History has taught us that the media industry in Washington is capable of posing a considerable threat to our democracy. It stands to reason that a sound and empowered federal regulation ought to exist, one capable of holding media outlets accountable. There’s got to be a mechanism overseeing the news, to see it stays within the bounds of reason.
Hardly any such protections exist, however, and haven’t since the FCC disposed of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. President Bill Clinton observed this is not a topic frequently discussed by the media giants who govern our screens.
The media controls the information flow. It has acquired an unparalleled power to reach into people’s lives. If consolidated and twisted to authoritarian purposes, it would turn into a weapon of terrifying strength. Any would-be dictator would naturally perceive this as well, and seek to acquire it.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see that the Koch Brothers are providing $500 million of the cash needed to buy out Time Magazine.
Meredith Corp., a magazine publisher and broadcast company, will acquire Time Inc. in a deal totalling $2.8 billion, the company announced Sunday.
The Koch brothers are the domestic source of most of the worst indignities we have suffered these last ten years. All of this is a part of their grand strategy to eliminate government interference from the business sector. Anti-monopoly laws, anti-pollution laws, anti-public aid laws. These things cost the likes of Koch Industries a lot of money every year. This is why they are willing to spend so much to get rid of them in the long run.
They are the money behind many Republicans like Scott Walker, for example, the governor of Wisconsin who used a lousy backdoor bill to cripple the school system there. It was a crucial step in breaking the backs of unions nationwide and in inciting conservatives to wickedness.
If the Koch Network comes to dominate the American media, it will probably come to dominate the American government shortly thereafter.
If that happens, all hope of turning humanity back from the road to ruin it has started down is lost.
Stephen Hawking warned in July that if we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”
He also predicted that humanity’s natural greed would prevent us from properly addressing the problem.
None of this matters to the Koch brothers, however, whose fervent commitment to libertarianism- laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog capitalism- coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions.
Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock. And the only power strong enough to hold them accountable is the government.
However, there is one sure way they can succeed in tipping the balance against governmental regulation.
Seizing control of the government itself.
The Kochs have been planning this out for a long time. Their father, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the John Birch Society, which can fairly be considered the centre of neo-conservative politics.
The trademark tenets of its philosophy include liberalism being the root of all evil, mistrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change. It is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power. It carries within it the essence and spirit of fascism.
This is why they are paying so much money to take control of Time Magazine is one of the most highly recognizable and respected magazines in the world. To buy it out and fashion it into a vehicle of their propaganda would carry obvious strategic significance.
In 1983, journalist and professor Ben Bagdikian published his groundbreaking book, The Media Monopoly, which revealed that just 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number has gradually dwindled over the years and eventually led us to our current crisis, where more than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies: Viacom, News Corporation, Comcast, CBS, Time Warner and Disney.
Putin pursues a two-pronged media strategy. At home, his government clamps down on internal communications while at the same time positioning abroad by deploying RT, the international news agency formerly known as Russia Today to challenge Western ideas and warp the lines of truth.
However, there is one key difference. Putin controls Russia’s government so thoroughly that he basically is Russia’s government.
The Koch brothers do not yet hold such power here.
Putin spoke highly of Bernie as well. And it seems an unlikely coincidence that the Justice Democrats, a Sanders-affiliated organization started by Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, have targeted Democrats nationwide in primary challenges.
The sheer brazen insolence! How many Presidents have you helped get elected, Cenk? Worthless as can be. Good for nothing but hurting real Democrats.
Any reasonably intelligent person ought to see this is a time when every dollar should be focused on targeting the GOP and waking our country up from the nightmare we’ve been in since last November. We should be sticking together like the opposition is.
As we prepare to enter the New Year, we’re going to be seeing these themes arise time and again.These are all topics we’ve covered before. Media consolidation. Anti-union sentiment. Attacks of governmental regulation of all kinds. It all comes down to economic slavery gift-wrapped with a fancy word, libertarianism.
2018 is the year that we start taking back our country. The only way we’ve got a shot at cleaning all this up is to retake the Congress. All our energies will be given to keeping #TheBlueWave alive.
There is a reasonable alternative to the pandemonium created by conservative greed and the current administration. Please join us in the task of helping the concept evolve.
They were so full of hatred and lies for Hillary Clinton that you really had to be there to understand. It was as if they were living underwater. It was only after we learned about what Russia had been doing that any of it started to make sense.
