Author: jellee (Page 2 of 8)

Trump’s Benghazi

-October 22, 2017

On October 4th, 2017, four Americans, including two Green Berets, along with two Nigerian soldiers, were killed in an ambush in Niger. The story of what happened has developed in the weeks since, and we’re sure to learn more in the future.

First, I’d like to review Benghazi. There is the story of what actually happened and then there is the political game of chess that happens afterward. What happened is that four Americans died partially due to being outmanned and outgunned in a raid with backup too far to away help in time. What happened next is that Republicans stood in line to go before cameras and microphones to yell and scream about how Obama, Susan Rice, Hillary and whoever else was to blame. They held hearing after hearing and investigation after investigation and it was confirmed that there was no stand-down call and different agencies had competing talking points out of self-interest in the aftermath. No matter, Republicans from Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones all rallied behind #Benghazi! and twisted it into something that it was not. Because Republicans play hardball.

Here’s what we know so far about the tragic deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Sgt. La David Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright :

There were roughly 50 lightly armed American and Nigerien service members on patrol in jeeps when they identified and possibly pursued some number of enemy “insurgents” on motorcycles before said insurgents later returned and ambushed.

Air support was provided by the French who did not have authority to fire, so the fight on the ground which killed three Americans and two Nigeriens continued until helicopters controlled by private contractors finally arrived. The patrols were flown from the area by the private contractors but no headcount was done and Sgt. La David Johnson was left behind.

His body was recovered 48 hours later. It was so mutilated that his funeral was closed-casket.

When the casket arrived Trump was golfing. When the press asked if he’d yet spoken to the family he lied and accused previous presidents of not consoling Gold Star families. When Trump was finally pressured by the press into calling the window and family of Sgt. Johnson they were left feeling disrespected. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who had mentored La David Johnson since elementary school, was in the car with the family when the call was on speakerphone. The Trump White House bragged to the press that he had finally made the call so they asked the Wilson about it and she relayed the feelings of the family and later added that the widow was left crying in the fetal position as result of the president and his behavior on the call.

Trump of course lashed out at the Wilson and dragged Chief of Staff General John Kelly, himself a Gold Star father, into the fray. Kelly proceeded to repeatedly diminish Congresswoman Wilson as an “empty barrel” while completely fabricating statements that she had supposedly made in a speech in 2015 at the opening of a building she was instrumental in having named after two slain FBI agents.

Video of Wilson’s speech emerged which proved Kelly had lied and when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was pressed about General Kelley’s comments she asserted that is was “highly inappropriate” to question a general. (Before, of course, Trump tweets doing just that in the past were found.)

On top of all of the shenanigans of the Trump White House we’ve learned that the FBI, our domestic law enforcement agency, is assisting in the military’s investigation into the ambush and subsequent deaths in Niger. Why are we using French air support if they can’t fire? Why are we using private contractors at all? How is it that Sgt. Johnson was left behind? What in the world are we doing in Niger in the first place? (And why is Rachel Maddow seriously trying to blame Trump’s unconsitutional Muslim travel ban?)

Senator John McCain has called for congressional investigations with subpoena authority to get to the bottom of what lead to the deaths of four American (and two Nigerien) service members.

Where are the Democrats?

Corporate Media Utterly Fails Russia Story

This “Russia hacked the election” story is being misreported by the corporate media.

First, while Putin is a bad guy who kills journalists and political opponents, Russia isn’t communist anymore, they’re crony capitalists like us – and since they have a ton of nukes, it’s best to have a working relationship with them.

Second, it was just in 2012 when Obama (corporate democrat) told Romney to call the 1980’s for their foreign policy back when he asserted in a presidential debate that Russia was our main geopolitical foe. Yet, now corporate Democrats are the leading Red Scare McCarthy-ites?

Besides, it’s beyond hypocritical for the US to feign outrage considering the number of assassinations and coups and propping up of puppet dictators we’ve carried out across the globe. We even bragged about influencing the Russian election of Boris Yelstin, twice!

Of course, since we don’t want our elections to be tampered with, we should enact aggressive elections reform beginning with replacing our easily hackable voting machines to restore the confidence in our elections outcomes. Along with eliminating gerrymandering, super delegates, electoral college, and myriad things which have nothing at all to do with Russia.

Additionally, no one is claiming that “Russia” hacked machines and switched votes.

Instead, we are told that in a multi-billion dollar election, a hundred thousand and fifty dollars in Russian troll farms and facebook ads swayed the election. Or that since Trump has loans with Russian banks, or because Putin might know things about his sexual proclivities, Trump is therefore “colluding with Russia” and that’s why we shouldn’t care what was in those emails or change anything about the corporate Democrats who lost to Trump.


About the DNC and Podesta leaks: the result was that we learned the dirty truth about some of our elites – and they didn’t want to talk about the substance so instead they whined about the source and manner.

John Podesta left his phone in a cab for over 24 hours before falling for a phishing scheme and giving up his password like a moron (not really a hack).

As far as the DNC, they too were not so much hacked as lifted since the files were transferred at too fast a rate to have happened over the internet. Oh, and the DNC refused to hand over their servers to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. They instead used a private security firm, Crowdstrike, who stand to profit by gaining more government contracts funded by sowing Red Scare fever.

Crowdstrike claimed that Russia was behind the hacks – eerily labelled Grizzly Steppe by US intelligence – since the Russian military used the same malware to target Ukrainian Howlitzers. That story was completely fabricated, however, as the number of disabled tanks did not come from the Ukrainian government and the malware doesn’t feature GPS. And while the particular malware Crowdstrike claims was used in Grizzly Steppe has been used by Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, it’s known malware so they aren’t the only ones capable of using it, and there has been no credible evidence reported that they, or Guccifer 2.0, are Russian government intelligence.

No matter, corporate media have played fast and loose with this whole Russia thing and simply parroted whatever claims have been made by the Deep State and establishment Democrats along the way: There was a fake news story about Russia hacking Vermont’s power grids. In fact, a single laptop unconnected to the grid was infected with malware. There was a fake news story about Trump having a direct servser with a Russian bank when it was simply generic marketing emails.

