Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

Pediarchy 7

Pediarchy – a society or culture dominated or ruled by children.

Nancy Pelosi, the figurehead of the Democratic Socialist Party, wants the voting age to be lowered to 16.

Of course she does. The likelihood that a 16-year-old will vote for free education, free housing, free health care, free contraception, free cell phones, free marijuana, is very high.

Also open borders, solar panels, and windmills.

The kids will be keen to strip the wealthy of their money and redistribute it among environmentalists. Why would they not? Its easy to be against private property when you don’t own anything. (Nancy owns a lot, but she will have immunity from expropriation because she is, for a little while longer at least, allowed to be the figurehead of her Party.)

These days, Americans by the age of 16 are thoroughly anti-American. They have been fully indoctrinated by their schools, since kindergarten, to despise America and capitalism and to love “diversity and inclusion” (aka racism).

The child vote will not be a novelty for the Democrats. They have long known that they can rely on the votes of the immature – as confidently as on the criminal, the insane, and the alien. The way they see it, the younger a voter is, the better. Okay, not toddlers. But fifth-graders even maybe. Because the very young, generally speaking, love extremes. They are natural iconoclasts. To them, destroying is fun, and there’s an awful lot needing to be destroyed – airplanes, cars, cattle, buildings, mines, factories, banks, the Constitution, white men – if the world itself is to be saved from destruction, which will otherwise happen for sure just 12 years from now, the young Democratic Socialists say.

Once sweet sixteens can vote, they can also be eligible to run for office. And why should any office, however high, be barred to them? Only an old white man addicted to his privilege would insist on an Attorney General having a qualification in Law. And nobody needs a qualification to legislate. Or to be governor. Or even president.

In fact, the Democratic Socialist Party already has a line-up of boys and girls eyeing the presidency.

One candidate for the highest office is a boy of 48, who likes to skateboard across the stage at Party rallies waving to his fans. He has videos made of his teeth being professionally cleaned, boasts of having a police record, and apologizes for being white. Then there are two old boys (both white), 76 and 77 respectively. And half a dozen girls …

Posted under education, Environmentalism, government, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 7 comments.

Permalink

Parody 15

Have you yet picked a victim group with which you “identify”?

If you haven’t picked one at least, you’re doomed, comrade!

You’ve gotta be one of the oppressed in America now, or you’re nothing. No, of course you don’t have to actually be oppressed, you’ve just got to belong to a group that can say it’s oppressed because it’s not white and male.

Why should only those who have actually been oppressed have all the kudos? It’s enough that some women – or all women some time ago – were kept down. If you are a woman, that’s all you need to stake your claim. Same goes of course if you’re black, brown, homosexual, lunatic, or criminal. Others like you had it rough, so you are owed.

If you’re currently homeless, an illegal resident, an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a member of M-13 or al-Qaeda, you can pass jail and go straight to the community chest for your hand-out.

But our advice to you is choose a race complaint. The most solid claim, the claim recognized as being top priority right now, is a race claim. Then you have only to put a finger in the political breeze – the one blowing from the left – to learn which race is commonly agreed to be most “unsafe” while whites occupy the seats of power.

It will be better still if you also “belong” to a radical ideology. It’s an add-on, but could make all the difference to how much respect and promotion you have a right to demand. You could probably hit the jackpot this season if your chosen ideology is Islam or Communism. Being Muslim or Communist might even get you a pass for a while if you are still white and/or male.

But hurry. The wind changes often. More often than the weather changes (though it all tends, they say, towards heating the earth to destruction within 12 years). It could, for all you know, change before you can say “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at American Greatness:

For progressives that revolutionary purity now is defined by race is an ironic return to the values of the Old South, which sought to calibrate privilege by skin color. The reprehensible Confederate idea of the whitest has now morphed into the least white being the most authentically grieved and thus deserving of the greatest reparatory privileges — the constant, of course, remains that superficial appearance based on race trumps all individual characteristics.

