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Revolution for President 2020 (Rant)

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<abstract><bq author="Mark Twain">If voting could bring change, they wouldn't let us vote</bq></abstract> In an interview of Noam Chomsky by Mehdi Hasan, Noam pleads his case for "holding your nose" and voting for Biden. <media href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39902cn5lX8" src="https://www.youtube.com/v/39902cn5lX8" source="YouTube" author="The intercept" caption="Mehdi Hasan and Noam Chomsky on Biden vs. Trump" width="560px"> Noam's done this for decades. We could be generous and perhaps appreciate his optimism about presidential elections---he never gives up and tells us that there's no-one worth voting for. Instead, Noam <i>always</i> sees a lesser evil and votes for it---and tells everyone else to vote for it, as well. <h>Noam goes for the jugular</h> This time, though, Noam's more adamant, using for-him quite fiery rhetoric to drive his point home, even edging very close to ad-hominem territory for those who would choose <i>not</i> to vote for Biden. This unfortunately puts him in a not-very-austere group who choose to call anyone who doesn't agree with their political choices "fools". Noam does nothing to soften the blow of his argument. He makes no concessions to people's feelings about their own politics; he doesn't even address the concern that, should one vote for a lesser evil, one is still voting for <i>evil</i>. He says nothing of complicity or how to deal with it. I think Noam Chomsky might be right but, at the very least, he's going about it the completely wrong way. He says in the interview: <iq>If you decide that you want to vote for the destruction of life on Earth [...] this time, the future of humanity is at stake.</iq> Jesus Christ, Noam. If the future of humanity rests on me voting for Biden, then put a fucking fork in it. It's done. And good riddance. He seems to have forgotten that it would be nice to offer some sort of a preamble, an amuse-bouche as it were, to make voting for Joe Biden more palatable. Ever heard of foreplay? Instead, he cites historical precedent to liken anyone who doesn't vote for Biden to the schmucks who "let" the Nazis rise to power. He literally says that if you don't vote for Biden, you're voting for Trump (in swing states, bla bla fucking bla).<fn> <h>Six of one...</h> What is the difference between choosing to be shot in the head once or twice? What is the point of choosing "once" instead of "twice"? You're dead anyway. Is there no value to not partaking in a system that asks you to choose your own mode of execution? Chomsky's doesn't address this question. Is there a bar below which one should not go? Is it never possible for both candidates to be such mendacious, unreliable, and possibly senile liars that voting for either one is fraught with peril? That one's soul and self-respect are on the table? Noam would reply that your self-respect is worth nothing when compared to the threat of nuclear war or climate catastrophe. I understand that having Trump as president leaves these risks high, but I don't really understand how they're significantly lower with Biden at the helm---or, let's not kid ourselves, whoever will be in the driver's seat for him (Jill?). Another argument is that one candidate's policies are likely to harm the less fortunate more than the other. Noam---and others---beg us not to abuse our <i>privilege</i> because we are in a societal position that is largely shielded from being catastrophically affected by our choosing self-respect over the lesser evil. That we choose a third-party candidate precisely because we want to express a hope for a better world for those people does not matter to Chomsky et. al. The U.S. electoral system is the way it is and Trump is so dangerous that "expressing a hope" is a luxury we do not have. Bollocks. Noam says that anyone who doesn't vote for Biden is voting for the end of the human race. Double bollocks. How the fuck is voting for Biden going to save anything? Biden's object of worship Obama restarted nuclear-weapons programs. He started new wars, destabilized Africa, rattled sabers at the Russian, did nothing about North Korea. How is Biden safer than Trump nuclear-wise? How is he more likely to tackle climate change? I could barely even write that joke of a sentence. <img attachment="tedrall_5-1-20.jpg" align="right" caption="Ted Rall: May Day 2020">The answer is that Biden is marginally better than Trump, who's a complete wild card and wildly incompetent at anything other than self-promotion, but it <i>doesn't matter</i> because we're missing orders of magnitude competence across the spectrum and getting a single person elected---even if it is the president---who's even 50% better than Trump (and I'm being generous because Biden truly is awful in his own right)---doesn't make a difference that matters. There isn't a dime's worth of difference between Trump and Biden and I wouldn't be able to tell you who's worse for the American people. The place that America has gotten to today is the work of Democratic and Republican presidents. What they all were is <i>corporatists</i> who toed the line and sold the country to the rich and sold an unsustainable pipe dream to everyone else. Trump vs. Biden is four more years of that dangerous and useless horseshit no matter what. Biden and his handlers wouldn't do a goddamned thing for the climate. The Democrats will not prepare America better for the next pandemic. No-one can restart the American economy. <h>Will Biden even survive until November?