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Thank you, Carlos Latuff. We can see that the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) is having an effect by the way Israel in now treating its own as even some of them are under, er, “Scrutiny”. It was amusing to see Jill Stein of the Green Party support the movement with Joe Cuomo, CNN moderator and brother of the Governor of New York who is carrying out his own campaign against the movement – albeit with great “encouragement” from Zionist pressure.
Is it not becoming tiresome to hear the term “Unintended consequences” used when describing to invasion of Libya (pushed by Clinton and idiots in France) and the destruction of Iraq (started by the Bushes), resulting to the presence of ISIS in both countries? They had to know that this systematic attempt to dismantle Arab Nationalist governments in favor of theocratic one would result in such disaster. If they did not, they could have read, right here, that very warning and prediction.
Any one with cognitive functioning of a borderline idiot or above with any information on the subject could have seen this coming. Therefore, there was nothing “unintended” about it. In fact, the strategy goes as far back as Kissinger who pointed out that we could say the Soviet Union was officially atheist and that we are not would be an incentive to move these countries away from Russian influence.
Still, there is not much point in saying any more on the subject now. Whoever is elected will only be worse than what we have now. Below is an interview that first will talk briefly about the candidates and then use the actions of Turkey to provide a summary of what has happened in the Mideast.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: And what do the U.S. elections mean for what’s taking place now?
VIJAYPRASHAD: Well, look, I mean, it’s—you can see from your news report at the beginning that, in domestic terms, there is a great difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has not only been absorbed by the white nationalists, but he himself appears to be a white nationalist. But seen from the rest of the world, the difference between the two is minimal. You know, here you have Donald Trump, who is, in many ways, erratic. God knows what he’ll do once he becomes president. He will lead a party—
AMYGOODMAN: Do you think God knows what he’ll do, once he—
VIJAYPRASHAD: Yeah, I think God knows what he’ll do. You know, I mean, I think that if the Republican Party was at such a place where Ted Cruz, who said that he would like to bomb Syria, to see the desert essentially be irradiated—if the Republican Party can see somebody like that as normal, as rational, then, you know, God help us if the Republicans are in charge of things.
But let’s take the case of Hillary Clinton. You know, here’s somebody who actually pushed Obama to go into the Libyan operation. You know, Obama was reticent to enter the operation in Libya. The French were very eager. And Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, you know, damn the consequences. And I think, therefore, if you’re looking at this from outside the United States, there’s a real reason to be terrified that whoever becomes president—as Medea Benjamin put it to me in an interview, whoever wins the president, there will be a hawk in the White House.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: An explosion at a police station in Turkey near the border with Syria has reportedly killed at least 11 people and wounded 70. State-run media is reporting that Kurdish militants were responsible for the attack, but there’s been no claim of responsibility. This comes as the Turkish military has sent additional tanks into northern Syria, intensifying its ground offensive in the ongoing conflict.
The U.S. military is backing Turkey’s incursion, which began earlier this week with an aerial bombing campaign. Turkey says the offensive is against ISIS-held areas along the border. But Turkey says it’s also concerned about Syrian Kurdish militias at the border. Those militias are backed by the United States. On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkish-backed Syrian rebels claimed—reclaimed the Syrian town of Jarabulus from the Islamic State.
PRESIDENTRECEPTAYYIPERDOGAN: [translated] As of this moment, Free Syrian Army and residents of Jarabulus have taken back Jarabulus. They have seized the state buildings and official institution buildings in the town. According to the information we have received, Daesh had to leave Jarabulus.
AMYGOODMAN: Turkey’s offensive is dubbed “Euphrates Shield,” and it’s the country’s first major military operation since a failed coup shook Turkey in July. On Wednesday, the Turkish president, Erdogan, met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who said the United States supports Turkey’s efforts to control its borders.
VICEPRESIDENTJOEBIDEN: We believe very strongly that the Turkish border must be controlled by Turkey, that there should be no occupation of that border by any group whatsoever, other than a Syria that must be whole and united, but not carved in little pieces.
AMYGOODMAN: Meanwhile, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says videos posted to a social media website Thursday depict carnage in the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood of Aleppo, where two barrel bombs were reportedly dropped, killing at least five people. The group also reported additional strikes across Aleppo and its suburbs, saying the dead were mostly women and children.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: The strikes came as the United Nations announced Russia has agreed to a 48-hour humanitarian truce in Aleppo to permit aid deliveries, pending security guarantees are met by parties on the ground. The United Nations has been pushing for a weekly 48-hour hiatus in fighting in Aleppo to assist the city’s approximately 2 million people who have been suffering as Syria’s five-year-old conflict continues to take a massive humanitarian toll.
A separate United Nations team has concluded the Assad government and ISISmilitants carried out repeated chemical weapons attacks in Syria in 2014 and 2015. The report accuses Assad of twice using chlorine gas. It also accuses ISIS of using mustard gas.
AMYGOODMAN: All of this comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, are meeting today in Geneva to discuss details of a cooperation agreement on fighting Islamic State in Syria.
For more, we’re joined by the acclaimed scholar who has followed the region closely for years, Vijay Prashad. He is a professor of international studies at Trinity College, columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Professor Prashad’s previous books include Arab Spring, Libyan Winter and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South.
Vijay Prashad, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you in studio.
VIJAYPRASHAD: Thanks a lot. Great to be here.
AMYGOODMAN: So, let’s start with what’s happening right now in Turkey, where Vice President Joe Biden just was.
VIJAYPRASHAD: Well, the situation in Turkey is very dire. As you know, on July 15, there was the failed coup. But the matters in Turkey have unraveled long before this failed coup. You know, the crackdown on reporters has been going on for at least a year and a half, if not longer. The internal politics of Turkey has been in disarray.
One of the interesting things about the government of Mr. Erdogan is that, previously, he had started a peace process with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK, which the United States and Turkey sees as a terrorist outfit. They had started a protracted peace process called the Imrali process. But this war in Syria has essentially unraveled that peace process, and the Turkish military has gone back on the full offensive against the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, and, as well, as you saw this week, the Turkish army has crossed the border into Syria to stop the advance of Syrian Kurds from creating what the Syrian Kurds call Rojava, which would be a statelet of Syrian Kurds which is right on the Turkish border.
You know, the reason that operation is called Euphrates Shield is that the Euphrates runs in that region from north to south. And what the Turkish government would like to see is for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which has a large Kurdish component, to move back east of the Euphrates—in other words, withdraw from Jarabulus, withdraw from Manbij, which they had taken quite—in a celebrated victory, and therefore prevent the creation of this Kurdish statelet called Rojava. On the surface, they say it’s about ISIS, but really this is about the protracted war that the Turkish government has begun again against the Kurds.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: But interestingly, you mentioned the failed coup. The New York Times, for instance, is reporting today that Erdogan wanted to go into Syria earlier, but the military was resisting, and it was only as a result of his being able to purge and remove so many top military officers that now he’s been able to do—to effect this incursion.
VIJAYPRASHAD: This is likely the case, you know, but it’s also been the situation that this is not the first Turkish entry into Syria. The Turks had entered previously; the Turkish military had. You know, there’s a celebrated shrine, a memorial to one of the founders of the Ottoman Empire, and the Turkish military had entered to secure that monument earlier. Turks had also, of course, kept their border open and had allowed supplies and people to cross the border into various proxy groups, whether it’s Turkish-backed proxy groups, Saudi groups, Qatari groups—and, in fact, the Islamic State. You know, they have used for years the Turkish border. And I think that the sheer instability of the war in Syria has returned, you know, the conflict into Turkey—what the CIA, after the successful coup in Iran in 1953, called blowback. You know, this is, in a sense, blowback against Turkey. So, they have previously entered Syria with the military. They have, of course, supported their proxies. But now, I think, with the gains made by the Kurds, this is as much a political entry as anything. You know, the principal reason, I would argue, that they’ve entered Jarabulus is to stop the creation of Rojava.
