Despite several Twitter friends who repeatedly tell me to stop torturing myself by watching the corporate news channels, I can’t help myself.
The corporate news has spent weeks and untold hours of air time fretting about the right-wing rally today in Washington. It’s almost 2 PM, and there are not more than a handful of people at the rally. What an enormous waste of time and energy and money. In addition, what a diversion from covering some of the more serious issues that confront the society.
I am not minimizing the seriousness of this right-wing, authoritarian movement, but there was no need to spend hours and hours of valuable media time with people talking about what MIGHT happen today. In addition, because of all the hype, the low turn-out crowd makes it seem as if the media is blowing the threat out of proportion. The threat is not taken seriously enough, not talked about seriously enough, but the coverage of what might happen in one rally is overblown.
We have a house full of sick cats and Wednesday night I spent sleeping on the floor downstairs so I could hear if one of them needed something. Needless to say, I did not sleep, but spent most of the night listening to podcasts.
One of the very best was an interview of Kathleen Belew about right-wing movements.
Belew pointed out that the coup attempt on January 6, was intended as a recruiting tool, not a violent insurrection. Far from a failure, the right widely considered Jan. 6 a stunning success. I would guess that they view September 18 as something similar, a fake out of the corporate media and a demonstration of how they can make fools of the establishment.
The podcast is Spy Talk, part of the Deep State Radio group.
Just a note: MSNBC has its anchors sitting outside on a platform as if they are covering Macy’s Parade. There is nothing, just nothing that corporate media can’t cheapen. A deeply serious challenge to democracy itself turned into a spectator sport.
CNN is showing video of piles of dead and injured people in the sewage ditch just outside the Kabul airport. They are blurring the image. That seems to me to be highly symbolic. The corporate media has been blurring the images coming from Afghanistan for twenty years.
Also, why should Americans have the reality of what is happening in Afghanistan softened?
During the past few weeks the corporate news media has been studiously ignoring the disastrous military and humanitarian crisis shaping up in Afghanistan. They have been doing so, I think, because the crisis makes Biden look feckless, ruthless, and incompetent.
For so long, there was almost nothing on the corporate news, but every day it was possible to read about astonishing advances by the Taliban. Every day estimates of how much of Afghanistan was controlled by the Taliban increased, and estimates of how long it would be until the Taliban took over Kabul decreased.
I am no foreign policy expert, but even I could see that the Biden withdrawal of forces in Afghanistan was accelerating a Taliban takeover of the country.
The negotiated “peace plan” was non-existent. I never understood what was being “negotiated” with the Taliban in the first place either by the Trump or the Biden administration. One reporter late this week said that the “negotiated” peace process was not only on hold, it was in the basement with the door locked.
And who had the bright idea that the Taliban could be negotiated with in the first place? The group is defined by a suicidal religious refusal to compromise or negotiate with the modern world.
Let me be clear, I did not support the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq but even I acknowledge that once you have invaded and occupied a country you can’t just walk out and leave everyone who has fought with you at the mercy of the enemy. You cannot just withdraw without considering the implications for the population you are leaving behind.
But this is precisely what the Biden administration seems to have done. They either didn’t consider the implications for the population, or they didn’t care. I’m not sure which is worse.
Reports today (Friday) are that members of the Biden administration knew that this disaster was coming. The Joint Chiefs warned them. But the Biden administration decided that the disaster was inevitable (although they have denied this reality). One official was quoted by Peter Baker as saying: It’s a tragedy, but it’s not our tragedy. Who would say something this crass and unfeeling? There is not even much of a pretense of having any empathy with the abandoned population.
And in an effort to make the chaotic, precipitous, and disastrous withdrawal look better, the Biden administration has blamed everyone in sight – except themselves.
Evidently, the defense department that costs us trillions every fifteen minutes, just couldn’t manage to plan a withdrawal from a country they had occupied that didn’t create a humanitarian crisis. How can that be?
