In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists

Written by Chris Floyd 06 December 2016 633 Hits

(UPDATED)

Michael Flynn Jr. is – or WAS, until an hour or so ago – a member of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. He also serves as chief of staff for his father, Michael Flynn Sr., who has been picked by Trump to be his National Security Advisor. Michael Flynn Jr. is also running a child sex ring in Trump Tower with Nazis and Klan members coordinated through secret codes published in stories on the Breitbart website. Or so I hear. If that’s not true – if Michael Flynn Jr. really isn’t a child abusing Nazi pimp, then it is up to HIM to prove he isn’t. Otherwise, this claim — for which there is no evidence, by the way — will “remain a story.”

This is according to Flynn’s own logic, and that of Trump, his child-abusing pimp of a former boss. (If Trump ISN’T a child-abusing pimp, he must PROVE it, even though there is no evidence that he is). For Flynn — a top advisor to the top advisor to the incoming President of the United States - says he will continue to push the story that Hillary Clinton is running a child sex ring out of a DC pizza parlor until the story is “proven false.”

However, a quick look at the cesspool that is Flynn’s Twitter feed (and the even more ghastly shithole of his account on GAB, where nazi perverts gather in a circle jerk of bile pumping) shows that any evidence offered to disprove the entirely specious “Pizzagate” story is immediately rejected by Flynn and his ilk as “false flags” or “leftist propaganda” or “MSM deceit”, etc. etc. There is, in fact, no way on earth for anyone to “prove” the falsity of the story to Flynn’s satisfaction. Until, of course, Daddy and Trump the child-abusing pimp (if it's not true, PROVE it!) decided Junior was bringing too much media heat and ashcanned him from the transition.

But little Flynn's twitterstorm is in keeping with the Trump Truth doctrine, which holds that you can make any outrageous claim you like without the slightest bit of evidence to back it up — and it’s up to other people to prove that your specious bullshit is not true. This is how Trump injected the poison story of “millions of illegal voters” into the public discourse, forcing people to spend many hours and much energy refuting this bullshit — even as “respectable Republicans” like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan (yes, I know, we are already forty fathoms deep in a sea of toxic sludge when cranks and grifters like Pence and Ryan pass for “respectable” anythings) embrace this outright lie or see no reason to refute it. Why should they? They’ve got power now and intend to hold it by hook or crook, and to wield it to push their own aggrandizement, their racist prejudices, their psychosexual prejudices and their extremist, anti-human ideologies.

But to paraphrase another prime purveyor of baseless bullshit, Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war against oligarchs and fascists with the weapons you have, not the ones you wish you had. So I say let’s pick up the weapon of the Trump Truth doctrine and use it against the scum who have risen to the top of the swamp water. Let Trump and Flynn and little tiny-pants Flynn Jr fight a barrage of bullshit stories about them and their kind — even as we keep telling the truth about who they are and what they are doing. (Just as we’ve been doing with all the crimes of the Obama years.)

Because make no mistake: these fascists, these racists, these witless goobers and giddy slobberers with a child sex fixation will not be satisfied until the objects of their hate fantasies — i.e., anyone who is not a slobbering witless racist — are being attacked in the streets by “patriots” and police. They want lynch mobs, they want repression, they want violence – and they are determined to get it. And they are about to have the resources of the most powerful state in the history of the world in their tiny-fingered hands.

So in addition to all the various solid works of resistance — best exemplified by the water protectors at Standing Rock (but also by anyone who kicks a fascist in the nuts and makes him howl) — let’s keep a steady barrage of bullshit blowing back into the faces of these filth-peddlers.

P.S. Here’s a brief exercise in bullshit-blowback I carried out recently with little teeny tiny Flynn Junior:

Michael G Flynn
Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many "coincidences" tied to it.

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR Until "Trump rapes 13-year-old" is proven false, it remains a story. Ask your dad to look into it, junior.

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR All those pushing #Pizzagate are child abusers trying to divert focus from their own crimes. Until proven false, it's a story!

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR Just checked out your GAB bile. Man, you are one sick racist child abuser. (Until you prove you're not, it remains a story.)

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR Hey Flynn? Is GAB where all the child abusers like you (until you prove you aren't, it's a story) go to ply their sickness?

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR "Trump, Flynn and Flynn Jr are running a child sex ring out of Trump Tower." Until they prove they're not, it remains a story!

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR I hear Flynn Jr runs a child sex ring with Nazis. Until he PROVES he's NOT, it remains a story! That's how it works, right, Mikey?

