Monday, October 30, 2017

The Resistance, the #Resistance and Harvey Weinstein


Offered ironically. The roughest waters lie ahead of us.

by Gaius Publius

"For certain of their leaders, modern-day liberalism is a way of rationalizing and exercising class power."
     –Thomas Frank

The real resistance occurred in 2016. It failed in both parties.
     –Yours truly

There's something greatly troubling about what the media-fronted #Resistance has morphed into, but I'm having trouble writing about it (it's lightly touched here: "A Nation in Crisis, Again"). Partly the problem is the marshaling of pages of proof; partly the problem is the unstoppable train wreck that's coming. Perhaps I should write about the train wreck instead.

After all, as noted in the link above, "No Praetorian Guard, once it grows muscular, reverts back to a simple barracks unit just because new leadership arrives." And the anti-Trump leadership in both parties is growing us a Praetorian Guard, if we don't have one already. You may be cheering it onward as we speak, depending on the latest lashings from former and current security state personnel, but what you're cheering, if you do, enables an unelected, uncontrolled and muscular security state, one you've certainly been appalled by in many other contexts.

Trump will go; but the unelected state grows only stronger, now with help from the #Resistance. Do you see the dilemma? How to write about this to a nation in love with what it will come, but only later, to hate?

How Principled Is the #Resistance?

Another troubling aspects of the "professional resistance" — for example, the MSNBC version, which constantly offers the worst of the New Dems and neoliberals for cheers by the anti-Trump crowd — is that I suspect it's not at all principled.

For example, the charge "Russia's attack on our election is an act of war" has been made and platformed daily for almost a year — spoken by those for whom it would be heresy to say that U.S. interferences in elections around the world are also "acts of war."

As one of far too many examples, consider Honduras:
At the beginning of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State in 2009, the Honduran military ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in a coup d’etat. The United Nations condemned the military coup and the Organization of American States suspended Honduras from its membership, calling for Zelaya’s reinstatement. Instead of joining the international effort to isolate the new regime, Clinton’s State Department pushed for a new election and decided not to declare that a military coup had occurred.

“If the United States government declares a coup, you immediately have to shut off all aid, including humanitarian aid, the Agency for International Development aid, the support that we were providing at that time for a lot of very poor people,” Clinton said when asked about Honduras in April. “So, our assessment was, we will just make the situation worse by punishing the Honduran people if we declare a coup and we immediately have to stop all aid for the people, but we should slow walk and try to stop anything that the government could take advantage of, without calling it a coup.”

Clinton said that she didn’t want Zelaya returning to power. “Zelaya had friends and allies, not just in Honduras, but in some of the neighboring countries, like Nicaragua and that we could have had a terrible civil war that would have been just terrifying in its loss of life.”

Emails that have since surfaced show that Clinton and her team worked behind the scenes to fend off efforts by neighboring democracies through the Organization of American States to restore the elected president to power.
Is this also a declaration of war by the U.S. against Honduras? Did the U.S. declare war on Iran in 1953 when the CIA unseated the democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh?

The answer to all these question may well be Yes. But would the pro-Clinton hosts and guests at MSNBC, of which there are many, say so? Especially if Clinton herself were to be tarred with that same brush? Using Trump-Russia logic, would Rachel Maddow charge Clinton with abetting an "act of war" against Honduras? Hardly likely.

As I said, I suspect the "professional resistance" to Donald Trump is not at all principled, but opportunistic and entirely one-sided, however right or wrong that one side might be.

The Failed Electoral Revolution of 2016

All this has led me to wonder what the goal of this professional #Resistance really is. The Restoration of Democracy to America? Or the Restoration of Mainstream Democrats — the anti-Sanders, anti-progressive, "you can't have that" crowd — to power again?

