaked by a Democratic Party member who was disgruntled with the leadership’s bid to undermine the candidacy of Bernie Sanders in favor of Clinton.

Earlier, the FBI and DHS released a joint 13-page report on the alleged Russian interference with the US election. Dubbed ‘Grizzly Steppe’ by the American intelligence community, the operation was found to have involved, among other things, outdated Ukrainian malware and IP addresses that any cybercriminal could use in a hacking operation.

On Thursday, Clapper broadened the scope of what he described as a Russian effort to undermine US democracy to include RT’s reporting on the election campaign, unspecified ‘fake news,’ and communication through social media.

  • Published in World

'If Electoral College votes against Trump, US will get worst constitutional crisis in its history'

The system of the Electoral College is corky, but it is not going away anytime soon. Each party thinks they can work the system to their advantage. The losers complain about it. The winners are happy with it, says political cartoonist Ted Rall.

Donald Trump may have won the US presidential election, but he faces one last hurdle - the Electoral College which convenes on Monday to vote for America's 45th leader.

Technically, it has the power to block him and electors are facing immense pressure from those hoping to scupper a Trump presidency.

RT: How can you explain all the pressure about the vote of the Electoral College members to usher in Donald Trump as President of the United States?

TR: Every time there is a situation as in 2000 when George W. Bush technically won the Electoral College vote over Al Gore, who won the popular vote - and there have been other examples in the history - the losers always look to the Electoral College as sort of a “maybe we can get these guys to change their minds after the fact”. But the fact is that historically, although technically it is legally allowed for members of the Electoral College to change their vote, there isn’t much precedent for it. The fact is that they are expected to vote in accordance with the way that their states ordered them to vote. They are appointed by their respective political parties and 99 percent of the time, they always have cast their votes exactly the way that they are supposed to. It does seem a little bit churlish at this point for Democrats to be complaining about the Electoral College. If the election had gone the other way and Hillary Clinton had won with the minority of the popular vote but had won the Electoral College, you could probably guess that the complaints would be coming from the Republican side. As they say “Hypocrisy, thy name is politics.”

RT: What can you tell about the history of the Electoral College? Is there any chance that pledged electors will change their votes over to Hillary Clinton?

TR: The Electoral College does have a long and strange history. The US is the only country that I know of that has a system like this. And it is balanced in order to benefit more rural states. The way it works is basically the number of Electoral College votes per population tends to benefit small states like Rhode Island and Vermont over large states like California, Texas and Florida. So, it is a system that is quirky. But I think it is not going away anytime soon. And the reason is that each party thinks that they can work the system to their advantage. The losers always complain about it. The winners are always quite happy with it. You would need a bipartisan effort on the part of both Democrats and Republicans to get rid of it. And while there are certainly grounds to complain about it. It is not direct democracy; it is not purely one man, one vote or one person, one vote. But nevertheless is also does serve to give a more equal vote to people who live in parts of the country that might not otherwise get that much attention. The Democrats are kind of looking foolish by not only trying to look anti-democratic by trying to defy the system that they tried to work and lost fair and square. This is just not going to work. And the last thing you want to do in politics is to try to get involved in a battle that you don’t have any chance of winning. There is just literally no way that you are going to get forty or more of this pledged electors to change their votes over to Hillary Clinton.

RT: What could be the consequences if members of the Electoral College really decide to change their mind?

TR: If you remember during the campaign Democrats really thought they are going to win and not by a little bit, they thought that Hillary Clinton really thought she was going to win by a landslide. And many of the polls said the same thing. And at that time there was a lot of pressure on Donald Trump to agree, pledge and promise that he was going to honor the results of the election when he lost. Well, he didn’t lose. Now, you have the Democrats doing the same thing that they didn’t want Donald Trump to do, which is an attempt to delegitimize the winner. Trump won the election fair and square. No matter what any Democrats say, there is just no allegation that there were millions of votes were changed somehow by magical means… I don’t think they are thinking this through very carefully. If by some miracle they were able to get the Electoral College to change its mind and install Hillary Clinton, this would create a constitutional crisis which would be unprecedented in American history. And nobody knows where that would lead. You’d have the odd situation, and you’d be doing it at a time when the Supreme Court – which could be called upon to settle it – isn’t in any position to do so due to the death of Antonin Scalia. You now have a 4-4 balance between Democrats and Republicans on the Court. So literally the system couldn’t cure the problem they’re creating. They really need to stop this… the country is already terribly divided in the aftermath of this very difficult and divisive election. If they want to take on Donald Trump there are better ways to do so.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • Published in Specials

Zumba-Thons and Other Non-Solutions to Violence Against Women

A more straightforward way of reducing “horrific acts of violence against women” might be to terminate devastating U.S. military assaults.

