The Surrenderists: Dem Leaders Stand Down; No Consequences for Coup

Written by Chris Floyd 07 January 2021 1315 Hits

The Democratic leadership has announced that the House will not be called into session again until after the inauguration. So that's it: no impeachment, no censure, no investigations, nothing. They are going to do absolutely nothing about an armed invasion of Congress aimed at overthrowing a presidential election. They are going to do nothing about it, not even make a *gesture* of doing something about it. What does that say to the many fascists seething not only in the populace but also in the halls of power? It says: Do your worst; there are no consequences. This is a monstrous abdication of their duty to the country and to the Constitution. It is a dangerous act of weakness that will only embolden the enemies of democracy (again, many of whom are in Congress right now), who see that the Democratic leadership will do nothing, absolutely nothing, even in response to a violent attack on their own institution, on their own persons.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not. Even with all the media buzz about measures to remove Trump last night, I knew in my heart that the Democratic leadership would do nothing. Trump will stay in the White House, in command of the military, in charge of the nuclear codes, raging and lying and stoking more and more hatred and division. Then he will exit without facing the slightest consequences for his actions – not even for provoking an insurrection against the constitutional republic. Again, this is a deeply dangerous and monumentally, criminally foolish course of action by the House leadership. It is just as disheartening, just as much a measure of the rot in our democracy, as the Trump insurrection itself.


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Unwrung Withers: No Downsides for Trumpists From Their Coup Push

Written by Chris Floyd 11 November 2020 5781 Hits

The Trumpists will keep on pushing their (thus-far) cack-handed coup attempt because they know two things: 1) it might just succeed, in which case, yay! and 2) None of them will suffer any consequences for their blatant attempt to degrade and destroy the democratic process. If the coup fails, Mike Pompeo will be sitting on corporate boards in late January; Bill Barr will be raking in cash at  some bigtime law firm; the ROWS (Right-Wing Oligarch Welfare Spigot) will keep spewing moolah and concocting fake jobs for the likes of Snivelling Stevie Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, Mick Mulvaney, etc.; Mike Pence will be running for POTUS/24, getting respectable press coverage; Jared and Ivanka will swanning swankily around the Hamptons; and Donald Trump will be giving his first post-president interview to Maggie Haberman at the NYT, where they will josh cheekily about old times while he announces his new network (or takeover of OANN), his upcoming "Rallies for the Real President" and on and on. 

They all know they won't face prosecution or even investigation for any of their malefactions in office; as with the Bush Administration, their crimes will be buried, and the deep poison they injected into the political/governmental system will neither be addressed nor removed, in the name of "looking forward not back," just as Obama/Biden did in 2008. And as in 2008, the poison will keep festering, worsening, bearing even more horrible fruit down the line.

We probably – probably – won't see Trump getting hugs from Ellen or Michelle Obama like the ones enjoyed by that lovable old mass-murdering war criminal George Dubya these days; but beyond that, Trump's withers will remain unwrung. Because that's how our power structure rolls: it has its nasty internal spats, but closes ranks when it comes to accountability before the law – or common decency.

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House of Death: Trump's Endgame Plan to Kill Democracy

Written by Chris Floyd 10 November 2020 5771 Hits

If you are resting easy about the election result: don’t. If you don’t think Trump, McConnell and their party of rightwing extremists, who have already exerted every sinew in a bid to destroy the democratic process, won’t keep on doing this until the very last second, with every weapon at their disposal, no matter what damage it will cause — think again. This is the endgame: to use monstrous, baseless deceit, heavy political pressure, bribery, blackmail, chaos, cajolery and fear to force enough GOP-led states to shut down or delay the Electoral College process past its deadline. 

Then the election would go to the House of Representatives, where each state has a single vote, controlled by the majority party of its delegation. Although the Republicans are a minority in the House in sheer numbers, the party controls more state delegations. In this scenario, a state like Wyoming, which has only one US House seat (held by Liz Cheney, Dick's daughter), representing the state's total population of 578,000, would have EQUAL weight in deciding the presidency as California's delegation – with 52 members, representing 39.5 million people. 