Gen. John Kirby, in a painful press conference today, said the Afghanis had every conceivable advantage in the war. A reporter asked Kirby how the Afghanis could have every conceivable advantage and still be losing. Kirby balked at the rudeness of the question, then evaded answering it. He went on to list all the advantages the Afghanis had (airplanes, an air force, more soldiers, etc.). So, according to Kirby, the Afghanis have all these advantages and it’s just a great fucking mystery why they are losing.
The people of this country are told repeatedly that we have the greatest military in the history of the world, but that military just can’t figure out how after twenty years of supplying and training and fighting, to get the Afghanis in a position to hold their own against the opposing force.
Earlier this week I listened to a podcast where the panel was pointing out that supply lines were a problem in Afghanistan. Supply lines? Twenty years and they haven’t figured out how to secure supply lines? Even my cat knows not to go further away from the door than he can safely run back should there be a threat. And they can’t figure out secure supply lines? I just find this preposterous. What the bleeding devil have they been doing for twenty years?
A lot of the feedback on Twitter consists of people arguing that the very fact that we have been in Afghanistan for twenty years legitimates the withdrawal. But, nobody is objecting to the withdrawal, it’s the way the withdrawal is carried out.
As Paul Riekhoff said on Nicolle Wallace’s show the other night, this was a “reckless” withdrawal. Riekhoff’s honesty about the situation made me wonder if the producers on MSNBC knew what he was going to say. (The next night I don’t think Wallace even talked about Afghanistan). Riekhoff lambasted the Biden administration’s withdrawal. And Riekhoff, like Kevin Baron from Defense One, stated flatly that the administration was not “leveling” with the American people.
The refusal to “level” was painfully obvious in the Pentagon presser this afternoon with Gen. John Kirby. Kirby couldn’t even bullshit with any talent the obfuscation was so blatant. Kirby stood at the podium and spewed nonsense. He looked like a man experiencing a severe attack of piles as he fielded questions from reporters.
He was fine with questions like that from MSNBC’s Pentagon correspondent. After a day when every conceivable TV pundit repeated like a parrot: “The administration was not surprised with what happened but at the speed with which it happened” she asked if the administration was surprised at the speed with which the take over had happened. Seriously?
Another reporter doggedly tried to get Kirby to say that Kabul was “isolated.” “Would you say Kabul was isolated?” He asked repeatedly. Kirby verbally danced all over the universe refusing to say that Kabul was “isolated.” We all fucking know that Kabul is “isolated.” What is the purpose of a journalist taking up valuable time trying to get Kirby to say the word? Kirby said everything under the sun else except that Kabul was “isolated.” What goddamn difference does it make if he uses the word?
I don’t think I have seen such a blatantly pathetic Pentagon press conference since Vietnam, and even then the brass talked the bullshit with some panache. Kirby just seemed to be desperate to finish, desperately uncomfortable, resentful of meaningful questions. John Kirby is a bad liar and bullshitter. If they are going to try to pass off this level of (do you believe me or your lying eyes) bullshit, they need to get another spokesperson.
And, it seems that we should have learned (with the best military in the history of the world) that the solution to a badly thought-out war is not (or should not be) a badly thought-out withdrawal. Evidently not.
But the thing that keeps sticking in my craw and going through my mind for the past few days is why? How could the Biden administration be so inept as to create this situation? Who was this precipitous withdrawal designed to please? I just can’t think of anybody placated or pleased with this hair-brained withdrawal. Why, after breezing through the deadline in May that the Trump administration had set, did Biden rush headlong into this withdrawal that seems so badly planned.
I will give just one example. On another podcast about Afghanistan the commentators were pointing out that the Taliban ratchets up fighting in the Spring and then makes a big push over the summer. Then, I suppose because of the weather, they retreat to bases in Pakistan in the fall and fighting dies down. The panel members were pointing out that if Biden had just waited over the summer and pulled out most of the troops in the fall, it would have helped immensely. So, what was the problem with that small change?
