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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Who’s The Fascist? Barack Obama, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

21st Century Wire

Who’s The Fascist? Barack Obama, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

Margaret Kimberly
Global Research
The U.S. public loves fascists; they elect them, constantly. Donald Trump, who “says he would raise the minimum wage and stop the endless efforts at regime change,” is called a fascist by some.  But Hillary Clinton “is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country,” and played a major role in mass Black incarceration. Barack Obama is the war-maker and deporter-in-chief. “All of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way.
Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless version of every American president in modern history. He differs from them only in his unconcealed appeals to white nationalism. But Democrats aren’t much better. They pretend to work on behalf of human, civil and economic rights but those claims are lies. They are meant to hide their partnerships with corporate America, very wealthy individuals and the worldwide imperialist project.
If Trump is a fascist then he will fit in nicely with the pantheon of horrific men we are told to respect and venerate. Barack Obama charges and convicts whistle blowers with the little used espionage act from the era of Woodrow Wilson. He claims and has exercised an invented right to kill Americans. His predecessor invaded and occupied Iraq but he continues the dirty deed there and in Afghanistan. He tries to fool the public by assassinating “al Qaeda number two,” over and over again. Al Qaeda certainly doesn’t lack for plan B staffers.
Bush the younger cut tax rates for rich people but Obama didn’t change that. Under the guise of compromising with intransigent Republicans he did the same thing. When he and the Democrats controlled Congress in 2009 and 2010 they raised the minimum wage a paltry 70 cents.
Conversely, Donald Trump says he would raise the minimum wage and says he would stop the endless efforts at regime change. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders have questioned that fundamental premise of American foreign policy. Hillary Clinton has already proven herself to be particularly blood thirsty. She is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country. Her so-called expertise amounts to nothing more than an expansion of state sponsored terror committed by the United States.
Trump says he wouldn’t cut Social Security while Barack Obama famously declared that he and his 2012 Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, agreed on the need to cut this program that was once called the “third rail” of politics.
Every president since the 1980s has grown the horrific mass incarceration industry. Using wars on drugs as a pretext they have locked up 2 million people, half of whom are black. No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.
American history teaches black people to be, at the very least, wary of public officials who are beloved by red necks as much as Trump is. When Trump speaks of preventing Muslim immigration or deporting all of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in this country he is making inherently racist appeals.
That is why he is protested and rightly so. But the protesters have already missed the mark by giving a pass to equally questionable policy actions and statements coming from Democrats.
It is a Democratic president who brought back a cold war against Russia and recklessly brought troops to the edge of that country’s borders.
This scenario was unheard of during the worst days of the cold war and now risks nuclear confrontation. That is because George W. Bush unilaterally abrogated the missile defense treaty with Russia. Perhaps he can be called a fascist also.
The trade deals passed by American presidents with congressional connivance grow worse. There is no longer any pretense that their goal is to help corporations maximize profits and minimize everyone else’s rights. Not even members of Congress were allowed access to the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership legislation.
If Trump is protested, Obama ought to be as well. He is spending his last year in office on an imperialism tour. He goes to Hiroshima for photo opportunities with atomic bomb survivors while building more nuclear warheads than any other president. He tells endless lies about Russian “aggression” but he is the provocative head of state.
Trump should be disliked by Latinos and everyone else when he says that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers. But Obama is the deporter in chief, sending a record number of Latino immigrants out of the country with dubious rationales, devastating them and their families.
Apparently all of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way. Trump’s bombast and ignorance make him the easiest to pick out of the crowd but appearances are deceiving. It seems that if a politician has the right establishment credentials and knows how to give prepared speeches he or she can get away with committing any outrage.
In just the last 40 years American presidents or their allied partners in crime have killed people in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Grenada, Gaza, Kosovo, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. What do they have to do to be called fascists? Showing bad mannersseems to be the only thing that sets off expressions of outrage among Americans.
There is already fascism in the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department and Congress. The only question is who will be the next person to keep that sick machinery running.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Some Sober Lessons for Bernie Sanders Supporters

