Thanks, BernieBots, for helping to elect the new torturer-in-chief
Donald Trump has enthusiastically promised that when he is president, the use of torture will have no restraint. Don't kid yourself: Congress will not be able to stop him.
Despite this promise of all torture all the time -- or perhaps because of it -- Rasmussen now has Hillary behind Trump in a head-to-head poll. Granted, Rasmussen skews conservative and the poll is something of an outlier: I still think that there is truth here.
Trump has been hobnobbing with the execrable liar Ed Klein, a fact which gives us some indication of the nature of the upcoming general election. In fact, it isn't really "upcoming," is it? It's on.
A reader directed my attention to this excellent piece (cool illo, by the way) which forecasts how a populist movement can turn democracy into disaster. I don't agree with all of the author's points. For example...
And what mainly fuels this is precisely what the Founders feared about democratic culture: feeling, emotion, and narcissism, rather than reason, empiricism, and public-spiritedness. Online debates become personal, emotional, and irresolvable almost as soon as they begin. Godwin’s Law — it’s only a matter of time before a comments section brings up Hitler — is a reflection of the collapse of the reasoned deliberation the Founders saw as indispensable to a functioning republic.
The problem: This very article can be construed as an examplar of Godwin's law. Our fear of offending Godwin can constrain us from making a valid historical analogy.
Obama would never have been nominated for the presidency, let alone elected, if he hadn’t harnessed the power of the web and the charisma of his media celebrity. But he was also, paradoxically, a very elite figure, a former state and U.S. senator, a product of Harvard Law School, and, as it turned out, blessed with a preternaturally rational and calm disposition. So he has masked, temporarily, the real risks in the system that his pioneering campaign revealed. Hence many Democrats’ frustration with him. Those who saw in his campaign the seeds of revolutionary change, who were drawn to him by their own messianic delusions, came to be bitterly disappointed by his governing moderation and pragmatism.
And the problem here is that this analysis depends on the presupposition that Obama had the power to control the media in 2008. Au contraire, say I. Some media power greater than Obama made that decision. A deep voice from the shadows commanded: "Him. Not her."
No. That's wrong. The Deep Voice said something more specific: "Anyone but her."
What will propel Trump to the presidency -- and I'm predicting a Trump victory -- is the decades-long hate campaign directed against all things Clintonian. More specifically: What will propel Trump to the presidency is progressive hatred of the Clintons. When the torture starts, progressives will be responsible.
To prove the point, take a look at this list of Hillary's accomplishments offered on the left-wing site Addicting Info. The compiler is downright apologetic about having to say something nice about one of those eeeeeee-vil Clinton. Now look at the comments:
the dumocrat party surely has a stronger candidate to offer than the butcher of benghazi.......
This, on a left-wing site.
It doesn't matter whether such words are offered by a robo-troll or whether they are genuinely felt: Clinton-Hate shall carry the day, because the Establishment has done everything it can to foster Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
I'll say it again: The Clintons are not The Establishment. The Establishment fears nothing more than it fears the Clintons.
The fanatical smearing of the the Clintons is unparalleled. The rewriting of the history of 1990s -- the best years of our lives -- is unique. No other phenomenon in American history can match it.
I can prove the point by citing many examples. The most obvious one: For years -- years -- the mainstream media empowered Ken Starr and pretended that Whitewater was something real.
Now let's look at a subtler, more intriguing example.
You can learn a lot about Clinton Derangement Syndrome if you watch the video embedded below. At first, this clip from a 1991 20-20 show will probably strike most of you as completely unlinked to the present discussion. If watch it, your first question will be: "What does this tale of corruption in Mariposa County, CA, have to do with Bill Clinton? Most of this report is about things that happened during the 1980s. How is that relevant?"
(Your second question will be: "Did Barbara Walters really do her hair like that?" Yes, she did -- and so did a lot of other women. It was 1991.)
I'll tell you why this video is relevant: It documents that there was an airstrip in California where drug pilots routinely landed, with the full knowledge of the authorities -- who obviously got their cut. Yet nobody blamed George Deukmejian, the Republican governor of California who did absolutely nothing to impede the drug flights.
I knew about the Mariposa County drug operation back in the 1980s. (At least, I had heard the many rumors.) I also heard about similar operations in Texas and Arizona.