Since 1999, the United Nations has observed Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Hillary Clinton took the concept and ran with it during her service as U.S. Secretary of State, proclaiming on Nov. 25, 2011, that “empowering women and girls is already a priority of the United States, but we need more countries to step up and take on this challenge.”

According to Clinton, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was an occasion to remember “the horrific acts of violence against women that take place every day around the world and pledge to recommit ourselves to changing attitudes and ending all forms of violence against women and girls.”

Judging from the U.N. website and fundraising toolkit, violence against women can be counteracted by “orang[ing] the world”— orange being the color selected by the U.N. Secretary General’s UNiTE To End Violence Against Women campaign. Suggested activities range from tweets and Instagram posts containing the hashtag “#orangetheworld” to fundraising events such as a “Zumba-thon, Spin-a-thon, Bowl-a-thon, or other a-thons.”

Never mind that a more straightforward way of reducing “horrific acts of violence against women” might be to terminate devastating military assaults by Clinton’s own country — not to mention those of other countries like Israel, whose shameless slaughter of women as well as children and men is relentlessly endorsed by the U.S.

Needless to say, the recent election of a decidedly anti-human U.S. head of state doesn’t bode well for the so-called “orange world.”

U.S. hypocrisy is nothing new. The U.N. website notes that “women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 … of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo.”

This is the same Trujillo who, as the BBC notes, “maintained cordial relations with the U.S.” throughout the bulk of his dictatorial career and appears in a 1955 photograph “in smiling embrace with then U.S. vice-president Richard Nixon.”

In a book published in 1999 by the University of British Columbia Press, Canadian academics Edelgard Mahant and Graeme S. Mount took the relationship even further, claiming that “information reaching Ottawa suggested White House support for the dictatorship of (Trujillo) as late as 1960,” the year of the “brutal assassination” in question.

The authors write, “In January 1960, a Canadian businessman anxious to do business in the Dominican Republic advised the Canadian government that, according to Vice President Richard Nixon, Trujillo was an ally in the struggle against Communism who ran a government that was sympathetic to the cause of multinational corporations.”

        

Whatever the precise extent of U.S. cordiality with Trujillo, it’s no secret that the ostensible “land of the free” has over various decades exhibited a soft spot for perpetrators of extreme human rights abuses in Latin America and beyond.

Argentina comes to mind, where an estimated 30,000 suspected leftists were eliminated during the “dirty war” of 1976-83 after the military junta was given the green light by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

This extended episode entailed plenty of violence against women, including teenage students kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the right-wing regime. Consider the testimony of one Emilce Moler, who was 17 years old in 1976 and survived an ordeal that left many of her classmates dead: “They tortured us with profound sadism. I remember being naked. I was just a fragile small girl… and I was beaten senseless by what I judged was a huge man.”

It could furthermore be argued that the junta’s practice of stealing newborn babies from subsequently disappeared “leftist” mothers amounted to a double affront against women.

Elsewhere in the hemisphere and the world, Washington’s inherent affinity for governments “sympathetic to the cause of multinational corporations” rather than to the cause of humans has proven similarly hazardous to women.

The Guardian reported in 2011 that “between 1960 and 1996 more than 100,000 women were victims of mass rape in the Guatemalan civil war” — a conflict the newspaper describes as being “between CIA-backed rightwing generals and leftwing insurgents.”

In more recent years, there continue to be gender-based repercussions of U.S. policy in places like Honduras. In a 2014 article for Al Jazeera America, Washington, D.C.-based economist Mark Weisbrot listed some of the effects of the 2009 U.S.-facilitated coup against left-leaning Honduran President Manuel Zelaya: “The homicide rate in Honduras already the highest in the world, increased by 50 percent from 2008 to 2011 … Femicides skyrocketed.”