In this scenario, it won’t matter how many popular votes Biden won. (Right now his lead is more than 4 million.) It won’t even matter how many Electoral College votes he clearly won. If the GOP extremists can, by hook or crook, throw the election to the House of Representatives, they stand a very good chance of giving the presidency back to Trump.

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of the kind of vast and unprecedented open fraud that would’ve had to have taken place in broad daylight – in Republican-controlled states – for the election results to be called into question this way. And today McConnell was offering the ludicrous-on-its-face assertion that the very same ballots that elected Republican senators were somehow questionable when it comes to the presidential vote. That is: every ballot that went against Trump is questionable and possibly illegal; but that same ballot will still be valid if it also registered a vote for a Republican congressperson or senator. Only its vote for Biden would be discarded.

At the beginning of his term, Trump launched a much-ballyhooed national commission to look into the vast voter fraud he said occurred in 2016. Stocked with his own hand-picked sycophants, it had to disband in a matter of weeks because there was absolutely no evidence of this fraud. It is the same case now, in an election that had GOP observers in ballot-counting offices across the country. It’s almost shameful to have to make these arguments, but such is deep and ignorant credulity of millions that you have lay out the details of why down is not up, dry is not wet and day is not night. 

The gambit might not work, but McConnell’s shameless intervention today shows that this their intention. For the moment, Rupert Murdoch, that monstrous arbiter of political fortunes throughout the Anglosphere (save New Zealand, which is spared his ghastly sleaze), has signalled that Biden (like Tony Blair) is a safe pair of hands and that Trump should accept defeat. But anyone who has lived in the degraded world that Murdoch has poisoned for generations knows this wretch can turn on a dime if he feels it’s to his benefit. Just as all the Murdoch “news” outlets suddenly shifted against Trump last week, they can shift back this week and turn their relentless propaganda machine to support the Trump-McConnell attempt to overthrow the election at the last moment.

I think they will purse the House route because I don’t think they will manage to get the election result decided by Trump’s appointees and allies on the Supreme Court. There would need to be at least the slimmest modicum of evidence even for partisan courts to move his preposterous claims to the SCOTUS. And since the election, the lower courts have been throwing out Trump’s empty cases at every turn – because, again, there is no evidence of any kind of vast, systematic fraud anywhere in the US that could overturn the results. 

(This leaves aside the fact that courts are not SUPPOSED to decide elections like this. The bland assertion of “let the courts sort it out” that we see offered everywhere these days is already a perversion of the ordinary political process. There is only one case of this in US history, and that was the sinister and absurd ruling in 2000 – by a majority with two judges who had family members (wife, son) working for the Bush campaign – that the recount in Florida had to stop because it might “injure the interests” of plaintiff George Bush; that is, literally, that his “interests” would be injured if the recount showed that he lost the state and the national election. But even this was a case of intervening to stop a recount; not ruling on charges of massive fraud for which there is no evidence.)

At the moment, I believe this plan will fail. Maybe it’s not evn a serious plan; maybe it’s just Trump trying to extort an agreement: “give me a sweet deal — blanket pardon, debt relief, etc. — and I’ll go; if not, I’ll take a flamethrower to the place.” Maybe. But there is absolutely no guarantee of that. We have seen how far the Trump and the GOP extremists have been willing to go. They tried to destroy the popular vote process in the most flagrant way possible, hoping to game the Electoral College to a victory that the American people would never give them. They failed with the popular vote; they even failed with the Electoral College. Now they are going to try to blow that up as well, and see if they can throw it into the House and have one last throw of the dice with Liz Cheney and the other willing executioners of democracy.