If just the latter, the nation may sink more slowly beneath the neoliberal waves than it would under solid Republican rule, a plus to many people's way of thinking, but progressives will still have an enemy who hates all they stand for, armed, enabled and in the field against them. Does strengthening the professional, media-curated #Resistance, without at the same time fighting to dethrone the Clintonists and Obamists actively moved into its front ranks, serve either the cause of progressivism or, given the increasing power of the unelected state, the interest of American democracy? One has to wonder.

The real Resistance, of course, occurred in 2016, in that year's electoral revolt against the money-bought in both parties, and it failed in both parties. Mainstream Democrats successfully fended off the actual populist in their race, Bernie Sanders, whom they hate even to this day. Mainstream Republicans successfully elected their "populist," the fake swamp-drainer Donald Trump, and his voters are getting nothing they wanted in terms of relief from the relentless greed and austerity they rebelled against.

The nation, meanwhile, is left with a still-unsatisfied populist anger, waiting like an abscess to erupt. What form that will take in 2018 and 2020 is anyone's guess. Failed revolutions, like bad meals, often come back stronger.

The #Resistance, Mainstream Democrats and Harvey Weinstein

Who are these mainstream Democrats? According to Thomas Frank, they're Harvey Weinstein:
Let us now consider the peculiar politics of Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie producer. Today Weinstein is in the headlines for an astonishing array of alleged sexual harassment and assaults, but once upon a time he was renowned for something quite different: his generous patronage of liberal politicians and progressive causes.

This leading impresario of awful was an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He was a strong critic of racism, sexism and censorship. He hosted sumptuous parties to raise money for the fight against Aids.

In 2004 he was a prominent supporter of a women’s group called “Mothers Opposing Bush”. And in the aftermath of the terrorist attack against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, he stood up boldly for freedom of the press. Taking to the pages of Variety, Weinstein announced that “No one can ever defeat the ability of great artists to show us our world.”
But lest you think Frank is tarring the Clintonist-Obamist wing of the Party with Weinstein in a guilt-by-association manner, he digs deeper (emphasis mine):
Most people on the left think of themselves as resisters of authority, but for certain of their leaders, modern-day liberalism is a way of rationalizing and exercising class power. Specifically, the power of what some like to call the “creative class”, by which they mean well-heeled executives in industries like Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

Worshiping these very special people is the doctrine that has allowed Democrats to pull even with Republicans in fundraising and that has buoyed the party’s fortunes in every wealthy suburb in America.

That this strain of liberalism also attracts hypocrites like Harvey Weinstein, with his superlative fundraising powers and his reverence for “great artists”, should probably not surprise us. Remember, too, that Weinstein is the man who once wrote an essay demanding leniency for Roman Polanski, partially on the grounds that he too was a “great artist”.

Harvey Weinstein seemed to fit right in.
And then the meat of Frank's argument:
This is a form of liberalism that routinely blends self-righteousness with upper-class entitlement. That makes its great pronouncements from Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons. That routinely understands the relationship between the common people and showbiz celebrities to be one of trust and intimacy.

Countless people who should have known better are proclaiming their surprise at Harvey Weinstein’s alleged abuses. But in truth, their blindness is even more sweeping than that. They are lost these days in a hall of moral mirrors, weeping tears of admiration for their own virtue and good taste.
Is the anti-Trump #Resistance, the professional broadcast version with its behind-the-scenes security state actors, simply setting us up for a Restoration of those — a Pence, a Biden, or another darling of our dual mainstream parties — who "weep tears of admiration for their own virtue" as they tank or attempt to co-opt the next Bernie Sanders, or re-destroy the last one? Stay tuned. The answer is coming soon.

And if they do, will America weep tears of thanks, or something else?


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At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good piece. For the few americans still capable, it provokes thought.

"The real Resistance, of course, occurred in 2016, in that year's revolt against the money-bought in both parties, and it failed in both parties. Mainstream Democrats successfully fended off the actual populist in the race, Bernie Sanders..."
They didn't "fend off". They committed election fraud and various "legal-ish" methods for suppressing voters in certain key states during the primaries. In the general, their decades-long ambivalence to R election fraud and voter caging also resulted in millions fewer votes cast.
Bernie, then, disavowed his own "Independentness" by going fetal after the convention and endorsing and working for the lying bank whore and coup-loving $hillbillary (you didn't mention Ukraine, where she also helped orchestrate and support their neo-Nazi coup).

