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Thread: USA under presidency of a know-nothing, neo-fascist, racist, sexist, mobbed-up narcissist!!

  1. #1051


    The Catch-22 that just stripped Native Americans of their voting rights in North Dakota

    This is the result of a Supreme Court that hates voting rights.

    IAN MILLHISER NOV 1, 2018, 4:43 PM

    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) won her 2012 race by less than 3,000 votes — in no small part due to support from Native Americans. Not long thereafter, North Dakota’s Republican legislature passed a law that effectively strips many of these Native Americans of their voting rights.
    Yet, according to an order handed down by a federal judge on Thursday, this voter suppression law cannot be challenged prior to next week’s election. The practical impact is that numerous Native Americans will not cast a ballot — and a Democratic senator may lose her seat as a result.
    The voter suppression law requires voters to present an ID at the polls which lists their residential mailing address. It’s a devious scheme because residents of many Native reservations live at homes without an official street address — Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern tells the story of one voter whose street is listed as “Unknown2” in a state database. So, for these voters, it may be impossible to obtain the ID they need to vote.
    In April, a federal trial court blocked this law, noting that “at least 4,998 otherwise eligible Native Americans (and 64,618 non-Native voters) currently do not possess a qualifying voter ID under the new law.” That trial court’s decision was stayed in late September, however, by a panel of three appellate judges. Both of the judges who voted to reinstate the North Dakota law are Republicans. The sole judge in dissent is a Democrat.
    The two Republicans argued that North Dakota’s law must remain in effect because a 2008 Supreme Court decision siding with an Indiana voter ID law established that “a plaintiff seeking relief that would invalidate an election provision in all of its applications bears ‘a heavy burden of persuasion.'” Thus, to challenge this particular law, lawyers seeking to block it had to identify specific plaintiffs who were especially likely to be disenfranchised by this law.
    Bear in mind that the appeals court handed down that decision in late September, forcing voting rights lawyers to hunt for plaintiffs that would meet this narrow criteria. They eventually found them, and filed a suit on October 30 — but that turns out to be too late.
    In an order handed down Thursday, Judge Daniel Hovland concludes that “it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching.” To support this proposition, he cites the Supreme Court’s decision in Purcell v. Gonzalez, which held that courts should be reluctant to hand down decisions impacting a state’s election law as the election itself draws close.
    If Purcell were applied fairly and neutrally to all parties, this could possibly be considered a fair outcome, but there’s another twist. Recall that the original order halting North Dakota’s law was handed down in April, and the appeals court waited until late September to reinstate the law.
    That appeals court order was appealed to the Supreme Court, where Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that the April order halting the law should remain in effect. “I would grant the application to vacate the Eighth Circuit’s stay because last-minute ‘[c]ourt orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.’” Ginsburg also cited Purcell to support this claim.
    It’s difficult to escape the conclusion, in other words, that courts are applying Purcell selectively. When Republican judges make it harder to cast a ballot shortly before an election, Purcell did not stop them. But now that voting rights plaintiffs want to restore their voting rights, Purcell is suddenly an insurmountable barrier.

