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The Great Realignment

Obama did bring change.

He didn’t change policy. In America, policy rarely changes much. We have neoliberalism for economic matters and neoconservatism for the promotion of war and the expansion of the police state. That’s not Republican policy or Democratic policy. It’s American policy, forever and ever, world without end, amen.

Under Obama, policy continued down the same road in the same direction that it had been going since 1978. He continued and expanded on the policies of George W. Bush, just as George W. Bush continued and expanded on the policies of Bill Clinton, and Clinton continued the policies of the Reagan/Bush era. This pattern holds true even for Trump. Despite the passionate need of Trump’s critics to consider him “unprecedented,” if you look at Trump administration policies, it’s clear that in most respects he continued and expanded on the policies of Obama. Certainly his policies on war, civil liberties, the energy economy, and the criminal justice system were indistinguishable from those of the previous three presidents. Even Trump’s vaunted economic populism was little more than a will o’ the wisp, leading people on with the suggestion that Trump might create jobs, keep corporations from further de-industrializing our society, or rebuild the infrastructure that keeps our society going. Like most will o’ the wisps, following these promises merely led people deeper into a pathless swamp.

But Obama did bring change: a change in politics. It wasn’t the change most of us were looking for. The change we were looking for can best be expressed by a line I remember from Obama’s 2008 campaign:

"I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies -- they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair," he said Oct. 26, 2008.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Obama100days/story?id=7452957&page=1

In this statement, Obama was evoking the politics of the Golden Age of Capitalism (1932-1978), encouraging us to hope for the re-establishment of those politics. The government would regain its traditional role as arbiter and referee of the conversations between bosses and workers, the aristocrats and everyone else. The bosses, the super-rich, would no longer dominate and control every conversation. Government would use its power to prevent them from doing so, thus enabling others to have a say in the politics of the country; we would then discuss and bargain and come out with a set of policies that represented at least some of the interests of the 99%. I believe the hope for this outcome was the primary reason there wasn’t violence in response to the crash of 2008, a tsunami of fraud which wiped out jobs and homes across the country (and around the world.)

We were, as FDR once said, patient.

Well, it worked before.

Unfortunately, those weren’t the changes brought to us by the Obama/Trump era. And yes, it’s one era, not two. It’s the era that has brought us the Great Realignment.

Some years ago, like many of us, I frequented another political website, visiting it almost every day. One of the commenters had the handle Anton Bursch. The reason I remember Mr. Bursch is a comment he made. Unfortunately, I don’t have his words memorized, but the gist was as follows:

I can’t wait till all you Greens get out of the party so that we can unite with the conservatives.

Now, none of the people conversing with Bursch at that time was a Green. We were all Democrats. Bursch was using the word “Green” as an epithet for the left-wing side of the Democratic party. The “we” in his sentence, therefore, referred to Clinton Democrats (call them New Democrats, the DLC, centrists, the Third Way, Republican moles, or whatever you like).

The Great Realignment accomplishes Bursch’s goal. The “Greens” have either been eliminated from the Democratic party, or remain powerless and largely silent within it, which is just as good. And the Clinton Democrats have united with the Bush Republicans. Some Bush Republicans (like Bush’s ethics lawyer, Dick Painter) have even run for Congress as Democrats. As for W himself, the increase in Bush’s popularity over the past five years is almost entirely due to a change in the opinions of Democrats, many of whom have decided he’s not only an ally, but a cause for nostalgia. These Democrats embrace—or at least tolerate without question—Bush’s policies, up to and including torture, indefinite detention, wars of acquisition, surveillance of the populace, censorship, and a buffet of loathsome economic and financial policies (many of which Bush inherited from Bill Clinton, merely improving on them here and there.)

There’s a reason George and Bill are such good friends.

bush-clinton-cover.jpg

It’s understandable that Bush Republicans and Clinton Democrats would unite; their only visible disagreements were on the subjects of war, civil liberties, and bigotry. Apparently the Democrats’ opposition to wars of choice and their support for civil liberties were not deeply held (a fact indicated by the pro-Iraq war votes of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden). It was the mainstream Democratic voters who objected to George W. Bush's anti-constitutional atrocities, not their leaders. But it only took Barack Obama approving torture and war to make “centrist” Democratic voters approve them too; it only took Barack Obama quietly accepting both Patriot Acts and adding on some additional authoritarian garbage of his own—check out the Insider Threat program sometime—to make “centrist” Democratic voters decide that civil liberties were a frivolous luxury, just like Bush supporters had been saying for eight years. Since “centrist” Democrats held all power in the Democratic party, that left bigotry as the only apparent difference between Democrats and Bush Republicans—a perfect situation if you want to agree on almost every policy while still presenting a front of vehement partisan opposition.

