Archive for activism

Musings On History: Goths, the Fall of Rome, and the Future of Humanity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2020 by jtoddring

 

I love a good mystery. Who were the Goths? Where did they come from? How did they manage to sack Rome and defeat the most powerful empire the world had ever seen? What is their true cultural, mythological, spiritual, philosophical and ideological history? 

(Genetic history means little, since we are all close family, in reality; and there is more genetic variation in a single family line than between supposed “races”. But cultural history diverges widely, and that is significant, to say the least. It is as significant as it is open-ended, and it is completely open-ended. Racism, xenophobia, eugenics and Social Darwinism can all end here, should end here, if we are sane. They have no valid basis in reality, but are based only in delusion.)

How was a supposed Gothic-Germanic-Scandinavian mythology used and abused by fascists and Nazis, and corrupted and perverted into a dark poison? (There’s a good question for my anthropology and history scholar friends.) How are they really related to the Germanic peoples, and possibly to Scandinavia, or to Germanic and Norse mythology? To the Vikings and other raiders? 

A bigger mystery is this…

Every nation was a raider nation, from pre-Hellenic, Homeric Greece, through the “great” Roman Empire, the Spanish, Portuguese, French and English empires, etc., to the US empire, and the new global corporate empire, which at present, and for the moment, rules the world. 

But five thousand years of conquest mentality, empires, raiders, looting, rape and pillage, narcissistic egomania and infantile grandiosity, slaughter and slavery, is enough. We can do better.

The bigger mystery is this. Why do the people settle for so little?

Dream big. A better world is entirely possible, if we want it.

This could be the last empire, if we want it to be. We can be free, if we choose it.

All empires fall. What we need now, is an end to empire itself.

JTR,

May 18, 2020

Nostalgia For Simpler Times

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2020 by jtoddring

I generally am not one for nostalgia, having a strong preference for living in the present, and looking to the future. Further, I rarely write in conversational colloquialisms. But I must say this, as a short note:

Holy shit do I miss the ’70’s! Things were fucked up and crazy then, but nothing like this!

(I would say the same thing, but even more emphatically, about the sixties, but I was only four when they ended, so my comments and nostalgia would be more from reading, than from personal experience.)

Mass quarantine of entire countries?! A global house arrest? Draconian medieval measures on a global basis? Shutting down the global economy, while suspending fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms, and granting governments sweeping police state powers world-wide? Now that is truly unprecedented. (The new favourite word of the lemmings.)

Over the last 50 years, since 1970, we have made considerable progress in terms of a global cultural awakening. Racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, violence, war, imperialism, pollution, environmental destruction and degradation: all of these things are considerably less tolerated by the great majority of the people now. We still have major problems, clearly, but a global awakening is underway, and culturally, at least, we are making some progress, in terms of awakening.

That being said, the three-fold alienation that is at the root of our modern world problems – alienation from one another, from nature, and from our deeper selves – has only grown far worse, at least among the great majority of people in the “leading” “developed” nations, and in urban centres world-wide.

Not only has alienation from others, nature and ourselves grown far worse over the past 50 years, thanks to TV, media-spawned fear porn, the glorious internet, “social media” and “smart phones”, among other drivers of mass dissociation from reality. Further, the great majority of people in the “developed” parts of the world have clearly been following a trajectory of mass narcissistic regression to a highly neurotic and egocentric infantile state. (Erich Fromm, Morris Berman and Robert Bly have much to say on these subjects, among others.)

Worst of all, in the 1970’s, while we had war, violence, imperialism, pollution, consumerism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and many other serious problems, we had a mere crony capitalism to contend with. Big business had ruled the Western nations for 200 years since the birth of modern democracy, but democracy was still in place, as were liberty, civil rights, and constitutional rule. These things are now gone, stripped away, as the elite roll-back of all gains made by the people over the past 800 years, since the Magna Carta, have been systematically attacked, and the corporate take-over of society, in a slow-motion corporate fascist coup, has taken the place of liberal democracies and freedom.

This is the end-point of neoliberalism, and we have arrived: it is corporatism, which is the merger of big business and the state, otherwise known, as Mussolini himself said, as the proper term for fascism. It is the death of democracy and freedom.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Yet the people yawn, and obsess over their “social media” feeds – which are the opium and cyanide drip that is stuck into their arms.

Yet I hear a distant voice, calling out:

“Gilligan!”

How I wish for simpler times. But we will have to fight for that.

JTR,
April 24, 2020

See also:

Erich Fromm – Escape From Freedom

Noam Chomsky – Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies

The Herd Mentality – Trends Journal, April 21, 2020

Flash-Drive Revolution – and – Who To Trust?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Amidst Protests, Uprisings, Simmering Revolt and Revolution, and A New Renaissance Emerging,

vs

Reactionary Efforts of The Establishment Powers of Entrenched Global Neo-Feudal Corporate Oligarchy To Resist Change, and To Consolidate Their Power

Who Can We Trust, Who Is Worthy of Support, and Who Can Put Things Into Perspective?

*

Humanity is experiencing a global awakening, and the birth of a new renaissance, along with the birth pangs of a new, global wave of popular protests, uprisings, and democratic revolutions.

At the same time, and deeply inter-related, there is a deep and growing crisis of legitimacy facing the world’s business and political “leaders” – the elite – along with the media, political and economic institutions, and social systems, structures, institutions and powers broadly.

We are now, in 2020, entering the global showdown phase of that most central conflict: between a global awakening of consciousness and culture, an emerging new renaissance, and a new wave of global uprisings and democratic revolutions; and the elite powers and oligarchies that wish to halt them, and to retain their stratospheric power and privilege, their oligarchy, and their de facto global rule.

It is, in short, a global showdown between the people and the oligarchy – between the people, and the ruling elite.

Public trust in political and business elites has crashed through the floor, and are at historically low levels. Public trust in the media has likewise collapsed.

Pundits, academics and “experts” are now routinely called into question as well – and not surprisingly, when we repeatedly discover hidden motives, blind spots, outright lies or delusions, and frequent alliances with vested interests.

Everywhere, icons are toppling, people are questioning more and more – as they should, and must.

Everywhere, people are re-assessing basic questions, including, who can we trust? Who can be relied upon for generally reliable, as well as honest, thoughtful, and accurate information, and informed commentary and analysis?

Furthermore, who is truly worthy of support, and who is not?

In short, whom to trust, has become one of the central issues of our time, as old orders crumble and slowly die, yet fight to hold on; and a new world is not yet born.

For myself, as a Canadian, and after 35 years and more than 50,000 hours of intensive research, studies and reflection, I can offer a very short and incomplete list of some of the groups and organizations that I feel are most worthy of support, along with the sources of news and analysis that I hold to be most reliable. Remember, though: Think for yourself – and question everything.

Remember also, that good sources and worthwhile groups can be corrupted, co-opted, high-jacked, taken over, simply become lost, or positively go off the rails.

I don’t expect that to happen with any of my most trusted groups or sources, but we do live in strange and unpredictable times – so I would urge we take nothing for granted.

Question everything, and everyone. Trust is good, when it is warranted. It is good to have confidence in something, and in at least some few, as well as in the people and the Earth broadly.

So too, are vigilance, fact-checking, and above all, thinking for ourselves, very good, and essential, things.

*

Groups I feel are most worthy of support:

A very short and incomplete list, focused primarily on Canadian groups and organizations

 

Idle No More

The Canadian indigenous rights group that has transformed the environmental movement, positively fused the indigenous rights movement to the environmental movement, and brought non-violent direct action into the mainstream – where it belongs, and must remain, until the job is done, and we live in a just and free, clean and green world.

 

The Council of Canadians

Canada’s leading citizen organization: building grassroots activism for a clean, green, just and free, peaceful, democratic society

 

The Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Canada’s leading progressive-left think tank, and one of the best in the world

Publishes the journal, The Monitor

 

The David Suzuki Foundation

The leading environmental group in Canada, along with Idle No More and others

Founded by the most trusted person in Canada, according to a nation-wide poll: environmental scientist David Suzuki

 

News and Analysis:

 

Trends Journal

Not even the best of the alternative media compares to Trends Journal for trend forecasting, trend analysis, and weekly news and analysis – and of course the major state and corporate media don’t remotely compare, being the propaganda systems for the ruling elite, as Chomsky has said, and thus, utterly unreliable.