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  2. #1052


    OCT 29, 2018

    The Cult of Trump - Chris Hedges

    Mr. Fish / Truthdig

    Cult leaders arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them.
    Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult reflects the leader’s prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas. Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue them and solve their problems. They found their cult leader in the New York real estate developer and reality television show star. Only when we recognize Trump as a cult leader, and many of those who support him as cult followers, will we understand where we are headed and how we must resist.
    It was 40 years ago next month that a messianic preacher named Jim Jonesconvinced or forced more than 900 of his followers, including roughly 280 children, to die by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction. Cult leaders are driven, at their core, by the death instinct, the instinct to annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create. Trump shares many of the characteristics of Jones as well as other cult leaders including Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, the founders of the Heaven’s Gate cult; the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who led the Unification Church; Credonia Mwerinde, who led the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda; Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong; and David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.
    “A cult is a mirror of what is inside the cult leader,” Margaret Thaler Singer wrote in “Cults in Our Midst.” “He has no restraints on him. He can make his fantasies and desires come alive in the world he creates around him. He can lead people to do his bidding. He can make the surrounding world really hisworld. What most cult leaders achieve is akin to the fantasies of a child at play, creating a world with toys and utensils. In that play world, the child feels omnipotent and creates a realm of his own for a few minutes or a few hours. He moves the toy dolls about. They do his bidding. They speak his words back to him. He punishes them any way he wants. He is all-powerful and makes his fantasy come alive. When I see the sand tables and the collections of toys some child therapists have in their offices, I think that a cult leader must look about and place people in his created world much as a child creates on the sand table a world that reflects his or her desires and fantasies. The difference is that the cult leader has actual humans doing his bidding as he makes a world around him that springs from inside his own head.”
    George Orwell understood that cult leaders manipulate followers primarily through language, not force. This linguistic manipulation is a gradual process. It is rooted in continual mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies, conspiracy theories, outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that defy reality and fact soon paralyze the opposition. The opposition, with every attempt to counter this absurdism with the rational—such as the decision by Barack Obama to make his birth certificate public or by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to release the results of her DNA test to prove she has Native American ancestry—plays to the cult leader. The cult leader does not take his or her statements seriously and often denies ever making them, even when they are documented. Lies and truth do not matter. The language of the cult leader is designed exclusively to appeal to the emotional needs of those in the cult.
    “Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval,” Joost A.M. Meerloo wrote in “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing.” “They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next. Hitler was never logical, because he knew that that was what he was expected to be. Logic can be met with logic, while illogic cannot—it confuses those who think straight. The Big Lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason. While the enemy is still searching for a reasonable counter-argument to the first lie, the totalitarians can assault him with another.”
    The cult leader grooms followers to speak in the language of hate and violence. The cult leader constantly paints a picture of an existential threat, often invented, that puts the cult followers in danger. Trump is doing this by demonizing the caravan of some 4,000 immigrants, most from Honduras, moving through southern Mexico. Caravans of immigrants, are, in fact, nothing new. The beleaguered and impoverished asylum seekers, including many families with children, are 1,000 miles from the Texas border. But Trump, aided by nearly nonstop coverage by Fox News and Christian broadcasting, is using the caravan to terrify his followers, just as he, along with these media outlets, portrayed the protesters who flooded the U.S. capital to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as unruly mobs. Trump claims the Democrats want to open the border to these “criminals” and to “unknown Middle Easterners” who are, he suggests, radical jihadists. Christian broadcasting operations, such as Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club, splice pictures of marching jihadists in black uniforms cradling automatic weapons into the video shots of the caravan.
    The fear mongering and rhetoric of hate and violence, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia, eventually lead to widespread acts of violence against those the cult leader defines as the enemy. The 13 explosive devices sent last week to Trump critics and leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, along with George Soros, James Clapper and CNN, allegedly by Cesar Sayoc, an ex-stripper and fanatic Trump supporter who was living out of his van, herald more violence. Trump, tossing gasoline on the flames, used this assault against much of the leadership of the Democratic Party to again attack the press, or, as he calls it, “the enemy of the people.” “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” he tweeted. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its acts, FAST!”
    It should come as no surprise that on Saturday another enraged American white male, his fury and despair seemingly stoked by the diatribes and conspiracy theories of the far right, entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and massacred eight men and three women as he shouted anti-Semitic abuse. Shot by police and arrested at the scene was Robert Bowers, who believes that Jewish groups are aiding the caravan of immigrants in southern Mexico. He was armed with a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, plus three handguns. The proliferation of easily accessible high-caliber weapons, coupled with the division of the country into the blessed and the damned by Trump and his fellow cultists, threatens to turn the landscape of the United States into one that resembles Mexico, where at least 145 people in politics, including 48 candidates and pre-candidates, along with party leaders and campaign workers, have been assassinated over the last 12 months, according to Etellekt, a risk analysis firm in Mexico. There have been 627 incidents of violence against politicians, 206 threats and acts of intimidation, 57 firearm assaults and 52 attacks on family members that resulted in 50 fatalities. Trump’s response to the mass shooting at the synagogue was to say places of worship should have armed guards, a call for further proliferation of firearms. Look south if you want a vision of our future.
    Domestic terrorism and nihilistic violence are the natural outcomes of the economic, social and political stagnation, the total seizure of power by a corporate cabal and oligarchic elite, and the contamination of civil discourse by cult leaders. The weaponization of language is proliferating, as seen in the vile rhetoric that characterizes many political campaigns for the midterm elections, including the racist robocall sent out against Andrew Gillum, an African-American candidate for the governorship of Florida. “Well, hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I’ll be askin’ you to make me governor of this here state of Florida,” a man speaking in a caricature of a black dialect accompanied by jungle noises said in the robocall. Cults externalize evil. Evil is embodied in the demonized other, whether desperate immigrants, black political candidates and voters, or the Democratic Party. The only way to purge this “evil” and restore America to “greatness” is to eradicate these human contaminants.
    The cult leader, unlike a traditional politician, makes no effort to reach out to his opponents. The cult leader seeks to widen the divisions. The leader brands those outside the cult as irredeemable. The leader seeks the omnipotence to crush those who do not kneel in adoration. The followers, yearning to be protected and empowered by the cult leader, seek to give the cult leader omnipotence. Democratic norms, an impediment to the leader’s omnipotence, are attacked and abolished. Those in the cult seek to be surrounded by the cult leader’s magical aura. Reality is sacrificed for fantasy. Those who challenge the fantasy are not considered human. They are Satanic.
    Meerloo wrote:
    The dictator is not only a sick man, he is also a cruel opportunist. He sees no value in any other person and feels no gratitude for any help he may have received. He is suspicious and dishonest and believes that his personal ends justify any means he may use to achieve them. Peculiarly enough, every tyrant still searches for some self-justification. Without such a soothing device for his own conscience, he cannot live. His attitude toward other people is manipulative; to him, they are merely tools for the advancement of his own interests. He rejects the conception of doubt, of internal contradictions, or man’s inborn ambivalence. He denies the psychological fact that man grows to maturity through groping, through trial and error, through the interplay of contrasting feelings. Because he will not permit himself to grope, to learn through trial and error, the dictator can never become a mature person. … It is because the dictator is afraid, albeit unconsciously, of his own internal contradictions, that he is afraid of the same internal contradictions of his fellow man. He must purge and purge, terrorize and terrorize in order to still his own raging inner drives. He must kill every doubter, destroy every person who makes a mistake, imprison everyone who cannot be proved to be utterly single-minded.
    Behavior that ensures the destruction of a public figure’s career does not affect a cult leader. It does not matter how many lies uttered by Trump are meticulously documented by The New York Times or The Washington Post. It does not matter that Trump’s personal financial interests, as we see in his relationship with the Saudis, take precedence over the rule of law, diplomatic protocols and national security. It does not matter that he is credibly charged by numerous women with being a sexual predator, a common characteristic of cult leaders. It does not matter that he is inept, lazy and ignorant. The establishment, whose credibility has been destroyed because of its complicity in empowering the ruling oligarchy and the corporate state, might as well be blowing soap bubbles at Trump. Their vitriol, to his followers, only justifies the hatred radiating from the cult.
    The cult leader responds to only one emotion—fear. The cult leader, usually a coward, will react when he thinks he is in danger. The cult leader will bargain and compromise when afraid. The cult leader will give the appearance of being flexible and reasonable. But as soon as the cult leader is no longer afraid, the old patterns of behavior return, with a special venom directed at those who were able to momentarily impinge upon his power.
    The removal of Trump from power would not remove the yearning of tens of millions of people, many conditioned by the Christian right, for a cult leader. Most of the leaders of the Christian right have built cult followings of their own. These Christian fascists embraced magical thinking, attacked their enemies as agents of Satan and denounced reality-based science and journalism long before Trump did. Cults are a product of social decay and despair, and our decay and despair are expanding, soon to explode in another financial crisis.
    The efforts by the Democratic Party and much of the press, including CNN and The New York Times, to discredit Trump, as if our problems are embodied in him, are futile. The smug, self-righteousness of this crusade against Trump only contributes to the national reality television show that has replaced journalism and politics. This crusade attempts to reduce a social, economic and political crisis to the personality of Trump. It is accompanied by a refusal to confront and name the corporate forces responsible for our failed democracy. This collusion with the forces of corporate oppression neuters the press and Trump’s mainstream critics.
    Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump. Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no longer democratic. We must, like liberation movements of the past, engage in acts of sustained mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation. By turning our ire on the corporate state, we name the true sources of power and abuse. We expose the absurdity of blaming our demise on demonized groups such as undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, liberals, feminists, gays and others. We give people an alternative to a Democratic Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward tyranny.

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. #1053

    Default Trump, Putin, Mueller, etc. etc

    I don't think the mainstream media or Democratic leaders have figured out the following yet:

    The National Security State is itself a third political party, taking its place alongside the Republicans and Democrats. It has its own unique agenda which has nothing to do with the agenda's of the Dems or Repubs.

    They used Trump to defeat Hillary and their plan was then to get rid of Trump and replace him with an appointed President like Gerald Ford (maybe CIA-affiliated lyin' Ted Cruz). That's where Mueller stepped in.

    Now that the country has lurched to the left in the mid-terms, the goal of the National Security State is to head off a candidacy by Bernie, Elizabeth Warren or some other "Social Democrat" rationalistic, wealth & income-focused candidate in 2020. They will now use Trump to foil Bernie and Pocahontas.


    The air will be let out of the tires of the Mueller probe.

    That's what my crystal ball is telling me as of today.

    James Lateer

  4. #1054



    How Donald Trump Saved the Democratic Party From Itself


    President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Nov. 4, 2018. Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times via Redux

    Ryan Grim

    November 6 2018, 2:06 a.m.

