Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Trap of Western Ideology

Thomas Riggins

Well, we have an "Independent Judiciary" and what do the Chinese see. Our Judiciary run by political appointments from competing interest groups. An independent Supreme Court that gutted the cilvil rights act and set the stage for voter suppression and also turned the election process over to domination by billionaires and the 1%. The US, poster child for Western democracy,  just turned the government over to a person who lost the popular election by almost 3 million votes. We Americans are the ones who should be denouncing the trap of Western ideology. It boils down to the class nature of your society. If your society is ruled by monopoly capitalists exploiting its own working people and engaged in imperialism abroad its legal system will be a reflection of that class power just as in Saudi Arabia, for example, the legal system works to reinforce the power of the fundamentalist monarchy and in Iran the power of the ayatollahs and in Israel it's stacked against the Palestinians. The Communist Party rules in China and that party developed out of the masses of exploited workers and peasants who overthrew the feudal landlord regime represented by the Kuomintang. The Chinese legal system, whatever you may think of it, is basically set up to represent the class interests of masses of the Chinese people. There is no such thing as an "Independent" Judiciary under class rule: our prison population is proof enough of that.

Zhou Qiang denounced the “trap” of “Western” ideology, dismaying some liberal-minded observers of the Chinese legal system who had seen him as an…

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thanking Obama or The best slaves are the ones who thank their masters

Thomas Riggins

As President Obama takes his last lap around the governing field before turning it over to Donald Trump LLC many liberals and some deluded "leftists" have taken to thanking him for his eight years of service to the 1%. The best that can be said from a Marxist perspective is that there have been worse presidents (we are about to get one) and we had four years of hope followed by four years of resignation leaving behind a disillusioned electorate who rejected the establishment presidential candidate in such numbers that even an almost three million popular vote lead could not prevent the White House from falling into the hands of the ultra-right.

Part of the problem was  that Obama failed to put forth a program to seriously challenge the power structure that sustains the Right, Racism and Sexism and the Democratic Party, of which he is the nominal leader put up a candidate agreeable to the 1% when they had a popular leader in Sanders that might have beaten Trump. Anybody who has understood Marx understands that  capitalism fosters the Right, Racism and Sexism and that the Democratic Party is controlled by the ruing capitalist class.  We can thank Obama and Clinton for the loss of the industrial states whose electoral votes should have gone to the DP, for  the destruction of Libya, for the prolongation of the war in Syria, for the coup in Honduras, the death of hundreds if not thousands of women and children throughout the middle east due to drone warfare and support of jihadist groups in Syria and the Saudi attacks on the civilian population of Yemen.

 It wasn't that long ago when liberals who said 'Thank You" to LBJ for his domestic policy -- the war on poverty and the civil rights laws -- had to be reminded by MLK that LBJ was also the president of the most violent and oppressive country in the world. Leftists used to vociferously protest the oppression of third world people by US imperialism ("Hey, Hey, LBJ how many kids have you killed today?" In today's "Thank You President Obama" blogs and tweets dead kids don't seem to bother many people who call themselves "progressives."

His legacy has left the 1% as solidly entrenched as ever and resulted in an ultra-right take over of the government. He also leaves behind a scandalous misuse of the intelligence services of the US in an attempt to engineer a false narrative of Russian election hacking to justify an excuse to start up a new cold war. Whether history will treat him kindly and thank him will depend upon who will be around to write it -- the imperialist state he served or the masses of the third world it oppressed and exploited. 

Obama is not totally responsible. He is after all a capitalist tool. The objective conditions are that the Democrats as well as the Republicans are organic parts of the monopoly capitalist system and contribute to its functioning and maintenance. The context of the  political fight, from a class narrative, is that different factions of the ruling class are not agreed upon the best way to maintain dominance over the working people and to what degree concessions have to be given or to what degree they can be revoked. Both parties serve the interests of Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Marxists understand this (at least some do or used to understand) but the masses of working people do not due to the information monopoly of the ruling class. When we are politically active we are supposed to be engendering higher levels of class consciousness in working people and this is not done by deluding people about Obama and Clinton, for example, some how being "progressive" and on the side of "democracy" when they are really just lesser evils from whom we hope to get more open space to organize and get concessions. Thanking Obama for trying his best to further the interests of US Imperialism (TPP, unproven Russian election hacking narratives, military escalations in Africa, Syria and Yemen) and making some reforms to strengthen DP prospects domestically is actually a case of abstracting the entire fight against the ultra-right out of context and prevents people from properly understanding objective reality; this contributes to the victory of the very reactionary alt-right forces we want to defeat and censoring and removing critiques of our tactics, which sometimes happens even in leftist publications, rather that promoting more discussion and analysis and self criticism, only weakens the struggle for democracy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