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Brief note on a bleary post-election morning

Written by Chris Floyd 04 November 2020 6119 Hits

You’d think that if you woke up after an election to find one candidate leading by two million votes, with the millions of votes yet to be counted almost certainly going heavily in his favor, that would be it: “Well, the result seems clear: you had a race and the voters chose one guy over another. That’s democracy in action!” But we are dealing with the United States and its Electoral College: the 18th-century contraption of slave-owning elites who had already restricted the right to a vote to limited categories of white men. Yet even with this truncated electorate, they were frantically worried that challenges to the domination of the rich elite (the only people worthy and wise enough to rule!) might arise, and so they rigged up the Electoral College to ensure that the popular vote of the filthy rabble would never be the sole determining factor in obtaining the presidency. Now here we are. Once again, the will of the people has been expressed, narrowly but decisively, at the ballot box; and once again, this means nothing. All that matters is how well one side or another has gamed the slave-owners’ democracy-suppressing system.

Yes, it should never have been this close, with an incumbency that has literally destroyed the economy and wilfully condemned tens of thousands of Americans to needless death. And yes, the Democrats ran a candidate who was as close to an empty suit of clothes hanging on a rack as he could possibly be, inspiring no one, offering nothing but vague bromides (“Nothing will change,” he told our present-day wealthy elites) while adamantly rejecting policies and programs that addressed the urgent needs of ordinary Americans. Yes, he was the worst possible opposition candidate at the worst possible time. But even with his manifold shortcomings, the American people have once again rejected Trump at the ballot box. And once again, the slave-owning oligarchs of yore have stretched out their dead hands and are threatening to strangle the will of the people. 

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"Lost Americans": A national ballad of history and tragedy

Written by Chris Floyd 22 October 2020 6863 Hits

We came across the ocean
fighting through the stormy waves
We carved out our dominion
And planted it with graves
We built a mighty nation
on the backs and blood of slaves
And sang our praise unto the Lord
for the blessings that He gave

In a covered wagon
rolling cross the endless plain
the earth was dark with carcasses
of the buffalo we’d slain
We sent our soldiers out
to make the Indians feel the pain
And swore our souls were white as snow
without a crimson stain

We’re the lost Americans
The lost Americans
We came into a land that knew us not
We made the world again
With God and law and sin
While others paid for everything we’ve got

Every now and then
A champion would arise
to speak of truth and justice
And tear the veil from people’s eyes
But every single time
they got a bullet in the head
And lots of pious praise
when they were safely dead

Now we take the names
of our conquered native foes
we give em to our weapons
as around the world we go
Blasting anybody 
who might get in the way
of the pure and holy goodness
of God’s own USA

We’re the lost Americans
The lost Americans
We came into a land that knew us not
We made the world again
With God and law and sin
While others paid for everything we’ve got

Words and music © 2020 by Chris Floyd

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Lords of Misrule: UK Elites and the Rise of Global Feudalism

Written by Chris Floyd 30 September 2020 8918 Hits

I darkly suspect that the UK is entering a long winter of discontent and widespread upheaval, which will likely end with the replacement of the hapless opportunist Boris Johnson by someone even worse: the hardcore, inhumane, hard-right true believer Michael Gove, with the equally inhumane, sinister crank Dom Cummings still running the show. (Cummings, remember, has long been Gove's man, not Johnson's.) Together they will use the chaos and suffering to keep pushing their brutal agenda of "disruption" and "reform" to destroy the ability of government to act for the greater common good. Instead they will continue turning over its functions to cronies in the private sector, who will drain the Treasury in corrupt deals while providing degraded services – or none at all – as we have seen in almost every case of "privatisation" over the past decades and especially during the pandemic.

Gove and Cummings are part of a broader rightwing movement across the world, which has for decades been funded with unimaginable amounts of money (almost always "dark money," hidden and laundered through cut-outs). These extremist ideologues believe that government has only one legitimate function: enhancing the power and privilege of an elite that rules by the "right" of its inherent superiority: either its "superior genes" (as Trump – and Cummings' lordly father-in-law – openly say) or a putative in-born "superior intellect" (as Dom postulates, ludicrously including himself among that number). Money is the main signifier of inherent worth in this barbaric belief system; and being unaccountable to the laws and regulations that restrict the grubby rabble is one of the chief privileges of the elect.

