Which Washington Crimes Matter Most?

Michael Flynn participated in mass murder and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, advocated for torture, and manufactured false cases for war against Iran. He and anyone who appointed him to office and kept him there should be removed from and disqualified for public service. (Though I still appreciate his blurting out the obvious regarding the counterproductive results of drone murders.)

Many would say that prosecuting Al Capone for tax fraud was a good move if he couldn’t be prosecuted for murder. But what if Al Capone had been funding an orphanage on the side, and the state had prosecuted him for that? Or what if the state hadn’t prosecuted him, but a rival gang had taken him out? Are all take-downs of major criminals good ones? Do they all deter the right activities by up-and-coming criminals?

Michael Flynn was not removed by public demand, by representative action in Congress, by public impeachment proceedings, or by criminal prosecution (though that may follow). He was removed by an unaccountable gang of spies and killers, and for the offense of seeking friendlier relations with the world’s other major nuclear-armed government.

Now, in a certain sense, he was taken down for other related offenses, just as Bill Clinton was not technically impeached for sex. Flynn lied. He may have committed perjury. He may have obstructed justice. He supposedly made himself susceptible to blackmail, although the logic of Russia wishing to reveal its own secret and punish those who help it seems weak. Flynn also dealt with a foreign government on behalf of an election campaign.

Some of these are very serious charges. If you removed all liars from the U.S. government, you’d suddenly have room in their empty offices to house all the homeless, but even the selective punishment of lying has a certain merit. And electoral campaign dealings with foreign governments has a nasty history including Nixon’s sabotaging of peace in Vietnam, Reagan’s sabotaging of the release of U.S. hostages in Iran, etc.

But what did Flynn supposedly talk about with the Russian ambassador, before or after the election? Nobody accuses him of trying to keep a war going or people locked up. He’s accused of talking about removing sanctions, possibly including sanctions used to punish Russia for things it did not do. The notion that Russia was the aggressor in Ukraine or invaded Ukraine and conquered Crimea on the model of the U.S. invasion of Baghdad is simply false. The idea that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails and gave them to WikiLeaks is a claim for which we have not been shown credible, non-ludicrous evidence. Despite somebody leaking it every time Donald Trump blows his nose, nobody has yet leaked actual evidence of this supposed Russian crime.

Then there’s what members of the U.S. public tell you that it’s obvious Flynn simply must also have talked about. Supposedly he must have arranged for Russia to steal the U.S. election for Trump, either by informing the U.S. public of the crimes and abuses of the Democratic Party in its members own words, which supposedly swayed huge numbers of voters — though there’s no evidence Russia did this or that it had this impact, and a better informed electorate is a stronger democracy, not one that has been “attacked” — or by somehow directly altering vote counts or manipulating our minds or something. If anything along these lines were proven it would be serious indeed, although it would be one of a great many fatal flaws in the U.S. electoral system alongside legalized bribery, corporate media, the electoral college, gerrymandering, unverifiable counting, open intimidation, purging of rolls, etc.

And then, finally, there’s what journalists and members of the public will tell you Flynn’s offense consists of, once it’s been established that Russia is evil. He was friendly with Russia. His colleagues in the White House love Russia. They’ve visited Russia. They’ve met with other U.S. business tycoons in Russia. They’re planning business deals with Russians. And so on. Now, I’m opposed to corrupt business deals, if they are corrupt, anywhere. And if Russian fossil fuels, like Canadian and U.S. fossil fuels, don’t stay in the ground, we’re all going to die. But the U.S. media treats U.S. business deals in other countries as ordinary respectable plundering. Any association with anything Russian has become a sign of high treason.

Coincidentally or not, that is exactly what weapons profiteers say they want. Is what they want good for us? Is there a legitimate reason to be taking their route toward punishing people in power, when other routes stand wide open with plush red carpets unrolled from massive golden doorways?

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

The growing push to defeat Trump by any of the following means:

  • Taking the CIA’s warmongering on faith and blaming Vladimir Putin for everything,
  • Accusing the FBI,
  • Pressing for majority rule despite the electoral college,
  • Protesting voters being stripped from the rolls,
  • Objecting to intimidation at the polls,
  • Trying to undo the blocking of votes by those lacking IDs,
  • Remedying broken and insufficient and unverifiable machines,
  • Counting paper ballots where they exist,
  • Threatening impeachment over Trump’s unconstitutional presents and emoluments from foreign nations unless he sells his foreign businesses,
  • Arguing for disqualification on the ground of mental illness,
  • Praying and fantasizing,

would be far more energized and popular if the “defeated” candidate were Bernie Sanders, who — judging by all existing polling (and theorizing what his general election campaign would have looked like) — would almost certainly not have been defeated by any means in the first place.