 

Z Magazine & Z Net

News and analysis, in-depth commentary, activism, networking and solidarity for social change: Z Net is a giant David, or army of Davids, in the global movement for a better world. It’s now being censored and suppressed, like many other sources and individuals that speak the truth, but it is alive and strong, and you can find them. And you should.

 

The Monitor

In-depth analysis from the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives

 

Canadian Perspectives

News and analysis from the front lines of the grassroots movements for democracy, justice, sustainability and peace – from the Council of Canadians

 

Geopolitics & Empire Podcast

Quality varies with the guest, but generally excellent, in-depth global analysis here.

 

New Internationalist

Clarifying the real story on the biggest issues in the world for many decades now, NI is a rare gem, both as a journal, and as a grassroots networking organization, and also, as a publishing house

 

The American Herald Tribune

An independent media source that offers fiercely honest investigative journalism, news and analysis

(Watch for Anthony (Tony) Hall, Robert David Steele, Caitlin Johnstone, Philip Giraldi, Piers Robinson and Barbara Honeger in particular)

 

The Corbett Report

Another excellent source of independent research, news and analysis

 

The Centre For Research On Globalization

Also generally excellent for independent research, news and analysis

 

21st Century Wire

This source is new to me, but a recent episode of the weekly podcast was so exceptionally insightful, to such a rare level or degree, that I feel I have to list it here, among the best of the best. The host Patrick Henningsen has a level of understanding of global issues and power dynamics, and media manipulations, which is very rare. If one episode can impress me this much, like rare few sources ever do, then I am sure he must do a very good job of cutting through the fog on a regular basis.

 

John Pilger

Veteran investigative journalist and documentary film-maker John Pilger is a one-man media army. When the world is filled with the sound and fury of all-pervasive propaganda, lies, half-truths and illusions, and the echochamber of elite-spun narratives, which is the major media, seems to drown out all possibility for truth, or even basic sanity, you can count on John Pilger to cut through the fog and the lies and the convenient self-deceptions, to get to the truth, and the real story behind “the news”.

 

The Empire Files, with Abby Martin

A fiercely independent source of news and analysis, Abby Martin is what an investigative journalist looks like – along with John Pilger, Caitlin Johnstone, James Corbett, Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and a handful of others left in the world.

 

GreenMedInfo

The most reliable, truly evidence-based source on health that I know of – in fact, the only reliable source remaining that I know of, now that most health information sources have fallen for the lies and hysteria that are broadcast and paraded, very much like a plague in fact, by the new axis of evil: Big Government, Big Media, and the Big Money powers that rule them both.

 

*

There are many other groups, movements and organizations in the world that are worthy of our support, of course. And there are a few other sources of news and analysis that are reliable – although, they are now extremely few, and increasingly rare, as well as increasingly censored and suppressed. But with even these few sources, and these few groups, and others like them, there is hope.

Everything is possible, and the future truly is in our hands.

What we do with that power, is entirely up to us.

Please be sure to read the important notes below, as well: sources for big picture perspective, and Flash-Drive Revolution.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

 

Post-Script:

Sources for big-picture perspective:

To compliment the short list of groups and news sources that I would consider worthy of our trust as well as our support, I would like to add a very short and incomplete list of authors and thinkers that I feel are extremely helpful in gaining clarity in terms of the big picture, and/or, in terms of in-depth analysis.

Again, there are millions and billions of voices out there, but only a handful rise to the level, in my mind, of being generally reliable sources of information, much less understanding and perspective. (Remember, few people are omniscient, to put it mildly. Let’s not expect infallibility. Question everything.)

These, to my mind, are among the best of the best, in terms of voices for big picture perspective, or in-depth analysis, or sometimes, rarely, both. Other people would present a different list. Here is mine. (In no particular order – and again, very incomplete.)

Henry David Thoreau

Etienne de La Boetie

Noam Chomsky

Peter Kropotkin

Bertrand Russell

Murray Bookchin

Rianne Eisler

Howard Zinn

C. Wright Mills

Peter Phillips

George Orwell

Aldous Huxley

Erich Fromm

Max Weber

Alan Watts

Allan Wallace

Joseph Campbell

Joanna Macy

Helena Norberg-Hodge

Vandana Shiva

Jeremy Rifkin

Naomi Klein

John Pilger

Gerald Celente

Michel Chossudovsky

Michael Hudson

Ellen Brown

Max Keiser

Yanis Varoufakis

James Corbett

Caitlin Johnstone

Abby Martin

Matt Taibbi

David C. Korten

David Suzuki

Arundhati Roy

Margaret Atwood

Ronald Wright

Maude Barlow

Paul Craig Roberts

Morris Berman

Stephen Toulmin

EF Schumacher

Gandhi

Martin Luther King Jr.

Peter Dale Scott

Anthony Hall

John McMurtry

Michael Albert

Chris Hedges

Cornell West

Piers Robinson

And my own writings, I would humbly submit:

my essays, here on my blog, along with my first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium (on Barnes & Noble)

and,

The People vs The Elite:

A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,

Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

(Coming April 2020)

*

Flash-Drive Revolution:

As I have said before, and others have begun to say as well: censorship is increasing. The elite are scared – scared of change, scared of losing power. They are cracking down – especially on freedom of speech, and on dissent, as well as freedom of travel and freedom of assembly. (“Papers please.”)

I would urge people to begin backing up important texts, images, posters, data sets, videos, films, art and music that can be used in the fight for a better, freer, more just and clean, green, democratic world – and now.

Many of the best and most important writings, for example, are in the public domain. Others, like myself, are offering their work for free distribution.

Like most writers, I feel I am spiritually, intellectually, and culturally rich, but I am financially poor. Naturally I would like people to buy my books. But I certainly did not become a writer or a philosopher for the money. So, whether you do or not, and I ask that you do buy my books (mainly for my childrens’ sake); what is far more important to me is that the ideas and the writing be shared.

So, buy one copy, then share a digital copy with everyone you know, please. Hard copies, ebooks and audiobooks will be available for purchase, and I will also make electronic copies available for free, via Project Gutenberg, Librivox, my youtube channel and my blog.

Please take this document above, and my first two books, if you find them useful, and save them to a USB flash drive, along with other public domain writings you feel are  valuable or important  -Henry David Thoreau’s essay, On Civil Disobedience, for example, along with the UN Charter of Human Rights – or whatever you find relevant to the task at hand: and share them widely, everywhere.

These essays in particular I would encourage you to share, among others, from my blog:

Six Founding Principles Of Good Government

The Myth Of Progress – Pricking The Bubble

The Decline, Decay, Death and Rebirth of Democracy and Freedom

The Maxims of Empire (And the Maxims of Liberation)

If freedom of speech and dissent continue their current trend towards being censored and shut down, we will need alternative means of communicating. A Flash-Drive Revolution, sharing information and ideas freely, hand to hand, world-wide, by-passing the internet completely, could circumvent the oligarchs, and beat them. I think it is important. And I think we should begin right away – right now.

250 MB, or even 1 terabyte, USB flash-drives are becoming cheap. Use them. Bypass the closing down of society and free speech – while we still can.

Vive la revolution! For a free and just, clean, green, democratic society, and a better world for all.

And remember, we, the people, are the world’s other superpower – the greatest superpower.

Embrace your power now.

Let’s go.

Consider that the revolution has begun.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

Feeling the Bern-Out? Feel the Movement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2016 by jtoddring

To put it briefly, it’s the movement that matters. The office of the President is secondary to the movement, and almost, but not quite, peripheral. Winning the presidency is significant. It can be a rallying point which inspires the people to further action, and to greater goals and greater victories. But it is secondary to the movement itself — significant, but secondary. The movement is what is essential. And what’s more, if the Bernie Sanders supporters stay strong, there can be victory in both regards.