It was widely reported that 17 intelligence agencies (including the Coast Guard) agreed that Russia had meddled in the election. Actually, that claim was made by the NSA and the Director of National Intelligence. There were reports that 21 state elections systems had been hacked by Russia when they had actually been illegally scanned by the NSA.

Most of the corporate media Russia narrative has been nonsense.

Do I believe that the Kremlin preferred Donald Trump and that they want to sow chaos here? Of course. Did Trump go to Russians for opposition research? Sure. Did he promise to ease oil sanctions or repeal the Magnitsky Act? I wouldn’t be surprised and I hope Mueller gets to the bottom of it.

But when a fight is rigged it’s the loser who gets the payoff. And there is probably a good reason Obama didn’t look into it and said we should just move forward.

It was Hillary Clinton who was part of the decision during the Obama administration to sell 20% of US uranium to Russia while her husband took the largest speaking fee of his life ($500k) and the Clinton Foundation took $150m from Russian financiers.

When this nugget was poll tested by the Clinton campaign they found it hurt them more than any other fact (20% were less likely to vote for her). In order to muddy the waters on the whole Russia topic – as politicians do – the Clinton campaign began pushing Trump/Russia.

Republican primary candidates had been paying former British spy to compile opposition research on Trump which became known as the Steele Dossier. Christopher Steele was an M.I.6 agent for the Moscow desk and he describes the sources for his research as Russian intelligence and Foreign Ministry aka “the Russians.” Once the Republican primary was concluded, the Clinton campaign, via Fusion GPS, began funding Steele aka colluding with the Russian government for opposition research like they claimed Trump had done all along.

In the days following their loss to the monster who is Donald Trump, leaked emails show that John Podesta and Robby Mook decided to push the Trump/Russia narrative as the main reason – plus James Comey and, of course, those pesky progressives – that establishment Democrats are not to blame for their bungling.

Obviously James Comey doesn’t drive ratings; and because of who owns them corporate media doesn’t want to talk about the robust internal policy debate regarding the future of the Democratic Party: whether they should fight for things like single-payer, free college, ending drug wars and mass incarceration, Wall Street reform, taking corporate cash, and public financing of elections.

So, instead, MSNBC spends 80% of the time feeding into xenophobic Red Scare nonsense that only drives us closer to World War III, mutually assured destruction, and nuclear holocaust.

First, They Came for the Nazis…

August 19, 2017

Race is not biological, it’s a social construct – but that doesn’t stop racists from trying to oppress. Amerikkka has been quite persistent in its ways – and we probably fooled ourselves in thinking we’d made more progress than we had – but it seems as though its regressed over the past few years, and that ugly backtracking has only accelerated in the past months and weeks.
I could go on and on about the causes: Chambers of commerce set about attaining the Supreme Court, did, ruled that corporations are people and political bribery equals free speech. Once Democrats determined to take the corporate cash they had to agree with Republicans and their mutual sponsors on economic policy, tax policy, foreign policy, criminal justice, and so on. The Democrat raison d’etre became controlled opposition to the left, and since neither major political party any longer represented the working poor the result has been 40 years of wage stagnation as the wealthy have only gotten wealthier and social mobility has ground to a halt.
We’ve slowly come to realize it – or at least feel it. We’ve grown more & more frustrated with our economic circumstances and since we make slave wages and have families to take care of we don’t have time to keep up with all this shit. As such, a lot of people are brainwashed into blaming other poor people who they’ve been convinced to hate largely via an unholy triumvirate of predatory capitalism, Christianity, and white supremacy. And fewer and fewer vote since they correctly feel that both political parties are the same and my vote doesn’t really matter or count anyways…
So, a bigoted charlatan comes along and rides a wave of ignorance and frustration into the White House with just 20% of the country casting a ballot in his favor (less than 30% of eligible voters). As corrupt politicians mount sporadic resistance to his ugly agenda, he sets about ordering immigration raids, ramping up the drug war, implementing travel bans…
Real people are being irreparably harmed and – while 45 may or may not have committed impeachable offenses – all we’ve heard about from the corporate media & politicians of the McResistance whose only aim is to protect and restore the status quo is: Russia, Russia, Russia!
Meanwhile, some good people have set about removing symbols of the seemingly latent racism now running so openly rampant. And a few pricks waving the flags of traitors gather by the handful to spout nonsense. Then, some internet rando convinces pricks by the thousand to gather – some with those same participation-trophy traitor flags; some with cosplay fatigues; and some with nazi regalia, salutes, and chants (all with tiny penises). Inevitably, someone gets killed. Dozens injured. And the cheeto fascist plays patti-cake with this pathetic cast of characters of white supremacy.
On one hand: this racism shit is nothing new. On the other: we have a white supremacist in the White House who’s made it socially acceptable to be a bigot again, and an army of rubes egged-on by a toxic propaganda silo led by white trash like Steve Bannon who want nothing more than to turn the clock back to Jim Crow and worse.
Then we have antifa. I hate what those pricks do after practically every peaceful protest when they show up and start shit that makes everyone look bad in the news. And who knows if those specific pricks are even real antifa or government infiltrators like we’ve seen used for decades. Either way, when fascists arrive antifa are there to meet them.
The question is whether to ignore neo-nazis, neo-confederates, and white supremacists and hope they eventually wither away because their ideas can’t win in the court of public opinion; or stand in opposition when they rear their ugly heads – especially when the dear leader of their ugly ideology and his political party currently control the entirety of the federal government, plus roughly 70% of the states – and the political opposition to all that entails is feeble and with little sign of growth.
The answer to me, I think, is that there are vital roles both for people like MLK & Malcolm X…

Democrats Must Stop Trying to Hurriedly Impeach Trump

-June 11, 2017

Donald Trump is a corrupt incompetent, and by all rights is not fit to serve a full term in elected office. But Democrats need to stop trying to accelerate his impeachment. Investigations will take place, which could easily result in high crimes and misdemeanors. But impeachment is a political process, not a legal one, and Democrats cannot afford to lose even more credibility by calling for Trump’s impeachment simply for being a big meanie they dislike. Besides, Republicans control congress, so only they can impeach Trump at this point, Democrats cannot. Trump is a distraction from the terrible things conservatives want to do such as destroying the planet and lavishing the wealthy with every conceivable dollar. The only way Republicans impeach Trump is if he becomes so toxic that he drags the rank and file GOP down so far that their reelection in 2018 is thrown into question. 45 dragging the GOP brand through the mud is exactly what Democrats need to have happen if they wish to regain the majority in the House or Senate. Hopefully Republicans are too stupid to impeach Trump before 2018 out of fear of backlash from their base, and since people hate congress and not necessarily their own congressperson. Trump is great for fundraising. Trump awoke people who never cared about politics, and we don’t want them going back to sleep. And lastly, Trump is a fascist, but an incompetent one. Why would we want a competent mad man in Pence, who would actually be effectual in organizing Republicans and putting into place their horrible agenda?

