Biden’s Speech Was a Lie: Democrats are Funding Pro-Trump Republicans in Primaries

by Keaton Weiss

In his recent “Soul of the Nation” address, President Biden spoke for 25 minutes about the threat to democracy posed by the Trump movement. Making a point to differentiate MAGA Republicans from the more “mainstream” ones, he explained:

Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.
Now, I want to be very clear — very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans.  Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.
I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.
But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.

Conservative media reacted with predictable horror, calling it an attack on the 75 million Americans who voted for Trump in the 2020 election. Ben Shapiro called it “the most demagogic, outrageous, and divisive speech [he’s] ever seen from an American president.” Tucker Carlson warned that Biden’s speech sought to delegitimize and even criminalize the GOP as an organization. Mark Levin called Biden an “extremely dangerous demagogue.” Sean Hannity denounced the speech as “hate-filled.”

All of this of course is quite rich coming from those who supported Donald Trump even after he smeared Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists, barred Muslims from entering the country, and suggested ten-year prison sentences for Black Lives Matter protestors who defaced statues of our Founding Fathers.

Right-wing pseudo-indignation aside, however, there is an important critique of Biden’s speech that no one of prominence has yet leveled: it was, at its core, a complete lie.

Biden’s rhetorical olive branch to “mainstream” Republicans with whom he’s collaborated in the past is laughable, given that the Democratic Party has worked tirelessly this election cycle to undermine moderate Republicans and elevate the very “MAGA forces” he says pose such an existential threat to the republic. In numerous primaries throughout the country, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Democratic PACs have spent huge amounts of money boosting MAGA Republicans against their more centrist opponents, thinking they will make for weaker general election adversaries.

Take for instance Michigan’s 3rd Congressional district. Incumbent Congressman Peter Meijer was one of only 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6th riot – a decision which should have earned him the respect of Democrats looking to enlist sensible Republicans in the larger effort protect democracy from Trump’s “semi-fascist” movement. Instead, the DCCC spent $400,000 on ads bolstering Meijer’s Trump-backed primary opponent John Gibbs, a 2020 election denier and proponent of a conspiracy theory which claims Democratic leaders participate in satanic “spirit cooking” rituals. With Democrats’ help, Gibbs defeated Meijer and is the current GOP nominee to represent MI-3.

In California, another pro-impeachment Republican Congressman, David Valadao, faced a primary challenge from the Trump-aligned Chris Mathys. In this case, Valadao prevailed in the end, despite The Democratic political action committee House Majority PAC creating multiple ads casting Mathys in a positive light as a “pro-Trump Republican” and disparaging Valadao as a RINO (see below).

In Illinois’ governor’s race, incumbent billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker and the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) spent an astounding $35 million to boost the Trump-endorsed Darren Bailey in his Republican primary against moderate Richard C. Irvin. In what is already the most expensive non-presidential race in United States history, Bailey is now on the ballot in November as the Republican nominee.

Perhaps most egregiously, in the Pennsylvania Governor’s race, Democrats strengthened longshot candidate and Trump loyalist Doug Mastriano. Mastriano not only supported Trump’s election denial, he himself attended the January 6th riot and helped break into the Capitol. This gubernatorial election is of particular importance, seeing as Pennsylvania is a pivotal swing state that could potentially determine the outcome of the 2024 Presidential race. It’s also a state where the Governor himself appoints the Secretary of State, whose job it is to certify election results. Therefore, it’s far from implausible that a Mastriano victory in November could put the state – and with it, perhaps, the Presidency – at risk of being stolen by Republicans. Nonetheless, his own Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro spent $840,000 on ads propelling Mastriano to victory in the GOP primary. Despite Democrats’ theory that Mastriano would be easy to beat in November, current polling indicates a very close race, with Shapiro leading by a mere 3 points.

These are just a few of many examples, and Democrats haven’t been shy about their role in promoting the candidacies of the very Republicans they denounce so strongly. DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney admitted and defended such tactics in a recent Meet The Press interview. When Chuck Todd suggested he put “party over country” by elevating the most divisive and extreme Republican candidates across numerous races, Maloney responded:

Absolutely not did we put party over country. The moral imperative right now, Mr. Todd, is to keep the dangerous MAGA Republicans who voted to overturn our election out of power.

Maloney’s answer is shamelessly dishonest, seeing as all of these “MAGA Republicans” he feels so strongly about keeping “out of power” were running in primaries against non-MAGA Republicans who in many cases spoke out forcefully against Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. If Democrats’ first priority was actually to defend our democracy from the existential danger posed by Trump-aligned extremists, surely they would want to nip such threats in the bud by doing everything in their power to defeat them as early and as handily as possible. Instead, they’re doing the opposite and embracing Hillary Clinton’s “pied piper” strategy of 2016: boosting the most radical right-wing candidates in the hopes that they’ll be easier to defeat in the Fall (we all remember the results of that experiment, do we not?).

