Wednesday, November 16, 2016

(The Real video & transcript - Part 1)

Chris Hedges and Sheldon Wolin discuss history and politics and the forces that shaped our nation. This eight-part interview is well worth watching, it is both entertaining and enlightening.

CHRIS HEDGES, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Hi. I'm Chris Hedges. And we are here in Salem, Oregon, interviewing Dr. Sheldon Wolin, who taught politics for many years at Berkeley and, later, Princeton. He is the author of several seminal works on political philosophy, including Politics and Vision and Democracy Inc.. And we are going to be asking him today about the state of American democracy, political participation, and what he calls inverted totalitarianism. So let's begin with this concept of inverted totalitarianism, which has antecedents. And in your great work Politics and Vision, you reach back all the way to the Greeks, up through the present age, to talk about the evolution of political philosophy. What do you mean by it?

SHELDON WOLIN, PROF. POLITICS EMERITUS, PRINCETON: Well, I mean by it that in the inverted idea, it's the idea that democracy has been, in effect, turned upside down. It's supposed to be a government by the people and for the people and all the rest of the sort of rhetoric we're used to, but it's become now so patently an organized form of government dominated by groups which are only vaguely, if at all, responsible or even responsive to popular needs and popular demands. But at the same time, it retains a kind of pattern of democracy, because we still have elections, they're still relatively free in any conventional sense. We have a relatively free media. But what's missing from it is a kind of crucial continuous opposition which has a coherent position, and is not just saying, no, no, no but has got an alternative, and above all has got an ongoing critique of what's wrong and what needs to be remedied.

The entire three hour interview is available on Youtube.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Presidential Polls Were Off the Mark Because of Voter Suppression
(Interview with Greg Palast - Real video )

Greg has been reporting on election fraud for a very long time. Check it out.

And then you may wish to reflect on other U.S. political tragedies.

Reflections on US Political Tragedies
(David Marks - Consortium

(CBS This Morning - Youtube video)

"Sincerity - if you can fake that, you've got it made."
- George Burns

I've posted an odd mashup this morning. Burns's quip sadly doesn't apply to Bernie Sanders. Bernie seems sincere to me, real to me, if he's faking it he is doing a very good job. Unfortunately, sincerity doesn't have the clout it had in George's day. All Bernie got was shade.

Hold on. I think Burns is saying that genuine sincerity is useless, only the sincerity of con artists pays off. Cue Trump! Although, if you are as openly insincere as The Donald does that in some way equate to a bizarre form of sincerity? Perhaps I'm dancing on the head of a pinhead.

I think Sander's performed well on CBS This Morning, and because I usually avoid such things I was shocked yet again at the shallowness of the wretched spokes models. Sycophants does not begin to describe the jokes that purport to be journalists these days. 

"But but but Mr Sanders, we have this memo from Hillary, how can it not be the truth." Sigh.


Noam is still around and is still a brilliant guy. Funny how long that interview was despite the paucity of questions.

The possibility of a rise of "friendly fascism" came up in the discussion. I think it has been with us a very long time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

(On Contact with Chris Hedges | video)

Chris Hedges and Michael Smith clearly express issues of concern and succinctly sum up the cluster fuck that defines us, the U.S., and our doomed planet.

I noticed they blame Liberals for Trump, a trend among many critics, omninously some of the most brilliant. Why is there a trend to blame Liberals for the failures of Conservative ideology? Perhaps this blame is not what it seems. A definition that accurately describes Left and Right, Liberal and Conservative, across a spectrum of beliefs, biases, knowledge, and intelligence seems to me an impossibility.

Is the failure of what passes for a Modern Liberal Left, a very shallow and dim reflection of the genuine and rigorous Left of the past, fairly called a Liberal failure? Watered down Liberals litter the airwaves, blithering on the boob tube as much as can be allowed or tolerated by the media moguls. These do not represent the architects of change that fought the factories during the Industrial Revolution, that went on strike when the Robber Barons treated them like slaves, winning rights for workers after many were shot down like mad dogs. Professional Liberals on air or in office today suck up to the Robber Barons and get sweet treats for being lap dogs.