In Mexico, another location known for its soaring femicide rate, the U.S. has helped sustain widespread violence via the drug war as well as the attendant economic assault known as NAFTA, both of which have ripped communities apart and rendered existence precarious — particularly, in many cases, for women.

The Intercept reports that Mexico saw “98.3 percent of crimes (go) unpunished in 2013, according to Mexican government statistics.”

The moral of the story: if a global superpower actively encourages impunity in a world already plagued by sexism and gender-based violence, no one should be surprised when the result is an increase in violence against women.

Nor should they be surprised, apparently, when the same superpower turns around and claims concern for women's well-being, or when the international organization claiming to want to benevolently “orange the world” so often functions as a multilateral facade for a toxic U.S. agenda.

The U.N. website correctly states that “violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.”

But in continuing to violate nations and people at will, the U.S. could very well qualify as a pandemic in its own right.

  • Published in Now

Ship of Fools: What Trump Teaches

Yes, I was surprised. Since I spend a lot of time in western Pennsylvania, I knew there was more support for Trump than the media let on, but he just seemed too incompetent, incoherent, and disorganized a candidate to defeat the Clinton machine. I enjoyed torturing my friend who has been very close to Hillary for decades with scary stories about Trump surging. But in our early election day texting, I confessed that I thought it would be called for Hillary by 11PM at the latest. I was as wrong as everyone else.

I did not vote for either Hillary or Trump, and was resigned to taking my chances with either horrible outcome, but I was implicitly anticipating the dangers of a Clinton administration. I also thought, however, that there might be one positive effect of Hillary’s presidency. Contrary to what might be considered the usual leftist line that electing the explicitly ultra-reactionary Trump would foment the revolution, or at least radical discontent, I thought that, in the American context, Hillary being president would help the left the most.

If Trump wins, I argued, and his policies fail miserably and obviously, Democrats and liberals would spend the next four years saying: “See, you should have voted for Hillary,” and channeling oppositional energy into a familiar anti-Trump, anti-Republican, “Let’s make sure we elect a Democrat in 2020” politics—as we saw after Bush’s election in 2000. The Democrats would once again present themselves as the system’s way out.

On the other hand, I thought that, if Hillary were to win and wreak her expected havoc on America and the world, Democrats and liberals would not be able to blame the Republicans. It would be the left that could say “See what you voted for?” The system would have failed in its Democratic guise. Because this might finally persuade more progressive-minded people to break with the Democratic Party once and for all. it was Hillary’s presidency, not Trump’s, that would open new paths for the left.

Now we have Donald Trump as president. His election is a disgrace, and we know what a disaster his administration will be for the country and the world. Mr. Anti-establishment, “drain the swamp,” tribune of the forgotten, is already filling up his clown car cabinet with the same-old tired Republican reactionaries and incompetents (Sarah Palin, Giluliani, Christie, Bolton), not to mention turning to industry and Wall Street lobbyists (and here) and, of course, Goldman Sachs (Steven Mnuchin) to run the Treasury. As business news site Quartz so aptly headlines: Trump criticized Clinton for her Wall Street ties, but he’s the best thing to happen to big banks.

Just as with Hillary, there’s the (fake) public position, and then there’s the (real) private position, and Trump’s betrayal of whichever working-class voters thought he would be their savior has already begun. Let’s hope they don’t cling to their illusions about him as long as foolish liberals have clung to theirs about Obama.

So the task for the left is to organize and fight—against every piece of crap policy Trump and his crew try to foist on us, and for a different political world. No doubt. But here’s where my fears about President Donald as opposed to President Hillary are already making me shudder. If our idea of organizing is to spend the next four years in a hashtag “opposition” movement (#FightTrump), managed and funded by the Democrats and their favored oligarchs, in order to mobilize support for the 2020 candidacy of an Elizabeth Warren, a Cory Booker, or a Lin-Manuel Miranda (Who can’t see that coming?)—the next capitalist-imperialist identity-politics candidate—then we will have learned nothing.

As I write, the pressing question for many is whom to name as the next DNC Chair: Howard Dean or Keith Ellison. Who the hell cares? If our idea of organizing is to reform the Democratic Party—get the right guy or gal in charge—we will have learned nothing. The Democratic Party is a counter-revolutionary center-right capitalist party, and the DNC Chair is an employee of the donors. The problems we are facing, and the solutions we need to fight for, are way more radical than anything the Democratic Party will ever consider. If we haven’t learned this, we’ve learned nothing.