And there another thing that keeps going through my mind. This is in response to a comment made on the Majority Report (a great podcast). The guest was saying that there are many competing factions represented within the Biden administration – progressives (damn few), conservatives, moderates, hawks. When some policy or appointment comes up that sparks strong opposition among these groups, they fight it out vociferously. Fine. But when all this fighting and debate occurs, when positions are entrenched, Biden evidently does not step in and make a decision so everybody can go on. Biden refuses to take make a decision that might alienate somebody and so everybody retreats to their respective corners. The result is that nothing gets done. The example that was being talked about was an appointment that had remained vacant for months.
I can’t keep from wondering if something like that happened here. There was such strong disagreement about what to do, everybody was fighting and pushing and Biden just walked away (sort of like he’s doing in Afghanistan) and nothing got done. The withdrawal just ticked on without Biden taking control. It was easier to do nothing than to make a decision. Now, the administration is facing not only a humanitarian crisis, but a political disaster.
I have watched Fox News, OANN, and that other channel of Steve Bannon’s in the past two days. You can bet they are making hay over this situation. And, to my great discomfort and consternation, I agree with some of the commentary.
A final thing that makes me uncomfortable about this situation is how similar it is to the way Democrats are handling the serious threat Republicans pose to the continuation of democracy.
Democrats are so engorged with hubris, so convinced that the world is the way they want it to be, they are leading us into disaster at every turn.
I fear that they are going to do with Republicans exactly what they are doing with the Taliban – negotiate without reason, rely on the good intentions of murderous men determined to assume power at all costs and then when these men pull off a religious based authoritarian take over, wring their hands and say it was not the outcome they had anticipated.
On the internet: Video after video of police officers behaving abusively, escalating situations, cursing at people, threatening them, intimidating them, killing them, all over the country. CNN has an expert on to explain that our brains work differently when we’re under stress.
The “stress professor” and the Vanderbilt guy both agreed that we need more training for police.
I’ve been involved in criminology in one way or another for fifty years. I did research on female police partners and male use of deadly force in the 70s. Training is not the problem. Minneapolis, for example, spent a small fortune on training.
Police culture will win out over all the training and policy in the world.
If you look at the Derek Chauvin case as an example, Chauvin didn’t take the stand because basically his defense is that he didn’t do anything wrong and that he would do it again if he had the chance.
It appears that Alexander Navalny is dangerously close to dying. In the past, he told colleagues he couldn’t understand people using hunger strikes to advance their cases. It seemed, to him, merely a way to hand the state a tool. But, evidently the situation for him in prison was so bad, he resorted to using his own body as a tool to try to get help. It’s unlikely to work. The world stands by and watches.
Gary Kasperov, former Russian chess player and current activist, pointed out on Twitter that the West continues to deal with Putin as if he were some quasi-democratic head of state. Kasperov noted that Biden’s decision to turn around a ship to try to appease Putin was the wrong tactic. Autocrats, kleptocrats, authoritarians view offers of compromise as weakness.
Biden deals with Putin the way the Democrats deal with the Republicans. When will they learn that authoritarians cannot be compromised with or appealed to?
Joe Scarborough, who helped elect Trump, is now back to his rabid Republican heckling. It is difficult for me to understand how anybody could think that Scarborough was an ally. He and the dreadful Mika were up Trump’s ass until Trump threatened to reveal their adulterous affair. People need to remember we have Mika on tape asking Trump’s permission to ask him a “hard” question. Morning Joe as outlived its usefulness if it ever had any. It belongs in the Chris Matthews trash bag of programming. MSNBC needs to do better.
While I’m on MSNBC, the nightly news programs continue to use Jason “island of misfit black girls” Johnson as a commentator. He lost his job at the Root for his nasty, racist comment about the women who worked for Bernie Sanders, and MSNBC punished him with a few weeks off air. But, he’s back now with a vengeance. Joy Reid loves him because she actively worked to destroy Sanders’ campaign. The lesson here? You can say anything and get away with it if it’s about Bernie Sanders or his campaign.
The new feral cat we are socializing woke me up at 3:30 in the morning because his food bowls were empty. I’m wide awake, but he’s back asleep, stretched out at the foot of the bed on a quilt. They learn so quickly. Cats are the masters of psychological manipulation. His name is Oliver Wendell Holmes.