More Unsubstanitated Reports on Russian Election Meddling

Thoms Riggins

Even the headline shows this to be more bogus "spook" propaganda which is more dangerous to democracy than anything Putin is accused of doing. "The material was not corroborated, and The New York Times has not been able to confirm the claims." If the Palmer raids, McCarthyism, and the FBI CONINTELPRO program incuding the murder and frame up of activists, especially the Black Panthers, tells us anything it's that the drive to undermine American democracy is an inside job -- it's going on right before our eyes and we are being told to look at the Kremlin while it all emanates from the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Langley, and Fort Meade. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

The material was considered so potentially explosive that the intelligence agencies decided that the president and the president-elect needed to be told and that the…

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Obama and the Russian "Hacks": Return of the "Big Lie"?

This reprint from USA TODAY shows that the Obama Adminstration's claims concerning Russian government hacking attacks against HRC and attempts to influence the election are worse than BS. Gus Hall used to give examples of the "Big Lie" used by US propaganda (North Vietnam attacks US Ships in Tonkin Gulf was one example) a technique developed by the Nazi's based on Hitler's belief that if you repeated a lie long enough people would eventually believe it.
Today's New York Times writes:
"In its statement, the administration said, “The Kremlin probably expected that publicity surrounding the disclosures that followed the RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT-DIRECTED compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect.”" --
"U.S. Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears"
There is still NO PROOF that the Russian government was involved and the USA TODAY article below explains why. That the Obama government can resort to Nazi propaganda techniques to further the interests of US Imperialism in creating an anti-Russia mindset in the US population for the purposes of justifying future NATO provocations is a sign of the direction a HRC administration would have been headed as Clinton raised these charges in her campaign and they are now pretty much accepted as "fact" and repeated as such in the mass media as well in some publications on the left. The danger is that a Trump administration, with an even greater distain for the truth than the Democrats, could fan these flames to even greater intensity should its planned rapproachment with Putin fall through.
Reasonable doubt in Russian hack: Column
Richard Diamond 3:59 p.m. EDT October 24, 2016
America's spies and Democrats show an incredible lack of technological sophistication.
It certainly is convenient for Hillary Clinton to dodge the serious pay-for-play allegations raised by the WikiLeaks disclosures by blaming Vladimir Putin. Anyone paying attention to the corruption exposed in Clinton campaign advisor John Podesta’s purloined emails are, in effect, doing the bidding of the Russian strongman, she argues.
This “Russia is behind it” claim is repeated often enough, but the evidence is thin. During last Wednesday night’s debate, Clinton explained that the “seventeen intelligence agencies” under the purview of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) are in agreement. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the DNI said in a joint statement with Homeland Security.
Most people would imagine the heads of America’s top spy agencies are experts on securing sensitive information. And most people would be wrong.
Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan was unable to keep his own AOL email account from being compromised by a high-school student. The teenage perpetrator didn’t need the help of a nuclear-armed state to snatch the intelligence official’s password. All he had to do was use a bit of social engineering to gather personal information about Brennan from the official’s cell phone provider. The young man then called up AOL pretending to be the intelligence chief locked out of his email account. AOL obligingly reset the password.
Not long after that embarrassing incident, DNI James Clapper had his account hijacked by the same teen using the same methods. Indeed, this is not so different from the technique used by the miscreants who took control of the Apple iCloud accounts of celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, so that their intimate photos and videos could be posted online for all the world to see.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Donna Brazile underscored the intelligence agencies’ findings in a conference call cited by Politico in August. “CrowdStrike — the cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC, and other Democratic organizations — confirmed that this is a Russian state-sponsored attack, based on its investigation and the forensic evidence that has been collected," she said. Which is to say that a company on the DNC payroll has echoed the assessment of Obama’s intelligence appointees, including the highly partisan Brennan.
There is a much simpler explanation that doesn’t implicate partisan motives or suppose a cloak-and-dagger conspiracy orchestrated by a foreign power. Simply put, the Democrats who were breached had really dumb passwords.
One of the disclosures from Podesta’s Gmail account was that he chose “Runner4567” as his Apple iCloud password. As passwords go, that’s about as secure as a papier-mache padlock. The campaign chief compounds his error by emailing it around the office and using the same password across multiple websites. This is why users of the 4chan website were able to take over Podesta’s Twitter account shortly after his choice of password became public.
It turns out that Messrs. Podesta, Brennan and Clapper are not alone when it comes to Internet insecurity. Leaked DNC
emails also reveal the passwords previously used for the DNC press account include “Obama-Biden-2012” and “obamain08.”
Yes, it’s true that Putin could personally have ordered the hacks, but it is equally true that his top spies would be downright embarrassed at the triviality of breaching a system secured by the secret phrase “obamain08.” Certainly, if they were involved, they would be able to cover their tracks and leave false clues that other states, perhaps the Chinese or North Koreans, were involved. The bits of malware lingering in the DNC system for over a year cited as proof of Russian involvement turns out to be based on an open source protocol. Anyone could have left such fingerprints behind.
The accusations now being thrown around so authoritatively are reminiscent of the bogus assertion that a YouTube video caused a “spontaneous reaction” in Benghazi.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Clinton vs Trump: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

