nazi dollars

Demagog Bloodbath
Ted Rall, Sputnik News, Feb 22 2020

The Nevada Demagog presidential debate in Las Vegas Wednesday night had been highly anticipated, and the tension and histrionics surely delivered, to say the least. The potential Demagog nominee to face-off has quickly been narrowing, with candidates who have been on the campaign trail for months steadily dropping out due to fundraising roadblocks or failure to gain enough support to qualify for the crucial debates. Mike Bloomberg was fresh meat on the stage. As soon as the debate began, candidates brutalized the former official of the Big Apple and self-made billionaire businessman. Bloomberg, who joined the race only a few months ago, qualified for the debate in the polls after his last-minute entry, and after an unprecedented ad spending spree for the race: an estimated $400m thus far. During the contentious debate that further threatened to muddy the party’s imperative quest to defeat Trump in the upcoming election, the well-seasoned candidates who remained offered no mercy whatsoever to the newcomer. Elizabeth Warren had quite a bone to pick with Bloomberg over his alleged history of sexist remarks, pressing the businessman and former NYC mayor to “release” the women that night from non-disclosure agreements they made with his company, as well as asking how many women had signed such deals. Bloomberg promptly declined, explaining that the agreements resulted from his female employees being “offended” by jokes that he told, and saying that the nondisclosure agreements were “consensual.” With Demagog friends like these, who needs Thugs for enemies?

Sanders Wins Democrats Primary Debate
Moon of Alabama, Feb 20 2020

The various reflections of last night’s debate between Democratic party primary candidates give a consistent picture. Bloomberg lost. He had brought a wallet to a knife fight and made a generally bad impression. Even the news service that carries his name headlined Bloomberg Hammered. Buttigieg was again exposed as the soulless fluff he is. Biden is frail, confused and talks too much. Warren gets some points for hammering Bloomberg, but that’s it. Klobuchar gets points for hating Buttigieg, but is otherwise too mechanical to attract votes. Sanders ably defended his positions against attacks from all sides. Tulsi Gabbard was unfortunately not invited. This Tweet by Carl Beijer, unfortunately now deleted, still seems accurate:

Bernie Sanders is debating like a front-runner, confidently advancing his agenda and fending off attacks. Everyone else is frantically trying to make some kind of game-changer happen, throwing up one-liners and cutthroat attacks like Hail Marys with the clock winding down.

The Demagogs will likely have a brokered convention. If there is no candidate who gets a majority in the first round, hand selected ‘superdelegates’ will also vote. They will select the candidate the party’s paymasters want. They may even try to rerun Hillary Clinton through this backdoor. Op-eds that argue for such sham democratic processes already get published, even under the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

The WaPo changed the above headline after it had caused outrage on social media. All candidates but Bernie Sanders seen to be fine with such anti-democratic schemes. When the moderators asked if the candidate with the most delegates should automatically become the party nominee the answers were all ‘no’ except for Sanders, who said:

Yes: the inclusion of superdelegates is not indicative of a democratic process.

Sanders economic and domestic policies seem generally okay to me. But his foreign policies are still too aggressive:

In Hungary, far-right authoritarian-nationalist leader Victor Orban models himself after Putin in Russia, saying in a January interview that Putin has made his country great again. Like Putin, Orban has risen to power by exploiting paranoia and intolerance of minorities, including outrageous anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros, but at the same time has managed to enrich his political allies and himself.

Where please is Putin “authoritarian”? When has Putin “exploited paranoia and intolerance of minorities”? When he opened the Grand Mosque in Moscow? And to put Rodrigo Duterte and Kim Jong Un into one pot as “authoritarian leaders” makes little sense to me. Sanders current foreign policy advisor is an aggressive know-nothing:

Navalny is a xenophobic, racist nutter. He compared Muslims to cockroaches who should be killed. He does not lead anything, and certainly not the Russian opposition. Polls in Russia have him at 1%. Still, Sanders foreign policy is probably the least aggressive in the field, with the exception of probably Gabbard’s. Sanders should select her for Veep. As a women of color she would also tick off two now necessary categories. But first he will have to win the big fight to become the nominee. The powers that be will do their best to prevent that.

Pro-Israel Super-PAC to stop running negative ads against Sanders
Middle East Eye, Feb 21 2020

Sen Bernie Sanders. Photo: AFP

A Pro-Israel Demagog Super-PAC has said it doesn’t plan to run any more negative ads against Bernie Sanders after Saturday’s Nevada caucus. Mark Mellman, president of the Demagog Majority for Israel, said on Wednesday during a panel discussion at New York’s Marlene Meyerson JCC:

We have no plans to endorse a candidate in the race. We don’t have plans to be further involved in the presidential race against Sanders, or anyone else for that matter.