Even just considering electoral politics in the most basic democratic terms, we need to fight for the elimination of the electoral college, a transparent and trustworthy voting system, some form of Instant Runoff Voting, an end to voter caging and suppression, public financing, and access of third parties to debates, the media, and ballots in all states. Is the Democratic Party going to fight for any of that?

Did nobody notice that Trump, for whom only 27% of the eligible electorate voted, actually lost the popular vote by more than 500,000, and maybe more than two million, votes? By the only salient democratic measure of the people’s will, Hillary Clinton won the election. So how is the country all racist and/or sexist? If the Electoral College didn’t exist, would any of Hillary’s supporters be excoriating the 2016 voting electorate for its racism and misogyny, or would they be congratulating that electorate—the very same electorate with the very same result—for its embrace of diversity? White Supremacy didn’t defeat Hillary; the Electoral College did.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for Hillary supporters, instead of complaining about the imputed racist and/or misogynist attitudes of those who didn’t vote for her, to champion the cause of the majority who did, and focus on agitating for the reforms that are needed to make our electoral system actually democratic?

This is not revolutionary, but simple democratic, politics, but it implies the need for a difficult fight for serious changes. Does anyone think the Democratic Party, which so worships the system that it respectfully accepted having a couple of presidential elections stolen from it, is up for even that?

And that’s not counting the hard problems, the socio-economic problems.

Yes, there’s plenty of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia all across the United States, including among those low-income rural white voters in Pennsylvania who voted for Obama in 2008 and flipped to Trump this year. Trump personally has a history of trafficking in such vile attitudes, and his campaign certainly did. Everyone must fight them whenever and wherever they appear, and they will be a central target—along with his militarism, imperialism and authoritarianism—of left opposition to the Trump administration.

But those attitudes existed in western Pennsylvania and the rest of the country in 2008 and 2012, too. Why were there five million fewer votes for Clinton this year than Obama in 2012? Why did over 90% of counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012, and one third who voted for him in both elections, vote for Trump this year? Six states flipped from Obama to Trump. Is the only salient fact about this Obama-Trump voting bloc that it’s racist?

Trump got a whole 1% more of the white vote than Romney. Why did Hillary get a lower share of African-American (-7%) and Latino (-6%) votes than Obama did in 2012, while Trump got a higher share of both (+2%) than did Romney? Most importantly, why did 45% of the electorate stay home?

If we don’t seriously confront the fact that many of those millions of voters who switched from Obama to Trump, or to their couches, did so because of the failures of eight years of a Democratic administration, we will learn nothing.

This wasn’t a sudden switch, and it wasn’t personal. As Nicole Aschoff and Bhaskar Sunkara point out, over the eight years of the Obama administration, “Democrats have lost almost a thousand state-legislature seats, a dozen gubernatorial races, 69 House seats and 13 in the Senate.” This year, they lost the presidency and the Senate.

That’s an extended slide into disaffection. It would be foolish to think it was because voters took a few years to notice the color of Barack’s skin. It would be supremely foolish not to consider that white working-class voters in Rust Belt states switched to Republican—and black and Latino working-class voters stayed home—because eight years of the Obama administration did nothing to stop the ongoing destruction of their lives and communities. It would be foolish not to recognize that Obama did not deliver the change he was promised, the change those voters of all races voted for—in 2008 and in declining numbers in 2012. It would be foolish to refuse to consider that this year’s rejection of Hillary was because they knew she was going to continue ignoring them in the same way.

Do we notice what’s happened to Detroit and Flint, and to the hundreds of exurban communities surrounding cities like that? Or do we just notice how mellifluously and rhetorically correctly it was done? Do we really think five million people who voted for Obama, some twice, did not vote for Hillary because they all want to go around grabbing pussy, rather than because of what’s been happening to them for the last eight years?