UPDATE: A few more flytes at Flynn, post-ashcanning:

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR "Source: FBI to probe Flynn/Trump child sex ring." Until proven to be false, it remains a story!

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR "Stories of Flynn/Trump child sex ring prompt sudden firing." Until proven to be false, it remains a story!

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR "Trump canned Flynn Jr to quash Trump Team child sex ring scandal." Until it's proven false, it remains a story!

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@mflynnJR "Mikey Flynn Jr Flees Pizzagate scandal; holed up in crack house with child porn." Until it's proven false, it remains a story!

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Will You Be Free: The Bitter Fruits of War's Harvest

Written by Chris Floyd 05 December 2016 425 Hits

"When the fear comes around again
And they call for troops to send
To some new war across the sea
Will you be free?"

Recorded 11 years ago -- and the fears keep coming, the troops keep going, new wars keep raging -- and we ain't free.

(From the album Wheel of Heaven. Song produced and music played by Nick Kulukundis. Vocals, lyrics: CF.)

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Tweeter & the Monkey Man: Conversations with the President-Elect

Written by Chris Floyd 29 November 2016 1164 Hits

A further installment of the ongoing political science series, “My Conversations With the President-Elect.”

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump
@jeffzeleny what PROOF do u have DonaldTrump did not suffer from millions of FRAUD votes? Journalist? Do your job! @CNN

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump What proof do you have that aliens did not replace DonaldTrump's brain with a jar of pickles? If it didn't happen, PROVE IT!

Chris Floyd ‏@empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump What PROOF do u have DonaldTrump did not suffer brain damage leading to millions of DUMBSHIT tweets? Prove it, loser!

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump #WeakLoserTrump already cracking under pressure. Can't take the heat. Ranting like Hitler in the bunker. Sad! Pathetic!

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump #WeakLoserTrump wetting his pants over a little criticism. Can't take it. Cries like a baby. Scared of the job. Shameful.

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump #WeakLoserTrump having a breakdown. #WetPantsTrump not up to the job. Crying & whining. Cowering & quivering. What a goon!

***

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump
There is NO QUESTION THAT #voterfraud did take place, and in favor of #CorruptHillary !"

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump Prove it, loser. Prove it, crybaby. Prove it, snowflake. Prove it, blowhard. Prove it, coward. Prove it, clownface.

***
Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump
Just met with General Petraeus--was very impressed!

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump Did you ask him about sharing classified material w/ his mistress? Or did you just want to know how hot she was? Creep!

***
Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump
@CNN is so embarrassed by their total  (100%) support of Hillary Clinton, and yet her loss in a landslide, that they don't know what to do.

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@realDonaldTrump If CNN 100% HRC, why'd they hire your errand boy Corey and let him spout your BS day after day? Trump rigs media!

***
AN ADDENDUM: CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT

Mike Pence ‏@mike_pence Nov 26
The tyrant #Castro is dead. New hope dawns. We will stand with the oppressed Cuban people for a free and democratic Cuba. Viva Cuba Libre!

Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@mike_pence Bold talk for a man in office despite LOSING the vote of the American people. Why don't YOU resign, you undemocratic tyrant?

 

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Smear-Mongering: A Mea Culpa for the Age of McCarthyism 2.0

Written by Chris Floyd 25 November 2016 1667 Hits

OK, I guess I’d better come clean. It seems that I must be a paid agent of the Kremlin. After all, I write for CounterPunch Magazine — for money! I used to write regularly for Truthout.org — for money! I’ve contributed articles to the Baltimore Gazette. I’ve often quoted and linked to stories from the Black Agenda Report. I’ve regularly quoted and linked to articles by prize-winning AP/Newsweek reporter Robert Parry for years. According to the Washington Post, all of this makes me either a paid Kremlin propagandist or a Kremlin dupe. There is no other alternative.

And who says this? A collection of completely anonymous “experts” from a group no one has ever heard of until it materialized for the Post article. The group, PropOrNot, put out a list of publications and websites that are “outlets for Russian propaganda,” a list that included all the venues named above, as well as several others which have been long-time critics of various aspects of American foreign policy. These were all mixed in with obvious propaganda mills and clickbait factories (of whatever provenance).

The story is a smear piece just like Tailgunner Joe and Roy Cohn used to make. It makes a direct equation between dissent and treason, using the crudest, stupidest kind of cod-reasoning: if you have criticized a policy or action that Vladimir Putin has also criticized at some point (even if the reasons for your critique might differ wildly from his), then you are automatically a Russian agent or a “useful idiot.” That’s it. That’s the sole binary in our political world, according to new McCarthyism: either you must accept everything the US government says and does at face value, believe it implicitly and support it whole-heartedly, or else you’re a traitor acting on behalf of the Russkies — or you might as well be.