What started with affirmative action became “diversity’, which in turn during the Obama Administration was redefined not as minority groups with either historical grievances against the majority or accepted claims of ongoing racial victimization. Instead authentically diverse were all who claimed to be racially or linguistically distinguishable from the white majority.

Then diversity as a revolutionary moment was further expanded by including gays and woke women, which essentially took the initial African-American population whose plight was the aim of affirmative action and expanded it to in theory a majority of about 200 million Americans who were either non-white or women or both.

Now the revolution cannot figure out its own hierarchy of authentic grievance groups. So it has agreed on a loose “intersectionality”, in which over a dozen and often overlapping victim cadres agree that each degree of non-white-maleness adds authenticity and become a force multiplier of left-wing radicalism.

Among leftists, Kamala Harris, as black and female, trumps Cory Booker who is just black, who trumps Elizabeth Warren who is exposed as just female, who trumps Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders who are reverse threefers as white, male, and heterosexual. …

In such a revolutionary scramble to be the most diverse and hard left, the logical trajectory ends up with a race to transcend the physical limits of victimhood.

So now appears Jussie Smollett.

He is not just left-wing, but a rabid hater of Donald Trump. And he is not just black, but gay as well. And he is not just a victim, but a hyper-victim of white bullies. And not just bullies, but bullies with MAGA hats. And he is not just a victim of white red-hats, but a victim of ski-masked racists. And not just of their blows, but of (frozen?) bleach. And not just of bleach and blows, but of lynch rope as well. And they did not just hit, but smeared and slurred. And not just MAGA sloganeering, but anti-gay, anti-black—and perhaps, worst of all, in our performance society, they slandered his “Empire” TV show!

Progressives are like a worn rope being pulling apart at both ends. At one end, there is an effort to radicalize prior radicalization, and on the other end victimhood is heading toward parody.

And what is left is the emblematic Jussie Smollett—the logical result of the revolution, who alone has staked out the only authentic and ultimate revolutionary stance: nihilism—a state where no one can possibly rival Jussie’s revolutionary grievance credentials because they cannot exist in a reality based world.

Or put another way, when no one is revolutionary enough, the revolutionary auditors end up ridiculous in their zeal for power and celebrity — sort of like Orwell’s radical pigs finally prancing about on two legs and feasting on silver, sort of like Jussie Smollett leveraging the ultimate state of victimhood for a better deal on “Empire”.

Parody, yes.

Come to think of it, parody is the non-stop Performance Art of the American Left.

Parody of oppression. Parody of victimhood.

Of leadership. Of scholarship. Of justice. Of femininity and masculinity. Of diversity. Of inclusion. Of tolerance. Of equality. Of anti-racism. Of anti-fascism.

Of being revolutionaries. Of being liberal. Of being democrats.

Of being Americans.

.

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the VDH article)

Superhero Trump 2

Crude it may be, but highly satisfying in its comic-strip style:

Posted under Humor, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, February 23, 2019

Tagged with , , , ,

This post has 2 comments.

Permalink

The Democratic Party is a criminal organization 17

After the massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue last Saturday by a Trump-hating anti-Semite, for which Democrats and their lapdog media choose to blame President Trump (the most pro-Semitic, pro-Israel president ever), a Jewish correspondent, Alexander Firestone, wrote this to us, not in direct comment on the murders, but on the movement that is truly promoting violence and anti-Semitism:-

In recent years the Democratic Party has become a criminal organization. It “achieved” that goal during the Obama administration with a thoroughly corrupt “Justice” Department first under Eric Holder and then Loretta Lynch, an equally corrupt and perverse State Department first under John Kerry and then Hillary Clinton, a wholly corrupt Veterans Administration, IRS, Census Bureau, and even Department of Energy. There are probably more, but I don’t have details. Most egregious was the State Department that relentlessly pursued a policy of enabling and encouraging a murderous theocratic regime in Iran dedicated to the destruction of Israel. For the execrable Joe Biden to open his mouth about anything involving Jews is vile and obscene. There really is no limit to the hypocrisy of Democrats. One can start with the four witches; Maxine Waters, Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Nancy Pelosi, and work one’s way to Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, DNC vice-chair Keith Ellison’s fanatically anti-Semitic friend Louis Farrakhan all on stage together. You’ve seen the photograph. That picture should be plastered on every billboard in America.