In fact, Anton Bursch got more than he hoped for, because Obama’s approval had the same relationship to Bush-era ideas that a money-laundering scheme has to Mafia drug money. It cleaned those ideas right up, giving a nice shine and polish to their credibility. Even some of the “Greens” embraced torture, war, indefinite detention, surveillance--because Obama did. You can't disagree with Barack Obama. If you disagree with Obama, you are disagreeing with the Inheritor of the Dream. You don’t disagree with the Inheritor of the Dream. Not unless you’re a bigot.

Here’s where the Great Realignment really started cooking with gas, and here’s where Obama, in particular, really brought about change. He changed the nature of the left—radically. Prior to Obama, the left was defined by its policy preferences. So was the right—but the right also had something the left didn’t have: an unquestioning authoritarian hero-worship of its leaders. The left analyzed and criticized its leadership, usually in reference to policy goals. The oft-lamented “circular firing squad” was actually the expression of an anti-authoritarian, policy-centered impulse on the part of left-wing Democrats, and despite all the efforts of the Clintons and their friends, the threat of Republican political victories could not entirely quell it. (Another commenter at TOP, paraphrasing Hannibal Lector, described that threat thus: It puts the Clinton on its skin or else it gets the Bush again.)

Barack Obama was the pretext for the development of an entirely new political culture. Developed in the fertile growth medium of the Internet, this culture wedded a carefully tailored version of the left’s traditional opposition to bigotry to the methods and values of Senator Joseph McCarthy. It was no longer acceptable to criticize Democratic leaders, or even to disagree with them. Doing so meant you were a bigot. “Centrist” Democrats now possessed a formidable weapon to enforce a new culture of Democratic authoritarianism. Even worse, unquestioning support of political leaders was suddenly being presented as synonymous with fighting bigotry. It used to be that you determined which leaders you supported by looking to see if they were fighting bigotry through their policies. No more. After Obama, Democratic leaders are assumed to be fighting bigotry simply through their existence. This even applies to rich, heterosexual, white, cis men. (“If you don’t vote for me, you’re not black,” said Joe Biden). All they have to do to fight bigotry is to win elections.

By the way, if they don’t win elections, they still aren’t to blame. You are. Your insufficient loyalty made them fail.

Or maybe it was Russia.

Now, rather than looking to see if political leaders are bigots or not, we look to see if voters are bigots or not. How do we know? By finding out which political leaders have their loyalty. If you’re not a bigot, you will always vote for the Democrat. If you're not a bigot, you will always accept the Democrat the party hands you as nominee without question, even if they have committed election fraud and voter suppression to ensure that their nominee of choice succeeds.

But voting for the Democrat is not enough. You also have to watch your mouth. Saying something critical of a Democratic leader could undermine their chances of (re)election, which is the same thing as undermining the fight against bigotry; thus, only racists, sexists, and homophobes would ever disagree with a Democratic politician in public. For instance, you should never bring up the fact that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden were instrumental in creating what is possibly the most racist American law of the late twentieth century. You should never bring up the fact that Hillary Clinton once said “Hard-working Americans, white Americans, won’t vote for Barack Obama,” nor the fact that she once compared black children to savage animals who needed to be “brought to heel.” You shouldn’t mention that Joe Biden said “If you don’t vote for me, you’re not black.” And you certainly shouldn’t bring up the fact that Kamala Harris let future Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walk when she had ample evidence to prosecute him for fraud—meanwhile delighting in putting black and brown people in jail for selling marijuana and keeping them there, even after California legalized the sale of marijuana.

harris.jpg

The Great Realignment is essentially an exercise in rewriting the political dictionary. The “left” gets redefined to include support for Bush-era authoritarianism and Bill Clinton’s neoliberal predator economy (NAFTA, CAFTA, the TPP, the destruction of working people’s spending power, the deregulation and bailout of banks, and all the other manifestations of corporatism and disaster capitalism). This new “left” is thus little more than a pretense that supporting existing power relations somehow adds up to an ideological, or even an ethical, position. What the new “left” really does is wrap obeisance to current power relations in an ethical candy shell, sweetening its grim policies and grimmer politics with the visible promotion of individual LGBTQ people and people of color (and some heterosexual cis white women). The promotion of politicians and celebrities from traditionally oppressed groups has been substituted for the practice of actual social justice politics, which, since it concerns itself with the conditions of people’s lives, can only exist in the presence of actual policy reform.

