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Dear Democrats, Embrace McCarthyism at Your Peril, Only Genuine Progressive Policy Can Save You.

Bill Maher, Liberal McCarthyite

Wow. Just when you thought the showmanship and hysterics couldn't get more unhinged.

Bill Maher told his "Real Time" audience Russia "attacked" the US and that the president didn't know that the US war with Russia is already happening. Bill, you'd better pray a war with Russia isn't happening.

This is disappointing from a intelligent comic whose show is usually so on point.

Bill, you may be trying to inspire Democrats to boldness, but this is exactly the type of boldness we don't need. Democrats have to put forward bold legislation and take brave steps towards disentangling their party from detrimental powerful interests and put itself back in the hands of its historical base: working people. That requires courage. That would be bold. Turning into Joseph McCarthy and going red in the face trying to use Russians as a distraction from the Democratic Party's political failures takes no courage or principle, it's the act of an intellectually barren coward, and it's ultimately self-destructive.

So what if Russia hacked some emails and tried to influence the election? Every country does it. The US most of all. The US committed far more resources to interfering in Russia's elections in the past, but that's nothing compared to the consequences of US "interference" when it takes the form of regime change operations. US backed coups and regime change operations have destroyed dozens of countries and killed millions, possibly tens of millions of innocents, to get the people the US wants in power. As Chomsky says, people are "collapsing in laughter" at the sheer preposterous hypocrisy of it all around the globe.

What's more, this contrived escalation of tensions with Russia is in direct opposition to actual US geopolitical interests. We need Russia's cooperation to make the world safer. Russia has enormous resources and is underdeveloped, the benefits of helping her actualize her economic potential are hard to quantify, but there are trillions to be made. Sadly, the US is pushing a superpower and global economic lynchpin straight into China's arm. It's hard to find an example of a more costly ass-backwards policy in the last 1,000 years.

At the end of the day, Bill Maher, Adam Schiff, and the other Liberal McCarthyites are distracting themselves and the public from the actual issue: voters that are sick of the establishment and who want progressive policies implemented: no more war, free healthcare, money out of politics, reduction in the wealth gap, and functional plans to combat climate change.


© Getty Images

That's why we're slapping ourselves in the forehead right now. Did Democrats not get the memo?

Last election, instead of embracing the Sanders social revolution and focusing on policy, the Dems sold out, put Clinton forward as their candidate, and ill-advisedly tried to beat Trump at his own game: by engaging in gutter politics and negative campaigning that had her alienating half the country when she called them "irredeemable" and a "basket of deplorables."

Despite losing the election, Democrats do not seem to have reflected on their failure or the significance of Bernie's popular success. Instead, they've done worse than revert to the mean, they've lowered themselves to the lowest of McCarthy-style tactics--pumping up the Russia threat and lobbing laughable claims of collusion. Meanwhile, the worst possible policies for America; illegal military action in Syria; increased hostility with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea; re-igniting the war on drugs; withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement; and more all go unopposed.

It's a staggering moral and intellectual failure. Voters chose Trump because the establishment has been screwing them since the 70s. As Noam Chomsky points out the United States median income, for example, is lower in real terms than it was 30 years ago. Right at the moment before the great crash, at the peak of euphoria about the wonderful economy, real wages for American workers were lower than they had been in 1979, before the neoliberal period began. And this is duplicated over much of the world. This has been a massive assault on large parts of the population. There’s been an assault on democracy, on the sense of participating. The result is not just anger but contempt for institutions, the decline of centrist institutions, which a large part of the population feels are just not responsive to them.

This is why Bernie resonated. He promised to address middle America's greatest anxieties without selling out--raising his money without support of corporations, the rich, the media or even the party, a feat nearly unprecedented in the last 100-years of American politics.

Despite Sanders consistently outperforming Clinton vs. Trump in every poll from the outset, despite Clinton's appalling record of lies, despite Clinton's support for war crimes, despite her morbid enthusiasm for the regime change operation that destroyed Libya and turned it into a terrorist-riddled war zone, despite her morally-repulsive advocacy for regime change in Syria, despite her spine-chilling desire to pointlessly provoke Russia into WWIII, the Democratic establishment turned their backs on Sanders; embracing instead a candidate whom, to a plurality of voters, was simply unacceptable.

When the Democratic establishment chose to undermine Sanders' remarkable campaign to support Clinton, they reduced independent voters' (who represent 42% of the voting population--far greater than the Democrats 29%) options to a choice between two pathological liars: one from the establishment, the other from outside the system.

This is how many independents were made to vote in an megalomaniacal orang-utan with the brains of a loaded diaper. They hoped he would be the one to bring back the good jobs, to restore their corrupted democracy, to get America out of the regime change business, and make their lives great again.

The breathtaking condescension of the Democrats was to assume voters were too stupid to understand the implications of the Democratic party sabotaging it's populist candidate in favor of a war criminal, but it was crystal clear to the "deplorables" what was happening. They were being betrayed and told to fall in line. They were being given a clear demonstration of the Democratic Party's (lack of) integrity and shown that Democrats would rather sabotage themselves by embracing Wall Street and the War Party than give them the progress and hope they clamored for. The Democrats thought the American people were ready to swallow excavator-sized buckets of shit, but Americans were not having it.

It's astonishing how blind the Democrats' have been to the mood of the country, or to its implications. Despair and anger have been building to a boiling point. Noam Chomsky said as much in 2010 with words that sound nearly prophetic now that Trump is in power:

I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime, I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope.... There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies...

...It is very similar to late Weimar Germany. The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.

The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response.

But rather than find a coherent response to the embarrassment of losing an election to a spray-tanned man-baby, we see Democrats deflecting from their moral failures by blaming the Russians and engaging in truly feeble attempts at McCarthy-style red-baiting.

The tone-deafness is gob-smacking. Americans just made it clear they don't want conflict with Russia, Democrats are virtually promising it. Americans demand change, Democrats offer politics-as-usual: a never-ending procession of enemies and conflicts to distract us from the change we so desperately need.

But it's not going to work. Bernie popped the genie out of the bottle.

As Conor Lynch points out very poignantly in his article Berniecrats Are Winning in Trump Country: Why Populism Is the Pragmatic Way Forward for Democrats, Democrats can take Republican seats if they offer left-wing Bernie Sanders-style populism.

Recent electoral victories bear this out. Christine Pellegrino, a progressive and Bernie Sanders delegate at last year’s Democratic National Convention, and Edie DesMarais recently won elections in longtime Republican strongholds that went to Trump. As Lynch explains in the article:

The election of a Berniecrat like Pellegrino in a district that went overwhelmingly for Trump reveals the potential and popular appeal of left-wing populism. If the Democratic Party is smart, it will embrace Pellegrino’s style of politics.

Not surprisingly, the party establishment has yet to fully accept this verdict, and there remains an obstinate resistance to populism within the Democratic Party’s ranks. Indeed, many continue to insist that the 2016 election was a disaster because Democrats were too progressive, rather than being too much in line with the Establishment.

It's past time for Democrats to accept the verdict. The writing is on the wall. Embrace the establishment at your peril. People will not be bullied into accepting the lesser of two evils, they want to vote with their conscience and improve their lives. If Democrats continue to alienate youth and independents as they did in the last election they risk disappearing the way the Liberals of Weimar Germany did. They'd certainly deserve it.

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