by CounterPunch Jan 3, 2019
Russiagate’s Beauty for Democrats: Dissing Trump without Discussing Issues
The more important an issue is to humanity, the likelier it is Democrats don’t want to discuss it.
Thus, it’s hardly surprising Noam Chomsky felt obliged to point out the “moral depravity” of both major parties for discussing neither climate change nor the increasing risk of nuclear war during the recent midterm election campaigns.
It’s likewise hardly surprising the Republican Party, which Chomsky rightly terms “the most dangerous organization in human history,” likes to stay mum on the real nature of its wantonly destructive policies.
But what’s truly amazing—until one habituates to the mammoth corruption of current U.S. politics—is how utterly unwilling today’s Democratic Party is to discuss issues that would paint Republicans in not merely in an unflattering, but in a criminally insane light.
So corrupt is today’s Democratic Party, the very issues on which they could “nail” Republicans at election time — climate destruction, warmongering, ever-worsening economic inequality, or corruption by political money — are themselves a profound embarrassment for Democrats as well.
Far better for Democrats to pin their anti-Trump stance on something far less discernible, like Trump’s purported (and always never proven) collusion with Russia.
Now, given the dumpster fire corruption smell of Trump and his cronies, it’s hardly surprising if Robert Mueller’s two-year witch hunt for hints of Trump’s collusion with Russia—and a witch hunt it indeed is —uncovers numerous crimes, most or all, unrelated to Russia.
As respected veteran journalist Allan Nairn penetratingly says “Look, Trump is a guy who’s guilty of almost everything, in a meaningful sense. Yet, here, the Democrats pinned the political future of the world on nailing him for the one thing of which he may, in fact, be innocent: Russia collusion.”
Nairn’s interview is a virtual diamond necklace of piercing insights; it’s perhaps the best single existing reflection on the grand significance of life under Trump. But his observation Democrats (with adrenalin-junkie death defiance, at best) “pinned the future of the political world” on nailing Trump for collusion with Russia merits readers’ emphatic attention.
So suicidally risky is Democrats’ dumping of all their anti-Trump eggs in the Russia collusion basket, it enabled a highly pernicious claim by left-wing ideologues. Namely, (rhetoric aside) Democrats are the same as Republicans.
Their embarrassing lack of significant policy differences— at least, any they’re willing to publicly acknowledge —forces them to rely on a largely concocted propaganda narrative damning to Trump.
Though far from a Democrat fan myself, the evidence against the claim both major parties are the same strikes me as overwhelming.
For example, could self-styled “socialist” Bernie Sanders even consider making a run for president in todays’ Republican Party? Could young progressive insurgents like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib—themselves prominent targets of Republican smears—have for one second considered running as Republicans?
Would it have made any sense for the Sunrise Movement to confront incoming Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as it confronted incoming Democratic Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi without expecting stony silence or outright ridicule—to say nothing of a far harsher Capitol Police response? Like, say, the Republican anti-climate brutality at Standing Rock?
Note: all my evidence for Democrats differing from Republicans involves progressive insurgents opposed by the Democratic leadership (and, most importantly, a party voter base eager to support them).
If we focus solely on the party leadership—for example, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s promotion of Trump-friendly fossil fuel puppet Joe Manchin as top Democrat on a powerful energy committee—it becomes much harder (rhetoric aside) to see substantial difference between our two major parties.
So, the more rational leftist ideologues claiming the essential sameness of Republicans and Democrats point to the essential impotence of progressive insurgents in setting (or even affecting) Democratic policy. Only time will tell if they’re right—and insurgents’ Green New Deal will prove a major test.
But for now, Democrats’ predominant leadership rhetoric—reliably echoed by Democrat leadership media stooges, ahem, Rachel Maddow—ditches all talk of a Green New Deal for the policy-dodging (better yet, policy-perverting) narrative of Trump’s collusion with Russia. Even if this means sweeping under the rug Trump’s most blatant, egregious crime against humanity.
Nailing Hitler for Unpaid Parking Tickets—as the Holocaust Rages On
It’s crucial to revert here to Allan Nairn’s important insight, cited earlier, “Democrats pinned the political future of the world on nailing him for the one thing, of which, he, in fact, may be innocent: Russia collusion.”
The key words to stress here are political future of the world.
By focusing so obsessively on Mueller’s witch hunt for purported Russian collusion —in a world facing emergency-level crises— Democrats and their supporting media reprehensibly play dice with civilization’s very survival. Indeed, with the risk of human extinction.
The best lens for viewing the criminal irresponsibility of Democrats’ obsessive focus on Russia collusion is humanity’s climate crisis. And by Democrats’ showing, you’d never know
a) such a crisis exists
A crime that could easily dwarf the death and suffering unleashed by both world wars and the Holocaust combined.
The Russiagate witch hunt amounts to trying to nail Hitler for rumored unpaid parking tickets, while the Holocaust openly rages on. If that parallel seems shocking, it’s only because official propaganda, by a process well analyzed by Allan Nairn —and Joseph Goebbels— numbed us into an even more shocking unawareness of the real nature of our world.