    ON THE MORNING of November 9, 2016, millions of Americans woke up in a fog. In New Holland, Pennsylvania, Annie Weaver stopped at the Wawa on her way to the school where she teaches, and she couldn’t look anybody in the eye. Brandi Calvert, a real estate agent in Wichita, Kansas, only got out of bed because she had to take her 11-year-old boy to school. Before heading out, she told him what had happened, but he refused to believe her.
    I walked my daughter to school that morning in Washington, D.C. and went inside for her kindergarten class’s biweekly open house. A third-grader had drawn the assignment of reading the day’s news over the PA system, and he began with a brief history of the expansion of voting rights. He then ventured into more recent events: “In 2008, Barack Obama was the first African-American elected president. This year, in 2016, Hillary Clinton was the first female president — nominee. In a surprising election, she was defeated by Donald Trump,” he said. “Stop by room 308 to see our timeline. Have a great day.”
    My daughter — who’d very much been “rooting for the girl to win” and found Trump to be a miscreant and an offensive bully — stood unusually silent, as her teacher, clad in black jeans and an olive green hijab, turned her face to hide her tears.
    There was nothing to say — nothing that could be said — to make right the raw fact that, after a hate-filled, vitriolic campaign, enough people in the United States had voted for Donald Trump to make him our 45th president.
    Back in Wichita, Calvert drove home and called her mother. “I went through the emotions of crying and being angry and disbelief, and surely it was a mistake and will be corrected,” she recalled.
    After processing her grief, a two-week-long endeavor, she said, Calvert, like millions of people across the country, became consumed by the need to “do something.” There was nothing to say, but there was something to do. Still, what was that something?
    The last two years of party-building and pushback belong to a multiethnic, multigenerational, and multifaceted collection of movement activists.
    Most of those people had previously done little in the way of political activism, but many had been deeply involved in community events, the local school, or charities. They didn’t know it yet, but they were already political organizers. Convinced that there was no way that Trump could actually be their president, they took a kitchen-sink approach to dealing with the country’s impending doom. Upward of 160,000 people collectively donated $7 million to Green Party candidate Jill Stein to fund a recount, hoping that Clinton would come out with enough votes to be the actual victor. When that didn’t work, the newly minted activists turned their attention to the members of the Electoral College, lobbying them relentlessly to flip their votes and elect somebody — anybody — other than Trump. If the electors couldn’t do that, the activists urged, they could at least throw the election to the House of Representatives, right? Perhaps House Speaker Paul Ryan would do his statesman duty and save the union. Surely, Democratic leaders in Washington could stop it all from happening.
    It soon became apparent that nobody was coming to their rescue, and that the people who wanted it done would have to do it for themselves. It was never guaranteed that there would be widespread, powerful resistance to the Trump administration, or that Democrats would be able to plausibly challenge Republicans for control of the House in less than two years. Indeed, the leadership of the Democratic Party was ripe with talk of compromising, even as Trump’s circle praised former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of internment camps during World War II.
    The last two years of party-building and pushback belong to a multiethnic, multigenerational, and multifaceted collection of movement activists, largely led by women in support of women, activated by a catastrophic election that uncorked a latent power that had long been dormant on the political scene. Over and over, candidates and volunteers have said that the last time they saw a mobilization that was anywhere near as passionate and expansive was on behalf of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Unlike in 2008, there is no centralized leadership this year. That means that, even after the votes are tallied on Tuesday, there’s nobody to tell them to go home. The Democratic Party is stuck with them.
    Ezra Levin, left, and Leah Greenberg of Indivisible in New York City on July 22, 2017.
    Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Fusion Fest 2017

    Building an Army

    By the time Thanksgiving came around in 2016, liberals had largely moved on from their election shock to organizing mode. Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg, former Hill staffers working for progressive nonprofits, were visiting family over the holiday when they met up with a friend from college at a bar in Austin, Texas.
    The friend told them about a Facebook group she was running dedicated to resisting Trump. Dumbledore’s Army had 3,000 fired-up members, but no clear direction, the friend relayed. “They were showing up for protests and they were sending postcards to Paul Ryan and they were calling the electors” — the folks in the Electoral College — “and they kind of all felt like they were throwing stuff at a wall,” Levin told The Intercept.
    Levin and Greenberg explained to their friend exactly how tea party protesters had shaken up Congress in 2009 and 2010, spelling out what works to pressure a member of Congress and, importantly, what doesn’t — such as sending postcards to the House speaker. Their friend was transfixed; this was precisely what she and her group needed to know.
    At the time, countless guides to resisting fascism were floating around, but none were practically oriented for people looking to do something on a daily or near-daily basis.
    Levin and Greenberg, husband and wife, put their thoughts down into a Google Doc and shared it with politically savvy friends back in Washington, refining the guide along the way. But when it came time to publish the document, no one in the group wanted their name on it.
    They were, after all, Democratic staffers, and the contents of the guide were unlikely to go over well with their bosses. Half of the problem for activists, the guide advised, was the Democratic Party, which could not be assumed to be part of the resistance to Trump, but needed to be pushed and prodded into action.
    The document, which they called the Indivisible Guide, was made public in December 2016. Soon after, Indivisible chapters began popping up around the country. The Democratic Socialists of America, meanwhile, attracted supporters of America’s most prominent self-described democratic socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and saw its rolls exploding. A group called Our Revolution was born from the ashes of the Sanders presidential campaign. In some areas, grassroots activists started their own organizations, like Lancaster Stands Up in Weaver’s home of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
    Word had been spreading on Facebook and in the national media about a Women’s March on Washington, D.C. the day after Trump’s inauguration. Weaver resolved to make the trip from Pennsylvania, even if she had to go alone. Brandi Calvert, emerging from her post-election funk, also planned to attend, but then had a second thought: Why not organize one in Wichita?
    Several thousand people turned out at the Keeper of the Plains on Jan. 21, 2017, to take part in the Women’s March in Wichita, Kan.
    Photo: Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle via AP

    She had never organized anything beyond a field trip, she said, but she figured she knew enough to put it together. Among the estimated 5 million people who marched in towns and cities across the U.S. on January 21, 2017, some 3,000 marchers were in the streets of Wichita.
    James Thompson, a military veteran and civil rights attorney, was among them, and the size of the crowd gave him his own idea: The local congressional representative, Mike Pompeo, had just been named director of the CIA, meaning there would be a special election to replace him. Why not run?
    The surge of energy translated into thousands of people looking to run for office, and thousands more looking to join a moribund Democratic Party.
    The surge of energy translated into thousands of people looking to run for office, and thousands more looking to join a moribund Democratic Party. “I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” Mark Fraley, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana, told me early last year, as local parties across the country began booking larger venues for once-sleepy meetings that were now spilling out the doors. “What’s very different is that it’s made the party younger,” he said. “Young people never really wanted to have as much of a meaningful part in the Democratic Party infrastructure. Now that doesn’t seem true anymore.”
    Running for Office