We really are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but John Pilger is one of the world's most well known progressive left journalists (so of course not so well known to the American public). This speech was made eight months ago and we have learned a lot more about Trump's positions since then so the "More" in the speech's title is probably over the top, nevertheless the inexorable drive towards a major confrontation with Russia and/or China is fairly well documented by Pil...
See More
The following is an edited version of an address given by John Pilger at the University of Sydney, entitled ‘A World War Has Begun’. I have been filming in the Marshall…

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Trump Lead in Florida Implies Decay of US Democracy

This says something about how ideologically unprepared to resist racist and neofascist political appeals the American people truly are. Will the Left be able to develop a program that can reverse this? Is Center-Left "unity" really an appropriate foil to the appeal of neofacism especially when a tilt to the Center is involved? Should the Left regroup and propose a Radical and Socialist program for electoral politics based on the ground breaking rise in political consciousness signified by the Sanders movement? That such a significant percentage of people in a major swing state can be supporting the Trumpite version of ultra-right nationalism favored by the KKK is a sign of the decay of bourgeois democracy and a clarion call for the Left to mount a radical defense of the interests of the working class and the 99% by waging open ideological warfare in favor of democratic Socialism inspired by a Marxist understanding of the political and economic reality in the US.
He has no plausible path to the presidency without Florida’s 29 electoral votes, which is not true of Hillary Clinton.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Re Russia's hacking and election meddling: "The United States has released none of its evidence, so it is unclear if the conclusion was based on an educated guess about Kremlin operations, an “implant” in Russian networks, or a human spy or communications intercept." So, no evidence presented yet it is now a virtual "fact" in all news commentary and a major theme of the Clinton campaign. They now say she has a 93% chance of winning the election so does the Left still have to act like shills for her? She is going to be a reckless pro military confrontation president and now, not after the election, is the time to beef up the peace movement and denounce all this Bushite style propaganda: we have seen this all before with Tonkin Bay, pending "Communist" take over in Dominican Republic, WMD in Iraq, pending civilian massacres in Libya, and how many other lies and excuses to attack other countries to spread American power. We can see it coming. Are we just going to ignore it and hope it goes away? We have to begin denouncing Russophobia now, just as we do Islamophobia, not wait while the Pentagon and the war party consolidates its control over Clinton and the new administration even before it takes office. If the Left doesn't denounce war mongering and aggression, not just in words and abstract theory and slogans, but in the streets who will?

