TRUMPBUSTERS: WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Randall Wray, Bard College

For months now, the Hillary campaign has vigorously argued that Bernie supporters have to fall in line to support the Democratic National Committee’s favorite candidate. Anyone not willing to jump to Hillary is a “Bernie Bro”—not willing to vote for anyone but Bernie. Why? Because, Trump. Forget the will of the people, the democratic process, or “voting one’s conscience”—Trump trumps all hesitation. We simply cannot afford to give Trump any chance of winning.

We need a Trumpbuster. Who you gonna call?

Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein?

Before reading any further, please first watch (or read) this debate between Bob Reich and Chris Hedges:

Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now?  Democracy Now! 27 July 16

Bob makes the best case I’ve seen in support of the argument that Bernie supporters must vote Hillary. Trump is truly scary. He’s unhinged. Hillary’s not all that bad. We need to work within the system. Once she’s in office we’ll hold her feet to the fire of liberalism. Bob says he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing for the past half century: vote for the Democratic candidate and then bang his head against the wall when that candidate turns right and favors War and Wall Street over progressive ideals.

Yes, that is what the party loyalist does—encouraging the DNC to offer a parade of traditional candidates like Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton I, Gore, Kerry, Obama I and II, and Clinton II. Sometimes they win the Oval Office and keep the Republican candidate du jour at bay. Other times they lose. No matter the outcome, both parties tacks right. If you are with Bob, vote Hillary. It is an honorable thing to do.

In my view, Chris destroys Bob’s arguments. You might reasonably conclude that Bob’s strategy fits Einstein’s definition: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” But following Chris and voting for Jill means you run the risk of Trump. Can that be justified?

Bernie Sanders tried running within the system, but without throwing all his principles to the wind. He refused big money, and proved that a candidate doesn’t need it to compete. He didn’t waver from his message: Like it or hate it, Bernie refused to tack with prevailing political wisdom. He not only got something like 46% of the pledged delegates, but he pushed Hillary far to the left—he forced her off her own message!

And in a fair election, he probably would have won a large majority of the vote, no matter how much Hillary twisted with the political winds. With the release of DNC emails, there is no longer any doubt that the election was rigged from the start—before the very first vote was cast, the DNC was working for Hillary. (For a dirty laundry list of the DNC’s acts against the will of the voters see here and here. )

Time to forget about the Bush-Gore Florida fiasco. This rigged primary should demonstrate for anyone willing to learn that the leadership of one of America’s two parties is opposed to democratic elections within its own party. The Dems, much more so than the Republicans. The Dems don’t trust their own party—they rig the primary and then shame those unwilling to support the rigger-in-chief. At least the Florida rigging was by Republicans against the Democrats. Voting is seen by the DNC (as well as by some within the GOP) as nothing more than a perfunctory action that should not influence the selection of the country’s President. True, the Republicans also tried to prevent their voters from choosing that party’s candidate this time around—but the leadership couldn’t do it. Democracy (with the little D) overcame the Republicans. The Democrats were able to stamp out democracy—at least within their own party’s primary. This rigging of the primary was largely open, as the Dems embraced the notion that party insiders should have a quarter of the vote, awarded to Hillary by virtue of her birthright. But that did not give her sufficient advantage against Democracy to overcome the widespread dislike and distrust of her, so they rigged the vote over the remaining three-quarters. The DNC wasn’t sure she could actually get a quarter of the vote on her own—and they were almost certainly right. She barely squeaked by in what must be among the most rigged national elections America has ever seen. Tricky Dick Nixon must be beaming from above (or below).

Although the Beltway Pundits as well as all the Official Media have written Trump off, Michael Moore warns that he’s going to win. The Pundits and Media have been utterly and hopelessly wrong in all their prognostications over the past year, so you’ve got to listen to Michael. I think the race is going to be a lot closer than most believe, but Hillary will win by a at least a nose. Wall Street, the Neoliberals, the Military-Industrial Complex, and their lapdog press will pull out all the stops to ensure that Hillary becomes the next president. Cost is no object—whether measured in money or damage done to American democracy—to put another Clinton in the Whitehouse.

We are assured that Hillary is our only hope to stop Trump. He’s a fascist demagogue, compared by supposedly reasonable people to Hitler. No matter how bad Hillary might be, she’s not Trump. Joe Biden’s glowing endorsement rested mostly on his claim that she’s not as crazy as Trump. All that is probably true.

She might be a warmonger (see below; if you want more evidence, watch her speech that goes just as far as the “sexed up” lies endorsed by Bush and Tony Blair.) who loves regime change and seeks advice from Kissinger (who oversaw a few regime changes, himself), but she’s not Trump. She supported her husband’s victory over welfare—finishing the Reagan Revolution—that threw millions of kids into poverty (many of whom are now spending their adult years in the Prison-Industrial Complex stoked by the Clinton criminalization of the underclass). But she’s not Trump because, according to Biden and Bill, she’s worked her whole life on behalf of women and children.

And yet, there’s this. She thinks that some of those children are Super Predators. Superpredators: “She suggests that rather than trying to understand how poverty and social exclusion may have led children to make certain choices, it is more important to first “bring them to heel.”  As Hillary explained: They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators’. No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel and the President has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.”