    As soon as Thompson announced his candidacy for the special election in Kansas’s 4th Congressional District, the local Indivisible chapter, started by Calvert’s friend, jumped into organizing for him. Though Trump had carried the district by nearly 30 points, Thompson’s grassroots army made a race of it, stunning the commentariat by losing by just 7 points. (He immediately announced that he’d be running again for the seat in November 2018.)
    The special election season kicked off in December 2017. Delaware Democrats had nominated Stephanie Hansen to run in a February special election for a state Senate seat that would decide control of the chamber. The Republican nominee, a retired cop from New York, had run in 2014 and lost by just 2 points.
    As Hansen campaigned door to door, she had a front-row seat to a historic awakening. “What I saw on the ground, beginning in December, was that the Democrats in the community were very depressed, very sad. There was a lot of anguish, from December 21 till right about the inauguration,” she told me at the time.
    “As soon as the inauguration and the Women’s Marches [happened], Democrats and those who are likeminded became very angry,” she said, recalling the outrage at the Muslim travel ban and other executive orders flying from then-White House adviser Steve Bannon’s desk. “I watched that whole process happen. That anger turned into something different. It turned into determination.”
    Volunteers and small donations flooded in from across the country, and Hansen trounced her opponent by 16 points. When I talked to her nearly two years later, she told me that the energy she feels on the ground has, if anything, only increased since then. She still sees bumps of small dollars come in, she said, and can tell by her ActBlue fundraising page when Trump has done something particularly horrific.
    Grassroots donors, driven by the need to “do something,” poured millions into the race, effectively nudging the party in.
    Naureen Akhter, a young mom in New York City, was shaken into action by Trump’s election, and her first phone-banking ever was for Democrat Jon Ossoff in an April 2017 special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s organ in charge of winning elections, hadn’t wanted to compete there, worried that a Democrat had little chance of winning, even though Trump had won the district by a mere 1.5 points. But grassroots donors, driven by the need to “do something,” poured millions into the race, effectively nudging the party in.
    Akhter was disappointed when Ossoff fell just short of 50 percent in the first round of voting and lost in a runoff, but she still wanted to join her local Democratic Party. It proved difficult, as details of the when and where of the party’s meetings were closely guarded, and party officials never let her know when they were happening, despite promising to do so over email. She finally found an event being put together by a local state senator. She went and learned that he had been a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democrats who caucused with Republicans. (The IDC was formally dissolved in 2018.) None of it was inspiring.
    By chance, she stumbled upon a different candidate’s campaign event. The young woman’s name was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, running a quixotic bid against Rep. Joe Crowley, the member of Congress presumed to be next in line for speaker of the House after a Democratic takeover. Akhter decided that if she couldn’t join the party, she would beat it. She became one of Ocasio-Cortez’s top volunteers and now, as 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is poised to become the youngest woman elected to Congress, Akhter is her director of organizing.

    Naureen Akhter@NaureenAkhter

    · Mar 10, 2018

    “If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing,” @BarackObama
    Gathering petition signatures for candidate we believe in here in NY-14! @Ocasio2018

    See Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's other Tweets

    Twitter Ads info and privacy

    Organizing Pays Off

    All this ground-up energy ran headfirst into an official Democratic Party structure that was unprepared and, in some cases, unwilling to receive it. The party, run from the top down by leaders in Washington, reviewed its performance, and kept all of the same leadership in place, even giving Rep. Ben Ray Luján a second term as chair of the DCCC.
    Meanwhile, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a conservative Democrat from New York, was tasked with conducting an autopsy of what went wrong for House Democrats. He produced his report in the spring of 2017 and it was immediately buried, yet to be publicly released.
    With a strategy in hand — recruit centrist candidates with an ability to raise money from big donors — national party leaders ignored or rejected advice from anyone whose approach to combating Trump involved embracing a strong progressive alternative, whether it came from Indivisible chapters, Lancaster Stands Up, the local Democratic Party, Swing Left, or DSA.
    Having to battle the official Democratic Party was disorienting, but the Indivisible Guide had prepared millions, and the 50,000 (and growing) card-carrying members of DSA were ready from the jump. Through brute force, they broke through in primaries across the country, winning some outright and pulling candidates their way in others.
    National party leaders ignored or rejected advice from anyone whose approach to combating Trump involved embracing a strong progressive alternative.
    The act of organizing, of fighting for something, became therapeutic. Rather than dissipating, the energy fed itself, making and strengthening connections. There has been a fundamental transformation on the left as millions of people have recognized that organizing and activism are not necessarily a burden, that these acts are not strictly selfless, but can have a rejuvenating effect and help one find meaning in a darkening world. This past weekend, volunteers with Swing Left, which was founded after the 2016 election, contacted some 2 million people through door knocks and phone calls in 84 districts. A spokesperson said that roughly 4 in 10 of the most active volunteers had done zero political organizing before the 2018 election. Of those, three-quarters were women.
    According to nearly every poll, as well as interviews with voters across the country, whatever Trump’s racist diatribes are doing for his supporters — ratcheting their anger up from 11 to 12, perhaps — they are having the opposite effect on college-educated voters in the suburbs and rural areas, particularly women.
    Indivisible chapters that were largely organized by college-educated women now had newly persuadable voters to woo to their side. The conversations taking place on Facebook and during get-togethers have collectively added up to a mass exodus of those women from the GOP. College-educated white women voted comfortably for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, but switched to Clinton by single digits in 2016. In 2018, they are poised to vote Democratic by at least 15 points.
    Supporters of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump watch him speak at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Oct. 30, 2016.
    Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

    Exit polls found that in 2016, Trump won 52 percent of white women’s votes, a figure that has contributed to an intense demonization of white women across the spectrum. But it ignores a critical distinction — religion — and has been used to produce a narrative that is deeply misleading. White evangelicals made up a fifth of voters in 2016, and Trump won a staggering 80 percent of their votes. According to Pew, some three-quarters of evangelicals do not have a college degree, which means that if you are looking at white women who are not evangelical, they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, whether they have college degrees or not. That group of women is poised to break even harder for Democrats in 2018, though the significance of the realignment has been lost on those who lump all white women together and zero in on the 52 percent stat.
    At minimum, this realignment stands to give Democrats control not just of the nation’s growing urban areas, but its tonier suburbs too, leaving Republicans only with rural areas and the exurbs — working-class precincts with long commutes to the city, no organic identity, OK-but-not-great public schools, and growing immigrant populations.
    But even that last redoubt is threatened, as Democratic activists and candidates who refused to take the national party’s advice that rural regions were unwinnable will likely make major gains on Tuesday.
    The DCCC may have buried Maloney’s autopsy, but he previewed some of it for the Washington Post. His analysis, he said, was that Democrats simply couldn’t win in some rural districts, though some suburban ones were becoming pickup opportunities. That latter point was an extension of the 2016 conventional wisdom and has borne out as accurate this cycle. But the former was a flop. The two rural districts he gave as examples were Minnesota’s 2nd and Iowa’s 1st. In both, the DCCC did end up investing resources and wisely so: Democrats are polling far ahead in both once-unwinnable districts.
    Democratic Kansas U.S. congressional candidate James Thompson, left, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congressional candidate from New York, stand together on stage after a rally in Wichita, Kan., on July 20, 2018.
    Photo: Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle via AP