The corporate news media is a vast wasteland, a mental fidget-spinner of trite nonsense. It’s purpose, as far as I can tell, is to keep the lid on, to convince the population that the “institutions are holding,” and to stupify the public into believing that nothing is really wrong.
There is the endlessly repeated both-sidesism enmeshed in the discussion of every topic. Tonight, for example, in covering the allegations that DeSantis, Governor of Florida, participated in making it possible for rich campaign donors to skip the line on vaccines, Ari Melber felt it was necessary to show photographs of Cuomo and note for the audience that the show also covered Democrats who were accused of wrongdoing.
And, there are the jokes, the uplifting People Magazine stories, the fashioning of narrative to make heroes out of every person who just behaves with normal human decency.
Essentially, the corporate news media is a waste of time.
But, there are other places to go for news. There are more podcasts than one person can listen to in a lifetime, and there are a few TV channels. Freespeech TV is one of them.
Richard Wolff hosts a program called Economic Update. There are no guests, no video clips, no commercials. The program is adult news, discussion.
These are notes on the episode from 3/3/21
History Lessons on Capitalism’s Failures
• Even if you argue that the present economic system works in normal times, it certainly has not worked in a crisis like the pandemic.
• Freemarket capitalism produced no warehouses of supplies (masks, ventilators) waiting to be distributed . There were no facilities in population centers stocked with testing equipment. There was no plan for dealing with the dislocations that a pandemic would cause. There’s no money, no profit in it.
• Private enterprise isn’t going to provide a plan or products, or logistics for dealing with a pandemic before it happens. Only government can do that.
• The signs the system isn’t up to the job of dealing with a crisis are everywhere. Take, for example rising food prices. The evidence is that globally food prices are increasing. Private enterprise is not going to function to ensure the distribution of food in a pandemic. Secondly, under the current system of capitalism, the eviction crisis will only exacerbate the pandemic problem. In a pandemic people need to stay at home, but with evictions uncontrolled by the government, that’s exactly what we will not get. Thirdly, only 5% of private schools are having internet learning due to the pandemic. Private schools can afford to take measures to ensure safety. They can have smaller classes, move people to other buildings. 65% of public schools, however, are not meeting students. They are forced into distance learning. The students on the bottom of the economic scale are taking the hit of the pandemic.
• As Richard Wolff notes, the problems are so evident that the question is really: “Why are there people not understanding this still?”
• Wolff goes on to discuss the settlement of a criminal case against Boeing in which the company that makes most of the planes we travel in, was allowed to pay its way out of criminal prosecution for $2.5 billion dollars. Boeing, the settlement said, lied and put “profit before candor.” But, in a capitalist society, profit is put before everything. The people who run Boeing make careers from profit, not from candor.
The Republicans are turning a massive failure of infrastructure and privatization in Texas into a condemnation of renewable energy. Even the Governor of the State is on national television spewing lies and disinformation.
Gov. Greg Abbott, on Fox News, said that the problem was caused by renewable energy systems.
Officials were told in 2011 that they needed to winterize the Texas system. But, the State of Texas didn’t make that winterization and other changes obligatory. Because the grid is operated by private companies, allowed to make as much profit as they can, the State failed to winterize and now we are watching people lose their lives.
Message #1: Don’t elect people to run government that don’t believe in government.
Message #2: Capitalism is going to kill us.
Message #3: We are living in a failed state.
On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough is complaining about networks allowing Donald Trump to phone in and spout lies. Morning Joe gave Donald Trump millions in free air time in 2015 and 2016.
Every morning, Trump was phoning in to Morning Joe and lying.
Georgia: Glynn County Police Department
Ahmaud Arbery was killed in Glynn County, Georgia on the street, murdered by a former police investigator and his son.
Police made no arrests and allowed Arbery to lay on the ground while they released the man and his son.
The only reason the two men are in jail now is because a video of the killing was released to the press.
In 2020, the County Commission prevented the citizens of Glynn County from voting to abolish this police agency.
