The True Terror of a Trump Presidency

We are literally negative dozens of days into the Trump administration and people are blaming everything from arrests to pipelines on him. Yes, he’s appointing all sorts of — in the liberal parlance currently in fashion — “dumpster fires” to his cabinet, probably, and for some of us life will get marginally worse and for others of us marginally better. That’s usually how a change in president and party at the same time goes. As it goes for citizens of the empire, so it goes for the rest of the non-US-aligned world but usually to far more horrific results.

In my last post I had a lot of fun saying I hoped Vladimir Putin literally changed the votes in the recent election so that the putrid Hillary Clinton would lose. Of course, he didn’t. He probably didn’t truly even exert much more influence than RT America, the Russian state-owned news channel targeted to the US audience, ever did. It’s likely negligible.

In recent days Facebook has been alight in outrage over “fake news.” To an extent, I agreed, because I thought they meant bullshit like “meme” propagators who over-distill complex issues into typically very stupid, factually incorrect gotchas. Think “Being Conservative” or “Occupy Democrats” Facebook groups. But while this was the original thrust in some quarters, I was wrong. There are segments of the commentariat calling for broad sections of the web to be censured as literal Russian propaganda.

So, in their hands they hold a list of this Lying Press, and on it is basically every good Left site, some libertarian sites, and a smattering of Nazi sites. Now they’re not explicitly saying it’s all the same but… well, they’ll leave the same reader/voter they consider to have been easily duped by Russian agents to decide that. The same people who would hit “Share” on a probably pretty good MTV clip about why “reverse-racism” isn’t a thing are now equating Black Agenda Report with Daily Stormer. I’m not exaggerating. And amusingly, they seem to be real mad about a website called HangTheBankers. Huh. Wonder why.

This jingo scum must know that the United States government and its many MANY intelligence agencies run all manner of news and “information” outlets, both openly and secretly and the gray areas between. But you don’t have to go far or analyze too deeply to realize, as Arthur Silber did today, that, well — what in the fuck is Voice of America if not propaganda aimed at the enemies of Washington?

Here’s the danger, the real in-your-face in-practice Actually Existing Fascism. Not some swastikas drawn by people who…. well, sure seem to have been paid to inflate hate-crime statistics. But US liberals, those nasty little fucks who think they’re the very end of philosophical history despite adhering to no discernibly coherent set of moral rules, all the while claiming to oppose fascism simultaneously propagate anti-Russian (you absolutely can read “Soviet” in there) allegations in the form of the silencing of critics. See, where these snakes will slither their scaly way out of any Serious talk of fascism is that they’re not calling on the government to ban these websites. Why, they’d never! That would violate their Voltairian notions of absolute free-speech rights. No, they simply want a market-based, voluntary rejection/ nullification/ dealgorithmization/ disappearance — in the active sense, as in, when they made people disappear in US-backed South American dirty wars — of every news site that ever criticized Hillary Clinton. Yup.

This includes Wikileaks, naturally, even though Silber noted in his recent piece

I assume it must be distant history since it appears that everyone, and most particularly those who mercilessly attacked Wikileaks several years ago, has failed to grasp that the views of Wikileaks have been reversed in this latest episode. We can therefore conclude with full confidence that neither the liberals nor the conservatives hold their positions vis-a-vis Wikileaks on the basis of any kind of principle. How old-fashioned and quaint such a concern would be. Can a principle fix your broken leg? No. Will a principle buy you dinner? Of course not. Will a principle help the candidate you prefer get elected? No siree.

The List also more disturbingly for me includes Antiwar.com, where I worked for ten years and still consider my former coworkers dear friends. Before there even was a Trump on the horizon, before there was even a fucking Dubya in the running, there was Antiwar.com opposing the war in the Balkans. Yes, that venerable website has been spitting at all the wars and other murderous thieving intrigues perpetrated by this Death State since, potentially, some of the interns who cobbled together The List were even fucking born. But it was itself born to oppose the Clintons, and for that it is verboten.