It looks like it is going to be a contested convention. That means the pundits are irrelevant, because anything can happen. Remember that. And here are a few other important points we should remember, and bear in mind, as the battle just begins.

*

To put things into perspective, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent extreme right wing political trends and policies. Hillary is a neocon, carrying forward the legacy of Ronald Reagan, Bush Senior, her husband, the Bush-Cheney regime, and Obama, who together, successfully rolled back the greater part of the social gains made by the New Deal, and even, quite literally, since the Magna Carta, further consolidating the powers of the ruling corporate elite, unleashing corporate globalization, and deregulating Wall Street, beginning the construction of a police state and the demolition of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and democracy and freedom in America, and intensifying and expanding the already raging imperial wars abroad — all for the sake of elite interests and corporate profits, of course.

So Hillary comes from that tradition, that legacy, and that ideology, and is a proven neocon, like her husband, Bill Clinton, like Bush I and Bush II, like Obama, and very much like Reagan and Thatcher. She presents herself as a liberal progressive, and a populist democrat, exactly as Obama did. But brand Obama turned out to be a disguise and a PR cover for a continuation of further neocon policies, exactly as I warned in 2007, before he was first elected as president, and Shillery Clinton is no different. She works for Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. That explains it all, and that summarizes it all.

As Ron Paul said of Hillary, “She’s a neocon. She could run as a Republican.” And now she’s courted the Bush family, and is seeking, and gaining, the support of the establishment Republicans — meaning, the necon Republicans — just as she has the backing of the establishment Democrats, who are the other wing of the US corporate party, as Chomsky has said.

Hillary is a psychopath, frankly, with a maniacal lust for war and a proven track record of habitual lying, hawkish militarism and empire fetish, and loyal service to Wall Street — she can be supported by no one of sound mind or sound conscience, under any circumstances. Period.

Trump is even further to the right than Hillary in some ways. And we should remember that the Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower would have considered Hillary a lunatic, and an extreme right-wing fanatic.

So we have, once again, exactly as in 2012, two major candidates in the US presidential election who are on the far right — Hillary and Trump. They don’t present themselves that way of course, because the great majority of the people of the US hold centre-left views, and so, they try to play the role of centrist or center-left populists, which they decidedly are not. They are slight variations on Dick Cheney, and nothing other.

Bernie is the one candidate in the 2016 US presidential election who is resisting the ominous slide to the far right and the on-going corporate take-over of the nation and the world. He is neck and neck with Hillary in the polls now — pretty much even; but the fact that Hillary commands the most powerful political machine in the United States — at the present moment at least, though it is rapidly crumbling — and is overwhelmingly favoured by the Democratic party establishment, is deeply worrisome. Remember, however, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over. And as Thoreau said, there is more day yet to dawn.

*

“I think Clinton supporters have done a huge disservice to America by turning their backs on Bernie in favor of a war hawk neocon establishment shill like Hillary. All they have done is help the establishment continue screwing us all. It’s beyond my comprehension that we could have had an indomitable coalition of moderate independents and conservatives along with progressives and liberals that make up Bernie’s supporters, except for a bunch of moderates that were either fixated on electing the first female President, lack the vision and courage required to stand up to the establishment, or are blind to the problems this country faces, choosing to support the candidate of choice for the very establishment that’s screwing us all. We could have stopped worrying about Trump or any other Republican long ago had Clinton supporters joined our political revolution. We could have been focused on the Congressional and Senate races and getting the progressive candidates elected. Instead we are on the verge of losing this once in a lifetime opportunity to make America by the people, for the people, and possibly losing the general election as the result. How sad is that?

We are keenly aware of the problems facing this nation and we are aware that neocon Dems and neoliberal Republicans are cut from the same cloth. They just pander to different base voters so neocon Dems like Hillary pay lip service to progressive and liberal ideals and Republicans pay lip service to conservative and evangelical “Christian” ideals. Both ultimately serve the same master: the oligarchy and the plutocrats. Those that have come to this realization have no allegiance to either party.”

– Patrick Steele

Well said. I absolutely agree. But I still hope that Bernie can win, in one way or another — if not through the primaries, then as a third party candidate — and I think that he still can. At this point, anything is still possible, and the game is far from over. But regardless, Bernie is not the revolution, but only one of its many leading figures. With or without capturing the White House, we go on. And that is the most critical thing to remember.

We should remember also, for context, something that Chomsky has pointed out, and which should be obvious, and that is: the entire political landscape in the US, and both major parties, have slid so far to the right over the past fifty years, that what was once a moderate Republican stance, under Eisenhower, which is a New Deal democratic policy framework, is now viewed as the radical left. The Democratic party establishment is now a right wing neocon/neoliberal party, firmly ruled by Wall Street and big business, and entirely subservient to the ruling corporate powers; while the Republican party has become a party of the extreme right. These simple facts must be understood and born in mind if we are to have any sense of perspective on the current US presidential campaign at all. If we fail to realize this, we are completely and utterly lost.

Chomsky gives a lucid overview of the state of US politics in 2016, and which Common Dreams writer Jake Johnson elaborates upon, and it is worth quoting at length, and contemplating in depth:

“”It is very similar to late Wiemar Germany,” Chomsky said. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Wiemar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

For decades, Chomsky has warned of the right turn of the Democratic Party, which has, in an effort to win elections, adopted large swaths of the Republican platform and abandoned the form of liberalism that gave us the New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

Trump has been viewed with bewilderment by politicians who have divorced themselves from the needs of the people and who have sold them false goods to get ahead. But Trump, as Chomsky’s prescient interview demonstrates, was inevitable.

This new approach was canonized by Bill Clinton, who triumphantly declared that the “era of big government is over.”

With this declaration, Clinton ushered in a new era of the Democratic Party (the so-called New Democrats), which left behind the working class and cultivated amiable relationships with corporate executives and Wall Street financiers; many of them would eventually occupy key positions in Clinton’s government, and many of them emerged once more during the presidency of Barack Obama….

Democrats, in short, have left the working class in the dust, often using “the excuse,” as a recent New York Times editorial put it, “that they need big-money backers to succeed.”

Republicans, meanwhile, as Chomsky has observed, are “dedicated with utter servility” to the interests of the wealthy, and their party, with its longing for war and denial of climate science, “is a danger to the human species.”

So we are faced with a political system largely devoted to the needs of organized wealth, which leaves working people anxious, worried about the future, and, as we have seen, very angry. In essence, political elites — on both sides — have created a vacuum into which a charismatic and loudmouthed demagogue can emerge.”

– Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

*

It is a very positive development that the subject of fascism has now re-entered the public discourse, because, as I have been saying for a long time, that is the direction we are being led — or driven, like cattle down a cattle chute — as the corporate elite and their political minions continue to wage a war on democracy and constitutional law, and to build a police state to protect and consolidate their power in the face of a deep and ever-growing crisis of legitimacy and rising populist movements world-wide. This is the underlying context which we must bear in mind, or else be completely lost and bewildered.

The people are beginning to awaken to the real threats and dangers at hand — and they are at home, not abroad. But the hour is very late.

However, the story continues to unfold. And we should remember, history is not just for reading: it is also for writing — meaning, we do not need to content ourselves with watching history unfold, but should instead, ourselves engage in the making of it.

Whatever happens with Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, he has already accomplished at least four extremely important things. He will be the next president, against the apparent odds, I do believe; but whatever the outcome of this election, much has been accomplished already, much more needs to be done — and much more is at hand, and will be done.

But let’s start with what has already been accomplished so far, and in a very short time, in less than a year. Firstly, Bernie Sanders has excited and engaged millions of people, not just in the US, but across the Western world, many of whom were previously cynical, quietly despairing, apathetic and disengaged. Second, he has injected the rhetoric, the language, and more importantly, the reality of populist politics into the political culture in the US and across the Western world. Third, he has injected the question of class, which is not the sole question, but is the central question, into the political culture in the US and across the Western world. And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, he has successfully injected a very considerable and growing class consciousness into the political culture of the US and the entire Western world. These are tremendous accomplishments, and accomplishments of great and profound, far-reaching significance, and also, tremendous potential.