The genuine Left became increasingly marginalized over time, and continues to struggle for an identity, using labels like Progressive and Socialist. These labels sadly generate more libel than solidarity. Genuine Liberals can be found on the fringes, in books, on some rare independent media sites, KPFA radio, talking amongst themselves or yes, yelling in the street. Genuine Liberals can be found in movements like Occupy, Black Lives Matter, or the valiant Standing Rock protesters. But when Liberals become troublesome they are crushed by our increasingly oppressive and militarized surveillance state, the Big Brother bought by billionaires and implemented by both Democrats and Republicans. Right Malcolm?

Leading Democrats do not represent the traditional Left, they are not Liberal based on historic standards. They will at times co-opt icons of the Left, invoking actors of substance like Martin Luther King, Jr., only to turn them into toothless brand names. The new Left is Right. Similarly Republicans have morphed into Frankenstein's Monster, a creation of extreme conservatism that is running amok. It's hard for me to blame Liberals for not preventing Trump, but it is easy to see that Democrats played a significant role in getting him elected by reneging on their social contract. Trump appealed to some folks who used to vote Democrat, as well as those who have always bought into conservative rhetoric. No doubt many Trump supporters think Reagan was great, not a Hollywood actor unfit to lead, an empty smiley-face playing frontman to despotic sociopaths.

Imperial expansion, big business, and class suppression are as American as apple pie. But Reagan took it up a notch, he helped usher in a new era of class warfare, and Trump was a beneficiary. When Democrats turned their backs on the poor and middle classes, and fought for war instead of peace, they lost not only their supposed credibility, but the basis for the support of their base.

Reagan's fabricated image has reached mythic proportions, he is basically Trump's political grandfather. Generations of voters denied perspective by a pervasive and persuasive propaganda machine are angry and confused because the fantasy they were sold is falling apart. In a bizarre metaphoric twist Trump is propaganda's fallout, his reign will be The Bomb. 

When asked about my immediate reaction to Trump's election, I honestly respond that I felt the least impact of all the elections in my lifetime. I didn't react in horror, because it seemed so plausible, almost inevitable. I was ready. I felt worse when Reagan and W were elected, because it seemed so crazy to me. I have come to a better understanding of our dysfunctional and corrupt political system. This is what our media-driven fog of shit has caused. The electorate is an angry mob who keeps lynching themselves instead of the real assholes. Trump is another jolt in a train wreck that has been happening for decades. Our nation under Trump is another day on the Doomsday Express, but his creepy clown car is filled with too many monsters, the wreck may be close to an end. The End.

The calm I felt following Trump's election is most certainly becoming a profound and disheartening dread.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Using manufactured hysteria following 9/11 Congress began an insidious expansion of Executive Branch powers. Add that to the very long list of horribleness resulting from the fanciful Pogrom Against Bad People begun under W.

 Trump now has more power than any one man has ever had, or should have.


Only one voice of reason among our "representatives" following 9/11. I find it amusing when I hear things like, "well, everyone agreed, was afraid, believed the intelligence, etc." Many on the left, in the streets, and on progressive websites knew the military response to 9/11 was bullshit and only served the Military Industrial Complex, and all those who profit from it. I remember being against a military response even in Afghanistan. Without knowing anything specific I knew 9/11 was a crime, not an act of war. And even in 2003 it was obvious Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

'We were ignored': anti-war protesters remember the Iraq war marches

The voices for reason after 9/11 were not simply marginalized, but demonized outright. The very sad thing is there are still so many who don't acknowledge or refuse to see how right the dissenters were then, and now.

Hear how right she was.

(Youtube video)

Read this and weep.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Robert Parry's take on our current debacle.

John Nichols' take on our current debacle.
(The Nation)

(Democracy video)

(Democracy video)

I fear conservative control of our government more than Trump, himself. Funny how our broken democracy puts Republicans in charge even when they lose (Why Republicans Lost the Vote But Kept the House). Both W and Trump lost the popular vote. 