Funny thing: Nobody blamed Texas governors Bill Clements or Ann Richards or Dubya (and yes, I know that Richards was a Democrat). And nobody blamed Arizona governors Bruce Babbitt, Evan Mecham, Rose Mofford or Fife Symington (and yes, I know that Babbit and Mofford were Democrats).
And let's not even talk about Florida. We all know about the drugs that have flowed in to Florida by air and sea. Nobody ever blamed Bob Martinez or the other governors for that massive traffic.
Yet if you were alive and of age in the 1990s, and if you followed "alternative" news sources, you surely read endless stories about Bill Clinton and that infamous airstrip in Mena, Arkansas, used by Barry Seal. These stories all implied that Clinton knew of the operation and got a cut. Some of those stories gave the impression that Bill Clinton was the King of Coke.
There was a very large book which made that argument. It was titled Compromised, and it was based entirely on the word of a spook named Terry Reed. I never considered Reed credible: He was spooked up, he had severe legal problems, and he told wildly different stories at different times. Nevertheless, back in the 1990s, both lefties and righties passed around copies of that book as though it were a bowl of Christmas candy.
It was all crap.
In 1992, I spoke with Arkansas State Prosecutor Charles Black, who did not verify any of the wild tales then being told about Bill Clinton's alleged knowledge of the operation. He was not angry at Clinton -- after all, the state government had funded Black's investigation. Black was angry at George H.W. Bush, whose administration controlled the federal prosecution of Seal. It was the Bush DOJ, not Clinton's administration, which refused to use important evidence that Black's team had collected.
Let that sink in. The Clinton administration had investigated Mena, and a Republican-run federal government refused to use the evidence. Yet progressives hated Clinton far more than they hated GHWB.
Throughout the 1990s, my know-it-all friends (who refused to talk to Black, even though I gave them his damned number) kept trying to take me to school on Mena. "Don't you know that Clinton made millions from the cocaine racket?"
No, I did not know that -- and neither did they.
I would then counter: "Why don't you blame Pete Wilson or George Deukmejian for that airstrip in Mariposaa county? That operation was protected from on high. Maybe higher than the local sheriff. Have you considered doing some original research?"
My know-it-all friends could only sputter: "But...but...CLINTON!"
"Where's the evidence against him?" I would ask.
They muttered incomprehensible nonsense lifted from Alexander Cockburn's column (ack!) or, worse, the Wall Street Journal opinion pages.
Please understand: My friends, for the most part, were liberals, not Republicans. Nevertheless, they hated Clinton so much that they were willing to quote "facts" published by the notorious WSJ opinion section, which was a reactionary sewer.
The hard truth is that we think the way the media tells us to think. You may think that you cannot be brainwashed, but you're lying to yourself.
Don't flatter yourself with the delusion that you cannot be fooled because you are too ornery, too outside-the-box, too much the gadfly. You still mindlessly parrot the stories you read in those ornery, outside-the-box, gadfly websites you favor.
Those sites are open to manipulation, as are all other sectors of the media terrain.
That's why when I say "Bill Clinton" you (at least some of you) think Mena -- but when I say "Deukmejian," you (all of you) don't think Mariposa. This, despite the fact that Clinton's administration actually investigated the drug flights going into Arkansas, while California's Republican governor did absolutely nothing nothing nothing to stop what was going on in his state.
You're as susceptible to programming as anyone else.
And if you mindlessly repeat what I'm saying here, you're only proving the point!
What she said: I love this piece by Dakinkat. She articulates perfectly why I've turned against Bernie Sanders, a man I once admired -- why, in truth, I feel a bit of vomit burbling up in my throat every time his face shows up on screen:
I always ask Sanders supporters why they think that he is the voice of the powerless when the current voting records show exactly who votes for him and who votes for her.blog_1932_democratic_convention It’s obvious that the most disenfranchised in our country back Hillary Clinton. It’s not because we’re Southern or low information. If we’re women, it’s not because of our vaginas. It’s not because we’ve been misled because of our race or circumstances or because we’re some how confused. It’s because we look at the history of actions and try to match them to the words.
