"That's the power of strength," said Donald Trump as he praised the Chinese government's crushing of dissidence.
In 2008 (as in 1992), a few liberals voiced hopes that an incoming Democratic president would prosecute the crimes of his predecessor. Like Bill Clinton before him, Obama refused to upset that particular apple cart. The watchwords were civility, decency
We cannot expect similar statesmanship from Donald Trump.
The purge of former Congressman Mike Rogers from the Trump transition team reveals much about Trump's intentions. Although the mainstream media
prefers to interpret this event as a purge of anyone linked to Chris Christie, the real reason for the departure of Rogers has to do with his service as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, in which capacity he issued a report absolving the Obama administration of blame for the Benghazi disaster.
The far right has long considered Rogers to be "part of the problem."
We now live in a "post factual" world, in the words of Steve Bannon's favorite writer, Milo Yiannopoulos. In such a world, we should expect the Trump administration to provide fake documents to a kangaroo court. Both the Clintons and the Obamas should leave the country on January 20. Perhaps they can lay the groundwork for an American government in exile.
Do not expect your institutions to save you, and place no faith in the next election. There may not be
Although I am predicting that Team Trump will frame Obama on some pretext or other, I also hold Barack Obama partially responsible for the rise of Trumpism, despite the President's strong denial
. Much of the Trump movement was fueled by anger over NAFTA and other free trade agreements.
In 2008, during the primaries in Ohio, Obama deceptively positioned himself as the anti-NAFTA candidate. That stance insured his primary win, without which he never would have attained the White House.
In other words, he lied his way into office.
Throughout that year, liberals refused to believe me when I told them that Obama had previously gone on record in support
of NAFTA (even though the evidence was indisputable). They became furious -- to the point of issuing death threats -- when I insisted that Obama, if elected, would do nothing to renegotiate existing trade agreements. Neverthless, my prediction proved accurate.
Shortly after the Ohio primary, Obama sent Austan Goolsbee to Canada to assure leaders there that his anti-free trade rhetoric was not to be taken at face value. When the news of the Goolsbee trip came out, the Obama forces seeded liberal news sites with the Big Lie that it was Hillary
, not Obama, who had given those sub rosa
assurances to the Canadians. I tell the full story here
As soon as Obama secured the nomination, he confessed that he had been a NAFTA supporter all along: "Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified." As if that
excuses the poster pictured above -- a poster which received wide distribution throughout Ohio.
Here we are, eight years later. How well did the Democratic Party do in Ohio in 2016?
Obama lied to the voters of that state in 2008. Throughout his two terms in office, he refused to renegotiate NAFTA, and he pursued free trade policies throughout the world, culminating in the TPP. Obama's 2008 lie injured the credibility of everyone else in his party; I cannot completely blame voters for disbelieving Hillary's anti-TPP pronouncements.
Actions have consequences, Mr. Obama.
The BernieBots continue to promulgate scenarios which have little to do with reality. Kurt Eichenwald explodes these fables here
The problem this election season has been that liberal Democrats—just like too many Republicans—have been consumed by provably false conspiracy theories. They have trafficked in them on Facebook and Twitter, they have read only websites that confirm what they want to believe, and they have, in the past few months, unknowingly gulped down Russian propaganda with delight. In other words, just like the conservatives they belittle, they have been inside a media bubble that blocked them from reality.
Bravo, Mr. Eichenwald! And well put!
The first myth he attacks is the idea that the "all-powerful DNC" undid Bernie Sanders.
The notion that the fix was in was stupid, as were the people who believed it.
Start with this: The DNC, just like the Republican National Committee, is an impotent organization with very little power. It is composed of the chair and vice chair of the Democratic parties of each state, along with over 200 members elected by Democrats. What it does is fundraise, organize the Democratic National Convention and put together the party platform. It handles some organizational activity but tries to hold down its expenditures during the primaries; it has no authority to coordinate spending with any candidate until the party’s nominee is selected. This was why then-President Richard Nixon reacted with incredulity when he heard that some of his people had ordered a break-in at the DNC offices at the Watergate; he couldn’t figure out what information anyone would want out of such a toothless organization.
The DNC is "an impotent organization" -- spot on. Yet I doubt that even a surgical operation can get this simple fact into the head of a BernieBot.
I've spoken in previous posts about those hacked emails which supposedly provide damning proof against Clinton. Of course, they do no such thing.