Having said that, this is not the time for backing off, much less for giving up. This is not the time to bow out, concede defeat, and quietly return to our arm chairs to collectively congratulate ourselves and pat ourselves on the back, or to mourn and lick our wounds. This is the time to press forward, and to carry this new wave of populism to its furthest potential.

*

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent the establishment. They represent Wall Street and the corporate elite. We should be perfectly clear about that. The corporate elite have backed Hillary as their anointed, chosen candidate, and the corporate media is doing everything it can to present her in the best possible light, and to present her as the inevitable winner. But she is quite literally guilty of war crimes, her record in terms of loyalty to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex is clear, and it is damning, and beyond that, in every match-up poll that has been conducted it has been made clear that she would lose to Donald Trump, whereas Bernie Sanders would win against him by a wide margin. So if we want power restored to the people, and the power of Wall Street and big money removed from politics, as most people now want, and realize is vitally essential, we cannot support either Clinton or Trump. Or, even if we simply want to ensure that Trump loses, we cannot support Hillary, but must instead support Bernie, because that is the best way to ensure that Trump does not become the next president.

As has been said, and should be perfectly clear, Hillary is basically a neocon in drag as a populist progressive — Bernie is an actual populist progressive: that is the central difference. 64% of the American people do not trust Hillary Clinton — about the same percentage, almost exactly, as those who do not trust Trump — and with good reason; and the more that people find out about Hillary, the less they trust her. Remember also, she has a negative approval rating, and is under investigation by the FBI.

No US presidential candidate in history has won the election with a negative approval rating, or while under investigation by the FBI. Hillary has both going against her, and could be indicted by the FBI any day. Does the Democratic party really want to endorse a presidential candidate that is under investigation by the FBI? She may be the darling of the establishment, but that would still seem to be a very reckless and ill-considered move, to say the least.

Hillary has proven herself to be a staunch racist, classist, loyal servant of the elite, and a right-winger who pushed for more prisons, harsher sentences, cuts to welfare and the end of federal support for the poor, the deregulation of Wall Street, wars and coups abroad. And she now presents herself as a populist progressive. Ahis is slithery Shillery Clinton, the arch-deacon of the establishment and elite rule.

The corporate media are portraying Hillary, not only as the inevitable winner — which is anything but assured; but the media are also portraying Hillary as the candidate with experience. Well, let’s look at that experience.

Hillary in the 1990’s argued for more prisons, tougher prison sentences, and “bringing to heel” the urban black youth, who she called “super-predators.” Hillary supported her husband’s deregulation of Wall Street in the 1990’s. Hillary supported the massive bailouts to the “too big to fail” banks. Hillary voted for the Patriot Act, which shredded the Constitution, civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. Hillary has supported illegal wiretapping and the surveillance state. Hillary has been a civil liberties catastrophe. Hillary has received millions of dollars for speaking engagements to the big banks, the transcripts of which she refuses to released; and has received many millions more from Wall Street for her election campaign: and in return, she has defended Wall Street and the banking elite from any proposals to seriously reign them in, or to break up the “too big to fails”. And to repeat an essential point, Hillary is guilty, furthermore, of war crimes.

In an interview with Bill Maher, a well-meaning and good-natured, but clearly naive MSNBC journalist asked Bill Maher, rhetorically, “Would you really want Bernie Sanders stepping off Air Force One?” Bill Maher, after a moment of dumbfounded shock and incredulity on his face, replied, “Fuck yes. Anyone who got it right on Iraq, I want that person in the Oval Office.”

What Bill Maher should have added was this.

Look at Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record, and her “experience” with foreign policy. She was head of the State Department during a State Department / CIA coup in Kieve, a very botched as well as illegal regime change, which sent the country into civil war and chaos, and put literal neo-Nazis into power in Ukraine. She was instrumental in a coup in Honduras. And she was also instrumental in the regime change in Libya, which destroyed that country, and left it in the hands of Al Queda, and in the process, spawning ISIS and the bloodbath that has spilled over into Syria.

Hillary has been a walking disaster in terms of both foreign and domestic policy. This person should be kept as far away from the levers of power as possible. She should be tried for war crimes, and in a just society, she would be. She should maybe be given a rubber room, considering her maniacal and sadistic laughter at the public murder of Gaddafi by sodomy with a knife, but she should most definitely be kept as far from the levers of power as is humanly possible. Bernie Sanders, who had the foresight to recognize that an invasion of Iraq would be a disaster, could scarcely do worse than Hillary has done, and would in all likelihood do infinitely better.

In short, there are no honest, or sane, candidates in the 2016 US presidential election, other than Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. Jill Stein does not have a chance in 2016, though possibly in 2020, or 2024. Bernie, although still a long shot, could still win in this election. Let’s hope he does. Hillary, Trump and the rest of the hawkish, crazed clown posse of the Democratic and Republican establishment would be nothing but a continuation of the on-going, ever-escalating disaster, both foreign and domestic.

*

As far as electability, we should remember that Bernie Sanders has risen, in less than a year, from being a complete unknown to being a super-star and hero to millions of people — precisely because they agree with his policies: of reigning in Wall Street, getting big money out of politics, bringing health care and affordable higher education to all, seriously tackling the truly ominous environmental issues we face, and creating a more just and equal society.

Hillary has resisted the populist onslaught as well as she has so far, for three simple reasons, and three reasons only: because she is a brand name; because she has the backing of the elite — the backing of the Democratic party establishment and Wall Street; and because the corporate media support her overwhelmingly. But time is on Bernie’s side. The more people learn about Bernie Sanders, his record, and his views and policies, the more they like him and trust him. The opposite is true with Hillary. The more people find out about Hillary, the less they support her. And it is still early. Bernie can still crash her party, and overturn the corporate bandwagon, and he may well do just that.

Again, the mainstream media have been trying to paint Hillary as the inevitable winner and Bernie as the inevitable loser from the very beginning. That is because the mainstream media is controlled by corporate interests — the same corporate interests which have lavishly “donated” to (read, bribed) Hillary and her election campaign, and who have chosen Hillary as their favoured candidate. But Bernie has won in many states, and has won in many states by a landslide, with over 60, 70 or 80% of the vote, and it is Bernie who gets the powerfully energized rallies with 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 people coming out, and Bernie who has raised over six million individual donations — a record in US history — not Hillary.

So, as Public Enemy said, don’t believe the hype. And in any event, as Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

*

A presidential candidate who is under investigation by the FBI, and still taken seriously? Now that is a sign of the times. But then again, she’s only taken seriously by the ruling class and their political and media prostitutes, and by the 36% of Americans who trust her — and even that is a rapidly shrinking minority.

Clinton should be facing war crimes trials — she has received a “get out of jail free” card and a white wash by the corporate media and the political establishment, and it is heinous in the extreme, and a sign of the severe corruption and decay of the United States.

Clinton and Trump, both, now have a 20 point net negative favorability. The overwhelming majority of people don’t trust either of them. And, moreover, they are both less favourable to the people, according to recent polls, than root canal, used car salesmen, or head lice. To their credit, they both beat cockroaches, by a small margin, in terms of favorability in polling across the US.

Meanwhile, when people are asked whether they trust Bernie Sanders, the overwhelming majority say yes, they do trust him. The people overwhelmingly do not trust either Clinton or Trump.

And again, in every single poll — over 88 polls so far — Sanders is the far stronger candidate against Trump than Clinton.

Bernie would in all likelihood beat Trump, and beat him by a wide margin. Hillary would likely lose to Trump. That should be an important consideration, and one dealt with soberly, with a clear head and without bias. Democrats who are Hillary supporters should think deeply about this before the party convention, and the final decision as to who will be the presidential candidate: someone who the polls indicate could very well lose to Trump, and likely would; or someone who would almost certainly beat Trump?

Bernie can win the Democratic primary race through a contested convention, when the question is put to the people of who will lead them to the presidential office. He can win, and he most definitely should win, if there is any shred of sanity left in the country. And he has made major strides towards doing just that.

