Environmental Ethics
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Ernest Partridge, Ph.D

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The Gadfly Bytes -- August 6, 2016



Ernest Partridge

August 6, 2016


The GOP does not have a monopoly on political myth-making. The Democrats, while minor leaguers compared with the Repubs , have a few myths of their own. Here are three of them:

Myth #1: Donald Trump is a traitor

No, he is not.

To be sure, he is a sociopath, a narcissist, a pathological liar, a grifter and a fraud. And a Trump victory in November would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States of America.

But Donald Trump is not a traitor.

He did not give or sell secrets to the Russians.

He did not, as a private citizen, engage is secret negotiations with a foreign power, in violation of the Logan Act. Richard Nixon did so with South Vietnam, to influence the 1968 election. George H W Bush did so with the Iranians to sabotage Jimmy Carter's re-election efforts in 1980.

But not Donald Trump.

What Trump did was express a "hope" and publicly speculate: "Russia, if you're listening. I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens."

A stupid remark, to be sure, and damaging to Trump's campaign. But not "treason." If that remark costs Trump the November election, I won't complain, although I worry about how this fiasco might accelerate the onset of the new Cold War with Russia.

Trump's so-called "treason" is as substantial as Al Gore's alleged claim to have "invented the internet," the "Swift Boat Vets" charge that John Kerry was a phony "hero," Dick Cheney's accusation that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that he intended to use against us, the claim that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya, and so on.

In short, Trump's blunder is raw meat for the media hounds, who rarely let simple facts get in the way of a good story.

It also handed the Democrats a golden opportunity to direct public attention away from the content of those emails (the DNC's sabotage of the Sanders campaign) to the alleged source of the email leaks (those despicable Russkies).

That content was the authentic scandal. Do you hear that, mainstream media? (Fagetaboutit. They're not listening).

Myth #2: Those evil Russkies are have no right to meddle with our politics.

So are the Russians are doing their best to learn our secrets and to interfere with our domestic politics?

Of course they are! This is what governments do.

We've been doing it ever since George Washington sent Ben Franklin to Paris to persuade King Louie to join our fight against King George.

And so we have continued ever since to this day, as, in name of "promoting peace and democracy," we routinely undermine and overthrow foreign governments.  Often those victimized governments are democratically elected and replaced by dictatorships: Iran in 1953, South Vietnam in 1963, Chile in 1973, to name just a few.

And this is what we did, when we stirred up all that trouble in Ukraine two years ago.

Likewise, Putin will do his damndest to influence our politics in Russia's favor.

That's Putin's job: assuring the security and protecting the sovereignty of the Russian Federation. If he didn't do it, he would be replaced by someone who would -- likely someone more belligerent and less restrained than Putin.

So if you are truly upset about meddling with the domestic politics of foreign nations, start with the CIA. (For more, see William Greider’s “We Should be Shocked, Shocked, at Reports of Russian Interference in US Elections.)

Myth #3: Hillary Clinton will win in November because she is "the people's choice."

Yes, Clinton will win, but not for the reasons you think.

True, The Donald is furiously engaged in self-destruction. He is attacking the wrong enemies -- notably, the Khan family. Also true, Trump has enraged the black and Hispanic voters, along with most women voters. Consequently, Trumps poll numbers are plummeting.

But the corporate media will not report the most significant reason that Clinton's election in November is foreordained: the oligarchs and the "deep state" that control our politics, our foreign policy, and our media, want Hillary to win, and what the oligarchs and their media want, they generally get. As Gilens and Page concluded in their landmark study  "majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.”

The National Rifle Association's veto of the authenticated desire of up to ninety percent of the American public for gun safety reform is but one of along list corporate and plutocratic dismissals of public opinion. Add to that, the manipulation of numerous Congressional elections and, most significantly, the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. (This is a huge story that I can't pursue here. Instead, follow this link and then check out the links at the end). 

And why would the ruling oligarchs prefer Clinton to Trump?

