Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Secret of American Politics

 

The Secret of American Politics

Peter Schultz

 

            Here’s the secret of American politics that can’t be expressed without undermining the legitimacy of our governing elites and even the legitimacy of our allegedly exceptional way of life: The American political and social orders have functioned and are functioning as well as they do only by relying on force, deception, deceit, and cunning. To the contrary, it must be assumed and propagated that the American way of life is naturally stable, just, free, and prosperous,  and that these characteristics do not depend on force, deception, deceit, or cunning. As noted, the secret  - that in fact the American way of life depends on force, deception, deceit, and cunning – must be kept secret at all costs because once that secret is out, then the “American dream” will be recognized for what it really is, the American nightmare.

 

            So, some of the most important events in American history are to be seen as aberrations, e.g., crazy, lone gunmen murdering powerful public figures who were rebelling against, challenging the established order, the reigning elite, the oligarchy. Other events, like the Vietnam War, become “quagmires” that the nation was sucked into, not wars of choice undertaken for the sake of creating, preserving, fortifying the stability “the homeland,” the naturally peaceful, stable, prosperous, free, and just “homeland.”

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Pete Buttigieg Is Full of Shit

 

Buttigieg Is Full of Shit

Peter Schultz

 

      Pete Buttigieg: ‘A lot of the mistrust in our country right now is the result of policy failure.’ [See the link below.]

            Actually, in this regard Buttigieg is full of shit. He’s dead wrong about why people mistrust “the government.” In fact, they don’t mistrust the government but they do distrust the elites that control the government. And they don’t mistrust those elites because of policy failures, but rather because of policy successes. Among those successes are our endless but optional wars in Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Korea. Also among the policy successes is the ever-increasing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us, a policy that lowers the status of the middle and lower classes while raising the economic status of the wealthy.

 

            These policies must be labeled successful because they have, as they were intended to do, kept our oligarchic imperialists in power. In fact, they have fortified the power of those elites, and at the expense of the rest of us and of the nation. It is important to call out Buttigieg’s propaganda, because that’s what it is but also because if we don’t know why and how our elites govern, we cannot change our situation. Electing someone like Biden, who has never shown the least bit of anxiety over the oligarchic imperialism that controls the US, illustrates the problem. Joe cannot possibly correct what’s wrong in the US because he has spent decades endorsing those policies. To think otherwise is to prove one’s naiveté, one’s political ignorance. And, of course, to think otherwise is to ratify, fortify the existing situation.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/pete-buttigieg-a-lot-of-the-mistrust-in-our-country-right-now-is-the-result-of-policy-failure/2021/03/26/ec4769b4-7acd-11eb-b3d1-9e5aa3d5220c_story.html

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Tom Sawyer and the Politics of Failure

 

Tom Sawyer and the Politics of Failure

Peter Schultz

 

            Tom’s antics at the end of Huckleberry Finn are in the service, ostensibly, of freeing Jim from his imprisonment and his slavery. But Jim is already free and Tom knows it. Tom antics than willingly prolong Jim’s imprisonment in order to demonstrate Tom’s intelligence by engaging in pseudo-events, as they would be called today. Tom demonstrates or thinks he demonstrates his power, playing at Jim’s liberation, but Tom’s machinations fail and almost get Tom, Jim, and Huck killed.

 

            Not only are Tom’s antics un-necessary, even farcical, but fail on their own terms. Tom doesn’t demonstrate intelligence, if intelligence is understood as leading to success. Tom’s attempts to free Jim fail, even fail miserably.

 

            Tom’s antics are thoroughly determined by his “book learning,” by his “education,” as it were, in “the classics.” So Tom’s education also doesn’t lead to freedom for Jim. Tom’s education is also a failure as he doesn’t accomplish, perhaps cannot accomplish what he wants to accomplish. His education is essentially sterile, even impotent.  

 

            Tom practices what might be called “a politics of failure.” That is, Tom does not achieve success regarding Jim’s liberation, even while achieving success in the sense of gaining an enhanced, even premier reputation, becoming famous, being quoted, and having his life glorified – a process that Twain accomplished with his novel insofar as Tom is seen by many as a model that Americans should follow. Ton is, in the minds of many who have read Twain’s novel, rightly “the model boy of the village.”

 

As this indicates, Tom’s failures, his deceptions, his frauds, even when revealed don’t undermine his reputation. “We the people” like Tom and his actions even though these actions are deceptive, fraudulent [his winning the prize Bible and like his “death” and “resurrection”], and even dangerously farcical [like his attempts to liberate Jim]. And for some reason, my imagination runs to people like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, as other deceivers and frauds who became “the model boys of the village.”

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Hostile Work Places: A Traditional Value

 

Hostile Work Places: A Traditional Value

Peter Schultz

 

            Below is a link to an article in the Washington Post, March 7, 2021, about how Andrew Cuomo and his “aggressive style” is said to have created a hostile work environment that encompassed charges of sexual harassment. Here is one quote from one of Cuomo’s aides, Peter Ajemian:

 

“This did not happen,” he said. “Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago.”