The Hawk on Russia Policy? Hillary Clinton, Not Donald Trump
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton made it abundantly clear Wednesday night that if she defeats Donald J. Trump next month she will enter the White House with the most contentious relationship with Russia of any president in more than three decades, and with a visceral, personal animus toward Vladimir V. Putin, its leader.“We haven’t seen a you-can’t-trust-these-guys tone like this since the days of Ronald Reagan,” said Stephen Sestanovich, who served in President Bill Clinton’s State Department and is the author of “Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama.” “But even that was more a systemic criticism of the Soviet Union. This is focused on Putin himself.”
In a reversal of political roles, Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidate, is the one portraying Mr. Putin as America’s newest archenemy, whose underlings hack into her Brooklyn campaign headquarters, bomb Syrian civilians and threaten Ukraine and NATO allies in Europe. For a woman who presented a big red “reset” button to her Russian counterpart in March 2009 (with the word incorrectly translated into Russian), the change in tone was more striking than ever in her debate with Donald J. Trump.
She, and the Obama White House, insist they were on the right course until Mr. Putin decided he had more to gain from reviving Cold War tensions than from a quarter-century effort to integrate with the West. Now, much of the Democratic foreign policy establishment has become as hawkish as Mrs. Clinton on the subject of Russia, a view that seems almost certain to outlast the campaign.
Privately, some of her longtime advisers are already thinking about what mix of sanctions, diplomatic isolation and international condemnation they might put together if they take office to deal with Mr. Putin and the fragile economic state he runs, an update of the “containment” strategy that George F. Kennan formulated for President Harry S. Truman in 1947.
Equally surprising is the Republican reversal of tone. Only four years ago, it was the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who was warning of the dangers of a revanchist Russia and President Obama who said “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back,” noting that “the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Most of the Republican Party remains firmly distrustful of Russia. But not Mr. Trump, its standard-bearer.“If the United States got along with Russia, wouldn’t be so bad,” he said Wednesday, uttering not a word about Mr. Putin’s land grabs. Instead, he urged viewers to “take a look at the ‘Start Up’ they signed,” apparently confusing the lingo of Silicon Valley with New START, the 2010 arms control treaty. The problem, he said, is that Russia is outbuilding the United States’ nuclear arsenal — it is not, at least so far, because of the treaty’s limits. The debate then devolved into an argument over which candidate was Putin’s puppet.

Time after time, Mr. Trump has insisted, as he did during Wednesday’s debate, that the United States has “no idea” who was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s aides. “Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every single step of the way,” he argued, from Syria to the development of new missiles. For days, hacked emails from the Gmail account of John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, have embarrassed her campaign, and on Thursday, emails from an account Mr. Obama had during his 2008 transition surfaced for the first time. No one knows if the hacking campaign is winding down or whether the revelations so far are simply a prelude to something bigger between now and Election Day.

Mr. Obama is considering retaliation that, according to several senior officials, could include attacks inside Russia that could expose corruption among the leadership and embarrass Mr. Putin. It is not clear whether Mr. Obama will choose that route, even after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a threat last weekend that Mr. Putin could get some of his own medicine.
But it is clear that if Mrs. Clinton wins, she will enter the White House with a very personal grudge against Mr. Putin. He, in turn, has long harbored a grudge against her for her statements in 2011 calling into question the validity of a Russian parliamentary election.

It is possible, Mr. Sestanovich warned, that Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration are seeing Mr. Putin’s direct hand in too many events. He questioned how the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., would know for certain that the Kremlin leadership was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the emails of Mr. Podesta and Colin L. Powell, one of Mrs. Clinton’s predecessors as secretary of state. The United States has released none of its evidence, so it is unclear if the conclusion was based on an educated guess about Kremlin operations, an “implant” in Russian networks, or a human spy or communications intercept.

But it is clear, Mr. Sestanovich said, that Mr. Putin is using this moment of leadership transition to press for any advantage, with methods such as using information warfare techniques on American soil, intimidating Ukraine, and running major military exercises on the border with Norway.

Not surprisingly, some Democrats on the left find all this a bit unnerving. “That reckless branding of Trump as a Russian agent, most of it is coming from the Clinton campaign,” Stephen F. Cohen, a professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton, told CNN in an interview over the summer. “And they really need to stop.”
In fact, many in the Democratic Party have spent decades invested in bringing Moscow into the Western fold, dating to the days when President Bill Clinton first met with Boris Yeltsin, then the Russian president, and began the process of expanding the Group of 7 industrialized countries to the Group of 8. They also began the long process of bringing Russia into the World Trade Organization, an effort to wrap the country in Western-created rules. The nuclear arsenals on both sides shrank by more than 80 percent, to 1,550 deployed warheads on each side under New START, which Mr. Obama negotiated in his first year in office.
The treaty remains in effect. But there are arguments over new weapons, and a major program to dispose of military stockpiles of plutonium was halted this month by Mr. Putin, citing the deterioration of relations with the United States.
And it is Mr. Trump who says he can reverse all that, with good negotiations, if he is president.

“I think I could see myself meeting with Putin and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration,” he said in an interview with Michael Savage, the talk show host, this week. “I think it would be wonderful.”