Stein posed as the true progressive champion during the campaign, reaching out to Bernie Sanders supporters with a message declaring Clinton more dangerous than Trump. It stands to reason to conclude that her votes came from the left side of the political spectrum.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin were the three Rust Belt states that Trump was able to steal from Clinton. In each state, the difference between Trump and Clinton was less than the total Stein received.
This is clearly the role she was meant to play, and is probably why she was at that famous luncheon with Putin, Manafort, Flynn and the rest two years ago this month.
And so it came to pass that the left fringe of American politics cost the Democratic Party the White House, for the second time in sixteen years.
It struck a younger me as being very odd, that even though the Greens had a set of goals that were so similar to ours, we always ended up at odds. In 1999, I read their platform, agreed with most of it, and cheered for Ralph Nader– in the early days.
I wanted to see the Greens get their 5% of the vote and make it onto the ballot in all 50 states. It struck me as democratic. Democracy is a magnificent, vital, living thing, evolving according to the will of the collective- It all struck me as a worthy underdog cause to root for.
But then, Nader kept campaigning in Florida, and other swing states, in a race so close that a few hundred votes in Florida ended up deciding it. Nader got nearly 100,000 votes in Florida. He ruined us.
I remember that I couldn’t understand it. Couldn’t he try for his 5% in less crucial areas? He had only to win popular votes, not electoral ones. Why was he not out in California, where the Green Party’s base- and an eighth of America’s citizenry- might have easily given that to them, while still remaining comfortably blue?
Why would any man of sense and progressive values possibly be so foolhardy as to risk the coming to power of another Bush? It only made sense under one scenario- that he was not fully sincere, and that he valued power over policy.
“The Russian embrace of Jill Stein was anything but subtle,” said Andrew Weiss, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Russian state propaganda outlets like RT had a field day with her strident attacks on the U.S. political establishment, and they seemed to work hand in glove.”
Even her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, has been known for years as someone on the fringes of pro- Russian conspiracy theories. He has repeatedly appeared on infamous Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett’s Truth Jihad radio show.
“Someone wrote about three weeks ago that we should expect false flag, a major false flag operation in eastern Ukraine that’s going to be blamed on the Russians. And that’s exactly what has happened,” said Baraka at the time.
For all these reasons and probably others we don’t know about yet, Stein has been a Kremlin favourite since her first run as the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2012.
Her radical base and her love of castigating our government seem to have made her a choice selection to the Russians, whose strategy all throughout Europe has been to finance and incite both ends of the radical spectrum.
Clint Watts, an NBC News analyst who has been tracking Russian election interference at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that Russia’s intelligence agencies “sought to play both sides of the political spectrum to elevate Trump and turn down turnout for Clinton.”
Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and an NBC News analyst, said that Stein “most certainly influenced the outcome of [the 2016] election, given the outcome was decided in three states and by 78,000 voters.”
Despite receiving only 1.07 percent of the national vote total, her showing in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan was greater than Clinton’s margin of defeat and arguably denied Clinton an Electoral College victory.
It was Ralph Nader and the 2000 presidential election all over again.
I think about that picture of that gala banquet in December of 2015, and in my mind’s eye, I just keep seeing that cunning look on Stein’s face as she held up her champagne glass.
It was the look of someone who feels they’ve finally made it. Someone who, at long last, is getting the importance and recognition they have so long felt unduly denied, is loving it- and doesn’t want to think about the Faustian bargain made in the process.
In this world, there comes a time when we all have to realize that the sum of our choices defines who we are. Time to wake up, Jill. Reality has arrived at your front door. You are out of time.
The news on TV this week has all been very good for Donald Trump, although his job performance has been every bit as lousy as ever. The pattern is clear. Whenever he’s got somebody else to point the finger at, his ratings go up.
But here are a couple of real facts. The new administration has declared war on accurate information. And because of that, every last thing with a shred of decency in American society is either under attack or being twisted to evil ends.
Basically, the truth does not suit Donald Trump’s agenda. So he has resolved upon making a new truth. He’s good at this. It has gotten him through a lifetime.
This viewpoint, which denies objectivity and assumes the worst of everyone, is the cornerstone of fascist philosophy. And under Trump, a number of new ideas are being employed as vehicles to carry and spread the new ideas about.