    Thompson, in Kansas’s 4th District, is not favored to win, but his candidacy has had ancillary benefits. A woman who volunteered in his original campaign is making a run for the state House, another is running for county commissioner, and voter registration is surging. Those new people will be a boost to Democrat Laura Kelly, who has a real shot at being elected governor against outgoing Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Democrats are even competitive in the race to replace Kobach, as Google Earth co-founder Brian McClendon runs for secretary of state. He has built a simple voter registration tool designed to expand the franchise, an attempt to undo Kobach’s legacy of voter suppression.
    Thompson’s candidacy has had ancillary benefits.
    Two other House seats, as well as the governor’s mansion, are within Democratic reach in Kansas, and in Oklahoma, Democrats used special elections to flip four state legislative seats in deeply red districts. In the wake of teacher strikes, they’re on the cusp of claiming the governorship.
    In rural Iowa, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, progressive Democrats are making a run in deep-red districts long written off. The entire Rust Belt and Midwest is revolting against Trump, with Democrats threatening to seize every single Iowa House seat, as well as the governorship.
    In Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Ohio, Democrats have a chance to retake the governor’s mansion from Republicans.
    Grassroots Giving

    A defining feature of this burgeoning liberal activism is its approach to fundraising. Rather than courting wealthy donors, as the Democratic Party had long done, the candidates seeking to yank their state governments and Congress from GOP hands homed in on small-dollar donors — people who would contribute less than $200 to a single campaign. Donations in $3, $5, and $27 increments have become hallmarks of progressive campaigns across the country.
    The party at large has embraced this fundraising strategy only through Washington consultants who bombard inboxes with debt-collection-looking emails. But despite largely turning down corporate PAC donations, Democratic House candidates raised a record $250 million in just the third quarter of 2018 alone. Over 60 candidates raised over $1 million for the quarter. When polling showed that white nationalist Rep. Steve King could go down in Iowa’s 4th District, grassroots activists sent former minor-league baseball pitcher J.D. Scholten $641,000 — in two days — even though he is not listed on the DCCC’s Red to Blue list.
    In January, ActBlue, the Boston-based platform that collects and distributes small-dollar donations for Democratic candidates, celebrated hitting the $2 billion mark in total money raised since its founding back in 2004, when Howard Dean’s presidential campaign ushered in the era of small giving.
    At the end of October, it hit the $3 billion mark.
    Republicans have been baffled by this gold rush, intimating that it must be part of a nefarious plot. “Somehow the other side has arranged for people to send money to this group in Massachusetts, to send it all across the country,” said a confounded Pete Olson, a five-term GOP incumbent who’s struggling to hang on to his gerrymandered House seat in a rapidly changing district in the Houston suburbs.
    Olson’s opponent, former foreign service official Sri Preston Kulkarni, is conducting phone banks in at least 13 languages, reaching out to Asian and African communities nestled in the district’s subdivisions. Kulkarni doesn’t have staff airlifted in from Massachusetts for this purpose — his phone bankers are all volunteers who combed through voter lists to categorize residents by ethnic origin and then reached out to them on their own terms, often in their own languages. “We find actual community leaders to be the organizing force for specific communities,” said Ali Hasanali, part of an army of younger organizers who is sharpening this technique in Kulkarni’s campaign. “You can’t have token representation. That never gets you community-based knowledge that someone in the community does.”
    Thara Narasimhan, left, the host of a Hindu radio program in Texas, talks with Democrat for Congress candidate Sri Kulkarni during a fundraiser in Houston on July 29, 2018.
    Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

    What Third Way?

    If you listen to the gaggle of campaign operatives, media planners, strategists, and policy mandarins that holds down the centrist wing of the party, they’ll explain how they dominated the 2018 cycle, channeling anti-Trump energy into moderate, business-friendly candidates who will return Washington to a bipartisan equilibrium. In September, Third Way, the most vocal defender of the political center, released a primary score card, showing that candidates backed by the DCCC and the NewDemPAC, the political arm of the House centrist New Democrat Coalition, won an extraordinary number of races, while left-wing groups like Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, and Our Revolution had a much lower win rate. Jim Kessler, Third Way’s co-founder, has brandished these numbers like a weapon. He boasted “20 million Democrats can’t be wrong,” in a recent email sent to Democratic insiders and forwarded to The Intercept.
    Delving into the numbers shows that those successes are largely exaggerated.
    But delving into the numbers, as the Progressive Change Institute has done, shows that those successes are largely exaggerated. For example, Third Way statistics claim that 32 of the 37 NewDemPAC candidates put on the organization’s watch lists before the primaries won their races. But in eight of those races (AZ-09, KS-02, MN-02, NY-22, PA-06, UT-04, WA-05, and WI-06), the NewDem endorsee had no opponent in the primary. In another 17, the disparity in fundraising between the NewDem candidate and the alternative was so stark — $2.4 million to zero in one case — that they can be said to have been virtually uncontested. So in over three-quarters of the wins, the NewDem candidate had no real competition.
    Using Third Way’s own list, that leaves 12 competitive primaries left to review.
    But the NewDemPAC is also claiming as its own California candidates like Harley Rouda and Katie Hill, both of whom are so strongly in favor of a “Medicare for All” health care system that they have been endorsed by Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All PAC. This does not jibe with the NewDems’s mealy-mouthed call to “promote greater insurance coverage,” and Third Way’s repeated insistence that calling for the policy is a death wish for Democrats.
    In Rouda’s case, he had the backing of local grassroots groups, including the district’s Indivisible chapters, who leaned on the DCCC to back him. Hilariously, NewDemPAC put both Rouda and his primary opponent Hans Keirstead on its watch list, guaranteeing success in that race. Two other races (AZ-02 and NJ-11) did not really feature a progressive alternative to the NewDem candidate.
    That brings the Third Way list down to eight races.
    When you narrow down to those races with an actual ideological battle between credible, well-funded candidates, the NewDemPAC lost five and won only two or three, depending on how you characterize the outcomes. Katie Porter, an Elizabeth Warren-backed foreclosure fraud expert, defeated NewDem-endorsed former Chuck Schumer staffer David Min in CA-45. R.D. Huffstetler, a NewDem endorsee, was so thoroughly beaten in local caucuses by Leslie Cockburn in VA-05 that he dropped out and endorsed her. Josh Butner (CA-50), Jay Hulings (TX-23), and former Rep. Brad Ashford (NE-02) also lost to more progressive opponents. Curiously missing from the NewDem list is the race in New York’s 14th District, where Ocasio-Cortez beat Crowley, the chair of the New Democrat Coalition from 2009 to 2013.
    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrates with supporters, including Naureen Akhter, at a victory party in the Bronx on June 26, 2018.
    Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