On a lighter note, please enjoy this spoof of The List by roasty, who makes his own list of Fed-paid actual fake-news sites to “watch out” for. He plucks from the original perhaps the most telling line: “Support them by subscribing, if you can!”

I always thought the goofy 80s movie about a Soviet invasion of the US, Red Dawn, appealed more to Republican types but it looks these days like it may be saved more on the liberal’s Netflix queue. That, and wide-open McCarthyism. The most threatening part of a Trump presidency may not be the man himself, but the newly, nakedly revealed fascism of his opposition. If they can’t be the Left, then nobody can.

UPDATE:

tldr version

If Putin Did Rig the US Election: Good

6ddc93b8-ebda-49f4-a1e9-5b8d878f9ae9-1394-000002d18293cd32_tmpFirst, liberals laughed at the idea that the election could be rigged. And since this is a woke blog yes of course every election is a sham meant to allow the plebs to let off steam while the real decisions are made far above the pay grade of mere mortals. But some embraced the idea that certain, eh, corrections were necessary to achieve the correct result. One commentator on my Facebook, during the dying embers of the Bernie battle after Clinton was anointed, said yes, this is what Our Party does — they assure results that will give us the most electable nominee. Of course, her personal, professional, lettered, Brooklyned self naturally thought Julia Caesar more electable than someone who was obviously warm and passionate and approachable and likeable as a human being in exactly the same way people said about George W. Bush — despite the fact that she was contradicted by actual fucking polls! (I remind the reader that George W. Bush was elected our 43rd president.) Then during the final phases of the debate cycle, I literally saw a comment from a professional-type asshole using ten-dollar words celebrating this ruling-class rigging, in praise of the Electoral College, and its role in protecting us from barbarians like Donald Trump — and thank goodness for that!

Now, well, it turned out that absolutely none of that was true and we now have Donald Trump, whom the Atlantic-readers told us could not win because thankfully the election is rigged in the proper way, as our president-elect. And after scrolling through Facebook these last couple days, I must admit that I couldn’t be happier.

Sure, some of the less sophisticated liberals are just howling at the moon, crying for the end of this barbarism called the Electoral College, because a vote of 50%+1 is actually so much more democratic and just. But some of the more erudite sore loser-ass bitches are actually calling for the EC to “do its job” and vote for Clinton as president. This is not what the Founders intended! bemoaned one writer friend. You’re right, they intended to protect their vast landholdings and literal ownership of this country and its ruling institutions and a good percentage of its inhabitants. They literally couldn’t imagine a future in which a homosexual travel writer would call on their ghosts to install a woman who actually turned the shores of Tripoli into a haven for headchopping pirates as president. I mean she’s VERY rich and like Thomas Jefferson also devastated Haiti through predatory economic policies but otherwise I think they’d probably disapprove and maybe go for the schmuck in the gold tower.

In any other setting we’d call this a tantrum, and a pretty incoherent one at that. Wahh, the EC was meant to prevent elections of bad men we don’t like, now let’s get rid of it and/or appeal to it to not do the job we just got finished saying is critical to the survival of democracy in a polity of crazies. Sure all of this comes from different actual people in my feed but it truly, honestly! to me illustrates the utter intellectual bankruptcy of liberalism as a political identity, the complete fraudulence of its claim on logical superiority.

Earlier today people were passing around a link to Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s attempt to collect millions of dollars to “ensure the integrity of elections” — basically, it’s a recount. And as if people weren’t already tapped dry despite this fabulous Obama recovery, they’re being asked to fund it themselves — and five million dollars has been collected! Maybe this is to appease those cosmopolitan Clintonites who might want to grab her pussy in new and terrifying ways. But it certainly does seem like even the great green hope is not only actually lesser-eviling us, she’s buying into the Cold War Russophobia. Coming back in from that Moscow cold. And fuck that.

President Putin himself has smarmily ridiculed, in most satisfying fashion, the very idea that Russia could sway a United States election.