 

            Most people accept the implication that what Cuomo did was something of an aberration whereas Ajemian’s quote reveals that this was not the case, that the hostile work environment Cuomo embraced was, in fact, quite normal given how we Americans think about and do politics.

 

            That Karen Hinton was “a known antagonist of the Governor” who sought “to score cheap points with made up allegations” from a long time ago is course a good description of how Americans think about and do politics. Antagonism is the life-blood of American politics, and perhaps of any politics. And, of course, it is to be expected, as Ajemian’s quote implies. In other words, the hostility that Cuomo is said to have embraced is anything but aberrational. Hostility is what antagonism begets, always and everywhere.

 

            This is the problem with the arguments that what is needed is a return to “traditional values” in order to solve the problem of hostile work environments. It is precisely those values that lead to, that facilitate the creation of such work places. What are needed are non-traditional values, new or different values, if the phenomenon like hostile work places are to disappear or be reformed.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cuomo-toxic-workplace/2021/03/06/7f7c5b9c-7dd3-11eb-b3d1-9e5aa3d5220c_story.html

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Just What the Doctor Ordered: An "Insurrection"

 

Just What the Doctor Ordered: An “Insurrection”

Peter Schultz

 

            There is a marvelously revealing book about American politics entitled The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went To War Against Its Own Citizens,” authored by Bernard E. Harcourt of Columbia University. In it, early on, he makes the following observations:

 

“We are now witnessing the triumph of a counterinsurgency model of government on American soil in the absence of an insurgency or uprising or rebellion. The perfected logic of counterinsurgency now applies regardless of whether there is a domestic insurrection. We now face a counterinsurgency without an insurgency. A counterrevolution without a revolution. The pure form of counterrevolution, without a revolution, as a simple modality of governing at home – what could be called “The Counterrevolution.” [p. 12, emphasis in the original]

 

            Harcourt published his book in 2018, obviously much before the “insurrection” that took place on 1/6/2021. But it is fair to say that given the creation by our government of a counterrevolution, of a counterinsurgency model of government, even in the absence of a domestic insurrection, the claim that the 1/6 protests, involving the “occupation” of the Capitol, constituted an “insurrection” was to be expected. Not only was it to be expected, it was even to be almost welcomed insofar as this “insurrection” fortified the counterrevolution our elites had already embraced. “The counterinsurgency model of government on American soil” no longer wanted an “insurrection,” a “revolution,” an “insurgency” to justify itself. For those who have embraced the counterinsurgency model of government on American soil, the 1/6 “insurrection” was almost like manna from heaven.

 

            So of course that those embracing the counterinsurgency model of government would exaggerate the violence of the 1/6 “insurrection,” claiming that it was an attack on law enforcement personnel that targeted and proved to be deadly for at least one law enforcement officer, should come as no surprise. Moreover, that those embracing this model of government would move against Trump based on the Fourteenth Amendment is in no way surprising, because in that way they could equate the events of 1/6 with the insurrection created when several slave states seceded from the union, thereby leading to the Civil War. Such are the fantasies that now support and fortify the counterinsurgency model of government.

 

            So even if there were no actions taken or not taken by our elites that facilitated the events of 1/6, it can be said with certainty that those elites saw those events as almost perfectly suited for fortifying their counterrevolution. And, of course, that Nancy Pelosi and others want a 9/11-type commission to “investigate” the events of 1/6 should not be surprising either. And you can bet that this commission will do all in can to paint as dark a picture of those events as is possible, just as the 9/11 commission painted a picture that allowed Dick Cheney to assert, almost without objection, the US needed “to go to the dark side.” That many are recommending the waging of a war on domestic terrorism confirms this. The lights are going out all over the US and it’s anyone’s guess how the nation will fare in the coming darkness.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Hunting of Hillary: It's Not Just About Hillary

 

The Hunting of Hillary: It’s Not Just About Hillary

Peter Schultz

 

            The full title of Michael D’Antonio’s book is The Hunting of Hillary: The Forty-Year to Destroy Hillary Clinton. There is certainly no adequate reason to suspect those who were hunting Hillary Clinton were not out to destroy her. But these “hunters” weren’t only after Hillary; she wasn’t the only or perhaps even the real target. The real target was any political reform, any political change that could be plausibly deemed significant. And because this is the case, the “hunters” don’t care if their charges against Hillary successfully destroy Hillary or not. Because she’s not their real target, even if she were not destroyed, their campaign could still be considered successful. As a result, the truth or accuracy of their charges against Hillary is irrelevant.

 

            Also, as a result, attempts like D’Antonio’s to refute the charges made against Hillary – which is quite easy to do – are irrelevant. D’Antonio does a decent job of exposing most of the lies told about Hillary, her husband, and her life. But, actually, this exposure doesn’t really matter because what is being conducted is a political campaign disguised as a personal attack on Hillary. In other words, those “hunters” who appear to be targeting after Hillary are political operatives practicing a kind of politics aimed at undermining the possibility of any significant political reforms and, thereby, preserving the status quo.