Sure, there are plenty of pissed-off white people. Should there not be? Should working-class whites—and every other working-class constituency, and all of their progressive allies—not be furious that their lives have been destroyed over the past thirty years by what Paul Street calls “a relentless top-down class war on their livelihoods, unions, and standard of living,” and over the past eight years by the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the country to the top ten-thousandth of the population? Should they not bridle at the infinite increase in military spending and the endless series of wars to which their children are sent, which have no discernible interest for them? Should they not be livid at the utterly corrupt private health insurance system, now called Obamacare, that is flaying them to death with increasing premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, for fewer coverage options?

Should middle-aged white Americans not object when they have been struck by one of the starkest indicators of a group that’s been relegated to the social wastebin: “Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.” As two Dartmouth economists remark: “It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude.…Only H.I.V./AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this.”

This is the kind of scourge that happens when a population has been discarded and has lost hope, as have “Millions of once ‘productively employed’ white working class people … [who have] become ‘surplus Americans’ in a time when Silicon Valley geniuses soberly design the near total elimination of manual labor and intellectuals debate the coming of ‘a world without work.’”

Liberals delight in perplexing about how working-class Republican voters can be too ignorant to realize how they’re being conned by oligarchs in populist drag. It’s the process Christopher Hitchens, in his better days, called “the essence of American politics…the manipulation of populism by elitism,” and Paul Street restates as: “the cloaking of plutocratic agendas, of service to the rich and powerful, in the false rebels’ clothing of popular rebellion.” We’ve seen this repeatedly, and Trump is the latest example.

But perhaps those liberals should perplex in the mirror. As Steve Hendricks points out:

For decades now, we liberals have been shaking our heads in wonder at the working stiffs who give the rich pashas atop the GOP their votes. There’s hardly a liberal alive who can’t recite what’s the matter with Kansas: the parable of the downtrodden whites in their double-wides, so enraged by their dwindling slice of the American pie that they vote for hucksters…[who] go off to D.C. and sock it to the suckers who sent them there — shipping their jobs abroad, rigging the tax code against them, gutting their schools, taking swipes at their Social Security and Medicare.

But here’s an equally pathetic farce you don’t hear about much: Democrats are just as conned…Ask a group of liberals what they want in a candidate, and you’ll get a sketch of a champion who will fight for income equality, rein in big banks, defeat ruinous trade agreements, restore our battered civil liberties, look to diplomacy before war, and stop the devastation of our climate. Sure enough, in every election year Democratic candidates come along peddling such wares as these, and the winners go off to D.C. and sock it to the suckers who sent them… Any leftist who wonders why her voice isn’t heard in Washington shouldn’t be asking what’s the matter with Kansas. She should be asking what’s the matter with New York.

Conservative Kansans fall for a plutocratic, imperialist agenda cloaked in patriotism, religion, and nostalgia for the good old Ed Sullivan days; liberal New Yorkers fall for the same plutocratic, imperialist agenda dressed up in multiculturalism, identity politics, and celebration of the good new Caitlin Jenner days. Who’s the bigger fool? How’s that working out for everybody? For the millions of victims of that top-down, plutocratic class war — in the ghettos of the cities and the hollows of Appalachia? For the Syrians, Iraqis, and Libyans, whose countries have been destroyed? Ad infinitum.

Yes, the voters who switched from Barack to Donald are fools for thinking that Trump is going to help them in any way, but they are not fools for thinking that Hillary Clinton would not have.

And how smart or foolish is it to think the thing to do now is to try and persuade them on the next version of Hillary, Clinton 3.0 (Obama was 2.0)—which is all the Democratic Party is going to offer them. This bouncing back and forth between phony, mendacious saviors—from “hope and change” to “make America great again”—while ignoring, or posing false solutions to, the fundamental socio-economic forces ripping the country apart, is the characteristic of American liberal-conservative, Democratic-Republican, politics. It suffers a lot of fools.

The problems that America faces, that cause so much frustration and rage, are now deep and persistent, and will require solutions that will be very radical in the American context. But they’ll have to be, as the man said, as radical as reality. American workers are not suffering just because of trade agreements and offshoring. By some measures, 88% of jobs were lost to robots and other labor-saving devices. Tax incentive might bring some factories come back, but neither the Donald nor the Democrats can bring back jobs from China that don’t exist. China now has “zero labor” factories that run 24/7 with the lights off. When thousands of truck drivers lose their jobs, those self-driving Uber vehicles will still be zipping around American interstates, and the profits will be driven into pockets in Silicon Valley, without a pit stop in Beijing. As Barry Lando points out, we are in the midst of a “perfect storm of technology” that “will lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020.”