Like a changeling in the crib of American politics, this new left serves the primary function of covering up an absence: the absence of at least half the American political spectrum from American politics. Only this kind of cuckoo politics can enable the powerful to achieve their real goal: removing traditional leftism from the American political imagination. You can't just suppress the ideas of half of America and leave an empty hole for all to see. That would likely inspire resistance. It's necessary to fill that space up with something that resembles what used to be there just enough to silence criticism. So, after decades of demonizing and suppressing traditional left-wing ideas, they cover up the absence of such ideas from American politics in the hopes that the American public will soon forget that they ever existed. Far better than traditional censorship and suppression (though they use those methods too), changeling (or cuckoo) politics fills the space where leftist policy used to reside with a carefully tailored form of identity politics that eschews history and actual policy change ("If BLM approaches you...don't offer support for concrete policy positions," said the internal DCCC memo).

The only reason this strategy succeeds is that most of the liberals and a significant portion of the left have rallied in support of the changeling, vehemently attacking those who express skepticism about the changeling's nature and identity. These liberals and former leftists provide a character reference for the changeling politics in the crib, deflecting criticism and skepticism from the cuckoo to its critics. All the King's horses and all the king's men could not make this strategy work without the cooperation of American liberals and leftists.

The million-dollar question is: why do they do it? The answer is pretty sad. Much like believing that Trump is unprecedented, cuckoo politics enables liberals and left-wingers to retain faith in their society and avoid the terror of realizing that one is in the hands of relentless sociopaths and liars. Cuckoo politics provides a place for left-wingers to put their energy and a way for them to feel that they are a part of a working social system. Thus, believing in cuckoo politics gives left-wingers a way to escape from the existential agony of watching the world burn at the hands of a political system in which they have little agency. The only price is one’s honesty.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

How are you all this morning?

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12 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal That is a beautifully written well thought out essay to start our day with.

Not going to add much except that looking at your info using more cynical terms it seems to me that whatever the Seen politics are, the underlying effort is between the Power at the top, which artificially divides itself into commercially appealing sections.

So some are Left and some are Right. Radical Left and Insane Far Right. All playing in the same band, however.

Against the rest of us.

As your final paragraph makes clear. "The million-dollar question is: why do they do it? The answer is pretty sad. Much like believing that Trump is unprecedented, cuckoo politics enables liberals and left-wingers to retain faith in their society and avoid the terror of realizing that one is in the hands of relentless sociopaths and liars. Cuckoo politics provides a place for left-wingers to put their energy and a way for them to feel that they are a part of a working social system. Thus, believing in cuckoo politics gives left-wingers a way to escape from the existential agony of watching the world burn at the hands of a political system in which they have little agency. The only price is one’s honesty."

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NYCVG

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@NYCVG

I like the idea of dividing us up into marketable categories. Well, I don't *like* it--you know what I mean. It's a good formulation of where we are, and if we look at things through that lens, interesting stuff might emerge to our gaze.

I think I share the belief that these categories are arbitrary, but do not feel that they are therefore insignificant. What I'm discussing in this series is how the past 45 years have seen the deliberate shifting of the Overton window to the right and a lot of redefinitions of what it means to be right and left. These machinations have led us here, and are the past efforts of an ugly political enterprise on the part, apparently, of the security state, the financiers, and the richest and most powerful industrialists. Now that they have redefined right and left to suit them, they can weaponize those categories to the fullest extent and set us at each others' throats. Not that they couldn't do that while they were shifting the Overton window--it's just that now they've done all the groundwork they need to rid the categories of any ideas that might be inconvenient to them.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

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7 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Lookout's picture

that sold out the dims and the people with his turd way (ie pro corporate sell out).

Clinton gave us NAFTA
the telecommuications bill
the crime bill
our first NATO only war without UN approval https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/world/europe/041899k...
eliminated 500,000 federal jobs
as well as eliminating Glass-Steagall turning banks into gambling casinos (which lead to the 2008 economic collapse)

plus more...

So Clinton is the one I tag for the corporatization of the party. Now Obummer misrepresented himself and was really just a shill for Wall Street, Fossil Fuel, the MIC, and more. Just saying the real sell out happened before he took office. Obomber was just a good liar in chief speaking pretty words with and attractive family that fooled most of us.