Dissident Voice: a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice

Some Sober Lessons for Bernie Sanders Supporters

As the wizard Gandalf declared during the darkest hour: “There never was much hope… Just a fool’s hope.”
The narrow thread of hope now rests on the Justice Department investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal concealment of her emails from the State Department she headed from 2009 to 2012. If she’s hit by a true scandal between now and the Philadelphia convention in July, all bets could be off.
The email server matter is, of course, an internal ruling class issue that doesn’t much concern the masses on a moral level. But it just might — just by chance (what Hegel called “the cunning of history”) — produce an unexpected, positive result. It would be awesome to wake up to the headline: CLINTON INDICTED.
I wouldn’t count on it, though. It’s not like there’s a God out there who’s going to intervene with a miracle and save us from this preordained presidency. Let’s assume that — just as the whole political process is rigged to support the establishment, the whole economy rigged to support the billionaire class, and the whole judiciary rigged to cover up abuses — the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails is likewise rigged to, at the end of the day, exonerate the very picture of corruption.  And that anyone sitting on those embarrassing speech transcripts will sit on them until one of them finds reason to sell them, months from now.
As John Lennon, in his anguished, brutally honest song “God”, put it: The dream is over.
The fact is that Tuesday’s news was very, very bad. As the Hillary cheering squads trumpet her triumph, nauseating us until we can vomit no more, and as the drone-master president Barack Obama overtly endorses her bid to beat the world into submission, serious Bernie supporters might — I humbly suggest — draw the following hard-truth conclusions.
(1) U.S. “democracy” is, in general, a farce.
You weren’t taught this in high school “civics” (those of you who were in schools where such classes are still even taught). How could you be? It’s not really allowed in this free country.
But now you’ve experienced the farce personally. And, of course, it makes you angry, as it should.
Some of you’ve known or suspected this all along. And, in fact, this American “democracy” has always been a farce, from the beginnings when the franchise was limited to a small stratum of propertied white men, including slave-holders in the top ranks; to the Jacksonian era when the franchise vastly expanded (alongside the widening scale of slavery); to the Gilded Age when money bought government on an unprecedented scale; to the present sorry state of affairs in which two parties (equally beholden to Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and the One Percent) politely trade off the presidency ensuring that Capital will ever more thoroughly control our live — while people imagine that “well, at least in our system there’s competition.”
The right to vote, we are told — from school teachers, politicians and civil rights leaders alike — is sacrosanct and precious. Rather like the right to, if you’re a Roman Catholic, participate in the Eucharist service. But, of course, if you don’t believe in the premises of that ritual (the idea that Jesus died for your sins, and that the wine once consecrated becomes his blood, etc.) involvement in that rite is rather meaningless.
(Surely some skeptical churchgoers go along with it, for family and community reasons, just for form’s sake. And one can cast a political ballot for form’s sake as well, pretending you believe it will make a difference — although you don’t really think it will — just to show what a good and responsible citizen you are. Every North Korean understands such feelings.)
But as you might have noticed — over time in this country, the voting ritual has as much co-opted people as empowered them. Women have had the right to vote nationally since 1920, but it wasn’t voting rights but mass struggle from the sixties that edged us a little bit closer towards gender equality. And (as the Clinton case plainly demonstrates), it’s mostly been a case of affording ruling-class women equal rights with ruling-class men to do, just with broader legitimacy, what the ruling class has always done.
The official (tame) narrative about the Civil Rights movement locates its central moment as the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which more thoroughly incorporated black people into the electoral farce. As though “winning the right to vote” has made African-American people any less likely to be incarcerated, killed by police, or subject to lives of poverty since then.
The fact is, during Bill Clinton’s administration, the number of young black men in prison reached the number of young black men in slavery in 1860. There’s no apparent empirical connection between the extension of the franchise within this farcical system and the real well being of the people. The advantage to the system is that it actually inculcates in the ordinary person the thought that he or she has actually voted for the prevailing state of affairs and is therefore co-responsible.
“Well, it’s our own damn fault,” you’re supposed to say, and “People get the rulers they deserve.” But you don’t believe that, surely.
The spectacle of (wealthy, privileged) African-American women news anchors and commentators — like Joy-Ann Reid on MSNBC — touting the destroyer of Libya as an advocate for women and people of color, while disdainfully dismissing Bernie from the get-go (as an old white socialist Jew with little appeal among African-Americans), shows you how the system corrupts, and corrupts absolutely.
When you vote in the rigged system, you vote not so much for a particular candidate as you vote for the system itself. You testify thereby that you really believe in it, that you think — regardless of the (usually distasteful) choices — you’re at least grateful you can participate in it, thus legitimating whatever outcome occurs. You’re saying: “Thank you, System, for allowing me too, to express my loyalty.”
But you don’t need to do that. You sure as hell don’t need to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Over the last quarter century, between 50 and 55% of eligible voters in this country have participated in the presidential election farce, kissing the system’s ass and allowing it every four years to shout from its rooftops: The people have spoken! Even though the people didn’t say much at all, actually!  They stood in front of a slot machine, holding their noses maybe, pulled the handle and chose Tweedledum over Tweedledee in the quadrennial rip-off, their choice shaped mostly by the “fourth estate” — the establishment press.
Comcast, News Corp, Viacom, Disney, Time Warner and CBS provide 80% of the mainstream media news. These conglomerates don’t constitute an official state propaganda apparatus; they don’t need to! But they serve as the system’s Pravda — just much, much more effectively than the Soviet press ever did. The well-educated Soviet people generally knew the state media was skewed. In contrast, many Americans actually believe the corporate media is “objective.” That’s its great strength, and that’s why it’s such a magnificent tool for oppression.
Not only is the mainstream media in bed with the State Department, framing its assessment of global events through consultation with the active warmongers, actively spreading their lies about Iraq or Libya or Ukraine on request. It’s also a vehicle for the routine, constant promotion of the system itself — in ways you take for granted and hence might not even notice.
One out of every four minutes you spend watching television news, you’re treated to commercials. “Okay, we just need to take a break now”, says Chris Cuomo, without adding: “to advertise the people who own us, allow us to say whatever we say, and want to shape your opinions.”
Cigarette packages require a health warning; news packages do not. You’re not told:Warning: The news coverage you are about to see has been vetted through our bourgeois sponsors to exclude any embarrassing exposure about themselves.
The “messages from our sponsors” are a kind of tax on your viewing pleasure.  You get some filtered news about current events, and the sponsors in turn get your hard-earned money. You can, of course, use the time to pee, go to the refrigerator or check your emails. But often as not you just sit there, watching, a passive vessel of consumerist vulnerability. The marketing of commodities (the profitable sale of the products of mostly Third World human labor-power) makes everything possible. It’s the very premise of this civilization.
Somebody has to profit from what you’re told about today’s events. And you’re supposed to accept the idea that — why yes, of course—there has to be corporate sponsors for the news.
But sit back a moment and wonder if that really makes sense. Will our descendants a hundred years from now be so subject to the rule of capital, and the principle of capitalist profit still intercede in all our interactions with other people and access to information about them? Can’t we as a species — having mapped our human genome, identified terrestrial exo-planets, learned how to grow human organs in other animals and in labs and accomplished other mind-boggling miracles — do better than that?
In these (still-primitive) times, to get your TV news, you need to imbibe, notgovernment propaganda but the advertisement of capitalism itself. There’s no way that corporate America will sponsor news critical to itself; if a program becomes “radical”, it will protest by withdrawing its patronage. (So much for freedom of the press; you are absolutely free to broadcast what your corporate backers are willing to sponsor.)
American capitalism doesn’t require a political dictatorship to retain its grip; it constitutes a dictatorship (of what Bernie has called the “billionaire class”) simply through its legal, mundane, seldom questioned control exerted through capital. It’s aclass dictatorship as powerful and effective as any dictatorship imposed by an individual.
(2) The Democratic Party’s primary system and super-delegates are specifically designed to prevent change.
The Democratic primaries are “front-loaded” to include most of the historically most conservative southern states early on in the process. Clinton swept the southern states on “Super Tuesday” and claimed a commanding lead from that point. In so doing, she counted in each state the “super-delegates.” These are Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors, and other “distinguished party leaders” who can be counted upon to support the party establishment’s candidate and preserve the power structure because that’s what they do.