The agency has been fraught with controversy and illegal behavior.
The former chief of police was indicted, the Narcotics Unit was disbanded, officers killed a woman in her car and failed to remove an officer who had a history of assaultive behavior. This officer went to the house of his ex-girlfriend and shot her, her new male friend and himself.
Now, the County is paying a consulting firm to tell them who to hire as Police Chief. In addition, they are hiring a former “mentor” of one of the council members to also tell them who to hire.
The County gave the consulting contract to a company that didn’t even have the words “community policing” in their proposal. The proposal was the shortest of all those submitting, two pages.
Georgia: Voting Systems
The Republicans in the state legislature are on their way to pass some of the most restrictive voting rules in the country.
The new laws would prohibit the use of mail-in ballots for almost everybody.
Republicans depend on people not being able to vote.
Ali Velshi of MSNBC started last night trying to push what I can only suppose will be the corporate media line, i.e. that the election in Georgia had nothing to do with policy. It had nothing to do with voters choosing one view of the future and the way to get there over another.
Velshi said that the wins in Georgia were not due to “ideology.” This is the quote:
“What happened here in Georgia…This stopped being a Republican versus Democrat thing in Georgia and became a referendum on everything that was going on – on the Senate, on federal politics, on Perdue and Loeffler who are two of the richest senators alive, Loeffler is in a whole different field of her own….they were involved with stock trading. This was not a battle of ideology, Democratic versus liberal ideology or conservative versus liberal ideology.”
Later on in the night, Kimberly Atkins handed Velshi his head on a plate. She talked about the “issues that drove them to the polls,” like criminal justice reform. And, she said, these voters have a sense of “urgency” about change. They want something “beyond forming commissions.” And they are going to let Biden know.
But, Velshi couldn’t help himself. He had to take another shot at progressives by claiming that they “sat on their hands” in 2016.
Whenever there is anything like a progressive win, or a demonstration that the corporate democrats are on the wrong track in terms of fighting for power, the corporate media consolidates like a fist. They did it after Sanders won Nevada.
Jamil Smith (Rolling Stone) was on the same panel with Kimberly Atkins. He also put Velshi right about what was going on. He noted that Abrams decided to “turn out the people who are already on our side” rather than going after people who aren’t. For four years corporate Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and the DNC have courted independents and republicans rather than try to appeal to their own base.
“At what point” Smith asked, “do you act like you are in charge” and stop trying to negotiate with “people who have promoted hatred and lies about you.” When are the Democrats going to start to “….act like they have a mandate? “At what point do you act like you belong there…you’re in charge?”
What Elie Mystal calls the “elite industrial complex” has already started, before the election(which the Democrats are convinced they are going to win) to make the case for allowing Trump and the Republican crime family escape accountability for all the crimes they have committed not least of which is an attempt to subvert democracy and turn this into an authoritarian kleptocratic state.
We wouldn’t even have a crime network running the government, had we a functioning criminal justice system for white collar, corporate and political criminals. Just take your pick from the various scandals and crimes the Trump family has been accused of ( sexual assault against women, including marital rape; defrauding the U.S. government through racial discrimination in housing; tax fraud; consumer fraud through Trump University; tenant intimidation; bankruptcy fraud; use of undocumented workers, including models; casino fraud; antitrust violations; money laundering; refusing to pay workers and contractors; charitable foundation fraud through the Trump Foundation; various frauds and scams related to ties with organized crime). As Jeff Wise has written in the New Yorker: “His entire life, after all, is one long testament to the power of getting away with things, a master class in criminality without consequences..”
But the elite industrial complex has already started working over time to pave the way for minimizing, normalizing and burying Trump’s crimes.
On October 16, the Washington Post published an astounding article by Jill Lepore who claimed to be responding to a suggestion by Chris Hayes that “if we survive this” (meaning the Trump administration,) we should establish a truth and reconciliation commission. She noted that NPR did a piece about a truth and reconciliation commission the same week.
“This is a terrible idea.” She wrote.