AMYGOODMAN: We’re talking to Vijay Prashad, and we’re going to continue this conversation after break. Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College, columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is calledThe Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. We’ll talk about, well, Turkey, Syria, Libya, and also the U.S. elections, before we speak with Emma Thompson. The famed actress is now back in Canada after going to the Arctic. Stay with us.
AMYGOODMAN: “Denizlerin Dalgasiyim,” “I am the Waves of the Sea,” by Selda Bagcan. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We’re speaking with Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of a new book. It’s called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution.
I want to turn to a novelist who was just arrested. I want to talk about press freedom in Turkey. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Turkish author and columnist Asli Erdogan—no relation to the president—has written about her treatment in prison since her arrest earlier this month, after the government closed down the newspaper where she worked. She now faces a pending trial on terrorism charges and says she’s been denied medication or sufficient water for five days and is diabetic. She’s one of many journalists and writers who have been arrested on charges of terrorism in Turkey. About 10,000 people have been arrested since the coup, at least that we know, or the attempted coup, though Erdogan, of course, wrested power back. Professor Vijay Prashad, what about Asli?
VIJAYPRASHAD: Well, look, you know, she is one of the tens of thousands of people who have been arrested under so-called suspicion that she was doing propaganda for the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK. You know, here’s a celebrated novelist, a journalist for a newspaper whose entire staff pretty much, the editorial staff, has been arrested. Newspapers have been facing a great challenge inside Turkey, and broadcasters. If anybody has questioned the fact that the Turkish government, you know, has been allowing fighters to cross the border, they have been arrested. And this has been happening for the last several years. You know, that’s why I say the failed coup of July 15th has just provided the government with the opportunity to go very deep into its list of those whom it sees as dissenters, and pick them up.
But they’ve been going after reporters for years now. Anybody who challenges their narrative of the war in Syria, they consider a threat, and they accuse them of being linked to the PKK. You know, this is one of the simplest ways of delegitimizing somebody, is to say that they are a propagandist for the PKK. And that’s precisely what they’ve said to her. They’ve also held her in solitary confinement. And she has asked to go back into the general population. You know, that’s a—it’s a humanitarian thing, on the surface of it. And also, you know, this is somebody with medical problems, and they’ve denied use of medication and a proper diet. But she’s only one. You know, as you noted, there are thousands of journalists who have been picked up. And sadly, a number of them are Kurdish journalists, independent journalists from the southwestern region of Turkey, who have been picked up.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: And you mention the Kurdish Workers’ Party. Clearly, Turkey is a far more developed country than most of the other Middle East countries and, along with Egypt, probably has the largest working class, per se. Has there been any ties between the Kurdish Workers’ Party and ongoing workers’ movements in Turkey among the rest of the population?
VIJAYPRASHAD: So, the Kurdish Workers’ Party starts, you know, as a principally Kurdish nationalist force, separatist force. But Turkey is an interesting country, because, you know, the largest Kurdish population in a city is not in the southeast, but is in Istanbul. So, you know, about 10 years ago or so, the Kurdish Workers’ Party began to move from the position of secessionism to the position of more rights inside Turkey. And there have been a series of attempts to unite with the Turkish left, various small leftist parties, to create an umbrella party that would both fight for rights of all kinds of people—gays and lesbians, women, workers and Kurds—inside Turkey. And the most recent, you know, party of this kind was the HDP, which had in both elections in 2015—there were two parliamentary elections—did enough—you know, did well enough to block Mr. Erdogan’s attempt to create a presidential form of government. And in a sense, this domestic pressure from the HDP has also upturned the applecart, as far as Mr. Erdogan’s domestic agenda is concerned.
AMYGOODMAN: You know, Joe Biden was just there, the vice president. Turkey, Erdogan has been demanding the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, who is in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Biden wrote a piece in a Turkish paper, and Foreign Policyhas said that Turkey has admitted that they have not given evidence that this man was behind the attempted coup. Explain, overall, the significance, for people who have never heard of him. It’s not just about the PKK in Turkey.
VIJAYPRASHAD: No, it’s not. The PKK provides, I think, the opportunity for the Turkish government to go after a large number of journalists, because many of these journalists that they’ve picked up are people of the left. The purges in the military, in the judiciary, in those sectors, they’ve blamed on people with sympathies to the Gülen movement or been members of the Gülen movement.
Now, when Mr. Erdogan came to power in the early 2000s, one of the great fears of this kind of Islamist movement was that they would suffer a coup by the military, that the military, which was largely republican, would go and overthrow them. So, from the very beginning, the AKP party, the party of Mr. Erdogan, has been very careful not to antagonize the military. And through the early years, Mr. Gülen’s movement and Erdogan both collaborated in stuffing their people into the military and into the judiciary. In a sense, this is now a family fight, that the very people that they stuffed into the military and into the judiciary have, of course, now turned on Mr. Erdogan. So he is now purging these people from positions of some authority. So it’s not untrue that the Gülenists are inside the military and inside the judiciary, but they were put there essentially to facilitate the Islamization of these institutions.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: And the Gülen movement, in one of the bizarre examples of what’s happening in education in the United States, runs the largest charter school network in the United States. They have charter schools across the country, especially in Texas. Is there any indication—and they’re bringing in Turkish educators to come into the United States to work in these schools. Do you have a—have you studied that at all?
VIJAYPRASHAD: No, I haven’t looked at that, but I’ve read about it. And the interesting feature, of course, is that this charter school movement or this push towards having faith-based schools in the United States is so closely linked to the agenda not only in Turkey, but in Pakistan, in various other places. And, you know, you see the downside of this: the promotion of a kind of theocratic mindset, the promotion of, you know, a lack of appreciation of the diversity of populations, of minorities, of science, you know, things like that. So, of course, the United States—I’m glad you raised this, because the United States is not somehow outside this process. You know, the United States is very much in this process, not only by promoting this overseas, but, of course, by promoting it from Texas to New York. It’s not only Texas, Juan. We like to think of Texas as a sort of, you know, bastion of the American Taliban, but this American Talibanization has been happening everywhere.
AMYGOODMAN: I wanted to move from Turkey to Saudi Arabia. While Joe Biden went to Turkey, Secretary of State John Kerry went to Saudi Arabia. Talk about Saudi Arabia and what’s happening today and the U.S. role in Saudi Arabia.
VIJAYPRASHAD: Well, this is actually, I think, the most important meeting. And it’s important that Mr. Kerry went to Saudi Arabia before meeting Lavrov in Geneva. And the reason I say this is that, you know, the Russians, the Iranians and the Americans have now come to the understanding that the process in Syria cannot start with the demand that Mr. Assad has to go. And why I say this is that Turkey has in the last couple of weeks come to the same position. So, the current prime minister of Turkey has quite clearly said that they no longer require Mr. Assad to leave as a precondition for the peace process, but he can stay, as the prime minister said, for a transitional period.
