247 posts categorized "Politics"

December 08, 2016

Martin Scorsese Interview on Trump and the Pope

November 09, 2016

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Here Comes the Rise of the Anti-Trump Left — BY TED RALL

NCSU Peace ProtestLet me get this out of the way first: I’m irritated at all the media people repeating that “nobody” saw Donald Trump’s “upset” win coming. I saw it coming a million miles away. Here, let me touch myself…am I someone? Yep, I still exist. Is it really possible that I’m the only pundit in America who grew up in the Rust Belt and goes home to visit?

Of course the corporate media morons didn’t see this coming. They didn’t see looming disaster in the invasion of Iraq. During the primaries, they ignored the polls that proved Bernie Sanders was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. It certainly never occurred to the corporate media morons that reducing tens of millions of middle-class workers to poverty, in order to line the pockets of globalization-besotted elites, might turn them into tens of millions of angry voters.

The bigger the news outlet where these mainstream political hacks work, the more money they make, the more journalism prizes they win, the less these idiots see anything coming (c.f., Ross Douthat, New York Times, March 8, 2016: “Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee”).

Well, here’s something else they don’t see coming: the rise of a new American Left energized and united by its opposition to Donald Trump and his policies, one whose size and militancy recalls the glory days of the 1960s.

There’s something happening here.

Well, there soon will be.

As I wrote in my 2010 book The Anti-American Manifesto, the United States does not have a Left — an organization or movement dedicated to the radical overthrow of the existing political and economic order. As Chris Hedges has eloquently described, this country has even lost its bourgeois 20th century liberal class.

Leftists and liberals are part of the mainstream political conversation in most developed countries. Here, however, a tacit ongoing conspiracy between media gatekeepers and corporate Democratic and Republican political leaders has marginalized the roughly 35% of Americans who oppose capitalism and militarism. Think about it: when’s the last time you saw someone completely opposed to military action speaking on cable television news? Ever heard of a communist or socialist hired to write for a newspaper or magazine?

The silencing of the American Left, brutal and relentless since the early 1970s, has impoverished our political culture and deprived the poor and oppressed of the help to which they are entitled by birthright. But that’s about to come to an end.

The devastating defeat of Hillary Clinton, the ultimate candidate of the neo-conservative Democratic center-right, has discredited her patrons, the pro-globalization elites. The election of Donald Trump sets the stage for a civil war within the party in which its liberal progressive wing is likely to emerge victorious, dominating electoral politics within the mainstream left for the foreseeable future. The Clintons, Obama, the Democratic Leadership Council types have had it their way for too long. They’ve lost. Now they need to shut up and go away.

Meanwhile, out in the streets where real political change can happen, I expect to see an anti-Trump resistance incorporating anarchists, veterans of the Occupy Wall Street movement, communists and socialists, radicalized left-wing Democrats, old hippies from the 1960s, Black Lives Matter activists, pro-immigrant people, work together and individually to oppose the radical right policies that we are going to see flying out of Washington over the next few years.

Out on the streets, Trump’s repressive tone will prompt brutal police tactics to which nonviolence will no longer be seen as the only acceptable counteraction. The “peace police” of the wimpy protests of the 1990s and 2000s will go extinct. Nonviolence will retake its rightful place as a noble and desirable tactic, but no longer the exclusive approach to taking on repressive government goons.

Donald Trump will be atrocious for the United States, especially with the Republican House and Senate. He’ll attack immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, victims of police brutality, God knows who else.

But he’ll be good for the Left. And, in the long run, the Left will be great for us.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. Support independent political cartooning and writing — support Ted on Patreon.)

What Do We Do Now? By Ted Rall

Not for me: I always said Donald Trump had a strong chance to win the presidency in a country where tens of millions of people are economically insecure, racist and/or sexist. The far right impulse has always been strong in American politics. But Trump has shocked the media and political establishment by pulling a come-from-behind victory over the deeply flawed right-wing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Now we, and the world, must brace for the arrival of protofascism in the Oval Office, enabled by Republican rule over both houses of Congress.