“Does anyone seriously think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people? Is America some kind of banana republic? America is a great power. If I’m wrong, correct me.”

Now I do want to remind you that the alleged rig was done via hacking, liberation and dissemination of actual, true information about the clownishly disingenuous, war criminal Hillary Clinton. Nobody serious is actually talking about the direct hacking by Russia of the actual voting machines, just of unjust influence via enlightenment upon the lowly scum we allow into a small, usually meaningless part of our political process.

But I just want to say this loud and clear right now. If Vladimir Putin and Russia had anything at all to do with the successful rigging — the actual hacking of the vote tallies — of the elections of this rotten, disgusting country, nothing short of tripping over a big currency war-devalued sack of rubles would make me happier. Nothing. If for once someone hit back at the United States successfully, I as an anti-imperialist must only cheer, and that’s even if it were just in a vindictive, destructive fashion. But if Putin were worried, as many were, that Clinton would go to war with Russia starting in Syria, then Russians AND AMERICANS owe a huge debt of gratitude to this great leader of men. He has not only kicked the empire in the nuts, he has potentially saved his people, and us, from a disastrous conflict. Not to mention the crossfire that would certainly be primarily borne by the tortured citizens of the Middle East.

Vladimir Putin, my hero. Thank you for being better than the Electoral College ever could. Instead of disenfranchising yokels, you did it to the banks, the arms manufacturers, the tech and media conglomerates, the real-estate speculators. I don’t know what a Trump presidency will truly bring, but in this moment, right here in the afterglow of this amazing display of lulz such as to make Anonymous jealous, I thank and appreciate you.

Comrade.

Resistance Can Be Useless

In this follow-up based on some interactions with friends on Twitter, I just want to discuss some objections to the idea that the Charlie Hebdo attack was actually resistance and not some sort of false-flag. I’ll preface it by saying I don’t claim to know anything about who the attackers were or their true motives. My original post was only to discuss the justice of attacking people who act as mouthpieces for and multipliers of the murderous power that owns the world. If you’re the kind to laughingly dismiss this description of Western foreign policy as hyperbolic, I kindly ask you to consider the millions killed and impoverished in just the last few decades across the globe and what other way one might describe this. And then go away, this blog isn’t for you.

The head of Hezbollah is approvingly quoted as saying “takfiri” groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda are more damaging to Islam than some cartoons. If we have to pick between those two contextless points, he’s of course right.

Hassan Nasrallah’s life has been spent — well-spent! — fighting the empire in the specific forms of the US and “Israel,” and definitely France. But he’s always lived in a place where his beliefs are dominant and normal — the man is a regional leader. A ferociously confident man like he must be wouldn’t feel the sting of some frogs drawing idiotic caricatures of aspects of his, let’s admit it, quite moderate and liberal interpretation of his religion. But I don’t think he understands anti-Muslim bigotry in the West the way Western Muslims do. I mean what does Nasrallah know about growing up as a French Muslim? Now let’s put ourselves in the headspace of someone who grew up as a despised, conquered minority in a country they have been told since birth is not theirs, and on top of that, whose ancestral countries were and are barbarized by their own government. I think they could have a different perspective.

And though Islam is the center of the language and framing, that doesn’t mean it is the only motivating factor or even the most important. As a religion, it’s simply a vehicle through which anguish and rage are channeled. So pardon me if I find Nasrallah’s proclamations of what the Prophet literally finds offensive to be less than illuminating on the motives of the attackers.

But does this sort of retribution actually help roll back the empire? Doesn’t it really just help propagate the case the empire’s propaganda organs spew every day, that Muslims are psycho murderers and hate our freedoms? Won’t it just help the French government and its allies clamp down even more on those freedoms as well? No, yes, and yes. So?