“With the goal of 2026 pledged delegates to achieve as a majority in each primary in mind, the FiveThirtyEight tracking shows that Clinton is indeed ahead, with 108% of her target achieved as opposed to Sanders, who is at 92%. But what the media fails to factor in, is the fact that Sanders has either met or exceeded his targets in seven out of the last eight contests, whilst Clinton has actually lost six out of eight: Sanders has been catching up and there is nothing that suggests that he is about to stop fighting.”

Else Feikje van der Berg, Hillary The Inevitable, May 9, 2012, Medium

*

It may seem like a tangent or an aside, at first glance, but I will say this, in brief. East and West have met — and sparks are flying as a result. The West can learn a great deal from the East, just as the East can learn from the West. We can all learn from one another. This may seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious is only obvious after it is pointed out. More commonly, what should be obvious is routinely overlooked until it is pointed out. Then everyone says, well yes, that makes perfect sense. And there are at least a couple of points from Eastern thought which bear on our subject and have immediate relevance to our discussion.

There is a Tibetan saying, “Don’t sprint to win the race.” And this is very wise. A closely related saying from Tibet is, “Don’t be sporadic.” And I would add to that a central piece of wisdom from Taoism, which says, basically, don’t rush, and don’t hesitate.

What does this have to do with contemporary politics or the Bernie Sanders campaign? Everything.

If Bernie Sanders does win, and does become the next president of the United States — which may seem unlikely at present, but is still entirely possible — then that will be just one further step towards real, positive social change. The movement will go on. The revolution will go on. And the central task of restoring and renewing democracy, civil liberties and the rule of constitutional law, and the returning of power to the people, will have only just begun. We need more than a fleeting burst of energy or enthusiasm if we are going to win the kinds of changes which are urgently needed. Whether we have short term success or short term failure, the movement must go on.

If Bernie Sanders does not win, and does not become the next president of the United States, then the movement will also go on, the revolution will go on, and the central task, the central challenge of our time, which is the renewal of democracy, the reclaiming of power by the people, and the removal from power of the corporate oligarchy and the Wall Street business elite, will continue to move forward, and must continue to move forward.

The changes that are needed will not occur overnight. We must, as the Dalai Lama said, keep a long term perspective. With or without a Sanders presidency, major changes must happen soon, and essentially immediately, or we will simply terminate ourselves as a species. So we cannot hesitate. At the same time, we must remember that this will take longer than a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, to complete the process of transformation that must occur for human beings to survive the 21st century.

We can and must be bold. And we must also keep the longer term perspective in mind. No matter what happens, we must not stop. The future of the world, and all living beings who live on it, including nearly seven billion human beings, depends on what we do, or fail to do, over the course of the next few years.

We cannot give up, we cannot surrender, and we cannot give in. Whatever happens over the next few months and beyond, we must move forward, and we must carry on with the urgent work of creating a better, more just, more equitable, more peaceful society, and a truly sustainable world.

We will not go out with either a bang or a whimper — if we are determined enough to persevere, and to be bold when boldness is required. There is a popular revolution which is emerging now: a non-violent, peaceful revolution, a grassroots movement of the people to take their power back, and to reclaim their power, and in so doing, to create a more just society, and a better world. In this task we must not falter, and we must go on. The rising tide is with us. Now, we must ride that tide to victory, in whatever way that history, boldness and ingenuity make that possible.

*

Whether Bernie Sanders wins of loses in the 2016 US presidential race is not the central question, nor should it be the central goal. The central question is whether the populist uprising and the grassroots political revolution which is emerging, continues after the election, or sputters and fizzles out. The central question is whether the people have been aroused and engaged sufficiently to carry the revolution forward, no matter what happens in the up-coming US election. And the central goal is, and must be, nothing short of a revolution. On this point, we must be absolutely clear, and absolutely steadfast.

Remember, Bernie is not the movement. Bernie is not the revolution. Bernie is one leading figure among many in a rapidly emerging populist movement which aims to restore power to the people. And that movement will carry on, whatever happens in this election.

I hope the election will end in a Bernie Sanders presidency. That may be a long shot, but he has come a tremendous way, against overwhelming odds, and it’s still early. But whatever happens, the movement of the people to restore democracy and reclaim their power, and to create a more just and equal society, must continue.

We should, I think, at this point once again, crystallize our goals, so that we will remain focused and strong, and keep building momentum. I am not speaking for the Bernie Sanders campaign here. I am simply stating what I think needs to be done, as a minimum, to begin to restore power to the people, and to begin to dethrone Wall Street and the corporate elite, who have acquired and usurped far too much power — over the economy, the financial system, the media, the culture, and also the political process and the government. Without these two central tasks accomplished, or at least begun in a serious and vigorous way — which is, the restoring of power to the people and the dethroning of the corporate elite — nothing is possible, or at least nothing positive or significant, and the downward slide will only continue.

1. We must remove big money from politics. And that means overturning Citizen’s United, and banning private “donations” (more honestly called bribes) to political candidates, politicians and political parties, and making elections publicly funded.

2. We must make the banks and the financial system accountable to the people, and regulated and controlled by the people, rather than leaving the people accountable to the banks, and effectively ruled and controlled by the banks, and the banking elite who own them. To do this, we must break up the big banks, make the Federal Reserve a public bank controlled by Congress, as the Constitution explicitly stipulates and requires, and regulate and reign in Wall Street.

3. We must reject the TPP, and reject any other “trade deal” which in reality is a corporate rights deal, and which grants sweeping powers to large corporations and the business elite who control them, at the expense of the other 99.9% of the people, along with the planet, democracy, and constitutional law.

4. We must take bold and unhesitating action on climate change and the environment, and tax pollution; and reduce taxes on the middle class and the poor, along with small business, while increasing them for the rich and the large, profitable corporations — thus addressing our grave and rapidly escalating environmental crisis, while seriously addressing the deep and growing problem of increasing and extreme inequality in our society.

5. We must end the disastrous, murderous, illegal, supremely unethical, and bankrupting wars abroad, and redirect the personnel, and the hundreds of billions of dollars a year in savings, to human needs, and to the rebuilding of a crumbling infrastructure, economy and society; and put the people, not corporate profits or wars for oil and other resources, first.

If we want to fight terrorism, we should start with the greatest terrorists — the economic and financial terrorists on Wall Street, who are wreaking havoc and destruction globally, and are eating the people and the planet alive.

6. We must overturn the Patriot Act, and any and all legislation which is unconstitutional or which undermines democracy, freedom, civil liberties or constitutional law; and, at this point, considering how far things have progressed, or degenerated, towards a police state, we must formally re-instate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which have been trampled and very nearly destroyed.

If we do not do these six things, as a start, then we can forget about having a democracy, or a republic, we can forget about freedom or civil liberties, we can forget about social justice or the environment, or even the survival of the human species, and we can welcome in a brave new world of neo-feudal, crypto-fascist, global corporate rule, leading rapidly to a new dark age, and the death of humankind.

Our choice should be clear. And our actions must be swift. The time is now. Truly, it is a renaissance or a dark age ahead — and the choice is ours.

J. Todd Ring,

May 2016

Democrats Can Still Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
http://www.nationofchange.org/news/2016/04/24/democrats-snatch-defeat-jaws-victory/

The Establishment Is WRONG About Hillary’s Chances
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_eSLOM3eo

Polls: Trump Closing In On Hillary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8NQ7jUDbSI

Why the Superdelegates Need To Switch To Bernie Sanders Immediately
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_FqAJ8k7oY

“She’s Baldly Lying”:
Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defence of Her Role in Honduras Coup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS-tDVwSHlA

Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/05/noam-chomsky-predicted-rise-trump-six-years-ago

Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders Is Not A Radical
https://www.facebook.com/democracynow/videos/10154098568373279/

Hillary The Inevitable
https://medium.com/@ElsevanderBerg/hillary-the-inevitable-4268fd333a46#.32ppckrib

Bernie Sanders Calls For Contested Caucus — National Press Club
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=035I6c3PuGI

The Death of the Democratic Party, J. Todd Ring, Medium
https://medium.com/@jtoddring/the-death-of-the-democratic-party-4ade2df36ecf?source=user_profile———1-

The Death of the Democratic Party

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2016 by jtoddring

 

Let’s start with some basic facts about Hillary Clinton, the darling of Wall Street and the Democratic party establishment, and why her credibility is both threadbare, and also collapsing. From there, after establishing a basic reality check, we will move on to examine why this stark contrast and contradiction between public sentiment and the Democratic party establishment is leading rapidly toward the collapse, and death, of the Democratic party.