</h> Jesus, it's so tedious to watch the same wasteland and paucity of thought and vision in election cycle after election cycle. It's even more laughable now because Biden is just so <i>bad</i>. Is Noam not concerned at all that Biden will collapse far before the finish line? What then? What viability does the Democratic Party have if their chosen candidate completely implodes? Do they scour up something else? How viable will that be? Is Noam not interested in discussing fallback scenarios if his all-in strategy on Biden becomes physically impossible? As the article <a href="https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-placeholder/" author="James Howard Kunstler" source="Clusterfuck Nation">The Placeholder</a> writes, <bq>Joe Biden for President is Emperorís-New-Clothes caliber deceit, requiring a rank-and-file so marinated in falsehood they couldnít tell you the difference between a red light and a green light.</bq> Bernie was old, but vivacious, even spry. Biden is just old, the poor guy. How can Noam not even address the fact that the Democrats have chosen an avowed supporter of segregation and great friend to the most virulent racists American politics has ever produced, a great friend to the banks and insurance and credit-card companies, who has a seriously bad history of touching women and little girls and has a rape accusation hanging around his neck? What's not to love? Even his old affable charm is gone, robbed by a late-onset dementia that's clear to anyone who watches him speak for two minutes. Are we not concerned that this is the man who should lead us into the teeth of COVID over the next two years, but he hasn't proposed a single policy since the pandemic began? He's had one softball interview that he completely bungled, failing to read coherently from cards he shouldn't have needed? What the actual fuck, Noam? How bad does the other candidate have to be before you just throw your fucking hands in the air and say that even you, the <i>eminence grise</i> Noam Chomsky honestly doesn't know what the fuck we can do to save this idiotic, suicidal country? <h>Noam Chomsky thinks your opinion doesn't matter</h> This is highly irritating because when I watch Noam Chomsky, I like his normally nuanced take on world affairs. But I don't really need to be treated to a 91-year--old man lecturing me that my political opinion is completely irrelevant in the United States because the two-party system has once again engineered a non-choice. I could just watch 30 minutes of CNN instead. I know <i>simultaneously</i> that Noam is probably right <i>and</i> that Trump will get re-elected <i>even if everyone who listens to Noam and his co-signers on his letter<fn> votes for Biden</i>. It doesn't matter because there are only two parties and one has a candidate that his voters inexplicably worship and most of the people voting for the other party would do so because they hate/are terrified of that candidate (it's Trump, by the way). I know Noam's been getting kicked in the teeth for a long time, but he seems to lack vision. I guess he's thinking we're like an abused spouse: the most important thing is to get the abuser away from America. What is the end-game for the strategy he recommends? There is none. America is seriously fucked either way. Because it's purely <i>reactive</i>; instead, we need to <i>strike</i>, to be <i>pro-active</i>. <h>It's Revolution Time</h> Noam and co. are all just following the rules and the rules are <i>not made by them</i>. We can't let Trump be elected again because he'll pack the Supreme Court. Fuck it. If he packs it, <i>throw them out</i>. The whole point of making Supreme Court appointments lifelong was to ensure that a justice's impartiality was not impinged by having to run for office. If justices are compromised from the get-go, then they're <i>already not impartial</i>. They have to <i>go</i>. RESET SHIT. Goddamn, people. None of our opponents are following the rules that they made for us---and they are fucking <i>cleaning up</i> out there---but you're trying to fight them by adhering to those rules. Good luck with that. This is ridiculous. The game is <i>rigged</i>,<fn>. Open your <i>eyes</i>. How in the name of FUCK do you ever expect to get a good candidate? Talk about controlling the narrative: the Republicans have got the entire political will of possibly progressive people talking about whether they will vote for a fucking dishrag like Biden while SARS2 rages through the world and climate change is having a cigarette out on the back stoop, but will be coming back in <i>any fucking minute now</i>. Instead of focusing on anything real, anything left of Phyllis Schlafley is staring into their navels or onanizing furiously on Twitter and doing literally nothing about any real problems---because the system won't let them. Boo hoo. It is seriously time to <i>take the system down</i>. To <i>set shit on fire.