Lepore then reminded the reader that this country has a tradition of a “peaceful transfer of power” and of conceding an election “without violence.” What she didn’t point out was that there is nothing, nothing about a truth and reconciliation commission that implies a non-peaceful transfer of power or a resort to violence. Lepore is, therefore, objecting to something that has never been proposed, setting up a straw man to knock it down. This is how she starts.
Lepore then goes on to quote Thomas Jefferson. “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.”
Lepore is arguing that the crime spree that has taken place in the past four years, calls for violence, threats not to allow an election, reminders by the likes of Mike Lee of Utah that the goal is not democracy, are just errors of opinion. No. These are not errors of opinion. Shaping foreign policy to fulfill your own personal agenda and financial interests instead of that of the country is not an “error of opinion.” Soliciting a bribe from the leader of another country, proposing to release public money in exchange for dirt on a political opponent is not an “error of opinion.” I could go on for pages if not books in this vein, but you get the point. Only an imbecile or a propagandist would call these errors of opinion.
The quote itself ends with a phrase that contradicts Lepore’s premise. Jefferson says to let these folks stand undisturbed “where reason is left free to combat” their wishes to dissolve the union or change its republican form. But, reason is not free to combat this effort at replacing a democratic system with an autocracy. We have Fox News churning out propaganda 24 hours a day. We have social media promoting the worst, most base fear mongering propaganda 24 hours a day. No. Reason is not “left free to combat” the threat. So the quote Lepore’s using contradicts the argument she is advancing.
Lepore then quotes Justice Robert Jackson, chief counsel for the U.S. at the Nuremberg trials. “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.”
Once again, Leopre’s own quote belies her entire argument. The crimes and attacks on democracy and justice by the Republicans have indeed been “calculated,” “malignant” and “so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored.” And, democracy “cannot survive their being repeated.”
I am not at all convinced that Joe Biden will even win the election. The Republicans have been working for decades to install a system of voter suppression, stuffing the courts with right-wing religious zealots, voting system manipulation, data mining through social media (Cambridge Analytica) and legislation that erodes voting rights. They have too much to lose to allow a Biden win and I do not think they will do so. And withe Supreme Court packed with right-wing ideologues who have no respect for the law, I doubt we will get another chance to hold a fair election.
Lepore goes on to assert that Trump was elected in a “fair election.” But, there is evidence that this is not the case. A former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, an expert in election security, has said as much. We have indictments of Russian nationals who hacked computer systems. We have a Mueller report that details the handing over of computer voting information to the Russians by Paul Manafort. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Lepore self-righteously asserts that truth and reconciliation commissions don’t take place after democratic elections. Well, that may well not have been a democratic election.
And, then, idiotically enough, Lepore just asserts, without question, that we can trust “investigative journalism, a functioning judiciary, legislative deliberation and action and dissent” to solve any problems caused by the crime spree of the last four years.
Well, investigative journalism is the first thing to go in newsrooms taken over by conglomerates and has been gutted. We certainly don’t have investigative journalism from television networks that are owned by corporations. The Republicans have worked for decades to stock the courts with ideologues who have no respect for law, but for dogma and some of whom have even been deemed incompetent by their own Bar Association. Mitch McConnell bragged recently on Fox News that he totally blocked any legislative agenda the Obama administration had in the last six years Obama was in office. And, we just had an impeachment process where Republicans in the Senate voted not to even hear evidence against the President, let alone convict him. Dissent has been met with violence and illegal surveillance of the protestors, and Lepore is suggesting we rely on people protesting during a pandemic.
In short, this essay is idiocy and the fact that the Washington Post published it is a travesty. But, as Elie Mystal notes, it’s the “elite industrial complex at work.” Rick Stengel was on MSNBC waxing poetic about the “lovely” way in which the Biden campaign refused to engage in recriminations. And, Joe Biden is part of this complex. As Lepore points out, Biden has already said that pursuing charges against Trump officials is “probably not very…good for democracy.”
“We are facing too many crises, we have too much work to do, we have too bright a future to have it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division.” This was Biden at Gettysburg, delivering a speech that had been carefully crafted to make the case for unilateral surrender.
