Russian-Hacked USA, and Other Follies

Tonight (10 January 2017, President Barack H. Obama delivers his televised farewell address. In 10 days, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. Below are some of my thoughts at this juncture.

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On “Russians hacked the election making the USA have Donald Trump as president, and not Hillary Clinton”:

Reading the commentary and all the comments here (on Juan Cole’s blog, “Informed Comment,” on 6-9 January 2017), I think your consensus is:

#1, that the public exposure of the Podesta (Clinton, DNC) e-mails did sway the election “to Trump,” specifically away from Clinton; and

#2, that this was a bad thing, a cause for anger, and that the perpetrators of these leaks should suffer retribution from the US Government.

On point #1: there has been no doubt cast on the veracity of the leaked e-mails, therefore if a portion of the public was swayed to vote “away from Clinton” because of these e-mails then they were swayed by truthful information that had previously been hidden from them: “transparency.” I favor transparency, and believe it serves the public interest.

On point #2: If voters being swayed by the exposure of truthful information of public interest is “a bad thing,” then those who believe this prefer voters being fooled and “guided” by powerful insiders (Orwell called them the Inner Party).

Those angry that insider (mainly DNC) plans went awry are angry at the workings of democracy with better informed voters. Why not be angry at the betrayal of fair-play and democratic principles that thwarted the Sanders campaign (the most popular option nationally)? Why not be angry that such a monumental betrayal of public trust was done for the benefit of extremely corrupt and deceitful insiders (H. Clinton and associates)?

The effort to pin blame on “the Russians” for spoiling the insider’s succession gambit is just a poor and cowardly excuse to deflect attention from the Inner Party’s colossal failures:

– to devise an economy that serves the public (the major grievance of Trump voters, also Sanders voters), and

– to maintain (not corrupt) the institutions and mechanisms of democracy (the popular will having an influence through voting, the major grievance of Bernie, 3rd party and anybody-but-Clinton voters).

If killing the messenger (Assange, “the Russians,” mystery hackers, or whoever you most want to hate) is your reaction for being shown the truth, then you are condemned to be the victim of your own follies for a long time.

Trump was elected because the public consensus is that voting now has no influence on public policy — so real people can’t get what they need and want from it — but it still can sometimes be used to throw a Molotov-cocktail-by-ballots into the cozy connivances of the Inner Party.

Who is responsible for letting it get to this point? The Russians?

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My view of the significance of President Obama’s administration (2009-20016) to American history is linked below. I wrote it in 2008.

Obama and the Psychic Auto-Shrink-Wrapping Called Race in America
http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/20/obama-and-the-psychic-auto-shrink-wrapping-called-race-in-america/

Here is Cornel West’s summation of the Obama Administration:

Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama
9 January 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency

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It is as likely that American capitalists will preserve the Social Security Trust Fund and Publicly Funded Education, as that the Chinese will end trading in rhino horn, elephant tusk and bear liver. These are the Golden Cities of Cibola and the Fountains of Youth, which the obsessed conquistadores of temporal power can never refrain from lusting after.

Climate Change is the still wet graffiti of collective world greed pressed within the geological strata of the future.

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We Envy To The Delight Of The Masters

Yvette Carnell (the political commentator on Facebook, a Black woman) is right: it is a battle for the crumbs between America’s (the U.S.’s) minority populations. And it is the natural clannishness and tribal-centric focus of these many races and ethnicities, in their economic competitiveness, that is their greatest contribution to the continuing domination of the dominant culture and the dominant “race” in our White capitalist society.

Freedom versus Equality

The Cuban Revolution brought to power a centralized authority — Fidel Castro — who the Americans called a dictator, who could impose a vision of racial, sexual, and eventually sexual-orientation non-discrimination on the entire Cuban society. This Cuban Revolutionary vision extended to the liberation of African Blacks from colonialism and apartheid, and this Fidelista vision transformed the Cuban people, moving them beyond the Spanish colonial and Catholic racial and sexual hierarchies and prejudices that existed in Cuba up to the mid 1960s. Cuba was transformed from the top down into a society of great equality because of a great dictating power. (1)

In contrast, the United States is a society of great inequality because of a great degree of freedom from top-down restraints on individuals — especially on those with means — so they can pursue their many schemes of personal enrichment by the legally-accepted exploitation of weaker and poorer people. So, for the winners in America’s capitalist competition for self-aggrandizement America is “free” and Cuba is a “dictatorship.”