Not for me: I always said Donald Trump had a strong chance to win the presidency in a country where tens of millions of people are economically insecure, racist and/or sexist. The far right impulse has always been strong in American politics. But Trump has shocked the media and political establishment by pulling a come-from-behind victory over the deeply flawed right-wing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Now we, and the world, must brace for the arrival of protofascism in the Oval Office, enabled by Republican rule over both houses of Congress.

November 07, 2016

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hate Trump AND Clinton? There Are Better Alternatives

Voting-boothHillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the least popular presidential candidates of all time. So why vote for either one?

You wouldn’t know it to watch or read the news, but living in a duopoly doesn’t require you to hold your nose as you vote for someone you hate – merely because you hate the other candidate even more, or you’re deathly afraid of them. There are alternatives. And they don’t require you to compromise your ethics or vote against your own interests.

We’ve all heard it so often that we take it for granted: if you don’t vote, you’re apathetic. If you’re apathetic, you don’t have any right to complain when someone you don’t like wins and messes up the country.

That might be true when at least one of the candidates is palatable. But the argument falls apart at times like this, when most Americans agree that both are awful.

You and me, we may or may not agree on policy. But we probably agree on this: Wednesday morning, someone terrible will be president-elect. My lesser of two evils would be Hillary Clinton. But voting for her would tell the world that invading Iraq was OK. It would tell working-class people that NAFTA another free trade deals are OK. It would endorse the things that she endorses: bombing Libya and Syria, arming jihadis, Guantánamo, influence peddling, corruption on a scale that would make Nixon blush. None of that stuff is OK.

We must vote for Clinton in order to keep Trump out. That’s what they tell us. Trump, after all, is racist. But so is Clinton! What could be more racist than her obscene “war on terror”? All her victims are Muslim and brown – which is why white America doesn’t care. And don’t get me started on her and her husband’s “criminal justice reform” of the 1990s against “superpredators.”

With a “choice” like that, you have to look outside the box:

Voter Boycott

Citizens of countries with repressive and unresponsive ruling regimes often resort to the honorable strategy of the voter boycott. By denying the tyrants their votes, they rob their oppressors of legitimacy.

Never doubt that governments need their citizens to vote. For example, you might wonder why Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein bothered to hold his 2002 reelection campaign, in which he was the only candidate. The 11.4 million Iraqis who gave him his 100.00% victory (up from 99.96% in his previous “race”) allowed him, just before the U.S. invasion, to tell the world that he enjoyed his people’s popular support.

The “No Land! No House! No Vote!” movement, which began in 2004, calls for the poor and dispossessed to boycott South Africa’s electoral political system on the ground that the bourgeois political parties don’t care about their interests. In the 2011 election, 42% of registered voters respected the boycott. Concerned that the movement hurts its reputation internationally — and it has — the ruling African National Congress party has subjected the movement to torture and beatings.

It isn’t hard to imagine that a substantial decline in America’s already low voter participation rate would have some interesting effects. It would deny the United States its current holier-than-thou attitude toward other countries. And it would certainly inspire Americans outside the two-party system to consider the creation of a new political movement or third party as a more viable.

“If a huge number of people joined [in an election boycott] it would make an important statement,” Noam Chomsky has said.

Leave the Presidential Box Blank

“I will vote for Republicans up and down the ballot,” says Ari Fleischer, press secretary for George W. Bush. “But when it comes to the presidency, I’m going to leave my ballot blank.” Some Latino Republicans say they’ll do the same. So do some Bernie Sanders Democrats.

As with a voter boycott, the idea is to let the system know that you are civically engaged, not apathetic. Nevertheless, you’re displeased with the candidates on offer.

