Earlier this week, author, linguist, and professor Noam Chomsky had a discussion with The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan’s Deconstructed Podcast on a range of political topics. Here are some highlights from the interview, which can be found here

Chomsky discusses the Democratic party throwing the working class overboard in the wake of the 1970s: 

they handed the working class over to their class enemy- the Republicans, who tried to mobilize them on what are called cultural issues. They are shafting them at every turn, including Trump. But you can try to mobilize them on the basis of abortion, immigrants, guns…anything but the real issues.”

Chomsky continues regarding the Republican party: 

Its primary constituency is extreme wealth and corporate power. Those are the ones they serve. So you take the one legislative achievement of the Trump Administration- the tax scam- that was for the very rich and the corporate sector. Take deregulation: does it help working people to eliminate health and safety conditions in the workplace? Does it increase profits? Ok, we know the answer. Same across the board. So you run across the legislative programs, the ones that are carried out by the really evil characters- Mitch McConnell, before him Ryan, and so on. These policies are dedicated to the traditional Republican constituency. But you can’t get votes on those policies, so you have to mobilize some kind of a voting base.”

Hassan later asks him about the phenomenon of the media oftentimes ignoring coverage of Sanders or downplaying him whenever possible: 

He has absolutely infuriated the liberal establishment by committing a major crime. It’s not his policies. His crime was to organize an ongoing political movement that doesn’t just show up at the polls every four years and push a button but keeps working. That’s no good. The rabble is supposed to stay home- their job is to watch, not to participate.” 

Chomsky concluded by commenting on how dire the current moment is for our future as a species:

The current moment, not just political, is the most grim moment in human history. We are now in a situation where this generation- in fact, in the next few years- is going to have to make a decision of cosmic significance which has never arisen before. Will organized human society survive? And there are two enormous threats: the threat of environmental catastrophe which at least is getting some attention- not enough, and the other threat is nuclear war, which is increasing sharply by the Trump Administration, in fact. These have to be dealt with quickly, otherwise there is nothing else to talk about. And notice how the wrecking ball in the White House just doesn’t give a damn. He’s having fun- he’s serving his rich constituency, so what the hell? Let’s destroy the world

Assange Reportedly in Serious Health

We previously wrote about Julian Assange here and described Assange’s arrest by British authorities. Assange has been in prison since then and was recently visited by the UN’s special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment- Nils Melzer. The UN notes that:

 “Although Assange is not held in solitary confinement, the Special Rapporteur said he is gravely concerned that the limited frequency and duration of lawyers’ visits and his lack of access to case files and documents make it impossible for him to adequately prepare his defence in any of the complex legal proceedings piling up against him.”

The UN continues by reporting that: 

in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma

Melzer concluded with the following statement

Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life

All for reporting war crimes and exposing elites and their activities in each of our names since they are funded from our tax dollars. If this continues, Assange might not even make it to his extradition to the US for ‘trial’. 

2020 Democratic Primary: November Update

The horse race for the presidential nomination of the Democratic party continues. When we left off on our previous update months ago, Joe Biden was the clear front runner- far and away ahead of the other candidates. That is still generally true, but his overall support has steadily atrophied from a high of 41.4% of support back in May to 28.6% as of November 6th

Given Biden’s troublesome political record and his seeming lack of gusto needed to rally the party behind him, one gets the impression of Biden as fighting a downhill battle and slowly losing support over time. 

He’s also reportedly running low on campaign funds compared to the other major candidates- his campaign having $9 million on hand. Even Kamala Harris sports $10.5 million, Warren lists $25.7M, with Sanders out front with $33.7M. Cash on hand is needed for various campaign functions- paying staffers, canvassers, marketing, and other get-out-the-vote operations. 

The New Big Three

The Democratic field has lately revealed a field of three top candidates: Joe Biden (28.6%), Elizabeth Warren (21.4%), and Bernie Sanders (18.1%), but it’s worth noting one other candidate: one who originally boasted a moderately progressive platform, but has curiously changed to a neoliberal centrist one and has been rising in the polls lately from 0.3% support in March to 7.1% recently. I’m talking of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 

The important question to ask is: how has Buttigieg risen in the polls since March? The short answer: he is winning over political elites and wealthy donors who are giving his campaign the impression of one who is “running as a candidate of generational change with big ideas”. Don’t be fooled- Buttigieg is running a classic neoliberal campaign that the likes of Obama, the Clintons, and many other Democrats have since the 1990s: speak in vague words about progressive ideals and ‘change’ without actually backing up any of that with clearly defined policy proposals or any sort of political record indicating they are serious about getting them done. In other words: much hot air, much less substance. 

On two signature Democratic policies- Medicare for All and public funded college tuition programs, Buttigieg responds that they are “questionable on their merits” and “not realistic”. 

On eliminating the Electoral College, fighting voter suppression, or ending gerrymandering, Buttigieg has taken these early campaign pillars and reportedly backed away from them after his elite donors have suggested he do so. 

Contrast this rapid policy reversal from elite pressure to that of Sanders, who’s message hasn’t changed much in his entire political career and is largely funded by small donors from the working class. There are simply far better candidates than the tired old centrist line that Buttigieg has cozied up to- courtesy of his elite allies and wealthy donors

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