And there’s this. Yes, she’s experienced, and much of that experience is in the war-making arena.

“Her actions as Senator and Secretary of State as well her speeches and campaign statements paint a picture of a would-be President who views the world in terms of an ominous threat environment. She believes that core American interests are being challenged across the globe. She is a firm advocate of intervening on a preventive basis (e.g. Syria, Libya), as well as on a preemptive or defensive basis. She is dedicated to keeping putative rivals to the United States, like China or Russia, in a subordinate position… The specific criticisms directed at HRC from those who find her too hawkish are well-known. Most prominently there is her vote in favor of the Iraq war. But they also hear her cheer-leading for the Global War on Terror in all its aspects, her collaboration with the Robert Gates-led faction to push Obama into a major Afghan escalation and her advocacy of direct military action in Syria to unseat Assad. Then there is her unbending attitude toward containing Iran, even after the nuclear accord. Or her bellicose language in calling Putin another “Hitler” after Russia’s seizure of the Crimea. Hillary Clinton’s big foreign policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations reinforced the impression of a hard-liner across-the-board who thinks primarily in terms of power balances and the deployment of power. In addition, her full-throated endorsement of Bibi Netanyahu’s policy actions were extreme even within the context of Israel’s rightward political drift. It left no room for accommodating the concerns of those realists who see the United States as inflicting unnecessary harm on itself through its unqualified backing of everything Israel does. …There has been, in fact, a coalescing of the neocons and the gung-ho liberal interventionists who pushed hard for the Libyan intervention (the Gang of Three: Samantha Powers, Ann-Marie Slaughter, Susan Rice) and who now promote aiding the Saudis and GCC in Yemen and wading into Syria. This emerging neocon/neoliberal coalition involves a number of people who worked for Hillary Clinton in the State Department and/or figure prominently among her current advisors. The outstanding example is Victoria Nuland – Clinton’s spokesperson at State and now Assistant Secretary of State for Europe – who has aggressively spearheaded the anti-Russian crusade. Previously, she had been principal deputy foreign policy advisor for Vice-President Dick Cheney.”

Join Hillary in this refrain: “We came; we saw; he died.” And then laugh when you say it. This is something you’d expect from a bad Hollywood jingoistic blockbuster—with Arnold as lead. Maybe from Trump. Not from the Presumptive President of a nation of laws and justice. Or at least a nation that aspires to such. A nation that wouldn’t see civilian deaths as acceptable collateral damage from drone assassinations of suspected terrorists. That wouldn’t advocate and laugh at murder—even of admitted terrorists. You’d expect something more along the lines of “We tried our best to capture him alive so that we could bring him back to face justice starting with a fair trial, but, sadly, he died in a firefight.” With a serious face, becoming of a Presumptive Future President. Not with a cackle that dismisses the value of human life, a value enshrined in the American conception of justice: innocent until proven guilty.

Yep, Robert Gates; Gang of Three; Dick Cheney (“Vice”)—those are the Comrades with whom she shares her voluminous experience.

But maybe she’s had a change of heart? (After all, she’s had a lot of changes of heart, although she claims she’s never changed her position.)

I listened to some of the speeches at the Democratic Convention. Except for Bill’s speech—which seemed to go on for three or four hours as he tried to humanize Hillary for the audience—what I heard was as scary as what I heard coming out of the Republican convention. Jingoism; assertions that the 21st century will be the “American Century”; odes to “American Exceptionalism”; claims that the rest of the world longs for a return of aggressive American “Leadership”. Speeches by Rear Admiral John Hutson, Leon Panetta, and General John Allen that all could have come straight out of the Cold War of the 1950s by a demented Dr. Strangelove. This was all orchestrated by the DNC and must reflect Hillary’s forward looking views of America’s role during her Presumptive Presidency.

If anything, on the international front the Republicans are charting a more pacifist and isolationist strategy. For the Democrats, our enemies are abroad; for the Republicans, our enemies are already here having infiltrated our porous borders. Republicans will build walls and deport the undocumented; the Democrats will pursue regime change and foster civil wars that produce the refugees that will flock to our borders. Which of those dystopian futures do you find more appealing? It is a tough choice. We hear a lot about the danger of letting Trump get anywhere near the nukes, but it is possible that the Democrats are more likely to produce the conditions in which using the nukes becomes a dangerous reality.

By the end of the century China’s economy will be very much bigger than that of the US, maybe larger than the US+EU economies combined. India’s economy will be bigger than the US economy. The populations of China, India, and Africa will dwarf the populations of the US and Europe. Why on earth should any reasonable person be calling for this to be the “American Century”? America already had its century of world domination—the past century. An honest evaluation would admit that the results were mixed. No rational person would conclude that America can, or should, dominate the globe over the next century. It will be the Chinese Century. It will be the Indian Century. I hope it is the African Century.

We do not need another Cold War. We will not survive a Hot War. It is time to stop scapegoating and provoking the Chinese and the Russians. At the convention, Hillary said that America is great because America is good. Let’s focus on the Good. Hillary talked a lot about working together to achieve greatness, but her inclusiveness seems to stop at our nation’s borders as she appears to ramp up the rhetoric against nations that we must work with—and that certainly includes China and Russia. Demonizing them is not helpful.