I remember this asinine stance from the old days, when anyone who opposed the Vietnam War was a commie, when Martin Luther King was obviously motivated solely by Kremlin gold to get the darkies all stirred up. You’d think that our modern progressives would be ashamed to push this ugly line — yet they seem to be its greatest enthusiasts. And so here we are again, in the 21st century — after COINTELPRO, the Church Commission, Iran-Contra, the Iraq War lies, etc. etc., etc.: if you dare question Washington’s line, you must be a traitor, or a fool who cannot possibly think for himself or herself without being spoon-fed by Moscow.

Oddly enough, there is only one kind of critic of US foreign policy that is not regarded as a Kremlin agent: those who criticize Washington for not being even more bloodthirsty and aggressive in its foreign policy. Those kind of outlets never land on our new McCarthyite lists. And here’s another odd fact: PropORNot’s list of those who peddle “fake news” doesn't include Breitbart.com, which is one of the master bullshit purveyors of the age.

Oh well, I’m just glad the Washington Post was a bit more skeptical toward state power during the Watergate era. (Today it would be: “Where did you get this fake news crap about the President and a ‘cover-up,’ Bernstein? Russian agents? What are you, some kind of commie?”) And I guess we can take comfort in the fact that in just a few weeks, it’ll be OK for progressives to be critical of American policy again, once it’s in the hands of Donald Trump.

But what’s going to happen to commie traitor pinko nogoodniks like me? If I write just as scathingly of Trump’s drone wars, deaths squads, covert ops, subversions and White House death squads as I have of Obama’s (and Bush’s), will my flow of Kremlin gold be cut off? I mean, it’s not like ANYONE can ever have a consistent, considered opposition to certain policies and actions no matter who commits them, right? And OMG — what if Putin finds about my critiques of his own brutal policies and actions? Whose list will I end up on then? It's all so confusing! But fortunately, we have the Washington Post and its anonymous experts to guide us through the modern McCarthyite morass.

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Hercules and the Goose: The Pernicious Progressive Appeals to National “Values”

Written by Chris Floyd 24 November 2016 2010 Hits

This article has been making the rounds in UK political circles. It’s a piece from Politics.co.uk by Chaminda Jayanetti: Britain will betray itself for Trump’s coins of silver. British values are being forgotten in the hunt for trade deals.”  I must say, when I read such formulations, my guard goes up immediately.

“British values are being forgotten?” Um, which British values are being forgotten, even “betrayed”? The values displayed in Iraq? The values displayed in Yemen? The values displayed in years of austerity budgets, endorsed by the electorate in 2015? The values displayed in Brexit? The values displayed in decades of arms deals and war profiteering? The values displayed in the revolving door between corporate power and government service, year after year after year, guaranteeing contracts and sweetheart deals for some of the most avaricious, amoral firms on the planet? Which "values," precisely, will be "betrayed" when UK elites cozy up to Trump?

When can we do away with these childish categories at last – "British values," "American values," etc.? In every case, “American values” or “British values” are those values that WE value; any manifestation of other values are dismissed as “un-British” or “un-American” — even if those other values are pervasive and ascendant in our societies for decades at a time. Are some things wrong, or not? Is Trump-style corruption, moral and ethical, wrong, or not? Is toadying up to such degradation wrong, or not? Is aggressive war, as in Iraq, wrong or not? If something is wrong, in itself, what does it matter if it “betrays” someone’s selective idea of what a nation’s “values” might be?

I understand the use of such language as a propaganda tool. I used it myself back in the Bush years — “Aggressive war violates American values; true patriots would oppose this outrage” — as a way to get “ordinary people” to listen to anti-war arguments they might otherwise dismiss. But I’ve come to see over the years that such approaches are useless. These appeals to “patriotism” and “British or American values” are meaningless, because everyone defines these values for themselves. They also bolster the whole idea of “exceptionalism” and moral exclusiveness inherent in the concept of patriotism: “Don’t support the Iraq war (or X or Y); that’s not our values, we’re better than that, we have an inherent goodness that is being ‘betrayed’ by this action.”  Thus we whitewash a multitude of other sins committed by our governments — or embedded in our society. “Oh, it’s only this that ‘betrays’ our inherent goodness, is it?” In response, a good liberal will say, “oh no, we have many other problems — racism, sexism, oppression, economic injustice, supporting tyrants, etc. But deep down we are a good people, with inherent national values that our leaders are betraying by doing X or Y.”  