One of these is a project designed to target social media specifically, a mock-TV news report touting the imaginary successes of President Trump. It is being dubbed “Trump TV” on his official campaign Facebook page.
If the Russians have sent in advisers here, they are certainly doing their job.
“Overall, since the president took office, President Trump has created more than one million new jobs, the unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, and consumer confidence is at a 16-year high”, and so on.
Since the end of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, which mandated that equal airtime and coverage be given to the points of view of both major political parties, we have seen partisan organizations like Sinclair worming their way into buying up the whole apparatus. Now a number of them are no longer even American. This state of affairs is a travesty.
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the very first segment of the alt-right’s information pipeline that we have got to sever is the part of it stretching here from Russia.
Former White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg is one of the strongest advocates for this point of view, and he ought to know. He used to work for Sputnik. But these days, he openly admits the site’s content being “foreign propaganda, not news.”
A news site which is funded by a hostile foreign government with the express purpose of reporting fake news and brazenly lying to the people of America is an outrage. There’s no other word for it. Any person who doesn’t understand that is one already lost to the opposition.
“We find that the structure and composition of media on the right and left are quite different. The leading media on the right and left are rooted in different traditions and journalistic practices. On the conservative side, more attention was paid to pro-Trump, highly partisan media outlets. On the liberal side, by contrast, the center of gravity was made up largely of long-standing media organizations steeped in the traditions and practices of objective journalism.”
Democrats remain interested in things like truth and reason. The opposition has discarded those virtues as impractical, if not actively detrimental, to their various causes.
Although Fox itself does still usually take the time to bother putting a veneer of professional journalism on their stuff, they still know who a large part of their audience is, and they cater to it.
If you watch Fox News these days, you won’t just find the usual conservative twist anymore. Much of their old content has become too truthful for many of their viewers. It’s not hardcore enough anymore. These people want uglier mud to sling at their liberal foes. A website called Liberty Headlines will tell you all about it.
This is why Fox has partnered with a more extreme conservative media. One resolved on developing the concept to its evolutionary apex: sheer, pure propaganda.
It seems painfully obvious in hindsight that twenty years of media consolidation has been bad for our democracy.
Though the Berkman- Klein report we mentioned earlier does an excellent job of laying out the challenge posed by Breitbart and its ilk, it is less than clear on how to counter it. One very interesting solution has been employed by our neighbors to the North, in Canada, with a surprisingly effective result.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, is a regulatory media commission like the FCC. It is not large and it does not often have a need to make the news. But back in 2011, a rather small decision by a relatively small government agency in Ottawa made a pretty big splash.
In April, a major player in the Canadian media scene, Quebecoir Media, planned a launch of what they called Sun News, or Sun TV. It was billed as a Canadian analogue to FOX News, by which they meant a broadcast news outlet with a skewed and partisan conservative perspective.
If the human race is going to avoid a significant degradation of its own condition, then we have to maintain our objectivity. We can’t be lulled to sleep by Trump-brand fairy tales.
It’s time we stopped letting wingnut billionaires clutter up our airwaves with their nonsense just because they’ve got the money to throw their weight around. Legislation must be passed immediately to make perfidy in the American news an official crime.
Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again, but America never stopped being great. If we wish to keep that intact, the removal of state-sanctioned falsehoods would be a very good start. Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, and make it illegal to call poisonous deceit the news. It’s really pretty simple. Just vote a straight blue ticket next year, and get everyone you know to do the same. It is time we started doing laundry.
In response to this claim, Nixon crafted and delivered his famous “Checkers speech,” in which he decried his opponents and stated that no matter what anyone said, he would not return his daughters’ dog, Checkers, which had been given to them as a gift. In Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture, professional correspondent Mark Feldstein gives a useful analysis of how that went over with the people.
“That resonated emotionally with the public, and a huge base — particularly of hard-core Republican conservatives — swelled to his defense and pressured Eisenhower to keep Nixon on the ticket,” Feldstein explains. “Meanwhile, liberal Democrats were nauseated by it and thought it was a maudlin speech. And the polarization that Nixon’s career would have ever after was indelibly marked.”
Thus did Richard Nixon embark upon his road to the White House. Many books have been written as to how he spent his time there, and it is not our purpose to touch on it deeply. Our interest rather lies in what effect it had on our system, to have weathered an assault on its every parameter. The Nixon administration treated America like an old Commodore 64.