I have watched with a mixture of bemusement and horror as Hillary and the DNC have tried to divert anger to the Russians for the leaked emails of Hillary and the DNC. Trump stepped into the fray by suggesting that since the FBI has not been able to recover some of the emails Hillary erased, perhaps the Russians might help out by finding them. That led to accusations that Trump is supporting foreign espionage and that he’s friendly to Putin (as if the latter is out-of-bounds for a possible president; when Hillary trumpets her closeness to foreign leaders—no matter how tainted their reputations–that is called experience; as Trump has said, “If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing”. Who disagrees with that? The Cold War wing of the Democrat party that needs enemies.). The attacks by Hillary on Trump and Russia are supposed to shift our attention away from the fact that it was Hillary who put our country at risk by using an unsecured personal server to combine family and State Department business. Her actions reflect not only bad judgement but also suggest that Hillary cannot be trusted with high level security clearance—which should be problematic for the Presumptive President.

When exposed, Hillary compounded the problem by having emails deleted before they could be scrutinized. We know that the reason Hillary used her private server was to keep emails secret—free from Freedom of Information Act requests. We do not know, but it is possible—I’d guess, even probable—that these would disclose that she used her State Department position to materially benefit her family’s foundation.

In any event, we cannot know whether she’s clean unless we see the emails. Seventy percent of Americans do not trust her—with good reason. We deserve to know what she wrote and whether there was quid pro quo—such as charitable donations to the Clinton foundation to reward her for State Department approvals of sales to foreign countries.

The FBI apparently could not recover the emails. Could one reasonably suggest they need help? If David Letterman or Jon Stewart had joked that the Russians might help, it would have been hilarious. If I suggested it, readers would probably think it a poor joke—a bit over the top. Trump suggests it and he’s accused of treason. (See this piece in the New Yorker, which reads like it was written by Hillary’s speechwriter. It quotes Sean Wilentz, one of Hillary’s super-duper supporters, and takes an over-the-top interpretation of the Donald’s tongue-in-cheek tweet.) Kill the messenger and try to bury the message with references to Putin. (Putin has become everyone’s go-to-blame-for-everything that is wrong with America. See here.)

Note that it is literally impossible for anyone to hack Hillary’s servers now—they are in the hands of the FBI. Unless Hillary was careless enough to back-up the emails to the Cloud (or similar storage), they can only be found on the servers of corresponders. The official lapdog press pretends to not understand that Trump’s call on Russia for help is not a call for espionage of state secrets—except those that Hillary might have planted around the internet. Further, he asked the Russians to turn over the emails to the press—which actually might enhance US security by revealing the threats created by Hillary’s carelessness.

There’s no evidence—yet—that Russia played any role in the hack, and no one in the US security business has been willing to tie her/his name to the speculation that Russians might be involved. But let us put the question this way: which shocks you more, that the Russians might have been hacking the DNC to try to influence the US political process, or that the DNC has hijacked democracy in order to hand over the presidency to Wall Street?

Hillary threatened US security by mingling the nation’s secrets with her family’s secrets—and Trump is the problem? This mess is Hillary’s fault and she should support all efforts to clean it up—even if it takes some WikiLeaks to find her erased emails.

It is beyond doubt that the DNC slanted to Hillary; party leadership saw no difference between the goals of Clinton and the DNC; Clinton’s campaign lawyer even provided advice to DNC. The DNC teamed up with the Hillary campaign to formulate a negative narrative of Bernie (for example, Bernie isn’t sufficiently Jewish—he might even be an atheist!). The official, cheerleading press “reported” on the primaries by running through Hillary’s campaign talking points. Read any Washington Post “reporting” on the Democratic primary over the past 12 months and you’ll see it mostly just enumerates her campaign’s positions and critiques of Bernie’s campaign.

Ironically, the Clinton campaign also accused Bernie of inattention to down-ballot candidates. Actually, the DNC and Clinton campaign funneled funds meant for the down-ballot directly to Hillary—only about 1% of the funds raised to support the party went to state parties, the rest went straight to Hillary, as the leaked emails from the DNC show: “the primary season was very far from a fair fight. The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn’t neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management.” Lawyers are divided on whether this was illegal campaign money laundering, but legal or not, it clearly runs counter to democracy.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz reluctantly fell on the sword as the DNC quickly rounded up the lapdog press to blame the Russians. (Hillary immediately hired her—presumably a reward for a job well-done. Also see.) Indeed, throughout the campaign, the mainstream media—most prominently the Washington Post, worked as an arm of the DNC to promote the narrative that Hillary had the election in the bag. Supporters of Bernie are reduced to “Bernie Bros” and those of Trump are “angry old white men”. According to the official press, there’s no plausible explanation for any reasonable voter not to support Hillary.

During the campaign, Hillary’s staff helped to fuel speculation that she might choose Elizabeth Warren or some other progressive as a running mate—again aided and abetted by the official mainstream press, which ran through all the purported appeal of a Hillary-Elizabeth team. I suspected that this was all a red herring to pull primary voters away from Bernie. I believed there was a near certainty that Hillary would reach right once the primary was in the can—a signal to her Wall Street and Military Industrial Complex handlers that there would be no reform. I was right, of course.