</i> There's never been a better time: It's mostly dismantled right now anyway. The country has never offered less to its people relative to what it should be offering than now. It has never looked weaker in my lifetime. The cracks have never been this evident to this many people. It is time to <i>strike</i>. And striking does not mean voting for Joe Biden because he's a shitty candidate <i>even when running against Trump</i>. Think about that: he's running against Trump and <i>he's</i> the hold-your-nose-and-vote candidate. How fucking terrible can you even be? <h>Chomsky and Co. have a bad track record</h> He knows exactly how everything works---and he's right about nearly everything. You won't find anyone who knows more than Chomsky. And he knows how to recommend how to fix things. But, and this is painful to say---he's also been losing the game his entire life. He's created a tremendous amount of awareness, educated millions, and is acknowledged everywhere but his country of origin as the world's leading intellectual---possibly of all time. But he's had zero success in fixing anything about his own country. He's only been able to document the evil, not avert it. It's gotten orders of magnitude worse. Maybe it's because no-one listens to him. The path he saw coming in the late 50s/early 60s? The nation didn't listen to a thing he had to say. They did exactly what he said they would do and learned nothing but that it <i>worked for them</i>. They also learned that they could make Chomsky toothless: he's never interviewed in America. His writings do not appear in American media, for the most part. So he and his friends are not really the go-to people for ideas on how to fix any of this. Well, we can listen to their ideas, but their follow-through has a lousy track record. They have no idea how to wrest power from the bad guys. Vote for Biden. Are you fucking kidding me? That's your answer? Might as well go home and get blind-drunk right now. This is two elections in a row now. The last time it was warmonger Clinton. Trump won in an unprecedented come-from-behind<fn> win. Now that it's been firmly established that competence is not a requirement---and neither is showing competence or hiring competent advisors---we have to believe that he can be elected again. He will. Easily. Because literally everyone you listen to about issues and policies and electability is nearly <i>always wrong about everything</i>. That includes Noam Chomsky, who's been advising our voting choices for most of my adult life: hold your nose and vote for Gore, for Kerry, for (Hillary) Clinton. <h>Obama: The Golden Child Who Won</h> Noam also said to vote for Obama, who was a different kind of disappointment. He actually <i>won</i> but could see that he couldn't do anything to really change the country, so <i>he didn't even try</i>. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that, at least at the beginning, he really did want to change things for the better. Instead, he just made sure that his legacy would be that people think he was a great president, which was enough for him. His signature legislation, the ACA, is a nearly laughably inefficient and expensive gift to private healthcare with premiums and deductibles so high that SARS2 tore it to shreds like a Rottweiler going through toilet paper. And you know everything else he did. Extrajudicial killings, Wall Street bailouts, etc. A continuation of Bush's years. He started new wars. He was America's first black Republican president. And people are crowing about how Obama <i>tried</i> to prepare the country for pandemics, but Trump <i>broke</i> everything. Kind of, I guess. Superficially. But Obama had eight years as president and he left us with an America with an exploding prison population, a gig economy, sky-high health-care costs, a rotting infrastructure, a larger military, seven wars, no plan for economic shocks (because why build one? It's not like those ever happen). It's not like having a pandemic stockpile of masks would have helped avoid a 30% unemployment rate engendered by a fantastical economy not started by but definitely re-started and promulgated by Mr. Obama. He also had a chance to change things fundamentally because America was in deep shit then, too. Not as deep as now, but pretty deep. Instead, he punished no-one, dumped 16 trillion of cheap loans (hundreds of billions of saved interest) into the laps of the criminals who perpetrated the problem and then jetted off to go kite-surfing with Richard Branson eight years later. Also, he's publishing some books reminding us about how smart he is and also stepping in to fucking kill Bernie's campaign like a consigliere. So, no, Obama would not have "prepared" the U.S. for SARS2. But maybe no-one could, with the legislative dumpster fire that is Congress. Congress is just as shockingly inadequate and incompetent as the President. Or it would be shocking if it wasn't so familiar and humdrum by now. <h>Any Other Hot Ideas?