In essence, it's a form of high-tech feudalism, where baronal power centers (oligiarchs, corporations) hold sway over weak and nominal national governments. If you read what the right-wing think tanks (often American in origin) with which Gove and Cummings have long been associated are ACTUALLY saying in the dense, dull prose of their innumerable "policy papers," you'll see that this characterization of their ideology and their aims is no exaggeration. It's an ancient evil – brutal, rapacious rule by unaccountable elites – dressed up in modern form and cloaked in the cynical perversion of rhetoric about "rights" and "freedom" and "sovereignty" and "modernization” and “AI,” etc. They are heartless liars in pursuit of loot and power, and they literally, demonstrably, do not care who lives or dies, as long as they get what they want.

Until we recognize this, until we stop treating these radical, death-dealing, society-wrecking extremists as normal politicians working within the system, we cannot effectively confront them and stop their depredations. They will continue to use the system itself to hollow out government and society until there is nothing left but their little clique, sealed in sumptuous fortresses behind masses of armed guards, lording it over the ruins.

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Power not Piety: Trump Foes Falling for False Narrative on SCOTUS Pick

Written by Chris Floyd 27 September 2020 9150 Hits

I see the GOP is successfully manipulating the narrative once again, drawing in even Trump opponents their web of falsehood that paints the Supreme Court pick as a "religious" issue instead of what it is: the installation of a rightwing hack who, having already helped kill one election, will spend decades entrenching the power of rapacious elites.

The objection to Amy Barrett is not that she's a Catholic. This a fake-news trope being drummed up by Trumpists. Joe Biden is a Catholic. There is a Catholic on the Supreme Court appointed by Democrats. The objection is to the legal positions she's advanced during her brief career on the bench, which almost uniformly chip away and strip away the rights of free citizens in favor of Big Money and government power. The other objection is that she, like Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, was part of the legal team that worked successfully to overthrow the will of the American people in the 2000 election by stopping the re-count in Florida, which would have given Al Gore the electoral college majority along with the majority of votes from actual voters that he won.

Working first with state officials in Florida -- that is, with governor of the state, George Bush's brother Jeb, and the official directly in charge of elections, Kathleen Harris, who also happened to be the chairman of Bush's Florida campaign operation -- the Roberts-Kavanaugh-Barrett cabal stopped the recount (with the help of a riot staged by GOP staffers who physically invaded public offices and threatened recounters.) This deeply corrupt usurpation of the democratic process was then upheld by a Supreme Court with two justices who had close family members (son, wife) working directly with the Bush campaign.

Now Barrett, having already taken part in the illicit overturning of one election, is being bullrushed onto the Court so she can rule on another election which Republicans are already openly admitting they will contest, no matter how badly they're defeated at the polls or in the electoral college.

None of this is about religion, or family values or any other hot-button "cultural warfare trope the rightwing hokes up. It's about power: specifically, the power of the elite to hold unaccountable, unregulated sway over American society and its citizens. Barrett, a willing executioner of American democracy in 2000, is being appointed by a man who was not chosen by the majority of voters in 2016 and openly says he will not respect the voters' wishes in 2020 if they vote against him; and she will be confirmed by a Senate "majority" that represents 15 million fewer Americans than the "minority" opposition.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: whatever you want to call the system of power in the United States today, it is not a representative democracy in any sense of the word.

(PS. And if you still think the Democrats will fight any overthrow of the election result by the Republican Party and the GOP-dominated Supreme Court in 2020, see the above reference to the 2000 election. They didn't fight for democracy then and they won't do it now. This is not a pleasant truth, but it is the truth, and we'd better get ready for it.)