First and foremost, the oligarchs want the government of the United States of America to be stable, dependable, and respected abroad. They do not want that government to be led by an autocratic, egomaniacal lunatic.  Their "markets" require nothing less than this.

Second, despite that progressive wish-list that Hillary Clinton read in her acceptance speech, the oligarchs are well- aware that the bought-and-paid-for Congress will put a kibosh on virtually all of those programs and policies, just as they did with Barack Obama.

Third, the Wall Street banksters did not pay Hillary Clinton a quarter million dollars each time she read an hour-long speech to them, simply because the speeches were just that brilliant. No, they paid for her loyalty, and they expect a return on their investment. So look for another Wall Street regular like Tim Geitner, Larry Summers, or Robert Rubin as the next Secretary of the Treasury. Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman or Robert Reich need not apply.

Fourth. if Hillary is elected, the champagne corks will be flying at the Pentagon, and throughout the Military-Industrial Complex. Clinton is a dedicated super-hawk. Remember that when Sec. Clinton urged Obama to invade Syria, the President overruled her. After January, 2017 she will do the over-ruling, if any; the buck will stop at her Oval Office desk. Then Cold War II will heat up and the world will be a much more dangerous place. (This claim requires a separate essay. Stay tuned).

The 2000 election showed us all what the oligarchy is capable of once they pre-ordain the result of a Presidential election: purge lists, "butterfly ballots," paperless unverifiable DRE voting machines, a media ambush of the opposition candidate (remember Gore’s "earth tones" and "inventing the internet"?), and, if all that fails, a compliant Supreme Court.

And so the corporate media trashing of Donald Trump has begun. Only this time, unlike the 2000 media assault on Al Gore,, I am not complaining.

In short, because the ruling one-percent of the one-percent have decided that Hillary Clinton will be our next President, she can't lose.

Because I live in the “safe” Democratic state of California, in November I will cast a protest vote for Jill Stein. But if I lived in a “battleground state” I would likely vote for Clinton -- with much regret and a heavy heart. Clinton is experienced, intelligent and, above all, sane, which means that she is capable of responding to evidence and to a logically cogent arguments. The alternative is unthinkable.

And so, on November 9, the day after election day, the truly important struggle begins. Public demand ended the Vietnam war and sent Nixon to China. Public demand reduced racial segregation. And public demand must take down the American oligarchy. Once Hillary Clinton moves into the White House (again!), the American people must unite, capture her attention, and demand that she join the revolution.

The oligarch/deep-state/military/media complex is formidable, but it is not omnipotent. Unfortunately, once “the people” win, they usually return to their private lives and the “the establishment” fills the void. So if a Sanders-style peaceful revolution is to prevail, the people must persist.

Impossible? Perhaps. As "impossible" as an end of British rule in India. As "impossible" as the end of segregation in the southern United States. As "impossible" as the overthrow of the apartheid regime in South Africa. As "impossible" as the collapse of the Soviet Union

As the great Russian dissident, Andrei Sakharov, wrote in the waning days of the Soviet Union:

"There is a need to create ideals even when you can’t see any route by which to achieve them, because if there are no ideals then there can be no hope and then one would be completely in the dark, in a hopeless blind alley."

Never forget: for every oligarch, there are hundreds of their victims. "We are the ninety-nine percent!" You can be sure that the one-percent is well aware of this.

If we want to reclaim our democracy, and if we hope to survive and eventually put an end to the new cold war, then we the people of the United States have our work cut out for us.

Don't expect enthusiastic support from the Hillary Clinton Administration.

This essay will no doubt distress some stalwart Democrats. "Don't say anything hurtful to our party or our candidate: we must unite for the struggle ahead." However, Truth and candid analysis are essential to a robust political debate, so damn the consequences. As Aristotle wrote as he criticized his teacher, Plato: "Dear is Plato, but dearer still the truth."

Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The Online Gadfly" (www.igc.org/gadfly) and co-edits the progressive website, "The Crisis Papers" (www.crisispapers.org).  Dr. Partridge can be contacted at: gadfly@igc.org .