The only power in the region, the so-called subjugating powers of the region, that has not accepted this view is Saudi Arabia, and, to some extent, its Gulf Arab allies. You know, Saudi Arabia is fighting an extraordinarily brutal war in Yemen. It is obstinate in that war. It’s made no gains, despite the fact it’s been bombing Yemen for over a year. And, of course, the United States government has continued to resupply Saudi Arabia through this period. So, Mr. Kerry’s—
AMYGOODMAN: Engaged in the largest weapons sale in U.S. history with Saudi Arabia.
VIJAYPRASHAD: Precisely, the largest weapons sale, which Mr. Obama justified on economic grounds, which I thought was the most vulgar thing. In his statement, he said—or his proxy said, his spokesperson said, that this is the largest weapons sale, which benefits most of the states in the United States, because they will have bits and pieces of manufacturing.
But the point I just want to make is that for Mr. Kerry to be in Saudi Arabia is important because one of the features that they need to be pushing is that Saudi Arabia needs to now adopt the view that there needs to be a long transitional process in Syria. They cannot demand the Assad—Mr. Assad leave as a precondition. Everybody else has accepted this except Saudi Arabia.
THE ABSURD TIMES
Illustration: How U.S. citizens, and most commentators, get their news. It is all corporate based. In fact, if I wanted to take issue with Nietzsche, I’d say God is not dead – He’s just been laid off until capitalism runs its course.
Some time ago, actually recently, one of my friends or correspondences (not sure how to make the reference) said “I’m at a loss to understand why Donald Trump is getting so much criticism for this” (referring to calling Obama the Founder of ISIS. It is actually quite difficult to explain to someone overseas (as most people oversees either think he actually did or at least found them VERY convenient in an effort to overthrow Assad and also take attention away from Israel and its relentless persecution and exploitation of Palestinians).
How explain that, even if true, that fact can never be widely accepted in the United States? Even consideration of it as true is virtually impossible. Perhaps understanding our electoral process would help.
Other countries have multi-party systems and are not afraid to run their elections fairly. Greece would be a good example where a left-wing party was overwhelmingly elected and its members actually acted as they promised. It turned out that Germany did not like it, so the more honest members were expelled or crushed, but still they had been properly installed in office. Such things will not happen here.
Yes, we have a Green Party and a Libertarian Party, either of which makes more sense than the Neo-fascist Republicans or Neo-Liberal Democrats, but for that very reason, they will not have a chance.
So what if Trump is right if he said Obama founded ISIS? Here is another, quoting as best I can from memory:
So I say to the black people, what do you have to loose? You live in poverty, 58% of your youth is unemployed, your schools don’t work [you came over
ships, have low IQs, ] your lives suck, your cities are faling apart because of Democrats, what the HELL DO YOU HAVE TO LOOSE? VOTE FOR TRUMP!!
He also promised that in his second term, he would get 95% of the black vote. (Obama only got 93% in his second term.) How can anyone take anything he says seriously? He is actually the square root of –1 (i) the so-called “imaginary number.
Clinton? Really? [I’ve had enough of this and hope I answered the
THE END OF FACT, PART 2
ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER V
This is a before and after photo of Aleppo, not Hiroshima, courtesy of “Regime Change” foreign policy.
After the whelming response to part one, Art asked my to deal with part to to further explain what is meant by the end of fact. Above is a photo revealing fact. What we are told, and most people believe, is that it was done in the cause of Democracy. That is not fact.
How can we explain further why fact no longer exists? Let us try television. There are numerous “Reality Shows,” and Donald Trump was the star of one of them. It seems he still is. At least he gives every indication of thinking his actions and words are real.
One so-called reality show is “naked and afraid”. I watched a part of one edition, assuming the rest were the same (and I’m assured the genre is consistent) but found difficult to believe that such activity was a part of reality, that it depicted reality. We are to assume, I assume, that people regularly take off all their clothing and walk amongst alligators and snakes, on purpose. Happens every day.
Well, perhaps Facebook is a better example of what reality is. I had always thought that one is very fortunate to find a handful of friends in real life (if there is such a thing). The last I heard, there is a limit of 5,000 “friends” one can have on that platform. Obviously, “Friends” must mean something else. I am not prepared to hazard a guess as to what.
Obama is the founder of ISIS. “I was being sarcastic,” says the reality star. So, what has he said that is NOT sarcastic?
“You will never find out,” he replies.
I really can not continue this. Sorry Art.
This Sunday, the New Your Times Magazine will feature an entire edition about the “Arab World,” whatever that really is. Here is an introduction:
contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, author of The New York Times Magazine feature piece, “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart.”
This is viewer supported news
As conflicts from Iraq to Syria have forced a record 60 million people around the world to flee their homes and become refugees, we speak with Scott Anderson about his in-depth new report, “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart.” Occupying the entire print edition of this week’s New York Times Magazine, it examines what has happened in the region in the past 13 years since the the U.S. invaded Iraq through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Anderson is also author of the book, “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.”
THE ABSURD TIMES
Illustration: A fitting and appropriate visual aid by Latuff, perhaps on more levels than he suspects.
Phantoms and Hiatus
Over 150 years ago, I wrote my “Word as Will and Idea/Imagination,” and today it has finally realized itself. The work has had a varied history, was always correct, but accepted in varying degrees since. Today, there can be no doubt. The history is relevant.
The book prior to mine that was of any value was Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” a work so revolutionary that he was forced to apologize for it, and then write a sequel called “The Critique of Practical Reason,” a superfluous and destructive book which, fortunately, the educated and intelligent ignored and the rest admired to the extent that they no longer threatened him.
My own work took him a step further, pointing out that the world is nothing BUT idea, and these ideas, since everyone had a different perception or concept of reality, and also that all of these worlds were nothing but Imagination produced by some sort of Will, will to life and self-propagation, not to individuals but of itself.
At the same time, a simply minded professor gained great popularity amongst the masses and even attracted some rather brilliant minds and this overshadowed my own work. His name was Hegel.
Then young Frederick Nietzsche appeared, immersed himself in my work, and began to think on his own. He was quite brilliant and, unfortunately, wrote quite well, and thus eventually became popular and influential. He was always certain of his importance, but never live to become aware of his influence. A major difference that animated his work was optimism and hope, along with a conviction that mankind could transcend itself.
His influence continued to dominate the next century, the 20th, despite the brilliant work of Max Horkheimer in his “Eclipse of Reason,” a work that he pointed out on several occasions pointed back to my view. Much of the practical considerations of this effort rose from Fascism of the mid-century.
By the 21st Century, however, reason had become not only eclipsed, but logic and fact as well. Anyone who will take the time to think a bit abstractly about the presentation of current reality on any sort of media can tell that it does not exist. There are no longer any facts – only feelings, opinions, attitudes, and invective.
Perhaps this situation will change in a few months, years, or decades. We have no way of knowing. Modern technology has made available sounds and images created back during centuries where reality still existed – books, recordings, reproductions of artwork, and so on, and perhaps these will eventually combine to restore fact, logic, and reason to some extent. Until then, this publication will remain dormant unless another writer chooses to intervene.
Meanwhile, until such a time, here is a dialogue (hardly a dialectic, to use an idiotic word) with some relevance:
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: A week ago today, Hillary Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to accept a major-party presidential nomination. But Clinton is not the only woman running for president this year. The Green Party’s national convention opens today in Houston, Texas, and Dr. Jill Stein is expected to win the party’s nomination.