It’s worth thinking for a moment what could have been done differently. The corporate media could have not acted like the corporate media, of course. Democratic Party loyalists and super delegates and (most) labor unions could have not behaved like sold-out masochists. The DNC could have put the slightest effort into pretending to have a fair and open primary. People who wanted to overturn a corrupt system and imagined they saw the solution in Donald Trump could have switched their brains on. Women and men could have chosen substance over tokenism. Many African-Americans could have chosen substance over slime. People who can’t be bothered could have gotten up off their butts. Old people could have demonstrated the wisdom of the young.

But what might Bernie Sanders, his staff, his volunteers, his supporters, or his critics have done differently? Despite the many things Bernie and his people did right, were there things that might have been done a bit better? Note that this is not identical to the question “Is Bernie Satan?” Note also that it is a question being asked by people who worked long days for Bernie.

If you read Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything by Becky Bond and Zack Exley who worked for the Bernie campaign you’ll get one view. If you read Bernie & the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution by Jeffrey St. Clair who threw tomatoes from the peanut gallery, you’ll get another.

Here are some points on which I believe I largely agree with St. Clair:

1. Bernie should have opposed militarism. We now have Trump threatening increased military spending, not to mention xenophobia, bigotry, hateful violence, and a cabinet of warmongers. But we also have Trump proposing to end wars of overthrow and to de-fund boondoggles like the F-35, a pet Vermont pork project of Bernie Sanders. Bernie was hardly more convincing than Trump on ending wars, avoided mention of the military budget whenever he could, and proposed no truly peaceful agenda of transition to peaceful industries, investment in foreign aid and diplomacy, adherence to the rule of law, a halt to drone murders, an end to foreign arms sales and gifts — including gifts to brutal governments. What if Bernie had appealed to those who oppose mass murder? What if peace lovers for Bernie had been added to Veterans for Bernie, Latinos for Bernie, and the dozens of other Bernie groups? (The word “peace” shows up randomly in a list in Exley’s preface to his book but otherwise goes unmentioned.)

2. Bernie should have challenged the candidate he was supposedly challenging. Bond and Exley write that they had a policy of not criticizing She Who Must Not Be Named, nor even naming her. Trump won his primary by challenging his opponents. Every past candidate who has ever won any election, as far as I know, has challenged his or her opponent(s). If Hillary Clinton’s record, just as it was, had belonged to a Republican, the critique of it that Bernie would have put forth would have been devastating. But she was a Democrat, so he largely let her go. Here was someone who had taken millions into her family foundation from foreign governments and weapons makers and then approved deadly weapons deals, who had pushed fracking on the world, who had backed coups as well as wars, who had pushed banking and media consolidation, welfare destruction, mass incarceration, police militarization, and just about every other bad policy during the Decline and Fall. Yet you had millions of people imagining that Hillary and Bernie basically shared an agenda. And you had millions of people who knew little about Bernie, whom the corporate media found less interesting than the creep from Fifth Avenue who pulled no punches. (Yes, corporate media opposed Bernie for substantive reasons, but the signs were clear that if he would only speak out against Clinton they would air his statements.)

3. Bernie should have vigorously challenged dubious outcomes in Iowa, Nevada, and elsewhere and made clear that he would fight for honest vote counting.

4. Bernie should have sued the DNC for fraud.

5. If denied the nomination, Bernie should have run as an independent, with Jill Stein or otherwise — his commitment not to having been erased by the DNC’s slanting of the primary.

Here are some points on which I believe I basically agree with Bond and Exley:

1. Bernie’s campaign’s strength lay in volunteers and secondarily in small donors, not in establishment support or big money or, for that matter, acceptance by big media. It showed that big money and big media can be challenged. (I probably go off the Bond-Exley rails in suggesting that this also shows an independent might make a real challenge from outside the two parties if there were general awareness of the fact.)