While to the Cubans who have been liberated from poverty, oppression and corruption, and have then been uplifted with state-provided physical security, healthcare and education, the obviously racially prejudiced and exploitative American capitalist elite are rabid imperialists and even fascists, whose “liberty” is exclusively the liberty of slaveowners to globally expand their temp-gig and prison labor plantation economy. The equalized Cuban socialists see American democracy as the democracy of property owners whose voting power is equated with the magnitude of their wealth, whose ultimate power rests on the micro-fragmentation of American society (by racism, sexism, anti-socialism, anti-unionism), and where the degree of one’s personal enslavement is equated with the depth of poverty that one can “freely” achieve.

Envy Enslaves Us

Black Americans resent White Americans for not loving them, and they resent all immigrants and their American-born descendants for getting in the way of that yearned-for love. The divide and conquer program of dominating colonizers continues in the United States, with the many minorities set into vicious labor competition with each other for the economic crumbs falling off the feasting table of the White capitalist elite. So, Black Americans deeply resent the Spanish-speaking people in “their” country, the one they believe they have priority rights for minority benefits and preferences, because their ancestors paid early and heavily during slavery for those yet-to-be received “reparations.”

It is true that every immigrant and immigrant group that lands in America aims to improve their economic condition, and they take advantage of whatever opportunities the system allows them. This is a threat for American Blacks because they see themselves as still struggling to own the opportunities available at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. They resent the fact that all immigrant groups do better than they do in the battle for the crumbs in American capitalism. They also resent being conned by elite White neoliberals like Hillary Clinton, and their own self-aggrandizing Black mis-leadership class, to believe “we are all in this together” with other minority groups with whom they experience bitter labor and economic competition.

Capitalism Is Racist

There is overt discrimination by everybody. Every minority individual and group, given the opportunity to make employment decisions, will hire their own. So, it is easy to find Latinos (“Hispanics” to the Gringos, and the Blacks Stockholm-Syndromed to them) excluding monolingual Blacks from job calls (e.g., Miami), and Blacks being excluded in favor of Latinos by temporary job agencies because of White employer preferences (e.g., Chicago). Here in Oakland, California, it is also unfortunately easy to learn about instances of personal attacks on Latinos (and Chinese) by Blacks (I have seen such, and heard from people involved). Social media exudes vituperativeness in this regard (e.g., comments by some Black Oaklanders about Mayor Libby Schaaf, a White woman). Also, I have seen Chinese patronage-by-hiring enclaves within a large corporate structure, a very closed form of Affirmative Action. Basically, every race and ethnicity one can imagine prefers their own kind when doling out advantages.

Humans Prefer Division

Every American, of whatever type, is a racist without exception. Individuals who object to this characterization only do so to defend their egos. We humans are all just a species of primate (and there is only one “race” of humans, who happen to have some variety of physiological features and pigmentation). Like our primate cousins the chimpanzees, we fragment into troops that maintain fierce rivalries with other troops (we myopically see other human “races” as other species) for territory, resources, food: wealth. This basic human characteristic (flaw) has been used by imperialists, colonizers and race-dominating slaveowners for millennia to keep the “natives,” the plebes and the slaves at odds with each other, to ensure the rule of the dominant minority over the squabbling, oppressed and exploited majority.

The chronic toxicity of American racism and race-consciousness is such that today a perfectly acceptable vision for many Americans would be the idea that President-Elect Donald Trump could uplift Black Americans — the descendants of slaves, not the more successfully competing modern black immigrants from Africa — by offering a down payment on reparations in the form of making them (exclusively) the well-paid construction workforce in his mega-project of building a 3,201 kilometer (1,989 mile) wall along the Mexican border, to exclude potential labor competition to the English-only American underclass.