Hillary’s choice for VP, Tim Kaine, is a member of Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). As my colleague, Bill Black, put it “The DLC was, on economic and foreign policy issues, a servile creature of Wall Street — funded by Wall Street.” Bill Black:

“Kaine, like Hillary Clinton, has embraced for decades the DLC/’New Democrats’ agenda — meaning they are allies of Wall Street. They embrace a neo-liberal, pro-corporate outlook that has done incredible damage to the vast majority of Americans. Kaine is actively pushing to weaken already grossly inadequate financial regulation and pushing to adopt the indefensible “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP). By choosing Kaine, Hillary Clinton is signaling that her new-found support for financial regulation and opposition to TPP is a tactical ploy to win the nomination before she “pivots” back to the disastrous policies that she, Kaine and Vilsack have helped inflict on the world for decades. She is playing into Trump’s claims that she is not honest. What’s especially noteworthy is that Hillary Clinton and Kaine are carrying Wall Street’s water while the Republican Party is repudiating some of these policies. The Republican Party platform (cynically) calls for reinstating Glass-Steagall, and Donald Trump has called for the defeat of TPP in an equally cynical fashion.”

As the DNC expected, once Bernie was out of the way, Wall Street would open the floodgates.

“After a wrenching yearlong nominating battle with searing debates over the influence of Wall Street and the ability of ordinary citizens to be heard over the din of dollars changing hands, the party’s moneyed elite returned to the fore this week, undeterred and mostly unabashed. For many Clinton donors, particularly those from the financial sector, the convention is a time to shed what one called the “hypersensitivity” that had previously surrounded their appearance at Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raisers or at her political events, during a period when Mr. Sanders   repeatedly attacked Mrs. Clinton’s connections to Wall Street and her six-figure speaking fees from financial institutions. ‘I think we’re past that,’ said Alan Patricof, a longtime donor to Mrs. Clinton, when asked about the need to lie low during the primaries.” Blackstone; Hamilton E. James, one of the leading Wall Street contenders for an economic policy post in a future Clinton administration. The railway giant CSX brought in old railroad cars for a reception led by Rodney E. Slater, the former United States transportation secretary turned lobbyist, who also headlined a panel on transportation policy in a future Clinton administration.

As The Intercept reported:

“By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political    action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008. Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. “Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton    family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.” What was going on inside the convention hall was also reflected outside, at      costly events sponsored by the  fossil fuel industry, technology companies, for-profit colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and railway companies, to name a few. ” In the Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the Convention By Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons, The Intercept 29 July 16

Thomas Frank nicely sums up the current alignment of the Democrat party:

“Let’s see: trade agreements, outreach to hawks, “bipartisanship”, Wall Street. All that’s missing is a “Grand Bargain” otherwise it’s the exact same game plan as last time, and the time before that, and the time before that. Democrats seem to be endlessly beguiled by the prospect of campaign of national unity, a coming-together of all the quality people and all the affluent people and all the right-thinking, credentialed, high-achieving people. The middle class is    crumbling, the country is seething with anger, and Hillary Clinton wants to chair a meeting of the executive committee of the righteous.  When Democrats sold out their own rank and file in the past it constituted betrayal, but at least it sometimes got them elected. Specifically, the strategy succeeded back in the 1990s when Republicans were market purists and working people truly had “nowhere else to go”. As our modern Clintonists of 2016 move instinctively to dismiss the concerns of working people, however, they should keep this in mind: those people may have finally found somewhere else to go.”

Where should they go? Frank worries that they will turn to Trump, which is probable for centrists. What about progressives? Most will follow Bob Reich’s advice, holding their noses as they vote for the lesser of two evils. It is the right short-term strategy, if you do not mind that the Democrat party will continue its rightward shift, as it rejects the party of Roosevelt’s democratic dream of shared prosperity in favor of Wall Street’s dream of what Citigroup calls the “plutonomy” (“The Plutonomy Symposium Rising Tides Lifting Yachts:). But forget Bob’s hope that the party can be reformed—the DNC will be impervious to pressure as it teams up with the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party to push through the Neoliberal agenda, including the TPP, more privatization of health care (Obamacare) and retirement (Hillaretirement! You read it here first!), more downward pressure on wages and American living standards (Clintonomics), and more freedom for Wall Street (Rubinonomics).

If you take a longer-term view, then you might follow the advice of Chris Hedges. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate, but some progressives can vote for Jill Stein over the Greater and Lesser evils on offer from the mainstream parties. Chris points out that the Green Party’s support today is not that far off the level of support SYRIZA had in Greece before it took off as popular discontent exploded over the past decade. (Note, I’m not so happy with Chris’s analogy—for reasons I do not want to go into here, the comparison of the Greens with SYRIZA may not be apt.) No matter whether Donald or Hillary wins, discontent is going to grow in the US, which will be good for a third party.