A world where Trump’s administration is actively working to commit a crime well beyond genocide.
Make no mistake: The Russiagate narrative serves not the interests of Democrats as a successful party ready to wipe criminally insane Republicans off the electoral map, but of a narrow wealthy-donor-serving (and thereby self-serving) party and media elite that seeks to preserve its power and corrupt practices whatever the negative electoral consequences for the party. As evidence, I can do no better than to again quote Nairn:
Trump’s approval rating is in the low 40s, which is not shocking for an American president. If the facts of what he and the extremist Republican Party are doing now were being hammered day to day in the American press and coming through the TV, I think his ratings and the Republicans’ ratings would be in the 20s, if not lower, but that’s not coming through.
Note the key word hammered; like Goebbels before him (except now for public-spirited journalistic aims), Nairn keenly grasps the propaganda importance of media repetition. Speaking of under-reported news stories —such as the Trump administration’s extremist misdeeds— Nairn brilliantly says,
“But unless it’s repeated, hammered away, day after day, on the big media outlets, it may be on the public record but it’s not in the public consciousness. And that’s all that matters in politics: What is in the public consciousness? And those that set the rhythm of repetition that determine the public consciousness — in this case, the media outlets like MSNBC and CNN, which today play an absolutely central role, even more important than the old Walter Cronkite broadcast back in the ’60s and ’70s, and Dan Rather in the ’80s, ’90s — they have seized on this Russia scandal as their theme.”
As seems apropos in a discussion of media hammering, seldom has a journalist hit the propaganda nail as squarely on the head. MSNBC and CNN, faithful media mouthpieces for the Democrat leadership’s agendas (to such extent they’ve been jokingly dubbed “MSDNC” and the “Clinton News Network” respectively) clearly much prefer discussing Trump’s purported Russia collusion (Trump’s rumored unpaid traffic tickets) to his beyond-genocidal climate policy (Trump’s openly-conducted Holocaust).
To such an extent that Trump’s unspeakably abominable climate policy —difficult for the most hated tyrants of history to rival in potential harm— is scarcely a blip on public consciousness. To such an extent, anyone sane enough to point out the Trump administration’s unprecedented crime against humanity —such as Noam Chomsky, a world-renowned linguist who couldn’t find a word for crimes of this level— must look absolutely crazy to the average person “informed” by mainstream media.
After all, if Trump were actively conspiring to unnecessarily slaughter more people than both world wars and the Holocaust combined, wouldn’t our media be all over it?
As Goebbels said, “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.”
When not just Republicans and Republican-friendly media, but Democrats and Democrat-friendly media, conspire to keep Trump’s worst crime by far out of public consciousness, it’s easy to understand how leftist ideologues convincingly can portray both major parties as being essentially the same. It’s hard to imagine a single Nazi Party, or a single Communist Party, successfully covering up such an unspeakable crime during its total domination of a political system.
Take-Home Lesson for Sunrise: Dem Leaders Hate Your Green New Deal
If I weren’t so activist in orientation, my hard-hitting indictment of Democrat leaders and their Russiagate witch hunt would end right here. But if I can’t end on a hopeful note, at least me end on a useful one. My useful note is a crucial lesson —a strategic battle message— for my current “superheroes”: the gutsy, idealistic climate warriors of the Sunrise Movement.
My lesson is a spine-stiffening one: Be prepared for an epic battle, perhaps the fiercest, most uphill political battle in human history. Why? Because a Democratic Party leadership so embarrassed by the climate issue, it refuses to reap the political benefits of exposing Trump’s worst-in-human-history, even beyond genocidal crime is clearly not on your side.
And if that weighty —literally, killer— argument alone isn’t enough to convince you, just consider two recent pieces of corroborating evidence. Namely, Chuck Schumer’s promotion of pro-Trump fossil fuel puppet Joe Manchin to the post of top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Nancy Pelosi’s fatal crippling of the House Select Committee on a Green New Deal. Such attacks on the Green New Deal are clearly to be expected from party leaders so hyper-allergic to addressing the climate issue, they won’t denounce monstrous Republican climate policy even when it’s to their political advantage.
Faced with such determined, corporate-owned political foes of climate action, Sunrise will certainly need relentless resolve. But beyond that, Sunrise very likely will need political leverage —such as the leverage of threatening to abandon Democrats en masse for a real climate-justice party if they don’t shape up. Like, say, the Green Party.
Discussing the benefits of a potential strategic alliance with Greens —for the sake of achieving a Green New Deal first pushed by that same Green Party— easily could be the subject of another article. But to broach that promising idea— in the context of the epic, uphill battle faced by Sunrise—I’ll close by citing a superb new article by a very generous, open-minded Green, political strategy writer Richard Moser.
Facing history’s fiercest, most life-or-death battle, Sunrise will need all the allies —and weapons of political leverage— it can possibly muster.