In short, the currently ruling global empire of neo-feudal corporatism is experiencing a profound and growing crisis of legitimacy, which threatens, despite appearances, and despite the seemingly overwhelming power of this newest of empires, to sweep it into the dust bin of history. And at the same time, the political and business elite, their ideology of neoliberalism, and the organizations and institutions which they control, including the Republican and Democratic parties, are also in a severe and growing crisis of legitimacy. Either they will begin to listen to and respect the wishes of the people, or they will soon see their eclipse. This will, of course, be an idea that is met with a scoff by the elite, and their puppets and talking heads in the media and the academy, but it is a fact nevertheless.

64% of people in the United States do not trust Hillary Clinton, and that number is rising daily. The more that people find out about Hillary Clinton, the less they trust her. She has very little credibility remaining, and her credibility continues to plummet. Her own personal crisis of legitimacy grows daily, as does the crisis of legitimacy for the ruling corporate masters whom she serves.

At present, Hillary’s main support comes from middle-aged, middle-class and affluent white women, who delusionally believe that changing the gender of the person in the White House is going to make everything better. But, as many black Americans have come to realize, this is a hollow fantasy, just like the false hope that having a black person in the White House would suddenly change everything. Racism and racial injustice continue to be major, systemic problems in the United States, just as systemic and growing inequality and economic injustice, a permanent state of war, a permanent surveillance system, and a permanent entrenchment of vested interests and the rule of Wall Street, continue to be major, systemic problems in the United States — and having a black president did not change any of that. In fact, from his actions, we can see that Obama has backed the military-industrial-security establishment and Wall Street over the people, leading to further inequality, injustice, militarization of the police, destruction of civil liberties, and expanded wars of empire abroad. The sad fact of the matter, as a growing majority of Americans have come to realize, is that Obama works for Wall Street. And Hillary is no different. That is why her gender is irrelevant. And that is why her support is threadbare, and further collapsing even from its historically unprecedented low levels.

Hillary Clinton already has a negative approval rating. No candidate in US history has ever won election to the presidency with a negative approval rating. And as we have said, the people’s trust in her is not only already at historically low levels, but is falling rapidly.

But let’s look at Hillary’s record, to see if it makes any sense to believe that she would change anything, based on her past actions. And the answer, upon examination of her record, should be perfectly clear to all.

Hillary supported the deregulation of Wall Street under her husband’s presidency.

Hillary supported the multi-trillion dollar bail-out of the “too big to fail” banks, after they crashed the economy, as was fully predictable, thanks to the deregulation of Wall Street which she supported.

Hillary has adamantly opposed breaking up the “too big to fail” banks.

Hillary has personally taken millions of dollars from the big banks for speaking engagements — and she refuses to release the transcripts of those speeches.

Hillary has taken even larger sums, and truly enormous sums of money, from Wall Street and the big banks in the form of “campaign contributions” — which, of course, is simply a euphemism for bribes, because no one in their right mind believes these vast sums of money from Wall Street come without strings attached.

In other words, Hillary has behaved as a dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal, and a loyal servant of the ruling Wall Street corporate elite.

Hillary, in the 1990’s, during a time of rising concerns about crime and violence, did not call for increased public investment in local economies, jobs programs, education, or other means of lifting people out of desperate living conditions — in fact, she supported her husband’s dismantling of federal welfare supports to the poorest of Americans — and instead called for the building of more prisons and tougher prison sentences, saying of the black urban youth, we must “bring them to heel” — calling them “super-predators”, showing her rabid racism, as well as a callous and brutal classism.

Hillary signed the Patriot Act, which quite literally overturned the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and destroyed civil liberties in the United States. And Hillary has supported and defended warrantless wiretapping and surveillance.

In other words, Hillary has behaved like a true neo-con, carrying on the legacy of the Bush-Cheney administration, in their attack on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, democracy and freedom in America, while expanding military adventurism, and imperial warfare abroad — all for the sake of consolidating the power of the ruling corporate elite, and increasing the profits accruing to the ruling elite, of course.

(The difference between neo-conservatives and neoliberals is slight, if any, by the way. The former tend to include systemic racism and a messianic complex, along with the straight-forward class warfare on behalf of the ruling corporate elite, but that is the only real difference, and often neoliberals are steeped in racism and messianic fantasies as well, and they are certainly devoted to an unflagging and vicious class warfare on behalf of their corporate masters.)

Hillary voted in favour of the Iraq war — showing both hawkishness and also a complete lack of foresight.

Hillary has been intimately involved in at least three coups already, as Secretary of State — in Ukraine, Libya and Honduras, and with disastrous results in each country, to say nothing about the violations of international law, or the fact that such actions make her a war criminal.

Hillary has aggressively — and maniacally, psychotically, one would have to add, after viewing the video clips — argued for attacking Iran, a country with economic and military alliances with China and Russia, two nuclear super-powers: a move which would literally risk the outbreak of WWIII.

Hillary has been as hawkish and pro-war as any US politician in recent history, and has gleefully pushed for more and expanded war abroad — even after the Iraq disaster has made it clear that such wars are not only humanitarian disasters, but disasters in virtually every way.

So no, we are not talking about electing Mother Theresa to the White House. We are talking about the possibility of electing the Queen of Chaos, the darling of Wall Street and the military-industrial-security complex to the White House. And anyone who believes she would bring about any change from the status quo, other than possibly getting us into WWIII, is simply delusional, and not dealing with the real world.

This is why Hillary’s credibility is threadbare. This is why 64% of the people in the US do not trust her. This is why Hillary’s already threadbare credibility continues to erode, and to crash through the floor. And this is why independents and the youth in particular do not trust her, and overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders.

In fact, when you set aside the support from middle-aged, middle-class and affluent Americans — who are a minority, and a shrinking minority — Hillary has extremely little support, and it is not surprising that match-up polls have repeatedly shown that she would lose in a race against Donald Trump.

In repeated match-up polls, Bernie Sanders, by contrast, consistently beats Trump by a wide margin. And such match-up polls have been shown in past elections to be accurate to within 3% of the final vote. So the safe bet, in terms of defeating Trump, is not Hillary, but Bernie, as a number of thoughtful commentators have noted.

A presidential candidate who is under investigation by the FBI, and still taken seriously? Now that is a sign of the times. But then again, she’s only taken seriously by the ruling class and their political and media prostitutes, and by the 36% of Americans who trust her — and even that is a rapidly shrinking minority.

Clinton should be facing war crimes trials — she has gotten a “get out of jail free” card and a white wash by the corporate media and the political establishment, and it is heinous, and a sign of the severe corruption and decay of the United States. (See Democracy Now! on Clinton’s defence of the Honduran coup, which she helped to orchestrate.)

Clinton and Trump both now have a 20 point net negative favourability, the overwhelming majority of people don’t trust either of them, and moreover, they are both less favourable to the people than root canal, used car salesmen and lice, according to the polls. To their credit, they both beat cockroaches, by a small margin, in terms of favourability in polling across the US. Meanwhile, in every single poll — over 88 polls so far — Sanders is the far stronger candidate against Trump than Clinton.

*

But the central problem for the Democratic party is this. Millennials, or youth between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age, are of course the future of the country, and the future of the Democratic party, if the Democratic party remains relevant, or in existence at all. Millennials just surpassed baby boomers as the biggest voting block in the US. And millennials, the youth, are overwhelmingly opposed to Hillary Clinton, and trust her even less than the general public does. And yet, while the youth are overwhelmingly opposed to Hillary, the Democratic party establishment is overwhelmingly in support of Hillary. And this contradiction is not lost on the youth, who are quite well aware of it — and they are being school in a deep and well-founded skepticism about the Democratic party as a result.