Chris reports (and I’ve heard this from insiders) that Jill offered to step aside and let Bernie run for the top spot on the Green’s ticket. In my view that would have been a dynamite pairing that could have hastened the rise of a real alternative to our failed two party system. Without the rise of a third party, we face a future that looks a lot like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day film: every four years we wake up to the prospect of choosing the lesser of two evils, a choice between the two hand-picked evils favored by each of the two parties and ratified by an ever-declining portion of the population that bothers to vote. Only a total of 14% of eligible adults cast a vote for either Hillary or Donald in the primaries; 86% did not bother to vote, or voted for someone else (including Bernie). The two major parties could care less whether that falls to 10% or 5%. This time around it looks like both the Democrats and the Republicans obstructed access to the ballot box. Why not? They do not want voters to select the candidates. They want the disaffected voters to stay home. They will each try to poach fence-sitters from one another but there appears to be a tacit agreement not to rock the boat by appealing to those who’ve given up on the two party system.

The Donald managed to throw a monkey-wrench into the Republican Party’s plans this time around, probably because their favored candidate (yet another Bush, of course) was so unpalatable. It looks like the Dems are setting us up for yet another Clinton (Chelsea) in the not too distant future. I’d guess there are at least a half dozen Bushes waiting in the wings, too. Or something worse. As Chris Hedges put it: “Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.” Both the Republicans and the Democrats are responsible for creating Trump (as Hillary might put it, it takes a Beltway village to raise a monster). If you take Chris’s line, there will always be a “worser” evil to be defeated, justifying a vote for a “less worser” Neoliberal candidate. The crazier the candidate put up by one party, the more room for craziness in the other. Hillary needs Trump (or someone like him) to make her pro-Wall Street and pro-war positions appear to be less crazy than his pro-Wall and pro-deportation proposals. She’s a Trump enabler, not a buster, because much of what he says does make sense if you do not buy the DNC’s line.

You don’t need to know much game theory to catch on to this game.

You could say no, I won’t play. If not now, when?

In this view, to bust Trump, you need a real Trumpbuster. An alternative to the status quo of the two parties.

Jill Stein has been pushing three big ideas that admittedly appeal to me (and all of which have been supported by at least some of MMT’s founders): the job guarantee, reparations for African Americans and Native Americans, and a student debt jubilee. On the issue of “affordability”, Jill seems educable, and indeed better than Bernie (who always insisted on “paying for” any progressive proposal with tax increases or spending cuts). Financial affordability is not the question. What matters is our ability to provide useful jobs to the unemployed and to ramp up domestic production to meet the needs of the newly employed plus increased purchasing power of African Americans and Native Americans who receive reparations. Forgiving student loan debt, and fully funding public education through four years of college will actually increase our ability to produce. Still, her arguments about the technical details of implementing these policies have—so far—fallen short. For example, she talks about using the Quantitative Easing policy to develop a model for student debt relief. I, frankly, don’t follow it. To be clear, I’m not worried about the “cost” of any of her proposals, but she needs help in formulating the details. She has recently provided her choices for a “shadow cabinet”. There are some very good names on that list: Alperovitz, Flowers, Harvey, McIntyre, but there are others that don’t appear to be ready-for-prime-time players.

Those who will vote for Jill are expressing their preference for taking the long run approach, over voting for Hillary as a short run expedient move. What they want is to continue Bernie’s movement, and they (quite reasonably) fear that a vote for Hillary supports the status quo and will doom Bernie’s revolution to the same fate as Occupy Wall Street (remember that?). I’m sympathetic and I see it as an honorable position. As Chris argues:

“We talk—Robert talks about, you know, building movements. You can’t build movements in a political system where money has replaced the vote. It’s impossible. And the Democrats, you know, their bedside manner is different from the Republicans. You know, Trump is this kind of grotesque figure. He’s like the used car salesman who rolls back the speedometer. But Hillary Clinton is like, you know, the managers of Goldman Sachs. They both engage in criminal activities that have—and Clinton’s record, like Trump, exposes this—that have preyed upon the most vulnerable within this country and are now destroying the middle class. And to somehow speak as if we are in a functioning democracy, or speak as if there are any restraints on capitalism, or speak as if the Democratic Party has not pushed forward this agenda—I mean, Obama has done this. You know, he has been as obsequious to Wall Street as the Bush administration. There’s no difference….. When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us. And to sit by—every time, Robert, you speak, you do exactly what Trump does, which is fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And the fact that we are going to build some kind of—…amorphous movement after Hillary Clinton—it’s just not the way it works.”

You will note that both Bob and Chris invoke fascism: Bob uses it to justify his vote for Hillary, while Chris uses it to justify his vote for Jill. In my view, Trump is not Hitler. He’s neither so brilliant nor so charismatic. He’s a mixture of P.T. Barnum and Berlusconi: the salesman and the buffoon. But like both Bob and Chris, I am concerned with our desperate situation in which the rise of a demagogue is not difficult to imagine.

Bill Curry, former counselor to the Bill Clinton Whitehouse, says that the Dems do not even see the problems with its current “pay to play” strategy, in which—as Hillary put it—they take whatever Wall Street offers.  He says that this is particularly true of Hillary. The party platform actually removed all the progressive language in previous platforms that would have tried to reduce the influence of money in politics, except the promise to go after Citizens United. However, according to Curry, the Dems worked closely with the Republicans to increase the amount of funding that can be provided to federal elections by ten-fold, which he thinks is far more important than Citizens United. While he still hopes that Hillary beats the “fascist” Trump, he concludes there really is no hope for reform under a Hillary presidency. We need a national popular peace movement to challenge this bi-partisan neoliberal hegemony.