 

            And, of course, because this is a kind of politics, it shouldn’t be seen as the preserve of the right wing partisans, as the result of “a vast right-wing conspiracy,” as the Clintons have charged and as D’Antonio asserts time and time again. Right-wing politicians can and do employ this political strategy, but it is a kind of political strategy than can be and has been employed by left-wing types, for example, with regard to Donald Trump. And left-wing politicians employ this strategy for the same reasons that it is employed by right-wing politicians, viz., to undermine the possibility of significant political reform and to preserve and even fortify the status quo.

 

            Each in the same way, left-wing types and right-wing types are pursuing the same political strategy, a strategy that aims at preserving and fortifying the status quo. Which helps explain why, as so many people have noticed, nothing or so little changes issue forth from Washington D.C. It’s not so much that “the system is broken” as it is that our politicians, both those of the left and those of the right, don’t want significant change. They are satisfied with the status quo. Of course, given the fact that most Americans are not satisfied with the status quo, to say the least, our politicians must practice a kind of politics that reaffirms the status quo. Hence, the “politics of personal destruction” that has been and is practiced by our elites. They may pretend to be offended by such a politics but they continually practice it because it serves to preserve their power. It also preserves the political order, which has elevated them to their elite status. As a means of personal destruction, it doesn’t even work, as illustrated by the fact that despite all the attacks on Hillary Clinton, she still go three million more votes than Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. But as a means of preventing any significant change in our politics, this kind of politics has worked admirably well. Therefore, don’t expect it to be abandoned any time soon.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Hunting of Hillary: A Review of Sorts

 

The Hunting of Hillary: A Review of Sorts

Peter Schultz

 

            Michael D’Antonio has written a book entitled The Hunting of Hillary: The Forty-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton. It is very much a book worth reading, as it chronicles how, over four decades, Hillary Clinton has been attacked repeatedly and dishonestly in order to destroy her political career and her personally.

 

            But what D’Antonio describes as a campaign to destroy Hillary wasn’t only that in fact. To be sure, Hillary  was attacked and her political and personal demise sought. No doubt about it. But the real campaign wasn’t directed only at Hillary or the Clintons. Rather, it was directed against popular government in the United States.

 

            This might seem to be a strange thing to write but those attacking the Clintons were – and are – elitists, people convinced that they are, with or without popular support, entitled to govern the United States and control its government. Their attacks on the Clintons and especially on Hillary were not made on behalf of the people or popular government, even though they like to pretend they are by charging the Clintons as elitists. But the elitist charge against the Clintons was not a charge against elitism itself. Rather, it was a charge against the Clintons’ alleged corruption, their personal corruption. The Clintons represented a corrupt elite, while those making the charges represented a decent, an American elite.

 

            And this distinction helps us understand the prevalence and implications of what has been called, appropriately, “the politics of personal destruction.” Such a politics is prevalent because it allows existing, predominant elites to pretend they are opposed to elitism and if favor of a popular politics, when in fact their goal is to fortify their own elite status, even at the expense of popular government.

 

            One measure of a genuinely popular government is the fact that its policies change to reflect popular desires and needs. Another measure is a capacity for changing institutional arrangements when the existing arrangements prove to be obstacles to political change. The politics of personal destruction, however, points away from such changes toward personnel changes. If the Clintons – or Trump – are corrupt, get rid of the Clintons. Problems solved. As a result though, despite personnel changes, the existing policies and institutional arrangements don’t change, which is why people turn off to politics as a futile activity. And these people are correct because the politics of personal destruction has short-circuited popular government.

 

            And because human beings have a seemingly limitless capacity for capricious, immoral, or amoral behavior, there will always be fuel feeding the fire of a politics of personal destruction. Add to this the capacity of human beings to embrace, even wallow in scandals, and the fuel for the fire of a politics of personal destruction seems never ending.

 

            That Hillary was “hunted” for forty years is both shameful and despicable. Hillary deserved better, to be sure. And the US is worse off as a result of those who sought to destroy her political career, as well as her personally. Like so many Vietnam vets, Hillary must feel that she’s been betrayed by her country, a betrayal that might be more traumatic than any personal betrayal she has suffered. How she copes with such trauma – as she has obviously done – is beyond my imagination.

 

            But “the hunting of Hillary” has political implications that go beyond the injustices to which she has been subjected. That hunting reflects a politics of personal destruction that undermines popular government and serves to fortify the elites and their policies that have brought us to the quagmire that currently characterizes our politics. Replacing one “hunter” with other “hunters” only solidifies and fortifies a kind of politics that will not and cannot rescue us from our quagmire. And unlike in Vietnam, we cannot “pull out” to go home. “The hunting of Hillary” was shameful. The politics it reflects is just as shameful and even more dangerous.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

If I Were Advising Trump

 

If I Were Advising Trump

Peter Schultz

 

            If I were advising Trump on confronting the latest impeachment trial against him, here’s what I would advise him to do.