"Mainstream Republicans elected the faux populist Donald Trump, and his voters are getting nothing that they wanted in terms of relief from the relentless greed and austerity they rebelled against."
While true they aren't getting anything, they never really WANTED any of it. All they wanted was NOT another colored nor female nor democrap president... at any cost. What they got, as the one-issue electorate they truly are, is hate that matches theirs.

"The nation, meanwhile, is left with a still-unsatisfied populist anger, waiting like an abscess to erupt. What form that will take in 2018 and 2020 is anyone's guess."

If history is any indication, it'll take the form of a 2006-like wave of new Ds in the house (not in the senate). And if the Ds take the house and not the senate, they'll have cover for not doing shit, like Pelosi had, kind of, when she first got the gavel and refused to remedy one single thing. See, she was gambling on cheney/bush continuing to be so bad that in 2008 they might sweep all 3 chambers. Yes things got really bad and yes Ds took both chambers plus the WH and had numbers that the Rs could never thwart... except the democraps had DONORS who demanded they enact NONE of the voter mandate. The donors won out and 15 million from 2008 stayed home in 2010... and here we all are today.

D voters got betrayed in 2006, then ratfucked in 2008, then stayed home in 2010. I see that cycle repeating today.

The money will win; voters will still and always lose; and voters will take it up the ass again with nary a whimper.

Just the way the money, fascist Rs and Ds like it.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

All power [including #Resistance] corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
-Groucho Marx (attribution questionable)

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I, for one, am getting exceedingly tired of people snarling and snapping at Bernie Sanders for maintaining his integrity and keeping his word.

Sen. Sanders said from day one that if he did not win the nomination he would support and campaign for whoever did. He did not add "unless the Green Party makes me a better offer." He did not add "unless they screw me over." He gave his word, and he kept it. And even if he hadn't, does anyone with any sense think it would have made any difference, other than we'd have President Clinton instead of President Trump?

He also said from day one that he was not going to be a messiah leading the common folk to the Promised Land. It's hardly his fault that way too many people didn't believe him, and then attacked him for failing to keep a promise he never made. He said it's up to us to fix things, and that to make a success we'll have to do the repairs from the ground up, not the top down.

What Sen. Sanders did was refuse to accept defeat and crawl back under the rock where the establishment wanted him. Instead, he wrote a book about the primary experience that included a thorough rendition of what he stood for and continues to stand for. And he gave his support to starting an organization to recruit progressives to run for office at all levels of government, right down to dogcatcher. That organization inspired others to also organize for the same purpose. All are working hard and having successes. Baby steps, yes, but at least they're walking.

The irony is that all those who sneer at Sen. Sanders for "kowtowing" are playing right into the hands of the establishment they claim to be disgusted with. They are actively providing fodder for media propaganda that seeks to apply a blackout to those organizations working for change, and that in the meantime are dismissing their successes as flukes or not really important. And they are contributing to the ongoing efforts to undermine Sen. Sanders as an individual, portraying him as being just as dishonest as those he criticizes and, therefore, a hypocrite.

As a side note, I know he prefers "Bernie," but given the nature of the attacks on him lately, I'll be formal when referring to him henceforth. Let's face it, "Sen. Sanders Bros" isn't nearly as catchy.

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure why; but for some reason they eat their own?"
We have us a pussy-grabbing President who can tweet his way into dominating the news cycle of ineffectual, sensationalist overpaid fame seeking US "news" reporters;bouncing them around like shiny steel balls inside a pinball machine.