I can't see an iota of difference in dim and rethug prowar policies. Both parties are completely captured and controlled by the MIC and CIA.

Thanks for the thoughtful essay and OT!

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13 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Lookout Aldo Leopold. We used readings from it for our wedding. The one that your comment brought back is the idea that geese take off in still winter conditions and head south, not knowing what the other end will bring. Starting relationships is like that. The times we are in are definitely like that. We don't know what the future might bring. Near or distant.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Azazello's picture

@Lookout
Bill Clinton was the worst president of my lifetime.
Hands down. Worse than W, who blew up the middle east.
Worse than Reagan, who unleashed neoliberalism on the country.
Perverting the Democratic Party was the least of his crimes.

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It didn't have to be this way.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

All the policy betrayals were there before Obama. What he brought to the table was a way that the elites could portray themselves as virtuous humanists, even while they essentially brutalize people. All it takes is to have a few black people, or LGBTQ people, or a few cis white women to assert that opponents of the establishment are bigots. Every time a criticism comes up, send a person or a bot to attack the critic as a bigot. The binary nature of people's thinking will then come up with the idea that the establishment must be either fighting bigotry, or full of victims of bigotry, or both (AOC has been a prime example of this strategy).

None of this worked before Obama. It's as if electing the nation's first black president gave the establishment some moral credibility, which then caused a lot of liberals and even the left to fall in line, brushing away inconvenient truths because Obama was there to make it easy to sweep them all under the rug.

It *must* be OK if Obama does it!

Why are you opposing drone strikes? Do you have a problem with black male authority?

(I always replied, "I helped put the black male authority in the White House.")

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9 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Lookout's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I noticed we didn't have a Dose, so I put one up figuring you had forgotten. Hope you don't mind.

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

and put one up quite belatedly, so there's probably two.

Thanks for pinch hitting for me and my absentmindedness!

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5 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

usefewersyllables's picture

of any thoughts of "the people" really got rolling with Reagan, to my way of thinking- the permanent era of the affable incompetent republican and the conniving two-faced democrat really started to peak right about then. But it had been coming for a long time, and nothing had been sufficient to either make people aware of it, or willing to do anything about it. My favorite Hunter S. Thompson quote from "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail" covers it pretty well:

But what about next time? Who is going to explain in 1976 that all the people who felt they got burned in '72 should "try again" for another bogus challenger? Four years from now there will be two entire generations - between the ages of twenty-two and forty - who will not give a hoot in hell about any election, and their apathy will be rooted in personal experience. Four years from now it will be very difficult to convince anybody who has gone from Johnson/Goldwater to Humphrey/Nixon to Nixon/Muskie that there is any possible reason for getting involved in another bullshit election...

Credulity is the only reason the dems get any votes from progressives. Period, full stop. There are always starry-eyed new people coming into the process who believe that Their Generation Will Be The One That Will Make The Difference, as the old ones burn out and tune out or die off. "This time for sure!", and all that.

I know whereof I speak: I was one of those starry-eyed types, even though I was also a member of one of the two generations that HST said would be done with politics after '72. Took me over 40 years, and Bernie's abject capitulations in 2016 and 2020, to finally come to the following realization: "No, your generation won't be the one to make the difference."

As Lily Tomlin said: "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." Twice bitten, permanently shy.

On a happier note: my wife and I are now participating in a migration-time ritual that we've developed over the fast few years. We live only about a mile from the only new water project in Colorado in years, the Reuter-Hess Reservoir. They've been slowly filling it over the past decade or so, and it is now a major stopover on the Front Range Flyway for many migrating birds. We go out on the deck and watch wave after wave of geese fly in at sunset to overnight, rest, and feed at the reservoir.

But the best part happens early the next day. In the morning, when the sun first breaks the horizon, they rise as a huge flock to continue their journeys. Literally tens of thousands of geese then fly over our house as they warm up their wings and raucously set sail. They are countless, still, somehow. Somehow. And a ray of hope always flies on their wings.

Times like this, I wouldn't mind a set of wings myself. I'd be inclined to join them...

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@usefewersyllables

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NYCVG

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@usefewersyllables

And Americans in particular, because of our never-say-die ideology, are prone to take the bait you describe:

Credulity is the only reason the dems get any votes from progressives. Period, full stop. There are always starry-eyed new people coming into the process who believe that Their Generation Will Be The One That Will Make The Difference, as the old ones burn out and tune out or die off. "This time for sure!", and all that.