 

            First, he should deny the legitimacy of the trial itself on the grounds that it is unconstitutional to impeach and try a former government official. Personally, I don’t this argument is valid; former officials may be impeached, tried and convicted. But by making the argument that such a proceeding violates the Constitution’s provisions regarding impeachment, Trump would provide cover for those Senators who do think that such impeachments and trials are unconstitutional, an argument they are free to make and follow.  

 

            Second, he should argue that attempts to “incite insurrections” against the established government are, in fact, the essence of politics, at least of radical politics. Of course, he should argue that his attempt to incite such an insurrection was not meant to lead to violence and that he regrets that such violence occurred. But he should point out that even the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. was guilty of “inciting insurrection” against the established order, which is one reason King ended up in an Alabama jail. Trump could follow that up by referencing Malcolm X who once gave a speech, now rather famous, entitled “The Ballot or the Bullet.” And Malcolm X also claimed that blacks should fight for their freedom and equality “by any means necessary.” Again, this was obviously a call for an “insurrection,” which is why Malcolm X was targeted by the FBI, as was MLK also. The FBI was created to oppose and repress “subversive political activity,” and has remained true to its roots, e.g., in the 60s when it targeted anti-war, black power, and even civil rights groups, attempting to undermine them.

 

            Many people seem to think that being investigated by the FBI means that one is a subversive and, therefore, being a subversive is a criminal act. But being a subversive is, in fact, the heart and soul of oppositional politics, of a politics, like Trump’s, which seeks to overthrow the established order. In our republic, subversion is constitutionally protected in several ways, for example, by the first amendment that protects freedom of speech and religious freedom. Both free speech and religion, when the Constitution was written, were recognized as potentially subversive activities and, nonetheless, they were granted constitutional protection. Not only the possibility but the legitimacy of subversive political activity in a republic should be taken for granted now as it was in 1787, when the Constitution was written and then a few years later when it was amended by the addition of the Bill of Rights.

 

            This is the tradition that Trump should draw on because by doing so he not only would throw a monkey wrench into the Democrats’ attempts to convict him, but he would educate a nation about republicanism and its requirements. And this is the kind of education that is desperately needed in the United States today.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Inciting Insurrection: How Trump Should Respond

 

Inciting Insurrection: How Trump Should Respond

Peter Schultz

 

“This trial arises from President Donald J. Trump’s incitement of insurrection against the Republic he swore to protect. The House of Representatives impeached him for that constitutional offense.” So begins the articles of impeachment drawn up and passed by the House of Representatives as the basis of Trump’s second impeachment.

 

Now, this charge raises or should raise an interesting question or two. For example, what constitutes “incitement” and what constitutes “insurrection?” Depending on answers to these questions turns some important implications, leading to another question: Have other presidents, government officials, or politicians incited insurrection against the US government and the alleged republic it represents?

 

Of course, one possibility that comes to mind is the alleged treason by Aaron Burr, when he allegedly tried to organize an insurrection in what was then the western US in order to create a new government there. However, because Burr was acquitted of the treason charge, his “insurrection” rarely receives the attention it deserves.

 

Lincoln, in his campaign for the presidency, raised the possibility that the then president, Buchanan, along with Chief Justice Taney, was involved in a plot to make slavery legitimate throughout the nation, that is, to make the US a slave nation. Certainly, this plot was an insurrection, insofar as it existed, even if not an armed insurrection in the stereotypical form of insurrections. While not advocating an armed invasion and take-over of the national government, it would have resulted in such a take-over on behalf of slavery and slave owners.

 

Were the Republicans who sought to stop the vote recounts in Florida guilty of inciting and engaging in an insurrection? Were the Republicans in 1876, including President Grant, guilty of engaging in an insurrection when they sought, successfully, to deny Tilden the presidency he had clearly won in that election? Grant has national troops at the ready to ensure that Hayes, “Rutherfraud” as he was called, won the presidency. Was Mayor Daley of Chicago guilty of engaging in an insurrection when he made it possible for JFK to win the presidency in 1960 by withholding electoral returns until he knew how many Chicago votes Kennedy would need to offset Nixon’s votes in the rest of Illinois? In fact, can’t any serious political protest be labeled an incitement to insurrection?

 

There are, obviously, different ways to incite the take over of governments, other than by inciting people to take up arms and over throw the established and sitting government forcefully or violently.  One could even say that Trump’s campaign in 2016 was an incitement to take over the US government, was a call to “insurrection.” Isn’t that what Trump meant by “draining the swamp?” And isn’t it also plausible to characterize Trump’s presidency as an incitement to insurrection? Isn’t that what Trump’s first impeachment was about, e.g., the charges of abuse of power?  And isn’t that what makes Trump so attractive to so many people who feel shafted by the established order, viz., that his very persona is an “incitement” to “insurrection?”

 

Inciting insurrection seems then to be the very stuff of politics, insofar as almost any serious challenge to the established government, challenges seeking significant or even radical changes in US policies, may be called an incitement to insurrection. And this is what makes or should make any decision to prosecute people for “inciting insurrection” controversial. It is all-too-easy to use charges of inciting insurrections to stifle political “unrest,” to repress such unrest in order to preserve the established order, however corrupt it might be.

