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Resist and Rebuild

Resist and Rebuild

Don’t despair: we will fight back, and, eventually, return stronger than before. 

Yes, it’s dark. Darker, arguably, than at any point since the Second World War. We have a government not of conservatives, but of the radical right, who will now seek to smash the remaining restraints on capital and those who accumulate it. They will take their sledgehammers to our public services and our public protections. They cheated and lied to assist their victory; they will cheat and lie even more to implement their programme.

They are led by a man who has expressed overtly racist views, who won’t hesitate to stir up bigotry and xenophobia whenever he runs into trouble, scapegoating immigrants, Muslims, Romani Gypsies and Travellers, the poor and the weak. They will revel in outrage and affront, using every attack on common decency to normalise the unacceptable. This government has no vision for the country, only a vision for the oligarchs to whom it is bound, onshore and offshore. 

So I don’t want to minimise the scale and horror of what we face. But documenting it is one task; the other is resisting it. Here, roughly and briefly, is an outline of how we might begin. I am as tired and shocked and frazzled as you are, so please forgive me if I have missed some essential elements. 

First, we must park the recriminations and blame. We need to be fully occupied fighting the government and its backers, not fighting each other. Solidarity is going to be crucial over the coming months. We should seek, wherever possible, to put loyalty to party and faction aside, and work on common resolutions to a crisis afflicting everyone who wants a kinder, fairer, greener nation. 

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Resistance

Resistance 

The status quo is always difficult to alter. Resistance is a normal reaction to change.  The current theatrics in Washington, DC are especially revealing.

Donald Trump is many things to many people. His supporters believe him to be a savior of the American system and way of life. His opponents see him as a threat, Both views are correct. From the beginning, I viewed Mr. Trump as a wrecking ball:

… there has never been an inauguration speech like this one. Contrary to Pogo, Trump defined the enemy and it was not us. This wrecking ball clearly differentiated between the average man and the parasites who inhabit Washington.

The speech was populist all the way. It was anti-establishment all the way.  Clear demarcation lines were drawn. I sense that war was declared on Washington, DC today. There will be no compromise. Either Trump will be destroyed or he will dismantle much of the Washington establishment.

This assessment has been validated by subsequent events. The winner of this existential battle is still in doubt. That itself is rather remarkable. What appeared to be a quixotic crusade now takes on heroic aspects, at least for many outside Washington. What once seemed impossible no longer does.

Don Quixote Trump still may not be favored in his battle against Goliath but the odds have shifted. The American people have been awakened to how the elites have exploited them. Whether Trump wins this battle or not, the Deep State has lost the war. They have been exposed as ruthless, lying exploiters. Don Quixote has suddenly become Goliath.

The peasants have been enlightened. The true nature of current American government has been exposed. No amount of polished rhetoric can undo this knowledge. Attempts to do so will bring out the pitchforks.

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Why France’s Yellow Vest Protests Have Been Ignored by “the Resistance” in the U.S.

YellowVestAnonymous

“”The rich are only defeated when running for their lives.”

— C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins

In less than two months, the yellow vests (“gilets jaunes) movement in France has reshaped the political landscape in Europe. For a seventh straight week, demonstrations continued across the country even after concessions from a cowed President Emmanuel Macron while inspiring a wave of similar gatherings in neighboring states like Belgium and the Netherlands. Just as el-Sisi’s dictatorship banned the sale of high-visibility vests to prevent copycat rallies in Egypt, corporate media has predictably worked overtime trying to demonize the spontaneous and mostly leaderless working class movement in the hopes it will not spread elsewhere.

The media oligopoly initially attempted to ignore the insurrection altogether, but when forced to reckon with the yellow vests they maligned the incendiary marchers using horseshoe theory to suggest a confluence between far left and far right supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. To the surprise of no one, mainstream pundits have also stoked fears of ‘Russian interference’ behind the unrest. We can assume that if the safety vests were ready-made off the assembly line of NGOs like the raised fist flags of Serbia’s OTPOR! movement, the presstitutes would be telling a different story.

It turned out that a crisis was not averted but merely postponed when Macron defeated his demagogue opponent Le Pen in the 2017 French election. While it is true that the gilets jaunes were partly impelled by an increase on fuel prices, contrary to the prevailing narrative their official demands are not limited to a carbon tax. They also consist of explicit ultimatums to increase the minimum wage, improve the standard of living, and an end to austerity, among other legitimate grievances. 