Nixon’s failings were tempered and intertwined with great political gifts and considerable vision. His judgement was uneven and delusional, but he had a keen and nimble mind. In penetrating to the core of our system, he was to lay bare the groundwork of it, and expose key vulnerabilities to the light. This paved the way for a systematic undermining and devaluing of truth and objectivity.
Nixon went down in something rather less than a blaze of glory. The affair that became known as the Watergate scandal was a major political fiasco that occurred in the United States in the early 1970’s. Several Nixon operatives were caught attempting a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972.
The articles of impeachment drawn against him did not consider the break-in itself to be of primary importance in the reason why Nixon had to go. They focused rather on the tyrannical and power-hungry way he’d tried to cover it up. The first two of them read as follows.
(1) Making or causing to be made false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States.
(2) Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States
He was convinced to resign by the four-star general sent in to be his chief of staff toward the end of his tenure in office, Alexander Haig, who played the role that his fellow four-star general John Kelly is playing in the Trump White House now. As Nixon became increasingly paranoid and miserable, Haig ran the daily affairs of the White House, and was instrumental in effecting the president’s resignation. It can only be hoped that Kelly will have similar luck.
The legacy of the deleterious effects of the Nixon era on our democracy cannot be overstated. He had his fingerprints all over the most fundamentally anti-democratic projects ever put together in America, such as the Enemies List. This was the roster of famous liberals targeted by Nixon for IRS audits and other forms of extralegal retaliation. His smear campaigns against his likely 1972 opponent, Senator Edward Kennedy, were reminiscent in many key regards to the fake news attacks on our people last year.
The elimination of the American people’s ability to think critically has had many an epoch. It is certain that a large one took place under Nixon, who in one famous speech toward the end, insisted to America that he was “not a crook.” That statement proved sadly untrue. Nixon was a crook, and his crookedness has reverberated clearly into our own times.
By now it should be getting pretty clear. This new GOP, the one that came to power after the death of John F. Kennedy, was not at all the same entity we’ve been looking at up until now. In the days of Eisenhower, much less in the days of Theodore Roosevelt, this kind of conduct would have been unthinkable. Even Warren Harding, corrupt as a Chinese eunuch, was a far more genial type of criminal. Nixon’s era was vicious.
That ferocity came directly from the fascist element that absorbed into America and Europe after World War Two. It values nothing, except the will to power. It values power as both the ends and the means. Ideology is unimportant to it, but is often employed as its tool.
G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars who went to prison for it, wrote an autobiography and named it WILL. It sings the praises of Hitler and the Nazis on every page. He presents an anecdote inside as to how he silenced an entire D.C. county jail pod, by standing around naked and singing the Horst Wessel song.
This is why they’re getting together with Russia. It’s the same group of guys. The Russia of the modern era is fascist in every regard. Like other fascists, they are intent on controlling the resources of the world. They have picked up and adapted these ratf*cking strategies, included them in their disinformation programs, and used them to destabilize us last year in the very same way the CIA once used to destabilize Third World countries like Haiti and Nicaragua. We have been systematically prepared for this, like Hansel and Gretel, by the dirty work done by Richard Nixon and others.
The Nixon era is also when the Republicans most directly involved in the 2016 Russian election hacking fiasco started crafting their modern mask in earnest. Guys like Roger Stone, the soon-to-be-indicted Paul Manafort, and Karl Rove all got their start during this time. Their mentors were the men who ran the Nixon administration, a place overflowing with competing monsters. All of these were deeply complicit in last year’s ongoings with the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin.
Donald Segretti, the Nixon operative who coined the term “ratf*cking”, as in, “F*cking a DemocRAT”, played his role, did his prison time, and lived an unimportant life thereafter. However, Karl Rove, the GOP strategist whom George W. Bush referred to as “The Architect”, was a personal protege of his. Rove was already a deeply corrupt and ruthless person, even at nineteen.
In 1969, posing as a volunteer at the Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for state treasurer, Rove stole official campaign letterheads, and sent out 1,000 invitations to people in the city’s red-light district and soup kitchens, offering “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing” at Dixon headquarters. A bunch of crazed alcoholics showed up at this important fundraiser for Dixon.