We need a Trumpbuster, and I’m afraid that neither Hillary nor Jill fits the bill.

16 Responses to TRUMPBUSTERS: WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

  1. Bernie was my choice in Texas primary. But I could see that at every opportunity Hilary backers were take over state primaries. When she won California by wide percentage I knew a fix was in.

    I cannot vote for Trump. I do not want a president who acts like performer on some daytime reality show. This country has some serious economic problems to deal with.

    It took me seven years to finally realize what major disappointment Obama is. I should have know sooner. When Obama appointed Treasury Secretary who was only interested in solving banker problem and Dept. of Justice head who was not willing to indict or convict bankers who committed fraud.

    I do not trust Hilary Clinton so I cannot vote for her. Yes, I will live with this decision even if means Trump becomes President. I have will cast my vote for Jill Stein.

  2. Strategic voting: Greens in reliably Blue or Red states does several things: 1. It notifies the major parties they can’t take your vote for granted. 2. It empowers the Greens. They may get matching funds if enough people vote for them. 3. It moves the “Overton Window” (respectable policy options) leftward. This is important after the Kochs have spent hundreds, if not thousands of millions in their efforts to move it rightward–and very successfully, too.

    …and strategic voting does nothing, really to influence the way major party candidates are likely to win, or the SCOTUS picks. It *does* send a message…not ideal, but it’s what we’ve got.

    One other “word of encouragement”: I happened to pick up one of Robert Caro’s biographical volumes about Lyndon Johnson (“The Means of Ascent”). It’s a real eye opener.

    No one was more crooked, ruthless or opportunistic than LBJ. He stole elections, bribed people, exploited his public office to increase his wealth, etc.

    Yet the Civil Rights, the Voting Rights Act and Medicare would have been impossible without him.

    …So…literally anything is possible, even if the lesser of evils wins.

  3. Just because the democrats were caught fixing the vote for Hilary does not mean the republicans are not crooked.

    On the contrary the republicans are just as or more corrupted and they are very experienced at fixing elections. (So as a contrarian, – I would say ‘lets not’ forget about the Bush-Gore Florida fiasco.)

    Ok, if the republicans are just as or more corrupted than the democrats why didn’t they, like the democrats ‘adjust’ the primaries to choose a ‘pre-selection’? A Bush or a Cruz?

    As FDR said “In politics there is no such thing as an accident. If it happened it was planned to happen.”

    Going with FDR’s thinking on this, perhaps like the democrats they did chose a pre-selection candidate: Trump. But as the current state of his support shows, the republican guard does not want him to be elected president – they want Hilary.

    Donald Trump is not only a businessman he is also a reality TV actor. His current role is to act the part of the bigger monster to normalize the real monster. He is not playing to win he is playing to lose. (Alienating the Latinos, Women, firing his big data analytics team.) But people are so fed up with the Potemkin politics they may actually in-spite of himself vote for the guy.

    Its not too outlandish, given the past behaviors of both parties to suggest that the republicans and the democrats have (and HAD) already pre-selected Hilary as the next president.

    In conclusion: The good news and bad news – again remember that Florida thing…
    The good news – If the above line of reasoning is valid, every American can vote for who every they like without feeling any guilt whatsoever.
    The bad news – No matter the ‘actual’ count we will get Hilary.

  4. J Christensen

    When large corporations and the class who own them, exert as much influence over governments, and democratic processes as they do now, it’s equally fair to call what most of the world has today fascism by it’s original definitions; or as Chris called it “inverted totalitarianism”. It’s no longer a question of whether candidate A or B is a fascist, we are all living that reality now, yet oddly, mostly unaware of it still.

    There is no need to “save” capitalism. It is alive and well, thriving in one of it’s possible mature stage manifestations; and has possibly achieved immortality. The marketplace still exists. Those still able to afford the prices can buy anything. For those living in the outskirts of the virtual Panem’s of this world not so much.

    The process of disillusionment with respect to the modern reality regarding “democracy” has been a lengthy one, so thorough has been our indoctrination. Thinking people today now surely feel the fear thinking people 80 years ago felt, and that too will give way to despair following the realisation that what they thought their grandfathers had ended in 1945 had a plan B which has already been carried out near completion.

  5. Blue Pilgrim

    Different issues:

    I decided a long time ago to vote for people I want, and don’t expect my vote will matter as much as a butterfly in Brazil — so I will vote for Stein.

    If I voted strategically I would vote for Trump — the ‘friction to the machine’. Like if I’m giving guns to terrorists I’ll give them guns that don’t work or blow up in their hands … that’s Trump. We have to break the machine, and Trump is on that side, even he sells out or whatever and tries to help the machine. Maybe think of him as a useful idiot in that respect. Unless he really will be anti-war, isolationist, pro-diplomacy, etc. Which is possible because he is so unknown and unpredictable.

