Tuesday, January 22, 2019

"Any Word That Threatens Power Is Literally Russian Propaganda"

Now here is quite a thing. What is being suggested, is that the primary users of any of these terms are supposedly Russian bots, or other vectors for material that can be 'safely dismissed' out of hand as "propaganda".

This is not, strictly speaking, "Orwellian" - in the sense of Orwell's conception of "Newspeak". That, after all, was the deliberate efforts to change cognition and render rebellion impossible through the policing of language by removing whole words and thus, potentially, concepts ... whilst proffering other, more rote and mechanical formulations elsewhere. A pruning and 'simplification' of thought, with the goal of removing the "thought" bit.

No, this is something else. It is keeping alive [for how long, who can say], these terms rather than attempting to obviate them from our collective political discourse.

And doing so with a very specific agenda in mind - rendering them from potentially quite apt terms of description and/or castigation ... particularly of those in power today [you know, the politics of the "Establishment" .. oop there's one right there!] ... into taboo terms.

Words which delineate and demarcate the user, the possessor as some sort of false-flag enemy agent; who has no interest in the furtherance of democracy or in the positive participation of their state's genuine political process. And who therefore, once again, can safely be de-legitimated rather than listened to or otherwise dialogued with (lest they, you know, change the minds of people they talk to with facts and/or persuasive rhetoric) , as "propaganda and propagandists do not argue in good faith" or whatever.

In a way, it is even more effective than the properly Orwellian approach outlined several paragraphs above.

Because it is not attempting to render un-words, concepts with long and embedded histories in the English [or, for that matter, any other] Lexicon and accompanying political consciousness.

Besides, as an associate pointed out with reference to Gene Wolf's Book of the New Sun series ... there's a reasonable argument that even removing words does not, in and of itself, manage to successfully 'reprogram the human mind' to remove entire concepts in the manner envisaged by Orwell's fictional governmental antagonists. It simply means we find new ways to express them.

Even assuming that "forbidden words" themselves don't remain or even encounter additional currency and saliency in less public popular/political culture. [this may or may not be an instance of the Streisand Effect] .

So instead, we have this - the attempt to turn the proper and appropriate words to describe things as they are [even though they are, yes, often over-used in some particulars, and with rather flexible definitional ambits ... as, as it happens, are almost all terms of serious political discourse anyway ["Democracy", anyone?], but I digress ... ] ...

... to turn these words into things that will be kept alive rather than erased. Precisely because they serve to mark out whom you're not allowed to listen to, and what you're not allowed to hear or "take seriously".

As I said above - in a way, this is more effective than simple erasure. As it is easier, in many spheres and in many respects to learn to "hate" than it is to "forget".

Now as a bit of a disclaimer, I do happen to think that quite frequently, "Rothschild" is basically a hallmark of conspiracy-theory tier rambling specularism rather than any serious nor immanent Critique of Power; and I can definitely see how both that and "Zionist" can be utilized in manners which we might broadly term "Anti-Semitic".

But it is a strange world indeed, to wake up one morning and find out that the commonly accepted Academic Term for the dominant politico-economic paradigm of the last thirty years here in the Anglosphere [and, for that matter, much further afield - via its neo-"imperialist" imposition as part and parcel with the "Neocon" foreign policy-set ... referred to, once again in literal academic textbooks as the "Neo-Neo Synthesis/Consensus"] ...

... that this is now apparently some sort of insta-signifer of subversive Russian State Agent employ, by the user.

No, the primary use for terms such as "Neoliberal" has, and is, and will be - the observational and deductive calling out of Neoliberalism. As, and when and whyfor it occurs.

No wonder you're "not allowed"" to use it, Citizen!

In a manner akin to the true ending of the parable of The Emperor's New Clothes - wherein the small child is locked up for insulting Royalty , by pointing out the actual nature of the foolish Ruler's new "garments" ..

... the one thing "they in Power" absolutely cannot stand is a simple, succinct, and easily communicated/understood statement of Truth.

On The Curiously Contradictory Complaints Against Tulsi Gabbard

Politics, much like the ethically-challenged tawdry celebrity gossip-rags it occasionally so closely resembles, is a field in which "Truth" (or even, simply, 'internal cohesiveness' of an argument or a position) is often only a tertiary consideration. With some measure of "effectiveness" (especially of a slur) as a secondary, and "the venting of highly emotive vitriol" an unabashed and unquestioned prime.