In counties and states that tally blank (also called “spoilt”) votes, this approach registers as a “none of the above” protest vote. The problem is, most municipalities do not count them — so they can’t send a message to the powers that be, the media, or to prospective third-party candidates.

Third Party

            The appeal of voting third party is obvious: it’s a protest vote and it allows you to direct your vote to someone whom you might really want to see win in an ideal world. The problem is, the fact that it isn’t an ideal world is the reason that you’re voting going outside the duopoly in the first place.

I’m voting for Jill Stein. My reason is simple: I would be happy to see her elected president. I agree with her on the vast majority of important issues. I can’t say that about anyone else on the ballot. (Not sure if that’s true for you? I strongly recommend that you take this test to determine which candidate is closest to you on policy.)

There’s only one reasonable argument against voting for a candidate who, like Stein, won’t win but with whom you agree: the lesser of two evils. In my case, by voting for Stein instead of Clinton, I’m effectively helping Trump. (Let’s forget for a moment that I live in New York, which will certainly go to Hillary.)

Theoretically, that’s a powerful argument. Trump is a fascist. I’m terrified of what he would do as president. I hate Hillary – but she’s not quite as obviously dangerous. Fortunately, this lesser-of-two-evils argument dies on the hill of mathematics.

Unless you are in Chicago, where you can make the dead vote, the only vote you control is your own: one. Statisticians have found that the odds of one vote changing the outcome of the presidential election is 1-in-10 million — and that’s only if you live in a swing state. For most people, the odds are more like 1-in-60 million. As one wag calculated, you have the same odds of changing the outcome of a major election as dying in a car accident while driving to the voting station.

The odds of your vote “going to waste” are significantly less than being struck by lightning twice during your life.

So live a little. Vote, or don’t vote, however you feel like.

By Ted Rall

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. Support independent political cartooning and writing — support Ted on Patreon.)

THE BEST SYSTEM IN THE WORLD BY TED RALL

They tell us we live in a country that serves as a shining beacon on a hill, a model for democracies around the world. If that's true, how the hell did we end up with two candidates who are the #1 and #2 most unpopular candidates in the history of polling, either one of which could lead to disaster?

They tell us we live in a country that serves as a shining beacon on a hill, a model for democracies around the world. If that’s true, how the hell did we end up with two candidates who are the #1 and #2 most unpopular candidates in the history of polling, either one of which could lead to disaster?

November 05, 2016

FILMSTRUCK STREAMING WITH COLE SMITHEY DEBUTS ON FORBES NOV. 10, 2016

FILMSTRUCK STREAMING

FilmStruck is a brand new streaming service collaboration between Turner Classic Movies, The Criterion Collection, and Kino Lorber. FilmStruck represents the first time in history that such a broad spectrum of classic films has been so readily available for film-lovers to consume.

On Thursday, November 10, 2016 FILMSTRUCK STREAMING WITH COLE SMITHEY will premiere on Forbes. The new program joins Cole Smithey's existing Forbes [weekly] video series NETFLIX NOW!. The FilmStruck and Netflix programs will switch off each week.

I can't believe FilmStruck is here. What a great streaming service. Film-lovers go straight to heaven.  

October 02, 2016

Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton Debate Cold Open - SNL

In the coming months we can all look back at this sketch for some laughs that we will sorely need for the certain hell that will be the next four years in America. Regardless of which of these detestable pieces of human detritus wins the election, America's 99% is screwed.

September 23, 2016

Pinksourcing With Kristen Bell — Celebs Have Issues Episode #1

AT HOME WITH THE WHITES BY TED RALL

Another police shooting of a civilian with shifting narratives, another popular uprising, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once again, white Americans are tsk-tsking that African-American rioters are making themselves look bad. The thing is, peaceful protests don't attract national attention.Another police shooting of a civilian with shifting narratives, another popular uprising, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once again, white Americans are tsk-tsking that African-American rioters are making themselves look bad. The thing is, peaceful protests don’t attract national attention.

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