But even more important is the indisputable fact that in the realm of politics and power, ideas of what constitutes a nation’s “values” can change — reversing polarity almost immediately — once “our” party gets into power. The Obama years provide a stark and painful example of this. Drones, renditions, assassinations (state murder), covert ops, subversion of other nations, supporting coups, mass surveillance, mass deportations, coddling Big Business, off-shore oil drilling, support for Israeli assaults on Gaza, militarizing the police, etc. — so many actions that so many good liberals considered immoral, un-American outrages when Bush was doing them — suddenly became entirely defensible, even noble, when Obama did them. And guess what? Those same liberals will suddenly find these things outrageous once again after January 20, when Trump starts doing them.

You can take other tacks, of course: you can try to convince people that this or that action is wrong or evil or counterproductive on all kinds of grounds. You can appeal to universal, higher-order concepts (morality, decency, etc.) or to realpolitik concerns (this policy is politically unsustainable or will cost more than it's worth, etc.) or even naked self-interest (“if we keep doing X, you’ll end up out of a job/getting killed/poorer/less free,” etc). But the appeal to a nation’s “values” is pointless and even pernicious, I’ve come to think. We create our values by our actions — by what we do, what we countenance, what we resist or protest against. And at any given time, millions of people in a nation will be creating and manifesting a myriad of values — many of them conflicting, some of them overlapping, some of them contradicting, going back and forth in an endless, mixing flow. This is true of us as individuals — and even more true when considering the vast collections of individuals we call nations.

So what is the basis of these “British values” Jayanetti talks of? He writes: “Like the pathetic servile courtiers of a naked king, we prostrate ourselves in the hope of a decimal point of GDP's worth of patronage while ignoring the monstrosities that lie in full sight.” When have UK elites not ignored “monstrosities that lie in full sight” in pursuit of profit and power for themselves? Has he not heard of the slave trade? The whole history of British imperialism? (He could read Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis if he'd like more information on this score.) The Iraq War? The US-UK Iraq sanctions that even the US admits killed at least 500,000 children?

One reads such articles and thinks: What are you talking about? What sandbox are you playing in? (And yes, I'm speaking to my younger self as well.) Who in hell are the “former prime ministers” who must be “spinning in their graves” at the idea of Britain cozying up to Trump for a trade deal? The same ones who, throughout Britain’s history, have “ignored monstrosities that lie in full sight” in order to fill the elite’s coffers? And one wonders, in despair: how on god’s earth can we ever hope to move this world to a better place, to at least loosen if not completely remove the elite’s death grip on power, with such childish notions and historical amnesia? How does it help to make these specious appeals to mythological national “values”? It’s like fighting Hercules with a goose feather.

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Black Mirror: Trump’s Triumph and America’s Truth

Written by Chris Floyd 23 November 2016 1634 Hits

(Here's my column from the latest print edition of CounterPunch Magazine. It was written three days after the election.)

“Hello darkness, my old friend…”

There has been great consternation in the world over the fact that Donald Trump, runner-up in the 2016 vote (“Weak! Loser!”), will soon be president of the United States, thanks to the Rube Goldberg contraption set up by white elites in the 18th century to prevent the despised rabble from directly choosing their leaders. (And just to be sure, the Southern slaver-owners and their Northern compatriots also disenfranchised the vast majority of the populace while they were at it. Only white men of property — like them — were to be allowed to choose the electors who would do the choosing for all the scum out there.)

Much of the handwringing over Trump focuses on the “unprecedented” nature of his candidacy and his presidency. Here, for example, is Bill Moyers (yes, the same Bill Moyers who serviced Lyndon Johnson while he was raining napalm on the civilians of Vietnam):

“America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.”

Putting aside the fact that “we the people” actually chose Hillary Clinton (by a razor-thin margin, but still) on November 8 (“Trump! Loser! Weak!”), the LBJ factotum — now seen as the iconic conscience of American liberalism — seems to have forgotten the entire presidency of another dimbulb celebrity spinning lies and fantasies and racist tropes, appointing nutty extremists to important posts and unleashing ugly forces in society.

Yes, we speak of rouge-cheeked Ronnie Reagan. Those of us of a certain age remember his screwball appointments – like James Watt, Secretary of the Interior, who told Congress there was no need for conservation programs, because Jesus was coming back in our lifetime. We remember how Reagan, like Trump, made racism the centerpiece of his campaign, which began with a Jim Crow dogwhistle about “states rights” at the site of the “Mississippi Burning” murders and featured lurid fantasies about a big, black “welfare queen” scamming taxpayers to feed her brood of black bastards. We remember how this weird, vacuous celeb (whose wife set his schedule by consulting an astrologer) destroyed unions, escalated the nuclear threat, armed and bankrolled Islamic terrorists (to hotfoot the Commies), supported rightwing terrorism and genocidal murder rampages in Central America, backed brutal tyrants (like Saddam Hussein), rolled back environmental protections and facilitated countless other crimes and sinister follies.