    Clinton is a well oiled part of the leading edge of the machine, and a lot more likely to give us war, including world war, war against Russia, and a nuclear holocaust. That’s not unknown or unpredictable but based on her record and what she is saying now. She will also strengthen the machine and make other actions by the people much harder. Trump is undesirable; Clinton is unacceptable. Trump is the lesser evil.

    Do people have to organize and work for change outside of theater of elections and the system? Of course, but that doesn’t depend on who is president — who is largely just a puppet or mouthpiece anyway, and can stray only so far from the wealthy oligarchy (deep state). The chaos and dissatisfaction Trump is likely to produce will likely make conditions for organized resistance better (compare Bush vs Obama).

    Considering the current conditions, such as climate disruption, threat of war, looming ecological and environmental disasters, super bugs and the failure of medicine, economic collapse, global interactions and coupling of disasters, pollution, energy crisis, etc., any one of which could do us in and politics will become almost irrelevant as more primal forces take over as abstractions and normative values are forgotten: when someone is drowning he doesn’t even look at what it is he is trying to cling to so he can breath, and there is no time or energy left to think. Humans are not that rational. At that point even the oligarchy will be in panic, and their survivability uncertain. No planned revolution or counter-revolution then, but chaos, because this would not be local — the result of globalization (such as the power and communications grid going down world wide, and disruption of the other interdependent systems).

    Trump, a little controlled chaos now, may prevent global catastrophe while Clinton will give us ever building pressures in the boiler until the whole thing goes up in a big bang when all the fictions collapse.

  6. James Cooley

    Mahalo Randall for the enlightened comment. I felt for months that if Bernie had announced he was going to run as a third party candidate, he could have pulled off enough Trump supporters and certainly enough disaffected progressive Democrats to have at least a realistic chance at capturing the White House. That would have proved to be a real Trump (and Hillary) buster, but alas it will not happen this time around. It is hard to see anyone picking up the mantel of Bernie Sanders in 2020, except possibly Elizabeth Warren, as it will be trampled under foot by both Hillary and Donald. What a bleak prospect for the near term.

  7. Long winded, and we heard most of it before. Doesn’t matter. You have to vote for Clinton if you think Trump is a mental case. She is terrible, granted. But Trump is crazy and has Hitleresque tendencies. Perhaps the guy who voted for someone insignificant as Hitler came to power thought, “that was really stupid of me”.

    • Blue Pilgrim

      I’ll give my personal impressions:

      Over the decades I’ve run into many people like Trump (in fact my father was somewhat similar: he was in TV advertising and radio, and bulls***ed both professionally, and as avocation, as part of his ego-driven neuroses), and many had businesses, and were accomplished snake-oil salesmen, telling different people whatever he thought they wanted to hear at the moment. I’ve worked with and for people like this, and have had neighbors like this. I hear Trump and my reaction is ‘Oh, ‘fudge’! Listen to that garbage — and look at those people eating it up). Yes he is a psychopath of sorts — but a low level one, fairly human, and responsive to reactions from other humans, and he is like many business leaders, even if a bit nuttier. He is like many ordinary Americans — but with a head start and some talent for wealth. He’s been ‘the boss’ for so long he is out of the habit of watching what he says — which is about the same as many people say when not in the public spotlight or accountable to who is listening.

      Clinton is, however, is psychopath of a different sort and level, and my reaction when hearing her is my skin crawls. I’ve met only two or three people like that. As a true psychopath she is very good at what she does, lying, manipulating, scheming, and as utterly cold blooded as a serpent, and amoral. She actually frightens me, exuding what I can call ‘evil’. One of the talents of psychopaths is that they are quite good at seeming normal, and have a wide variety of scripts for doing that — like an AI computer program that is good at seeming to be human unless you test it or look for a few telltale signs, or a talented actor who can convincingly play any role handed to him. Clinton has played a liberal and a Goldwater Girl, but what she has sought is raw power for herself alone (follow her trail), and has the mind of a Dalek. She is already a nation-destroying genocidal war criminal several times over. Don’t be fooled by her.

      Even Bernie has the ‘American disease of imperialistic hegemony’ and exceptionalism, plays a compromise game with basic values, and plays to the game and audience. That’s how he survives as a US senator. That’s why he would not run with the Greens — the odds and the machine would be against him.

      We, the country and the world, cannot recover unless we have a very good idea of where we are, and work for radical transformation to newer paradigms: political, economic, social, in information and consciousness, and, of course, in the physical world. Everything must be evaluated in terms of total system thinking. This electoral charade is a rather small part of the power and economic systems we have.

  8. Quite a rant. I didn’t see anything about the Supreme Court justices. That is usually on one side or the other when one chooses the lesser. It is all rather depressing, but it has been this way at least since LBJ, and he managed to screw up what was a small progressive run with Viet Nam. Those riots in Chicago in 1968 are still reverberating. At least in my little world that is where the democrats lost their way. Now we have a neoliberal world that is crumbling from slow growth that none of the financial wizards are able to fix, and there is no politician with a vision fix it. Bernie came close in my little world. But like Occupy he was coopted.