Regarding Bernie Sanders, much of the Democratic Party has embraced his so-called “Democratic Socialist” program. There ain’t no such animal. All socialism is National Socialism.

The media refuse to print the fact that in the late sixties Bernie Sanders and his wife were card-carrying members of the CPUSA; still passionately Stalinist long after the death of Stalin. It is possible they left the Communist Party sometime after that, but if so, I never heard of it.

Operationally, it all comes down to what happens on Tuesday, November 6. If the Democrats can claim a plausible victory either in the house or senate, then they will be encouraged to continue down this path of psychotic Leftism. That must not happen. To make the sane who may be still among them realize that this road leads only to disaster for them, Democrats must suffer horrendous losses. Nothing less will suffice. Therefore, we must encourage everyone we know to vote against all Democrats; no matter the office, the opposition or any other factors. Nothing else matters except defeating Democrats; any and all Democrats. I would go so far as to say that voting for any Democrat at any level in this election is a mortal sin.

A sin against humanity, yes.

Also to be accused is the Women’s Movement led by the Hamas agent, Linda Sarsour, which is supported without a blush by the Democrats – for whom far too many Jewish voters still cast their votes.

No free lunch under capitalism, no lunch under communism 1

Some Democratic Party candidates are speaking of providing all Americans with free health care, free college education, and free housing when they are voted into power.

Evil capitalists, who are only out to make a profit (wash your mouth out when you say that word aloud), laugh the idea to scorn. Nothing, they say, can be free. And if the government hands you goodies without asking you to pay for them, then you are not free. The government can withdraw the goodies. What then? You can’t go to wicked capitalists and order things in exchange for money, even if you have a stack of contraband dollars hidden somewhere. Because your great Lenins and your heroic Che Guevaras  have had all those “economic saboteurs”  shot.

So if the worst were to happen in November 2018 …

American enthusiasts for Socialism need to be informed what to expect when they have voted Bernie Sanders into the White House, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Secretary of the Interior.

Be prepared to go hungry.

(Wymyn – a major constituency of both dear old commie Bernie and ingénue Alexandria – can look on the bright side of this and expect to lose weight and enjoy slender bodies without effort.)

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh writes at Canada Free Press:

People used to ask me what we ate when I was growing up in communist Eastern Europe. Women were quite thin and beautiful, on the “Ceausescu diet”.  We were not just told how much to eat by decree but food was quite scarce and highly rationed. If a person dared to stash more food than the Communist Party deemed necessary, that person paid dearly in fines and eventually jail. Of course the elite class, in the classless utopia of a socialist country on its way to communism, had its own stores and food supply at low prices, never having to suffer the indignity of a rumbling empty stomach. …

When the dear leader wanted to visit a grocery, dairy, or bread store to see how “his people” lived, fresh bread loaves and milk bottles were trucked in and then taken away as soon as he left. Staples like cooking oil, sugar, flour, and butter were also brought in from the communist apparatchiks’ stores and then whisked away before anyone had a chance to purchase anything.

The bread, milk, butter, oil, flour, and sugar lines were part of daily life and the socialist milieu. Walking around money was not to bribe politicians but to purchase food or scratchy and splintery toilet paper in case one encountered a long line where something needful would be sold that day.

In addition to fines and possible jail time, food hoarders were publicly shamed in the local and national newspapers which were run by the Communist Party.  Since their address was also provided, the readers were expected to ostracize them and sometimes beat them for their greed.