Prejudice Is The Self-Worth Of The Defeated

People imbibe their defining racist attitudes (ignorance) with their mother’s milk, it is passed down through families and by their “traditional culture.” Most people do not make the effort to gain the intellectual sophistication and the moral character needed to grow out of this prejudicial ignorance, and to evaluate other individuals on the basis of their personal merits and flaws, instead of as symbols of abstract concepts called “race.” Most people form their personas — their images of themselves and their foundational ideas — early in life (usually by 14 years of age) and are loath to alter them because doing so is sensed as a loss of confidence, a diminution of self. So, they are stuck for life with the misconceptions of their youth, however acquired.

But, each new generation always absorbs some new attitudes that are in general circulation in the local and world societies of their formative years, and in that way the consensus attitudes of larger populations (both ethnic-tribal populations and regional-national populations) glacially evolve. What I conclude from the efflorescence of popular racist ignorance in this present Brexit-Trump period is that the pace of attitudinal evolution about “race in America” is indeed exceedingly slow. One would have thought that a century and a half after the end of the Civil War that racism would be absent in the United States; but no. So, the half-life for the decay of American racism may be in millennia instead of centuries. It is conceivable that climate change will wipe out humanity with Americans still being stupidly racist, sexist and capitalist.

Note

(1) Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016)
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2016/11/27/fidel-alejandro-castro-ruz-13-august-1926-25-november-2016/

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Yvette Carnell, Jane Elliott and Race in America

I am a Latino and was an experimental physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. During the 1990s, I was put in the position of being an “affirmative action coordinator” (AAC) for my physics division (an administrative unit) at the Lab. The Lab is a good-old-boys club, and being an affirmative action coordinator was one way for an ethnic minority individual to demonstrate their acceptability (submissiveness) and reliability (obedience and loyalty) to upper management, in the hopes of gaining future advancement (getting more pay) by an appointment to one of the few showcase token jobs.

There were certainly sincere trainers of AACs at the Lab, people who believed in the mission of creating greater opportunities for advancement by minorities and women, and I followed through on that training by advocating for such advancements, within the framework of the AAC role. The actual task of the AAC was to assist their management in compiling the annual report (to the Office of Equal Opportunity, OEO) on the ethnic-racial composition of their administrative unit, and the year’s progress or regress regarding the hiring and advancement of minorities and women.

My management quickly discovered that as the OEO mandate was for “minorities and women” they could get just as much OEO credit for advancing white women as anyone of a darker shade of pale. As this was far preferable on the tribal level the Lab embarked on a campaign of major pay raises and promotions for white women, allowing it to continue their traditional neglect of minorities with a sense of relief. To pass the first of my token acceptability tests, my job as an AAC was to go along with these reports submitted to the OEO.

This job experience was my personal introduction to the role of the “comprador” in the colonial administrations of all empires. I describe the comprador, or the native buyer of native labor for the colonial masters, in my article (linked down below) “Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrant Bashing for Colonial Control.” I did not last long as an AAC after my realization of its purpose in the eyes of the management.

The combination of my experiences growing up in white-dominant America and trying to make my career as a scientist, of mentoring minority physics students, and of “failing” my token acceptability test resulted in the formation of my more-or-less unified ideas about “race in America.” However, this is not a topic I wanted to explore, I preferred to think about physics, energy and nature instead of small-minded tribalism and bigotry in the service of careerism. But the course of life insisted on presenting me with “race in America” and I eventually had to “figure it out,” primarily to dispel my confusion and to get beyond my personal frustrations related to it. So, while I have my own synthesis of “race in America,” I have no pretensions to expertise on this topic, nor originality about it. Basically, I have fairly clear ideas about what pisses me off about “race”: I hate to see wasted human potential, and shuttered human minds.

In searching the Internet for more Bernie Sanders videos to enjoy, I came across some by Yvette Carnell, and thus became aware of her work on politics from the Afro-American perspective. I was very impressed by what I saw and heard. I find Yvette Carnell’s commentary to be very sharp, insightful, erudite, and informed about current events and popular culture, and her delivery to be very spontaneous, fluid, lucid, articulate and witty. It is because of the experiences I mentioned earlier — combined with my enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders — that has made finding Yvette Carnell’s videos such a positive delight.

I love Cuban music, and this last year read a magnificent history on the subject, Cuba and its Music, by Ned Sublette. I recommend this book highly, and have written about it in previous blog entries (Chuck Berry’s “Louis, Louis” is a cha-cha-cha). The history of Cuban music is coincident with the history of African slavery in the Caribbean and the Americas. Sublette’s book opened my eyes about many aspects of my own birth cultures.