</h> You might as well run the poop emoji for the Democrats. Chomsky et. al. would tell us to vote for it because it's better than Trump and everyone's given up hope on the Republicans seeing reason and choosing someone else. Did you ever think about that? That we've basically given up on changing the minds of 50% of the voting public? And we've effectively given up on getting the 50% of the electorate who never votes to vote? Sure, we're also doing everything we can to make voting harder, that's true. But that's also playing by their rules. They make rules that you have to vote to change things. Fine. Then they make it so only two candidates can run, neither of whose spider-graph for political opinion overlaps even 5% with yours. Then they make you vote on a workday, during working hours. Then they make it take hours and hours. Maybe you'll catch a deadly disease while you're there. Maybe you'll get fired. Roll the dice. Wanna vote by mail? 20% chance you don't get the ballot. 20% more that they lose it or don't count it. This is <i>bullshit</i>. Stop. Playing. By. Their. Rules. It's not worth it. I'm <i>not</i> saying don't vote. But man, we have to think about how we can get out of this, don't we? Like, for real? It's not even cynically funny anymore. Bernie tried to wake up the non-voting public. It didn't work. At all. He was also seriously undermined by the Democratic Party. But that's to be expected. Forget them. But then what? Another party? Another candidate? Is that even possible? Not in America, that's for sure. And don't even get started on the degree to which the elitist and managerial media control the narrative to the very last detail. Remember, up top, where we discussed how they've got you deciding whether to vote for that ass-clown Biden or throwing your vote away and getting four more years of Trump. It's time for a mutiny. Storm the gates. No weapons, please. Seriously. <h>SARS2: Taking Back the Shock Doctrine<fn></h> The time has never been riper because SARS2 has fucked up our shit pretty hard. The U.S. government is on the ground. Maybe we should focus our efforts on not letting it get back up until it says uncle. Or maybe just put it out of our misery. Because it's pretty clear that the U.S.---uniquely among the grown-up nations---doesn't know how to deal with something like SARS2. It doesn't have a clue. It is <i>ideologically weaponless</i> against it---utterly incapable of even <i>conceiving</i> of the most obvious solutions. And neither Trump nor Biden nor any of the elected officials with any clout can fix it. They don't even know how to keep people afloat during the lockdowns. They're letting everyone run out of money. "Checks" will show up maybe in August. $1200 for several months. "Suspensions" of payments, but no jubilees. Who are they kidding? They're building a population that will finally be ready for revolution---because they will finally have nothing left to lose. Because it will finally have been made crystal clear to even the truest of the true believers that the so-called American Dream is not for them.<fn> We finally have leaders stupid enough to have forgotten that you have to let a crumb or two fall from the table or the natives get much too restless. America might finally be having it's "let them eat cake" moment. The only thing that can save us from Trump now, quite frankly, is SARS2. I don't think it will kill his administration, but it might kill him. He's in the risk group. I bet it won't because that's not the kind of sense of humor God has. It could kill Biden, but God's much more morbid than that. It'll probably take out Bernie and give the movement a martyr that will definitely split the anti-Trump vote and shoo Trump right in for four more years. As I've expected him to do since he was elected in 2016. Garbage in, garbage out.<fn> <hr> <ft>I wrote this rant a few nights ago and then saw the video below, where Greenwald echoes my sentiments nearly exactly. <media src="https://www.youtube.com/v/RSSnaGCXanA" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSSnaGCXanA" author="acTVism Munish" source="YouTube" caption="Glenn Greenwald on Noam Chomsky Favouring Biden Over Trump & Voting for Lesser of Two Evils" width="560px"></ft> <ft>See <a href="{app}view_article.php?id=3902">Blaming the Greens Nine Months in Advance</a>, where I discuss an open letter Noam wrote a few months back essentially demanding that the Green Party focus on elections other than the presidential race.</ft> <ft>Obligatory plug for Dean Baker's excellent and free-to-download book <a href="https://deanbaker.net/books/rigged.htm">Rigged</a></ft> <ft>You'll pardon the imagery.</ft> <ft>From Naomi Klein's excellent book on how the elite take advantage of crises or "shocks" to extend their power.</ft> <ft>I just talked to some friends today---we're not there yet. The Trump true believers are digging in. Maybe the best thing we can hope for is that Trump's homicidally dangerous advice affects enough of his voters to topple him in November. At the very least, we can hope that he gets them to incapacitate them sufficiently that they can't make it to the polling stations.</ft> <ft>See <a href="{app]view_article.php?id=3927">Sanders is too good for this <del>world</del>country</a>, where I cite a Reddit rant as follows, <bq>[...] the truth is that there is no system of government ever designed, nor could one ever be created, that could survive and prosper with a population as arrogant, stupid, selfish and short-sighted as the average American.</bq></ft>