Super-PACs have become a fixture of the Pindo campaign finance system. They are funded by individuals, corporations and unions who are legally allowed to donate as much money as they want to supposedly independent organisations that are linked to a particular candidate. Demagog Majority for Israel spent about $1.4m on TV ads against Sanders in Iowa and Nevada. After the Iowa caucuses, which resulted in Sanders securing 12 delegates and Buttigieg picking up 13, the Super-PAC took credit for denying him a clear win. Speaking ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Mellman told the the NYT that the ads were aimed at showing that Sanders was in a “uniquely bad position” to defeat Trump in November’s election. Last year, Mellman said he found it “deeply disturbing” that Sanders had surrounded himself with “endorsers who hate Israel,” a reference to Ilhan Omar, who had just endorsed Sanders, and Linda Sarsour, who is an official surrogate for the Sanders campaign. Sanders, the Demagog front-runner for the presidency, has maintained that Faschingstein should adopt a “pro-Palestinian” foreign policy in addition to its continued support for Israel. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Nevada on Tuesday, Sanders said:

To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel. What Pindo foreign policy has got to be about in the Middle East is bringing the Israelis, bringing the Palestinians together under the banner of justice. Take a look at what’s going on in Gaza right now. You got youth unemployment, 70%, you know people can’t even leave the area. It cannot just simply be that we’re just pro-Israel and we ignore the needs of the Palestinian people.

Bloomberg Campaign Says Sanders Supporters Behind Vandal Attack on His Office in Knoxville
Sputnik News, Feb 22 2020

Bloomberg’s team said on Friday that Sanders supporters were behind an attack on his campaign office in Knoxville, Tennessee, the NY Post reported. The office was vandalised on Thursday night, the front doors painted with phrases such as “classist”, “oligarch”, “sexist” and even “fascist.” Since there are no security cameras on the premises, the actual perpetrators were not identified. Bloomberg campaign spokesman Kevin Sheekey said:

We don’t know who is responsible for this vandalism, but we do know it echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters.

This is not the first time a Bloomberg campaign office has come under attack, as similar cases have occurred in several other states. Last week, a Bloomberg office in downtown Toledo, Ohio, was also painted with the word “oligarch” and references to his affluent financial status. Bloomberg’s massive advertising budget has led to scrutiny from both the public and other Demagog candidates. He joined the Demagog primary race in Nov 2019.

Michael Bloomberg: The Demagogs’ Billionaire Strawman
Kit Knightly, Off-guardian, Feb 21 2020

The latest Demagog primary debate was a cringeworthy affair, even more than Pindo political “debates” usually are, and it left me with one burning question: Why is Michael Bloomberg in this race? As all the Demagog candidates rush to outdo each other in terms of identity politics, wokeness and, for want of a better word, “leftist” credentials, why has a billionaire, highly unpopular former mayor thrown his hat into the ring? He must have know he was going to be a massive target last night. And indeed, he was. They all took shots. Obviously Bernie Sanders was going to strike back after Bloomberg criticised him throughout the build-up to the debate. But Warren, Buttigieg and even Biden chimed in, too. Bloomberg was attacked on racism and sexism and his tax returns. It became a feeding frenzy, with both the liberal mainstream media and the alternate media celebrating the ritual slaughter as if Bloomberg’s blood was going to bring the sun back and guarantee a good harvest. The Guardian reported that Bloomberg was “roundly attacked by rivals in fiercest Demagog debate so far”. CNN compared him to Donald Trump, the worst rebuke in their lexicon. MSNBC declared him “unprepared and unequipped.” Even some from the alternate media were enthused by the Bloomberg free-for-all:

Everyone agrees: Bloomberg was a disaster, and Warren (especially) was “historic.” The Intercept wrote a glowing write-up of Warren’s performance, including this key paragraph:

When Mike Bloomberg sauntered onto the debate stage, the old Elizabeth Warren reemerged, turning in a historic debate performance that left the former NYC mayor a politically bloodied mess. Bloomberg, it turned out, was the foil Warren needed.

The Guardian picked up that it had been a successful night for Warren too, highlighting in a separate article:

Elizabeth Warren’s strong debate performance inspires best fund-raising day yet. Warren, who repeatedly excoriated billionaire rival Mike Bloomberg during the Nevada debate, enjoyed the best fundraising day of her entire campaign on the back of the event. The Massachusetts senator raised $2.8m in donations on Wednesday, according to her campaign team.