2. Bernie’s campaign’s strength in volunteers could have been much better utilized than it was. I base this in large part on Bond’s and Exley’s testimony, and with understanding that every presidential election campaign is always a chaotic disaster and that nonetheless much was well done.

3. At the core of Bond’s and Exley’s concept of “Big Organizing” is big policy — that is, the practice of proposing major policy changes large enough to inspire people to work for them. Also part of it is big asks. Bond and Exley give the example of someone who had never signed an online petition but who responded as soon as he was asked to turn out and risk arrest to help end climate change (not an example from the Bernie campaign). I agree and would add that this could have gone farther. That is, Bernie’s policies could have been bigger. And his asks could have been bigger. Apart from phone calls to potential voters, Bernie’s volunteers could have been given bigger asks to behave as nonviolent activists on the issues they cared about — which could have changed the topics of debates and news reports.

4. Organizing needs both online and offline components, but also needs some level of media attention / public awareness. That last bit is not discussed much by Bond and Exley because they had as much of it as they could handle. They could have used more. And many good causes could use any at all.

5. Bernie could have done better at reaching out to African Americans. Becky Bond authored a chapter on this that I think is about right and worth reading.

Virginia's Constitution Needs Improving

Virginia’s Constitution is three times as long as the U.S. Constitution (which is notably lacking any serious sections on oyster beds). Virginia’s Constitution has also been updated at least three times as much as the U.S. Constitution. But it is now long overdue.

The U.S. Constitution has been updated with 27 amendments and 0 serious revisions through conventions. Virginia’s Constitution has been amended many times including through five Constitutional conventions, held in 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, and 1902. From 1776 to 1902 that’s one convention every 25 years. Now there hasn’t been one for 114 years.

I don’t want to revise the Virginia Constitution just for the heck of it, but because it is badly needed. There is much in the Virginia Constitution that needn’t be there at all, but that can be to our advantage if it facilitates opening the whole thing to desirable improvements. Some improvements are desirable because of the failure of the federal government to make them.

I wrote to my state legislators and governor asking that Virginia make voter registration automatic, the way some states have done. I was told that in Virginia this would require amending the Constitution. Unlike many other states, Virginia details voter registration processes in its Constitution. (One hopes it’s unnecessary to recall the ugly reasons why.) I’d amend the Constitution to make voter registration automatic, to delete the disenfranchisement of felons, and to delete the language permitting the creation of literacy tests for voting.

I’d delete a lot else that need not be enshrined in a Constitution, but I’d also add a lot that’s missing on the topic of voting rights and in many other areas.

Some general updates are obvious and easy: Add several missing categories to the forbidden reasons for discrimination (or take out the existing list and ban all discrimination). Change “men” to “people.” Delete the section creating marriage bigotry. Delete all promotion of religion from various sections including the section supposedly banning the establishment of religion.

But major revisions are in order as well. Look at this list of protected rights: “enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

Virginia executes people. One in 46 adults in Virginia is in prison, jail, parole, or probation. So much for life and liberty. Many Virginians have little or no means of acquiring and possessing property. And it’s hard to say we can obtain happiness and safety with environmental damage and danger as well as gun violence escalating. These existing elements of the Constitution need enactment and enforcement. Or they need stricter commitment in a revised Constitution. Similarly, the ban on standing armies isn’t sufficient to prevent the existence of the Virginia National Guard, and the ban on taking private property without compensation isn’t protecting anyone from oil pipelines or climate destruction or rising sea level.

But mostly the problem is the rights that are missing entirely or vaguely stated later in the Constitution. The U.S. approach of providing a safety net to the least well off simply is not working. The least well off don’t have political power. What works in other countries is to provide benefits to everyone, which almost everyone then supports. We need the right to a free top-quality education free of for-profit corruption and ridiculous tests from preschool through college. We need the right to free, bureaucracy-free, insurance-company-free, preventive universal single-payer healthcare. We need the right to a basic income for all. We need the right to a healthy and sustainable environment. The environment needs the right to health and sustainability. (Yes, giving rights to the environment makes at least as much sense as giving them to corporations — which should be explicitly barred — and is being done in modern Constitutions.)

The Virginia Constitution now reads: “Further, it shall be the Commonwealth’s policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.” But, of course, it is not the Commonwealth’s policy to do any such thing. This has to be made enforceable. Or it has to be enforced.