So yes, Trump is a loathsome toad, but he’s no surprise, no unprecedented, out-of-the-blue eruption of a new dark turn in American politics. That darkness has always been there, and it has to be fought, again and again and again. We fought Reagan, and we survived him. We’ll fight Trump, and we’ll survive him too.

But in the immortal words of Kruhulik the Janitor, don’t let’s be naïve. The idea that the American darkness resides solely on the right, occasionally surging up (Goldwater, Reagan, Bush II, Trump) then reverting to a default mode of basic decency, is one of the most persistent – and pernicious – of the many myths that “progressives” pull around themselves like a security blanket. The American state itself is deeply, inherently, horribly corrupt, and all those who wield its power are drenched in blood. They are all, without exception, beyond the pale of human decency, of law, of morality. It is not a normal system; as Thoreau once said, no decent person can be associated with it.

Consider a system whose top leaders acknowledge that their brutal blockade of an already defeated enemy has taken the lives of 500,000 innocent children – and proclaim these murders are “worth it.” A system that launches a war of aggression that kills a million innocent people and plunges the world into endless carnage and ruin. A system whose president sits in his office each week ticking off names of people to be arbitrarily murdered, and who gives his minions carte blanche to kill complete unknowns (including children) engaging in alleged terrorist “signature” behaviour – such as loading shovels into a truck on their farm. A system where armed and armored police gun down hundreds of unarmed citizens each year

The notion that such a system – which has taken the lives of millions of innocent people within the last generation alone – has only now, with the election of Trump, lost "its compassion, its decency," is obscene. I do think the election of Trump is a calamity; but the mere continuation of this insanely depraved system – whether under the temporary management of a sinister clown like Trump or a "super-competent" imperial technocrat like Clinton – is also a calamity.

Trump didn't "shred" the values and identity of the American system; he held the mirror up to it and showed us all its true, hideous face. No amount of self-righteous, self-congratulatory self-delusion on the part of our progressives – who have countenanced enormous crimes against humanity committed by its heroes – will change this sickening truth.

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Fire and Ice: Another Ignored Outrage at Standing Rock

Written by Chris Floyd 21 November 2016 1843 Hits

On Sunday night, militarized police attacked the Standing Rock camp — yet again — this time in a vicious water cannon assault in sub-freezing temperatures. Hundreds of people — unarmed people — were injured in the attack. As a report from the camp notes:

"The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806.  Water protectors’ efforts to clear the road and improve access to the camp for emergency services were met with tear gas, an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), stinger grenades, rubber bullets, and indiscriminate use of a water cannon with an air temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Some flares shot by law enforcement started grass fires which were ignored by the water cannons and had to be extinguished by water protectors. Law enforcement also shot down three media drones and targeted journalists with less lethal rounds."

The pipeline is being built on unceded Indian land. It was originally due to run near Bismarck, but officials there rightly concluded it was too dangerous for the water table, and would put the lives and health of many people at undue risk. So it was rerouted through sovereign Sioux territory instead; the lives and health of 'those people' don't matter. And so a huge armed and armored force of law officers — as well as strong complement of armed corporate mercenaries — has been sent in to enforce this illegal action on behalf of corporate profit.

Standing Rock now the site of one of the largest, longest-running peaceful demonstrations in US history -- and is being almost entirely ignored by the US press. In fact, journalists have been arrested there for trying to cover the story; just last night, police shot down three media drones trying to get pictures of the water cannon attack (in sub-freezing temperatures). Every tweet of the twerp in his fake golden tower is front-page news; but the historic protest at Standing Rock is not even worth a mention.

Meanwhile, those great progressives, Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch, do nothing. Jeff Sessions might as well be in the Attorney General’s chair already; he could hardly be less scornful of the mass violations of civil rights, legal rights, treaty rights and human rights going on at Standing Rock than Lynch and Obama.

 

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Hand Job: Joe B Stands up for Trump

Written by Chris Floyd 16 November 2016 1974 Hits

Alas, poor Joe. Where be your memes now? Your gambols? Your flashes of Trump-bashing merriment that were wont to set the internet on a roar? IRL, it seems, you are carrying Donald's water, telling us the White House will be "in good hands." Quite chapfallen, are we? Now get you to ambition's chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this fawning, scuttling favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.