So as Biden insists that the “MAGA forces” within the Republican party represent a fringe minority, his own Democrats spend tens of millions of dollars aiding that very faction of the GOP in its efforts against the “mainstream” conservatives he misses so badly.

Outspoken anti-Trump Republican Adam Kinzinger put it best when asked on CNN about Democrats’ support for the aforementioned MAGA candidate John Gibbs, answering:

Don’t keep coming to me, asking where are all the good Republicans that defend democracy, and then take your donors’ money and spend half a million dollars promoting one of the worst election deniers that’s out there.

In reality, Democrats care nothing for unity, decency, or democracy. Their only concern is that of most politicians and political parties: power. Biden’s appeals to the better angels of Republicans’ nature, given Democrats’ subversion of the very anti-MAGA Republicans they pretend to hold in such high regard, are Orwellian enough to complement the speech’s widely panned stage production of blood-red floodlights and shadowy Marines looking directly into the crowd. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and apparently, partisanship is patriotism – so long as the public isn’t equipped to spot the difference.

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Sam Harris’ Defense of Censorship Reveals Liberals’ True Contempt for Democracy

by Keaton Weiss

“Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement – I would not have cared.”

Believe it or not, that’s actually the least controversial thing Sam Harris said in a recently released clip from his appearance on the “Triggernometry” podcast. He followed that up by asserting that “Whatever [the] scope of Joe Biden’s corruption is, if we can just go down that rabbit hole endlessly and understand that he’s getting kickbacks from Hunter Biden’s deals in Ukraine…it is infinitesimal compared to the corruption we know Trump is involved in…it doesn’t even stack up against Trump University.”

If this isn’t Trump Derangement Syndrome, I don’t know what is. Such a claim would be suspect under any circumstances, but Harris makes this argument as the Biden administration funnels tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons and other aid to Ukraine for its war against Russia. That this is a “firefly to the sun,” as he puts it, next to Trump’s fake college scam, is utterly ludicrous.

But Harris was just getting started. These deranged musings were merely the setup to his main point, which was that the censoring of The New York Post’s reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop days before the 2020 election was justified. Harris granted that Twitter’s suppression of the story under the false pretense that it was Russian disinformation was in essence a “conspiracy to deny the presidency to Donald Trump,” but nonetheless insisted it was “warranted.”

The host then pressed him for clarification, after which Harris slightly walked back his “conspiracy” concession with one of his classic “thought experiments.” He posed the question, “If there was an asteroid hurdling toward Earth, and we got in a room with all of our friends and talked about what we could do to deflect its course, is it a conspiracy?”

To answer his question: yes – if half of the world’s population wants the asteroid to hit the Earth.

Harris’ analogy perfectly illustrates the fundamental contradiction at the heart of resistance liberalism. They see Trump as a singular threat to democracy, yet when pressed, they will fully endorse subversive, conspiratorial, and anti-democratic means of opposing him. They must maintain their view of Trump as something like an asteroid on a collision course with Earth in order to justify these tactics, because to accept Trump for what he actually is – a democratically elected leader – would lay to bare their true feelings about democracy itself: they hate it.

This was plainly obvious from the minute Trump declared his 2016 candidacy, and is even more obvious now. From Hillary’s “deplorables” line to their relentless indignation over the January 6th riot, liberals have not only attacked Trump himself as an odious figure, but they’ve cast all of his supporters in that same mold in order to delegitimize their participation in the democratic process. In a real democracy, everyone gets a say, no matter how repulsive they may be. But liberals don’t want real democracy. Instead, they want a democracy curated to their particular tastes and sensibilities, and which excludes those who don’t conform to them. This, of course, is no democracy at all.

Sam Harris and his ilk would be better suited to just admit all of this out in the open. It’s perfectly legitimate to oppose democracy – the Greeks themselves had many negative things to say about it, chief among them is the power it grants to a mostly ignorant and unenlightened population. If Harris’ cohort thinks the American public is too stupid to take seriously their responsibilities as democratic actors, they should just say so, and propose an alternative form of government that relegates the rubes to the irrelevance they feel befits them. But to claim, as liberals do, that their opposition to Trump is motivated primarily by some civic obligation to protect democracy, is patently ridiculous.

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We should be grateful to Sam Harris for so clearly articulating his upside-down ethos in all of its self-negating absurdity. Never has any prominent liberal expressed such bald-faced contempt for the very democratic norms and ideals they claim to cherish so deeply. It was a rare candid moment from an elite clique typically much more careful to couch their arguments in ways that conceal their honest opinions about democracy. It’s good that one of them finally let it rip.

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To Save Democracy, Lock Em Both Up

by Keaton Weiss

The recent raid – ahem, pardon me – execution of a search warrant – on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was an escalation of the Cold Civil War that’s been raging beneath the surface these past several years. Remember the second Presidential debate of 2016 when Trump threatened to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information if he won the White House, and the press gasped in collective horror? Well as it turns out, it was Democratic Attorney General Merrick Garland who ended up authorizing such a severe and unprecedented act against Trump himself – a move that, justified or not, is likely to further destabilize our already volatile political ecosystem.