This is, presumably, how we explain the increasingly lurid, and manifestly ... not even just "counterfactual" as "inherently internally contradictory" pile-up of allegations and aspersions currently in circulation against Tulsi Gabbard.

If you believed what you read ... Gabbard is supposed to be simultaneously a radical anti-war candidate who'll leave America defenceless (by, you know, not getting further into unnecessary overseas quagmires) AND some sort of blood-curdling pro-war promulgator of the Pax-Americana.

She's accused of being an outspoken Islamophobe alleged to make Trump's statements about various demographics look moderate ... yet simultaneously a hater of Israel, an anti-semite, who wants said state wiped off the map by Iran and Syria.

Some ultra-liberal voices have attacked her for comments she made many years ago about how the Democratic Party's agenda should be economic in orientation rather than focused upon LGBT issues. Some conservatives have attacked her for the repudiation of those comments she made some years later.

And more confusingly, some Republicans have also attacked her for the earlier round of comments, on grounds that apparently they don't like people pre-empting their current-day talking points by a decade and a half?

It has even been said that she's some sort of Clinton-acolyte against genuine, economically progressive politics ... occasionally right next to the observations of her allegedly being "anti-Democrat" for the principled stance of resigning from her position on the DNC due to its favouritism of Clinton against Sanders.

Anyway, you get my point.

Going through this round of the Presidential Primary process, every, all sides who are arrayed against Gabbard are still "finding their feet". They're not sure what's going to work against Gabbard - in no small part because they've never really faced a candidate like her before [who cannot be easily attacked, depending upon which party you're from, on any of the "usual stuff" - as a brown woman with a military service record and strong, principled stances on all the key areas ... about the only "vulnerability" is if her antagonists want to go after the religion angle].

So instead of disciplined bursts of fire, along identified key themes, they're simply trying the old "throw everything at her and see what sticks" approach. Albeit in a manner which is so cap-handed and internally self-contradictory [seriously - check the GoP's initial response to Gabbard's announcement of candidacy] , that it's far less "recon-in-force" and more "recon-by-farce".

But in any case, it is useful to take a look, with critical eye, upon what's actually going on with the reality of her stances, as compared to the scaremongering rhetoric.

Take the charges of "Islamophobia", for instance.

Now while it is true that Gabbard has appeared in the media from time to time talking about terrorist threats from "Radical Islam" ... the actual thrust of this aspersion does not have much to do with that. Instead, it is because she also makes trenchant criticisms of the highly improper degree of malefic influence which Saudi Arabia exerts over American (geo)politics; of the ways in which Saudi Arabia and others are given carte-blanche to kill other Muslims, as a result.

And speaking on that general point - it takes a very strange mind indeed to suggest that Gabbard's opposition to America bombing ordinary Syrians or Iranians somehow makes her indelibly, appallingly "anti-Muslim".

I mean surely that's the more more important rubric for assessment?

Or are we in some frightningly phantasmical post-twilight political-psephological silliness-zone wherein it matters not a jot what stance one takes in opposition to the American role in tens of thousands of deaths in the Middle East in recent years ... you say "Radical Islam" on TV - that's the thing regarded as "meaningful", in the context of whether one is "pro" or "anti" Muslims.

Ultimately, yes - yes that is exactly where we are at. As can be seen by all the lurid ridicularity bound up in the mutually-contradictory aspersions being directed at Gabbard at this time.

It's all words. Empty words. Counterfactual words. Words of no fixed opinion, nor abode.

The only thing they tell you, really, is what she's up again.

That she matters.

Because apparently Everybody from all over the Establishment political spectrum, is running scared.

And given how fundamentally broken the US 'Establishment political spectrum' actually is - as morally (well, a-morally) committed as it is to pro-war and pro-poverty for all , with increasingly facile commitments to "any form of diversity you like provided it doesn't question the bedrock of our Neo-Neo (geo)political consensus" ...


Many years ago now, another great economic populist of the Democratic Party - back when being a Democrat on the side of the people meant something (and, from New York, no less!) - the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ... made a speech at Madison Square Garden, speaking about the similar confluence of opposition he and his agenda then faced.

He had this to say:

"They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred."