After the Democratic National Convention delegates nominated candidates who the party leadership saw as “insurgents” (quasi-antiwar candidate George McGovern in 1972, and “outsider” peanut farmer Jimmy Carter in 1976), these leaders decided to strengthen insider decision-making by appointing such unelected delegates. Their numbers rose from 14% of the total delegates in 1984 to 20% in 2008. Almost all these “super-delegates” were in Hillary’s pocket even before Bernie announced his candidacy.  And the apportionment of delegates from some states where Bernie won big-time were virtually equal to both candidates.
Of course, it’s not fair. It’s not supposed to be. Repeat: it’s a farce, at the end of which they want you to say, “Okay, well, that’s the system, those are the rules, this is the best we can do.” To this, you have the constitutional right, if not moral duty, to say: Sorry, no thanks, I won’t be hoodwinked, and I’m not gonna defile myself.
(3) There are unusual aspects to this particular farce, revealing a system in deep, deep doo-doo.
In this particular electoral season, due to the depth of voters’ disillusionment — based on decades of economic stagnation and the miserable conditions facing youth, especially since 2008 — the stage-managers of the Two Party System lost control of the farcical process early on.
A racist narcissistic blowhard buffoon crushed his “mainstream” Republican hopefuls, aided by the corporate media that (for reasons that need to be analyzed) covered his every move and rambling incoherent rant, sparing him the need to even purchase ad time.
Even as the news anchors expressed perplexity and horror at his rise, the news producers (did you notice — because it looked like a matter of policy) accorded him a hundred times the air-time they deigned to allow Bernie. The Donald rambled on and on about building a wall, and Muslims hating us, and how great he was doing in the polls, in flow-of-consciousness inchoate homilies respectfully covered as “breaking news.”
Meanwhile Bernie’s pointed speeches to thousands merely served as the muted backdrop to reporters ignoring his message but covering the story, as it were, as a weird sociological phenomenon. Gosh, why are all these millenials flocking to a socialist of all things?
That more than sucks. It’s extremely insulting to the human mind, in a society that’s supposed to be “democratic.”
This race has not been determined so far by direct corporate contributions, in the traditional manner. Neither did Trump become the (presumptive) Republican nominee because he outspent his challengers from his own deep pockets. Rather, the chief decision-makers in that tiny corporate-media world elected to not just present him as a normal sort of candidate, worthy of respectful treatment, but to indeed accord him extraordinary amounts of free air-time to reach out to his Neanderthal base.
Time and again news programs broke to “breaking news,” which turned out to be The Donald saying the same damn shit again. Bernie’s appearances were ignored. Fair?
Trump’s simple message — of making America “great again” (as it was at some undefined point in the past) — appeals to many of the least educated and most alienated, much as neo-fascist movements do throughout Europe.
Still, Bernie has given Hillary Clinton — who holds what the pundits call “high unfavorables,” and is widely perceived as dishonest, and as former secretary of state has blood all over her hands — a run for her money. But the grotesque Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chair and Hillary shill posturing as “neutral” in the Clinton-Sanders match, has been more successful than her Republican counterpart in steering her party’s race towards the pre-programmed coronation.
In the end, Wall Street has won out. The One Percent that controls the country in all spheres will be equally happy with a Goldman Sachs groupie plagued by a State Department security breach scandal or a billionaire basket case plagued by a bogus university rip-off scandal; either might serve to captain the ship of state, preserving just sufficient confidence in the system itself and suppressing mutinies for the next few years.
Expect the top 10% of the top One Percent to expand its share over that time, while you work two jobs, keep living with your parents and try to meet your monthly student loan payments. The next president whoever it might be will express love, sympathy and encouragement, and gratitude for your precious vote.
(4) The system wants to suck you in, and make you think it’s somehow “yours.” 
Hillary will soon come calling, you know, beaming that artificial smile, praising you for your youthful energy and enthusiasm, and thanking Bernie for “bringing you into the system.” She’s actually said to him: “Thank you so much for energizing the party!”
That, for her, is his huge historical contribution: rounding you up like sheep for the slaughter and delivering you into her motherly embrace. (“It takes a village to raise a child,” she says, knowing so well from experience that it takes a bomb to raze a Libyan village including its children, while she cackles in hilarity.)
You remember that old fairy tale in which Little Red Riding Hood visits her grandma, who, in fact, is a wolf in disguise with the real grandma already eaten and in his belly? And how the girl observes, “What a big mouth you have,” rather like Hillary’s big raspy mouth? And how in the story, the fake grandma responds: The better to eat you with, my dear?
Because that’s what Hillary’s telling you now. She wants to chew you up and spit you out, maybe on the Libyan, Syrian or Iraqi desert if you (lacking other job options) sign up to do what they call “fight for your country.” (Even though you don’t actually, as you know, really have a country that needs fighting for. And even though you realize that over 4000 U.S. troops died in Iraq — in a war based on lies that she shrilly championed — not dying “for their country,” and certainly not for you, but for U.S. imperialism and Wall Street.)
She’ll repeatedly applaud your “idealism” — a smug euphemism for what she privately sneers at as your adolescent naïveté. But if you have any self-respect, her condescension should repel you. You should recoil in horror. And when the slick operatives posturing as journalists or “analysts” on the cable news networks talk about how “the differences between the campaigns are actually narrow” and “can be smoothed over at the convention” you should feel free to go puke, taking your time, and then reply as follows:
Okay, look. Let me put it this way. Sometimes I’m invited to a party. I know I won’t like the people who will be there. And I won’t like the food. So I decline. That’s reasonable, right?
Well, that’s how I feel now when I’m invited to this bullshit presidential election. I mean, pleeease… are you kidding me? Trump or Clinton? God, what a nightmare. Is this really happening?
I resent the suggestion that in this populous country of well educated, decent people the two candidates blessed by the two Wall Street parties are the best we can do.  That’s just — excuse me — fucking shit. Sorry. I don’t like the choices. I don’t like how Bernie was excluded, disrespected and taken for granted. And I don’t like being taken for granted either.
I resent the idea that I need to hold my nose, voting for this shit or that shit. I reject the notion that by abstaining entirely I assist one candidate over the other.
I supported Bernie because he seemed to challenge the system. You, Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, are the very system itself, every bit as much as Trump (and maybe even more).  Don’t insult me with your invitation to taint myself. Go away!
(5) The successes of the Sanders campaign, such as they are, show that another world  is, in fact, possible
The ability of the system to fuck with the human mind has shrunk with the advent of the Internet and the availability of alternative sources of information. Social media has empowered people to more easily and effectively mobilize. For example, cell-phone cameras have generated unprecedented awareness of the routine occurrence of police murder and helped people start to push back against it, although not nearly enough.
The Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements helped give rise to the Bernie Sanders campaign. Energy applied to that campaign can now be shifted to the organization of a (real) political revolution against the system itself — the farcical nature of which you now (so much more clearly through the pain of experience) understand.
The worst possible result would be for Bernie supporters to line up behind a person (a woman, by chance, but so what?) who’s a soul-mate of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger and John McCain who never met a war she didn’t like and will gleefully drag your young ass into war for regime change in Syria, or into Ukraine to challenge Putin and provoke World War III.
The best possible result would be for friendships and networks built in this fool’s hope campaign to resist that planned co-option. We should rage against the dying of the light, wake up to the need for real revolution — real democracy, real socialism — abandoning illusions about the “process” that the wolf in Armani clothing credits Bernie for drawing you into.
By voting in a primary, you didn’t say: I’m so happy to be involved in this process; thank you, Bernie, for politicizing me!
Many of you, at least, said something different. You said: Fuck this system. Bernie means change. And this made sense at the time. But if Bernie at some point urges you to get behind the Democratic candidate, it would be best to maintain some moral integrity and say Thanks for the ride, Uncle Bernie. I’m sorry you have to do what you think you have to do. But sorry. No way!
And prepare to spend some time out on the streets with your new friends and other good people in the next few years, as will be necessary to resist whichever horrible candidate wins. You were supporting Bernie Sanders, not Bernie Madoff. If you say,Okay, well, I guess I’ll have to go for her, I can hear her Wall Street backers chortle in delight at your humiliation. It will sound exactly like this.
Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu.Read other articles by Gary.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Democratic Stockholm Syndrome