    Outside of the strict NewDem frame, progressives beat centrists in a number of important races in which the NewDemPAC didn’t specifically compete. Progressive Jahana Hayes beat Mary Glassman, who had the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the local party machinery, in Connecticut. Jess King in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was on the brink of beating her establishment opponent, Christina Hartman, when Hartman dropped out of the race and moved to a different district. Richard Ojeda’s establishment opponent in West Virginia, the mayor of Huntington, dropped out as Ojeda caught fire. Dana Balter beat the DCCC-backed Juanita Perez Williams in Syracuse. DCCC-backed Colin Allred did indeed win a runoff against progressive Lillian Salerno in Texas, but that was after the party’s original favorite, Hillary Clinton policy adviser Ed Meier, didn’t make it into that runoff.
    Lauren Baer (who out-raised her opponent significantly in FL-18), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (TX-07) managed to be victorious in a straight-up ideological fight — though Pannill Fletcher only won after the DCCC’s preferred candidate failed to make it into the runoff. Even there, NewDemPAC only endorsed Fletcher after the primary(when she obtained the most votes) and before the runoff in Texas with Laura Moser, who in 2017 became a hero of the Trump resistance movement as the creator of Daily Action, a text-messaging tool that channeled progressive anger into a single piece of activism per day. The DCCC smeared Moserwith an opposition research dump before the primary, calling her a “Washington insider” (which is a bit discordant coming from a campaign operation based in Washington). And the centrist wing doesn’t boast about one of its more high-profile wins, when it pushed Donna Shalala through a primary in Miami over progressive opposition. The 77-year-old Clinton administration alum is now on the cusp of losing an extremely winnable race.
    The ultimate problem with Third Way promoting its “win ratio” is the concept itself, which encourages fudging the numbers, but also avoiding competition in races where the outcome was less certain. If the group Justice Democrats was primarily concerned with its winning percentage, it would never have gone all in on a millennial candidate who couldn’t campaign full-time because she was still bartending four days a week.
    Members of National Nurses United and supporters of “Medicare for All” rally in support of a single-payer national health insurance program on Jan. 15, 2017, in New York City.
    Photo: Michael Nigro/Sipa via AP

    Becoming a Party of the People, Funded by the People

    Beyond the divisions at the top of the party, however, activists found that on the ground, people who had supported Hillary Clinton and those who’d backed Bernie Sanders largely wanted the same things: “Medicare for All,” a $15 an hour minimum wage, debt-free (or just free) college, a Green New Deal. Even the candidates presenting as moderate or centrist rallied to many of those causes.
    The fatalism of the early days of the Trump era, coupled with talk of compromising with the president, was elbowed out last summer by the hope that with enough public pressure, the Affordable Care Act could be salvaged.

    Even as liberals suffered blow after blow, their energy remained high because Trump’s assault on the dignity of the public never let up. Each time Trump felt cornered, he found new ways to rally the MAGA crowds. He never let up on his Muslim ban and eventually got a version of it past the Supreme Court. He announced an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that offered legal protections to Dreamers (though that termination has been stalled by the courts). He sparked a crisis on the Mexican border, separating parents from their children, and locking them all up.
    Trump’s relentless demonizing of his perceived enemies fanned hatred, as emboldened white supremacists marched in Charlottesville and elsewhere, and far-right extremists launched and executed domestic terror plots. Just 10 days ago, 11 worshippers were massacred in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
    Right-wing ethno-nationalism with an authoritarian flavor is on the rise across the globe, but an energized left is pushing back, too.
    The danger for the Republicans of embracing the Southern Strategy (of attracting white voters by appealing to racism against African-Americans) was always that it would constrain them to, well, the South. But their exploitation of racial animus has potency across the country, and it arguably brought them to the national dominance they now enjoy. Right-wing ethno-nationalism with an authoritarian flavor is on the rise across the globe, from Russia to India to Brazil. But an energized left is pushing back, too. Earlier this year. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, running on a populist-progressive platform, swept to power in Mexico; socialists took over in Spain; Jeremy Corbyn remains deeply popular in the United Kingdom.
    The 1930s in Europe, and the 2010s in Brazil, showed that center-left movements without a popular base are incapable of meeting the challenge of fascism in times of economic crisis. The Democratic Party in 2017 and 2018 began its transition toward a party of its people, by becoming ever more reliant on grassroots donors and activists. More than 2 million people have gotten involved in Democratic organizing in the past two years.
    On the morning of November 7, win or lose, they’ll wake up again.

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  5. #1055

    Default FBI, Trump, Russians

    Totally shocking to me that so many Americans think it's perfectly normal to investigate people for "crimes" based on political prosecutions. With the recent appointment of Matthew Whitaker, Lawrence O'Donnell threatened (apparently speaking for the National Security State) that Whitaker AND HIS FAMILY would now be investigated.

    CNN is now threatening to file a personal lawsuit for damages against the Presidential Press Secretary and Secret Service Personnel based on the theory that they have the right to disrupt Presidential press conferences if they wish.

    Political trials were an everyday occurence under people like Joseph Stalin. In reading the memoirs of German ambassador to the US under JFK Wilmelm Grewe, the ambassador comments (citing the activities of Joseph McCarthy and Watergate) that people in the US are more than eager to see injustices done to many people for political expediency.

    When did otherwise honest people begin the buy this behavior?

    If you happen to be Christian, you might refer to the 10th Commandment "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor".

    IMHO this is sociopathic behavior of the highest degree, yet otherwise honest Americans are buying it like apple pie and ice cream.


    James Lateer

  6. #1056

    Default The New Civil War Is Coming Thanks To Trump.....

    Republican senator claims ‘the left’ will start a civil war unless federal highway system abolished

    We are ruled by monsters and fools.