America is a tinder box of bitterness and resentment liable to blow at any minute. Whether or not this all started with Trump vs. Clinton is above my pay grade to determine, but there’s no doubt that 2016 was the most divisive election in modern American history, and we’ve been at each other’s throats ever since.

During the campaign, Trump’s base was convinced that Hillary Clinton should have been indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for her mishandling of classified information on a private email server. Now, Trump is being investigated for similar actions just as the 2024 campaign season is about to begin. Clinton herself responded to news of the raid by peddling sarcastically designed “But Her Emails” merch on her website, while Marjorie Taylor Greene began hawking “Defund the FBI” shirts and caps in her official campaign store.

That these Espionage Swag Wars are as profitable as they are should tell you something about the state of our politics. We’re as divided as we’ve been since 1861, with no signs of reconciliation in sight. Liberals are chomping at the bit to see Trump in an orange jumpsuit, and conservatives are convinced that Trump is being singled out for persecution while Hillary was allowed to skate.

Fortunately, the solution to this problem is staring us right in the face. We should, to heal the nation and save our democracy, jail both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

They’re Both Guilty

Clinton used email servers, Trump used cardboard boxes (this itself is a fitting metaphor for Democrats’ neo-feudal tech nightmare and Republicans’ nostalgia for analog primitiveness). But the essence of their offenses is more or less the same. In both instances, Clinton and Trump mishandled sensitive information.

Much ado is being made of “nuclear” documents being stored in Trump’s basement, as if nothing was stopping Rudy Giuliani from pounding a kettle of Dewar’s and unilaterally deciding that San Francisco’s public schools had crowned their last non-binary prom queen. Similar hyperbolic speculation ran amok in 2016 – could Hillary have deleted the emails containing the password for Comet Pizza’s secret “event space” before turning her materials over to the authorities? In both cases, people’s imaginations seem to have run a bit wild.

But also in both cases, it seems Trump and Clinton likely violated the Espionage Act. The FBI decided against indicting Clinton because they felt they couldn’t prove intent, and they were nervous about interfering in a Presidential election already underway. Prosecuting Trump would probably be difficult for these same reasons, especially given the aforementioned precedent. But any appearance of preferential treatment for Hillary could be dispelled by simply prosecuting her alongside him.

We all know they’re both guilty, and so why not just call it even for the sake of keeping the peace? It would restore peoples’ faith in America as a level playing field in which both entrenched establishment neoliberal vampires and renegade grease-painted neofascist killer clowns can be made to stare down the same system of justice. After all, nO oNe iS aBoVe tHe lAw.

Hate Trumps Love

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign was the worst in history in just about every way, including its choice of slogans. We all remember “I’m With Her,” which accomplished the practically impossible feat of being more narcissistic than anything Donald Trump could have thought up. Then there was “Stronger Together,” a phrase that broke the forgettability meter by being so generic as to be notable for its particular banality. But there was a third popular saying that, though never an official slogan, became an oft-repeated rallying cry of the Clinton campaign: Love Trumps Hate.

Really? Love trumps hate? Since when? Tell that to Martin Luther King, Mohandas Ghandi, John Lennon, and Jesus Christ. Hatred has always been a more potent political motivator than love. And now, in the age of cable news and social media, negative partisanship is clearly the force which drives our politics more than anything else.

What this means is that Americans generally hate their political opponents more than they love their political allies. Hillary Stans hate Trump more than they love Hillary, and MAGA Chuds hate Hillary more than they worship Trump. This means that when push comes to shove, each of these cults would likely sacrifice their own leader in order to bring down their opponents’. This makes prosecuting both Trump and Clinton a queen trade on the political chess board. For both players, it stings a bit, but it’s ultimately worth it in the end for each of them.

Own for an Own

Because our government is so corrupt that legislation which serves up billions of dollars and millions of acres in giveaways to fossil fuel companies can be touted with a straight face as a “climate bill,” the most satisfying reward one can hope to earn though political engagement is the endorphin rush that comes with “owning” your opponent. An own is a political bitcoin: intrinsically worthless, but coveted nonetheless for reasons we can’t rationally explain. We’re all chasing owns, and though we can’t see them or touch them, we can feel it when we get one. In a world where hate trumps love, owns reign supreme.

And let’s face it: jailing Trump is the Golden Own for Democrats, as jailing Clinton is for MAGA world. Awarding each side such a revelatory, orgasmic own would usher in the kind of quiet and still refractory period this country needs right now, and might be just what the doctor ordered to avert the next Civil War.

Might one side be slightly more worthy of their own than the other? Sure. But as a leftist, I believe in the redistribution of owns from those who have them to those who need them for the sake of maintaining social stability.