So it’s the entire architecture of capitalism that has to be questioned—the whole issue of who produces wealth and who appropriates it, and what kind of social order would do that justice. All the issues raised by that pesky guy who keeps returning, “yesterday and today.” There is no avoiding it. This is a moment requiring very radical thinking and action. No more half-assed tinkering.

The radicalism will come, either from the right or from the left, but it will come. Correction: It is coming from the right; the left better make another kind of radicalism real. And this is going to require—not, pace Barack, an “intramural scrimmage,” but a knock-down fight on behalf of everybody in the bottom 90% of the country, a fight in which we must force the ruling class to lose wealth and power.

That’s also going to require the American left, such as it is, to make a serious examination of the relationship between identity politics and class politics—a relationship that, for the last thirty years, has been a function of most of the American left’s management by, and submission to, the Democratic Party as a party of capital. The effective hegemony of the Democratic Party over left-liberal discourse and strategizing has created and enforced, as Adolph Reed, Jr. puts it, a “moral economy” that implicitly accepts as just: “a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources…, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people.” This is equal-opportunity capitalist identity politics, and it’s been pursued—time to be honest—at the expense of class politics. Or, as Reed puts it more sharply: “it is [itself] a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism.”

To fight Trump and all he represents, we need to join the well-honed commitment to racial and gender equality with an invigorated, inclusive, and pointedly anti-capitalist class politics, which will hurt ruling class interests, prerogatives, and power, and which the Democratic Party will therefore do everything in its power to steer us away from.

The intensification of inequality—which even a mainstream Keynesian economist like Piketty understands is an intrinsic tendency of capitalism—will only get exponentially worse, given the dynamic of automated productivity discussed above. In this context, we’re facing questions that might seem utopian, but they are urgent necessities for any kind of just society. Why should the wealth deriving from the fantastic new sources of productivity not be appropriated and distributed socially, allowing for less work and greater social security for everyone?

There will, in fact, be no way to substantially and permanently improve the lives of the discarded and enraged—of all colors and genders—without changing our social economy from one in which the first priority is that individuals are entitled to accumulate as much wealth as possible, to one in which the first priority is that everyone has economic security and social dignity. And that’s a radical change that will demand a fight.

We have to start by fighting for things like: universal single-payer healthcare, steep, frankly redistributive progressive taxation (as we had in the 50s, bordering on a “maximum income” policy), a complete overhaul of the electoral process, expansion of Social Security, free public higher education and a cancelling of student debt, and an end to ceaseless wars for the defense industries and for Israel (and, yes, you have to say that last bit, or go back to scrimmaging). Then we have to go on to demand guaranteed jobs and income for all.

These demands have to, and can, be made in a way that’s direct and easily understood. Single-payer is simpler to explain than Obamacare because single-payer isn’t hiding conflicting popular and profit interests. Sure, there will be fights over how to pay for them, and those fights will be opportunities to learn about and dispel economic myths (including the myth that taxes pay for government programs, but that’s another story). These measures do not add up to socialism, but they will move toward a socialist reorganization of society, and should be promoted frankly as such.

Yes, it is time for affirmative action for the entire working class, and that is socialism.

Tell me how impossible all this is, how the entire ruling class and establishment media will mobilize against it. You mean like how impossible it was for Donald Trump to become President?

Here’s the first lesson everyone on the left should learn from Donald Trump: All these formidable establishment powers are not as omnipotent as they have fooled us into thinking they are. If you have a movement and a leadership which actually, forthrightly, fights for the things that will improve the lives of everyone except the top 10%, and mobilizes the bottom 90%, things suddenly become possible.

That kind of leadership will never come from the committed-to-capitalism Democratic Party (yes, including Elizabeth Warren).

Of course, we will not get all of these things at once, but getting even one would be a major reversal of fortune—a step, finally, in the right direction. Let’s take the one example of single-payer healthcare. You couldn’t ask for a better issue. Obamacare is collapsing on its own deceptive contradictions, and Trump and the Republicans are promising to “replace” it. But the only thing you can replace it with that won’t be worse is a single-payer system. This is not that hard to explain. Medicare, an enormously popular program, is right there as an example. Indeed, the fight for single-payer is going will be the way to prevent the privatization of Medicare.