While the United States is the one nation on earth that has not joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Virginia should include the content of that treaty in its Constitution. It should do the same with the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It should also join the world in banning land mines, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and nuclear weapons, and in establishing rights of migrant workers.

The section of the Virginia Constitution on the rights of the accused needs updating. There should be a right to videotape of all interrogations. There should be a right to competent legal representation. There should be a right not to be killed. There should be a ban on militarizing police and on the use of weaponized drones, as well as on the use in court of any evidence obtained by surveillance drones.

When it comes to election reforms, I would propose something like this:

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be protected free speech.

All elections for Governor and members of the Senate and General Assembly shall be entirely publicly financed. No political contributions shall be permitted to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. No political expenditures shall be permitted in support of any candidate, or in opposition to any candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. The legislature shall, by statute, provide limitations on the amounts and timing of the expenditures of such public funds and provide criminal penalties for any violation of this section.

State and local governments shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for state or local public office or any state or local ballot measure.

Citizens will be automatically registered to vote upon reaching the age of 18 or upon becoming citizens at an age above 18, and the right to vote shall not be taken away from them.

Votes shall be recorded on paper ballots, which shall be publicly counted at the polling place and reported to a central counting location, with the process repeated as many times as required to allow voters to make use of ranked-choice (instant runoff) voting.

Election day shall be a state holiday.

During a designated campaign period of no longer than six months, free air time shall be provided in equal measure to all candidates for state office on state or local television and radio stations, provided that each candidate has, during the previous year, received the supporting signatures of at least five percent of their potential voting-age constituents.

The same supporting signatures shall also place the candidate’s name on the ballot and require their invitation to participate in any public debate among the candidates for the same office.

The Virginia Constitution now states: “That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people, that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.”

I would give this concrete form in a right to create and vote on public initiatives to determine state policy, including the creation of Constitutional conventions and amendments.

How I Produce Fake News for Russia

Apparently I’ve written “fake news” on behalf of Russia without ever receiving a dime from Russia or realizing what I was doing. It took the intrepid reporting of the Washington Post to alert me to what I have been engaged in. My “fake news” has been published in at least 18 Russian propaganda outlets included on the Washington Post-endorsed Enemies List.

They are ahtribune.com, off-guardian.org, opednews.com, antiwar.com, beforeitsnews.com, blackagendareport.com, ronpaulinstitute.org, rt.com (that one is actually Russian), consortiumnews.com, countercurrents.org, counterpunch.org, globalresearch.ca, truth-out.org, truthdig.com, informationclearinghouse.info, washingtonsblog.com, mintpressnews.com, and nakedcapitalism.com.

Since everything I write is also at davidswanson.org it’s a safe bet that that’s a Russian propaganda site as well, even though I hadn’t realized it.

In all seriousness, there is very likely Russian propaganda to be found somewhere, since Russia tried to hire me a-year-and-a-half ago to produce it. I turned them down and blogged about their offer. Quite likely not everyone turns them down. But even voter fraud or intelligent Washington Post articles can be found eventually if you look hard enough.

I have also turned down all invitations to conferences in Russia, due to colleagues’ fears of false accusations that it turns out arrive anyway. I have also repeatedly gone on Russian media and denounced actions by the Russian government, due to the fact that that was what I thought of those actions.

And yet somehow I’ve produced a veritable flood of Russian propaganda, most of it not even mentioning Russia at all. I’ve given some thought to how this has happened. Here’s my best explanation:

I sit in front of my computer. I think about the world. I move my fingers in such a manner that words appear on the screen.

Does that help explain it?

Here, I’ll demonstrate:

It is my belief that the president of the United States is Barack Obama. If this is true, then blaming a pipeline in North Dakota on Donald Trump is a chronological error. Admitting that bizarre error doesn’t make Trump one iota less racist or sexist or authoritarian, since it’s a statement about a completely different topic.

It is my belief that any thaw in the new U.S.-Russian Cold War created by the Obama regime will be a good thing, above all because a nuclear holocaust would be horrible. Agreeing with this does not guarantee that Trump will bring it about. Nor does it suggest that Vladimir Putin is a saintly humanitarian. Nor does it constitute a claim that all U.S. presidents should be white males. This is because it is a comment about a completely different topic from those ones.

It is my belief that dozens of things went wrong with the recent U.S. election, none of which eliminate any of the others. Here is a partial list.