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The Surrendered Land: US Institutions Won’t Fight for Democracy

Written by Chris Floyd 26 September 2020 8918 Hits

I follow the novelist A.R. Moxon on Twitter, where his political takes routinely bring genuine insight, wit and moral rigor to the increasing beserkery of our times. But he recently posted an observation, or prediction, that I found I couldn’t agree with, much as I would have liked to. It prompted some thoughts in response that I put up – on Twitter, where else? – not so much in refutation of his point but more as a wider-angle lens on the possibilities that face us in a post-election meltdown. Below are Moxon’s comment and my response, which has been edited and augmented somewhat, since the original was in the terse telegraphese of Twitterspeak.

On Saturday, A.R. Moxon wrote:
For literally millions of us our remaining hope is that the monster is gone in January and I do wonder if Republicans understand how dangerous the desperate fury that will rise up simultaneously all over the country will be, if that hope is thwarted on some cheating ass bullshit. I don’t think Republicans have even seen a riot yet.

My response:
Perhaps. But honestly, who will lead this riot? The Democrats will do nothing but issue a few stern tweets and cry, "Just wait til the midterms!" The media will pen some trembly editorials, then keep broadcasting Trump rants and doing "process" pieces about insider politics in the White House and endless stories on “What do folks in this Ohio diner think about Trump's contentious second term?" 

Obama & Michelle will make some uplifting Netflix shows about hope & unity – while sternly warning people not to "riot" or carry out a general strike: "Engagement, not estrangement: that's the key!" Hollywood/NPR/NYT liberals will follow their lead, while supplying us with lots of clever memes and skits and biting satire about Trump’s comb-over and his ghastly entourage. John Oliver and Trevor Noah and Rachel Maddow will look sternly into the cameras and denounce the latest outrage – then cut to a commercial for some massive corporation raking in ungodly profits from Trump tax cuts and deregulation.

Billionaires like Bezos will keep chasing, and getting, fat government contracts, Facebook of course will be rolling in clover (while continuing to serve as a gargantuan propaganda machine for Trump and fascism). Google and other Silicon Valley giants will keep working on "important partnerships with the government on vital communication and national security issues.” Wall Streeters will keep wallowing in the hot tub. Military contractors will keep practicing their sinister alchemy, transmuting the blood and suffering of human beings into gold.

Meanwhile, those who do take to the streets – in organized actions by unions and other groups or in spontaneous protests – will be beaten, caged, gassed, jailed or shot dead by berserk cops and their militia allies, augmented by DHS goon squads, with the full force of the Justice Department (and federal courts backed with Trumpist hacks) to back up their atrocities.

The god-awful truth is that there are no institutional forces in American life that will stand up to a post-election power grab by Trump. They've already demonstrated this by failing to stand up to his egregious and brazen pre-election power-grabs, and his howlingly obvious, easily impeachable/prosecutable corruption. They have already surrendered, they have already given up on our constitutional democracy, the rule of law, equal justice and the very idea of a greater common good. Our institutions gave up on this long ago, to service the super-rich, the militarist empire & their own comfort and privilege.

So again: where will these riots come from? And if they do arise, how will they be sustained, in the absence of any genuine support from the bastions of civic society, from the political opposition, from any institution on the commanding heights of the system? I desperately hope I'm wrong and we will see a massive outpouring that will overwhelm the tyrant and force our surrendered institutions and political leaders to join with the people or get swept away. I fervently hope this will be the case if (or when) tyranny comes. But at the moment, it is very hard to see this happening.

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Keepers of the Condor: US Role in Evil Network Shown in Soft Light

Written by Chris Floyd 03 September 2020 11354 Hits

Operation Condor: the illegal state network that terrorised South America (Guardian)

Even an otherwise excellent, thorough, damning article on the ghastly horrors of Operation Condor has to paint US involvement in its Nazi-level atrocities in the very best light. The reason the US funded, armed, trained and protected the torture-lords of  murderous rightwing dictatorships was, we're told here, is because poor little American leaders were traumatized by the Cuban Missile Crisis and felt "existentially threatened" by any "leftist" (i.e., non-rightwing) movements in South America.