Having experienced the indignity of standing in endless lines in cold and hot weather to buy rationed food with rationing cards, food that often ran out before everyone in line had a chance to buy something, it is economically ludicrous to believe the Communist Party lies that one man’s hoarding disrupted delivery of enough food to the starving proletariat.

It was the inadequate supply of everything that caused severe shortages of many items that Westerners take for granted in economies based on supply and demand. It was the centralized planning of economically ignorant community organizers who formed the Communist Party rank and file who made ill-advised production, supply, and distribution decisions.

Nobody knew if they would find anything to eat the next day, when people fought in lines over bones stripped clean of any meat. … People used those bones to make soup. Extras in the pantry insured survival for many days without having to stand in those awful lines every day.

Bernie and Alexandria won’t be going hungry, of course. They will have special stores, always fully stocked, and pay less than we ordinary people will.

And they’ll have much more money.

That is the nature of an Egalitarian Society.

Posted under communism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 1 comment.

Permalink

How much is that socialism in the window? 8

To a conservative who lived in a Western country through the decades of the Cold War, the current fashion for Socialism in America is likely to be shocking and terrifying. To those who lived under the iron heel of Soviet Socialism in Eastern Europe, or any other Marxist regime, it must be many times worse.

(Throughout this article, “Socialism” and “Communism” are used interchangeably – as was customary in the USSR.)

Some dangerously under-informed American women entering the political arena seem really to think that it is a pretty thing, Socialism.

Here’s one of them – Democrat Cynthia Nixon, who fortunately lost her challenge to the Democrat Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo by a difference of 30% of the votes – smilingly, in all the self-deceiving self-confidence of ignorance, urging Socialism on New York voters:

 

And here’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district – demonstrating how innocent she is of Economics:

Another fan of Socialism, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, wants to be the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2020.

Lloyd Billingsley writes at Front Page on Cory Booker’s claim to be Spartacus: a hero of resistance to ancient Roman tyranny re-canonized by Communists in the 1950s. Booker founded his claim on the extreme daring he showed in rising against the Left-alleged tyranny of President Trump – by making public certain documents, in relation to the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, that were in fact already public.

As Billingsley says, “Booker’s gambit was something of a bust.”

He goes on to tell us how one Communist, the author of the novel Sparticus, lost his faith.

The movie Booker cited is based on the 1951 novel Spartacus by Howard Fast, a Communist pisseur d’encre whom Time magazine had dubbed “Big Brother’s U.S. pen pal.” In 1953, Fast won the Stalin Peace Prize, the only American to win the award other than Paul Robeson, a black American Communist who spent his life defending all-white Soviet dictatorships.

Stalin died in 1953 and three years later, Soviet boss Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s crimes and mass atrocities to the Soviet Communist Party’s 20th Congress. The revelation devastated many American Communists and motivated Howard Fast to write The Naked God: The Writer and the Communist Party, released in 1957.

Khrushchev’s revelations, Fast wrote, “itemizes a record of barbarism and paranoiac bloodlust that will be a lasting and shameful memory to civilized man”.  Communism is not social science but “naked terror, awful brutality and frightening ignorance“.  Fast denounced “Stalin and the collection of hangmen and murderers around him” and charged that the Communist Party is “based on pseudo-religious cant, cemented with neurotic fear and parading ritualistic magic as a substitute for reason”.  And the Spartacus scribe wasn’t done.

The only people who resisted the revelation of Stalin’s crimes, Fast wrote, were “the mental revolutionaries, the parlor pinks, the living-room warriors, the mink coated allies of the working class”. These were “Sick people who had seen no death [other] than a painted corpse in a funeral parlor, no other violence than an auto crash – these people lusted for an Armageddon their mad dreams had promised them.” …

The Spartacus screenwriter was Dalton Trumbo, who joined the Communist Party during the Stalin-Hitler Pact, when many others left, and remained in the Party after the Khrushchev revelations. Trumbo hated Fast’s Naked God but he wasn’t going to pass up a big payday. And since Trumbo had been one of the famed Hollywood Ten, Spartacus remains a classic on the big screen of the left, which duly consigned The Naked God to the forbidden list.