Published on

The Democratic Stockholm Syndrome

New Yorkers and a few others have just [seemingly] voted overwhelmingly for those holding their progress captive

Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheer during a Sanders rally at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington March 25, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

After weeks of hard and increasingly heated campaigning, Hillary Clinton scored a decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in last night’s New York Democratic primary. Despite losing a majority of the state’s counties, she won in huge margins in New York City and the popular vote overall. The triumph was a potential serious blow to Sanders’ progressive momentum and a just as dramatic boom to her now seemingly inevitable march to the nomination.

"A funny thing happened on the way to the end of history – it started to change rapidly."
A crucial question in the wake of such a defeat is whether Sanders should continue to soldier onwards. He has both the resources and a vast amount of popular support to do so. Nevertheless, his often media cited path to the nomination just got significantly narrower and less straightforward.

Yet the fate of Sanders’ candidacy pales in comparison to the future success of the political revolution he is trying to create and ferment. What does losing the Empire state mean to the progressive movement he is helping to inspire? What does it say about its own long march to changing the country and the world?

A key takeaway from the Primary is that regardless of where the movement goes from here – it must recognize the affective hold that establishment Parties and candidates still have on voters, even those committed to and desiring of real change.

Kidnapped by the Establishment

A crucial narrative driving the Sanders’ candidacy is that he and his movement are the real standard-bearers for 21st century progressive values. While this may be substantively true, it misses how and why so many see Centrist Democrats like Clinton as their advocate even when they are so willing to betray them when in power. They represent a now established fantasy of incremental rearguard progress that seeks to inspire not by its idealistic ambition but its clear eyed “realism”.

In the wake of Reagan’s Conservative revolution, this narrative arguably made more sense. The writing appeared to be on the wall – Americans had chosen social conservatism and economic capitalism. The only answer for the mainstream left - always bordering on a contradiction in terms during the best of times - was to moderate the negative effects of this right-wing turn through a pronounced politics of moderation.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the end of history – it started to change rapidly. Once third rail issues of gay marriage and drug legalization became not only part of the public conversation but also increasingly the law of the land. The fight for a 15 dollar minimum wage began to gain traction and real legislative victories.

The immediate fear is that the Centrists will unfairly hijack these progressive triumphs to their political advantage. Already, Clinton has been rightly criticized for suddenly being at the forefront of the campaign for increasing the minimum wage – using its victory in New York as a photo-op for her campaign. More broadly, unions and progressive groups like theHuman Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood have been critiqued for supporting Clinton despite her inconsistency on the issues that are most important to their members.

These objections are not, furthermore, overshadowed by the argument that Sanders has substantively moved Clinton and her ilk to the left policy wise. Undoubtedly he has changed the public debate. So too have movements like Black Lives Matter. This should not be underestimated. Yet even after a heated primary season, Clinton remains as hawkish on foreign policy as ever and only slightly less compromising on domestic issues.

Her victory would do more than simply put another middle of the road candidate into the Whitehouse. Indeed it would be worse in that while Clinton is an absolute opportunist domestically, she is a principled neo-con internationally. Still her victory would only be the symptom of a much more serious disease. It would represent the continued kidnapping of progress by the political establishment.

Loving your Captor

There is perhaps an understandable tendency by those on the growing left to simply dismiss establishment voters. Yet to do so would be to miss a crucial part of the staying power of these establishment candidates. It is not only that they have kidnapped progress for their own political gain. It is also that they have accomplished this task by getting many of their supporters to love them even as they occasionally loathe their actions.

While supporters justify an establishment politics of “working within the system” as rational and pragmatic, its appeal largely resides as a progressive fantasy. Even after three decades worth of evidence of the profound limitations of such a strategy – it remains emotionally resonant. Hollow victories such as the compromised legislation of Dodd-Frank and Obamacare are celebrated as landmark progressive achievements. Centrist candidates are hailed for their courage in standing up to an “intractable” Republican enemy – doing what little they could to make things better in a political war that has already been lost.   

It plays into a belief that all that is needed is to elect more Democrats. That they have the best interest of the country at heart even if they regularly feed from the same corrupt cesspool as their Conservative rivals. That to dream big means to consign the nation to a century of failed idealism rather than hard won compromise.

In the recent election this affection for the exact politicians who are holding real progress hostage has grown even stronger. Whereas Clinton was once seen as the epitome of the “lesser of two evils”, in New York according to exit polls she was viewed as the “more inspiring” candidate than Bernie Sanders. There are definite reasons that have little to do with her lack of any progressive accomplishments for this rosy view – not the least that she would at long last break the executive glass ceiling by becoming the first female President. 

The Democratic Stockholm Syndrome

However, there is something else at play as well. She is heralded for her promises to continue the “progressive” legacy set by Obama. Suddenly the President who has pushed for Drone Warsfurther Wall Street bailouts and the TPP is a paragon of modern progressivism. The New York triumph of his all but publicly endorsed predecessor Hillary Clinton is a paean of love to the very establishment that many of their voters are demanding to be changed.

For progressives to achieve mass success they must do all they can to break up this abusive relationship. To not accept the myth that Clinton represents “incremental change” or that she is committed to fighting climate change or that you can trumpet gun control at home and the international arms industry abroad.

This does not mean abandoning the fight to ensure that a more retrogressive Republican alternative does not take power. The reign of a Trump or Cruz would be similar but worse than that of Clinton. Nevertheless, it also means not minimizing the passion felt for the establishment. It may be misplaced but it is real and when mobilized can be potent.

Instead, it demands that even in defeat we continue the struggle to deprogram the victims of the New Democrats. To point out consistently that change only happens from the bottom up. That one cannot claim to be a progressive and support anti-democratic oligarchic regimes around the world. That what Democrats and Republicans alike legitimize as national security is really just a bloated corporate security force subsidized by the American taxpayer. That you may “be with her” but when the moment it is politically expedient she certainly will not “be with you.”
The path the nomination for Bernie Sanders undeniably narrowed yesterday. The path to revolution and genuine progress depends on breaking America free from its Democratic Stockholm Syndrome.
Peter Bloom is a lecturer in the Department of People and Organisations at the Open University. He has published widely on issues of 21st century democracy, politics and economics in both scholarly journals and in publications including the Washington Post, The New Statesman, Roar, Open Democracy, The Conversation and Common Dreams. His book, Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Globalization, will be released next year.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hillary Clinton Supporters Are Either Ignorant, Immoral, or Both