    IAN MILLHISER NOV 15, 2018, 4:23 PM
    On Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered a speech to the conservative Federalist Society that would have been more at home on Alex Jones’ radio show than at a gathering of many of the most powerful lawyers and judges in the country.
    In it, Lee warned of a brewing civil war, and claimed that the only way to avert violence would be to eradicate a long list of federal programs including “the interstate highway system,” funding for “K through 12 public education,” “federal higher education accreditation,” “early childhood education, the Department of Commerce,” “housing policy, workforce regulation,” and what Lee labeled the “huge glut of federally owned land.”
    Seriously, this is not hyperbole. A sitting United States senator actually said these things. You can watch the entire speech here.
    Lee, who also believes that federal child labor laws, Social Security, and Medicare are unconstitutional, claimed in his speech that America faces a stark choice — “federalism or violence.”
    According to Lee, when the federal government has the power to do pretty much anything, that thrusts the country into a “fundamentally un-American contest” to “determine which half of our nation will have the power, at least temporarily, to unilaterally impose its will and its values on the other half.”
    Lee, of course, blamed this state of affairs on “the left.”
    “Many on the left don’t seem too concerned,” about a system of government where a political party which wins an election gains the temporary power to govern. Lee claims that the “left” believes that “demographic and historic trends coupled with what many see as the inherent rightness of their leftist cause make their ultimate victory over red America inevitable.”
    And this whole democratic state of affairs, he says, will somehow lead to civil unrest.
    Lee’s vision for the country — a vision where only states and not the federal government are allowed to do any meaningful degree of governing — has been tried before. The United States used to give each state tremendous and largely exclusive authority over its own economic regulations, its own civil rights regime, and its own system of voting rights. That was the system that brought the United States no small amount of violence in the form of slavery and, later, Jim Crow.
    Just as significantly harmful, the absence of nationwide regulation gave us a world where wealthy businesses and individuals could play the various states off of one another in order to dismantle even the most basic protections for workers.
    In 1887, for example, Alabama passed a law limiting child laborers to an eight-hour work day — and this was at a time when Southern cotton mills were filled with workers as young as six. The state repealed this law seven years later after a group of Massachusetts-based mill owners promised to open a factory in Alabama if the state would allow children to work in that mill for as long as the bosses wanted.
    Lee’s long list of activities the federal government must cease appears to be entirely arbitrary (though, in true Republican form, he does claim that the feds should be allowed to enforce immigration laws).
    In the past, Lee has argued that pretty much every federal law that liberals support violates the Constitution. He argued that the federal ban on child labor is unconstitutional because the Constitution was “designed to be a little bit harsh,” for example. But many of the items on Lee’s list of forbidden federal actions cannot even plausibly be labeled unconstitutional.
    Take the interstate highway system. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “lay and collect Taxes” to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States” and to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several States.” Highways are the very channels where commerce among the several states happens. They are the means we use to travel across state lines, and to ship many goods from one state to another.
    There is no theory of the Constitution, or, at least, no theory that pays any heed to the Constitution’s text, which forbids Congress from using tax dollars to build the channels of commerce.
    It’s worth noting, however, that there is a different constitution which does support Lee’s attack on interstate highways. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America gave its congress a much more limited power to build the infrastructure for a robust national economy. Among other things, it explicitly forbade the Confederate government from spending “money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce; except for the purpose of furnishing lights, beacons, and buoys, and other aids to navigation upon the coasts, and the improvement of harbors and the removing of obstructions in river navigation.”
    It is perhaps not outside the realm of possibility that Lee was simply reading the wrong constitution when he wrote his Federalist Society speech.

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  7. #1057


    Whitaker was an illegal appointment and is a spy and goon for Trump and his team to try to stop the Mueller investigation - or any other. Whitaker was part of a company that committed a scam on its customers, had to pay them back and is now being investigated by the FBI. Whitaker is not qualified to be in the current position, nor does he have the requisite Congressional approval. He was put in place to obstruct justice - even if you don't like the Mueller investigation - it needs to play out legally and not politically or by dirty tricks. I also find nothing strange with CNN taking to Court the loss of press credentials for their primary WH correspondent. Most Americans, except the Trump core and Fox News blinded are generally horrified at the un-civil, un-Presidential, angry, combative, evasive and dissembling behavior of Trump at press conferences. I don't think the CNN correspondent did anything unusual - it is Trump that is unusual in his behaviors. There is no meeting of minds in the USA today - just as I'm sure you and I could never agree on Trump or his policies or behaviors. A new civil war is coming. In fact, i think it has begun - by Trump lighting the fuse. I'm no fan of the Democratic Party as a Party [although some good persons are in it and support it], I have no use for the Republicans at all and Trump belongs in prison for so many reasons - not in the White House. On the emoluments clause violations and obstruction of justice alone he should be impeached IMO, one doesn't even need to go with anything related to Russia - part of which I think is real and parts are 'trumped up'. His racist, misogynist an hateful behaviors - his war against regulation and the environment - his tax breaks only for the rich. The man simply has NO good side and multifaceted bad sides.

    Quote Originally Posted by James Lateer View Post
    Totally shocking to me that so many Americans think it's perfectly normal to investigate people for "crimes" based on political prosecutions. With the recent appointment of Matthew Whitaker, Lawrence O'Donnell threatened (apparently speaking for the National Security State) that Whitaker AND HIS FAMILY would now be investigated.

    CNN is now threatening to file a personal lawsuit for damages against the Presidential Press Secretary and Secret Service Personnel based on the theory that they have the right to disrupt Presidential press conferences if they wish.

    Political trials were an everyday occurence under people like Joseph Stalin. In reading the memoirs of German ambassador to the US under JFK Wilmelm Grewe, the ambassador comments (citing the activities of Joseph McCarthy and Watergate) that people in the US are more than eager to see injustices done to many people for political expediency.

    When did otherwise honest people begin the buy this behavior?

    If you happen to be Christian, you might refer to the 10th Commandment "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor".

    IMHO this is sociopathic behavior of the highest degree, yet otherwise honest Americans are buying it like apple pie and ice cream.


    James Lateer
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #1058

    Default FBI, Trump, Russians

    The National Security State was set up by international bankers like Ferdinand Eberstadt along with ex-President Herbert Hoover as a means of disrupting the activities of whichever President was in office.

    Apparently, this National Security State succeeded in murdering JFK, framing Nixon (and Agnew) for bogus crimes, sabotaging Jimmy Carter with the Iran Hostage fiasco, and bypassing Congress (working with the Nicaraguan Contras) to make a joke of US law and triggering the Iran-Contra investigations.

    The National Security State only likes ringers like Gerald Ford and the Bush family. The Bush family (especially GWB) operated as criminals would be expected to operate after being put into office illegally by SCOTUS and the National Security State.

    Then the National Security State set up the 9-11 "controlled demolition" of the World Trade Center killing 3000 which was deja vu all over again for Operation Northwoods (proposed by the killers of JFK to kill Americans in America). And then launched the trillion-dollar Iraq War which left the mid-East in permanent shambles with the resultant Syrian struggle.

    What I don't understand is how many, many very informed people on this site (who presumably understand Deep Politics) can approve of such disorganized chaos?

    Before the National Security State was set up in the late 40's, the US Government was functioning pretty well without it. What kind of people would knowingly endorse this chaotic situation over and above just letting the American people elect their leaders and let their elected leaders function as per the Constitution of 1787?

    I truly believe in running my personal affairs that HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY!!! The functioning of the National Security State is based on deception, illegality and total dishonesty.

    Someone who is informed about the above issues is willingly endorsing a process which is basically the same thing as they have in Russia with the KGB installing their candidate to rule the country, (elections and elected officials be damned).

    Why is a KGB installed Putin better than our traditional elected Presidents? You can't have elections and elected leaders if our citizens try to reverse the election results by recourse to MALICIOUS PROSECUTIONS and framing the elected leaders with phony investigations or murder as was done to JFK, Nixon, Carter and Clinton. And now Trump.

    The prior posting rejects both the Democrat and Republican Parties. But how can anyone endorse the evil and bizarre activities of the National Security State as being preferable to the legitimate political parties? If one pursues that reasoning, then one is saying that the overt criminal acts of the Bush dynasty (where hundreds of thousands have died and many are still dying in Afghanistan) are preferable to the current situation in Washington.

    As bad as Trump seems as an individual, he hasn't actually done anything which even approaches the false flag 9-11 or the Iraq War. If the Mueller chaos were to overthrow the Trump election, then we would be surrendering to the National Security State and that would only produce more Iraq's, Afghanistans, 9-11's, Iran Contra's or maybe even a nuclear war of some kind. The John Boltons and neo-cons would be back in the saddle.