While some fled the Communist Party after 1956 many others remained and the Soviets continued to run candidates in American elections. In 1976 their candidate for president was Gus Hall, an old-line Stalinist, with Jarvis Tyner for vice president. College student John Brennan voted for Gus Hall and incredibly enough, only four years later in 1980 Brennan gained employment at the CIA, which he headed under POTUS 44.

One of those Americans who remained faithful to Communism and the Soviet Union was Angela Davis. In 1979 Davis won the Lenin Peace Prize, her primary for the Communist ticket in 1980, with Davis for vice president under Hall. The same duo lost to Reagan and Bush in 1984, and thereafter the Communist Party USA declined to run candidates and urged their supporters to vote for the Democratic Party.

In 1988, American Bernie Sanders spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union, where the gulags were still functioning and Soviet bosses torturing political prisoners in psychiatric hospitals. If Hillary Clinton had not rigged the primaries, Sanders would have been the Democrats’ candidate in 2016.

Cory Booker wants to be the candidate in 2020, and his bid for a  “Spartacus moment” suggests that he knows the Old Left back story. For their part, Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cynthia Nixon and Andrew Gillum [Florida’s Democratic Gubernatorial nominee. also advocating Socialism without perhaps fully realizing that he is], like their media supporters, show little if any familiarity with The Naked GodThe God That Failed, and The Road to Serfdom.

Right. They show no familiarity whatsoever with the theory or practice of the Socialism that charms them so. If Cory Booker knows, and yet desires to impose the horror that is Socialism on his fellow Americans, he is a lot worse than they are.  

On every hand they rise crying “I am socialist!” thereby confirming ignorance of the actual record. Howard Fast, who died in 2003, knew what socialism was all about. So did Milan Kundera, who wrote, “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”.

Candidates can’t recall what they never knew in the first place.

They need to be told, but their teachers have not told them, and will not tell them: Socialism is hungry, bleak, smelly, shabby, hopeless, poor, cold, painful and very frightening.

The ruinous cost of free health care 1

“Free” government benefits are the most expensive goods in the world.

The Democratic Socialist Party – formerly the Democratic Party – is trying to win votes by promising free health care for all.

Supposing a national health service were to be introduced into the USA, what would it cost?

Investor’s Business Daily reports and comments:

Democrats have been falling over themselves to endorse Bernie Sanders’s government takeover of health care. Maybe they should have taken a closer look at his “Medicare for all” plan before signing up. The gargantuan price tag is just one of its many terrible flaws.

Last year, 16 Senators, including three presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill. And earlier this month, more than 70 Democrats signed on to form a “Medicare for all” caucus. Support for the bill is now something of a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls.

Do they have any idea what they’re endorsing?

A new study out Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center finds that the Sanders plan would add $32.6 trillion to federal spending in its first 10 years, with costs steadily rising from there. That closely matches other studies — including one by the liberal Urban Institute — that looked at the Sanders plan.

To put this in perspective, “Medicare for all” would nearly double the size of the already bloated federal government.

Doubling corporate and individual income taxes wouldn’t cover the costs.

Even this [estimate of $32.6 trillion over 10 years] is wildly optimistic. To get to this number, author Charles Blahous had to make several completely unrealistic assumptions about savings under Sanders’ hugely disruptive plan.

The first is a massive cut in payments to providers. Sanders wants to apply Medicare’s below-market rates across the board, which would amount to a roughly 40% cut in payments to doctors and hospitals. Blahous figures this will save hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Democrats are also apparently unaware that “Medicare for all” would be a more expensive than anything that exists anywhere else in the world … 

Sanders’ plan would eliminate all out-of-pocket expenses for medical, dental and vision care. The only exception would be a small copay for brand-name drugs. …

There is no industrialized country in the world that does this.