 

And is it possible to say that this danger is non-existent today, as so many are so committed to impeaching Trump for inciting insurrection? If I were advising Trump, I would tell him to embrace the charges, and criticize this second impeachment as just another tactic by the swamp dwellers to preserve their habitat. He should point out how his impeachment on these charges will spill over to include anyone who, whether a Trump supporter or not, advocates or “incites” an “insurrection” against the established order, because it should be acknowledged that not everyone who wishes to “incite” an “insurrection” against the reigning militaristic oligarchy supports Trump. And in this way, Trump could illustrate how his impeachment, so far from rescuing the republic as its proponents proclaim it will do, actually will serve to undermine that republic.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Biden, Bush, 1.6, 9.11

 

Biden, Bush, 1/6, 9/11

Peter Schultz

 

            It’s important to recognize two things about our current situation: (1) The obsequiousness surrounding Joe Biden is nothing new; (2) This obsequiousness serves a political agenda, which also isn’t something new.

 

            “In April 2003, as Saddam Hussein’s cult of personality collapsed across Iraq, George W. Bush’s cult of personality surged in the United States.” [p. 243. Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush] After Bush landed on an aircraft carrier, blazoning a sign, “Mission Accomplished,” Chris Matthews of MSNBC said: “Imagine Joe Lieberman in this costume, or even John Kerry. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our President.” Glen Ifill on PBS, as if to confirm Matthews’ take on women, said: “Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The President seized the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.”  

 

            So the obsequiousness that accompanied the Biden inauguration was nothing new to American politics. Frequently, such delusions infect the body politic, much as Covid 19 has infected our society. It was evident after Nixon resigned, when Reagan defeated Carter in the 1980 presidential election, when Obama won the 2008 presidential election, and, of course, on January 21, when Biden was inaugurated as president and Trump left town.

 

            It is important, however, to understand that at least with regard to the hero-worship of Bush, that followed the 9/11 attacks, as well as the ongoing hero-worship of Joe Biden following the alleged “insurrection” of 1/6, these phenomena serve political purposes. Bush used the attacks on 9/11 to fortify the “New World Order” that his father proclaimed while running Saddam out of Kuwait. The hero-worship was accompanied by attacks on anyone who criticized or doubted Bush’s war on terror and his invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq. Those doubting or criticizing were portrayed as “un-American,” and this was because they were challenging US foreign policy, which was and is an essential part of our New World Order. In other words, the critics weren’t just challenging the Iraq invasion alone, because their criticisms threatened to undermine the New World Order and all the changes that meant for the American political order. A quote from Bush is revealing as to the character of this New World Order: When asked by Bob Woodward if he ever explained himself, Bush said: “Of course not. I am the commander – see, I don’t need to explain why I say things….Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.” [p. 220, Neck Deep]

 

            Similarly, the current obsequiousness regarding Joe Biden serves the same political agenda, completing the New World Order by bringing the war on terror by launching a war on domestic terrorists. And, such as with Bush’s glorification after 9/11, so too the glorification of Biden will lead to attacks on anyone who criticizes or doubts his politics. Doubts about the necessity or desirability of Biden’s war on domestic terrorists cannot be allowed, cannot be deemed legitimate because that would threaten and possible undermine the New World Order that has been constructed at least since Bush Sr. undertook Desert Storm and proclaimed, e.g., that “the Vietnam syndrome” was dead. That proclamation meant that there would be a new foreign policy, one not affected by the debacle of Vietnam, that would be an essential part of Bush’s New World Order. Bush was proclaiming an imperial America and, of course, imperial orders are best served by thinking of the leading imperialists as heroes. That imperial order has been fortified by the Trump presidency insofar as Trump has, inadvertently, rescued the very elites whose mis-governance made his presidency possible.

 

            It is difficult to think of a better exclamation point on the end of the Trump presidency and the beginning of the Biden presidency than the “insurrection” on 1/6, just as it is difficult to think of a better event than 9/11 for allowing Bush, et. al., to work toward completing our New World Order. How will this New World Order fare? Well, if the experiences of Shrub’s presidency are any indication, we’re in for a rough ride.

Friday, January 22, 2021

America's Endless Wars Aren't "Mistakes"

 

America’s Endless Wars Aren’t “Mistakes”

Peter Schultz

 

            Below is a link to an article by Danny Sjursen, speculating on what we might expect from the Biden presidency regarding our world-wide and apparently endless wars. At one point, Sjursen wrote: “Clearly, Biden must have learned from past mistakes, changed his tune, and should responsibly bring U.S. wars to a close, even if at a time still to be determined.”