It was only out of this quaking fear that successive bipartisan US administrations backed the overthrow of free, democratically elected, non-aligned governments across South and Central America, and happily, eagerly participated in a hideous network of murder, torture, kidnapping & trafficking of children. It was only because the most powerful nation in the history of the world, with bristling nukes ringed around the borders of all its adversaries, which was dropping more bombs on one tiny nation that had been used in all of WWII, which was ensconced in riches and economic power beyond anything ever seen in history, was scared that it would be utterly destroyed ("existential threat") unless innocent human beings were thrown out of helicopters into the sea by unaccountable tyrants.

Nothing at all about the documented fact that the US greatly preferred murderous dictatorships south of its border to any free government that even attempted mild reforms of rapacious and unjust economic systems that had looted their people for the benefit of local oligarchs and, above all, US corporations. Forget the “threat” of Cuba-style socialism: even the very notion of mixed economies, modest land reforms, modest social programs along the lines of those of FDR – all of this was to be wiped out in favor of bloated killers and their cronies keeping the loot flowing to the gilded corporate boards back in poor, little, existentially threatened America. And that’s what happened, from the American-backed coup in Guatemala in the 1950s to the Obama administration’s approval of the oligarch coup in Honduras in 2010, which has plunged that nation into a hellhole of gangs and government goons brutalizing the people.

It's the same old story. Even trenchant criticisms of US policy must be couched in terms of benign, mitigating circumstances – as in Ken Burns' Vietnam series, which assures us that all of the US-inflicted horrors in a war that left millions dead were due to "good intentions gone awry." It's remarkable, really: malign intent can be (and is) imputed to every other nation, whose governments are seen as ruthlessly and amorally pursuing the interest of their ruling elites; but the US always, always, acts only out of pure intentions or understandable motives – although sometimes, tragically, our decent, upright elites are sometimes led by their own good intentions into a bit of a mess, through no fault of their own. Yet somehow, they always continue to prosper, no matter how big the "mess" – while millions of innocent people around the world (and today, increasingly, in the US itself) pay the price.


Again, overall, it's a very good story in detailing the suffering of innocent people under the operation, and it does note that the US was fully aware of all the atrocities being inflicted, and that many of the torturers were trained by the US at the infamous "School of the Americas." But even here, it is quick to emphasize that Operation Condor "was not a US-led operation." No, it was led by dictators like Pinochet who had been installed and maintained in authoritarian power with US support for years on end. But yes, it's true that the US, with admirable magniminity, did allow its satraps to act on their own initiative sometimes – not in anything that might ameliorate the suffering of ordinary people, mind you, but if America's pet dicators wanted to set up a transnational network of murder, torture and child trafficking, that was just fine with Washington ... which, as noted, gave weapons, training, money and full support to the operation, but didn't lead it, oh, my word, no.

But on a separate note and a different issue, the article makes reference to little-known fact that could have great relevance for us today. It's this passage:

"Shortly before I travelled to Chile in March, startling news emerged about a Swiss company that had, for decades, supplied cryptography machines to military, police and spy agencies around the world. The company, the Washington Post revealed, had been secretly owned by the CIA and West Germany’s BND intelligence service. Any messages sent via its cryptography machines could, unbeknownst to the users, be read by the US and West Germany. Among the company’s clients were the regimes in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. As the Washington Post put it, the CIA 'was, in effect, supplying rigged communications gear to some of South America’s most brutal regimes and, as a result, in [a] unique position to know the extent of their atrocities'."

Knowing this, any idea that intelligence agencies are not doing the same thing today with web-based cryptography services seems very fanciful.