Just as with FDR , those in favour of Tulsi Gabbard, should, perhaps, welcome the castigation and condemnation of elites from all manner of different directions.

After all, it is a sign that, as the old Indian proverb goes:

"The monkeys only shake the tree with the good mangoes".

Which, in this instance, is a tree commensurate with what we here in Kiwiland, would refer to as a "Mighty Totara" indeed.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Why Republicans Don't Want YOU To Go Hard For Gabbard

I've seen a few strange things this morning; but one of the more peculiar has to be the Republican Party attacking Tulsi Gabbard's just-announced Presidential candidacy, on grounds that "Progressives have blasted her".

I'll say that again: the Republicans appear to be attacking Gabbard for allegedly not being popular enough with "Progressives".

Like ... wut? Ordinarily, scare-mongering about a candidate running for the other party's Presidential nomination at this stage in the (pre-)campaign, is a matter of attempting to whip up your own party's supporters in paroxysms of terror about the politics of this or that potential nominee.

Now you could probably suggest that the GoP also attacking her for "Resign[ing] from the DNC to support Bernie Sanders", is an example of that. Something something "she's a creeping socialist infiltrator" something something. [Although I suspect that line of attack's going to backfire - partially due to cross-over support for economic populism between the Sanders-sectorial of American politics, and many people who voted for Trump [c.f Steve Bannon's remarks on the issue]; but largely also because people remember the narrative of the DNC having "rigged" the contest for Clinton in order to keep Sanders out. Statements that Gabbard left the DNC over this, therefore, just make it seem like a) she has Principles [over craven power-pursuit]; and b) they're Principles that people, including GoP working class people, will like].

But when you get right down to it, there's no way that the Republicans' statement about Gabbard being anathema to and routinely attacked by "Progressives", even if it were significantly true, is geared towards the Republicans' own voters.

I mean, how could it be? "DON'T VOTE FOR HER! SHE'S SECRETLY A CONSERVATIVE, MAYBE?" Yeah, nah. Doesn't work.

What it is, however, is quite clearly a message intended for Democrat Primary participants, who'll get to have their say [assuming, you know, the Primary process is fair, rather than a carefully co-ordinated Coronation] over the next year and a half or so on whether or not Gabbard gets the nod. And with the very explicit objective of discouraging them from supporting her.

Now why might that be.

Clearly, it is because the Republicans are most afraid of Gabbard.

Hence, they shall continue to do everything in their power to try and de-legitimate and pre-emptively bump-off Gabbard's candidacy, before it's even out of the starting blocks.

Because they know all too well that the potent mix of a sensible foreign policy and a genuinely for-the-people economic platform - is an absolute winner (even despite any amount of media-mouthpiece shrieking to the contrary). And, more to the point, that it's what a not insignificant proportion of those who cast their ballots for Trump in 2016 thought they were voting for, only to find themselves bitterly disappointed two to three years in, when the Hope And Change with Red Hat Characteristics, turned out to be More Of The Same - But On Twitter.

And, of course, because the GoP also know that many of the usual attack-lines they'd field against most other Democrat leading personalities simply won't work on Gabbard. After all, it's pretty difficult to accuse a relatively recent military veteran (who, indeed, left her political role in order to serve her country abroad) of being an unpatriotic, craven Beltway careerist. Or, for that matter, somebody who resigned from the DNC in protest at perceived Clintonite skulduggery, of being some sort of front for a "Clintonite agenda". Or, indeed, an ardently pious and well respected figure within our religion as being some sort of "Godless Cultural Marxist Communist" or whatever.

Having said that, it will be interesting to see how the religion angle plays out; as sadly,i wouldn't put it past Republicans (and even a few Democrats) to basically attempt to attack her for being a) of a religious minority [in the US], b) brown [and probably c) Hawaiian by state].

In any case, while I'm not in the business of simply urging people to do something largely if not entirely because somebody we don't like is opposed to it ...

... as applies the Tulsi Gabbard 2020 candidacy, I am reminded of a Murray Ball political cartoon published here in New Zealand at the height of the electoral reform debate in the early 1990s.

Namely - that looking at who's opposed to Gabbard, and why : is a pretty great gateway to starting to understand why she should, nay, must be given a fair chance to run.

She stands alone, in terms of character and characteristics, policy and political personhood, that is true.

And in so doing, casts all the rest of the field, entire, in such harsh relief and shade.