    (And none of the above even includes that added problems if Goldman-Sachs and Wells Fargo go off the reservation and the billionaires like Bezos, Soros, Zuckerberg etc. start running wild).

    Trump might be a ridiculous buffoon, but the alternative is the Cheney-style disastrous criminality that is the special province of the National Security State run amok.

    James Lateer

  9. #1059

    Default FBI, Trump, Russians

    I should also add--many everyday Americans just plain swallow what the media and the National Security State puts out there. They can't be blamed because they are largely uneducated, especially about political and historical theory and the finer points of that.

    But what is the mind-state of very smart people who are fans of the National Security State? Putin is likely a huge fan of the Russian model of government. But who else in Russia would be a fan of that? A few rich oligarchs maybe, but not even MOST oligarchs but rather, a lucky few! Does anybody in Russia sleep all that well at night? I have to doubt that.

    So why are so many well-educated Americans disappearing down this KGB-like rat hole? Where do they think all this would lead? Do you come out of a rat-hole into the beautiful sunshine of a heaven-like America? Not likely.

    Again quoting scripture: "He who sows the wind reaps hurricanes." I don't see how chaos in government ever leads to anything better that WORSE AND WORSE CHAOS. America is not IMHO immune to Stalinist-Hitlerite chaos. Why not emulate Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Australia rather than Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia? We have a choice, after all.

    James Lateer

  10. #1060


    11.14.2018 51 Percent Losers

    The midterms have given the Democratic Party a boost. But their professional-class politics are a cul de sac — we desperately need a political revolution driven by the needs and aspirations of the multiracial working class.

    Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi speak at a news conference at the US Capitol on March 22, 2018 in Washington DC.

    The midterm elections produced a range of results as vast, gorgeous, and idiotic as America itself. A glance at the state ballot measures alone suggests the warring impulses at work in our confused society: Idaho expanded Medicaid, Louisiana repealed its Jim Crow–era jury rules, and Missouri raised the minimum wage, but Washington rejected a carbon tax, Colorado declined to further regulate fracking, and California crushed a rent control law. Florida, meanwhile, voted to enfranchise ex-felons, but hobbled its already dysfunctional government by requiring a legislative supermajority to raise taxes.
    The national political story was no different. Democrats won a narrow majority in the House and a handful of governorships, but Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate. An exciting new crop of left-wing legislators won office, but some of the country’s most dynamic candidates were (probably) defeated by Trumpist lapdogs, industry tools, and neoliberal flunkies. Scott Walker lost, but Ted Cruz won: it was that kind of night.
    The media reaction to this mixed fruit revealed the Janus face of contemporary liberalism. One cluster of pundits arraigned ordinary Americans for failing to “repudiate” Donald Trump with sufficient gusto. “If the midterms were a test of the country’s character,” pronounced Sarah Kendzior, “Americans failed.” Democrats may have scraped back a few seats in Congress, but the nightmare of Trump remains, and with it the frenzy of shame, disgust, and hostility toward popular government that has saturated liberal commentary since November 2016.
    At the same time, a parallel brigade of liberal analysts arrived to claim a triumphant victory for the electoral process. “Make no mistake,” declared the New Yorker, “the midterm elections were a Democratic victory.” By reclaiming some of the Midwestern states Hillary Clinton lost, while also making inroads into the New South, Democrats showed they could be trusted to build an effective resistance to Trump’s “populist” demagoguery. Taking back the House, said Nancy Pelosi on election night, meant “restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.”
    Together, these reactions amount to a peculiar style of discourse you might call apocalyptic institutionalism. The chilling march of fascism, from this angle, may only be halted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the US counterintelligence apparatus, and, perhaps, a thunderous condemnation of nonvoters on social media. The Sunday before the election, on a handsome brownstone block in Brooklyn, I watched an adult man scurry up and down the street, urging New York City Marathon runners to rescue the republic by casting a ballot for Andrew Cuomo.
    But when it comes to understanding the election, both faces of liberal punditry are wrong: in the language of this increasingly evangelical liberalism, the midterms were neither a confirmation of the apocalypse nor a sign of our coming Democratic salvation.
    Elite hysteria about the depravity of the American people makes even less sense in 2018 than it did in 2016. This election was, absolutely, a mass repudiation of Trump and his foul agenda. Republicans lost the popular contest for Congress by millions of votes and over seven percentage points. The true power behind Trump’s throne, we should know by now, is not an irresistible army of zombie racists in the heartland, but the historical structures and top-down tactics that sustain Republican minority rule.
    Yet neither did last Tuesday’s results mark the way toward anything like a constructive political realignment. In numerical terms, national Democratic gains were utterly, predictably normal: in midterm elections since the New Deal, the president’s party loses on average about thirty seats in Congress, four seats in the Senate, and 350 seatsin statehouses. The Democrats, it turns out, are almost as average as it gets.
    This was not a blue wave, but a deepening of the familiar twenty-first century partisan trench. The metaphors for today’s Democratic Party should not be liquid or mobile, since its dominant impulse remains both concrete and conservative: protecting American institutions, restoring “balance” to government, and defending the Barack Obama–era status quo against the invading armies of the Right.
    Freed from the burden of Hillary Clinton at the top of the ballot, and boosted by the midterm cycle, Democrats did make raw gains in nearly every part of the country. But the congressional districts where they concentrated their resources and won decisive victories — from New Jersey to Minnesota to Texas — were almost exclusively the same affluent, educated suburbs that Clinton sought to woo in 2016.
    In this sense, the midterms represented a victorious Democratic effort to capture Fortress Fairfax County. This strategy, as its fans and critics alike have long understood, can produce a limited kind of electoral success. With unwonted generosity, we might even grant that it made tactical sense in the very specific circumstances of the 2018 midterms.
    The defeat of Republican reaction, red in tooth and claw, is worth celebrating. Yet on its own terms, the Democrats’ return to government offers little to cheer about. The only Americans who adore “checks and balances” more than liberal pundits are the owners of capital. The day after the election, the Dow Jones rose 550 points, the strongest post-midterm stock rally in thirty years. A divided Congress, declared JP Morgan’s Marko Kolanvoic, speaking for the investor class as a whole, “is the best outcome for US and global equity markets.”
    On Wall Street, healthcare stocks led the way, with UnitedHealth and Anthem, Inc. both spiking to record highs last week. When Michigan governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer attracted criticism for putting a Blue Cross Blue Shield executive on her transition team, she only made literal what Wall Street already understood: a resurgent Democratic Party, in its current formation, only strengthens the stability of the for-profit health insurance system.
    And in the long run, the Democrats’ 51 percent solution, depending crucially on the votes of wealthy suburbanites, is a formula for disaster. It cannot repair our broken politics, much less transform our savagely unequal society. In fact, even in its short-term triumphs, it obscures (when it does not outright scorn) the one mode of struggle that can break the cycle: a political revolution driven by the needs and aspirations of the broader working class.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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