Trump Lying About Syria; Corporate Media Complicit

-April 10, 2017

The American public is being lied to about Syria. Donald Trump is certainly lying, and corporate media are in cahoots. Here is what we know so far:

A civilian uprising in Syria amidst the Arab Spring was co-opted by al-Qaeda, Daesh (ISIS), and other unsavory fellows. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded in kind with a vicious campaign and the cumulative effect has meant the death & displacement of millions of innocent Syrians. Due to the high body count (and Assad’s refusal to allow the Qatar-Turkey pipeline to traverse Syria) it was determined by the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey et al that Assad must go. Barack Obama announced a chemical weapons red line in 2012, and, in 2013, a sarin gas attack in Gouta, Syria killed 1400. Assad was roundly blamed, and though folks like John McCain and Hillary Clinton called for a ground troops-necessitating no-fly zone, Obama did nothing when congress refused to back him, much to the chagrin of neo-cons wanting invasion and regime change. Instead, Assad agreed to hand over his chemical weapons stockpile to Russia. As it turned out, Assad was not behind the attack as the Obama administration had claimed; Daesh was behind the attacks, wanting to draw in the US, with the sarin gas coming from Turkey, who wants that pipeline approved. Insert President Trump, who had criticized Obama’s inaction in Syria, yet recently took the position that the ouster of Assad was no longer a priority. Assad was winning the civil war with the help of Russia, had upcoming talks in Brussels, and had just gotten the US off his tail. Suddenly, another chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria killed scores. Trump claims that he saw a video of beautiful dying babies which prompted him to launch a 59 Tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian airbase which killed seven as “punishment”.

That’s a bunch of nonsense. First of all, I don’t believe Trump one bit. Babies? Trump doesn’t give a damn about collateral damage babies. He’s more than willing to murder babies in US-led airstrikes and raids. He’s more than happy to ban baby Syrian refugees – arguing that age is irrelevant. He even promised to purposely kill innocent family members of suspected terrorists. The idea that Trump cares the least about beautiful collateral damage babies is about as believable as his record inauguration crowd size.

Second, Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of people, so chemical weapons being the manner of death is practically irrelevant. But since it is relevant for so many, it makes no sense that Assad would perpetrate a chemical weapons attack at this time, knowing that Trump would be compelled to act, especially given his past critiques of Obama. Besides, we’ve blamed Assad in the past and been proven to be wrong. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – among others – has been far less than certain and has called for an investigation into the perpetrators. Then there’s the matter of Assad no longer being in possession of chemical weapons, which Susan Rice declared only two months prior (though jihadist group al-Nusra do have them, and happen to control the area).

No matter, corporate US media en masse were manipulated within 24 hours by Trump into determining that Assad was behind the attacks without evidence. Worse, the moment Trump shed blood overseas – overcome with the aroma of war – they collectively fell helplessly into his arms: Brian Williams waxed poetic and Fareed Zakaria announced that Donald Trump was now “everyone’s president.”

Even Democrats backed Trump. Hillary Clinton, mere hours before Trump’s Tomahawk missile punishment was meted out, backed the plan; Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi concurred.

War propaganda is seductive. It riles jingoistic tendencies which are politically and electorally beneficial. And given the presence of legal political bribery, defense contractors have greased practically every member of congress (along with strategically placing bases/forts and defense-related manufacturing facilities in practically every congressional district). War is good for ratings, so the media love it. As do some of their primary ad buyers: Big Oil, and adjacent automobile manufacturers.

They are in all collusion to lie us into war whenever possible. They are good at their jobs, and most of us are too busy raising our families and being work martyrs to research what the truth really is. In fact, leading up to the Iraq invasion, though there were humongous protests in the streets, the vast majority of the American public was behind it – having been misled by our lying government and lapdog media.

Now, our lying government and corporate, lapdog media tell us that despite having no chemical weapons, despite it making no strategic sense, and despite being proven wrong on these very accusations in the past, that Assad was behind another chemical weapons attack – and 51% of Americans agree with Trump’s Tomahawk missile punishment.

To what end? Even if Assad was behind the latest chemical weapons attack (which we’ve seen no evidence) should the US commit to regime change in Syria? We’ve gone that route numerous times in the past to disastrous effect (see: Libya & Iraq – which produced Daesh). The moderates in Syria have been wiped out or fled. The power vacuum would be filled by Assad’s successor, who would either be backed by the Muslim Brotherhood or Wahabbi extremists – neither would likely wind up being preferable to secular, Western-educated (though brutal) Assad. Of course, it’s not the role of the US to hand pick leaders for other countries based upon how good they might be for domestic interests (quaint thought, I know).

And importantly, Syria is not Iraq. While Syria would also require a long-term commitment aka invasion; Russia wasn’t in Iraq. Putin is backing Assad, says Assad wasn’t behind the chemical attack, and Russian troops are installed in Syrian military bases.

Told of this Russian presence, Trump warned Putin prior to our Tomahawk missile attack. In fact, Rex Tillerson said that we coordinated with Assad for the attack on his own airbase. Tellingly, the runway was operational the following day.

An actual attack on Assad, let alone attempting to topple him, would inevitably mean killing many Russian soldiers. Killing Russian soldiers could easily mean World War Three. With Commander in Drumpf. Which is terrifying, and should be well thought through by the American public.