Just because something didn’t bring down the empire doesn’t mean it didn’t scratch it, or punish some low-hanging aspect of it. The French state itself may be strengthened, but Charlie Hebdo‘s particular group of jerks sure as shit wasn’t. (Though the paper got a massive infusion of cash from Google and The Guardian trust, so that verdict is still out.) “Cui bono?” isn’t a useful question when it pertains to the biggest, richest conspiracy that has ever existed. That some act of resistance ultimately benefits power says little about that act and everything about power’s ability to juke to benefit from anything. That’s what power is. Resistance can be useless and still be considered resistance. That’s a moral designation, not a practical one we make after the dust settles.

The objections based on their seemingly extensive training are also baffling. We know that all sorts of non-state militant groups can be highly trained. That they are reveals nothing necessarily about their motives. The people most likely to successfully source the correct weapons and pull off this action are the best trained for it. It’s practically a tautology. US training of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan is well-cited as the basis for the later ability of the Taliban to rule. Or was every single thing that ever happened in that country from Charlie Wilson on also an op?

I’m on record dismissing the goofy appeal to “agency” that retroactively categorizes all revolution-tinged agitation as grassroots and legit. The Charlie attackers could be both Saudi-funded, ISIS-hardened takfiri assholes and deeply resentful victims of French racism and imperialism striking against a representation most meaningful to them — their own personal jihad, whatever. In fact, I’d think there would exist a huge overlap in these demographics. It’s not either-or; there’s an infinite range of possibilities between total control and pure free will.

Fuck Charlie Hebdo, or, Take Your Free Speech and Stick It

Yesterday, 12 cartoonists from the racist, imperialist French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were slaughtered at their offices by apparent “Islamic extremists.” The event is being broadcast as a terrifying oriental aggression on the West’s Right of Free Speech, and we’re all meant to bow our heads in remembrance to stupid men who drew and published vicious harmful things.

There will be all kind of “consequences” and “justification” analyses from left and right. Like, here’s why “al-Qaeda” (cool to see them back out with a new single after ISIS has spent the last year topping the charts) attacked, says Juan Cole. Don’t take this distraction bait.

Who fucking cares about this or that tactic or battle when this is, yes, a clash of civilizations. But not in the way liberals claim: the forces of enlightened modernity against benighted barbarism. Countries who drop bombs into caves whose purpose is to suck the oxygen out of and cauterize shut the lungs of all in its path don’t get to label anything barbarous. No, it’s but a pin prick of resistance against the Western beast — whether it was a result of political calculus, street-level rage, or some mixture of the two. Resistance, on the part of those who identify as victims of a global conspiracy to destroy, downgrade, devalue, destitute their values and customs and completely obliterate any power not yet rendered unto Caesar.

And that’s my actual interest here. Not useless questions about the immediate attack, not “why oh why!?” or “to what end!?” or “what next!?” punditological handwringing but real observations on just what exactly our morality is based. Just how much degradation and humiliation do colonized peoples have to endure? They’re defenseless in the face of waves of murder, torture, plunder, and then if that’s not enough, their centuries-enduring tormentor says it’s morally more righteous, better than they are, because it values, inherently, its right to say terrible shit in favor of destroying their civilizations above their right to fight against it? And forget fighting: the right to express their own similarly (in a very small way) violent opinion? Tarek Mehanna translated al-Qaeda materials and is in jail for 17 years. Anwar al-Awlaki was assassinated by drone in Yemen for the crime of saying mean things about America on YouTube. For good measure, his 16-year-old son was also evaporated. Javed Iqbal got 5 years in prison for broadcasting Hezbollah’s TV station inside the US. There were no #IAmTarekMehanna campaigns because nobody gives a fuck about a Tarek Mehanna.

All the power, all the power in the world is stacked against the victims of empire, and undisentanglable from this is the lack of power to make their case in defense. Maybe the assholes at Charlie Hebdo weren’t the politically worst that could be found — lots of reminders that they have “left-wing origins” — but they proudly made themselves figureheads of European menace against Muslims. So, in a global dirty war with the odds stacked dramatically against them, do we need to get bent out of shape because some Muslims, driven to the brink in a very psychological war, punished one manifestation of this all-inundating imperial mire of which a huge, integral part is propaganda?