Although Dixon still won the election, Rove succeeded in significantly disrupting it. Later, Rove said, “I got involved in a political prank.” Pranks of that nature made him useful to the Republicans all the way through the decades between Nixon and George W. Bush. The crimes and techniques of their generation were transmitted seamlessly to ours.
Policies such as the War on Drugs were developed and refined during these decades. Although this war on the American people is more commonly associated with Reagan, Nixon was the first to use the phrase. It was designed as a strategy to hamstring the lives of voters who Nixon saw as reliably Democratic, according to White House tapes.
Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman said, “We had two enemies- the antiwar left, and the blacks. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs themselves? Of course we did.”
Reagan’s continuation of this so-called ‘war’ was meant to heighten racial tensions for the benefit of the Republican Party. This was a linchpin of the “Southern Strategy” conceived by Lee Atwater, whom most political observers of both parties rate as the dirtiest political strategist of the twentieth century. Voting rights, food stamps, and even madhouses were all taken away from the people. This was effective because the aforementioned white malcontents like to see other people get the shaft- at any cost. They’ve been taught to accept this as a substitute for a decent lot in life since before the Civil War.
The Republicans were able to use the McGovern-Fraser Commission ruling to their advantage, time and again. They became quite adept at handpicking their opponents. Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis were all considered weak candidates by Republican National Committee officials. Although Carter did manage to unseat the incumbent, former vice president to Nixon Gerald Ford, Carter would not likely have been elected, had the GOP post-Nixon not been so hated that Christ himself could not have been elected on a Republican platform.
By 1980 they had significantly regrouped, behind Ronald Reagan, who handily won the presidential election. Many independents and a significant number of Democrats joined Republican voters in electing Ronald Reagan to be the fortieth president of the United States. He won the 1984 election in what was the biggest landslide victory since Cox-Harding, and his vice-president George H.W. Bush had little trouble succeeding him on the strength of that momentum. The very word “liberal” had become an epithet. The Republicans reigned supreme, and that showed every sign of continuing.
In that sentence, lies the motive of the “vast, right wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton has spoken of, out there for one purpose- to destroy her and her husband.
The campaign to destroy the Clintons was launched in 1989 by none other than the good old Lee Atwater, who was named head of the Republican National Committee. He was a natural choice, having recently put together President Bush’s winning campaign in 1988, personified accurately by the “Willie Horton” TV ad, which attempted to portray the Democratic candidate as a defender of black rapists and black murderers.
His job this time was to re-elect George H.W. Bush, and he was worried. Bill Clinton was young, charismatic, and eloquent. Most of all, he was likeable. The reptilian Bush hardly made for a winsome figure to begin with. Next to Clinton, he seemed like a cyborg.
In 1992, Republicans tried to make experience, character and trust the central issues. Voters indicated that the theme of change sounded by the Democrats was more important, but more important still was the personal power of Bill Clinton, and the amazingly effective duo that he and Hillary had made, ever since their college days.
This fear and insecurity on the part of the Republicans was the reason behind the launching of what became known as the “Arkansas Project”. Funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, this project was designed to damage and end the presidency of Bill Clinton. After wasting more than $25 million of taxpayer money to trump up charges against the Clintons on Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate and Filegate, the right had nothing better than to settle with the Monica Lewinsky affair, and the unjust vilification of Hillary Clinton.
Today it is not possible to determine how many millions have been spent by privately held companies like The Washington Free Beacon, America Rising, Burning Glass Consulting and Citizens United to discredit Hillary Clinton.
Back then, the Arkansas Project ended up a failure. In spite of innumerable attempts to force Bill Clinton out of office, he finished his term, and left office in a country that was in far better shape than it had been before his tenure.
Its legacy proved enduring, though. Last year, every one of those old slanders was unearthed and spread around with the greatest of zeal by the rabid supporters of Bernie Sanders, paving the way conveniently for Donald Trump’s Crooked Hillary attacks. The Arkansas Project cast its shadow over that entire chapter of last year’s debacle of an election. It has also provided a permanent and ever-growing repository of ammunition, used to effect by the revived partnership of mass media and fundamentalism, in the form of Rush Limbaugh and other celebrities of conservative talk radio in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Those radio shows, which provide daily lessons in the art of propaganda, have done as much to eat away at the fabric of democracy as any other single factor within the last forty years. They gathered in strength and reach across the nation all through the Clinton presidency. Combined with the entering of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch into the game, the conservative media provided the Republicans with a potent weapon, one they would use to clear effect in 2000.