But this was coordinated with Assad. So this wasn’t at all an attack on Assad; but a distraction. Trump called his shot in 2012, when he tweeted his prediction that Obama would perpetrate a false flag operation (possibly in Syria, he specifically predicted) due to supposedly flagging polls numbers.

So here we stand, with the Cheeto Fascist’s approval ratings in the dirt, and losing his Russia investigation cover-man Devin Nunes (following Jeff Sessions’ Russia recusal); meanwhile he and Mitch McConnell complete a judicial coup in the lifetime appointment of 49 year old maniac Neil Gorsuch by blowing up hundreds of years of senate precedent and using the nuclear option to force through a nominee after blocking Obama’s nominee for a goddamn year. Rather than wallow in the depths of unpopularity, Trump wrapped himself in the flag and murdered some brown folk, bringing a boot-licking media to its knees.

Botched Yemen Raid Highlights Trump Incompetence

-March 4, 2017

The level of President Donald Trump’s absolute incompetence is further compounded with each and every detail which has emerged from his actions before, during, and following his initial, botched raid in Yemen, which resulted in the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

Every aspect of this story reeks of sheer ineptitude. According to aides, The Donald is not fond of intelligence briefings. Or of reading in general. He wants pictures and bullet points; but prefers to simply binge watch Fox News instead. As such, he was briefed on the proposed Yemen raid by Defense Secretary General Mattis over dinner, and approved of the mission when told that Obama declined out of caution due to a lack of intelligence.

Obama’s caution was just. Given said lack of intelligence, the raid was a failure from the jump. There were far more inhabitants at the site than previously known. As such, in addition to Owens, six other service members were injured, and a $70m helicopter destroyed and abandoned. Worse, dozens of innocent civilians were also killed, nine of which were children, including an eight year old girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, who happened to be a US citizen, and whose 16 year old brother, Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki, had been coincidently killed six years earlier in a drone strike approved by Obama (in addition to their father, Anwar).

Trump didn’t care enough to even be in the Situation Room during the raid. Rather, he tweeted about his coming appearance on the Christian Broadcast Network, which was soon deleted. As result of the failed mission, the Yemeni government informed the US that we are no longer allowed to carry out such raids without prior approval – an embarrassing slap in the face to Trump. It would not be the first embarrassment. The target of the raid, Qassim al-Rimi, took to the internet to brag how he had shit on Trump.

The Trump administration has floundered and flailed about in the aftermath. They’ve tried blaming the failed mission on everyone from Obama to the military. They’ve tried claiming that the failed mission was a resounding success, insisting that the target of the mission was not really al-Rimi, but that it was actually an intelligence raid which will supposedly prevent many, many deaths in the future. They tried using the body of Owens as a shield, charging anyone criticizing the failed mission with dishonoring his death. Owens’ father, a veteran himself, refused to meet with Trump at the casket arrival. As such, Trump brought Owens wife to his first congressional address, forcing the new widow into an awkward and uncomfortable four minutes of choreographed Donald-smiling and Ivanka-touching.

To recap: Trump approved a mission that was lacking in intelligence over dinner because he wanted to one-up Obama, yet was still more interested in twitter. A Navy SEAL was killed, a $70m chopper destroyed, dozens of civilians killed, including an eight year old girl. The target of the mission escaped and laughed at us. Yemen had to step in and intervene. Trump blamed everyone else for his failure; then used the SEAL’s dead body, and his widow, as a shield from not only investigation, but from mere criticism.

And rather than take a moment to learn from his mistakes, Trump announced that he was giving authority to his generals to carry out such raids in the future – that way he can take credit for successful missions, and simply blame the generals for any and all failures.

Obama and the Clintons Ruined the Democrat Party

The American public is decidedly left of center according to public polling across myriad topics. In spite of this, the United States is an incredibly right-wing country – which is directly due to the shoddiness of the Democratic Party and, specifically, the Clintons and Barack Obama.

The majority of people in the United States want gun safety measures. We want marijuana legalization and an end to the War on Drugs. We want immigration reform including a path toward citizenship for the undocumented. We believe in marriage equality. We support a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. We want universal, single-payer healthcare. We want tuition-free college. We want the wealthy to pay more in taxes. And we want to remove the stumbling block to each and every one those issues: the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Unfortunately, since the first-to-the-goalpost Electoral College system was established in 1787, we’ve maintained a binary, two-party system. Alternatives exist – from a popular vote to proportional representation and ranked-choice voting – which should be enacted.  Under the current system, parties have lived and died and been replaced over time – but only two major parties at a time. And the fact that neither the Democratic nor Republican Party have shown themselves to represent the will and best interests of the people is what lead to the election of President Donald Trump.

Now, the majority of the country opposed civil rights in the 1960’s, so majority rule is not always best. But this is a democratic republic after all, so we elect representatives to vote on our behalf. However, regardless of party, politicians act in direct opposition to the majority practically across the board.

In fact, a Harvard study looking back to the 1970’s shows that the will of the American public has essentially zero effect on public policy. The study looked only at polling in which respondents were required to disclose their incomes. What it found is that public policy is tied directly to the opinions of the wealthy, and only when the wealthy happen to agree with the majority is the will of the majority reflected in public policy.

There are myriad reasons for this, primarily a string of disastrous Supreme Court decisions – including the infamous Citizens United – which have essentially legalized political bribery. This can be fixed, too: with a 28th Amendment to get money out of politics. We must have public financing of elections so that politicians represent their constituents rather than the financiers of a privatized elections system.

Until then, in this, corrupt system, we have the Democrats and Republicans. The current parties sorted themselves out in the wake of the Civil Rights era, when President Lyndon B. Johnson famously and correctly predicted that, due to his signing of the Civil rights Act, Democrats would lose the South for 50 years.

Richard Nixon accelerated the shift with his racist Southern Strategy, which the past two Republican Party chairmen have apologized for. But it worked. Republicans took the South and Nixon won twice. Ronald Wilson Reagan married the religious right with the Republican Party and defeated the Democrats twice as well. George McGovern and Jimmy Carter were cast as the villains. Democrats were cast as the party of welfare queens, pinko commies, and stoner pacifists.