    For me Jill Stein is a non starter. But then perhaps I don’t know enough about her. She seems to pick any and all issues she thinks some small fraction will like. Over time she is attracting people as our little world crumbles. But I don’t really think she has the stones for this. She seems to vanish and reappear every four years. Not my candidate.

    Trump is a narcissist, an extreme one at that. He creates his own reality from whatever sounds good at the moment. But the next moment – when the dream world bubble bursts – he is just a likely to find another cause. And then yesterday is gone forever. He wonders why he can’t use nuclear bombs, humiliates disabled and anyone else who gets in his way. And you know the list. Not the kind of guy you bring to a meeting with the world leaders. Not a man with the temperament or character to lead us. Don’t bring this clown to the party Saturday night.

    Hillary, ah yes, on the way to the coronation she is. Or at least I hope since the alternative is ugh! squared. I don’t know if she lied about those classified e mails or not, but she certainly seemed foolish. I have to agree her foreign policy is, well, scary. Imagine she wanted to set up a no fly zone in Syria? I thought Russian planes flew there.

    Some think Bernie pulled her to the left. I sort of doubt it. I expect she will be just like Obama. And the left will need to keep her away from the most destructive urges for some ridiculous grand bargain and from idiocy in foreign policy. I cannot run the risk of letting a possible mad man lead us and in whom I have no idea what will happen or an inexperienced lady on the left who seems nice. This is a terrible choice. They all suck.

    So when does it get any better? Damned if I know. But Bernie wants to start on the bottom, maybe with the local dog catcher. Sounds better than the shit going on in DC these past six years at least.

  9. Kenneth Smet

    Whoa…I’m obviously in way over my head trying to comment to you. I read almost every word you wrote above and clicked on several of the links, but I don’t understand how you can write off Jill so lightly? Who else is there available in this election cycle who could not only bust Trump but expose Hillary as the fraud she is?

    Is there no chance Jill can get to 15% in the polls by Labor Day in order to get into the Presidential Debates?

    And if she got into the debates, could not things really explode and take off from there?

    • financial matters

      Ellen Brown likes Jill’s platform and chances.

      “”Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.””

      “”The Fed first surprised Congress when it effectively “bought” AIG, a private insurance company, for $80 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked, “Many of us were . . . taken aback when the Fed had $80 billion to invest — to put into AIG just out of the blue. All of a sudden we wake up one morning and AIG has received $80 billion from the Fed. So of course we’re saying, Where’s this money come from?”
      The response was, “Oh, we have it. And not only that, we have more.””

      “”As Stein quotes Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”””

      https://ellenbrown.com/2016/08/02/can-jill-carry-bernies-baton-a-look-at-the-green-candidates-radical-funding-solution/

      • Eileen Zelek

        I am voting for Jill after devouring everything I could read or see this election.

        I recently came across this video – starkly different history depicted of our country than what most of us have been led to believe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LA0xGSAw_Y

      • Blue Pilgrim

        From the article:

        As with Sanders’ economic proposals, her plan has been challenged as unrealistic. Where will Congress find the money?

        But Stein argues that the funds can be found. Going beyond Bernie, she calls for large cuts to the bloated military budget, which makes up 55% of federal discretionary spending; and progressive taxation, ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. Most controversial, however, is her plan to tap up the Federal Reserve. Pointing to the massive sums the Fed produced out of the blue to bail out Wall Street, she says the same resources used to save the perpetrators of the crisis could be made available to its Main Street victims, beginning with the students robbed of their futures by massive student debt..

        I can imagine Shakespeare’s publisher saying “I’m amazed you have not yet run out of words. Where do they all come from?”

        Let the military keep their money for now, as long as it doesn’t cut too deeply into production of real wealth needed by people — which eventually does become rather problematic. Still, with productive utilization down so much — only some 80% — there is a bit of capacity to spare now. So we can just create money on the computer, and as long as the wealthy are content with a few luxury goods and playing their games of monopoly without buying up the goods people need, causing inflation in the real economy, MMT will work fine, Ms. Stein. No taxes needed, of course.

        People have such a hard time fully grasping what sovereign fiat money is and implies. (But if you don’t believe in Santa Clause will he still bring you presents at Christmas?)

  10. Sarah Milkensen

    Stein isn’t a real choice either. But run from one construct to another. Breath taking how people still seem to think Bernie, a career politician, was carrying a baton of any kind other than for the status quo. What’s that? you’re ok with the status quo?

  11. Lots of new evidence out today showing beyond doubt that Hillary used her private email server to reward supporters of her family foundation with State department access. See here: http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-uncovers-new-batch-hillary-clinton-emails/

    From the report:
    This is the ninth set of records produced for Judicial Watch by the State Department from the non-state.gov email accounts of Huma Abedin.

    The documents were produced under a court order in a May 5, 2015, Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)) requiring the agency to produce “all emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013, using a ‘non-state’.gov email address.”

    “No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”

    In June, Judicial Watch uncovered two batches (here and here) of new Clinton email records through court-ordered discovery.

    Twice in May, Judicial Watch uncovered new Clinton emails, including emails that show Clinton knew about the security risk of her BlackBerry (see here and here).

    Recently, Judicial Watch released other State Department emails (one batch of 103 pages, the second of 138 pages), with newly discovered Clinton emails also going back as far as January 2009.