Even in the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sanders directs us to admire (rather than Stalinist Russia which is actually his ideal), “people pay as much as 30% of their nations’ health costs out-of-pocket”. 

And – perhaps surprisingly to American communists –

In Communist China, almost a third of health spending is out-of-pocket.

In Bernie’s USA, the illusion of all medical treatment being “free” would need to be maintained. But how? After all, doctors cannot work for nothing. Hospitals have running costs.

Because Sanders would eliminate prices entirely from health care, the only way to control health spending would be to slap stiff price controls on doctors, hospitals and drugs, or ration care.

Rationing is inevitable in any government-run health service. Administrators have to decide how to allocate resources. When you are in control of your own medical decisions, you decide what treatment, what drugs you are able or prepared to pay for. When the state decides for you, it will not consult your preferences. It will make kill-or-cure, life-or-death decisions for you. The “death panels” that Sarah Palin warned against will determine how long you live; and, for as long as you live, in what state of health.   

Here’s what health care in the U.S. would look like as a result:

There would be chronic shortages of doctors nationwide. Hospital overcrowding would be epidemic. Waits for everything from hip replacements to cataract surgery to cancer treatments would be extensive. Drug innovation would come to a virtual standstill. And there would be endless fights over the size of the government’s health budget, along with massive amounts of waste, fraud and abuse.

How do we know this? Because this is precisely what’s happened in countries that have already gone down the “Medicare for all” road.

In Canada, the average wait time for a hip replacement is nearly two years in some provinces. Patients with cataracts can end up waiting a year for surgery. The UK has fewer doctors, nurses and hospital beds per capita than any other industrialized nation, and is in a state of almost constant crisis.

Almost constant crisis”? There is no break, no pause, no relief for the briefest of moments from the crisis that is the National Health Service of Great Britain.

Here at home, the Veterans Health Administration — once touted by the left as a model of socialized medicine — has seen deadly delays and massive corruption, even as its budget ballooned in size.

Almost 10% of Medicare spending today is for what the government euphemistically calls “improper payments”, but anyone else would label it waste. Extend this across the entire health care system and Sanders’s “Medicare for all” would result in some $400 billion a year in “improper payments”.

But the biggest problem with “Medicare for all” — and any plan to socialize medicine — is its underlying assumption. Namely, that a handful of government central planners can manage trillions of dollars’ worth of resources better than hundreds of millions of people making trillions of decisions every day in the free market. They can’t.

We already know central planning never works, since it has miserably failed where it’s been tried. It didn’t work in the Soviet Union. It doesn’t work in North Korea or Cuba, and it’s causing untold misery in Venezuela.

A socialist government – which is what the government would be that saves or executes its subjects by controlling their health care – is always, necessarily, inescapably, one big Death Panel.

Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists 1

The people who were to lead the Russian revolution in 1917 called themselves Social-Democrats.

Here’s an extract from an essay by the Leader of the leaders, V. I. Lenin, written in 1897 when he was in exile. It is titled The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats: 

The object of the practical activities of the Social-Democrats is, as is well known, to lead the class struggle of the proletariat and to organize that struggle in both its manifestations: socialist (the fight against the capitalist class aimed at destroying the class system and organizing socialist society), and democratic (the fight against absolutism aimed at winning political liberty in Russia and democratizing the political and social system of Russia). We said as is well known. And indeed, from the very moment they appeared as a separate social-revolutionary trend, the Russian Social-Democrats have always quite definitely indicated this object of their activities, have always emphasized the dual manifestation and content of the class struggle of the proletariat and have always insisted on the inseparable connection between their socialist and democratic tasks — a connection clearly expressed in the name they have adopted.

As is well known, when the Revolution had been accomplished in 1917, and Lenin was supreme dictator, there was no political liberty for the Russian people. No liberty at all.