They were lost. They freaked out. And, unforgivably, they sold out.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore took the money, sold the soul of the Democratic Party,  and sold out the country when they teamed up with the Koch Brothers on the Democratic Leadership Council.

These corporate, neoliberal Democrats veered right in every conceivable  manner in an effort to appear moderate which forced Republicans ever further right in order to maintain contrast.

Bill Clinton left the presidential campaign trail to witness the execution of a black man and Hillary Clinton fear-mongered young, black “super-predators”. Bill Clinton signed the despicable Crime Bill  – he exploded the prison population with Three Strikes, mandatory minimums, crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparities, and increases in the numbers of both cops and prisons. Bill Clinton screwed over poor folks when he gutted welfare. Bill Clinton signed the homophobic Defense of Marriage Act and instituted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military. Bill Clinton bombed a medicine factory in Sudan.

Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, which enriched multinational corporations and their wealthy shareholders by shipping good paying American jobs to Mexican workers who could be paid lower wages. Bill Clinton deregulated the media with the Telecommunications Act which resulted in the consolidation of 50 major media companies into six. Bill Clinton deregulated the banks which unleashed the housing bubble and caused the financial crisis (which Bush exacerbated with tax cuts for the wealthy and war spending).

The people of the country saw what the Clintons had done and the party was a shambles. They lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in generations and got impeached over a blowjob. They lost twice to a doofus war criminal who bungled Katrina and destroyed the economy.

Then, along came an attractive and charismatic gentleman who won twice on the promise of changing a broken system in D.C. – despite being black and named Hussein in a country that would soon elect Donald Trump.

What lead to Trump? Barack Obama.

Obama bailed out Wall Street with tax payer money (and Bush’s help), gave them near-zero interest rates on billions of dollars for years-on-end with quantative easing, and failed to prosecute a single bankster for their reckless and damaging crimes. Obama made permanent 90% of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Obama promised a public option but made sure , while enjoying full congressional control, that we got the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s healthcare plan, which has zero cost controls and left 30 million without coverage.

Obama implemented no gun safety reform whatsoever. Obama did nothing to curtail the War on Drugs or mass incarceration. Obama did nothing about money in politics and instead took fundraising to new levels. Obama did nothing on immigration reform and instead earned the moniker Deporter-in-Chief.

Obama reneged on his promise to put on a soft shoe for unions and instead abandoned the teachers in Wisconsin. Obama used the Department of Homeland Security to quash Occupy Wall Street. Obama “let things play out” with the Dakota Access Pipeline while oil cops brutalized First Nation water protectors in North Dakota. Obama barely even mentioned police brutality or Black Lives Matter.

Obama created economic terrorism and neutered FBI investigations into right wing domestic terrorists. Obama repealed Habeas Corpus so that American citizens needn’t be charged with a crime in order to be imprisoned.

Obama expanded and codified into law the surveillance state. Obama accelerated the drone wars and codified legal rational for the assassination of American citizens. Obama failed to prosecute any of the war criminals or torturers and failed to close Guantanamo.

Obama turned two foreign wars into seven and ran out of bombs in Syria. Obama approved off-shore drilling and ended the push for energy independence. Obama let Keystone XL stay alive. Obama let Trump decide net neutrality. Obama even handed over his Supreme Court nomination without so much as a damned whimper.

Obama was so awful that Democrats lost 1000 elected seats nationwide during his administration. Rather than embracing the populism that had risen in the wake of the Great Recession, Obama and the DNC inserted their hand-picked, corporatist establishmentarian candidate in Hillary Clinton – a candidate so off-putting that the country elected a thin-skinned and predatory, fascistic moron over whatever it is that Democrats pretend to be selling.

Yet and still, they’ve learned nothing.

They still have Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as their congressional leaders simply because they accumulate the most legalized bribery from Silicon Valley and Wall Street, respectfully. The party is still functionally run by the consultant class whose jobs depend on maintaining the status quo.

Rather than embrace the most popular politician in the country, Bernie Sanders (who they cheated in the primary, by the way), they went against his endorsed DNC Chair candidate, Keith Ellison, and instead went with Obama lacky, Tom Perez.

The DNC, under Perez, immediately voted to reinstate the policy of taking corporate cash directly. They kicked anyone who endorsed Bernie Sanders or Keith Ellison off of the rules committee. They refuse to reform the superdelegate system or to disclose their budget to even board members.

And after being charged with rigging the primary election in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders, they argued that they can pick their presidential candidate in the proverbial smoke-filled room if they so choose.

They are sick, and they have no interest in getting better.

Trump’s Muslim Ban Unconstitutional, Irrational, Counter-Productive

Dear America,

Since half of this country seems to be confused, allow me to explain a few things about this Muslim travel ban.

Yes, it’s a ban. Trump promised a Muslim ban repeatedly as a candidate, yet now that he’s doing it, you want us to not believe our lying eyes. (I thought y’all were the straight-talkers who weren’t worried about being “politically correct”) Trump isn’t even bright enough to keep up the charade, as he calls it a ban everyday on twitter. Spicer has called it a ban numerous times. Giuliani bragged on Faux News that Trump went to him for the framework of a Muslim travel ban. Trump assured the Christian Broadcasting Network that his Executive Order includes a special carve-out for religious minorities (Christians & Jews) coming from the seven applicable countries.

It doesn’t apply to India or Indonesia – counties with the largest Muslim populations. It doesn’t apply to Saudi Arabia – where people are beheaded every Friday as a matter of course, and where the vast majority of 9/11 hijackers, cited in Trump’s EO, came from.

Instead, it applies to poor Muslims countries where there aren’t any Trump Hotels, but plenty of “Made in America” bombs being dropped on the heads of innocent civilians.