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The “Resistance” Struggles To Justify Support For Trump’s Prosecution Of Assange

The “Resistance” Struggles To Justify Support For Trump’s Prosecution Of Assange

Ever since suspicions were confirmed that the Trump administration is indeed working to prosecute and imprison WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing authentic documents, the so-called “Resistance” has been struggling to explain exactly why it is so enthusiastically supportive of that agenda. And when I say struggling, I am being very, very generous.

When news broke that a court document copy-paste error had inadvertently exposed the fact that the Trump administration is pursuing an agenda which experts of diverse political persuasions agreewould have devastating effects on the freedom of the press, #Resistance pundit and DC think tank operative Neera Tanden responded by tweeting, “Never mess with karma”. As of this writing if you do a Twitter search for the words “Assange” and “karma” together, you will come up with countless Democratic Party loyalists using that concept to justify their support for a Trump administration assault on the press that is infinitely more dangerous than the president being mean to Jim Acosta.

The trouble with that of course is that “karma”, as far as observable reality is concerned, is not an actual thing. It’s a Hindu religious concept that is supported by no more factual evidence than the Roman Catholic claim that a priest literally turns bread and wine into the body and blood of a Nazarene carpenter who died thousands of years ago. A Democratic pundit using the concept of “karma” to justify enthusiastic support for Trump’s fascistic attack on press freedoms is exactly the same as a Republican pundit using “God wills it” to justify the existence of poverty, and it is just as intellectually honest.

But it’s also the best argument these people have got.

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There Is No Good Kind of Nationalism

There Is No Good Kind of Nationalism

Trump is for nationalism. So the “Resistance” is predictably for . . . wait for it . . . the right kind of nationalism — or nationalism worn properly, as The Week advises. The problem isn’t nationalism, The Hill informs us, it’s phony nationalism and spurious nationalism, or as the Washington Post explains along with CNN, the problem is actually white nationalism. Of course, white nationalism is a problem, but not just because it’s white — also because of the nationalism. Unless you read Esquire which comes up with the oh-so-novel pronouncement that nationalism is indeed bad, but patriotism is good.

Excuse me. I’m sorry. This is why the Resistance doesn’t resist. This is why people offering flags and manure win. The loyal opposition is offering smaller flags, manure, and air fresheners.

What’s wrong with nationalism, you ask. Can’t I love a location? Can’t I care for my loved ones? Must I hate babies and apple pie? What is wrong with you?

Well, if you love your town why not try out townism? Does your town have a flag? An anthem? Can you perform the proper rituals? Why not? You’re not a traitor, are you? Did Putin hire you to tear up treaties with Russia, and sanction Russia, and take over markets from . . . oh, forget it.

Do you love your state? Your region? Your continent? Well why aren’t you insisting on all of those isms? I’ll tell you why. Because they aren’t needed. It’s not that they aren’t needed because those levels of collective identity aren’t associated with war machines. Rather it is that nationalism consists of association with a war machine, identification with that war machine, and belief that you and your war machine are superior to others.

Well, can’t that be a harmless private matter?

Some have seriously tried to make that case, and I’ve found it completely unconvincing.[i]

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‘Resistance’ runs amok in the US Deep Throat War

‘Resistance’ runs amok in the US Deep Throat War

Bob Woodward’s book and the ‘resistance’ op-ed look increasingly like a sophisticated psy-ops scheme and a prelude for a ‘Deep State’ coup

The New York Times front page, dated August 9, 1974, on President Richard Nixon's resignation. Photo: iStock

The New York Times front page, dated August 9, 1974, on President Richard Nixon’s resignation. Photo: iStock

Transformative Thinking on Resilience in a Year of Crisis and Resistance

These are trying times for those who care about equity, sustainability and climate change—the issues that will shape our common future. In 2017, we saw the ascension of a US presidential administration that denies the reality of climate change, emboldens hate groups, and borrows from the future to bestow massive tax breaks on the wealthiest people and corporations.

Many of us watched in horror as police turned water cannons on peaceful protesters at Standing Rock, and as neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville. We mourned the rollback of Obama-era environmental protections, carried out by fox-guarding-the-henhouse cabinet appointees. And we lamented the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, against the backdrop of accelerating climate crisis. Indeed, from deadly wildfires to devastating hurricanes, 2017 was the most expensive year on record for weather disasters in the United States.

And yet, even in these times, there are extraordinary people working to create a fairer, greener world. Over the past year, the Island Press Urban Resilience Project, has collaborated with a diverse group of activists, academics and practitioners to sound the alarm about threats and—importantly—to lift up stories of sustainable, equitable solutions.