And let’s not forget, Trump and Clinton are both widely and rightfully despised figures foisted upon the independent majority by crazed partisan lunatics called Democratic and Republican primary voters. Most Americans won’t shed a tear for either of them, and those who do will also take solace in the knowledge that their nemesis is also languishing behind bars. Therein lies the genius of this proposal in which the owned are at once the owners, bringing balance to all things.

So there you have it – my prescription to pull America back from the brink. They both deserve it. To quibble over who deserves it more is to miss the forest for the trees at a time where we need to be thinking big picture. Jailing both Trump and Clinton is the only way to truly unite the country at this point. It’s the only way to give everyone around us the apology we all know is owed them. It’s the only way to hug it out and let bygones be bygones. We all fucked up big time, and deep down, we all know it. Let’s just admit it to ourselves and each other. To save democracy, lock em both up.

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Liz Cheney is No Friend of Democracy

by Keaton Weiss

Arming Saudi Arabia; drilling on protected lands; draconian, inhumane border enforcement; blocking a path to citizenship for DACA recipients; cutting taxes for the rich; banning trans people from the military; defunding health centers that perform abortions; preventing the government from negotiating for lower prescription drug prices; opposing sensible gun laws; opposing a $15 minimum wage; opposing restoration of the Voting Rights Act. These are just some of many issues in which Liz Cheney and Donald Trump are in full agreement.

And where they differ, Cheney’s positions are usually worse than Trump’s. She spoke out against Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria in 2019, she voted to override Trump’s rightful veto of 2020’s $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act, and she voted down Trump’s plan to increase coronavirus stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000 in the most recent Lame Duck session.

Democratic mega-donors like Jeffrey Katzenberg seem at least somewhat aware of this, which is why they qualify their gushing praise of Liz Cheney with caveats like “We agree on little, if anything.” But – ah – there’s always a but. “But,” Katzenberg continues, “She has done something that very, very few people in history have done, which is she’s put her country over party and politics to stand in defense of our Constitution.”

He’s of course referring to Cheney’s indignation at the January 6th riot and her insistence of Trump’s culpability in the event which have made her a rockstar in liberal media. Even Robert Reich, a more progressive Democrat who should certainly know better, penned a ludicrous essay floating her for President in 2024. His rationale is essentially the same as Katzenberg’s, which is essentially the same as Jonathan Chait’s, which is essentially the same as blue-checked celebrities like Rob ReinerStephen KingGeorge Takei, and countless others in the liberal hive mind.

Reich writes:

Cheney is a firm conservative and I have opposed many of her positions. But we are at an inflection point in this nation over a set of principles that transcend any particular positions or policies. If we cannot agree on the sanctity of the Constitution and the rule of law, we are no longer capable of self government.

The real battle in 2024 will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It will be between forces supporting democracy in America and those supporting authoritarianism. Trump is the de facto leader of the forces supporting authoritarianism. Liz Cheney has become the de facto leader of the forces supporting democracy.

Aside from being a reflection of his own privilege, Reich’s contention that Cheney’s supposed “support” for democracy “transcend[s] any particular positions or policies” is shockingly narrow-minded in its conception of democracy itself. His “democracy” refers only to the dog and pony shows we call “free and fair elections” in which votes are cast, counted, and certified, and a winner is decided. If the practice of democracy were as simple and as limited as that, Reich might have something approaching a reasonable point. But democracy is more than just the electing and swearing-in of political leaders. Democracy is more broadly and relevantly defined as control of a group, organization, institution, or society, by a majority of its members.

By this definition, Liz Cheney is no supporter of democracy at all. By this definition, a society in which women are denied basic bodily autonomy cannot be democratic. A society whose labor force is relegated to serfdom – and who depend on their employers for access to medical care – cannot be democratic. A society whose members support by a 90-10 margin background checks on gun purchases, but are denied this policy preference because their government has been bought off by arms dealers, cannot be democratic. A society which restricts access to voting itself – obviously – is not and cannot be democratic.

And so there is no way to parse one’s “particular positions or policies” from their support for democracy itself. Two people cannot differ on matters of civil rights, economic rights, labor rights, climate rights, and immigrants’ rights, but agree on the importance of maintaining a democratic system. It’s absurd on its face. Liz Cheney is egregiously wrong on all of these issues, and therefore cannot be credibly lauded as a champion of democracy under any circumstances.

Her January 6th posturing might be nothing more than an elaborately staged audition tape for The Lincoln Project, but assuming it is motivated by some sincere political conviction, Cheney’s real commitment is to the charade of electoral processes which produce peaceful transfers of power between puppets of the capitalist-militarist state.

Proclaiming the “sanctity” of such pageantry is essential to maintaining the illusion of American democracy. (Oddly enough, it was Al Gore’s servile deference to this ideal that allowed Liz’s father and his gang of marauding war criminals to successfully steal a Presidential election from the rightful winner.) But post-2016, liberal politics itself has been reduced to just that: pageantry. Anti-Trump sentiment is all that matters to today’s liberals. Whether such opposition is voiced from the Left or the Right is mostly irrelevant.