This ban has nothing to do with terrorism. It is about fear-mongering, xenophobia, and nativism. Immigrants and refugees are not a threat to us. Trump doesn’t even know the difference – he keeps calling the Syrian refugees in Australia “undocumented immigrants” because he is in intellectually incurious imbecile. He often says that we let people that we don’t know come here without paperwork. In fact, we have the most stringent refugee process in the entire world – taking upward of 18-24 months. And natural-born citizens are far more likely to commit crime than those who come here. Probably because they are people who had the courage, gumption, and wherewithal to make it here in one piece. Their economic and cultural contributions are immeasurable.

If we were truly concerned about terrorism we would be scrutinizing white Christian males, not immigrants and refugees. Trump simply wants to equate terrorism with Islam. He is doing ISIS’ job of characterizing this as a religious war between Christianity and Islam. Trump is forcing Muslims across the world to choose between their cultural identity and ours. We cannot win that battle with bans and bombs, but with blue jeans and hip-hop. They don’t need our form of government forced upon them if they don’t want it. They don’t need to hand over their natural resources at whatever price we demand. They need education. They need jobs. They need investments in infrastructure. They are aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters who have the same wants and needs as everyone else in the world. Instead, we invade their countries, kill innocent civilians who we refer to as collateral damage, lock them away and torture them without charge for decades, and claim that they hate us simply because they hate us.

The Extra Rights of Men in the American Patriarchy

Donald Trump had a pitifully small crowd at his inauguration, which was dwarfed by Women’s March protests the following day, not only in D.C., but in cities around the country and world. Irked at the global show of defiance to their Dear Leader, Trumpistas have taken to social media with memes of befuddlement about with what these tens of millions of women could possibly be upset. Well, it was overall an anti-Trump movement, but, being a Women’s March, there were protesters and marchers with myriad focuses. Some were there for reproductive rights, some for gender equality, for lgbtq rights,  immigrant rights, religious freedom, economic justice,  climate change, education…

Skeptical memes have boiled down to two things: get over it, and what rights do men have that women do not? As for the request to lie down and allow Emperor Trump to run amok: denied. As for the question of women’s rights:

Free the nipple. Now, it may seem like a trivial thing, but the fact that men have the right to go topless and women do not speaks to an overall theme of power and control over women’s bodies. Female breasts are not to remain hidden because they are different than those of men, but simply because they belong to women. It’s not about shape; plenty of men have relatively large chests, and vice versa with women. The main difference between the chests of women and men is function. The fact that breast feeding is not at all a sexual act does not, however, prevent men from being sexually attracted. We’re attracted to feet and thick lips and all sorts of things that do not require covering. We single out female breasts because the straight white men who’ve been in charge are sexually attracted to them, and want them to remain sexualized, no matter the hypocritical violation of equal protection that it creates for women.

Speaking of unwanted over-sexualization; in the rare instance when we admit that it might have actually occurred, we blame survivors of sexual assault for having the temerity to consume alcohol in the general proximity of preying men, or for being too scantily clad for our puritanical sensibilities. We give women and girls instructions on how to not get raped; rather than give boys firm guidelines regarding consent. We have hundreds of thousands of untested rape kids, for god’s sake.

This attitude even seeps its way into the treatment of children, as every year there are numerous stories of crusty old men being overcome by arousal at the sight of students in their prom dresses, and teachers feeling compelled into action by young girls in class with tight pants. Just because you cannot control your perverted old man boner does not give you the right to single out, reprimand, and body-shame a child.
We’re all about shaming, though. While men are generally celebrated for sexual conquests, abstinence-only sex-ed has taught impressionable young girls that they are chewed up pieces of gum if they dare engage in sexual relations outside of marriage.

We have sharia law theocrats in government that want to not only slut-shame women and girls, but actually punish them for having sex for pleasure by any means necessary. They don’t want the youth to have the knowledge to keep from getting pregnant, or access to birth control without parental permission. They don’t want health insurance to guarantee birth control; they refuse to allow any federal funds to pay for abortion.

They fight existing social insurance like Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), and welfare (TANF); and against proposed programs such as mandatory paid maternity leave and universal pre-k.

/Bodily autonomy is as fundamental a right as a person can have, and countless women, especially in conservative states, are denied this fundamental right in America. Clumps of cells are not living, breathing human beings. They just aren’t. We can have a conversation about the stage in pregnancy at which a fetus becomes viable (SCOTUS says 20 weeks, currently). But that is aside from the point, since late-term abortions are extremely rare, and only occur in cases when the health of the mother is in danger, or fetal abnormalities which won’t allow it to survive.

Besides, abortion bans do not prevent the need for abortion; they only block access of poor women to safe, regulated abortion, and force them into dangerous, back alley, Kermit Gosling with a coat hanger situations. Wealthy women don’t need family planning clinics when they can go their ob-gyn; and can afford to travel if local laws are too strict.

Lean in. Men have the right to be successful career-men without having their parenting skills and love for their children thrown into question. While men face the same work/life balance as women, there is entire cottage industry of books on the topic as it pertains to women. Female politicians are repeatedly pressed on the issue while men are not judged as a failure of a parent simply for having career success.

I am perfectly willing to admit that we have laws which favor women in regards to domestic violence calls and alimony; but what MRA Neanderthals and the very few with daddy issues bad enough to briefly date them need to admit: whether codified into law or simply in practice, women are at a disadvantage in practically every other area of American society. While we avoid some of the worse forms of misogyny such as female genital mutilation, honor killings, and femicide…

Females are 51% of the population, and earn 60% of college degrees, yet represent less than 20% of congress. They are underrepresented in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They are underrepresented in board rooms and executive suites.

Women with kids are paid less than those without; while men with kids are paid more than men without. And whatever the exact number is, women are paid less than men. Even when they do they same job, even when adjusting for maternity leave, the wage gap persists.

Successful women like Oprah Winfrey, Madeleine Albright, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Serena Williams, Meryl Streep, and Sally Ride prove than women are easily as capable as men, if not more so. They are the exceptions that prove the rule.

No matter. Men want to punish, shame, and suppress women; and craft public policy to make them financially dependent. Simply put, men have more rights than women, and hoard power in industry and politics in order to maintain their status in the American patriarchy.