The thing that's harder to understand is why the people who've been involved with this shit--or even just watching it--for thirty to fifty years still fall for it. And lately, it's been much more people over forty-five than under who have been vehemently defending the Party leaders and the Party line.

But I think I have a pretty good idea why--now.

I know whereof I speak: I was one of those starry-eyed types, even though I was also a member of one of the two generations that HST said would be done with politics after '72.

Yeah, me too (in re: being one of those starry-eyed types, not one of those two generations--in 1972, I was four years old and singing "Admiral Halsey" with my mom in Fort Collins, Colorado. My mom would sing "Haaaands across the water!" and I'd reply "Water!" Heh.)

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3 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@usefewersyllables

When the sun turns traitor-cold and all the trees are shivering in a naked road
I get the urge for going but I never seem to go.

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1 user has voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Dawn's Meta's picture

that thoughts dart off in many directions and which sparks many thoughts. Your current exposition does that.

The one thing that this brings up is how long and when, under whom? Well to me it's the long con. Eisenhower knew this. Why else would he have stated what he was powerless or afraid to confront when he warned of the MIC (which was only the tip of the juggernaut.)?

I believe it has been the long view, the steady move from when voting did matter to peeling back the layers of obfuscation until with Bush, Obama and all the federal and local elections no longer mattered. They gave lip service to promising we would have a social contract then slowly took away the citizens' agency until they no longer hide it.

Obama was the last one to promise and then flagrantly toss those ideas away even before his inauguration. In spite of his own frequent humiliation because of race, he despised the voters and ordinary 'folks'. I don't know what club he thought he could be a part of, but he is not in it.

I just wonder how it was in Europe and other countries. The same?
Thanks again.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Dawn's Meta

I need to pick Kate up from her acupuncture appt and then I got another appointment myself--but I'd like to continue the discussion. I'll be back tomorrow mid-morning my time to talk some more, if any of you care to continue!

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2 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Dawn's Meta

you could pay me:

A sign of a good essay, just personal opinion, is one
that thoughts dart off in many directions and which sparks many thoughts. Your current exposition does that.

Thank you.

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3 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Dawn's Meta

There are many notable points in the development of these conditions. Some people take it all the way back to the Founding, but those sorts of analysis tend to be unspecific, an effort to prove that America is evil and has never been the shining city on the hill, rather than an effort to trace the development of one specific evil driven by (more or less) one set of people and their inheritors. Since I already know that America did not live up to its stated ideals and purpose (that's putting it mildly), I don't need to keep proving America isn't the hallowed ground of democracy. I'm more interested in the specifics that got us from where we were when I was a child to where we are now.

So when did it start? I tend to think it started during World War II, with the Dulles brothers and some of their friends and allies. They were really more in sympathy with the Axis, ideologically anyway, to the point that they sometimes withheld information about what was happening in Europe from FDR. Although FDR was no saint, he and his machine were the obstacle the Dulles brothers had to overcome, and, unfortunately, ill health eventually opened the way for them. A healthy FDR would never have chosen Truman (I think he wanted to choose Wallace, but I might be getting that wrong; anyway, he didn't have the energy or will to fight the rest of the party into line at the end of his life).

When the war ended and the CIA was formally made a part of our government, the Dulles brothers came back from Europe and basically set up a kind of shadow government (not in the British sense, but a real government in the shadows), in opposition to JFK. I don't know how much they pushed back against Ike and his policies. If anybody has information about that, please share! I do think they were behind Joe McCarthy--a first sortie, a test run of fascism--but I don't have evidence of that yet.

1963 was the first moment, IMO, that this cabal did something visible and brutal. (And invented the phrase "conspiracy theorist" to cover their collective asses).

1968, well...you guys were there. I was, too, but as a newborn infant, so I was busy learning to be human and had no time for politics Smile 1968 saw multiple assassinations of anybody who opposed the interests of that cabal, and, basically, the transformation of the Democratic party into a political vehicle which could not oppose them. They didn't want another FDR.

They still hadn't really won, though. Fuckface Lewis Powell had to write them a memo explaining how politics arises from culture, so you can't achieve totalitarian control over anything by simply engaging in political machinations--you have to transform the underlying culture. That was, I think, in 1972, and that was the event that really kicked off the politics we've been living in for the past forty years.