 

            The problem with this is, as perhaps Sjursen realizes, is that from the perspective of Biden and the Washington establishment generally, these wars were not and are not “mistakes.” They are, rather, an integral part, if not the foundation of our New World Order, announced by Bush I and completed by Bush II after the attacks on 9/11. Just as the Vietnam War was not a “mistake” from the viewpoint of the then-Washington establishment, so too our current wars are not “mistakes” in the view of our elites. That’s why these wars go on and on and on.

 

            Sjursen writes: “The guess of this long-time war-watcher (and one-time war fighter) reading the tea leaves: expect Biden to both eschew big new wars and avoid fully ending existing ones.” This makes a lot of sense. The endless wars that are needed in order to stabilize and fortify the New World Order should not be “big.” Such wars are hard to maintain and people want such wars “won.” Our existing wars are small, and so need not end nor be won, just as the Vietnam War needn’t have been won in order to serve its purposes. And when it got “too big” Nixon put in place his “Vietnamization” plan in order to draw it down to manageable proportions. And having gotten too big, Nixon was left with little choice but to seek US withdrawal under the disguise of achieving “peace with honor.” In that, Nixon was successful and won a landslide re-election victory, only to be undermined by both conservatives and liberals who, for different reasons, did not care for Nixon. The coup against Nixon was disguised as what has come to be called the “Watergate scandal,” allowing the Washington elites to disguise their actions as “restorative” of some mythical past before Nixon was elected president.

 

            It is important to recognize that much of what is labeled “mistakes” aren’t mistakes. They are disguised as mistakes in order to offset what would be popular dissent were these measures, these wars were acknowledged as integral to the New World Order our oligarchic elites have created to serve their interests. By calling them mistakes, people can go on thinking our elites are well-intentioned, that is, committed to serving the common good. They aren’t. And we all know it at some level of consciousness but for some reason go on believing that “Washington is broken” and those who “broke it” will “fix it.” Not going to happen.

 

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/01/21/the-future-of-war-in-bidens-america/

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

There's No Normal To Return To

 

There’s No Normal to Return To

Peter Schultz

 

      In an opinion piece, Michael Goodwin says, “Welcome to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s new abnormal.” There is a link to the article below.

            While disagreeing with some of Goodwin’s argument, I do think there is no "normal" to return to. I don't think there's been a "normal" since the Bush administration’s response to 9/11. Biden was nominated in part because he's an old, long-in-the-tooth politician and so his election looks like a "return to normal." But our elites in both parties are committed to an agenda best described as "a war on 'terrorism'," domestic terrorism that is. The results will be as disastrous for the republic as was Bush Jr.'s war on terror abroad. This is the domestic side of Papa Bush's "New World Order." If successful, then game over for the republic.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Are Conspiracy Theorists Domestic Terrorists? A Facebook Exchange

 

Are Conspiracy Theorists “Domestic Terrorists” A Facebook exchange

Peter Schultz

My Post: On 9/11,the Bush administration got exactly what it needed to carry out its agenda; on 1/6, the Democrats got exactly what they needed to carry out their agenda. Funny how that’s happened. [My contributions are in red. Interlocutor’s responses in black.]

 

What are you trying to say, Peter? ·

I am not trying to say anything. I said it, you’ve read it. As I am a “coincidence theorist” I am sure this is all coincidence. But it reminds me of the coincidences in the Gulf of Tonkin so long ago that allowed LBJ to begin bombing the northern

parts of Vietnam and then send over 500,000 US troops to kill there. Of course later it emerged that the attacks in the Gulf were more myth than reality. Go figure. You’re very smart, so you decide, my friend, what this means. 

 

Not sure it means anything. I do wish more people knew that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a sham from the start. We didn't get to see it on TV, however, the way we got to see what happened on 1/6. Is it merely a coincidence, professor, that there will be militia types gathering in all 50 states on inauguration day.  

 

I doubt it. How could that be a coincidence? Would the FBI make up stuff like that? Being a coincidence theorist doesn't mean I reject all conspiracy theories. I especially think well of those conspiracy theories concocted by the government, ala' those the alleged Tiananmen Square massacre, the communist Sandistas in Nicaragua, the communists in Grenada, the pedophiles at the compound in Waco, or about MLK's communism. But here is another coincidence that occurred to me after my original post: The hostages in Iran were released minutes after Reagan was sworn in as President, giving his start as president the same kind of boost Bush got from 9/11 and Biden is getting from 1/6. And then the Reagan administration began selling arms to Iran through Israel. And to think there are nuts out there who think Reagan and his team made a deal with the Iranians not to release the hostages to Carter to ensure Reagan's election. Talk about crazy, no? How anyone could believe that coincidences like that were actually conspiracies is beyond me. But, shit, what do I know?

 

·  https://www.thedailybeast.com/fbi-warns-against-qanon... This is why I am a coincidence theorist because I wouldn't want to be labeled a "domestic terrorist" by the FBI. But I do wonder about this insofar as there have been several conspiracy theories concocted by the FBI, like the Red Scare in the 20s, the McCarthyism after the war, the Communist threat to our government in the 50s, MLK's communistic principles and supporters, Oswald's communism, the threats presented by the Black Panthers, just to name a few. Could it be that the FBI itself has engaged in "domestic terrorism?" Nah! Impossible. Banish the thought, keep silent, and salute the flag - or be labeled a domestic terrorist!