Last week, Juan González and I hosted a debate between the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich about the presidential race. Hedges has endorsed Dr. Jill Stein. Reich is backing Hillary Clinton, after endorsing Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Reich served in Bill Clinton’s Cabinet as Labor Secretary from ’93 to 1997. He now teaches at University of California, Berkeley. We began the debate by asking Robert Reich about whether the Democratic Party would unite behind Hillary Clinton or whether a group of Sanders supporters would go on to back Dr. Jill Stein.
ROBERTREICH: Well, it’s very hard to tell what the delegates are going to do. And it’s very hard to tell—even harder to tell what the electorate is going to do. You know, this is a very agonizing time for many Bernie Sanders supporters. I, with a great deal of reluctance initially, because I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 50 years—50 years—endorsed Bernie Sanders and worked my heart out for him, as many, many people did. And so, at this particular juncture, you know, there’s a great deal of sadness and a great deal of feeling of regret. But having worked so long and so many years for basically the progressive ideals that Bernie Sanders stands for, I can tell you that the movement is going to continue. In fact, it’s going to grow.
And right now, at this particular point in time, I just don’t see any alternative but to support Hillary. I know Hillary, I know her faults, I know her strengths. I think she will make a great president. I supported Bernie Sanders because I thought he would make a better president for the system we need. But nonetheless, Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. I support her. And I support her not only because she will be a good president, if not a great president, but also, frankly, because I am tremendously worried about the alternative. And the alternative, really, as a practical matter, is somebody who is a megalomaniac and a bigot, somebody who will set back the progressive movement decades, if not more.
AMYGOODMAN: Chris Hedges?
CHRISHEDGES: Well, reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It’s a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We’ve lost our privacy. We’ve seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We’ve seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children. I speak of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son. We have bailed out the banks, pushed through programs of austerity. This has been a bipartisan effort, because they’ve both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s over.
I just came back from Poland, which is a kind of case study of how neoliberal poison destroys a society and creates figures like Trump. Poland has gone, I think we can argue, into a neofascism. First, it dislocated the working class, deindustrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system. And we are now watching, in Poland, them create a 30,000 to 40,000 armed militia. You know, they have an army. The Parliament, nothing works. And I think that this political system in the United States has seized up in exactly the same form.
So, is Trump a repugnant personality? Yes. Although I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind. But the point is, we’ve got to break away from—which is exactly the narrative they want us to focus on. We’ve got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party. This is something that Ralph Nader understood long before the rest of us, and stepped out very courageously in 2000. And I think we will look back on that period and find Ralph to be an amazingly prophetic figure. Nobody understands corporate power better than Ralph. And I think now people have caught up with Ralph.
And this is, of course, why I support Dr. Stein and the Green Party. We have to remember that 10 years ago, Syriza, which controls the Greek government, was polling at exactly the same spot that the Green Party is polling now—about 4 percent. We’ve got to break out of this idea that we can create systematic change within a particular election cycle. We’ve got to be willing to step out into the political wilderness, perhaps, for a decade. But on the issues of climate change, on the issue of the destruction of civil liberties, including our right to privacy—and I speak as a former investigative journalist, which doesn’t exist anymore because of wholesale government surveillance—we have no ability, except for hackers.
I mean, this whole debate over the WikiLeaks is insane. Did Russia? I’ve printed classified material that was given to me by the Mossad. But I never exposed that Mossad gave it to me. Is what was published true or untrue? And the fact is, you know, in those long emails—you should read them. They’re appalling, including calling Dr. Cornel West “trash.” It is—the whole—it exposes the way the system was rigged, within—I’m talking about the Democratic Party—the denial of independents, the superdelegates, the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, the huge amounts of corporate money and super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign.
The fact is, Clinton has a track record, and it’s one that has abandoned children. I mean, she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70 percent of the original recipients were children. This debate over—I don’t like Trump, but Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.
AMYGOODMAN: Robert Reich, I remember you, on Democracy Now!, talking about your time as labor secretary when President Clinton signed off on welfare reform, and you described walking the streets of Washington, D.C., wondering where the protests were, that you had vigorously objected. And it was also an issue, a bill that Hillary Clinton had supported. So, can you respond to Chris Hedges on these three points, including, so, you take a walk in the political wilderness for a little while?
ROBERTREICH: Well, Amy, it’s not just taking a walk in the political wilderness. If Donald Trump becomes president, if that’s what you’re referring to, I think it is—there are irrevocable negative changes that will happen in the United States, including appointments to the Supreme Court, that will not be just political wilderness, that will actually change and worsen the structure of this country. I couldn’t agree with Chris Hedges more about his critique, overall, of neoliberalism and a lot of the structural problems that we face in our political economy today. I’ve written about them. But I’ve done more than write about them. I’ve actually been in the center of power, and I have been doing everything I possibly can, as an individual and also as a mobilizer and organizer of others, to try to change what we now have.
I think that voting for Donald Trump or equating Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump is insane. Donald Trump is certainly a product of a kind of system and a systematic undermining that has occurred in the United States for years with regard to inequality of income and wealth and political power. But we don’t fight that by simply saying, “All right, let’s just have Donald Trump and hope that the system improves itself and hope that things are so bad that actually people rise up in armed resistance.” That’s insane. That’s crazy.
What we have to do is be—we’ve got to be very, very strategic as progressives. We’ve got to look at the long term. We’ve got to understand that Bernie Sanders brought us much further along than we were before the Sanders campaign. We owe a lot to Bernie Sanders, his courage, his integrity, his power, the fact that most people under 30 voted for Bernie Sanders. In fact, if you look at the people who voted for Bernie Sanders under 30, that was more people than voted for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together under the age of 30. We are building a progressive movement in this country. But over the next four years, I don’t want Donald Trump to irretrievably make it difficult, if not impossible, for us to move forward with that progressive movement.
Now, I understand Hillary Clinton is not perfect. I’ve known her, as I said before, for 50 years. I met her when she was 19 years old. I know her strengths, and I know, pretty well, her weaknesses. She is not perfect. And as Chris says, you know, she is also very much a product of many of the problems structurally in this country right now. We fight those structural problems, yes. Hand in hand, Chris, with you, shoulder to shoulder—I’m very short, maybe it’s my shoulder, and it’s your rib cage—but it doesn’t matter, we continue to fight. I will continue to fight. Many people who are watching and listening will continue to fight. We must continue to mobilize. I hope Bernie Sanders does what he implied he would do last night—that is, carry the movement forward, lend his name, his energy, his email list. This is not the end of anything. But we have got to be, at the same time, very practical about what we’re doing and very strategic about what we’re doing. This is not just a matter of making statements. It’s a matter of actually working with and through, and changing the structure of power in this country.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: Chris, I’d like to ask you—you’ve written that liberals are tolerated by the capitalist elites because they do not question the virtues of corporate capitalism, only its excesses, and call for tepid and ineffectual reforms. Could that have also have been said of FDR in the 1930s? Because you were one of the folks who did not back Bernie Sanders from the beginning.
CHRISHEDGES: That’s right.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: So, you’ve—
CHRISHEDGES: Well, I didn’t back Bernie Sanders because—and Kshama Sawant and I had had a discussion with him before—because he said that he would work within the Democratic structures and support the nominee. And I think we have now watched Bernie Sanders walk away from his political moment. You know, he—I think he will come to deeply regret what he has done. He has betrayed these people who believed in this political revolution. We heard this same kind of rhetoric, by the way, in 2008 around Obama.
A political campaign raises consciousness, but it’s not a movement. And what we are seeing now is furious spin—I listened to Ben Jealous just do it—from the self-identified liberal class. And they are tolerated within a capitalist system, because, in a moment like this, they are used to speak to people to get them to betray their own interests in the name of fear. And I admire Robert and have read much of his stuff and like his stuff, but if you listen to what he’s been saying, the message is the same message of the Trump campaign, and that his fear. And that is all the Democrats have to offer now and all the Republicans have to offer now.