Around 1978, the new right started making noise, riding on the back of a bunch of right-wing Christians too stupid to understand they were being used. (They wouldn't understand it either, not until about thirty years later, when their secular "friends" started shedding them like a dirty shirt.)

In 1980, Reagan took the Presidency. Do I need to remind anybody about the filthy October surprise t that year? To my mind, has Kissinger and the CIA's fingerprints all over it, but, again, I haven't tracked down the evidence of that, since I've never written anything that goes back that far. Maybe I should.

There's a lot I could say about why a whole bunch of people who used to be left-wing abandoned their ideals and ethics and rallied to Reagan, but it's basically another version of what I'm saying now: People didn't want to feel depressed and defeated anymore. They wanted to forget about how all the wonder and all the efforts of the 60s and early 70s had failed. As P J O'Rourke once said, it was fun to be left-wing in the 60s; it wasn't fun to be left-wing in the 80s, so he changed. Siding with Reagan made people feel much better: they could imagine themselves to be winners and could also imagine that the world they inhabited had little wrong with it.

Once Reagan had won twice, what was left of resistance in the Democratic party was permanently demoralized, and ripe for Clinton's subversion.

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3 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal by David Talbot has a lot of the information you refer to here.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

snoopydawg's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

In 1980, Reagan took the Presidency. Do I need to remind anybody about the filthy October surprise t that year?

I need reminding of what happened. I wasn’t into politics yet. Just after Reagan I started paying attention some.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg

to delay the release of the hostages until after the election.

So those people had to endure another month or six weeks of god knows what so that Reagan could be President.

(I also have some doubts about the one helicopter that inexplicably turned back when Carter tried to rescue the hostages, thus ending the mission before it started.)

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Excellent distillation of where we are now. That million-dollar question is one I've been asking myself for years. With most polls showing support for Bernies lefty platform, why do we always end up with democrats that have that hard right crunchy center with a soft, chewy republican lite outer cover, all the while mouthing insincere FDR-isms? It was Carter that started the deregulation ball rolling.

More and more it looks like we are being played, from cradle to grave, with a government that runs on corruption. It has one aim, to make the wealthy wealthier, and put the cost of running the government on our backs.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Snode

The political mechanism they're using to re-engineer society is slightly complicated, so it requires some precision in the writing. Which is why I'm going to revise this essay probably at least a couple of times more.

but thank you for your encouraging words; it's good to know I'm on the right track!

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7 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

But then, so did Clinton. Oh, and Bernie.
Oh, and Tulsi.
Not to forget, the entire Squad.
Even Carter.
The only politician in my lifetime that did what he said he would do is JFK. He was 2 weeks away from disbanding the CIA, but he got into some big trouble in Dallas.
They suck All of them.
Maybe the exception is Kucinich.
Can anyone think of any policy Trump put into place that Biden has altered in any way? I am stumped.
Good morning, CTSTM. I will have some more coffee now, get braced for a busy work day.

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14 users have voted.
Dawn's Meta's picture

@on the cusp Yes to Carter (I wish I had the list of policies and bills he moved on to nudge the US into the system we see now.)

And yes to JFK.

So sad.

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8 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

@Dawn's Meta who has put together a 2 hour and 4 hour documentary about the JFK assassination.
One of his observations is a harsh truth: Since Kennedy, no president has bucked the MIC or CIA, because they are scared to death of them.

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11 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp

Not that I've ever had anything like complete faith in her, but I have had no reason to consign her to the trash-bin of history along with most of the others you name.

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2 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp

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2 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Azazello's picture

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8 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Azazello

Thanks for stopping by.

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7 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

DAE1F71A-E08F-4D0C-AC9A-D51CB5F892AC.jpeg

Would love to have listened in on this conversation.

NAILED IT

He changed the nature of the left—radically. Prior to Obama, the left was defined by its policy preferences. So was the right—but the right also had something the left didn’t have: an unquestioning authoritarian hero-worship of its leaders. The left analyzed and criticized its leadership, usually in reference to policy goals. The oft-lamented “circular firing squad” was actually the expression of an anti-authoritarian, policy-centered impulse on the part of left-wing Democrats, and despite all the efforts of the Clintons and their friends, the threat of Republican political victories could not entirely quell it.