It’s extremely weird that we do know what Hillary Clinton was paid in speeches as well as every other detail of the Clinton’s personal finances and foundation’s finance. All of these things have been publicly reported. What we know about the Sanders family fortune–and he’s a millionaire so in my poor ol’ southern white woman ways that’s a damned fortune–is clouded behind failure to disclose. We’ve heard some really hinky stuff. Some of it has been dug up by right-leaning sources because no one else will do it openly. First, we know that the Sanders campaign does the old small town political grifting trick. He puts his family on his payroll.
I have to admit to finding the entire Sanders’ campaign and arguments vile and basically racist. We continue to see him mention his crowd of young white minions over the concerns of every one else. We continue to see his excuses for losing. What we don’t see are his taxes and press coverage of his many hypocritical actions.
Oh, it'll happen, Kat. Just as as soon as he gets the nomination. (It's still possible, if the mainstream media can find the Killer Smear to use against Hillary).
Check out Allan Lichtman's editorial, "Bernie Sanders is Donald Trumps best friend" for another take on how the democrats will probably lose in November.
It is and always was going to be a very near thing, but Hillary could have done one of two things, one simple and elegant but probably impossible for her, one difficult but probably achievable somehow.
Elegant/impossible - she could have dropped out after Sanders swept the western primaries and endorsed him. I think if the party could have unified around a candidate a month ago they would have much improved chances. Sanders would never habe been this selfless but she could have been. But again I think against her personality to do this.
Difficult but possible - take Sanders far more seriously and actually figure out a way to gain his buy in and endorsement early on. Offer him the Supreme Court vacancy? It's the single most powerful appointment she could have made for him. Surely there is something she could have done to placate him?
Lastly - and very much in line with your "establishment is for anyone but Hillary" - where the f is an endorsement from Obama? He's cited some hoo haw about "tradition." How laughable. His formal and strong endorsevent would have gone a long way towards avoiding the looming GOP ascendency.
Full disclosure - while I've never had confidence in her as a candidate, Clinton now is the best choice for the nation. I'm fascinated by Trump (and there are things he has accomplished as a candidate that will forever change the GOP for the better, like jettisoning all the religious nonsense) and Sanders, but neither is the person the country needs right now.
In full hindsight Dems probably should have nominated Webb.
Missy, I learned a long time ago: Always bet on the worst outcome. That way, all of your surprises will be happy ones.
Paul, I agree about Webb. The Dem base should think more about Supreme Court vacancies, and less about purity during the primaries. You and I, my friend, can think three moves ahead while playing chess. Most cannot.
But Sanders never stood a chance of winning in November. He has high poll numbers now only because almost nobody writes a word against him. If he gets the nomination, he'll be walloped even worse than McGovern got hit in 1972.
I think you are right that many progressives dislike HRC. But if they are programmed or manipulated why blame them? This propaganda has been or there for ever. It's not new. So either she is the electable candidate or she isn't. Do you really think independents will have a more favorable impression of her? You can't have it both ways, unless you hold the progressive wing of the party responsible for the propaganda campaign. Perhaps you blame them for repeating republican talking points verbatim?
I don't vote in the US. My wife does. But if I did vote in the US I would only vote for candidates who propose single payer or some system of socialist medical care. I care about a available few other things but that's the big one for me. You can't bully or threaten me out of supporting that policy. I have an unshakable belief that it is better formulated by having lived in countries with it. It would make life in the US better for everyone. Will you condemn me for failing to vote tactically? I think if everyone who believed in single payer only supported candidates who backed it, it would come to pass. It may take a few elections but eventually it will happen.
And it's about time!
Finally regarding torture. The US tortures. It calls it something different. But it tortures. By calling it torture The Donald had made Adm. Hayden very uncomfortable. You see torture is illegal in the US. The US signed international treaties. So if the US admits to torturing, any of the associated officials could be arrested every time they go overseas. The whole Executive will be in an uncomfortable place having broken US Law even if it isn't enforced.
If you think the Donald is going to go easy on HRC you are mad. She had better be made of Teflon cos this is gonna be a negative - negative campaign. It wouldn't matter if progressives showered her in rose petals. Doesn't mean she won't win. The short fingered vulgarian is a pretty nasty piece of work. But at least he won't make Summers TSec or promote Nuland.