So, Biden and the “elite industrial complex” like Lepore will work to convince us we just have to engage in “self-reflection.” Sen. Cory Booker thinks what we need is a “return to civic grace.”
Leopore ends with the statement: “Lock him up” cannot be the answer to “lock her up.” What she fails to see, however, is that one of them is guilty and the other is not.
It has become obvious to me that the Republican Party is stealing the 2020 election.
They are stealing it behind our backs and they are stealing it in front of our faces. All you have to do to come to this conclusion is spend some time researching targeted voter sabotage as practiced by the Republicans since at least 2000.
But, instead of looking at the evidence and making a plan for what to do when the Republicans pull off yet another theft of a major election, the Democratic Party, the corporate media and regular citizens are busily waltzing off a cliff in a haze of self-congratulatory delusion. If, they tell us, we just go out and vote, Trump will be defeated, and all will be well.
I do not believe this to be true. I do not believe it to be true because I cannot look at the evidence that is available and come to that conclusion.
One of the first things you learn as a researcher is to question most what you want to believe. People in this country WANT to believe that the voting process is fair, that all they have to do is vote. There is an almost pig-headed refusal to look at the evidence that the voting system is not fair, has been rigged in the past, is being rigged now, and that rigging will likely determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
The Democratic Party leadership and party strategists desperately want to believe that all they have to do is put out ads, analyze polls, make campaign appearances (sometimes) and get out the vote. This is all they know – conventional campaign tactics. And, they simply refuse to accept the fact that we have entered a world in which conventional campaign strategies are meaningless. I don’t care how many polls you analyze, or how well you analyze them, if the vote count is manipulated, your effort will be irrelevant.
But, on the corporate news programs I listen to hour after hour of discussion of the polls and demographics, and likely voter turn-out. Corporate news pundits giddily and endlessly talk to other corporate news pundits, none of them willing to acknowledge the fact that if the Republicans do in this election what they have been doing in other elections for two decades, none of the polls and none of the analysis, is relevant. This means, of course, that the pollsters and strategists themselves are not relevant, and that is one thing they will never admit. So, they lie to themselves and they lie to us.
With this lie, they make us believe that a corrupted voting system is fair because THEY WANT TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS FAIR. If it is not fair, if all the traditional campaign strategies are useless, they might have to DO SOMETHING. They might have to stop rabbiting on endlessly on cable news, stop comparing each other’s living rooms, stop telling jokes and selling a “return to civic grace” as the answer to all our problems. They might have to do something. And, that’s the problem.
The demographics of the voting population, the polls, getting out the vote, promoting mail-in ballots, won’t make a damn bit of difference if the Republicans at the state and county level manipulate the vote count to win as they have done in the past.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that they will not manipulate the vote count and a great deal of evidence that they will. But, by ignoring this fact, the DNC, the strategists and the pollsters and the corporate news pundits keep themselves at the center of a rat wheel of influence, money, talk and activity.
The result, I fear, is that once again on November 4, we will be sitting in our homes looking at stunned corporate media pundits, strategists and pollsters disoriented and wondering how Donald Trump managed to win the electoral college yet again. They will babble about how amazing it is that the exit polls (if we even have them) could be so wrong. They will make the excuse that Trump voters don’t show up in the polling because they are ashamed to say they are voting for Trump. But, they will never, never question the integrity of the voting process itself.
When Trump has apparently secured enough electoral college votes to win, there will be nothing the Democrats and the corporate media and the strategists and the pollsters will be prepared to do. They will wring their hands and lament. They will talk about writing strongly worded letters. But, they will not question the validity of the results of the election and they will not fight to ensure that there is a fair election vote count. They have never effectively done so in the past and they will not do so in 2020.
Between now and November 3, (in order to try not to go bat-shit crazy) I intend to examine and share the information that is available to demonstrate what is almost certain to happen on November 3.