And the fact is, from climate change alone, we have no time left. I have four children. The future of my children, by the day, is being destroyed because of the fact that the fossil fuel industry, along with the animal agriculture industry, which is also as important in terms of climate change, are destroying the ecosystem on which we depend for life. And neither party has any intention to do anything about it.
AMYGOODMAN: What should Bernie Sanders have done?
CHRISHEDGES: Bernie Sanders should have walked out and run as an independent.
CHRISHEDGES: And defied the Democratic Party.
AMYGOODMAN: Take up the invitation of Dr. Jill Stein—
AMYGOODMAN: —and run on a ticket with—
CHRISHEDGES: She offered to let him run on the top of the ticket. That’s what he should have done. And the fact is, you know, let’s not forget that Bernie has a very checkered past. He campaigned for Clinton in ’92. He campaigned for Clinton again in ’96, after NAFTA—the greatest betrayal of the working class in this country since the Taft-Hartley Act of 1948—after the destruction of welfare, after the omnibus crime bill that exploded the prison population, and, you know, we now have—I mean, it’s just a monstrosity what we’ve done; 350,000 to 400,000 people locked in cages in this country are severely mentally ill. Half of them never committed a violent crime. That’s all Bill Clinton. And yet he went out and campaigned. In 2004, he called on Nader not to run, to step down, so he could support a war candidate like John Kerry. And I’m listening to Jealous before talk about the Iraq War. Sixty percent of the Democratic senators voted for the war, including Hillary Clinton. The idea that somehow Democrats don’t push us into war defies American history.
AMYGOODMAN: Robert Reich?
ROBERTREICH: Well, all I can say is that at this particular point in time—I mean, again, many of the things that Chris Hedges is saying, I completely agree with. The real question here is: What do we do right now? And what do we do to mobilize and organize a lot of people out there who right now are not mobilized and organized? And how do we keep the energy building? I disagree with Chris with regard to Bernie Sanders. I think Bernie Sanders has been a great and is a great leader right now of the progressive cause.
What I think we ought to do is develop a third party outside the Democratic and Republican parties, maybe the Green Party, so that in the year 2020, four years from now, we have another candidate—it may be Bernie Sanders, I think he’s probably going to be too old by then—but we have a candidate that holds the Democrats accountable, that provides a vehicle for a lot of the energy of the Bernie Sanders movement to continue to develop, that fields new candidates at the Senate, in Congress, at the state level, that actually holds Democrats’ feet to the fire and Republicans’ feet to the fire, that develops an agenda of getting big money out of politics and severing the link between extraordinarily concentrated wealth and political power in this country. That’s what we ought to be doing.
Now, we can—but in order to do that, we cannot have—and, you know, I think that Hillary will be a good president, if not a great president. This is not just trucking in fear, Chris. But I do fear Donald Trump. I fear the polls that I saw yesterday. Now, polls, again, this early in a campaign still—we’re still months away from the election, but they are indicative. They show Donald Trump doing exceedingly well, beating Hillary Clinton. And right now, given our two-party system, given our winner-take-all system with regard to the Electoral College, it’s just too much of a risk to go and to say, “Well, I’m going to vote—I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils, I’m going to vote exactly what I want to do.” Well, anybody can do that, obviously. This is a free country. You vote what you—you vote your conscience. You have to do that. I’m just saying that your conscience needs to be aware that if you do not support Hillary Clinton, you are increasing the odds of a true, clear and present danger to the United States, a menace to the United States. And you’re increasing the possibility that there will not be a progressive movement, there will not be anything we believe in in the future, because the United States will really be changed for the worse.
That’s not a—that’s not a risk I’m prepared to take at this point in time. I’m going to move—I’m going to do exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 40 years: I’m going to continue to beat my head against the wall, to build and contribute to building a progressive movement. The day after Election Day, I am going to try to work with Bernie Sanders and anybody else who wants to work in strengthening a third party—and again, maybe it’s the Green Party—for the year 2020, and do everything else I was just talking about. But right now, as we lead up to Election Day 2016, I must urge everyone who is listening or who is watching to do whatever they can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president, and not Donald Trump.
AMYGOODMAN: Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. Hold onto your hats, because we’ll return to the debate in a minute.
AMYGOODMAN: “Rich” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our debate between former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. Juan González and I spoke to them last week during the Democratic National Convention. Chris Hedges was with us in Philadelphia. Robert Reich joined us from the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches. We started this section of the debate with a clip from Donald Trump’s nomination speech at the Republican National Convention.
DONALDTRUMP: I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders. He never had a chance, never had a chance. But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest single issue—trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and strip us of our wealth as a country. Millions of Democrats will join our movement, because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly and justly for each and every American.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: That was Donald Trump talking at the convention in Cleveland. Robert Reich, interestingly, Donald Trump and Chris Hedges agree on one thing, that free trade deals that the—that both the Republicans and Democrats have negotiated over the past few years, especially NAFTA, have been disastrous for the American people. You were part of the Clinton administration whenNAFTA was passed. Talk about this, the impact that Trump is utilizing among white workers in America over the issue of free trade.
ROBERTREICH: Well, Donald Trump is clearly using trade and also immigration as vehicles for making the people who have really been hurt by trade, by globalization, feel that he is going to somehow be on their side. He’s not going to be on their side.
Trump is right in a very, very narrow respect, that trade has hurt very vulnerable people, working-class people. The burdens of trade have been disproportionately fallen on those people who used to have good unionized jobs in America. And the failure of NAFTA and also the WTO, the World Trade Organization, Chinese ascension into the WTO, all of those Clinton-era programs—the failure was, number one, not to have nearly strong enough and enforceable enough labor and environmental side agreements; number two, not to have adjustment mechanisms here in the United States for people who lost their jobs to help them get good jobs, that were new jobs, for the jobs they lost. The winners in trade could have compensated the losers and still come out ahead, but they did not. And that is a structural, political problem in this country that we have to address.
It is also a problem with regard to technological displacement. It’s not just trade. Technology is displacing and will continue to displace and will displace even more good jobs in the future, but we have absolutely no strategy for dealing with that. And right now, the burdens of technological displacement are falling, once again, on the working middle class, lower-income people, who have very, very few alternatives, driving a greater and greater wedge between those who are lucky enough to be—to have rich parents or be well educated or be well connected, and everybody else.
We cannot go on like this. This is unsustainable. And Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are symptomatic, their rise, are both symptomatic of this great wave of antiestablishment anger that is flooding American politics, although on the one side you have authoritarian populism, and on the Bernie Sanders side you have a political revolution. I prefer the political revolution myself. I’m going to continue to work for that political revolution.
CHRISHEDGES: Well, I think we have to acknowledge two facts. We do not live in a functioning democracy, and we have to stop pretending that we do. You can’t talk about—when you eviscerate privacy, you can’t use the word “liberty.” That is the relationship between a master and a slave. The fact is, this is capitalism run amok. This whole discussion should be about capitalism. Capitalism does what it’s designed to do, when it’s unfettered or unregulated—as it is—and that is to increase profit and reduce the cost of labor. And it has done that by deindustrializing the country, and the Clinton administration, you know, massively enabled this.