Rob Cotton

Hillary Clinton Supporters Are Either Ignorant, Immoral, or Both


Hillary Clinton: Neoliberal

I literally get a sick feeling in my stomach when I think about Hillary Clinton as President of the United States. It’s not a crippling feeling, but it’s there. It’s a feeling slightly akin to hunger, and even more closely reminiscent of the physical manifestations of longing for someone, or some place, or some thing.
And maybe that’s what it is: a longing.
I long for a better world. The cynical side of me says that makes me naive, and perhaps I’m right, because there are powerful people, wealthy people, highly connected people, who are working adamantly against any and all efforts to make our world a better place and to improve the human condition.
One of these people is Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton, like her friend and mentor Henry Kissinger, is a war criminal. She deserves nothing less than to spend the rest of her life in prison for her crimes against humanity.
In every hemisphere of our world you can find Clinton’s dirty fingerprints from crimes committed during her tenure as Secretary of State; her actions have led to immeasurable amounts of devastation for innocent people whose numbers are too high to count. Whether in Iraq, Syria, Honduras, Libya, or elsewhere, Clinton has supported disastrous interventionist and corporate-imperialist policies that can really only be described as pure fucking evil.
In fact, Clinton’s husband signed into law on October 31st, 1998 the Iraq Liberation Act, a precursor to and enabler of the doctrine of perpetual war that our government now seems to assume is just run-of-the-mill business.
Really awful stuff.
It’s why I find it very difficult to understand how anyone still supports Hillary Clinton.
After giving it a ton of thought, I can’t think of any reasons aside from ignorance and immorality that adequately explain why someone would be a Hillary Clinton supporter.
If you support Hillary Clinton and you are reading this, then ignorance is not an excuse. If you are using the Internet, there are plenty of resources you can use to cut through the bullshit and learn about who this person is. This leaves me with the conclusion that you are an immoral person, because you support a candidate for President of the USA who has shown time and time again a callous disregard for human life in the interests of making business conditions better for corporations.
Hillary Clinton is an enemy to people all over the world who have lost loved ones and neighbors to brutal acts of aggression perpetrated by the United States. She represents everything that is disgusting about our country to the rest of the world. She is emblematic of the reason why if we don’t stop acting like criminal thugs throughout the world, one day the world is going to decide to get together and destroy us.
And we’re going to deserve it.
A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for deserving it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Why it only gets worse: The Evil That Men Do Lives After...