The foil Warren needed. Quite. Funny how that works out. So was this a real debate? Is putting Michael Bloomberg in the stocks for an evening a real political discussion? Was there any genuine progress of rational argument and philosophical debate last night? I didn’t see any. I saw a live-action puppet show. Accepting the surface-level narrative of this campaign is naive in the extreme. Remember how contrived politics is, most especially Pindo politics. Remember that the DNC fixed the primaries last time around, and fed the debate questions to Clinton early. There’s no reason to think that kind of manipulation isn’t still going on. We should assume it is as a baseline. In fact, we’ve seen signs of it already. They went out of their way to exclude Tulsi Gabbard, and then changed the rules at the last minute to include Bloomberg. Why did they do that? Because the DNC want a billionaire with accusations of sexual harassment and tax avoidance to run against Trump? Of course not. No, what happened on that stage was fittingly enough a piece of theatre. Bloomberg is cast as the villain, and we all boo and hiss as he ties a pretty damsel to the railway lines, and then cheer when Uncle Joe and Aunt Liz turn up in the wokemobile, bonk him on the nose, and save the damsel. As we said last night:

Bloomberg boosts everyone else on the poll, he is “exactly the foil they need.” Like everything else in the media, it’s about narrative management. Firstly, his presence counterbalances the Sanders storyline. Sanders isn’t going to change anything, he’s demonstrated with his foreign policy speeches that he’s too timid to truly challenge establishment orthodoxy. That’s why people like Jonathan Freedland prefer him to Corbyn. But he’s at least slightly genuine. Slightly. Sanders is winning this race, but more importantly he’s controlling the narrative, elevating dangerous ideas in the public mind, ideas that might live on in the minds and speeches of braver, more honest politicians. All this off the back of casting himself as a leftist outsider up against the right of the Demagog party. Bloomberg changes that conversation by putting another extreme on the right side. Now Biden, Buttigieg and Warren are the sensible candidates in the middle, far more “leftist” than mean old Mike, but far more “electable” than crazy commie Bernie. The rational compromise. I haven’t totally ruled out that the DNC end up letting Sanders win the nomination. I think the endgame here might be to have Sanders run against Trump, get his ass kicked, and declare that “Pindos don’t want socialism” and all leftists are “unelectable.” Here in the UK we call that “being Corbyned.” Secondly, there’s the total undermining of the idea of “debate,” which is becoming more childish every cycle. Bloomberg’s presence on that stage guaranteed no real issues were ever discussed. Instead we had supposedly adult politicians exchanging cheap jibes and “sick burns” in the hopes of pleasing their cheerleaders on twitter. Reality was barely touched upon, and that’s just the way they like it. Politics is becoming just Big Brother or Love Island, only with better suits and bigger budgets. No thought, no rational argument, just pick a team, tweet a hashtag, cheer your side. Last night was as real as a WWE bout, and couldn’t have been more obviously stage-managed if Mike Bloomberg had entered to the sound of breaking glass and Lester Holt declaring: “By gawd, that’s Bloomberg’s music!”

Bloomberg has already benefited the field simply by providing a distraction from the Iowa chaos. As an even richer member of the “elite” than the rest of the ballot he acts as an anger heat-sink, with many so happy to see the corrupt billionaire taken down a peg they don’t realise they’re cheering for Joe Biden, or Liz Warren or Pete Buttigieg or even that other brunette whose name no one remembers. Further, with his frequent attacks on Sanders he can torpedo the favourite and only even vaguely genuine threat by using smear tactics while the real DNC picks keep their hands clean. They may even half-heartedly defend Bernie, acting outraged whilst reaping the benefits. Lastly, there’s the game of identity politics. A lot of political discourse these days is about billionaires. Some constantly attack them, others defend them as heroes of aspiration, but both these sides individualize inequality. Turning it into the malign result of the exceptionally self-interested, rather than the natural by-product of system designed to draw all the profits to the top. Billionaires are just the heads of the hydra: cut one off and two more will take its place. Discussing the personal wealth of Person A or the tax of Person B isn’t the real issue, and letting it become so leaves you open to soft appeasement. If the problem is just “billionaires” rather than the system, then the establishment can cut a disposable member of the club off at the knees, feed him to the braying mob, and pretend we’ve made some strides toward progress. Which is actually a pretty fair description of what happened last night. Whatever the final result of the race, Bloomberg won’t win, and his entry to the race has already proved a shot in the arm to establishment candidates right across the DNC board. It’s hard not to see that as a contrivance. And whilst kicking someone like Bloomberg while he’s down might feel good, in this case it’s singing harmonies with the mainstream chorus. And that’s never a good idea.

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