If Hilary wants to boost progressive turnout in battle ground states she could always try offering some progressive policies. But my guess is she won't. She will prefer to appeal to moderate Republicans. Are you really going to complain that some progressives won't turn out for that policy mix? Should they? Even i'm tired of the hippy punching and I have been hippy punched my whole life.
posted by Anonymous : 8:28 AM
Joseph, thanks for this--and though I understand about betting on the worst outcome, I do feel that Hillary will make it. She's been attacked for close to three decades, yes, but she's survived.
I'm still cautious though.
As for that comment on Addicting Info about Benghazi...while my first reaction would be to say, "Right wing Troll!", I'm unfortunately all too aware of the hatred Hillary gets from some Progressives and of course from the far Left, many of whom are rewriting the story of the 1990s to fit their view that the Clintons are corrupt monsters and somehow worse than the GOP and Trump. Not to mention those few (Susan Sarandon, I'm looking at you!) who have repeated the foolish idea of a Trump election leading to a great Revolution that will wipe the slate clean and we can start again in a utopia--say what!?
It seems that the far Left learned nothing from 2000 and 2010 and 2014, and that's been the case since 1968.
Hillary remains the most qualified candidate in this election year. And you are correct--the DC establishment hated her and her husband with a passion.
Speaking of establishment--if Sanders has been in Congress for close to thirty years....doesn't that make him part of the "Establishment", an insider? I'm reminded of the media falling all over themselves in 2000 telling us how George W. Bush was a political "outsider" which was bizarre since his own father had headed the CIA, had been Vice-President for eight years and had been President for four.
Harry, I let you get through because you wrote a long and erudite piece. But I want to warn the other CDS sufferers and BernieBot trolls: Don't try to get your foot in the door. You may put in a lot of effort only to find your comment unpublished.
I started this blog at a time when I couldn't even afford an internet connection; I did everything in the library. So there's nothing stopping you from starting your own damned site. I won't let the BernieBots hijack mine.
I have every personal reason to prefer single payer. But the hard fact is that the majority of people in this country don't even want Obamacare, and they certainly do not want single-payer.
Apparently, you want to let Donald Trump torture away so that you can pursue your purity.
Of COURSE Hillary will have to veer to the center in the general. That's how you win the purple states. Things have not changed. We have not entered into some flowery new socialist utopia, despite the horseshit you hear from the BernieBots. It is still the case that more people label themselves conservative than label themselves liberal -- and "socialist" is a small slice of the "liberal" category. It is still the case that the person who says "I'll lower your taxes" wins the election.
I wish all of you fucking prog purists would STOP KIDDING YOURSELVES. Wake up and smell the reality. What you and your pals think is unimportant. POLLS are important.
If someone were to tell the American people the real numbers within Bernie's tax plan -- the fact that he would have people earning $20k a year paying a higher tax rate than the one now enjoyed by Bill Gates -- his approval ratings would sink to the single digits.
When (not IF) Trump becomes president, I'll blame people like YOU, Harrikins. Hey, it's not as though YOUR ass will be tortured, right?
Well, I still think Hillary is a forgone conclusion. I thought so a long time ago. Now though, I'm actually sort of hoping for it because I think Trump is a total nightmare who I assumed had no chance but am now not so sure. It's a damn shame that most Americans would balk at Bernie's tax plan, since it would ultimately benefit them all greatly, but you are correct that it would sink like a stone in our current political climate (outside of hardcore progressives and liberals that is, who are quite obviously not in the majority). I had a feeling I was going to have to end up voting for Clinton, now I'm almost certain of it (even though I'm fairly certain voting does nothing because our voting systems are completely rigged and have been since 2004.......but you don't hear much about that anymore do you?).
posted by Gus : 10:41 AM
I went into this post telling myself: "Don't say Maricopa. Don't say Maricopa. Don't say..."
Oh God, Joe. I love ya but I dearly hope & pray you're wrong about the Trumpster winning the WH. We want to kiss the Republic away? This is the way to do it. The man is 'not' a Republican despite how loathsome the GOP has become. The man is a psychopath running with a pack of psychopathic wolves.
Andrew Sullivan wrote a piece for The New Yorker yesterday about The Donald's ascendancy and how the country is ripe for tyranny. As I said elsewhere, normally I'd shrug off Sullivan's thesis as overcooked hyperbole.
Now? No so much.