And, you know, we’re sitting here in Philadelphia. The last convention was in Cleveland. These are Potemkin villages, where the downtowns are Disneyfied, and three and four blocks away people are living in appalling poverty. We have responded to surplus labor, as Karl Marx says, in our deindustrialized internal colonies, to quote Malcolm X, by putting poor people of color in cages all across the country. Why? It’s because surplus labor—corporate entities cannot make money off of surplus or redundant labor. But when you lock them in a cage, they make $40,000 or $50,000 a year. This is the system we live in.
We live in a system where, under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, the executive branch can put the soldiers in the streets, in clear violation of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, to see—carry out extraordinary rendition of American citizens who are deemed to be, quote-unquote, “terrorists,” strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities, including in our black sites. We are a country that engages in torture.
We talk—Robert talks about, you know, building movements. You can’t build movements in a political system where money has replaced the vote. It’s impossible. And the Democrats, you know, their bedside manner is different from the Republicans. You know, Trump is this kind of grotesque figure. He’s like the used car salesman who rolls back the speedometer. But Hillary Clinton is like, you know, the managers of Goldman Sachs. They both engage in criminal activities that have—and Clinton’s record, like Trump, exposes this—that have preyed upon the most vulnerable within this country and are now destroying the middle class. And to somehow speak as if we are in a functioning democracy, or speak as if there are any restraints on capitalism, or speak as if the Democratic Party has not pushed forward this agenda—I mean, Obama has done this. You know, he has been as obsequious to Wall Street as the Bush administration. There’s no difference.
AMYGOODMAN: Robert Reich?
ROBERTREICH: Chris, you know, I—again, I find this a frustrating conversation, because I agree with so much of what you have said, but the question is: What do we do about it? I mean, we are in a better position today, in the sense that Bernie Sanders has helped mobilize, organize and energize a lot of Americans, and educated a lot of Americans about the very issues that you have talked and written about and I have talked and written about. But it is—the question is: What is the action? What is the actual political strategy right now?
CHRISHEDGES: Well, let me—let me answer that.
ROBERTREICH: And I think the political—
CHRISHEDGES: Let me answer that.
ROBERTREICH: Well, let me just—let me just put in my two cents. I think political strategy is not to elect Donald Trump, to elect Hillary Clinton, and, for four years, to develop an alternative, another Bernie Sanders-type candidate with an independent party, outside the Democratic Party, that will take on Hillary Clinton, assuming that she is elected and that she runs for re-election, and that also develops the infrastructure of a third party that is a true, new progressive party.
CHRISHEDGES: Well, that’s precisely what we’re trying to do. There is a point where you have to—do I want to keep quoting Ralph?—but where you have to draw a line in the sand. And that’s part of the problem with the left, is we haven’t.
I covered the war in Yugoslavia, and I find many parallels between what’s happening in the United States and what happened with the breakdown of Yugoslavia. What is it that caused this country to disintegrate? It wasn’t ancient ethnic hatreds. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia and a bankrupt liberal establishment that, after the death of Tito, until 1989 or 1990, spoke in the language of democracy, but proved ineffectual in terms of dealing with the plight of working men and women who were cast out of state factories, huge unemployment and, finally, hyperinflation.
And the fact is that these neoliberal policies, which the Democratic Party is one of the engines for, have created this right-wing fascialism. You can go back—this proto-fascism. You can go back and look at the Weimar, and it—Republic—was very much the same. So it’s completely counterintuitive. Of course I find Trump a vile and disturbing and disgusting figure, but I don’t believe that voting for the Democratic establishment—and remember that this—the two insurgencies, both within the Republican Party and the—were against figures like Hillary Clinton, who spoke in that traditional feel-your-pain language of liberalism, while assiduously serving corporate power and selling out working men and women. And they see through the con, they see through the game.
I don’t actually think Bernie Sanders educated the public. In fact, Bernie Sanders spoke for the first time as a political candidate about the reality the public was experiencing, because even Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, was talking about economic recovery, and everything was wonderful, and people know that it’s not. And when you dispossess—
ROBERTREICH: Well, let me—let me—
CHRISHEDGES: Let me just finish. Let me finish. When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us. And to sit by—every time, Robert, you speak, you do exactly what Trump does, which is fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And the fact that we are going to build some kind of—
ROBERTREICH: Well, let me—let me try to—
CHRISHEDGES: —amorphous movement after Hillary Clinton—it’s just not they way it works.
ROBERTREICH: Let me try to inject—let me—let me try to inject—
AMYGOODMAN: Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich?
ROBERTREICH: Let me try to inject some hope in here, in this discussion, rather than fear. I’ve been traveling around the country for the last two years, trying to talk to tea partiers and conservatives and many people who are probably going to vote for Donald Trump, to try to understand what it is that they are doing and how they view America and why they’re acting in ways that are so obviously against their self-interest, both economic self-interest and other self-interest. And here’s the interesting thing I found.
This great antiestablishment wave that is occurring both on the left and the right has a great overlap, if you will, and that overlap is a deep contempt for what many people on the right are calling crony capitalism—in fact, many people on the left have called crony capitalism. And those people on the right, many, many working people, they’re not all white. Many of them are. Many of them are working-class. Many of them have suffered from trade and technological displacement and a government that is really turning its back on them, they feel—and to some extent, they’re right. Many of them feel as angry about the current system and about corporate welfare and about big money in politics as many of us on the progressive side do.
Now, if it is possible to have a multiracial, multiethnic coalition of the bottom 90 percent that is ready to fight to get big money out of politics, for more equality, for a system that is not rigged against average working people, where there are not going to be all of these redistributions upward from those of us who have paychecks—and we don’t even realize that larger and larger portions of those paychecks are going to big industries, conglomerates, concentrated industries that have great market power, because it’s all hidden from view—well, the more coalition building we can do, from right to left, multiethnic, multiracial, left and right, to build a movement to take back our economy and to take back our democracy, that is—
JUANGONZÁLEZ: Robert Reich—Robert Reich, I’d just like to interrupt you for a second, because we only have a minute left, and I just wanted to ask Chris one last question. In less than a minute, if you can, regardless of—you’re voting for Jill Stein, other folks are going to vote for Clinton and Trump. Where do you feel this massive movement that has developed over the last few years, this people movement, would have a better opportunity to grow, under a Trump presidency or under a Clinton presidency, assuming that one of those two will eventually be elected?
CHRISHEDGES: I don’t think it makes any difference. The TPP is going to go through, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is going to be continued, whether it’s Trump or Clinton. We’re not going to get our privacy back, whether it’s under Clinton or Trump. The idea that, at this point, the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth. The fact is—
ROBERTREICH: Equating—I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
JUANGONZÁLEZ: Even on immigration?
CHRISHEDGES: What? On?
JUANGONZÁLEZ: Even on immigration?
CHRISHEDGES: What? On immigration? I mean, let’s look at Obama’s record on immigration. Who’s worse?
AMYGOODMAN: We’ve got 10 seconds.
CHRISHEDGES: I mean, you know, you can’t get worse than Obama.
ROBERTREICH: And can I just say something?
CHRISHEDGES: I mean, the idea is, the Democrats speak, and the—
AMYGOODMAN: Robert Reich, 10 seconds.
ROBERTREICH: I just want to say, equating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is absolute nonsense. I just—anybody who equates the two of them is not paying attention. And it’s dangerous kind of talk.
CHRISHEDGES: That’s not what I—that’s not what I did.
AMYGOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there, but this is a discussion that will continue.