Propaganda also helps the cultural mop-up job after events like this. Western Muslims, especially of the journalist class, routinely fall over themselves to condemn anything any Muslim does in the world. The latest attack provided new colonized supplicant fodder:

I’m expected now to insert some boilerplate about the tragedy of lost lives and the pain of the cartoonists’ families. But with a limited amount of political attention, I can’t find the space to give too much of a shit about this racist trash. Would Andrew Breitbart’s heart exploding be any less welcome on the left if al-Qaeda blew it up and not one too many cheeseburgers? Same for the journalist scum who plumped America for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. If Judith Miller found herself at the wrong end of a Kalashnikov, would I suddenly cease loathing every fiber of that horribly shitty collection of cells because they mercifully were made to stop their mitosis? Nah. If Dick Cheney ended up too close to a directed EMP, I wouldn’t condemn this “terror” attack despite him never, after all, having physically lifted a finger against his victims.

Check out these dumb, unoriginal, trite cartoons in response to the massacre. They are exactly the kind of simplistic, idiotic thinking that helps delete all background and make it so that history began yesterday. As if Western Civilization’s mighty pens were the only missiles pointed at Muslims. The West is just minding its own enlightened business and these jihad crazies come and assail our absolute greatest right. It’s what makes it possible for us to identify firstly with the dead cartoonists and not the millions of people, many their own countrymen, whom they proudly and routinely made feel less than human in a very real way. This matters because this dehumanization carries with it other consequences including death.

On a complimentary note, you could always count on the Free Speech religionists centered around the Great Infodad to shovel plenty of coal into the liberal #JeSuisCharlie train. From Wikileaks

to Freedom of the Press Foundation

to First Look’s earnest gaggle of also-rans

the priggish moralism of the Greenwald star system never disappoints.

The WikiLeaks tweet is an excellent example of why, by the way, we can love and appreciate a real act of whistleblowing and not be required to sign on to the whistleblower’s specific politics. Tarzie said it best:

Snowden’s political philosophy illustrates a problem with whistleblowers: they’re the kind of people who get into the sort of deep, dark places from which whistles customarily get blown. Places that are uniquely attractive to patriots, ultra-conformists, imperialists and sociopaths. Ellsberg was deep inside the war bureaucracy after hanging out in Vietnam with his mentor, notorious psychopath Edward Lansdale and other thugs. Manning was an Army Intelligence Analyst in Iraq. John Kirakou had spent a decade in the CIA before blowing the whistle on torture. Snowden has spent his entire working life in various arms of the security apparatus. I appreciate their service to the truth, but with all due respect, these are not my kind of people.

Unless they significantly repudiate their past lives, some residue of what took them into Empire’s belly is going to stick. This would be fine, were some of them not also inclined to offer opinions on how the world should work, and their admirers exceptionally inclined to take them seriously because of their heroic deeds.

The point is, “mere” words aren’t benign. Politics is run on words. Wars are launched on words. It matters who is using them. We should defend the right of the powerless to rail against their tormentors. The powerful — and this includes people using words in support of powerful people — don’t need or deserve our support.

—-

The title, some may have already realized, is an homage to the as-it-happened critical coverage of the Snowden spectacle by Tarzie before anyone else I knew was doing so. That he turned out to be SO prescient is as absolutely stunning as his pillorying has been relentless. He was also ahead of his time in attacking the sacrosanct ideal of Free Speech with no consequence — for power only, of course. He doesn’t get nearly as much recognition for this as he deserves, all done against a torrent of Twitter-troll pigshit and smear campaigns from quite on high.

h/t @lorenzoae for tweeting the names of persecuted Muslims and Sam Husseini for collecting the “pen” cartoons.

UPDATE:

Here’s a discussion of whether or not the attack can be considered “resistance.”