You could almost not imagine a better orchestrated campaign to discredit the Democratic party than the one they are engaged in themselves. Even the Republican far right would be hard-pressed to out-do this demolition job. The party establishment is determined to fastidiously and feverishly support the chosen candidate of Wall Street, even if it costs them the remainder of their already crumbling legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

A crossroads is fast approaching for the Democratic party. If they proceed on their current course, it could well mean the beginning of the end for the party, as its remaining trace of credibility is shattered by their own actions. And one of two sets of events could seal this fate, above all.

Firstly, the party establishment, and most notably, the superdelegates, overwhelmingly favour Hillary over Bernie. But meanwhile, Hillary continues to lose the trust of the people as time passes and people find out more about her, and Bernie continues to gain support at a rapid pace — coming from being an unknown a year ago, to being nearly tied in polls with Hillary, and still gaining ground, virtually daily. And Bernie has taken a number of victories in the popular vote, including several landslide victories over Hillary. If Bernie does win the popular vote, and the superdelegates continue to support Hillary, in contempt of democracy and the people, and in opposition to the popular vote, then a crisis will surely erupt within the Democratic party.

We should note that political parties have died and simply vanished in the past. In the early 1830’s in the US, the Whig party had been dominant for decades. But after their defeat in the 1856 election, they simply vanished, and were gone. The same could happen for the almost completely discredited Democratic party if its party elites continue to back Wall Street and the Wall Street-chosen candidate, over the clearly more popular, and truly populist candidate, who has the greater support of the party base and the people broadly.

The death of the party may seem inconceivable to party loyalists, but they should remember, the attitude of, “Let them eat cake,” has not worked so well in the past. People get quite upset when they are confronted by such all-consuming arrogance, and callous, self-insulating hubris, and revolution often follows.

As I’ve said before, the US is now a powder keg. If peaceful revolution is blocked and made impossible, then, as JFK said, violent revolution may become inevitable. But even short of a violent revolution, which is also quite possible, with the specter of civil war a real and present danger for the country; an implosion and a final, widespread public rejection of the Democratic party is a very real possibility in this decade. And the party elite are driving hard towards exactly that destination and culmination of events.

“It seems to me that both the Democratic party and the Republican party stand a very good chance of doing exactly what the Whigs did in the mid-1800’s, and just going up in a vapour of their own irrelevance.” — James Howard Kunstler

I would agree entirely, and I have have said that before hearing this thought from a long-term veteran analyst of US politics. Both parties are thread-bare in terms of their credibility, and if they continue to support Wall Street and the ruling elite, and continue to disregard the people, it could simply be the end of both of those parties.

I would say this, as a summary of what is happening within the Democratic party in 2016. And I hope that Democrats consider the following statements very carefully. A crisis is about to explode in the Democratic party if the superdelegates back Hillary against their own party base. The party could lose the sliver of public confidence that it has left, and simply implode.

Worse, Trump could win, and probably will win, if the superdelegates back Hillary, as poll after poll shows he is likely to win against Hillary. Will the superdelegates and the party establishment deal with reality, or will they let Trump — a candidate even more to the far right than the neocon hawk and Wall Street cheerleader, Hillary Clinton — take power, while their party’s last remaining shreds of credibility are destroyed? Time will tell, and we will find out very soon.

Let’s hope that sanity prevails. It’s doubtful, but it is entirely possible. Let’s hope the Democratic party wakes up to reality, before reality blows up in its face, and destroys the party, as well as the country.

J. Todd Ring,

May 12, 2016

Democrats Can Still Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
http://www.nationofchange.org/news/2016/04/24/democrats-snatch-defeat-jaws-victory/

The Establishment Is WRONG About Hillary’s Chances
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_eSLOM3eo

Polls: Trump Closing In On Hillary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8NQ7jUDbSI

Why the Superdelegates Need To Switch To Bernie Sanders Immediately
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_FqAJ8k7oY

She’s Baldly Lying”:
Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defense of Her Role in Honduras Coup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS-tDVwSHlA

Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/05/noam-chomsky-predicted-rise-trump-six-years-ago

Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders Is Not A Radical
https://www.facebook.com/democracynow/videos/10154098568373279/

Hillary The Inevitable
https://medium.com/@ElsevanderBerg/hillary-the-inevitable-4268fd333a46#.32ppckrib

Bernie Sanders Calls For Contested Caucus — National Press Club
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=035I6c3PuGI

 

Justin Trudeau and the Continuing Saga of Canadian Apathy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2016 by jtoddring

A recent poll shows strong support for the Trudeau government in Canada, and I have to think, once again, that it is surprising to see that Canadians can be so uncritical and unquestioning of their government.

Yes, Harper was defeated, and yes, that was a good thing. But the current government under Trudeau Jr. is deeply flawed, and criminally negligent, at best – and that is the best you can say about them.

Trudeau Jr. is still subsidizing big oil and the fossil fuel industry, still pushing for oil pipelines, still blocking serious action on the environment. And we are still waiting on serious action on the lack of safe drinking water for 120 native communities and 1,600 municipalities across the country – in one of the seven richest countries on earth, with the means to provide all Canadians more than a decent standard of living, and certainly vastly more wealth and resources than is needed to simply provide clean, safe water for all. And further, the Trudeau government has so far refused to cancel or reject a plan by Ontario Power Generation to bury radioactive waste in the Great Lakes basin, even though every radioactive waste facility ever built has leaked, and despite the fact that the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people. And all of this entails what can only be called criminal negligence in the extreme.

Beyond that, the Trudeau Liberals refuse to raise corporate taxes to reasonable levels, say, where they were in 1960, at roughly 40%: and as a result, must work with a self-inflicted short-fall of revenues, meaning that health care, education, social and environmental programs cannot be properly funded.

What this means is that the Liberal Party is no longer a liberal party, as it was up until the government of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, in the late 1970’s. For more than thirty years, the Liberal Party of Canada has been yet another party of neoliberalism, which is to say, another party run by and for big business. And central to the neoliberal, pro-corporate agenda, is austerity for the people, with giant subsidies, bail-outs, “stimulus” packages and tax breaks for the corporations and the rich. This is why we have inadequate funding for health care, education, social programs and environmental programs in Canada, as in the US and Europe, despite the fact that Canada is one of the richest countries on earth: neoliberalism and a corporate agenda have taken over – and the Trudeau Jr. government is just the latest expression of this criminal posse of neo-feudal corporatists, gouging the people to further line the pockets of the rich.

At the same time, the young Trudeau signed the TPP, which effectively spells the final death blow to Canadian sovereignty, and democracy in Canada. Few actions could express a greater or more utter incompetence, or criminality, depending on how you want to view it.

And while talking about “a principled foreign policy,” Trudeau Jr. approved the arms deal signed by Harper to ship more arms to the Saudis – the most brutal regime in the Middle East, and one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Saudi Arabia is also the country which is the primary arms provider and source of funds to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Principled foreign policy? This is not only criminally negligent, at best, to be sending more arms to the Saudi dictatorship; it is also a disastrous and extremely foolish policy which is guaranteed to blow back in our faces, as Saudi Arabia continues to fuel terrorism, even while it proclaims it is fighting it.

And along with arming the Saudis, Trudeau continued the bombing in Iraq and Syria, not only breaking his election promises, but violating international law, and thereby committing what are under international law, nothing less than war crimes. Yes, principled foreign policy indeed. Only now has this criminal and foolish behaviour and disastrous policy been halted – one point for which we can be glad in an otherwise dismal reign to date.

(And yes, it is a reign, when 40% of the popular vote can give you 100% of the power in government, and a four year coronation.)

And finally, Justin Trudeau promised to bring in proportional representation, to fix our quasi-democratic electoral system, and bring it into the 21st century, or even the 20th. So far, we have seen no action on this critical issue of democracy, and another Trudeau promise goes either broken, or simply ignored and abandoned.

Those were just election promises, right? Nobody takes those seriously. Well, clearly they shouldn’t when it is either the Liberal or Conservative Party in question.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth May, the only political leader in the country at the federal level who deserves to be called a leader, or who has any clue as to what is going on, apparently, or any spine, or integrity, or vision to bring to bear on the issues we face, is largely ignored by both the media and the people.