 

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Tears of Rage, Tears of Grief: Blum Lays Bare Empire’s True Nature

Written by Chris Floyd 07 November 2016 2796 Hits


Bill Blum is firing with both barrels in his latest Anti-Empire Report, blowing holes in the Potemkin village of the Potomac Empire, laying bare its true nature, even as the electoral eagles scream about which factotum will be allowed to sit in the Temporary Manager’s chair for the next four years. Read it and weep tears of rage, tears of grief.

(Image: "The Tempter," by Chris Floyd)

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Broken Light: Work, for the Night is Coming

Written by Chris Floyd 06 November 2016 2739 Hits


(Excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque. Originally published on the blog in 2005.)

I.

Black milk of daybreak, we drink it at evening.  
– Paul Celan, "Deathfugue"

The children were walking to school. The young people were going out to a dance.  The children stepped on a booby trap planted by a soldier. The young people were shredded by a suicide bomb. They were all blown up, destroyed.

One moment, the force of life animated their biological matter, their brains seethed with billions of electrical impulses, the matrix of consciousness brought the entire universe into being, within them, within each of them, each solitary vessel of knowing.

The next moment, only the matter remained: inert, coagulated, decaying. There was no more knowing, no more being; the universe had come to an end.

Why?

We drink it at midday and morning; we drink it at night.

They would have us believe it is because Ishmael warred with Jacob. They would have us believe it is because this or that Divine Will requires it. They would have us believe it is because ethnicity or nationality or religion or some other arbitrary accretion of history and happenstance must override both the innumerable commonalities of all human beings and the radical, irreplaceable uniqueness of each individual.

They would have us believe anything other than the truth: that everyone and everything will die; that all nations, ethnicities, religions and structures will fall away into rubble, into nothingness, and be forgotten; and that even the planet itself will be reduced to atoms and melt away, like black milk, into the cold deeps of empty space. And in the face of this truth, nothing matters ultimately but each specific, fleeting instance of individual being, the shape we give to each momentary coalescence of atomic particles into a particular human situation.

That's all we have. That's all there is. That's what we kill when we murder someone. That's what we strangle when we keep them down with our boot on their throat.

We drink and we drink.

Is it not time to be done with lies at last? Especially the chief lie now running through the world like a plague, putrescent and vile: that we kill each other and hate each other and drive each other into desperation and fear for any other reason but that we are animals, forms of apes, driven by blind impulses to project our dominance, to strut and bellow and hoard the best goods for ourselves. Or else to lash back at the dominant beast in convulsions of humiliated rage. Or else cravenly to serve the dominant ones, to scurry about them like slaves, picking fleas from their fur, in hopes of procuring a few crumbs for ourselves.

That's the world of power – the "real world," as its flea-picking slaves and strutting dominants like to call it. It's the ape-world, driven by hormonal secretions and chemical mechanics, the endless replication of protein reactions, the unsifted agitations of nerve tissue, issuing their ignorant commands. There's no sense or reason or higher order of thought in it – except for that perversion of consciousness called justification, self-righteousness, which gussies up the breast-beating ape with fine words and grand abstractions.

And yet the breast-beating and the blathering of fine words go on and on – prosperity, freedom, holiness, security, justice, glory, our people, our homeland, God's will be done, we will prevail.

We shovel a grave in the air where you won't lie too cramped.

Beyond the thunder and spectacle of this ape-roaring world is another state of reality, emerging from the murk of our baser functions. There is power here, too, but not the heavy, blood-sodden bulk of dominance. Instead, it's a power of radiance, of awareness, connection, breaking through in snaps of heightened perception, moments of encounter and illumination that lift us from the slime.

It takes ten million forms, could be in anything – a rustle of leaves, a tang of salt, a bending blues note, a sweep of shadows on a tin roof, a catch in a voice, a glance, the touch of a hand, a line from Mandelshtam. Any particular, specific combination of ever-shifting elements, always unrepeatable in its exact effect and always momentary. Because that's all there is, that's all we have – the moments.

The moments, and their momentary power – a power without the power of resistance, defenseless, provisional, unarmed, imperfect, bold. The ape-world's cycle of war and retribution stands as the image of the world of power; what can serve as the emblem of this other reality? A kiss, perhaps: given to a lover, offered to a friend, bestowed on an enemy – or pressed to the brow of a murdered child.