Dk logo med

As George Orwell once explained, whoever controls the past, controls the present

We are living in a world that amply illustrates Shakespeare's lines from Julius Ceasar
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones..
and I mean especially the aftereffects of conquest, colonization, mass migration, invasion, suppression and ethnic cleansing intended or even incidental.
Every place in the world with trouble almost always derives from an injustice or a controversial change in domination or movement of people who's memory the winner's descendants defend and justify or, if they have largely forgotten, the losers have not and may in fact have a festering and re-interpreted extreme memory of what came before and keep it alive and thirst for revenge or justice all out of proportion to the original crimes or wrongs even when it may have happened hundreds of years before. And in the background who or what is controlling which flames are fanned and which are stifled and denied. (For the short version skip to the last 2 or 3 paragraphs... & maybe read the rest later... :))
(if you feel like sticking with this it will eventually get around to Fox News and all the usual suspects)
This persistence of Evil, its refusal to die and instead live on as Fear, hate and blame in group memory is nothing new of course and was old before the Shakespeare play. But the modern world's ability to spread and keep alive inflammatory memes and even breathe new life into old memories of evil is nothing like it was in Shakespeare's day... though they well able to use the latest 16th century media and methods in England to fan the flames against Catholics or Protestants, French, Jews, Irish, Spanish and anyone that they wanted to... maybe the odd witch... and in that England was of course no different than anywhere else back then or before or since.
Movements and causes
We all know plenty of examples of past wrongs that are very alive today... Some of them are our favorite causes even. They may all be justified in some way and others not as much and yet, regardless of merit, many people are prisoners of the movements the old inequities engender and get caught up in the myths and legends of their family and the groups they feel allegiance to. Some evils are remembered differently and are used today to explain away an unjust status quo. Just as bad news dominates and fascinates us in current events, evil from the past lives on and inspires or motivates for more than one reason than a lot of less sensational good.There is a lot of nice stuff on the Documentary channels but there is also an awful lot of War and violence and crime and punishment and crazy people in general and the harm they did. While these presentations are mostly balanced and reasonably well researched there are people with different memories and stories they believe who reject at least some conclusions or assumptions in each film. And historical fiction is no different, for instance White Americans will still be mostly rooting for the cavalry to save the day in a Western and rather
forget Little Big Horn or Wounded Knee (if they even knew much about them in the first place), while a Neo Nazi will not be rooting for for Allies in a War film...  My Wife's long dead Former Nazi party member Grandfather was incensed when he saw episodes of "Combat!" and "Hogan's Heroes" on US TV during a visit "It vas not like zat!!!". He did not live long enough to be able to screen the war over and over again on cable and would that have helped him revise his own certainties? I never did find out how he came to see the war in the end and maybe nobody else did either. It may be indicative that he used to holiday in all white Iceland back in the 60's....very Aryan looking at least... but maybe it was just a quiet and inexpensive place to take a vacation.
Evil may be remembered in a wrong headed way or more as a set of lies told to justify something or to re-interpret bitter memories to place your people in a better or more heroic/tragic light skipping over the less favorable details. It may be material used and abused to pump up a media circus or co-opted by powerful interests for shortsighted economic and political mistaken ends... (insert Fox clone and most pertinent industrial group or component of oligarchy, religion etc. that fits.) They enable evil's of the past to live on longer and stronger past their fade by date. The pundit or preacher or entertainer may just be filling a market need by pandering to what people think they know and what they believe they must fear. But there has to be a moral limit to how much to pander... if the advertising revenues justify it there is no doubt apparently.
Some who do not have a sufficiently motivating cause of their own may search for a cause to fill an open personal need for an enemy who one can feel good about opposing. And some of the history accepted today is a misleading mishmash that we can project our own fears and needs onto. We can buy into rewriting facts or correcting lies and we are all prey to both possibilities. Relearning history and finding a way to get some resolution and closure may be tantamount to treason for some people in some struggles who need only a struggle for total victory against the ancient enemy, the hereditary injustice which may have grown in the retelling or be exactly as handed down though the perpetrators may be in complete denial. And for them the destination is not as important as the means to get there the purpose and life style it enables and even justifies. And again they may be fighting an evil in a way that guarantees more or worse to come. How to know?... inaction can let evil go unchallenged.
Fighting the correct components of evil at the right time in the right place in the right way can finally bury it for good. Easy to say, actually succeeding in that, not so much. Maybe it is just time we need and wait for the evil to die with the stubborn people who fight to retain poisoned legacies. But passive waiting only allows the more motivated to pass on the evil in a renewed updated way to yet another generation.
As George Orwell once explained, whoever controls the past, controls the present
It is astonishing that so many New Deal deniers have been nursing their FDR hatred for so long that it can pop right up again 76 + years later. How to smack them down gently with reality so they don't simmer in a vengeful state like some twisted reactionary multi generational version of the Chushingura story, biding their time in zealous loyalty to a defeated master, but unlike the Japanese tale, no heroics and ritual death at the end... instead it's a sneaky, incremental oligarchical claw-back of prerogatives and policies, which ultimately sabotage the next set of financial safeguards till they finally cause the next semi or full blown depression. Or a Neo-Nixonian version of the tale: NeoCon revenge culminating in the Bush II years, but only after step by step imposition of their world view in the face of reality and focused on the destruction of everything they could from the progressive years in America. It is not so much that they are evil... it's just that they have reasons to learn the wrong things from history and motivations to keep these notions alive beyond all reason... They might as well be singing Dixie like they really mean it... like it was still 1860. Their counter reactions are all out of proportion to the "problems" they think their enemies have caused and fail to see why the extremes of their reaction will absolutely guarantee, as we have seen recently,a very vigorous progressive political counter-reaction much to the the conservatives befuddlement and rage.
And think of how many other lingering wrongs endure in every part of the world? The memories of past empires and the deaths, suffering, deprivations and injustice they caused by their very coming into being. There is not a single tribe or nationality that does not harbor mythologies of either being the standard bearer for "civilization" versus the barbarians next door or else as the victims of it are the tenders of the flame of a lost past or stolen land or identity when the evil invaders despoiled them of that which they held most dear. The one enduring law of human history seems to be if a people can be suppressed and dominated by others who have the power to do so it will happen one way or another... softly or harshly, wrongly in the short term or inevitably in the long term. And the loser in this interaction risks disappearing entirely unless the invaded or suppressed group finds ways within their own identity that empower or enable them to change or adapt or fight back whether directly or indirectly, constructively or destructively. Finding ways to endure and survive and even come back may bring out the best of their heritage or the worst or both. And inevitably some evil will be kept alive by both sides. We in the US of A live on the bones of peoples decimated by disease and then trampled underfoot by our ancestors who ignored or reviled or belittled and marginalized them up until the present day. I'd say they have been very patient with history....and also with those of us who descend from those who wronged them by action or inaction or ignorance.
I do not want to pick on the USA in particular and I haven't even got to the history of slavery here. Every tribe and people who lived in the Americas before Columbus represented a long history of struggle and replacement and effacement and conquest and bitter rivalries as well as trade and peaceful coexistence. The point is even though we have collectively transgressed against them they were no different than us ultimately. And no different from the rest of humanity before or since.
Our wrongs against them are just newer, bigger and better documented than theirs but no more justifiable or deniable. And all groups have gained or lost at the hands of others over and over again whether by direct design or by varying degrees of accident and fate... and regularly each group find themselves trapped in victor and vanquished roles of Hubris in order to explain what happened to themselves, and that can evolve for some into victor guilt-hubris and victim-hood entitlement-hubris ... where a myopic view of one's own suffering or the suffering of one's people becomes so important as to minimize, deny or overlook the historical wrongs to or suffering of others. These cherished justification myths are important drivers of the evil that lives on among us. And here as well as elsewhere there are cheerleaders in the media, politics and religion for every form of these types of Hubris. The human blame game is played at every level in every age and finding a fair and just understanding is easiest for those with the fewest facts. But even forgiveness or redemption requires at least some facts to be able to forgive with the right words and actions... or to be able to ask for some sort of understanding and grace. There a people confessing to things they did not do in police stations all over the world... under coercion or due to delusions if it is based on lies it will never help bury the Evil that men do.