I’ll never forget the day I was told that Obama’s use of drones was acceptable because they saved the troop's lives. I was also called racist any time I criticized the Great Obama no matter what he did. The same gatekeepers on ToP still pop up any time someone there has a hint of criticism for democrats. Their role is to keep people from straying from the belief that democrats can only do good whilst it’s republicans that have to be defeated at all costs. They blindly overlooked Pelosi giving Trump everything he wanted and Schumer letting McConnell stack the federal courts and DiFi and others actually voting to confirm some of the worst judges who were deemed not qualified. In case you didn’t know every person who was/is considered for the court have to be agreed on by the dem/pub representative from the state. When the parliamentarian overruled democrats raising the minimum wage or to let democrats pass DACA they were right there to quell all grumbling about it.

It’s not just Bush being rehabilitated after he said something critical about Trump. The architects of the Iraq war like David Frum, Bill Krystal, the guys from the Lincoln project are often quoted there now and boy golly even Liz Cheney has become great in their eyes because she’s on Pelosi’s 1/6 committee. My uncle wrote, "thank you Liz Cheney for your leadership." With lots of emojis. Never mind that they were responsible for some of the heinous bills that republicans passed in the past that hurt the regular American folks.

And don’t forget how democrats weaponized the MeToo movement used against republicans and Kavanaugh and any accused of sexual assault until it was democrats being the ones accused of doing it. Tara Reid was treated just as viscously as Paula Jones, Anita Hill, Broderick and Monica Lewinsky. Trump is guilty of sexual assault before trial. Democrats are not guilty because it’s Russian propaganda.

Well done.

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8 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg

I remember long ago you asked me to write about why these True Blue Democratic liberals (and even some lefties) do what they do.

I hadn't forgotten. Smile It just took me a long time.

Thanks for stopping by.

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5 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

All good things come to those who wait. This was well worth the wait.
Thanks again.

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5 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg

of the mechanism underlying the War on Terror:

Their role is to keep people from straying from the belief that democrats can only do good whilst it’s republicans that have to be defeated at all costs.

"Your principles and concerns are a luxury, a liability we can't afford, because of the Big Scary Man over there! In fact, if you keep talking about your principles and concerns, you're probably a traitor who wants the Big Scary Man to win!"

Where the traditional right had the word "Communist," insert the word "Republican," and where the neoconservatives had the word "terrorist," insert one of the following words: "racist," "sexist," "homophobe," "transphobe," "bigot."

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2 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Your principles and concerns are a luxury, a liability we can't afford, because of the Big Scary Man over there!

But then something keeps them from seeing those good democrats always helps the bad man we had to keep from winning. Pelosi’s giving Trump everything he wanted somehow went unnoticed by the gatekeepers. And if anyone tried pointing it out they were right there telling people to put their blinders on. It’s like clockwork over there.

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2 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

enhydra lutris's picture

Nothing to add or contribute. Thanks ever so much.

be well and have a good one

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7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

and especially for stopping by.

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1 user has voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

What do we do???

I am sick and tired of this regime, and regardless of my legitimate excuses or the urging of others to "go live my own life", I feel like a coward for not doing what SOMEBODY DESPERATELY NEEDS TO DO.

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6 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

@The Liberal Moonbat @The Liberal Moonbat I have that same feeling or question. My current theory is fixing these matters is going to involve typewriters.

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4 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@jejune harpoon

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3 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

but what I do have, I'll put in an essay. Probably not an OT, since it will touch on some issues that I can't include in an OT.

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4 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

I do not disagree with any of the points made. It is also extremely well written and logical. Thank you.

.

I want to add a couple of points to the analysis.

The Presidents before FDR were, in reverse order, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Taft, T. Rosevelt and McKinley. Throughout the first decades of the 20th Century, there were several long-term protest movements on behalf of women, African Americans, workers and direct democracy. The Democrats were not much help during those years, and Wilson moved backward.

FDR delivered significant economic reforms that led to the Golden Age of the American Middle Class.

For every action there is re-action. The current agenda that took over our public consciousness in the 1970s, and the government as a whole in the 1980s is an overt assault on the New Deal. The thought process was simple -- expressed by probably the most influential ideologue of the Reagan-Bushes brand of politics, Grover Norquist
.

Norquist favors dramatically reducing the size of government.[12] He has been noted for his widely quoted quip:

I'm not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."[55]

Journalist William Greider quotes him saying his goal is to bring America back to what it was "up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that."[56] When asked by journalist Steven Kroft about the goal of chopping government "in half and then shrink it again to where we were at the turn of the [20th] century" before Social Security and Medicare, Norquist replied, "We functioned in this country with government at eight percent of GDP for a long time and quite well."

.