Perhaps somewhere in their conscience, liberals long for a world in which policy differences between Democrats and Republicans are of little to no consequence. After all, this was the world they lived in for most of their lives, and for the most part it served them well enough. This would explain their fondness for moments like George W. Bush and Michelle Obama’s candy exchange at John McCain’s funeral, and their embrace of Never Trump Republicans like Jennifer Rubin, Steve Schmidt, David Frum, and Bill Kristol. In this context, their veneration of Liz Cheney makes perfect sense.

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To the rest of us, it’s their latest and greatest in a string of embarrassing post-Trump psychotic breaks. The zeitgeist turned against the liberal class for a reason: because most Americans in most places don’t pine for the good old days when politics was a low-stakes parlor game for an insular elite class who more or less agreed on the major issues of the day. Most Americans have come to an understanding – even if more intuitive than intellectual – that such a politics yields nothing desirable for them. This is how Liz Cheney became a pariah within her own party, and why a Democratic Party that sings her praises is destined to fail.

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After Trump and Russiagate, The War Machine is Back in Business

by Keaton Weiss

The Trump era was one of unrelenting malaise for the political class. Democratic politicians roiled in resentment and righteous indignation at every word and deed of the 45th President. The beltway media became, more nakedly than ever before, a propaganda arm of the DNC, and central command for the #resistance.

And while both the party itself and its media mouthpieces did pay some attention to Trump’s policies on immigration, climate, and economics, these were hardly their main grievances. Why would they be? After all, now that Trump’s out of office, Biden has caged more children at the border than his predecessor, licensed more drilling permits, and has essentially made permanent Trump’s massive corporate tax cuts (he proposed raising corporate taxes from 21 to 28%, still 7 points down from the pre-Trump rate of 35%).

Mostly, the establishment signaled grave concern about Trump’s violation of “norms” and degradation of our cherished “institutions.” Nothing exemplified this more than the Russiagate narrative which consumed liberal media outlets for more than two years after his inauguration.

Those outside this corporate media bubble could fairly easily assess Russiagate as a pathetic exercise in collective self delusion fueled by sour grapes over an unlikely election defeat. And surely, to the humiliated Clinton campaign staffers who feared they’d never get a job in Washington again after losing perhaps the most winnable race in modern political history, this is exactly what it was.

But to the real power players in American politics, it was much more than that. Branding Trump a “Russian asset” wasn’t just expensive psychotherapy for Hillaryworld. Rather, it was an expression of what Trump actually represented to these people: a wrench in the imperial war machine that needed to be removed as soon as possible. This makes especially good sense considering the timeline of events leading up the Russia-Ukraine war.

In 2014 the United States supported the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President via the Maidan Revolution. When audio surfaced of a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine discussing political strategy for the incoming Ukrainian government, an embarrassed Obama administration accused the Russian government of leaking the tape. Of course, they did not deny the authenticity of its contents, because they couldn’t – the recording did in fact prove U.S. meddling in the rebellion and its aftermath.

In the Summer of 2016, when Wikileaks dropped a trove of emails confirming DNC bias against Bernie Sanders during the primaries, the Democratic Party’s response was copied from the same playbook: they accused the Russians of perpetrating the hack and subsequent leak, while failing to dispute the validity of the disclosed materials themselves.

During the general election, the Clinton campaign and its media allies repeatedly hammered Trump as a puppet of the Kremlin, and insisted that Russia was pulling for his success. When Trump won an upset victory that Fall, a development Putin himself would later publicly admit he was happy about, Clinton campaign insiders immediately convened and decided to blame Russian interference for their defeat.

In the interim weeks between Trump’s election and inauguration, New Year’s Eve 2016, Senators Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and Amy Klobuchar traveled to a Ukrainian combat outpost to express their support for Ukraine against Russian aggression, and pledged that 2017 would be a “year of offense” (video below).

The first two years of Trump’s presidency were then overshadowed by the Mueller investigation, which liberals insisted would establish “collusion” (a deliberately vague term with no actual legal meaning) between the Trump campaign and Russia that would render their victory illegitimate. After two years of non-stop hype, the published findings produced no such result, though it did provide evidence that Russians promoted Trump’s candidacy and damaged Clinton’s.

With the Mueller Report having been mostly a dud, Democrats then impeached Trump for allegedly extorting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating Hunter Biden in exchange for $400 million of defense aid Congress had approved for his country. Trump’s actions were seen as politically motivated given that Joe Biden was his likely 2020 opponent, but they were also viewed as part of a series of actions to weaken Ukraine in its years-long standoff against Russia. Months prior to the phone call in question, Trump had ousted his Ukrainian ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, after hearing rumors that she was badmouthing him and predicting his eventual impeachment.

While impeachment didn’t result in Trump’s removal from office, the 2020 election did. And sure enough, just over a year into Biden’s first term, here we are.

