From the publisher … On saying no

by Joe Courter

So here we are two years into the Trump administration.  And pretty much every day is another statement, policy, tweet or appointment that has us shaking our heads. Today it’s the appointment of a climate change (i.e., science) denier to head the White House panel on climate change. Two days ago it was the launching (pardon the pun) of an arms race in space with the creation of the “Space Command.” We watch in horror as immigrants fleeing the turmoil in their homelands are mis-characterized and vilified, to the point that families are being separated, and children are being locked up and even lost in the process. The nation is pulled out of international climate and arms control agreements.  I won’t go on, you get the picture, you know it all too well. 

So at what point is this turned around? Who is going to say no to it? I keep thinking of a future time when we will look back and think “How did we let it get that far?” Getting the U.S. House of Representatives back in Democratic hands, and that those hands are attached to many more women and minorities is good, but damage is continuing unabated with court appointments, weakening of health and safety regulations, and potentially disastrous foreign policy decisions with war hawks like Bolton, Pompeo and Abrams calling the shots.

I try and keep positive in these pieces, but it is getting harder with the rise of authoritarian governments around the globe. There seems to be a toxic similarity to them as well; attacks on the news media, repression and scapegoating of minority groups and outliers, attacks against progressive leaders through the courts or with bullets, and a rolling back of women’s rights. It is likely that technological change has been aiding this in the news manipulation, electoral messaging, and surveillance and tracking of dissidents.  Big lies and fear mongering seem to be a winning ticket these days.

There is a lot of talk now about the Mueller report being released soon, and it seems like it is being treated like the silver bullet to save us from Trump. You readers in the future will know how that came out. But looking at it at this moment, there is a lot of other stuff that could be being investigated, especially by the newly blue House … follow the money, look for the cover-ups. I worry that time is being squandered as some networks seem totally fixated on Russia Russia Russia and the threads Mueller is following. That and the distraction factor as the run up to military confrontation in Venezuela looms. Once soldiers die—that is, American soldiers—the fight becomes about their honor. That’s the way it’s been in the past, but I could be wrong about that now; the U.S. has lost a lot of soldiers without much results since George W. Bush turned loose the dogs of war in 2003. So much death and destruction over lies. Lies the media and Congress went along with. No one in power said no. So it goes.

The New Yorker issue from Feb 18 and 25 has a feature by Jeffery Toobin about Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi. <> These two are master propagandists, of different styles, but both quite repulsive in their desire to win at all costs. And that is what we, on the left, are up against. It is the reason talk radio works for the Right but not the Left. It is ideology over truth. It is winning over compassion. Stone is a dirty trickster going back to Nixon days. Corsi is willing to create lies to further his cause, most notably the “swiftboating” of John Kerry in 2004. Worth a read, these are the times we are in.

And finally … yes, Bernie is running and let’s have a fair process this time, although how we whittle this field down worries me. But consider these wise words from Loretta Ross: 

“Can’t so-called progressives figure out how to support the candidate they believe represents their views without indulging in stupid call-outs and put-downs about other Democratic candidates? We can’t figure out how to support folks on the same team who have different skills/strengths/weaknesses? Any manager of a sports team figures this out everyday! Teachers do it everyday in classrooms. Good managers do it all the time at job sites. Get over yourself and stop this Cancel Culture masquerading as wise political debate unless your amnesia goes back to 2016. Fighting neo-fascism is our mission, not fighting each other. Just sayin’.”

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