Stella Morabito wrote (March 2016) at The Federalist (in an essay chiefly recalling the execution by Joseph Stalin of his faithful friend and follower, Nikolai Bukharin):

[Socialism is] a system in which suspicion and the smell of treason tend to hang in the air. … This is the case whether you call it by any other name, whether communism, utopianism, or collectivism. Oh, go ahead and slap some lipstick on that pig and call it “democratic” socialism or “progressivism” or “communitarianism”. 

Lenin and his gang all started out calling themselves socialists. Social democrats, to be exact. So the fact remains: the path of socialism is ultimately paved with coercion, censorship, and, yes, terror.* Does stating this make me an alarmist? No. It makes me a realist.

Socialism demands that we place blind trust in whomever takes the reins of power to distribute society’s goods and services. …

Socialism also has a way of producing bloated bureaucracies that in turn produce ever greater scarcity. Along the way, this produces ever more corruption and cronyism. Censorship puts down deep roots because dissent cannot be tolerated or the system would collapse. Those are all prime ingredients for a closed society and surveillance state. …

And for gulags, torture, mock trials and executions.

We are … witnessing a new trendiness for all things socialist and communist among college youth. They sport T-shirts featuring the image of nauseatingly murderous tyrants like Che Guevara.

Thanks to the popularity of the avuncular Bernie Sanders, coupled with an astonishing ignorance of history, millennials have fast become trusty mouthpieces for socialism. This is ironic, because socialism has a way of redistributing power away from the “99 percent” and puts it into the hands of the few central planners—a teensy fraction of 1 percent — at the top.

And Bernie Sanders is forever sniping at “the 1%” – “millionaires and billionaires”, “the rich”, ie. Lenin’s “capitalist class” – when he himself is a millionaire.

Then what? …  There’s an indisputable correlation between big government and terror that keeps turning up throughout history. …

We need to remember that, when soft socialism with its siren song of “equality” is left to its own devices, it takes ever more rigid forms. The political hubris of “progressives” who know better than you and me — and with such utter certainty — always leads to central control, corruption, cronyism, censorship, and abject conformity.

The more than 100 million victims of communism shows just how slippery a slope socialism is. Any person of goodwill who is familiar with the history and realities of socialism would do everything possible to avoid going down that minefield of a road.

How is it possible that young Americans can emerge from long established universities with degrees in history, political science, economics, international relations, and not know what happened to the millions of victims of socialism?

Or if they do know, and maintain that their socialist revolution would be different, bringing equal happiness for all, what possible reason can they produce for saying so? They don’t, of course. They cannot.

Because socialist economics do not, cannot work.

Because no one will study for years to become a doctor when he/she/ze is going to be paid the same as a janitor who doesn’t have to study at all.

Because when everyone’s been given equal pay with nice freshly printed banknotes, their money goes chasing too few goods, or none at all.

Because no one is going to make and sell goods if he cannot make a good living out of doing so.

Because state ownership of the means of production means Venezuela under Maduro. Because the state cannot know what goods to produce, how many, at what price. Because only the market sends the messages, the signals, that provide that information. As Hayek teaches the student of economics. If he/she/ze is  allowed to read his works in the universities. But they are not.

They are allowed to read Marx.

We doubt that many of the democratic socialists emerging from the academies actually ever bothered to read Marx for themselves. Their professors told them what he said was right and good. Told them that democratic socialism was the happy future of mankind.

That is the faith, and they keep it.

 

 

*Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky all explicitly advocated the use of terrorism. See The Soviet Union and Terrorism by Roberta Goren, ed. Jillian Becker, Introduction by Robert Conquest, George Allen & Unwin, London 1984.

The North American Venezuela 28

The choice is becoming increasingly clear. Stark would be an even better word for it.

Voters can choose between –

Keeping the Republic set up in 1787 and prospering now as never before under the leadership of President Trump, by voting for his Republican followers.

Or changing into the North American Venezuela by voting for the other major political party forming rapidly to replace the Democratic Party, the Democratic Socialist Party, under the leadership of an old communist, Bernie Sanders, and a young communist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The North American Venezuela. It is a vision hovering in the spacious skies over the purple mountains and the fruited plain.