  • The Democratic Party stacked the primary against its politically and morally superior candidate — in ways that we always knew, ways that we know now, and in other ways that many of us suspect.
  • The propaganda-free U.S. Corporate Media of Freedom stacked the Republican primary against anyone other than Donald Trump by giving Trump billions of dollars worth of free air time.
  • The Republican governments of several swing states stripped 7 million disproportionately racial minority voters from the voting rolls.
  • Donald Trump encouraged voter intimidation.
  • States provided too few voting machines in racial minority precincts.
  • Prisoners and felons were stripped of their voting rights.
  • Residents of U.S. territories were not allowed to vote.
  • The popular vote winner was denied the win.
  • Congress was determined largely by gerrymandering.
  • Winner-take-all systems without ranked-choice voting blocked options.
  • Votes were counted on unverifiable machines that produced the usual suspicious red shift away from exit-poll results.
  • The media and the presidential debates “commission” shut out candidates, views, and useful questions.
  • There was no serious reporting on what the candidates would do if elected about climate change, military spending, wars, or poverty.
  • Serious scandals were passed over in favor of obsessing with lesser scandals.
  • Among serious scandals that were passed over I would include near the top of the list: Hillary Clinton took money into her family foundation from foreign governments and weapons makers, and then supported weapons sales from those companies to those governments, resulting in massive death and destruction.
  • Among serious scandals that were passed over I would also include near the top of the list: Donald Trump encouraged racism, bigotry, hatred, and violence, and threatened to “kill families” in wars aimed at “stealing oil.”
  • Among the lesser scandals that ate up air time, I would put near the bottom: Without any proof, Trump was accused of being an agent of Russia, and Russia was accused of interfering in the election.
  • Tokenism was, once again, promoted as meaningful.

I believe that every population that has U.S. troops on or within its borders should have a vote in the U.S. presidential election. When Russians or anyone else in the world are pleased by the outcome, I take that to be a good thing. My taking that to be a good thing does not erase any negative aspects of that outcome, because one thing is not identical to lots of other things.

Why did people vote for Trump? For the most part they did not. He got fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, who herself got fewer votes than either of the two candidates in recent U.S. presidential elections. But some voted for Trump for the same reason they backed Bernie Sanders: they wanted to reject the establishment, no matter what form that rejection took. Some voted for him because they bought into his racism, bigotry, and scapegoating. Some simply couldn’t stomach any more Clintons. Some wouldn’t vote for a woman. Some mistakenly believed that Trump would help them. But these groups overlap, as do these reasons.

Why is it acceptable in the United States to make fun of poor white people, to mock their speech and their dentistry, to condemn them in ways that are simply forbidden with other groups? Why is there no Trailer Park Studies Department? Why does the very idea sound ludicrous, while ethnic studies departments of all non-white varieties are very serious institutions? One justification for this is that poor rural white people are racist, and that it is perfectly fine to be cruel to racists. That is simply false and horribly misguided; it is not simply fine to be cruel to anyone. And that fact does not mean that racism and sexism are acceptable, because that would be a completely different claim.

A vicious cycle can be produced in which people who perceive anti-racist and anti-sexist campaigns as directed against them consequently embrace their racism more strongly, resulting in more opposition to their racism and to them. This can be compounded by the usual delusions to the effect that government assistance hurts people, while tax cuts for billionaires help people. This can be reinforced by systems of government assistance that do not benefit everyone, as would a basic income, or single-payer healthcare, or free college, or free job training, or guaranteed vacation, or sustainable infrastructure, instead of systems designed merely to aid and stigmatize the very poorest.

Recognizing the blind spots of identity politics or the madness of the new McCarthyism do not mean that election results are always all to be blamed on liberals, since that conclusion would require erasing numerous other problems listed above.

Imagining that elections carry as much or more importance than building a nonviolent movement for revolutionary change is a deep mistake made by most people on earth, including in Russia.

Talk Nation Radio: Greg Palast on Stripping 7 Million Voters from Rolls, Swinging Election

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-greg-palast-on-stripping-7-million-voters-from-rolls-swinging-election

Greg Palast is an investigative reporter, whose news-breaking stories appear on BBC Television and in The Guardian and Rolling Stone Magazine. Palast has released a new movie: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, based on his books. Palast says that the recent U.S. election was in fact rigged. We discuss how.