In the days and weeks before the invasion, Biden both threatened harsh sanctions against Russia if they invaded, and simultaneously predicted that Putin would be undeterred and invade anyway. This was not a serious attempt at diplomacy; this was going through the motions of a performative negotiation sure to fail and result in war.

From 30,000 feet, we can see pretty well what’s been going on this past decade in Eastern Europe. The United States was stirring the pot, provoking Russia into conflict, and then Donald Trump came along and, for a short while, ruined their plans. With him out of the way, it’s now full steam ahead.

By the liberal media’s own admission, Russia likely would not have invaded under a second Trump term. As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes explained:

“When Republican politicians say that Putin would not have invaded Ukraine under Trump, they are probably right, but for the wrong reasons. Putin likely would not have invaded because he did not need to. Because Trump was his ultimate gift doing everything Putin himself wanted to do: elevating Russia, denigrating NATO, delegitimizing Ukraine. Without him in the White House, Putin took matters into his own hands.”

Given liberals’ satisfaction that Biden is now President and their admission that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine likely would not have happened under Trump, we can safely assume what the aforementioned timeline suggests: that the political establishment has been wanting a violent confrontation with Russia for quite some time, and that they’re happy to have finally gotten it.

That Trump was the “ultimate gift” to Putin is the line of attack still being used against him by Biden loyalists spells out very clearly that they’d rather Russia be dealt with by force than through diplomatic exchange.

In addition to the $6.4 billion in military and economic aid immediately following Russia’s invasion, Biden responded to Zelensky’s speech to Congress by pledging an additional $800 million for Javelins, anti-aircraft systems, and AT-4 anti-tank weapons – a hefty and perhaps overdue payday for the Military Industrial Complex.

Perhaps this explains the upbeat mood in the room as a beaming Nancy Pelosi introduced sketch comic-turned-freedom fighter Volydymyr Zelensky to make an impassioned case for prolonged combat in Ukraine, and more U.S. intervention.

The Trump presidency was hardly a picnic for anyone, but it was especially miserable for the masters of war who were denied a new arena for four long years of stagnation. With him gone, their time-out is over, and they’re obviously very excited to be back in business.

We discuss Zelensky’s speech and related topics in episode 136 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to our podcast on any major podcast player.

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Would Christopher Hitchens Have Been a Trumper, a Bernie Bro, or a Resistance Liberal?

Ben Burgis, our most recent podcast guest, chose the late Christopher Hitchens as the topic for his latest book entitled Christopher Hitchens: What He Got Right, How He Went Wrong, and Why He Still MattersIn it, he examines the ideas and influence of one of the most enigmatic and entertaining public intellectuals of our time.

A lifelong socialist turned Bush-aligned neocon later in life, Hitchens’ politics defied conventional labels, to put it mildly. For example, he’s one of the few people you’d ever encounter who was both vehemently pro-Iraq War and ruthlessly critical of the state of Israel. He never fully disavowed his commitment to Leftist politics, though by the end of his life someone discovering him for the first time would have been hard-pressed to find any evidence he ever supported the Left in the first place.

Hitchens died on December 15, 2011, at age 62, of esophageal cancer. Burgis begins his book by speculating how Hitchens may have responded to the Trump era, which began during the 2016 Presidential primaries. Because Hitchens’ politics were as difficult to predict as they are to categorize, it’s not quite clear where he’d have come down as Trump was trouncing the Republican field and Bernie and Hillary were duking it out on the Democratic side.

There are those who believe that Hitchens, a self-proclaimed contrarian, would have supported Trump. Burgis rightly rejects this idea, citing Hitchens’ lifelong contempt for nationalism and nativism. Hitchens also, in 2008, said that no responsible person could support the McCain campaign because of Sarah Palin. Palin is widely considered a harbinger of the Trump phenomenon, and so it stands to reason Hitchens would have felt that Trump was simply not a serious choice.

On the Democratic side, Hitchens’ hatred for Bill and Hillary Clinton was widely known. His 1999 book, No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton, was published in paperback the following year with a new title. This time, the cover read No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family, and included Hillary on the cover.

Because Hitchens spent much of his life as a socialist, Bernie Sanders might have seemed like a logical choice. But of course, his political evolution into a full-throated war hawk would have made Bernie’s candidacy a difficult one for him to fully endorse.

Would he have lent his support to the Bernie movement despite these reservations? Would Hillary’s aggressive foreign policy led him to begrudgingly support her instead? Or would he have shocked his peers and his readers once again and backed Trump?

We discussed this question with Ben Burgis on our podcast. We also delved into what could have been the cause for Hitchens’ mysterious transformation from a “Trotskyist popinjay” as George Galloway described him into an unapologetic advocate for the United States’ post-9/11 regime change wars. Given Ben recently wrote an article in The Daily Beast about the Joe Rogan/Spotify affair, we touched on that as well in the latter portion of the conversation.