Along comes Harvey, and all of a sudden their is a break in the Trump storm, something more distracting, more sensational and then the domino's fall and the news cycle is again competitive. "When you're famous you can do anything you want" even become President? Well now...uhhmmmm. Isn't it obvious? We have discovered the liberal anti-dote to reality TV politics. A cure to the hijacked news. The US political theater movie Blockbuster of all time? Harvey could keep his movie businesses and pardon himself & all the Hollywood Honcho's. Once again casting couches would regain a value greater then these $2 bumper stickers I'm selling
|Harvey 2020!| ps. {"MAKE AMERICA GRAB AGAIN" Hats available for pre-order}

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I hear you. And keeping one's word is a virtue.

But he didn't accept "defeat". He accepted a thorough ratfucking. If he'd just been beaten, keeping his word would have been meritous.

But he was ratfucked. And he went fetal. And he then went ahead and helped those who ratfucked him (and ratfucked all his voters plus all the OTHER voters who would have gladly shown up and elected him... and the nation... and the world).

I truly like and respect Bernie. But he perhaps proved his unsuitability for highest office by going fetal.
I can understand why he didn't want to be our pied piper. I wouldn't want that job either. But we FUCKING NEED SOMEONE.. AND FUCKING NOW!! He was there and then and ... he wilted.

Peace be to Bernie. But we needed him.

And we got trump. What more can be said?

Some are born to greatness; some achieve greatness; some have greatness thrust upon them.

Bernie was the latter... and he refused.

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Trashing Bernie is so pathetic when there is so much more important to trash at this time. He did not "go fetal", an absurd statement. Bernie did the right thing supporting Hillary, the lesser of two evils by far, way far - too bad so few voters paid attention to Noam Chomsky, who made it crystal clear what the choice was before us in November 2016.

As awful as Hillary was (but not in all ways, she was good in some) what we have now in the Orangeman is beyond belief and a complete horror show. The man is insane, incompetent, uninformed, vengeful, narcissistic to infinity, immoral, unethical, likely criminal and above all plain stupid. There is not one good thing to say about him, not one. (Not even his children, Hillary, they are just as rotten and stupid as he is.) We are in imminent danger daily with Trump at the helm.

Will Trump attempt to fire Mueller or pardon Manafort? He might and probably will - he will push his authoritarianism to the max, I have no doubt. And what will Congress do? Uh, nothing?? Will the Republicans be forced to do something as Mueller provides the evidence? One would hope so. Then we will have the Pence wonder.

At 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to note that too many don't see that Bernie has had his run. I've not seen much in the media about Bernie since he was bum-rushed out of the Women's conference in Detroit and announced he was going to Puerto Rico. That was days ago. What this tells me is that the media covers him no more. They have decided he's done.

You should have walked out of the Convention, Bernie. Strom Thurmond did it in 1948, and he was always in the news forever afterwards. You caved in to a corrupt DNC and obscurity be thy fate.

Ya coulda been a contendah, Bernie. Now you're a palooka! No one is more sorry about that than me.

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:21, thanks for that.

Hone, I truly like you. But you're wrong here.

Bernie campaigned as a revolutionary. He was the FDR candidate to reverse 40 years of neoliberalism, neoconism and fascism. Remember FDR? He was a revolutionary figure. He DID Keynesian economic reforms at a time when none had ever been tried... and they worked -- for 5 decades. But since the mid-70s, we've abandoned Keynes and adopted neoliberalism (like Jonestown adopted the Kool-Aid) and neocon warmongering.

But Bernie caved (2:21) under the pressure of his own making, went fetal, and finally betrayed all that he said he stood for by aiding and abetting the status quo (your "lesser evilism").

At some point, it SHALL be too late to fix this shit. Bernie may well have been our last chance. And he shrunk from it like a frightened turtle (Seinfeld's shrinkage meme).

As I said, I truly like Bernie. At a place and time of greatest need, however, he refused to be our FDR. I get it. Who WOULD want that job. But without someone to take it on, we'll founder and die. Might already be too late. The election of the drumpfsterfire kind of spells permanent doom, doesn't it?


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