See http://GregPalast.com

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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and at
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The Skeletons in Keith Ellison's Display Case

Congressman Keith Ellison, candidate of progressive Democrats and many regressive Democrats for chair of the Democratic National Committee eagerly urged the illegal and disastrous violent overthrow of the government of Libya in 2011, which he celebrated as a success despite what it meant for the rule of law, despite all the death and suffering, despite the predictable instability and weapons proliferation to follow.

Ellison moved on to pushing, and using his perch as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus to push, for a similar war on Syria. For years now he has advocated for the illegal and murderous creation of no fly zones and “safe zones” — what Hillary Clinton admitted only to Goldman Sachs would require that you “kill a lot of Syrians.” Ellison was an early backer of bombing Syria in 2013. He met with peace activists but rejected their appeal.

Back in 2007, before Ellison’s leadership, the Congressional Progressive Caucus had helped organize 90 Congress members to commit to voting against war funding.  Most of them turned around and voted for war funding. That ridiculous disappointment was a high point for the CPC.

Since then, the CPC’s commitments — such as to vote against corporate healthcare — have hardly been taken seriously, and so it’s hardly been news when most members have gone back on their commitments.

But in recent years, the CPC has shifted away from even pretending to take a stand on things, and instead moved toward issuing statements full of non-committal rhetoric. Some began referring to it as the Congressional Progressive Statement Caucus.

Yet even that standard must be looked back to with nostalgia when it comes to Co-Chair Ellison’s rhetoric on war. He promotes misinformation about protecting innocent people in Libya and Syria and uses those claims to justify war making. This is exactly what the war makers were looking for in funding Hillary Clinton for President. Should the Democratic National Committee now give it to them in the form of Ellison as Chair?

Of course there are differences between Clinton and Ellison. He hasn’t been around long enough to do nearly as much damage, and he’s legitimately better than Clinton in many ways. He introduced legislation in the Minnesota State Legislature to urge the impeachment of George W. Bush. He dropped support for that once elected to Congress but did sign onto impeaching Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales. He has voted against war funding, more than once. He has asked Obama to end the war on Afghanistan. He was against rewriting laws with signing statements, at least while Bush was president. It’s conceivable that he no longer, post-Bernie, throws a fit if called a socialist. And on domestic issues there’s no comparison: Ellison is excellent by Democratic standards.

But is that good enough? Does empowering someone who is a Muslim erase all concern over bombing Muslims and turning their nations into hell?

This is the best the Democrats have, we’re told. But putting an active member of Congress into another fulltime job is not ideal. And the Democrats have unemployed figures like war-advocate Howard Dean crawling out into the spot lights.

Who would I propose instead? The first name that comes to mind (and I have not discussed this with him, it’s possible he has no interest, and he certainly wouldn’t sanction my criticizing of Ellison) is Dennis Kucinich. You want change? Hope even? Try him.

Talk Nation Radio: Jonathan Simon on How Machines May Have Counted Our Votes Wrong

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jonathan-simon-on-how-machines-may-have-counted-our-votes-wrong

Jonathan Simon is author of CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century. He serves as Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance (www.ElectionDefenseAlliance.org), a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to restore observable vote counting and electoral integrity as the basis of American democracy. In addition to CODE RED, Dr. Simon has published, both individually and in collaboration, numerous papers related to various aspects of election forensics and election integrity. We discuss the counting of votes in last week’s U.S. elections.

The CODE RED website is www.CODERED2016.com.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

AUDIO: I discussed what else on connect the dots

Monday morning  at 7-8AM  tune in (KPFK 90.7 fm) 

                                  or log on: 

http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Lila Garrett’s  CONNECT THE DOTS.

Did the Democrats bring this disaster on themselves?  Monday morning guests suggest a change that will make a right wing putsch like this election less likely to happen. 

Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, who along with many progressive Democrats was betrayed in his run for Senate by the right wing of his own party, lists other candidates who suffered the same fate. In his remaining days in this Congress, he plans to introduce a bill which could bring dramatic change to the election process. 

Former Assembly person Jackie Goldberg analyzes what went wrong and what went right with the election.  Believe it or not, some things  that should have won, actually did. 

Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Swanson has a different take on the significance of the election altogether.  What can we do about it?  Prepare to be activated.

Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)
KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;
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Each show is online for 60 days.