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The Malevolent Malarkey of Biden's Big "Law and Order" Push

Written by Chris Floyd 02 September 2020 9669 Hits

Biden to Air Nationwide Law-and-Order Ad Condemning Rioters and Looters (NYT)

This is so monumentally, stunningly, agonizingly stupid. Biden is adopting Trump's false narrative about the protests, adopting Trump's language and fighting on Trump's turf, the very issue Trump WANTS to be the focus of the campaign, instead of his own manifold crimes and failures. I can't even process how self-defeating this is. Thousands of Americans are dying needless deaths every week due to Trump's mishandling (and deliberate exacerbation) of the pandemic. Tens of millions are out of work, facing homelessness, ruin and desperation. The Postal Service upon which so many Americans depend is literally being destroyed before our eyes. The rule of law is literally being destroyed before our eyes by a renegade Justice Department run by a nasty thug spreading authoritarian rule for his boss. At every turn, the physical infrastructure and social fabric of the United States is being ripped to shreds, while trillions of dollars are being ripped from the pockets of ordinary citizens and given to corruption-riddled elites. Trump has even publicly promised to destroy the Social Security programme if he is re-elected, threatening every American retiree – now and in the future – with poverty, misery and early death.

THIS is what's actually happening in the country, as a direct result of Trump's policies. No candidate in the history of American politics has ever been given the kind of ammunition Biden has to steamroll his campaign to a huge victory. And what he is doing, at this absolutely crucial time, as the campaign heads into its final few weeks? He's spending $45 million – the biggest outlay of the entire campaign – to adopt Trump's bogus mantra of "law and order" and show he's even tougher than Trump is. He too wants to see every kid who spray-paints "BLM" on a wall prosecuted and sent to prison. He too will use cops, troops, tear gas, armored cars, kidnap vans, rubber bullets and flash grenades on mothers linking arms to protest murder and injustice. And he too will paint an absolutely minuscule number of sporadic incidents of "property damage," in very tiny, concentrated areas of a few cities, as some kind of epidemic of "rioting and looting" – while, exactly like Trump, ignoring that almost every "violent clash" has begun with police forces attacking peaceful protestors.

A week-long, $45 million ad campaign that doesn't even mention the pandemic, doesn't address the actual suffering of actual people from the policies of his opponent: just tough-guy posturing and a few empty bromides about "unity." A whole week blanketing the country with this malarkey, helping Trump keep the focus exactly where he wants it – on the fake news of "cities on fire" – while ignoring the realities of a broken, bleeding nation and its people. It drives one to utter despair. Are they really, actually just going to hand the election to Trump on a platter?

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Show Them the Money: The Respectable Media Enablers of Trump's Monstrous Lies

Written by Chris Floyd 31 August 2020 11838 Hits

Activist Ady Barkan tells top Republican to apologise over doctored video (Guardian)

There is simply no way for any of us to comprehend or adequately prepare for the amount of utterly depraved falsehood that is coming our way in the next two months. It is going to surpass anything that any of us has ever known, anything we can imagine right now. And please remember: almost all of it will be brought to you by some of the most powerful corporations in modern America: the media conglomerates, national and local, who are eagerly taking Trump money to disseminate his arrant, death-dealing lies in his ads; the social networks – Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc – who also gobble up the Trump dollar or else rake in profits by "monetizing" the outpourings of the deranged extremists and organized fascist networks spreading Trumpist filth; the print media, such as the NYT, who continue to pretend we are in some fairly ordinary "horse race" political situation, while slavishly adhering to their cult of "both siderism," which paints a completely false picture of reality when one "side" is actively, openly, gleefully trying to destroy American democracy and literally killing thousands of Americans every week with its deliberate, documented policy of allowing the pandemic to spread. Remember who is actually feeding you these lies, the actual venues through which Trump and his ghastly retinue are poisoning society and destroying our children's future.

And why are these respectable institutions doing this? They just want the money. They don't care that the Trumpists are lying. They just want the money. They don't care that Trump is sending rightwing terrorists into America's streets to kill people and intimidate citizens. They just want the money. They don't care if democracy crumbles, if the rule of law collapses, if millions are made homeless, if hundreds of thousands die from Trump's spread of Covid, if Trump cancels the election or stages a violent coup to stay in power, if the planet itself burns up and dies. They just want the money. Facebook, Google, YouTube, Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, every network or paper taking money to spread Trump's lies, or treating these lies as if they were anything other than the steaming, reeking filth they are ... they don't care. They just want the money. If you build a system where money is God, where the common good is mocked and scorned, this is where you end up: with a dope-addled, spray-tanned pervert literally sacrificing your children to Moloch.