Those stories, originally published in a wide variety of news outlets, are collected in a new e-book Resilience Matters: Transformative Thinking in a Year of Crisis, freely available online. Here, you can read about community groups that are growing local economies while reducing carbon emissions and building climate resilience. That includes California’s Cooperation Richmond, which builds local wealth by incubating worker- and community-owned co-ops. It includes UPROSE, in Brooklyn, New York, which is reimagining its industrial waterfront as a hub for green industries that create good-paying jobs. And it includes PUSH Buffalo, in New York State, which organized residents to create a 25-square-block Green Development Zone, a model of energy-efficient, affordable housing. There’s more—from activists fighting against water shutoffs in Detroit, to the burgeoning local food movement in Milwaukee.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

As Trump Moves Toward War, “The Resistance” Refuses to Resist

As Trump Moves Toward War, “The Resistance” Refuses to Resist

Tuesday’s post, It’s Impossible to Overstate How Terrible Mike Pompeo Is, laid out the view that Trump’s firing of Rex Tillerson represents a major shift toward war footing for the Trump administration, with Iran the specific target. This pivot was easily predictable, and I wrote numerous articles doing just that during 2017. Nevertheless, forecasting it and then seeing the disastrous pieces being moved into place are two different things.

Trump’s push to install Mike Pompeo as U.S. Secretary of State is a crystal clear indication that he’s begun the process of building his war cabinet. The next steps, likely to begin over the course of 2018, is to walk away from the Iran deal. I suspect relentless war propaganda to be unleashed simultaneously as the neocon/neoliberal/mass media war-monger alliance plays its well established role in selling the American public on another pointless and destructive war.

My prior post discussed Pompeo in detail, so I don’t want to be repetitive, but to revisit: Pompeo has contempt for the First Amendment, referred to torturers as patriots, wants Edward Snowden executed and is an extreme warhawk when it comes to Iran. In other words, he’s your typical neocon lunatic who’s just a bit more rough around the edges publicly. He represents the exact opposite sort of foreign policy to what so many Trump voters thought they were getting.

Switching gears a bit, today’s piece will zero in on Trump’s other desired appointment, Gina Haspel to head the CIA. Gina’s famous for running a CIA black site in Thailand where detainees were tortured. In fact, she performed her role with such gusto she was nicknamed “Bloody Gina” by some colleagues, and also played a key role in destroying videotape evidence of the torture. Her promotion represents a bizarre way to “drain the swamp,” but I digress.

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Local Resistance Can Overthrow Our Political Masters

Local Resistance Can Overthrow Our Political Masters

   Smoke and fumes from a 2012 fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., sent 15,000 residents to hospitals or medical offices. Richmond City Council member Gayle McLaughlin, interviewed in the article below, is a vocal critic of Chevron’s effect on the environment and the corporation’s longtime political power over the city. (Eric Risberg / AP)

SANTA ANA, Calif.—All resistance will be local. We will have to dismantle the corporate state, piece by piece, from the ground up. No leader or politician is going to do it for us. Every community that bans fracking, every university and institution that embraces the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement, every individual who becomes vegan to thwart the animal agriculture industry’s devastation of the planet and holocaust of animals, every effort to build self-sustaining food supplies, every protest to halt the use of lethal force by police against our citizens, especially poor people of color, every act of civil disobedience against corporate power and imperialism will slowly transform our society.

Those who rebel, once they rise up, will build alliances with other rebels. This will give birth to a new political expression, one that will be fiercely anti-capitalist and will seek to sustain rather than destroy life. Rebellion will come from the bottom. I do not know if we can succeed. The forces arrayed against us are monstrous and terrifying. The corporate state has no qualms about employing savage and violent repression, wholesale surveillance, the criminalizing of dissent, and its propaganda machine to demonize us all. But I know this: We are the only hope. We are the people we have been waiting for. And if we do not act to save ourselves, the climate crisis and the corporate state that caused it will continue to ravage the ecosystem and human societies until catastrophic collapse occurs. Indeed, we are already frighteningly far down that road.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Time to Trade in Your Jag, Benz, BMW for a Dented Econobox: Days of Rage Are Coming

Time to Trade in Your Jag, Benz, BMW for a Dented Econobox: Days of Rage Are Coming

The resistance will take the form of subverting the signifiers of wealth that exemplify the few who have benefited so greatly while everyone else lost ground.

It’s time to trade in your Jag, Mercedes, BMW (and maybe your Prius, Volvo, Lexus, etc.) before the Days of Rage start. As I’ve explained before ( As the “Prosperity” Tide Recedes, the Ugly Reality of Wealth Inequality Is Exposed), the rage of the masses who have been losing ground while the Financier Oligarchs, the New Nobility and the technocrat class reap immense gains for decades has been suppressed by the dream that they too could join the Upper Caste.