I am painfully aware that this is a process that makes people feel uncomfortable. People do not want to examine or talk about the corruption of the voting system. It’s inconvenient, it’s frightening, it’s paradigm changing and it means that they might have to DO SOMETHING.
People struggle to hold on to what makes them feel safe, and if this election is stolen like others before it, it will mean that we will be living in a different world. People are understandably afraid of that. But, putting our heads in the sand will not save us. On the contrary, I believe putting our heads in the sand will leave us disoriented, disorganized, demoralized and even more vulnerable to the onslaught of authoritarianism that will follow if Trump manages to remain in power.
The rights we think we have, the rights that we rely on to conduct daily life, will no longer exist for us, and that is a frightening prospect. But, no matter how much we want to believe that all we have to do is get out and vote, that desire doesn’t make it a reality.
Even among the community of people who study election sabotage and who have been warning about hackable modems in voting machines, voting systems that cannot be audited, the purging of voter lists, outrageously biased voting rules and a hundred other things that can and will be used to alter the vote count, there is still the tendency to want to argue that “overwhelming turnout” can overcome any voter system sabotage that may occur.
I simply cannot understand how this makes logical sense.
If Republicans sabotage the vote count, turnout, “overwhelming” or otherwise will not make that vote count accurate. If you can change vote tallies you can change thousands of votes or hundreds of votes. I have asked this question over and over to various experts in the field. The best answer I get is a rather weak statement about how “overwhelming voter turnout” will make it harder to alter the vote.
But, I don’t even understand the logic of this. Why will it make it harder? And how?
I can cast a vote for one candidate, but I cannot in any way determine how other people in my country cast their votes. If the county says that I was the only person voting for Biden in the entire county, how am I supposed to contest that? I have no access to the actual votes. I have no idea how other people voted. And, evidently in Georgia, there is not even an auditable vote count. So even if people in authority demanded a “recount,” it wouldn’t make vote sabotage any clearer.
In the state of Georgia, a recount of the votes involves nothing more than putting computer generated ballots through the same scanners a second time. A human being cannot determine by looking at these ballots who the voter voted for. The actual vote is recorded in a bar code that is unreadable by a human. So, a recount is just recounting the same ballots (which might be manipulated) all over again. That is useless.
I don’t know what to do but try to put together for myself the evidence leading to the conclusion that the Republican Party will successfully steal this election. It’s there now. There’s no need to wait until the election to see the outlines of the methods Republicans are using to manipulate the vote. They are doing it before our eyes.
If you have information, please let me know. If you have information refuting the supposition, please let me know also. If you find an argument weak, suggest another one. I’m open to all reputable information and welcome all critique. But, I cannot stand silent behaving as if I believe that voting is going to oust Trump and the Republicans. They have too much to lose to allow this vote to go against them. And, delusion is dangerous. In this case will only leave us totally unprepared for dealing with the outcome of another stolen election.
I hope I’m wrong about this. I truly hope I am wrong, but I do not think I am.
Cornell Belcher, former Obama pollster and part of the corporate Democratic elite, tells progressives to “Shut the hell up and grow up.” Silence your criticisms of Biden, Belcher chides, and “fall in line.” Make no mistake, that is their attitude to all progressives. Obama and his administration purposefully squelched progressive participation in his administration. Obama refused to prosecute members of the Bush administration who engineered and carried out torture. He refused to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 crash. Those two decisions helped get us where we are. Biden will do the same.
Ghislaine Maxwell was finally arrested today. There are those who believe that Barr’s firing of Berman was to get more control over this investigation and prosecution. I am not one of the people who find Berman’s behavior in this situation commendable. He finally resigned and securing a promise to have his next in command take over the operations is not enough. He should never have resigned. He should have made them fire him. It’s not enough. I am not optimistic about the Maxwell prosecution. This is one of those situations where too many powerful people have too much to lose to allow this to go forward. They will stop it. We don’t know how exactly, but trust me, they will stop it.
Chris Hayes on MSNBC tonight described narratives that question Epstein’s “suicide” as “conspiracy theories.” MSNBC can always be trusted to maintain the corporate Democratic line.