The details of who did what to who and why, are endless and comprise most of the human history of earth... no scope for an "encyclopedia of hostility" here but examples like the Roman empire, Chinese empires, Arab conquest, Mongol invasions and empire, Inca empire, Spanish Empire, English Colonial Empire, Russian Empire, and any other other empire that ever was and all the tribes, kingdoms and beliefs, traditions they destroyed or absorbed in the process of empire building. Intermixed with that have been countless mass migrations, expulsions, enslavement, climatic disasters over decades and even centuries, plus religious conflagrations, delusions, fear and hate all intermixed as well. Most of our ancestors lived quiet lives and did not have to face the times of upheavals themselves but they all lived with the memories of dire times and wrongs their people faced in the past and dreaded in the future. Often with good cause but often overblown and self-serving in some way. With the ebb and flow of empires the Evils created or enlarged lived on for all of them and still live in all too many of us today. And way too many in the world do not want the historic hates and angers of their own group to die down but are actively trying to spread it as far as they can.
The histories of the winners overlook or explain away the harm done and every loser exaggerates and up spins the crimes against them. If the empire gold plates the murders and devastation, their victims are just as apt to paint extra blood on anything done or achieved by the winners. And of course fortunes can ebb an flow and the defeated "barbarians" harbor their resentments long enough to drive a vigorous counter empire someday. Legends of towering wrongs against your own tribe justifies the desired revenge that often follows and of course if enough of the defeated enemy survive they will follow the same pattern in turn if allowed by circumstance in an indefinite cycle. Often these cycles align with climate liked changes that favor one group over another (see Central Asia for the biggest and maybe longest running example of cycles of invasion followed by counter invasion due to macro changes in climate).
Us & Them, Winners & losers
Every Country in the world and every people and language and dialect, every ethnic group is a living experiment in what happens when one is overwhelmed by another or encroached on intentionally or unintentionally. Good and progress has come mixed with destruction and annihilation. We are all descendants of invaders, winners, losers, looters, creators, peacemakers, war-makers, and every mix of all of that and more. Most of the languages of our forbears are no longer spoken and sometimes that was due to conquest and subjugation or maybe just migrations and replacement in mainly non-violent ways. When is resistance needed or justified? Those who could not or did not resist enough often faded away. The evil was interred with their bones because there was no one left who cared or remembered what their "tribe" endured. Today there are languages dying and the wrongs done to the people who are vanishing will be forgotten. The good remembered will omit the wrongs. Maybe that is sometimes good but enforced forgetting is a crime a bad as poisoned exaggerated memories. Who or what is in control of the content of the memories? Those who feel threatened should be listened to but even their ability to judge can be insular, ignorant and wrongheaded and lead them to resist in reckless and misguided ways that ultimately threaten what they want to keep all the more. And all too often profiteers just use conveniently existing historical problems to stoke up rivalry for their own ends...piling on and even taking over a movement or struggle because that's what they are good at.
Every group of people on the earth large and small is caught up in the Us and Them paradigm. Translate the name of most groups and it boils down to something meaning "People" or "the people" or some form of "Real people".. which implies that others who live elsewhere and do things differently and may look different as well are not people as much as your group are. And almost without exception in every society there are second class citizens, minorities, outcasts who in many cases have had their label for generations even many centuries. Being black in the USA is only one example and most others in other countries are unknown to the average American. There is an outcast group in Japan named the Burakumin descended from those with
occupations relating to death, such as executioners, undertakers or leather workers. Severe social stigma was attached to these occupations, influenced by Shinto notions of kegare (穢れ "defilement")
..... in Korea: Baekjeong. In India there are of course the people who used to be known as Untouchables, non-caste people also named Harijans but more properly known asDalits. In Nigeria there is a group among the Igbo called the Osu whose origins were as people kept apart who were dedicated to the gods whose place in society has turned into a people reviled or rejected and in particular as with the other examples above as marriage partners. The evil of these kinds of traditions lives on today and in every part of the world there are people who are seen as virtually sub-human and at least unacceptable as equal participants in society. Much progress has been made but the same tendencies to reject and resent and repress will make new sub classes to hate and revile for some people if there are no traditional ones to hate or repress. Some sort of need for pecking order, rivalry for mates, material support and dominance in part but again goes back to our primate roots somehow. Jane Goodall studied chimps in Gombe and found controversially that if a group got too large it would split and often become very violent towards their former kin. We seem little capable of escaping similar behaviors.
For many the need for a suspicious or bad intentioned other is part of their nature or nurture or both. If they don't have one at hand they can rapidly acquire one. (Fox news types, rabble rousing politicians or a paranoid militia member, rabid preacher, radical Islamist any of whom will be happy to guide you.) And along with it new mythologies of your own importance that will grow alongside the extreme dangers of the new enemy.
It does not require more moderate people to buy into notions that we are all killer apes doomed to be eternally violent. At our worst we are simply reverting to our fallback inbuilt survival modes and not all of us are inherently apt to become the full on extreme defender type that easily. But we all capable of extreme measures in extreme situations. We are here because those defensive behaviors served our ancestors well enough to survive often at the expense of others. But those behaviors only come out in the most destructive ways in the more extreme circumstances and probably most people are sensible enough better able to know when to revert to primal default programming. Hair trigger defense is not really a defense. Many societies needed peaceful cooperation to thrive and benefited from welcoming infrequent strangers to their midst (for genetic reasons as well as trade and ideas) show that we can adapt to more sensible options if we or our surroundings allow it.
Kid Politics & Tribal tendencies
A good way to think about our human responses it to remember moving to a new neighborhood or seeing new kids move nearby and the memories of welcome curiosity and making new friends, as well as other memories of kids who automatically distrusted you or challenged you in some way. The overlay of parental attitudes and class and race and age and any number of judgments over geekiness or looks or clothing, speech, accents only add or subtract to the mix. Being thrown together with a very large group of kids in your high school days still reacting to everything with the intensity of our elementary school days is another vivid experiment in how we get along or not. Remember the life and death nature of every put down and pimple, every clique's attitudes and petty confrontations and your own defensive or aggressive ploys to assert your well being or even your very "survival". It was all in hindsight mostly very minor stuff but usually it did not feel that way at the time.
Consider the way some people root against the team from the next town or resort to vandalism and worse? The insulting graffiti in the gas station toilet out on the highway referring to the people in the town next door in unflattering terms are signs of our default programming. (see "Springfield" & "Shelbyville" episodes on The Simpsons for a more humorous take on this phenomenon) Aspects of "gang culture" and belonging is a quite normal feature of growing up; we all had a group of friends or a club we made but when kids grow up without a larger meaningful constructive group identity it takes on a more destructive character. It's very tribal and we all have a tribal hunting/gathering group default program that will emerge if the absence of anything else. Just look at bonding between boys and girls from @ages 8 till early adolescence. It is an important part of our life as Jesuits and Authoritarians of every stripe know very well recently shown by research to be a time when our brains go through a major reprogramming and rewiring phase. Among other things we need to master during this phase in order fit into our group as adults, it's also the best time to program in the "Us and Them" memes of group identity, whether positive or negative, that will dominate the rest of everyone's life.
Without access to more benign balanced role models, the more divisive and strident indoctrinators can step in. For the unnattached more vulnerable less fortunate, gangs of some sort can be not only a refuge but a school of life as older gang members act as your recruiters, protectors and instructors on how to live and who is your enemy. And we are all members of an extended gang of some sort, consciously or unconsciously since many
parts of culture can fall under a more general definition of "gang". Your gang may be harmless or helpful or various shades of corrupt, self-serving and even harmful as it strives to promulgate its understanding of the world and expand it's numbers. The Murdoch "Gang" for instance is at work day and night to improve the membership of their own idea of what the Republican party and the Uniteed States of America should be. And the more fearful, information access disadvantaged who want to be protected by a strong pack are their prey. It is their right in a free society but we leave them unchallenged and un-refuted at our peril and too many of our fellow citizens stuck in an immature mental state. It's the logic and politics of the schoolyard bully they seem to admire and emulate. They and similar media revel in the conflicts they choose to highlight and even conflict largely of their own making and not the merits of the ideas involved or even verified facts.  They focus on Evils they designate or identify as well as false claims of evil and actively bury or deny any good done by those they disagree with. Their arguments are much like shooting fish in a barrel... they set up a completely controlled predictable information-sport, peddling their propaganda via scripts where all the components of any argument reliably produce a pre-ordained conclusion. It is a morality play, psycho-drama script suited to our 12 year old selves in content, character and scope.