Democrat Party is a Shambles; Refuse to Accept Responsibility

Establishment Democrats are doing everything in their power to shift blame, and simply refuse to accept responsibility for their own failures. Their immediate response to their electoral drubbing proves that they’ve learned nothing from their mistakes, and will continue to simply point at the backward Republicans as their singular selling point.

Unfortunately for establishment Democrats and their fellow elites of corporate media, they spent eighteen months calling Donald Trump and his supporters a bunch of deplorable racists, yet the country chose that over whatever it is that Democrats are selling. While Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump was the headline act, Democrats were flatly rejected at every level: Republicans now control the House and Senate, the Supreme Court and over a hundred federal judicial seats waiting to be filled due to Republican obstruction, 33 of 50 governorships, and 69 of 99 state houses. In fact, Democrats lost over a thousand state and national-level seats during Barack Obama’s presidency.

None of that can be explained away by blaming Russia. That can’t be attributed to whitelash or sexism. That wasn’t the fault of James Comey or Julian Assange. Jill Stein didn’t do it, neither did Gary Johnson or Bernie Sanders, Millennials or People of Color. That wasn’t because of “fake news” or the Electoral College.

The Democrat Party is a shambles, and is completely devoid of leadership and an articulable reason for existing. If establishment Democrats weren’t a bunch of spineless corporate hacks, there would not have been the space for a mad man like Trump to become a viable candidate. Democrats are so incredibly useless that they managed to lose to the most-hated presidential candidate in US history.

And that’s pretty much the long and short of it: Trump happened for the same reason that Brexit and Nigel Farage happened in the UK; Marie La Pen in France; Geert Wilders in the Netherlands; Norbert Hofer in Austria; Peter Dutton in Australia; and Matteo Salvini & Beppe Grillo in Italy. Western governments have largely abandoned labor and their respective citizenries, and shifted more wealth & power toward multinational corporations & the wealthy.

It’s been decades in the making domestically. The great sorting of the political parties was set in motion when Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Richard Nixon won two elections on the admittedly racist Southern Strategy; and his SCOTUS essentially legalized political bribery. Democrats freaked out and began the process of selling their souls by shunning unions. Jimmy Carter managed a brief stint in the White House as a Southern Evangelical. Then, Ronald Reagan successfully married the previously apolitical religious right with the Republican Party. “New” Democrats responded by doubling down on selling out and embraced triangulation.

Bill Clinton wanted to be seen as tough on crime, so he interrupted his presidential campaign to personally witness an execution in his home state of Arkansas. He strategically chided Black people in his infamous Sister Souljah moment. Hillary backed him by fear-mongering Black teenage “super-predators” who needed to be “brought to heel.” Prison populations exploded as result of the 1994 Crime Bill, three-strikes, and mandatory minimums; at the same time that welfare rolls were slashed. Bill Clinton had an agreement in place with Newt Gingrich to gut Social Security, which fell through the next day when Monica Lewinsky happened. WJC ordered the bombing of the only medicine factory in Sudan; and ended a sixty-year run of financial stability when he repealed Glass-Steagall. Even with that, Al Gore won the popular vote and the Electoral College, had ever-polite Democrats stood up for themselves.

The country was coming to the realization that the two major parties had merged into a single Money Party. Republicans tend to defeat Republican-lites, so Vietnam War-hero John Kerry lost to a draft-dodger who lied us into an illegal war because people would rather have a beer with an affable ignoramus.

Despite demographics shifting in their favor, and the country agreeing with their stated positions practically across the board, the
Democrat party was nonetheless on life support.

Along came Barack Hussein Obama, an attractive and eloquent orator capable of rousing masses of humanity with pretty words of hope & change. He was, alas, a temporary shot of steroids for the Democrats, who could uniquely increase voter turnout among young people and minorities.

The country and world economy had been brought to its knees at the hand of greedy capitalist banksters and corrupt corporatist politicians, and Obama was handed a veto-proof congressional super-majority. Rather than make homeowners and the working class whole again, Obama teamed with Bush to siphon hundreds of billions of dollars to the biggest banks. Rather than prosecute a single one of the fraudulent banksters, Obama let the CEO of Citigroup pick his entire cabinet, and had the Department of Homeland Security team with union cops to crack the skulls of peaceful Occupy protesters.

Obama spent the entirety of his political capital unsuccessfully trying to woo Republican votes for the Republican healthcare plan so that Republicans and the legacy media wouldn’t portray him as partisan. He tried, and failed, his entire eight years to make a grand bargain with Republicans to slash Social Security and Medicare in exchange for minimal tax increases; he made 90% of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent.

Obama turned two wars into seven; kept our national disgrace of GITMO open; expanded and codified into law our unconstitutional mass surveillance programs; did a damned thing about drug wars, mass incarceration, or police brutality.

The country was ready for real, systemic change in 2009, and the American public gave Obama the go-ahead to carry it out. Instead, he betrayed the people who put him into office and laid the groundwork for Trump. Ignoring the warnings, establishment Democrats were determined that their hand-picked Chosen One run as the caretaker of the status quo. They and the corporate media were so insulated from the pain felt by the working class and poor folks, that they simply did not believe that the country was thirsting for a populist. They decided that the popularity of Trump could be written off as racism, and that that of Bernie Sanders could be ascribed to naïve, entitled, and sexist ideologues.

Post-election, the actions of establishment Democrats have failed to inspire confidence. Fundraiser extraordinaire Nancy Pelosi was reinserted as the leader of House Democrats; Wall Street’s best friend Chuck Schumer (who publically admitted to purposely abandoning Democratic voters in a failed attempt to woo Republicans) as leader of Senate Dems; and are insisting upon pro-TPP Tom Perez as the head of the DNC.

Rather than look internally, as Republicans did with the “autopsy” in 2012, Democrats refuse to even consider the notion that they did anything at all to cause their historic failure. Out of unearned respect, I’ll slap down their pathetic excuses one by one:

Electoral College: Yes, the system is terrible. Democrats have been screwed twice in the past five elections. And we have the Electoral College so slave states could count (3/5ths of) slaves, who couldn’t actually vote, for the purpose of gaining additional delegates. The Electoral College should be abolished; states could do it by simply banding together to give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. But the Electoral College is a known factor that no one cares about until their team wins the popular vote but loses. Democrats have had 16 years since Bush v Gore to fix it, and they never bothered – it’s a post-election excuse.