Almost every email that set off the “rigged” accusations was from May 2016. (One was in late April; I’ll address that below.) Even in the most ridiculous of dream worlds, Sanders could not have possibly won the nomination after May 3—at that point, he needed 984 more pledged delegates, but there were only 933 available in the remaining contests. And political pros could tell by the delegate math that the race was over on April 19, since a victory would require him to win almost every single delegate after that, something no rational person could believe.
Sanders voters proclaimed that superdelegates, elected officials and party regulars who controlled thousands of votes, could flip their support and instead vote for the candidate with the fewest votes. In other words, they wanted the party to overthrow the will of the majority of voters. That Sanders fans were wishing for an establishment overthrow of the electorate more common in banana republics or dictatorships is obscene.
According to a Western European intelligence source, Russian hackers, using a series of go-betweens, transmitted the DNC emails to WikiLeaks with the intent of having them released on the verge of the Democratic Convention in hopes of sowing chaos. And that’s what happened—just a couple of days before Democrats gathered in Philadelphia, the emails came out, and suddenly the media was loaded with stories about trauma in the party. Crews of Russian propagandists—working through an array of Twitter accounts and websites, started spreading the story that the DNC had stolen the election from Sanders. (An analysis provided to Newsweek by independent internet and computer specialists using a series of algorithms show that this kind of propaganda, using the same words, went from Russian disinformation sources to comment sections on more than 200 sites catering to liberals, conservatives, white supremacists, nutritionists and an amazing assortment of other interest groups.) The fact that the dates of the most controversial emails—May 3, May 4, May 5, May 9, May 16, May 17, May 18, May 21—were after it was impossible for Sanders to win was almost never mentioned, and was certainly ignored by the propagandists trying to sell the “primaries were rigged” narrative. (Yes, one of them said something inappropriate about his religious beliefs. So a guy inside the DNC was a jerk; that didn’t change the outcome.)
Bottom line: The “scandalous” DNC emails were hacked by people working with the Kremlin, then misrepresented online by Russian propagandists to gullible fools who never checked the dates of the documents.
We need no further proof that the entire Sanders campaign was never anything more than a device for Putin's troopers to insert anti-Clinton propaganda into the Democratic party.
The second myth exploded by Eichenwald concerns the laughable notion that Sanders would have won the general election. I've addressed this inane proposition in a post published a short while ago; scroll down. (Also see here
.) Eichenwald puts some important new information on the table:
So what would have happened when Sanders hit a real opponent, someone who did not care about alienating the young college voters in his base? I have seen the opposition book assembled by Republicans for Sanders, and it was brutal. The Republicans would have torn him apart. And while Sanders supporters might delude themselves into believing that they could have defended him against all of this, there is a name for politicians who play defense all the time: losers.
Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.
Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,’’ while President Daniel Ortega condemned “state terrorism” by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was “patriotic.”
In my "50 reasons" essay, I mentioned this very point. Here's what I wrote then:
Bernie Sanders not only supported the Sandinistas, he visited Nicaragua and joined a crowd chanting "The Yankee will die." If there is footage of Bernie in that crowd -- and there probably is -- he will not only lose the election, he'll be spat upon.
We now know, thanks to Eichenwald, that such video does
exist. The fact that the Republicans have never allowed that footage to escape "into the wild" proves that they still consider Sanders a useful ally.
(Once again: When it comes to predictions regarding Campaign 2016, I'll match my record against anyone else.)
Back to Eichenwald:
The Republicans had at least four other damning Sanders videos (I don’t know what they showed), and the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick.
In my "50 Reasons" essay, I note that Bernie Sanders proclaimed his solidarity with the "Revolutionary Iran" run by the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Many older Americans recall how they shook with rage throughout the hostage crisis; they recall the brisk trade in "Ayatollah = Assahola" t-shirts. If there is video of Bernie Sanders making that proclamation, his approval ratings will plunge into the single digits.
Again: The fact that the Breitbarters continue to keep this video under wraps is very, very telling. Until the day dawns when everyone gets to see this material, Bernie must be considered part of Team Trump.
Democratic primary elections are really quite simple, folks. Whom should you vote for?
The candidate whom the Republicans are doing the most to smear. Whom should you vote against?
The candidate whom the Republicans are overtly or covertly aiding.
Then again, perhaps I am being presumptuous to speak as though elections will happen again.