This basic notion of reactionary public policy was a proven loser at the ballot box, and so Norquist and the GOP used the racial divide to isolate the Democrats who became the party of Civil Rights in the 1960s. Instead of preaching the virtue of small government, the Republicans mastered Dog Whistle Racist Politics -- the Welfare Queen for Reagan, Willie Horton for Poppy Bush.

Bill Clinton "stole the GOP agenda" by doing things like signing the Death Warrant for Ricky Ray Rector, having Hillary call "them" super predators along with passing a host of legislation to End Welfare as We Know It and to put those super predators in jail for long stretches.

Slick got away with this racist policy by being a cool guy without a corncob up his ass. He was the proto-Barack, offering a style that suggested to potential Democratic voters that he was infinitely more respectful of African Americans and their distinct sub-culture than anybody in the Republican Party.

The GOP returned to the Presidency in the new century with tiny victories in 2000 and 2004 based on very funky vote counts both times. That eightyear term did two things: It cemented the country into open ended war forever; it also pissed off enough of their own constituency to put a black guy in the White House.

There would be no way to rationalize a black president playing to their racist base. So Big Money changed sides, abandoning the Angry White Males and the women who could stand them. Now corporate America sponsors Black Lives Matter and the mass media enforces political correctness the same way that the Hays Office ruined the career of Mae West, and the way that Joe McCarthy ruined the careers of lots of hapless lefties in show business and in the Government.

Religion and Race Baiting are the permanent means of dividing the people in this and every other country on earth. The breathtaking efficiency of this switching of political sides by Big Money has left the overwhelming majority of politics junkies totally disoriented -- and erstwhile anti-establishment "liberals" are now openly cheerleading for totalitarianism. Like all totalitarian political movements, the power of the state to crush the Other Side is presumed to only be used against people who deserve it.

.
In short, there is nothing new about corruption or tyranny or the politics of divide and conquer. We all "know" that intellectually, but not very many of us -- especially those of us who are white -- have ever experienced the kind of oppression that has been the norm rather than the exception throughout human history.

A Republic, if you can keep it. Not looking good at this point, but it ain't over until the fat lady sings.

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8 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@fire with fire

Thank you for engaging so deeply with what I wrote. It will take a little time for me to adequately respond to your words. And I'm off to the doctor right now, so I'll have to get back to it--likely early tomorrow morning, as family obligations have stacked up since yesterday!

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3 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@fire with fire

Anyone who wants to know what kind of person Clinton is - check this story.
https://jacobinmag.com/2016/11/bill-clinton-rickey-rector-death-penalty-...

Hell won't be hot enough, in my opinion.

Bill Clinton "stole the GOP agenda" by doing things like signing the Death Warrant for Ricky Ray Rector, having Hillary call "them" super predators along with passing a host of legislation to End Welfare as We Know It and to put those super predators in jail for long stretches.

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3 users have voted.

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5 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@irishking

Glad you're feeling all right, too. Smile

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2 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

thought it fit the theme of your excellent piece.

have to remember not everyone was around for the 60s.
written by Dave Mason - appeared on Traffic (second album) 1968

Here are lyrics:

Feelin' Alright?

Seems I've got to have a change of scene
'Cause every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I've got to leave before I start to scream
But someone's locked the door and took the key

You feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself
Well, you feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself (oh yeah)

Well, you sure took me for one big ride
And even now I sit and wonder why
That when I think of you I start to cry
I just can't waste my time, I must keep dry
Gotta stop believin' in all your lies
'Cause there's too much to do before I die

You feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself
Well, you feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself (oh yeah)

Don't get too lost in all I say
Though at the time I really felt that way
But that was then, now it's today
I can't get off yet so I'm here to stay
Till someone comes along and takes my place
With a different name and, yes, a different face

You feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself
Well, you feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself (oh)

You feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself
You feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself (I'm not feeling too good, too good, too good)
You feelin' alright
I'm not feelin' too good myself (oh)
You feelin' alright
Oh I hope you're feeling alright
Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright

Joe Cocker covered it in 1969 and has best known version.
He removed ? from title, which is misleading.

I found the performance above, which highlights his dance moves and cool boots.
Annoying backup singer though. aarrrgh.

best wishes.

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2 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@irishking

And to think I was something of a Traffic fan myself! But mostly of The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys vintage.

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1 user has voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Mr.Fantasy was the lead tune of first Traffic album.
Winwood could still bring it in 2007.

best wishes.

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