There can be no left progressive movement of any worth in the Untied States that doesn’t start fighting right now for a single-payer, universal coverage health insurance program, And no movement that’s managed by Hillary and the “Never, ever” Democrats will do that. That’s why progressives and leftists should spend zero minutes fretting over who will become Soros and Saban’s next towel boy or girl at the DNC. Ignore them, and just wage the damn fight.

The second lesson that Trump has shoved our face into is more sobering: The left has failed. As Reed puts it, again: “The crucial tasks for a committed left in the United States now are to admit that no politically effective force exists and to begin trying to create one.” For the reasons cited above and many others, the left in America is a political non-entity. When the Libertarians, led by Mr. “Who’s Aleppo?” win three times the vote of Jill Stein and the Greens, it’s telling us something about the extensive hold of capitalist ideology. It’s that thing I hear when my working-class Latino Facebook friend and my renowned female doctor in one of the nation’s premier medical research facilities, both tell me they voted for Trump because: “He’s a business man, and he knows how to create the jobs. He tells it like it is.” That’s the pop-culture, Apprentice-Shark Tank flavor of capitalist ideology that helped to elect Trump, and that we are a long way from overcoming.

Of course, this is not a fixed position. The success of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and the increasing attractiveness of the socialist idea to millennials, demonstrate that there are real possibilities. But Bernie’s capitulation, and his refusal to run on the Green ticket, betrayed what I think was a very real possibility to spread left-oppositional ideas across the political map. It’s very possible that Bernie could have beaten Trump. And even if Bernie had lost on a third-party line, he would likely have gotten enough of the vote to change the political conversation going forward in important ways.

That opportunity for the American left was lost to Bernie’s TINA conviction: There Is No Alternative—to the Democratic Party. His choice was a trailing shadow of the opportunity that Syriza lost in Greece last year, because, as I pointed out in previous essays, the Syriza leadership could not imagine their way out of the European version of TINA (explicitly: No Alternative to capitalism).

In Europe and America, the capitulation of an incipient populist left paves the way for a populist right. Political actors like Bernie and Syriza are so convinced that if they fight for the left they’ll lose to the right, that they revert to fighting for a center that no longer exists—and the right wins anyway. It doesn’t make one terribly hopeful. We’ve already lost a couple of precious opportunities. Let’s not lose any others.

Ironically, it is Donald Trump who has demonstrated—albeit in a Bizarro, demented way—the political truth of the old May ’68 slogan: Demand the impossible

If we don’t want to do that? Well, America is now a ship of fools, with Donald at the helm. Enjoy the ride.

  • Published in Specials

Democratic Party Should Be Embarrassed, Says Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator had some harsh criticism for the Democratic Party establishment in the aftermath of Trump's election victory.
 
The Democratic Party has abandoned workers and that is why Hillary Clinton lost the election, Senator Bernie Sanders said Thursday.

“It is an embarrassment, I think, to the entire Democratic Party that millions of white working-class people decided to vote for Mr. Trump,” Senator Bernie Sanders told the Associated Press on Thursday.

RELATED: Leaked Documents: Democratic Party Favored Clinton from Start

Analysis of the election results increasingly suggests that Donald Trump's victory was less due to an upsurge in support for the Republican Party and their candidate, and more to a lack of enthusiasm among formerly Democratic voters. While Trump received almost the same amount of total votes as the 2013 Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Democratic support fell by over 6 million votes between 2012 and 2016.

“You cannot be a party which on one hand says we’re in favor of working people, we’re in favor of the needs of young people but we don’t quite have the courage to take on Wall Street and the billionaire class,” Sanders wrote in a separate statement released Thursday. “People do not believe that. You’ve got to decide which side you’re on.”

Sanders' statement to the Associate Press came a day after he promised to “vigorously” oppose the president-elect’s racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies.

Many have speculated that had Sanders' primary run not been sabotaged by the Democratic Party leadership he likely would have beaten Trump in a general election marked by strong anti-establishment sentiment.

Sanders, who is expected to play a crucial role in leading the opposition to Trump in the Senate, said that he will support Rep. Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member of Congress who is from Minnesota, to become the next chair of the Democratic Party.

  • Published in World
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