Listen to our full discussion by clicking the player below, and Listen below, and subscribe to our podcast on any major podcast player.

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Biden’s Failing Presidency is a Tragic Reflection of America’s Decline

by Russell Dobular

These days Joe Biden is a tragic figure and also a symbolic one. As he dodders and mumbles his way through the rare press conference and occasional speech, it’s hard not to feel like we’re into the final scenes of King Lear, with the monarch’s mind crumbling under the weight of too many cruel realities arriving at a time in life when he is least able to manage them. Watching him try – and fail repeatedly – to master situations from Covid to Afghanistan to a dysfunctional Congress, gives one the uncomfortable feeling, no matter your politics, of catching a glimpse at our own national reflection. 

If Trump represented America’s wounded Id having a tantrum, Biden is its increasingly out of touch Ego, seeing a man of 35 in the mirror, even as everyone around him prepares to fight over the estate he’s going to be leaving behind very shortly.

As in any great tragedy, the seeds of Biden’s destruction were sown in the very moment of his triumph. Having resoundingly lost the first three primary states, he was rescued only by divine intervention, or the Democratic Party equivalent: an intercession by his old boss, Barack. But there are consequences for foisting a candidate on the public that no one particularly likes, trusts, or believes in. In exit polls, 44% of Biden supporters saw their vote as a rejection of Trump. Only 54% saw it as a vote for Biden. For Trump, those numbers were 22% and 75% respectively.

It could be a case of Yeats’ lines regarding the lack of conviction among the best while the worst are full of “passionate intensity,” playing out in real time, but it probably has more to do with the fact that Trump’s voters actively chose Trump. 

Biden, on the other hand, was never anything more than a hastily constructed bulwark against the party’s rising progressive wing.  That’s a flimsy premise for a presidency and was never going to hold up for very long to the scrutiny that comes with the job. It’s also a weak hand to play in negotiations with both official Republicans and the unofficial ones within his own party.  

Manchin has so little care about incurring the historically unpopular Biden’s wrath (only Trump was more disliked at this point in presidency) that he literally talked down to his own voters from the stern of his yacht this week as they demanded he support $3.5T in infrastructure spending. And Sinema seems to take a special delight in defying him, as if she’s fantasizing about all the lucrative board memberships she’s going to accumulate when her public service is done and she’s able to cash in her chits.   

If we get an infrastructure bill at all, it’s going to be even more woefully inadequate to meeting the needs of the moment than the one currently under consideration.  

It’s often been observed by his opponents on the left that Biden turned out to be better than anyone expected, but that’s only because the bar for his presidency had been set at a subterranean level. This is the man who gleefully incarcerated a generation of black men, while bragging that his crime bill would “do everything but hang people for jay walking.” Anything short of riding up to the White House on a horse in full Grand Wizard regalia to take the oath of office was going to look like a miracle of late-in-life progressive conversion.

Yes, Biden is better than anyone expected him to be. But he isn’t nearly as good as we needed him to be. We needed the FDR, or failing that, at least the LBJ that Biden reportedly sees himself as. What we got is a walking, talking, daily reminder of just how far we’ve fallen as a country. His befuddlement, frustration and ineffectiveness are our own, as is his nostalgia for a time when we had more turns left in the game, and our possible moves seemed infinite.  

A serious nation that is qualified to lead the world, even in a lets-start-pointless-wars-in-order-to-enrich-our-corporations kind of a way, would never have elected Biden or his predecessor. Our allies and enemies alike have noticed and their way of dealing with the United States is now along the lines of the way one deals with a crazy, rich uncle.  Think about the inheritance. Smile and nod. Remind yourself that he won’t be around for much longer.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

For Anti-Fascists, Liberals Seem Awfully Eager to Throw the Book at Their Opponents

by Keaton Weiss and Russell Dobular

We on the Left had always assumed that the defense of free speech and freedom of expression were core principles of Leftism, and that the impulse to censor and ban was a right-wing phenomenon.  Boy, were we naïve. Turns out that whoever has institutional power will use that power to try to shut down dissenting voices, no matter where those voices may fall on the ideological spectrum.  For most of the post-war period, the center-right had all the power, which created the false impression that censorship is always coming from a Victorian prudishness, or Russophobia.  But in this new bizarro world where a fringe identarian movement has seized control of academia, the media, and for the moment, the government, we’ve made the mind-blowing discovery that it’s possible to be prudish from the Left, and when you give the Left the power to make that prudishness actionable, all that ACLU stuff goes right out the window.  Strangely, the Russophobia part has carried over unchanged.

What’s really disheartening is that if anything, the New Left seems to be even more enthusiastic about shutting down speech and debate than the Old Right was.   