AMYGOODMAN: And that debate held during the Democratic convention. Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. His most recent book, Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt. Robert Reich served as labor secretary under President Clinton, is a professor at University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few. Today, the Green Party convention opens in Houston, Texas. To get a copy of the show, you can go to democracynow.org.
When we come back, an exposé on foreign influence in the U.S. elections. Stay with us.
THE ABSURD TIMES
Remember Latuff? Banned in Turkey and accused of all sorts of things.
Emperor Erdogan, Trump, and Other Stuff
Nobody else at this publication wanted to publish anything for a long time, so they asked me. I said, “why not?” And so here I am.
One of you said that whoever keeps their mouth shut the longest in this election would win. Obviously, Trump has not listened. Ever.
This has all been quite silly. A Pakistani Muslim suggested that Donald read the Constitution, especially Amendment 14 of The Bill of Rights. Well, Trump claims he has read it. Nobody seems to know that only the first Ten are called the “Bill of Rights,” insisted upon before all states would agree to join back then.
Instead, Trump has talked about Islamic Terrorism. There is no such thing, but then, sometimes thinking makes it so?
Another example is Trump calling Obama the “worst President in history”. Actually, he is no great one, but he hardly qualifies as the worst and there is not likely to be an improvement anytime soon. Most of the worst that come to mind have been Republicans, BTW, including Nixon (see below), Herbert Hoover (look up depression), Grant, and there is no point in continuing the list.
He also blamed their son’s death on Hillary Clinton although George Bush II was President at the time. He has never been a history buff.
Nude photos of Trump’s wife have been published lately. Who cares? Fortunately, no nude photos of Bill Clinton have appeared. Yet. Trump is unpredictable, after all.
Hollande of France says Trump makes him want to vomit. I think he is the only foreign leader to say that – in public. Others, well, they have their own ideas. All I can say is that Trump is sort of a Groucho Marx without the humor.
Anybody know why Trump keeps praising Putin? Putin doesn’t. But what the hell? It would be in his best interest, and the interest of most of Europe, if the U.S. were in the hands of Trump. Balance of power and all that.
This actually goes back to after Hillary pushed the “reset” button. Then, a U.N. Resolution to “protect innocent civilians” from Libyan bombing – that’s all. It turned out to be regime change with catastrophic results for all concerned and neither Russia nor China has believed anything we said since.
A more recent issue is whether we paid ransom for the people in Iran, the 200 million dollars. The brilliant Gore Vidal once said, and we remind you of this many times, that this should be called the “United States of Amnesia.”
This is what happened: during the 70s, the time of two great Republicans, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, who was appointed by Gerald Ford as his successor in order to be pardoned for his crimes, and the semi-Democrat Jimmie Carter (who today looks like a flaming left-wing liberal), the Shah of Iran paid the U.S. 400 million dollars for some weapons (we love to sell weapons). The Shah had to get out of Dodge, Iran, and appointed Shapur Baktiar (remember him?) as his successor. The weapons were never sent, although Ronnie Ray Gun did have a deal involving Iran and Honduras to overthrow the Sandinastas. The international court found us guilty, but we didn’t care. Another case involved the 400 million dollars we still kept but never sent the weapons for. The 200 Million is part of that payment and has nothing to do with hostages.
Oh well – this is a very tiring season. No wonder nobody else here wanted to write anything about it.
THE ABSURD TIMES
Remember Turkey? Latuff.
Remember Latuff? Banned in Turkey and accused of all sorts of things.
These Two Weeks
In just about the entire world, people know about the staged coup in Turkey. They know about the ISIS terrorist attacks in France most recently and before that Germany. Actually, they know that Daesh not only gives Islam a bad name as nothing about the group is remotely Moslem, but they also give terrorism a bad name.
They also know that there is a new Prime Minister in England and that the funny fat guy who keeps running over children on the football field is Foreign Minister there (the one who looks like a fat Donald Trump).
In the United States, however, corporate media has pretty much blanketed the news channels with 24/7 infomercials about the two largest political parties, the neo-fascist and the neo-liberal, or Republican and Democratic, respectively.
Wikileaks released a ton of e-mails that showed, or rather documented what was already clear, the D party had no intention of allowing Sanders to be elected. Now, there are accusations that Russia, Putin, was behind it. The only real indication of this consists of a few letters from the Cryllic alphabet found in the code, or said to have been found in the code. As any mid-level programmer, or coder, know, there are many places to insert meaningless bits of information in the code that will have no effect, but that will help authenticate the programmer, or forge something. The fact is, however, those e-mails, or leaks, tell us nothing we did not already know. They simply documented it.
This was much like the leaks on Iraq and other glorious foreign policy moves the U.S. has made over the years.
Well, Das ist Alles fur Heute.
Anybody think this is going to happen?
Palestinians should take seriously the possibility that Obama may act because of his disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu, and because of the support such a move would have from Samantha Power and John Kerry. Any initiative would likely occur after the US presidential elections; thus the window would be from November 2016 through January 2017.
President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009. The man sitting between them is an interpreter. ( This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Obama’s Last Gasp…
View original post 2,414 more words
THE ABSURD TIMES
Hello. I am the uncle of Czar Donic and asked to contribute.
Many people who have been so brain washed by High school civics classes actually believe that if they don’t vote, they are responsible for the sort of government we get. Well, in this case, to use a line for an old Tom Lehrer song, most people like that must feel like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.
The only advantage of voting for Cinton is to deny Trump the ability to appoint Supreme Court Judges.
Here is an interview of one possible alternative from a Bernie Sanders supporter:
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: You are endorsing Dr. Jill Stein. You were a surrogate for Bernie Sanders. You spoke all over the country for him.
CORNELWEST: Yes, yes, yes.
AMYGOODMAN: What made you decide to support the Green Party presidential candidate as opposed to Hillary Clinton?
CORNELWEST: Well, I’ve never been tied to one party or one candidate or even one institution. And that’s true even with one church as a Christian. I’m committed to truth and justice. And Brother Bernie, no doubt, was the standard-bearer for truth and justice during the primary at a national level, at a highly visible level. Once he endorsed Hillary Clinton, who, for me, is a neoliberal disaster, it was clear—
AMYGOODMAN: What do mean by that?
CORNELWEST: A neoliberal disaster is one who generates a mass incarceration regime, who deregulates banks and markets, who promotes chaos of regime change in Libya, supports military coups in Honduras, undermines some of the magnificent efforts in Haiti of working people, and so forth. That’s the record of Hillary Clinton. So there was no way—when my dear brother, who I love very deeply, Bernie Sanders said she will make an outstanding president, I said, “Oh, I disagree with my brother. I think she’ll—I don’t think she’ll make an outstanding president at all.” She’s a militarist. She’s a hawk. She could take us into war with Russia. She could take us into war with Iran. So, I mean, I think she’s—she’s dangerous in terms of her neoliberal ideology—not as a woman, because I’m supporting, of course, my dear sister Jill Stein.
I think after a magnificent campaign of Bernie Sanders, the next step is a green step. The next step is a progressive step. And when you’re calling for reparations, you’re calling for the release of prisoners who have been historically unfairly treated, especially tied to nonviolent crimes, and then saying they should vote and that vote should never be taken away, when you’re calling—putting people and planet and peace before profits, Sister Jill Stein, for me, is somebody that’s worth fighting for. And she’s not a spoiler. You know, a lot of people use that term “spoiler.” If Hillary Clinton can’t make the case to progressives, she doesn’t deserve our vote.
Now, Trump is a neofascist in the making. There’s no doubt about that.
AMYGOODMAN: Donald Trump.