As for Sanders? At the start of the primary, I actually cheered St Bernard's inclusion in the conversation. Yes, push the discussion left, I thought. Air out the grievances and push a new path forward. But as time went on, it became more than obvious that St Bernie was far too short on details and had grown to love the sound of his own voice and the screams of fandom. Magic numbers, empty promises, get your free stuff here. St Bernard transformed into a cranky old man, a barker for the dreamers and schemers and propaganda meisters.
I believe Hillary Clinton will take the nomination (actually has won the nomination mathematically) despite all the negative press against her. Bernie has bought into his own fairytale.
But then, the real battle begins. This will be the ugliest of all elections. And possibly the most dangerous.
As I said, Joe. I love ya but I pray that you're wrong.
posted by Anonymous : 11:09 AM
So first of all thanks for being so civil. I know I may be irritating, and its very gracious of you to let me in your "home". I just wanted to debate these issues. I shouldn't be taking your time. I do see all of your arguments. I dispute the ones I dispute, but that means the others I agree with. I have good reason to value your opinion cos I have read this blog a while and I have seen the quality of your work.
If it's the polls then it's the polls. I dispute this issue but it's a factual kind of point. If I'm wrong I'm wrong. I will go back and double check my facts. Apologies in advance if I have just embarrassed myself. I won't be the first time.
But the other thing is what do you do if you really want something to be done in a democracy? If you really do stand for that policy and feel passionate about that policy. Do you always trade it? Is that policy really so unpopular that the candidate can't adopt it? My impression is that a single payer public option is popular. I might well be utterly misinformed but that's the question. Not the personal virtue of either candidate. Effective lobbying for a policy is making it costly to fail to adopt that policy. You seem to be asking me to be a less effective lobby.
For what little its worth, I have paid a higher marginal tax rate than Mitt Romney every year I have been in this country. I would guess you did too since he paid an effective rate of 11%. That is not a status quo to defend.
On torture I thought the US has tortured and still works with torturers. If that's so then should I really worry about Trump being a torturer too? Is there really a cost here?
I should shut up. There comes a point when one is just obnoxious by commenting and I fear I might have already found that point. But yes, I can imagine circumstances where I might be tortured in error. In fact we already have them.
posted by Anonymous : 11:10 AM
LOL, you did it again, http://www.memeorandum.com/160503/h1335
Donald Drumpf on Tuesday alleged that Ted Cruz's father was with John F. Kennedy's assassin shortly before he murdered the president
You are wrong about a Deep Voice picking Obama over Clinton. What picked him is the same phenomenon which found Simpson innocent of murder. Did you see all the white women in shelters for abused women aghast at the verdict, live on camera at the time? Wow. Minority women actually were applauding the verdict, even those who had been abused. Yes, tribalism is stronger than bland progressivism. And that's a form of populism. Hard lesson.
posted by Ken Hoop : 3:51 PM
Joseph, Maricopa must have been a slip because you were channeling Michael Riconosciuto--who's due to get out of jail next year, I believe. What a rabbit hole that Mariposa-Maricopa-Indio-Martinsburg stuff is! All the unsolved mysteries wrapped up in one bizarre tale.
posted by Anonymous : 6:28 PM
PeggySue, what the actual fuck is happening tonight? I can't watch....
posted by prowlerzee : 8:15 PM
Cruz suspending his campaign, Sanders ahead in Indiana. Whoever wins the corporate newsreader/pundit segment has lost, because it's now obvious that the Republicans will head into their convention more or less unified around a single candidate while the Democrats - supposedly unified around the strongest candidate in a generation - are staring at floor fight over the superdelegates and possible convention implosion. Incredible - why does anyone pay any attention to mainstream media?
Hey Prowlerzee. The unthinkable has happened: Zog has just been unofficially awarded the Republican nomination. You know things are bad when Ted Cruz begins resembling a reasonable candidate.
St Bernard has been given a short reprieve so he can pretend that he's on his way to victory in Philly. His own brand of fuzzy math but it pays Weaver and Devine's salary. I'll be so glad when this primary is over and the cranky old man goes away. For good!
The country really has slipped over the cliff! Terrifying.
posted by Anonymous : 11:02 PM
I made the mistake of watching the morning news. Trump is quoting Bernie Sanders on Hillary. Thanks, Bernie.
posted by prowlerzee : 6:30 AM
Hillary need to cut the bull sh*** about this guy and start running a campaign against him