The New York Times recently ran an article decrying the fact that (Heaven’s Forbid!), the new platform Clubhouse is enabling private conversations (remember those?), that can’t be monitored by its crack team of wokescolds, and there’s growing pressure on Substack to kick writers off its completely subscriber-supported platform. Think about the implications of that for a moment: critics of Substack are saying that people who want to pay to read the writing of certain authors and journalists, should not be allowed to do so. This is a level of madness you have to go back to the McCarthy era to find a right-wing equivalent for.  We’ve replaced the core principle, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” with “I may not agree with what you say, and I may start an online Twitter campaign to shut down your right to say it.”

Censorship and cancellation, though, are just the tip of the iceberg. It seems there’s a growing tendency among liberals to not just want to limit their opponents’ freedom of expression, but to strip them of certain rights and freedoms altogether, even going as far as to cheer on what they hope will be extended prison sentences for the accused Capitol rioters and their enablers. Memes like those listed below have been all over #BlueMAGA Twitter in recent months:

Aside from the Capitol rioters themselves, those who “cast doubt on the integrity of the presidential election” are also apparently deserving of years in “maximum security federal prisons,” according to this liberal meme maker:

Not only do liberals gleefully celebrate the prospect of all of these people rotting in prison for decades, they apparently don’t feel any of these criminal defendants ought to have the right to raise funds for their legal defense. In a recent USA Today article, a team of journalists bragged that they convinced crowdfunding platforms to delete the campaigns of accused Capitol rioters who were using their sites to raise money for their attorneys’ fees. Glenn Greenwald, in his excellent Substack post critiquing the piece, writes:

“The primary target of the Trump-era media has become private citizens and people who wield no power, yet who these media outlets believe must have their lives ruined because they have adopted the wrong political ideology. So many corporate journalists now use their huge megaphones to humiliate and wreck the lives of ordinary private citizens who they judge to have bad political opinions (meaning: opinions that deviate from establishment liberalism orthodoxies which these media outlets exist to enforce).”

For a cohort of political thinkers who gasped in horror at then candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion that perhaps he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton should he defeat her in the 2016 election (a threat that, after he won, he never followed through on), liberals seem awfully eager to see the book thrown at the deplorables for their perceived offenses against decency and democracy. They’re equally excited to use the informal relationship between Big Tech oligarchs and the federal government in order to silence these enemies online, and strip them of their ability to finance their legal defenses. That Barack Obama’s unseated nominee for the Supreme Court, current Attorney General Merrick Garland, is the one who gets to lead these unfortunate Trumpsters to the gallows, is just the icing on the cake.

Maybe it’s just us, but these don’t seem like the attitudes of committed “anti-fascist” actors.

We discuss all of this in further detail in episode 110 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

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Photo: Tyler Merbler

As Trump Implodes, Democrats Roll Out the Red Carpet for Bush Era Republicans

In the pre-Covid world, Trump was consistently favored across numerous betting markets and forecasting models to win reelection, and the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate was a virtual lock. Alas, however, times have changed. As the coronavirus rages out of control throughout the country, Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue to plummet, and his chances of victory dwindle by the day. Suddenly, it seems the Republican Party is in danger of losing not only the Presidency, but their Senate majority as well, a prospect thought to be unthinkable just a few months ago.

While most Republicans seem willing to go down with the Trump ship, we are also seeing a number of Bush-era neoconservative politicos aggressively attacking the Trump administration in the run-up to November. The most prominent of these groups is The Lincoln Project, a PAC started by Bush and McCain campaign alumni which has run a number of hard-hitting ads against Donald Trump, and is committed to ousting him from office this Fall.

Democrats, desperate to remove Trump, are welcoming this effort with open arms. Liberals’ hearts have always been warmed by the idea of Republicans putting “country before party” and supporting Democratic candidates. MSNBC’s coverage is rife with “Never Trump” conservatives like Joe Scarborough, Nicolle Wallace, and Steve Schmidt (himself a Lincoln Project member) who, on a daily basis, can be seen imploring their party’s representatives to break from Trump in the name of decency, mercy, patriotism, etc.

But is The Lincoln Project actually committed to creating the kind of America that liberals, never mind progressives, ostensibly want to live in? Of course not. These are establishment Republicans looking to curry favor with the Democratic Party leadership, and, just as important, the Democratic electorate, in order to maximize their leverage over a potential Biden administration. By helping the Democrats achieve their paramount short-term goal of defeating Trump, these neocon Republicans are buying themselves influence within the party they’ve spent their lives demonizing, in order to pull it even further to the right.

And so for all this talk of Bernie-Biden “task forces,” and “concessions” to the more progressive wing of the party, there is an ongoing effort to counteract these developments being waged by lifelong Republican operatives, who now see the Democratic Party as a more viable vehicle for their agenda than the ill-fated Trumpian GOP.

What does all of this mean for progressives’ place in the Democratic coalition? Why is Trump failing so miserably? How did the “Never Trumpers” infiltrate the Democratic Party, and why are mainstream liberals rolling out the red carpet for them? We discuss all of this and more on our latest podcast episode.

Have a listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

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Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images