The way Kid politics seem to work gives us an insight to our default responses. If we were living in a traditional society with inherited longstanding enmities with certain neighbors or our own distant and not so distant ancestors who were almost all agrarian villagers we would have much the same responses to other people. Our brains seem to be wired to cope with a finite number of people on the order of a large village... if a tribe gets too big a it will split into subgroups... and there is always the outer darkness of the unknown out there that can be populated with all of our folklore and fears. Our childhood fears often grow up into grown-up versions which are more abstract but just as illogical as the monster in the closet or under the bed... We obviously move on from most of that but many of us still retain way too much and have a large uninformed streak that is easily fleshed out with replacement faces and notions that are still driven by the same fears and angers. And again consider who in the media drag out the same scary monsters in a new form and digs up the same alleged evils relabeled for their own purposes. They want us all to buy into the nightmare at the edge of town that they create and puff up to scary proportions. And maybe a large part of their audience can't help being susceptible to calls for protection and defense against threats real, imagined and hyped.
People who react more strongly to bumps in the night, spiders on a human body or the sight of a shell-shocked victim are more likely to support public policies that emphasize protecting society over preserving individual privacy. That's the conclusion of a recent study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Their research results appear in the Sept. 19 issue of Science magazine.
According to Research by John Hibbing as reported on the NSF website
"....tended to endorse political positions that were interpreted as protective of social groups,"....
Hibbing defined those "protective policies" as more defense spending, more government resources directed at fighting terrorism and tighter controls on immigration. "People in this group are more willing to sacrifice a little of their privacy to protect the social unit,"....
......believes the greatest threat to them and their communities comes from other people
It may be that  most of are collectively not much advanced if at all beyond irrational fears in our subconscious reactions and understanding of scale and populations  is not much beyond the xenophobia of a small town. But it would seem that viewers/listeners of Fox News and other similar media who seem to value the message and world view of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the others offering similar mix of fear, phobias, fiction and fallacies prove that we have many many people who if not inherently "Us vs. Them" type people they may be trapped by their upbringing into seeing the world through fear tinted glasses. They need to be in or can only understand a world with defined opposites who can never be reconciled, the good guys, us, who are by definition correct and them, the bad guys who are inherently wrong. The stronger their fear and uncertainty and inability to inform themselves or question the "facts" they are provided the more they desperately follow a leader who seems to embody the response they believe is needed to safeguard themselves. And they cannot see the harm and outright evil of the "collateral damage" caused by mindless defense. It only sows seeds for new harvests of evil from people with the same mindsets on the other side.... and the cycle repeats. Even Klingons can see reason when it is revealed that they are trapped into being reactive pawns in a struggle which ultimately benefits other agencies with other motives. (see Star Trek episode the "Day of the Dove..."
"....they find themselves uncontrollably driven to violence through fearful paranoia
Spock believes the entity may be feeding off everyone's negative emotions, especially fear and anger. He suggests it may have.... set up this battle between the crew and Klingons so that it has a convenient source of nourishment....." The battling crews finally decide they don't want to "....spend the next thousand lifetimes satisfying the alien's twisted desires".
Now, that sounds like a Fox News-style metaphor entity if there ever was one... feeding off negative emotions for
nourishment ratings...
Evil and Heroes these days... on TV etc.
And all too often on 21st century earth just as in the past there are very real reasons to buy into extreme views and actions to save you and your loved ones. And also all too when there is not... some people would want to be not just a "Wolverine" wanna-be but to some how embody heroic traits who can and must take extreme measures due to very real threats... and when the nasty stuff is only real somewhere else; in Gaza or Iraq or Tibet or Darfur or vast swathes of the Congo and other places in the 3rd world not to mention residual anger in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Moldova, and just about anywhere in the world for that matter and only shows up on TV news or echoed in movies or in video games... why it's almost like a wanna-be culture for survivalist and militia types develops. Like a military officer who has never seen combat... and gets his unit into harms way just for his own need for bragging rights... live the dream, walk the walk, wear the campaign medal, be technically "under fire" they imagine extreme rightwing nightmare scenarios are plausible and they can pretend they are the brave warriors in the village that are the only real last defense against the bogey man. Me, Walker Texas Ranger, Me, Jack in 24, Me, Bruce in Die Hard, Me generic action hero resistance fighter™.
That's great at times when there is a real and present danger, but egging people on to the point where imaginary perils become real begs the question: Why are so many ready and eager to buy into any excuse to be a hero in their own minds? Are we built that way? I think we have that capacity and men in particular as but one way to be anAlpha Male but what triggers it when it is not really needed? Sensory overload, inability of a large minority to learn what is needed to live in a 21st century society in a supposedly 1st world country? Or is it due to the numbers of poorly informed, fearful sub groups that would not be so numerous if we had had better education and better participation in governing ourselves in the past 40 years? Or in the end is the US just too large and maybe our political structures and system outdated and in  inherent way diverts too many people away from real issues and focus instead on inflated diversionary dangers sold to boost TV ratings and the political fortunes of financial pirates and looters?
The evil being done now by the glut of defenders over-defending everywhere on earth will live on for a long time... and if they have done some actual good along the way the harm they also did will tend to negate any positives they could claim. Lasting positive deeds may well be outshone by instant myths and memory polishing of false achievements that did actual harm.  Poishers and promulgaters of rightwing fantasies and myths erect temples to the memory of designated heroes while demonizing of the enemy du jour on places like the Fox instant history channel that rewrite the enmities of the world faster than the old Soviet Encyclopedia
airbrushed history. Reagan and Bush II's legacy do not bear much examination but that is of little interest to the true believers. A balanced view would not deny them their actual achievements, small though they were and would allow many people to become aware that Carter, and Clinton among others deserve more recognition. The all or nothing judgements of each presidency do little to explain reality all that well. Pass - Fail, good evil... bad good... that is another facet of enduring Evil... tweaked and incomplete headline histories and simplistic
explanations for everything and everyone.
Evil lives quite well already without the fire-stoking sectors of world media and political parties aiding and abetting it through even partial control of mediums, discourse and limitation of choices but it sure gets a big helping hand from them these days in ways that surpass similar methods, means and tendencies in the past. There are of course new technologies and more democratic venues for dissenting and moderating voices that can deflate fictions of evil and re-balance debates and inform in revelatory ways.
Any Hope? Sure... but not from Fox News types etc.
If we have a chance to get past this, it's with dialogue, trust, forgiveness, education, reconciliation, and all that "gooey" nice stuff that actually works... And no matter how hard the enablers and perpetrators of evil try the reality is that it just as hard to bury the things that will allow us to escape the effect of evil memories. And in the end they can lead to constructive realistic memories living on and replacing the warped evil justifying memories and interring them for good.
And to that end, it would help if Glenn Beck and Rush and Mr Hannity and all the rest would somehow get the big picture, the real big picture more in focus and more balanced and generally stop spraying gasoline onto the bonfire of our public discourse. Ensuring there is more fear and misplaced anger serves their own masters in the short term but it is a long term evil they are enabling. They may be prisoners of their own demons, misinformation and fears more than most... but more than most in their line of work they are ensuring that the evil that lives on in their world view is perpetuated and disseminated as widely as possible... if I were a prayin' man I'd say they do the evil one's work and that they do it very well. But here is no need for a devil with these guys on the loose. They are crying fire in the theater of the nation and egging on those who will set the fires. The evil that will likely ensue will not be easily buried unlike the potential victims of it. Will they help humanity get off the treadmill of recycled memories of blame and evil or crank up the fear juice?
The evil that men do in the world will still live on... but courtesy of Fox News, plenty of Evil will just get made up if not rehashed and reinterpreted by them and the rest of the "mis-media" out there while the good that progressives have done, are doing or may be able to do is quickly buried under hours of inflammatory innuendo and distortion.....and if Shakespeare were alive today he'd probably ask to be re-interred after only a few minutes of Glenn Beck or any of his media relatives.
(update with correction on attributing the quote to the correct Shakespeare play... thanks to NormAl179...  plus additional grammar and phrase tweaking/repairs)