Are Canadians clueless, or are we simply a people that cannot seem to shake off a long tradition of public apathy? I think the latter is the case, and I do not know what will rouse them from their slumber, or bring them to their senses.

During the recent federal election, there was a wave of political passion across the country – which is to say, as passionate as Canadians get about anything other than hockey, beer and Tim Horton’s – as we the people decided to remove a much reviled Conservative government from power. Then we all went back to sleep. Or at least the majority seem to have returned to slumber land. What does it take to get Canadians to shake off their long-standing habit of apathy and complacency? I truly do not know.

JTR,
March 2, 2016

 

US Intervention In Syria: The Next Iraq

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by jtoddring

Here is a very brief synopsis of the US role in Syria. We will, for the sake of brevity,  leave aside for the moment the obvious and documented facts of the US arming and supporting of the very terrorist groups they claim to be fighting; as well as the fact that the majority of “rebels” in Syria are associated with either ISIS or Al Queda; and the the third fact, that the reason the US is arming and supporting the very groups it claims to be fighting is in order to overthrow yet another government in the Middle East. We will instead focus on the broader picture.

It is becoming clear to any who are paying attention, and any who remember even recent history, that Syria is rapidly becoming the next Iraq – a country set on fire in an unending cauldron of violence and civil war, with no resolution and no peace in sight, and nothing but a black hole and a quagmire for all involved.

After five years of war and geopolitical battles among rival powers, half a million Syrians have now been killed, the country is in ruins, and there are now over 11 million Syrian refugees, in the biggest humanitarian disaster since the war in Iraq. And we have to ask, who is to blame?

Who is to blame for the bloodbath in Syria? This seems to be the question of the hour. Tomorrow, or soon after, there will be another bloodbath, and there will be other scapegoats, and the grand game of assigning blame will turn once more, and as usual, with all the same repeating patterns. But let us ask that central question of this present moment, at this present moment: who is to blame for the turmoil and war in Syria, and the massive human suffering that is the escalating result of it?

I don’t think there is any question that many players or factions are involved in what is going on in Syria – no one seems to want to respect national sovereignty or the self-determination of peoples, much less international law, and it seems like everyone wants to coerce the Syrian people into accepting their own particular wishes and demands for what kind of government the Syrian people should have.

Among others, there is the Syrian government, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq involved. ISIS and Al Queda are of course involved, but as very knowledgeable observers have noted, they are more a symptom than the cause of the turmoil, and they are being armed and funded by other, larger powers – particularly Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.

And we can add to the list of parties who have involved themselves in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, Canada, Europe, Israel and Russia. But there is also no question that Washington and the CIA are playing a major and pivotal role in the war in Syria, and nobody of any sound mind doubts that, for it is obvious.

And if we look to recent historical precedents in the region, we can see a clear and obvious pattern: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya….. and that is without going further back, over the past 60 years of US foreign policy, beginning with the Washington/CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1957 – an extremely foolish and short-sighted, as well as criminal action, which gave birth to the extremist Islamic movements in the Middle East to begin with; or much longer, from the time of the Mexican-American war in the mid-1800’s, which Thoreau detested and wrote about, and before, from the time of the Indian Wars and the colonization of what was to become the United States of America.

The US has been a rising global super-power since the early 1800’s, until its recent decline, and one with a clear case of infantile grandiosity (the doctrines of Manifest Destiny and the like make this clear) and a self-justifying messianic complex, covering, only thinly, an obvious imperial pursuit of territorial expansion, conquest and hegemony, and of course, simple wealth and power.(See Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues, for an overview of the past 500 years of Western history.)

To be fair, the US was on the right side, on the side of freedom and democracy, during WWII; and along with Canada, Britain and other nations, and most pivotally Russia, the US helped to defeat the horror of fascism. But before and since, the US has been on the wrong side of history, more often than not. And that is because the US has been ruled, from 1945 until the present, and for the better part of its history before WWII, by a political elite who have been the willing puppets and servants of big business and moneyed interests – exactly as Thomas Jefferson had warned. These are the simple, ugly facts of the matter. This can change, and it will change, when the American people are ready for it, and willing to make it happen, but at present, the US is still a dangerous rogue super-power that is ruled by Wall Street – and with truly disastrous consequences both for the American people and for the world.

And in recent history, who was the major player responsible for the utter devastation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? The evidence is indisputable. These countries are now basket cases, and have been destroyed, and set aflame in civil wars – and it is the United States and its allies who are primarily responsible for these terrible atrocities, with well over a million dead, and nations laid to waste.

And although Washington had allies, and allies who will be recorded in history as having been actively involved in war crimes, the central player was the US government and the CIA in all three cases. The record speaks for itself.

The US government has been, and continues to be, dedicated to a policy of global hegemony, as its actions clearly and unquestionably show, and as its own internal record plainly speaks. (See documents from NSC-68 to PNAC and beyond.) And such actions are not only abominable, unconscionable, and in violation of international law, and furthermore, war crimes, under the precise definition of international law and the Nuremberg Trials; but furthermore, they create three very clear results: 1) countries are destroyed, and democracies either destroyed or prevented from arising, and with great human suffering and mass murder in every case; 2) there is inevitable blow-back, or negative repercussions, because such violent invasions and “regime changes” – that is, coups, in more honest and less euphemistic terms – create great hatred and fanaticism, and hence, more terrorism, exactly as the US intelligence community had predicted; and 3) the world becomes an ever more dangerous place as a result of such actions.

We cannot white-wash the involvement of Washington or the CIA in the Middle East, or Syria in particular. Their role has been, and continues to be, simply disastrous.

All nations have a duty to respect the sovereignty of other nations, and the right of peoples to self-determination. This basic principle, the principle of non-aggression, is the very foundation and under-pinning of international law, as well as the foundation for real and lasting peace. Currently, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Europe, Russia, and even the traditionally peace-loving Canada, along with the leading actor, the world’s dominant super-power, the United States, are all disregarding and violating these basic principles. And it is complete disaster which is the result, as all can clearly see, as well as a greatly heightened instability and danger – not just in Syria, not just across the entire Middle East, but for the world, as a conflict between super-powers looms, with Russia, China and Iran lining up on one side, and the US and its allies and proxies on the other, in an extraordinarily dangerous, and frankly insane, set of power games.

Let the madness end. The people of Syria can and will find a way to peace, and determine their own future, and what kind of government they want to have – but only if other powers in the region and in the world stop meddling and let them have the space to breath and to settle things for themselves. At present, the involvement of the US and other foreign powers is doing nothing but creating ever greater suffering and chaos, and no good will come from it.

The words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind. “If I knew someone was coming to do me some good, I should like to get as far away as possible.” I think by now, a great many people in Syria and the Middle East would like to be free of the “help” they have been receiving. Such help has been a nightmare and a horror, to say the least.

A basic respect for national sovereignty and the rule of law would be infinitely more helpful, but no one seems to be interested in that. That does not serve the underlying motives of empire fetish, and ego-maniacal, greed-driven power games.

Hands off Syria. This is the most urgent point of the matter.

If we truly want to help the Syrian people, then we should send food, emergency shelter, doctors and medical supplies, and we should take in refugees, and give shelter to those in need. Sending more arms, bullets and bombs is not going to help the situation. Indeed, it has only made the situation a thousand times worse than it already was, before our “help” arrived.

J. Todd Ring,
February 27, 2016

 

For further readings, video commentaries and analysis, see:

Noam Chomsky

Paul Craig Roberts

Michel Chossudovsky

Tulsi Gabbard

John Pilger

CounterPunch

The Real News Network

Global Research

And as a start, here is Noam Chomsky, speaking with his usual lucidity, saying clearly that if we want to halt terrorism, we have to do pretty much the complete opposite of what we’re doing now, which will only increase terrorism, not reduce it, much less end it:

http://www.actvism.org/en/events/noam-chomsky-ueber-die-terroranschlaege-in-paris/

 

 

 

 

 

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