To an objective observer, two facts are clear: Clinton’s Vice-President Al Gore won the nationwide popular vote, and according to a recent Miami Herald analysis, he was also in all likelihood the favorite of Florida voters as well.
Jeb Bush, the brother of the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush, was also the governor of Florida. He was a key component in the plot to steal the Florida election on behalf of his brother. If not for Jeb, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would never have had the chance to cast that fateful vote on behalf of Bush.
The impropriety of that decision was obvious even to the members of the court. That is why they passed a second ruling, that the decision used in the process used to block Gore’s final recount could never be used again, as a legal precedent for any future cases.
The Bush era is when most of us millennials entered the story. Many of us remember the new heights of indecency and state-sanctioned lying reached on nearly a daily basis. The disinformation campaign that’s been used on us by the GOP since the Nixon era was taking a terrible toll by this point. The people didn’t know who to believe, and they didn’t know who to trust. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that this did a great deal to soften us up for the Russian disinformation machine.
The Republicans know that the only strength the people have is in their numbers. If they can make sure the left doesn’t work together, they can pick us off one by one. Karl Rove and the Republican Party know this very well. It has been a tactic of rulers since the days of Rome and before.
And so, both in 2000 and in 2004, the Republicans used a man named Ralph Nader, then the Green Party of the U.S.’s (G-PUS) candidate for president, to divide the left and hamstring the Democratic candidates.
We were to see those techniques again, as they were used to cheat Hillary Clinton from her rightful place in the White House. Jill Stein, the milkwater replacement of Nader in the G-PUS, and Paul Manafort were both attendees at that infamous meeting with Putin in Russia.
Al Gore was a highly principled and competent man, but he lacked the drive for victory that Bill Clinton had, and he lacked the necessary vigor to withstand the ferocity of Republican greed. Bush got into office, and spent his time there dragging his country so deeply through the mud that it still has yet to be seen whether or not we can recover.
The next four years changed everything for America.
The strange circumstances surrounding that cataclysmic and unlikely disaster will be debated for as long as people walk this earth, and it is not our purpose to look deeply into the mysteries surrounding. We will stick to what we know for sure. Regardless of its causes, George Bush used the biggest foreign assault our nation has ever been victimized by to pass some of the most invasive and insidious legislature ever conceived.
The War on Terror has mostly come and gone, but the domestic effects of the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts will be with us until the end. A war in Afghanistan was started, which we are still fighting. And then Bush used all the nation’s rage to finish a job that his father had started, the rousting of Saddam Hussein from the apex of the power structure of Iraq. By 2003, we were at war in Iraq. By 2004 it was clear we were in big trouble. Nothing else mattered in 2004, except getting George W. Bush out of office.
However, when the election finally came around, an election so crucial that a movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 was made about the slovenly evils committed by the Republican candidate Bush, an unbelievable amount of different things went wrong. Half of the six million people living abroad, for example, got their ballots too late to vote. Malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.
All in all, nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment – roughly one for every 100 cast. But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent. Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote at the time, “After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004.”
In 2008, the anti- Clinton machines to the right and the left geared back up for another battle. A lot of the same old smears were employed by the Obama campaign, as well as the new tactic of associating her with big business and Wall St. Hillary Clinton called at the time for higher regulations on Wall St. Their decision to side against her cost her the presidency.
As 2009 began, the same juggernaut of lies was employed consistently during her tenure as Secretary of State, most notably in the drumming up of unimportant nonsense like Benghazi and email servers. None of it did them much good with Obama in office. Romney was a joke in 2012. Obama’s reign, hateful as it was to the racist fascist network, was secure.
During the eight years of his tenure, the GOP was to reach heights of total desperation. Outlets like Breitbart and Fox News were a help, but on their own they would never have been enough. It’s only once you factor in RT and Sputnik and the Russians that you can see they had a chance, and this is what led to the devil’s bargain in 2016 that Robert Mueller is now closing in on.
The continuing radicalization of the GOP has now been amply documented for 120 years. Scholars, party insiders, and any human being who has ever set foot in Virginia can all bear witness to that.
The decent and moderate conservatives of the old school, who meant the word in the sense of conservation, who once played such a key role in the enactment of civil rights and environmental legislation, have gone the way of the dinosaur.