 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Violence and Liberal Politics

 

Violence and Liberal Politics

Peter Schultz

 

            It is the most interesting phenomenon that most Americans do not see that the American political order revolves around, draws strength from, and is bottomed on violence. For example, I have no idea why people think that our elites are troubled by and wish to avoid violent attacks and protests. After all, after such attacks and protests the government and its elites are fortified, strengthened, while those dissenting are weakened.

 

            Some examples. After the assassination of JFK in 1963, LBJ went to war full-blast in Vietnam after his landslide election in 1964. After the debacle in Vietnam, Richard Nixon, who consistently supported and even expanded that war, was re-elected by a landslide in 1972. After 9/11, President Bush’s approval ratings went through the roof, to the point where he could and did undertake the invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq based on lies about non-existent WMDs. He was so popular after failing to advert the attacks of 9/11, that even when it was discovered that there were no WMDs in Iraq, his popularity barely suffered and he was re-elected in 2004 handily.

 

            I can imagine the Democrats, watching the “insurrection” in D.C. unfold, and thinking, even gleefully: “Wow! This is just what we needed. Now our power will be such that anyone who opposes us can be accused of being ignorant, weak, or even of being treasonous.” As this is what happened after 9/11 and even happened during the 60s and 70s when people protested the war in Vietnam. University and college students were gunned down for protesting that war with the subsequent approval of the governor of Ohio and the president of the United States. And, of course, the protestors in Chicago were the victims of what was officially labeled “a police riot” when they demonstrated at the Democratic National Convention there in 1968. And some might have thought: “Well, this guarantees the nomination of Hubert Humphrey.” And it would also have guaranteed the continuation of the Chicago-Austin coalition that then controlled the Democratic Party.

 

            What this means is that regardless of how you see the possibility that the lack of armed force protecting the capitol, whether you see it as arranged to provoke the “insurrectionists” or whether you see it as an accident or the result of Trump’s malevolence, it remains a fact that the establishment Democrats and Republicans had the motivation to arrange such an “insurrection.” Such “insurrections,” such attacks, such provocations are actually welcomed events for US elites because it is in light of such events that their legitimacy is fortified regardless of other events going on that undermine that legitimacy. Pandemic being mishandled? Forgotten. Millions without health insurance? Forgotten. Police forces infiltrating and occupying black neighborhoods and using deadly force repeatedly? Forgotten. All that matters in the light of such events is responding to ensure that such events will not recur. That is, not recur until the establishment needs them again.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Clinton, Trump, Impeachment and the Moral Regeneration of America

 

Clinton, Trump, Impeachment and the Moral Regeneration of America

Peter Schultz

 

            The impeachments of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were each parts of a piece, that piece being the “moral regeneration” of America. A re-moralizing of America was the agenda, political and cultural, lying behind and animating the impeachments of these two presidents. Moreover, this agenda involved restoring the status quo in D.C., of fortifying the Washington establishment. As it was said of Clinton, so too could it be said of Trump: “He came in here and he trashed the place, and it’s not his place.” [David Broder, Washington Post] And as Broder said of Clinton, that he would be rightfully “disgraced and enfeebled,” so could this be said of Trump and the aims of his enemies.

 

            As there is an ideological agenda behind these two impeachments, it is worthwhile to ask what this agenda entails. What would a “morally regenerated” America look like? How would it be politically and culturally?

 

            First, that America would view itself as on a mission, requiring the creation of a movement dedicated to regeneration. And this movement would operate beyond the nation’s ordinary political institutions because those institutions don’t and cannot adequately enact and execute the kinds of things this movement requires to be successful. So, something like the secret and illegal activities of the Reagan administration in support of the Nicaraguan Contras would be justified. Or, as Dick Cheney said, it is not only imperative but is perfectly legitimate to embrace “the dark side,” that is, torture, continual assassinations, and endless wars.

 

            Secondly, because this mission is urgent and so crucial to the fate of the republic, any means deemed necessary, whether legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional, should be embrace. “Managing intelligence” about alleges WMDs in Iraq in order to justify an invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq – no problem,  because as Teddy Roosevelt and Robert Bork knew, war is a wonderful medicine for a society infested by unrestrained individualism and besotted by commercialism. Wars arouse such societies, animating them with a spirited militarism that will underlay a world empire dedicated to democracy.  Or not being especially vigilant about potential attacks on the homeland – again, no problem, insofar as such attacks can be used to arouse an otherwise overly commercialized population.

 

            Thirdly, citizens would have to be educated or re-educated that citizenship involves not only sacrifices but public-spirited sacrifices. Life in a morally regenerated America would revolve around duties not rights. Of course, without a military draft, other ways of inculcating the needed sacrificial mindset in the people at large would be needed. In this regard, making use of what are called “natural disasters,” such as a pandemic or devastating storms and earthquakes, would make sense, necessity the government to seem incompetent in the fact of such disasters. And, finally, it would be useful for the elites to remind the people that they, the people, are responsible for the degenerate state of the nation. After all, they elected both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, revealing how deep the nation’s decline has been. As Robert Bennett said, referring to Clinton’s impeachment and the lack of public support for it, “Where’s the outrage?”