The Afro-Cuban experience has been one of interactions (as in the 30 year war for independence) and tensions (as in slavery) between Spanish-speaking Whites, and Blacks and Mulattos who also spoke Spanish yet retained some of their African languages. The Afro-American experience has been largely one of tension (slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, Affirmative Action, neo-liberal economics) between English-speaking Blacks and Whites, and between English-speaking Blacks and Spanish-speaking Latinos.

In the same year I read Sublette’s book, which deepened my understanding of the Afro-Cuban experience, I discovered the work of Jane Elliott, which deepened my understanding of the Afro-American experience. If you are not familiar with Jane Elliott, the videos linked below will quickly enlighten you about her work and insights. Note that Yvette Carnell is a political scientist and black woman, and that Jane Elliott is a professional educator (originally 3rd grade) and white women; very morally lucid and intellectually powerful women.

Below, I list web-links to videos of commentary by Yvette Carnell, videos about Jane Elliott, and web-links to most of my writing on “race in America.” Some of my recent articles on “Campaign 2016” (Bernie, Hillary, Donald) are also listed because economic disparity is the driving dynamic of this electoral season, and the point of bigotry and racial discrimination is to maintain vast economic disparity.

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Yvette Carnell videos:

Bernie Sanders Is Right: Black People ARE Poor
7 March 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk7M_YDTmQ0

Here’s How Black Clinton Supporters Are Just Like Tea Partiers
24 February 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-5sqbElf7Y

Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Wants Them Scraps From Ms. Hillary’s Table
11 February 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiAy2v4qAzM

Black People Obsess Over Black Culture Out of a Desperate Need for Validation
15 December 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7yOaVjwbLc

“Pigment politics doesn’t get you (us) anywhere.”

Crabs in a Barrel Isn’t the Problem. This is.
22 October 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMjZQ-hjyMM

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Jane Elliott videos:

The Anti-Racism Experiment That Transformed an Oprah Show Audience
Where Are They Now? | OWN (2015)
(5:13)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NHeFgaVWs8

Jane Elliott: “How can we not be racist?” (1992 Oprah TV)
(20:21)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8ZC5JaK0dA

Being Black, by Jane Elliott
(0:59) (~1990s – 2000s)
https://youtu.be/4yrg7vV4a5o

Blue Eyed TRAILER – Jane Elliott
(7:03) (~1990s – 2000s)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtx0yzFxp_0

Jane Elliott “The White Fear” (2016)
(2:35)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k3yCG7PHzg

A deeper look: The psychology of racism (Jane Elliot on TV, 2015)
(5:56)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hC_z2mHTg

Epigenetics of Racism, with Jane Elliott
(Interview of Jane Elliott by Philippe Matthews on 4 November 2015)
(51:50) [Excellent – MG,Jr.]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BepjO6PmNWU

“Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance.”

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MG,Jr. (2006-2008):

Obama and the Psychic Auto-Shrink-Wrapping Called Race in America
20 March 2008
http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/20/obama-and-the-psychic-auto-shrink-wrapping-called-race-in-america/

The Heart of Whiteness
21 April 2007
http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/04/21/the-heart-of-whiteness/

Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrant Bashing for Colonial Control
31 May 2006
http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/05/31/blacks-hispanics-and-immigrant-bashing-for-colonial-control/

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MG,Jr. (2015-2016)

Between Slavery and Socialism in America Today
10 November 2015
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/10/between-slavery-and-socialism-in-america-today/

Red Badge of Bigotry
26 June 2016
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/26/the-red-badge-of-bigotry/

The Cult of Hillary, the Ultimate Junk Bond
29 February 2016
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/29/the-cult-of-hillary-the-ultimate-junk-bond/

Convenient Privileges vs Classified Trust (Hillary’s e-mails)
4 March 2016
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/04/hillarys-emails-convenient-privileges-vs-classified-trust/

Godzilla Breath Flames Naked Crooks (Campaign 2016)
11 March 2016
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/11/godzilla-breath-flames-naked-crooks-campaign-2016/

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Enjoy!

and, Be kind.

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