Both worlds are within us, of course, like two quantum states of reality, awaiting our choice to determine which will be actuated, which will define the very nature of being – individually and in the aggregate, moment by moment. This is our constant task, for as long as the universe exists in the electrics of our brains: to redeem each moment or let it fall. Some moments will be won, many more lost; there is no final victory. There is only the task.

We drink you at morning and midday; we drink you at night

II.

So do we counsel fatalism, a dark, defeated surrender, a retreat into bitter, curdled quietude? Not a whit. We advocate action, positive action, unstinting action, doing the only thing that human beings can do, ever: Try this, try that, try something else again; discard those approaches that don't work, that wreak havoc, that breed death and cruelty; fight against everything that would draw us down again into our own mud; expect no quarter, no lasting comfort, no true security; offer no last word, no eternal truth, but just keep stumbling, falling, careening, backsliding, crawling toward the broken light.

And what is this "broken light"? Nothing more than a metaphor for the patches of understanding – awareness, attention, knowledge, connection – that break through our darkness and stupidity for a moment now and then. A light always fractured, under threat, shifting, found then lost again, always lost. For we are creatures steeped in imperfection, in breakage and mutation, tossed up – very briefly – from the boiling, chaotic crucible of Being, itself a ragged work in progress toward unknown ends, or rather, toward no particular end at all. Why should there be an "answer" in such a reality?

What matters is what works – what pulls us from our own darkness as far as possible, for as long as possible. Yet the truth remains that "what works" is always and forever only provisional – what works now, here, might not work there, then. What saves our soul today might make us sick tomorrow.

Thus all we can do is to keep looking, working, trying to clear a little more space for the light, to let it shine on our passions and our confusions, our anger and our hopes, informing and refining them, so that we can see each other better, for a moment – until death shutters all seeing forever.
    
We drink and we drink.

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Barrel Bomb: The Cataclysmic Close of Campaign 2016

Written by Chris Floyd 02 November 2016 4143 Hits

Well, here we are: at the bottom of the barrel under forty feet of slag. In a few days’ time, we’ll know our fate: the five-alarm fire of Trump Rule (oh, how those police unions are chomping at the bit!) or the Clinton Age of Hyper-War (oh, how those neocons are chomping at the bit!). In either case, the entrenched coagulation of corporate interests and war profiteers that have strangled the peace, prosperity and prospects of the American people will not be budged an inch. The change that people are so desperately hungry for — so hungry that that some of them might well elect an Establishment insider whose sinister clowning makes him appear to be a ‘rebel’ — will not come. Thus their bitterness will grow deeper, more sour, erupting more and more often in physical violence: from militarized police against protestors, from Trump-empowered racists (if he wins or loses), from extremist militias, from angry, maddened people on every side. And of course there will be more — much more — of the horrific, never-ending, globe-spanning violence of the bipartisan Terror War that churns on and on, no matter who is sitting temporarily in the White House.

There’s no use in pretending that’s not what we face. But there’s also no use in pretending that this situation is somehow sui generis, some terribly unlucky conflation of unforeseen circumstances coming together at this particular time. It is in fact the culmination and embodiment of the deliberate choices of the most powerful forces in society: the choices to enrich themselves beyond all reason and extend their military and economic dominance over the earth.

It doesn’t matter that many if not most of the practitioners and functionaries of this system “believe” in its rightness. It doesn’t matter that brutal neoliberal nostrums and extremist imperial notions have become religious dogmas for those who see themselves as the “meritocracy.” It doesn’t matter if the leaders and factotums genuinely believe in the “exceptionalism” they preach or if they are cynical power-seekers. It doesn’t matter if they actually believe their rapacious financial machinations are reflections of the “natural law” of the “the market” that will eventually benefit all, or if they know themselves to be what they really are: ugly souls disfigured by greed. The end result has been the same: a long series of deliberate choices by a bipartisan elite that have hollowed out the lives and communities and futures of millions of Americans, and created a living hell of war, ruin and hatred over much of the earth.

This is a system that has delegitimized itself, a system that has undermined its own institutions. Through its own actions, it has rotted out the foundations of trust and reason which once upheld it. Some might say, “Oh, but there’s been a decades-long, concentrated effort by right-wing billionaires and corporate forces to foment ideological and religious extremism to undermine the legitimacy of secular government, which might restrict their profiteering or let more people have a share in power.” And that’s true. But it’s been accompanied at every step by the collusion and cowardice of the putative opposition. The so-called New Democrats, exemplified by the Clintons, jettisoned concern for the common good to embrace “centrist” and “technocratic” policies: i.e., to adopt the neoliberal dogma that unbridled pursuit of private profit by a connected elites will somehow, someday, lead to general prosperity. The idea that the party should fight to improve the lives of ordinary people in the here and now, to fight for their quality of life in a genuine, substantive way,  came to be seen as old-hat, a quaint and fusty notion of has-beens and dreamers who didn’t understand the way the world really worked. A true, savvy “moderate” knows you must compromise every ideal, show yourself to be a willing and avid servant of the monied interests and the militarists, in order to gain power so you can … make a few cosmetic changes around the edges, a few little social improvements here and there (but only — of course! — in “partnership” with private interests), but never, ever challenge the system at its core.