But once the realistic odds of that happening (low) sink in, the Days of Rage will begin. For those still who don’t know the facts of rising inequality, here’s what you need to know.

The top 1% skim 23% of all income:

While the top 5% has enjoyed substantial income gains over the past 45 years, adjusted for inflation, the bottom 90% have lost ground:

The last time there was mass unrest in America was the civil rights/Vietnam War era. The power of the civil rights movement arose from the core injustice of segregation (separate and unequal) and institutionalized racism/bias. This institutionalized injustice drew people from all classes and ethnicities into the streets, where they were promptly beaten by police.

 

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The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” –Sun Tzu

“It is useless to fight against people’s rigid ways, or to argue against their irrational concepts. You will only waste time and make yourself rigid in the process. The best strategy is to simply accept rigidity in others, outwardly displaying deference to their need for order. On your own, however, you must work to maintain your open spirit, letting go of bad habits and deliberately cultivating new ideas.” –Robert Greene

Imagine you are back in high school and a bully starts making fun of you in front of everyone. What do you do? Poke fun back? Cry? Run? Punch him in the face? What? The answer is none of the above.

The best way to deal with a bully who is making fun of you is to make fun of yourself better than the bully did. The worst way to deal with a bully is to retaliate. This is because retaliation perpetuates the bully’s agenda and leads to violence, whereas making fun of yourself uses self-deprecating humor to derail the bully’s agenda while forcing the bully into a confused psychosocial dilemma. It’s a power-play, and it’s all psychological. The bully expects you to poke fun back at him, or cry, or run, or throw a punch; anything but you making fun of yourself. And if you can do it better than the bully did, then bully for you. Pun intended.

Like Carlos Castaneda said:

“Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy and vain. To be a warrior one needs to be light and fluid… Self-importance is man’s greatest enemy. What weakens him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men. Self-importance requires that one spend most of one’s life offended by something or someone… The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.”

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The Global Trade Corporatocracy Slams into Local Resistance

The Global Trade Corporatocracy Slams into Local Resistance

Not everything seems to be going according to script for the self-anointed architects of the new global order. For years lobbyists and representatives of the world’s largest corporations and banks have been meeting with government trade negotiators from Europe, North America and Asia to patch together what could soon be the world’s two biggest ever “trade” deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The problem is that as more and more people learn about them, public opposition continues to grow — and with good reason.

If signed, these new deals will enshrine into international law a new system of semi-global, technocratic governance for the exclusive benefit of the world’s largest, richest multinational corporations and private investors. What’s more, in the eternal words of the U.S. Trade Rep Michael Froman, once they are passed, agreements like TTIP will become “the global benchmark for standards in a globalized world.”

For the world’s uber-class of super wealthy individuals and corporations, this is great news.

A Two-Tier Global Justice System

Thanks to the inclusion of the investment protection charter – A.K.A. the Investor State Dispute Settlement (or ISDS) – foreign companies and big investors will be able to sue national governments in private arbitration tribunals for profits they might lose as a result of local or national laws or regulation.

As The Guardian columnist George Monbiot writes, “while the rest of us must take our chances in the courts, corporations across the EU, US and vast swathes of the Asia-Pacific region will be allowed to sue governments before a tribunal of corporate lawyers.” They will be able to challenge the laws they don’t like, and seek massive compensation if these are deemed to affect their “future anticipated profits.”

 

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96 Percent Of Americans Expect More Civil Unrest In U.S. Cities This Summer

96 Percent Of Americans Expect More Civil Unrest In U.S. Cities This Summer

Are you ready for rioting, looting and mindless violence in major U.S. cities all summer long?  According to a brand new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll96 percent of all Americans believe that there will be more civil unrest in America this summer.  That leaves only 4 percent of people that believe that everything will be just fine.  In this day and age, it is virtually impossible to get 96 percent of Americans to agree onanything.  So the fact that just about everyone agrees that we are going to see more civil unrest should really tell you something.  The anger that has been building under the surface for so many years in this country has finally started to erupt.  If you have been following my website for a while, you know that this is something that I have been warning about for a very long time.  Many people may have thought that I was exaggerating when I talked about the civil unrest that was coming to American cities.  But I was not exaggerating at all.  In fact, if anything I was downplaying it.  In the years to come, we are going to see things happen in our cities that are going to absolutely shock the world.

Ever since the violence first erupted in Baltimore, what has surprised me more than anything has been the level of hate that I am seeing all over the Internet.  I am seeing white people openly proclaim how much they hate black people.  I am seeing black people openly proclaim how much they hate white people.  I am seeing things said about the police that are absolutely horrifying.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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