Un-Trump the World

A couple of dozen young people marched back and forth through downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday evening shouting “Love Not Hate!” and “No Human Being Is Illegal!” and “Black Lives Matter!” and similar anti-Trump inspired slogans. They didn’t hand out flyers or interact with other people at all, though I cheered for them.

Meanwhile some people my age looked on and made scornful condescending comments to the effect that the election was over and these fools should get over it. And one drunk guy, restrained by his wife or girlfriend, announced that “Black lives aren’t worth s—!”

My response is different, if perhaps equally cynical. I’d like all the fools not marching and rallying to recognize that the dream of self-governance is over and to get over it. I’d like everyone to have gotten over it last month or last year or last decade.

I love that people march around shouting “Love Not Hate!” And the fact that anyone would object to that statement of preference ought to deeply disturb the most apathetic voter/consumer/spectator. In fact I’ve just helped set up a petition that reads:

We will not stand by as hatred and violence are promoted by our president-elect. Racism and bigotry at home have been fueled by U.S. wars abroad, but also make more such wars easier. We commit to nonviolently resisting hateful attacks on our fellow human beings wherever they live.”

I also love and am practicing the new trend of wearing a safety pin to indicate that one is a safe and caring person to anyone who might be worried about any variety of bigotry.

But here’s where I get a bit cynical. Hillary Clinton told a room full of Goldman Sachs bankers that creating a no fly zone in Syria would require killing lots of Syrians. And she told the public she wanted to create that no fly zone. And if she had been declared the winner of the election, I can guarantee you that nobody would have been marching up and down my street yelling “Love Not Hate.”

So, I worry that even those who value kindness to others value it only for the 4% of humanity in the United States but not so much for the other 96%, or value it only as directed by the less hateful of the two big political parties.

I also worry that it’s even worse than that. I worry that, as cheerleaders for one political party over the other, people have lost touch with the idea of bringing demands from the public to the government. For seven years we had protests of the war on Afghanistan, for example. Then for eight years we didn’t, even as the U.S. forces there grew by over 300 percent before declining. Perhaps next year those protests will recommence, but probably only in the unlikely event that the Democratic Party raises the issue.

Where was the outrage over the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Or over the lack of single-payer healthcare? Or over the failure to restrain inequality or environmental destruction? Or over the threat of a nuclear war with Russia? Why the selective outrage on-command as directed by televised coverage of the model or template protest in New York City?

But, really, what choice do people have? If they want others to join in, if they want the local media to cover them, they have to go where the momentum is. And when the momentum is for love against hate, everybody should be cheering and joining.

But we should also be directing our energy toward strategic areas for systemic change.

Is it a problem that the winner of the popular vote can be denied the U.S. presidency? Then let’s compel our state legislatures to change the law to distribute electors in proportion to actual votes.

Is it a problem that a small cartel of major media corporations can choose to give someone like Donald Trump wall-to-wall free airtime, effectively handing him a nomination for president? Then let’s channel widespread (including Trump’s) disdain for the media into breaking up that cartel.

Is it a problem that the Democratic Party can slant the playing field of its primary to guarantee a win to a weak candidate? We should disempower and democratize parties, including by ending the corruption of privately financed elections, and by creating ranked-choice voting in the other 49 states as Maine’s voters just did there.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead for the moment, and the president-elect made at least 1,000 speeches condemning NAFTA. Let’s put an end to NAFTA, and not replace it with something worse.

It took President Obama two days after the election to put in his request for more billions for more war. Trump has already said he wants to end the arming of fighters in Syria. Let’s end that supplemental spending bill along with that policy. And let’s make clear that we won’t stand for another form of escalation in Syria or Iraq.

Is it too early to impeach Trump? Then let’s focus on blocking his horrendous cabinet nominations.

Much of recent Trump-driven hatred took the form of voter suppression. Let’s demand investigations and prosecutions.

And what about loving future generations? Let’s work to advance a wiser environmental policy at the local, state, and international levels, and to make clear to Congress and the president-elect that we will not stand for the destruction of the earth’s climate.

Let’s energize and strategize with everyone marching against the recent election. Let’s take these protests where their leaders think they need to go. Even if we’re just telling each other and the world that we’re not among those accepting hatred and violence, that’s all to the good.

But let’s not start to believe that activism is principally for displaying our identities. Let’s make sure we’re transforming major structures that impact millions and billions of those whom we need to love and not hate.