This is the only deal in town: outright, unvarnished right-wing rule, or simpering, cowardly “moderate” management of a violent, rapacious system. That’s been the choice on offer since 1976. That’s the choice on offer today. The only difference is that the system has metastasized to a monstrous degree over the years: lacking any genuine opposition, the system has grown more violent, more rapacious.

Establishment collusion — and Democratic cowardice — finally and completely degraded and delegitimized the American electoral process 16 years ago, when the Supreme Court — with two members who had direct family ties to the Bush campaign — stopped a recount that would have resulted in the actual winner of the election to take office. This outrageous action was accepted by every single organ and institution of the American system. (With the momentary exception of the Black Congressional Caucus, whose members tried, in vain, to get a single Democratic senator to challenge the result.) Instead, Americans were encouraged to applaud the fact that power had changed hands “without tanks in the street.” That is, we were to celebrate that an actual coup d’etat had taken place before our eyes without the slightest show of resistance.

Once in place, the coup regime — staffed at the highest levels by extremists who a year before had publicly called for a vast militarization of American policy and society, even if the public had to be “galvanized” by “a new Pearl Harbor” — led the nation into a disastrous war based on false pretenses, a vast crime that not only killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people but has led directly to unbridled turmoil, extremism, conflict and corruption around the world. The elite-supported coup regime instituted torture programs and death squads, and launched an orgy of war profiteering unprecedented in world history. The regime then presided over the worst economic collapse in generations.

Not a single member of the regime was ever tried — or even investigated, at even the most preliminary level — for a single crime committed during its time in power. There were no high-profile Congressional investigations into the hideous carnage and ruin and instability they wrought; not even a “Chilcot Commission” into the origins of the war, as the UK belatedly launched. Instead the regime’s leaders and top factotums were heaped with honors and wealth. Today their endorsement is eagerly sought — and gained — by the “progressive” Democratic candidate for president.

In 2008, the desperate electorate turned to a figure presented to them as an outsider who would at last bring real change. He had the trappings of difference — a black man with a Muslim name, who spoke eloquently of peace and social justice, who most people thought was far to the left but voted for him anyway. But Barack Obama was of course a meritocratic “centrist” to his core. Riding an enormous wave of popularity, and a strong Congressional majority, he proceeded to … bail out Wall Street fraudsters and finaglers with tax money and create a health care system based on the plan of a rightwing think-tank that prioritized corporate profit — and probably killed the chance for a genuinely public health care system for generations, if not for good. He also doubled down on the Terror War, expanding it to more countries, extended Bush’s death squads, helped destroy nations like Libya and Yemen (thus spawning more chaos and terror), expanded illegal surveillance of the populace (and the world) to an extent beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi or KGB. And after saving Big Money from itself and securing the guaranteed profits of the healthcare-insurance corporate complex, he spent most of his time on the domestic front trying to strike a “grand bargain” with Republicans to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Again, all hopes of any real change were thwarted. So now the nation swings from being ready to embrace a perceived leftist to the brink of voting in a bellicose rightist as it seeks the genuine change no one will give them. Of course, after the scorched-earth tactics of bipartisan neoliberalism and the inevitable moral degradation and brutalization that comes from year after year after year of vicious aggressive war, the choice for Trump is more nihilistic. It’s as if people believe positive change is no longer possible — so let’s tear everything down and see what happens. (This is the actual, open philosophy of the Breitbart gang, who are now directing Trump’s campaign.)

Even if Clinton wins, this nihilism will still be rampant. And given that she happily embodies the bipartisan Establishment now roundly despised on all sides for its many depredations, the nihilism will grow even worse — especially as she has given no indication whatsoever that she will even try to make substantive changes in the neoliberal-militarist system that is strangling us. Quite the contrary.

So yes, this has been a campaign like no other — but mostly because it has brought the systematic decay of the Republic into the sharpest possible relief, and has shown, more clearly than before, that the neoliberal-militarist ascendency offers no hope for a better life, a better world; indeed, that it offers nothing at all — except more violence, more bitterness, more ruin, more degradation for us all.

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