 

            That the people at large were not all-in over the Clinton or the Trump impeachment, while it might be seen as a sign of moral degeneracy, it also may be seen as their awareness – at some level of consciousness – that there was an ideological agenda behind these impeachments. And this awareness included that that agenda was not one they favored nor one that favored them. They “smelled a rat,” and acted accordingly. Let us hope this surmise is correct because the republic – or what’s left of it – depends on it.

When Harry Met Sally; Some Questions, Some Answers

 

When Harry Met Sally: Some Questions, Some Answers

Peter Schultz

 

            Some questions that gradually arose in my mind about Nora Ephron’s movie, When Harry Met Sally.

 

(1) Why the University of Chicago and why the chosen professions of Harry and Sally? The U. of Chicago was the home of Leo Strauss and those labeled “Straussians.” Harry is to become a political consultant so we might assume that he was a political science major. Sally is off to become a journalist so she can, as Harry puts it, write about things that happen to other people. And dealing from his “dark side”, Harry says that nothing may ever happen to Sally and she could die a death that would go unnoticed for weeks. Straussians, neo-cons by another label, like to argue that they are about, not reporting reality, but creating it. They are not journalists. They will be noticed, as will their deaths.

 

(2) Harry’s “dark side” is about what? Well, another tenet of the Straussians is a critique of what they call “modernity,” a critique that includes how dark modernity is as it was created by Machiavelli who was a teacher and proponent of evil, and its uses. As Harry tells Sally, he was going to be ready when the shit hit the fan and she wouldn’t be, because she is basically “a happy person.” Obviously, Sally hasn’t thought through the human situation.

 

(3) Why the movie “Casablanca?” Among some Straussians, Casablanca has achieved a cult-like status. Casablanca translates as “white house,” so obviously, the Straussians argue, the movie is about US politics. And in their take on the movie, the action of the movie, meaning how Rick moves from a non-committed political exile living out the war in Casablanca trying to be uninvolved to a committed participant, with Louis, the Frenchman, in the war. And what Harry dubs the best last line in any movie, “Louis, this is just the start of a great friendship,” indicates that Rick has now rejected his “isolationism” for interventionism – or perhaps imperialism along with the already imperialistic French. This forebodes US taking up the wars in Southeast Asia, dubbed “Indo-China” by the French, after the French are forced to leave. Not commented upon by the Straussians is the fact that Rick’s embrace of “internationalism” means he must give up Elsa. In Straussian terms, Rick’s new politics rest on the “thumotic,” the spirited part of the soul, forcing him to relinquish the claims of the erotic as evidence by his love for, his pining for Elsa. She has to leave because if she stayed, Rick would not be able or willing to do what is required by his internationalism.

 

(4) This is where the romance in the movie merges with what might be its underlying political agenda. To make a long story shorter, at first Harry embraces and acts on his virility by and while having sex with women, to the point that after his screwing them [the word “screwing” seems appropriate here] his first thought is “How long do I have to lie here before I can leave,” claiming all men – read “all real men”- think that. Harry also brags to Jess that he can take women to places that “aren’t human,” that he made a woman “meow.”

 

(5) This scene is followed in the movie by the deli scene where Sally demonstrates that women can successfully fake orgasms and in fact do so with some frequency. As this is true, it means that Harry’s vaunted virility, his prized masculinity isn’t quite as powerful as he thinks it is. It also means that despite what Harry thinks, when making love - actually for Harry that means when having sex – he is not the one controlling the scene. In fact, the women are in control or can be in control should they want to be, even while letting the male think he is in control and subduing her, taking her to places “not human.” Not so much! [Reminds me of one of my favorite stories. At one time, I watched a show called “the Dating Game,” where blind dates were set up, executed and then talked about on TV. In between segments, there were on-the-street interviews with questions asked. Once the question was: What is the best way for a man to pick up a woman? One woman said: Men don’t pick up women. Women pick up men but they just let the man think he picked them up. It was for me a light bulb experience!]

 

(6) Eventually, Harry realizes that “the sex thing” does not make impossible for men and women to be friends, which is the meaning of his proposal to Sally New Year’s Eve when he says, “I came here tonight because when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!” And when Harry says he doesn’t understand Auld Lang Syne, Sally offers a throw away explanation and then adds, “Anyway, it’s about old friends.”

 

(7) So, then I might conclude that the erotic is superior to, better than the thumotic, making love and friendship is superior to, better than making war; the erotic soul is better than the spirited soul and the poets are superior to the guardians. And for that reason Socrates’ best regime in the Republic is fundamentally flawed. And insofar as the Straussians embrace Rick’s new politics in Casablanca, their conception of the best regime is also fundamentally flawed.