CORNELWEST: Yeah. Oh, there’s no doubt about that. But the thing is, is that you can’t just be a non-Trump and deserve one’s vote. If Hillary Clinton wants the vote of progressives, she better be real about it. But I don’t think she has the capacity to be real about it. She’s so tied to Wall Street. She’s so tied to the corporate elite.
AMYGOODMAN: Why do you say he’s a neofascist, Donald Trump, the—
CORNELWEST: Because neofascism in the United States takes the form of big money, big banks, big corporations, tied to xenophobic scapegoating of the vulnerable, like Mexicans and Muslims and women and black folk, and militaristic policies abroad, with strongman, charismatic, autocratic personality, and that’s what Donald Trump is.
And we should know. This is why I salute you, my dear sister. Corporate media has played a fundamental role in the making of Donald Trump—$2 billion free time. They made big profits. They put their profits ahead of the public interest. They covered every speech, every word in Twitter for the last 14 months, just to make big money. Even this convention, even this—they can’t wait. They’re salivating for the profits. And what do they do? They throw out this mediocre, dumbed-down xenophobic-speaking brother, who—I mean, he’s a human being like anybody else, so, I mean, you know, he’s made in the image of God, in terms of my own Christian faith and so forth, but he’s a neofascist in the making. And corporate media is going to have to acknowledge the tremendous responsibility they have of making sure Donald Trump was center stage. If Bernie Sanders had received one-half of that kind of attention, we’d be in a very different place. If they would put more stress on what Jill Stein is saying, the unbelievable fairness, subtlety of analysis, moral passion of Sister Jill—corporate media won’t touch her with a 10-foot pole, for the most part. But it’s changing. It’s going to change.
AMYGOODMAN: What does Dr. Jill Stein represent? What—why are you drawn to the Green Party platform, now that Bernie Sanders has conceded?
CORNELWEST: Well, one, in the language of Coltrane, she’s a major force for good, accenting the role of poor and working people being center stage. She’s green in terms of trying to save the planet in the face of corporate greed. She’s fundamentally concerned with issues of racial justice, legacies of white supremacy as well as male supremacy. She’s concerned about empowering working people. She opposes TPP, trying to make sure we don’t have the corporate reshaping of the world economy—the kind of policies, of course, Democratic Party has supported, President Obama has supported. It’s hard to find somebody at the national level who provides a certain kind of hope, given the unbelievable spiritual decline and moral decay. And by spiritual decline and moral decay, I mean greed and indifference and contempt in the driver seat among our elites vis-à-vis all working people and poor people. It’s just sad to see so many fellow working people and fellow citizens supporting a pseudo-populist and neofascist like Donald Trump. They’re in pain. The pain is very real, but they’re moving in a right-wing direction.
AMYGOODMAN: What happened with the Democratic platform? You were one of the people on the committee. A lot of people don’t know how this stuff is made, how the sausage is made. Explain what happened. What did you win? What did you lose?
CORNELWEST: Well, I was blessed to be put on the committee by Brother Bernie Sanders. We had wonderful deliberations. Brother Elijah Cummings was very fair. He was the chairperson. But we lost TPP. We lost Medicare for all. We lost, of course, Israeli occupation and Israeli settlements included within the platform, keeping track while precious Palestinian brothers and sisters—
AMYGOODMAN: What about them? You lost—what do you mean, you lost them?
CORNELWEST: We lost them, in that we made the case, and we lost the vote.
AMYGOODMAN: What were you looking for?
CORNELWEST: We were looking to include them within the platform, so at least it was on paper. Now, of course, putting it on paper is different than putting it in practice. A declaration is different from the execution. But we lost over and over again, because the Clinton people lined up and voted against it. That’s why I, of course, abstained, initially, at the move from writing the draft, and then we took it to the platform committee in Orlando. I was also a member of the platform committee. And I had to abstain again, because—even though they didn’t allow for abstention; it was just no or yes. But there’s no way, based on moral grounds, those based on my own moral conscience, that I could support that platform.
And once my dear brother moved into his endorsement, his strong endorsement of the neoliberal disaster that Sister Hillary represents, there was no way that I could stay with Bernie Sanders any longer, had to break with the two-party system. The duopoly has to come to an end. I was hoping we could bring the neoliberal era to a close, because a year ago, populist, Bernie Sanders; neofascist with Trump, or neoliberalism limps on with Hillary Clinton. Right now the Democratic Party still run by big corporations, big lobbyists and so forth, from AIPAC to a host of other lobbyists of big money, and it looks like they want to hold on for dear life. And it’s a sad thing to see, because the country is having a nervous breakdown. And you just hope that there can be enough people with compassion and courage to hold onto justice, keep the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Edward Said and Dorothy Day alive.
AMYGOODMAN: Finally, when you look at what Donald Trump is calling for—the wall on the border with Mexico, banning Muslims from coming in—barring Muslims from coming into the country, hesitating to disavow the support of the white supremacist David Duke and other issues—for those who say it’s only Hillary Clinton who could defeat that, what is your response?
CORNELWEST: My response is, and when you actually look at the mass incarceration policies, when you actually look at the reinforcement of the new Jim Crow and the segregation of our educational systems and so forth, that occurred under Democrats. It would persist under Hillary Clinton. What Donald Trump talks about in the abstract has actually been concretely enacted under neoliberal regimes of the Democratic Party.
Same would be true in terms of foreign policy. Foreign policy, for me, is very, very important in terms of the no-fly zones in Syria that can lead toward war, the kind of encirclement of Russia. I mean, can you imagine Russian troops in Mexico and Canada? What would the U.S. response be? Oh, my god. Well, that’s very much whatNATO troops are vis-à-vis Russia. Now, we know Russia is run by autocratic Putin, but that kind of provocation for Russia, who has nuclear arms, is the kind of thing that Hillary Clinton, of course, supported. And her connection to the Robert Kagans and Henry Kissingers, of course, are just frightening in regard to militaristic orientations.
And so, this idea that somehow we’ve got to opt for a neoliberal disaster as the only option vis-à-vis the neofascist catastrophe, as a blues man, I appreciate you playing that blues, said I can deal with catastrophe, not by panicking and being driven by fear, but I can look the catastrophe in the face and still tell the truth and still go down swinging with a smile and, most importantly, love, Coltrane’s love—and for me, Jesus’s love—at the center of how we proceed.
AMYGOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there, but we’ll be talking to you through the week, Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary. He endorsed Bernie Sanders for president last summer and was appointed by Sanders to serve on the Democratic platform committee, author of a number of books, most recently Black Prophetic Fire, now is endorsing Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Istanbul and stay right here to talk about the attempted coup over the weekend. Stay with us.
Some of you asked “What about Palestinian Lives?” I guess the problem is that Israel is relentless in it’s persecution and that it gets little exposure on U.S. Media or the BBC. Here is a good posting from our friends.
Life in Palestine moves along with its ups and downs, like the tides of the sea. Some days we feel depressed, some days more optimistic. Some of us even feel like manic depressives for the fact that we go through these cycles. The triggers are varied.
Followed by a poem written about Gaza ….
ups and downs
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Life in Palestine moves along with its ups and downs, like the tides of the sea. Some days we feel depressed, some days more optimistic. Some of us even feel like manic depressives for the fact that we go through these cycles. The triggers are varied. We get depressed when we heard of the murders of 84 people in Nice by a deranged lunatic. We get uplifted when we hear of how victims’ families, friends, and concerned citizens (of all religions and backgrounds) came…
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