A blind faith in god, guns and greed are dooming us all. Conservative thinking empowers the destructive plutocracy. They legislate based on twisted notions they purport pleases a sky fairy. They argue that giving to the rich will help the poor. They protect polluters and condemn conservationists. Conservative idiocy seems inexhaustible and is ultimately suicidal. Seeking endless growth instead of sustainability is insane behavior in a finite system. Conspicuous consumption is a virulent disease conservatives cherish, and it is literally killing life around the globe. They think they are going to Heaven, but they're only making a Hell on Earth.

Obama and the Clintons spoke out against conservative thinking, while doing little to thwart it. The same moneyed interests called their shots. The same criminals who got rich on Republican malfeasance cashed in on Democratic collusion. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Media whores covered Trump 24/7 then wondered why people paid attention to him. They also helped the DNC foist a loser on the electorate, contributing to Bernie's demise. I'm among those who thought Bernie had a better chance against Trump than Hillary. The Main Stream Media and our political elites are both out of touch, pushing disinformation defines the disservice of the former, self-serving serves as a definition of the latter.

I've been ready for a Trump presidency for a long time. Considering the depths to which our political discourse has sunk, he is the obvious result. 

Trump is merely another nail, perhaps gold-plated, in the coffin of the U.S. Empire. An empire whose death is as inevitable as it is justified.

To be honest, it's Pence that truly frightens me. He's another Cheney, an evil bastard lurking behind a buffoon.

I don't feel much like accentuating the positive, but Ralph gave it a try.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Nine Ways the U.S. Voting System Is Rigged But Not Against Donald Trump

Why would a single person attempt to influence an election by casting an extra vote? Not only would that not affect election numbers, it is a serious crime. It is a risk without benefit. But if you can "make policy" that does affect election numbers, and are never held accountable, then that sounds like a crime worthy of perpetrating. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Like Putty In Your Hands

Old fossils like me invariably calcify, our minds and hearts harden. The ridiculous notions that inform our consciousness crystalize and turn to stone, like once wonderful Play-Doh becoming Play-D'oh. Sadly, we flip our lids then forget to put them back on.

As I watch my ancient acquaintances watch their stories on the idiot box, listening to answers on Jeopardy, seldom knowing or bothering to ask the questions, I realize it was not always so. I dimly recall awakening each day without the pain and stiffness of early onset rigor mortis. We oldsters were once youngsters. When you're young your box of rocks is filled with Silly Putty. Your gray matter has some flex to it.

Sure young monkeys also watch their boob tubes and listen to answers proclaimed by pontificators, but some of them ask questions and flex their putty. That's not something to worry about, it's healthy, and if it makes fogies uptight, tough titties.

When I was a kid I remember pressing Silly Putty onto the newspaper, capturing the text and pictures with that weird stuff, then bending and stretching it to see how it could be changed and manipulated. Distorting the news is a game that never gets old, it just gets harder to distinguish the paper from the putty. 

And speaking of ridiculous old fossils: Washington is filled with statues, larger than life men and women who appear impressive on the outside, but who are hollow on the inside. I hope young voters question the status quo and start providing their own answers. 

Rock the vote don't vote for rocks.

Sincerely, Grandpa 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

(The Real

The short film about the Kochs isn't just about climate change denial, it is a tiny glimpse into how corrupt our government has become.

Here's more:

Leading Senate Proponents of Spying and War Get Election Boost From “Libertarian” Koch Brothers

Republican Kelly Ayotte Lost Millions of Dollars by Defying Koch Brothers on Climate Change

If our elected officials were held accountable by the people that elected them, the moneyed special interests would be throwing their money away. The sad news is corruption works because the electorate is duped.


Sometimes the comments at Consortiumnews are as good as the articles.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

(Ralph Nader)

I enjoy reading and listening to Ralph Nader. He communicates clearly and succinctly, and I have never regretted voting for him when he ran for president.

Unless you are among the financial elite supporting the corporate stooges on the right is ludicrous. You're a cow handing the butcher a knife. Of course if you think the answer is voting for a Democrat, you're just sucking up to the butcher's wife. She seems nice, but she spends her day sharpening knives. 

Resist the oligarchy.