James Comey: The FBI Director’s actions were indefensible; but whose fault is it that the Bush-appointee was still in charge of the FBI? Comey was in position to prolong the email saga (which was due to Hillary’s arrogance, even if it had nothing to do with Benghazi) because Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, are chosen by their donors specifically for their fecklessness.

Russia: Seventeen government agencies asserted that Russia hacked the DNC, John Podesta’s emails, and a number of state voter registries. Hillary Clinton and numerous surrogates accused Russia of cyber crimes and manipulation of the election. But to what end? While Hillary insisted that cyber crimes be answered with military force; Barack Obama doesn’t seem too worked up about it based upon his minimal sanctions; and former CIA Director Michael Hayden described Russia’s actions as “honorable state espionage.” Besides, I don’t want to hear a thing from Hillbots about intelligence agencies or nation-states meddling in foreign elections: Hillary supported regime change in Iraq, Libya, and Honduras; and questioned seriously why we allowed Palestinians to hold an election without first rigging the outcome.

Julian Assange

Wikileaks: I would prefer that Wikileaks curate their documents rather than release everything up to and including John Podesta’s risotto recipe, but that is their wont. Democrats are accusing Julian Assange of working with Putin, and he clearly has disdain for Hillary, but regardless of origin, the Podesta emails provided an invaluable peek inside the inner-workings of DC; and the heart of the outrage seems to be that voters were too well informed. Besides, hypocritical Hillary surrogates were more than happy to discuss Trump’s stolen tax returns.

Lefty Journos: Writers such as Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, & David Sirota were labeled useful idiots and agents of the Kremlin by the Democrat establishment for daring to report accurate information on their Chosen One. Reporting which does not upset power is not journalism but stenography. Try again.

Fake News: While misleading disinformation (and satire) is common, the phenomenon of “fake news” was conjured seemingly the moment Hillary conceded. A ploy meant to discredit dissenting voices and preserve the Overton window.

Third Parties: Blaming third parties is a time-honored tradition iof both major parties meant to enforce the false-binary of lesser-evilism. As per usual, beltway group-think is completely misguided: George H. W. Bush did not lose to Bill Clinton because of Ross Perot. Polling from before and after he left and re-entered the race showed that Perot took more support from Clinton than Bush.

Al Gore did not lose to George W. Bush because of Ralph Nader. Exit polls showed that half of Nader supporters would’ve voted Bush, not Gore. In fact, three million registered Democrats voted for Bush nationwide, including 190k in deciding Florida – where Gore lost by 94k.

Dr. Jill Stein Source: CC-BY, RAHurd

And finally, Hillary Clinton did not lose to Donald Trump because of Jill Stein. The Green Party candidate received just 1.2m votes. Hillary won the popular vote by nearly three millions, and still would’ve lost the Electoral College had she gotten Stein’s votes. Besides, similar to 2000, nine percent of registered Democrats voted for Trump, and half the country didn’t bother to vote at all. That has nothing to do with third parties and everything to do with the uselessness of the Democratic Party.

Millennials: Voted for Clinton more than any other age group. Old people were the problem.

People of Color and Muslims: Also voted Democrat by large margins (including Black women, Democrats’ most loyal demo); but Democrats hate their base, and love to blame voters for their own ineptitude.

Sexist Bernie Bros: No such thing; a regurgitation of the despicable Obama Boys smear of 2008. Using sexism as a political prop is disgusting, and minimizes actual misogyny – but that’s who corporate Democrats are.

Racism: Whitelash is a real thing. Surprise! America is racist. But racism and the culture wars aren’t exactly novel concepts. And hand-wringing over the fact that liberals haven’t been able to shame white people out of being racist yet doesn’t do a thing to address the problems of Democrats, who take minority votes for granted while hiring fewer Black senate senior staff members than Republicans.

Finally, here is what Democrats must do if they are to emerge from the ashes: Embrace lefty economic populism and reacquaint themselves with labor. Republicans are attempting to repeal Obamacare without a replacement. Democrats must immediately begin fighting for actual universal healthcare, by way of a single-payer system (public-option at minimum). They must fight for universal pre-k, free college, and student debt forgiveness.

Democrats must take concrete action on climate change and clean energy, and fully embrace Keynesian economic virtuosity of infrastructure spending. They must embrace net-neutrality, unions, Fight for Fifteen, job training programs backed up with actual jobs, guaranteed employment/income (negative income tax would be wonderful), loan programs for small businesses, put an end to corporate welfare for the largest multinational corporations, stop defending corporate-authored trade deals, fight against mega-mergers, and break-up monopolies.

Democrats must immediately put a halt to taking Wall Street bribes. Republicans already get the vast majority, and Democrats lose all credibility by taking what little they get, they are fools for continuing the practice, and must stop now. They must also stop taking the bribes of big pharma, big oil, big agriculture, private prisons, defense contractors, Silicon Valley, predatory pay-day lenders, charter schools, and lobbyists in general.

Image by Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Democrats must embrace Black Lives Matter, Code Pink, Planned Parenthood, and first nation water protectors at Standing Rock. They must fight to end prohibition and the drug wars, must lead the way on criminal justice reform, and defund police departments with a pattern of brutality. They must embrace Syrian refugees. They must support the boycott, divest, and sanction movement for a two-state solution and an end to Palestinian apartheid in the West Bank. They must take a stand against American imperialism, colonialism, and perpetual policy of foreign regime change.

Bernie Sanders showed Democrats the way. The septuagenarian socialist Jew with over-sized suits and unkempt hair proved that the American people are fed up with the status quo, are more interested with policy substance than political consultant-coached style, and willing to put their money where their mouth is. The Clintonite marionettes of the Democratic Party establishment spat in Bernie’s face, and turned away a generation of voters who attempted to infuse the Democratic Party with their energy. Only time will tell if Democrats learn from their mistakes, and begin the work of rebuilding their rubbish pile of a political party.

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