Republicans know perfectly well that when people vote for them, they are voting against their own interests. The day people realize that is the day the GOP stops winning elections. So they have developed an entire playbook of dirty tricks, with which to demoralize the Democratic base and suppress the vote as much as possible. Every time you hear someone say that they don’t vote, because their vote doesn’t matter, you have heard an example of their strategy working.
Republicans have fewer adherents every year, but they have two major factors on their side; a fanatical base willing to carry out the dirty tricks, and the greediest billionaires to finance them. They deceive good people by appealing to their worst instincts. raising the red flag of abortion and gay marriage to divert attention away from their arrogant and greedy policies which cause the poverty, war and pollution we are facing today.
2016 proved once and for all that there is no trick too dirty and nothing too low for the Republicans, who went so far as to collude with Russia, our biggest global rival, rather than see another Democrat in the White House.
In 2016, extremists on both ends of the political spectrum did a great deal to spread around the notion of a moral equivalency between the two parties. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because the President doesn’t really run the country anyway. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because all politicians are corrupt, They say the system is broken, that it can’t be fixed, and that the right thing to do is just stand back aloof from the whole mess until it collapses under its own weight.
Those ideas are paid for by the Republicans, who are only too happy to keep right along tightly controlling the “broken” system. Votes matter tremendously. They’re the only power we have. That’s why the Koch network and others spend so much money every year to keep us from being able to use them.
The new development is for the GOP to link hands with its ideological allies in Russia, who have developed the same sorts of ideas to their most logical conclusions. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is now an exile in London for the crime of having run against Putin in a supposedly democratic election, summed it up best by saying that comparing America’s approach to the management of its global affairs against modern-day Russia’s is like comparing the work a surgeon does to Jack the Ripper. Both of them cut people open, but that is where the similarity ends. Certainly that was true during Obama’s reign, but the future of everything has been thrown into uncertainty by the hacking of our election and the coming to power of Donald Trump.
Democrats have found ourselves beset on many sides, with no control in any branch of government and facing the most terrible international and domestic threats through the disastrous medium of Trump. Knowing the extent of our domestic paralysis, and encouraged by the failure of the West to respond when they annexed the Crimea from Ukraine, it is all too likely the Russians may attempt another seizure of formerly Soviet-dominated areas, daring the West to respond once again.
Last month, they moved tens of thousands of troops, plus accompanying artillery and air support, unsettlingly close to Baltic borders, in what they have labeled “strategic war exercises”, and given the name of the Zapad War Games. In the same week, it came out that over one hundred United States power stations are infected with the very same Stuxnet virus used to turn the power off in Ukraine in 2014, just before Crimea was taken.
In the meantime, the Syrian Civil War is winding down. Assad and the Russians won, while the rebels we were supporting were left to their fate. North Korea is firing rockets over Japan, and instead of entering talks with them Trump is exchanging schoolyard insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on the floor of the United Nations. The rest of the world is watching. It’s become painfully clear that things with the Party of Trump have gone terribly awry.
The long road to tyranny is a slippery slope, and one without organized mile markers. None of this has happened overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either. It’s hard to dig your way back out of a hole, especially when that hole is 120 years deep. But it is incumbent upon us to undertake this task, nonetheless. This is our country, for better or worse, and stranger things have happened. Victories have been won against worse odds.
Recognizing the problem is the first step. The one positive of 2016 is that many people have awoken to the general plot. The Republican Party has become an impediment of colossal and vicious proportion. Ohio Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich said on Sunday that unless the Republican Party reforms, he can no longer continue to support it.
Hard as it may be for Mr. Kasich to accept, it’s too late to reform the GOP. But it’s not too late to learn from its example. We still have time to reform the country.
Over this series, we took a look at the hole the GOP has been digging for itself. We have learned why it is time to remove the Republican stumbling block from our path. Moving forward, we’ll be taking a closer look at the fascist network we’ve been making reference to, who they are, and where they came from.
By shining light on cockroaches, you make them skitter for cover. It’s the same with Nazis. We’re going to turn over the rocks they’ve been hiding under. By exposing their plots, networks, and strategies, we will truly #MakeNazisAfraidAgain. Fascism and democracy are incompatible, like mold and fungus. Democracy cannot live, where fascism is thriving. To save the America that our ancestors lived and died in, we have got to see this through to the very end.