AP reports:

A week ago, Maine Democrat Zak Ringelstein wasn’t quite ready to consider himself a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, even if he appreciated the organization’s values and endorsement in his bid to become a U.S. senator.

Three days later, he told The Associated Press it was time to join up. He’s now the only major-party Senate candidate in the nation to be a dues-paying democratic socialist.

Ringelstein’s leap is the latest evidence of a nationwide surge in the strength and popularity of an organization that, until recently, operated on the fringes of the liberal movement’s farthest left flank. As Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics. Its rise comes as Democrats debate whether moving too far left will turn off voters.

“I stand with the democratic socialists, and I have decided to become a dues-paying member,” Ringelstein told AP. “It’s time to do what’s right, even if it’s not easy.”

There are 42 people running for offices at the federal, state and local levels this year with the formal endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America, the organization says. They span 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan.

The most ambitious Democrats in Washington have been reluctant to embrace the label, even as they embrace the policies defining modern-day democratic socialism: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congress’s only self-identified democratic socialist, campaigned Friday with the movement’s newest star, New York City congressional candidate Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former bartender who defeated one of the most powerful House Democrats last month.

Two-head Communism

Her victory fed a flame that was already beginning to burn brighter. The DSA’s paid membership has hovered around 6,000 in the years before Trump’s election, said Allie Cohn, a member of the group’s national political team. Last week, its paid membership hit 45,000 nationwide.

There is little distinction made between the terms “democratic socialism” and “socialism” in the group’s literature. While Ringelstein and other DSA-backed candidates promote a “big-tent” philosophy, the group’s constitution describes its members as socialists who “reject an economic order based on private profit” and “share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships”. 

Note that, voters. Even private relationships will be monitored by the planners of the social order. It completes the totalitarian vision. 

Members during public meetings often refer to each other as “comrades”,wear clothing featuring socialist symbols like the rose and promote authors such as Karl Marx.

Four-head Communism

The common association with the failed Soviet Union has made it difficult for sympathetic liberals to explain their connection.

“I don’t like the term socialist, because people do associate that with bad things in history,” said Kansas congressional candidate James Thompson, who is endorsed by the DSA and campaigned alongside Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, but is not a dues-paying democratic socialist. “There’s definitely a lot of their policies that closely align with mine.”

Thompson, an Army veteran turned civil rights attorney, is running again after narrowly losing a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Even in deep-red Kansas, he embraces policies like “Medicare for all” and is openly critical of capitalism.

In Hawaii, 29-year-old state Rep. Kaniela Ing isn’t shy about promoting his status as a democratic socialist in his bid for Congress. He said he was encouraged to run for higher office by the same activist who recruited Ocasio-Cortez.

“We figured just lean in hard,” Ing told the AP of the democratic socialist label. He acknowledged some baby boomers may be scared away, but said the policies democratic socialists promote — like free health care and economic equality — aren’t extreme.

Republicans, meanwhile, are encouraged by the rise of democratic socialism — for a far different reason. They have seized on what they view as a leftward lurch by Democrats they predict will alienate voters this fall and in the 2020 presidential race.

The Republican National Committee eagerly notes that Sanders’ plan to provide free government-sponsored health care for all Americans had no co-sponsors in 2013. Today, more than one-third of Senate Democrats and two-thirds of House Democrats have signed onto the proposal, which by one estimate could cost taxpayers as much as $32 trillion.

The co-sponsors include some 2020 presidential prospects, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Those senators aren’t calling themselves democratic socialists but also not disassociating themselves from the movement’s priorities.

Most support the push to abolish ICE [the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] which enforces immigration laws …

… and want to abolish national borders.

So not even a North American Venezuela?

No nations, no nation-states. No national governments, no voting, no political parties, no law to enforce.

The hovering vision fades.

If the comrades have their way, the reality will be even worse than Venezuela.

Older Posts »