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Kenosha Goddam: The Rot at the Top Goes All the Way Down

Written by Chris Floyd 27 August 2020 12243 Hits

This is the boy who drove to a town he didn't live in, joining many other armed extremists from outside, with the specific intent of confronting American citizens protesting the shooting of an unarmed man seven times in the back, leaving him paralyzed. This boy and his fellow armed extremists -- who were "violating curfew" just as the protestors were -- mingled with the police before the protest began. The police gave water to this boy and his fellow extremists, praised them, thanked them for coming (and breaking the curfew, which was the excuse for the police to move against the protestors). The police told this boy and the armed extremists that they would force the protestors toward the extremists, "because you guys know how to handle them." (This is the testimony of the extremists themselves.)

The police, having declared the protest for equal justice to be unlawful because the participants were violating the curfew, then used violence to drive the protestors toward the armed extremists – who didn't live in the town, who came armed to the town with the intention of committing violence (as their social media posts showed), and who, again, were just as much in violation of curfew as the protestors.

In the chaos that followed this police riot -- the beatings, tear gas, flash grenades, etc. -- this boy took his weapon and murdered an unarmed protestor. He then walked to the police lines with his hands up, apparently expecting to be arrested for the murder he had committed in plain sight. They let him walk on. A few minutes later, this boy murdered another protestor with the gun he brought, from another state, to take part in a planned action of violence. This boy, who had murdered two people in plain sight on a street crammed full of police, then left the town where outside extremists came to foment violence. He was later arrested at his home, in another state, far from the town where he murdered two people.

Look at this boy. Imagine what kind of vile poison has been poured into his young mind for years by some of the wealthiest, most powerful people in the land -- indeed, the world. Rupert Murdoch, first and foremost. Donald Trump. The Mercers. The Sinclairs. The DeVos clan. The Kochs. The whole network of extremist billionaires funding hate groups and "think tanks" churning out justification for the domination of society by rapacious, unaccountable elites. The Falwells and Robertsons and other con artists growing rich on the utter perversion of the religion they falsely profess. The social media networks that have gleefully and profitably let floods of hatred and lies stream across the globe, day in, day out. The Republican Party – all of them, even the "moderates" like Lamar Alexander or Susan Collins, who have sat by silently as a gangster and his goons took over the US government, who have supported the gangster and Murdoch and the Kochs and the Mercers and all the rest.

This boy – living, like so many, in a violent, hate-soaked, hallucinated reality created, for profit, by the rich and powerful – is fully responsible for the evil he has committed. But I tell you this. Rupert Murdoch is also responsible for these murders. Donald Trump is also responsible for these murders. Lamar Alexander is also responsible for these murders. All those who have weaponized and/or monetized hatred and ignorance; all those who have profited from the denigration and destruction of the very notion of the common good, of human commonality, of the inherent worth of every single human being; all those, throughout "respectable" society, who looked away while these tides of hatred were rising, fuelled by the rich and powerful -- oligarchs and corporations who bribe and fund and call the tune for both parties – all of them are also responsible for these murders.

The murderous rot in this country starts at the top, and it has spread all the way down, into the very minds of our children. We are in a much darker and more dangerous place than most of us can bear to contemplate (myself included). But we must brace ourselves, for we have not yet, even now, seen the worst of what's to come. We must be ready, with eyes open; we must be steadfast, even with despair battering our hearts. And, heeding the words Bob Dylan sang 40 years ago, we must fight, always, to strengthen the things that remain.

*Edited to remove reference to the boy living "hundreds of miles" from Kenosha; his home town was closer than that. Apologies.

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