Donald v. Hillary, Ben Rhodes
And the Myth of Media Integrity.
Spoiler Alert: This is not an endorsement of Donald Trump. Although I have to admit that if Donald had any class at all, he could have waltzed into the White House. He doesn’t.
This is also not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Although I have to admit that if Hillary had any integrity at all, she could have waltzed into the White House. She doesn’t.
At this point, I also have to underscore the Paradox: Trump is the only Republican that Hillary would ever have a chance of beating. Clinton is the only Democrat that Donald would ever have a chance of beating. They are two sides of the same coin: The Coin of US. Start there.
So…as a prelude to what is turning about to be the political version of Alien versus Predator, I would like to continue my tale by pointing to a dream I had a few nights ago.
In my dream, my nightmare really, America had just become a one party country—and our future President of the United States had just allowed himself to get dragged down into a petty pissing contest with an American Muslim Gold Star father of a fallen hero—tweeting and whining and doing interviews—and constantly getting his butt kicked!
Oh, wait a minute! I wasn’t dreaming. It actually happened because it was just another day in the life of Donald Trump. And thanks to “The Donald” we now have a one party system—the Democratic Party—because Trump just finished obliterating the GOP and turning it into a feckless, disjointed amalgam of rabble and political cannibals, thumping their bibles, waving the flag and basically living in the past. This was more than evident in Cleveland just two weeks ago, when any Republican with any class—including two ex-Presidents and the Governor of Ohio—stayed away from this wreckage of lost souls that looked more like the deck of the Titanic than any kind of convention. And they did so for several very good reasons. Because, if the Republican Party is to survive at all (and it might not!) reasonable people are going to have to salvage something from the political carnage that will be left behind on November 8, 2016.
The irony of all this is that by getting into an unwinnable argument with Pakistani American Khizr Kahn, Trump and his paper-thin ego and petty genetic matrix fell right into the clever Machiavellian trap the DNC had cleverly laid for him. Anyone with any sense at all could see it coming: A Pakistani Muslim with an Army Captain son martyred in the cause of freedom bitch slaps The Donald with a copy of the Constitution and then utters that unforgettable phrase…”You have sacrificed nothing!” And of course the Nominee of the GOP just couldn’t resist the taunt.
Frankly, if one dares to step inside Donald Trump’s demented perspectives of privilege, why should he? He seems able to dive down into a bottomless pit of rude, crude banalities and slough off the debris as if it had all been a misunderstanding. And he pulls it off every single time.
An entire field of 16 Republican candidates couldn’t take him down. Even from the first debate, Trump lured some very talented people over into a name-calling, nasty series of mindless exchanges that soon became the political equivalent of mudwrestling. And he did it without saying one intelligible thing, while candidates who tried to have message and purpose and some kind of game plan went ignored and eventually fell by the wayside. Mitt Romney—with the most cogent, classy 10-minute, line-item denunciation ever delivered to a listening audience—couldn’t do it. John Oliver with a year’s worth of case building satire couldn’t do it. Bill Maher couldn’t dis him away. Neither could Ted Cruz, Colin Powell, George Will or the best efforts of the entire RNC.
It is certainly not lost on me that people are frustrated. I get the fact that all of us have been betrayed by the political party hacks on the left and right so long that we no longer trust any of them. Our institutions are being destroyed. Our schools have eviscerated American History. Common Core has middle class whites taking “Apology Courses.” Christian symbols have been removed from some schools while Muslim prayer rugs are introduced into others. Black Lives Matter gets non-profit status for turning protests into riots. And our financially gutted military are cranking out “girlie men.”
I also understand why those on the Right have looked to outsiders like Trump to fix this broken system, because Trump somehow symbolizes our lost national backbone. I completely understand why The Donald’s millions of followers respond to his Billionaire Tourette’s Syndrome as if his semi-coherent fulminations had been etched into stone tablets on Mount Sinai. I have even gotten used to the fact that his public demeanor is a mashup of Don King, Mussolini and Biff Tannen… and that he won’t be able to follow through on a single thing he promises to do. Trump is a classic example of what we used to describe in Texas as “Big Hat. No Cattle.” And it’s not that Trump is outrageous that bothers me. It is that he’s just not very bright.
But he is bright enough to manipulate the media and feed their greed for ratings, making them de-facto accomplices in his fractious rise to power.
I’m also convinced that, deep inside his soul of souls, candidate Trump doesn’t really want to be POTUS and is trying in every Freudian context to take himself out of the race. Either that, or he has an undiagnosed case of hypomania, which might medically disqualify him out of the gate…and would certainly be enough to deny him any access to the nuclear football.
On his reckless run at the White House (and some bizarre courtship with political martyrdom), The Donald has already thrown South Korea under the bus while encouraging North Korea’s Kim Jung Un (the 21st century Ramsey Bolton) with offers of a summit. He offers torture as a military alternative, wiping out families of terrorists, and using nuclear warheads. He has praised Putin and Saddam Hussein and dumped on JFK. We already have his laundry list of insults to women, the physically impaired, Muslims and the entire nation of Mexico. Now, almost on a daily basis, The Donald has added “stupid” to his list of disqualifiers, noting that Russia will not go into Ukraine (even though they took the Crimea back in 2014). Meanwhile he somehow proposes the use of “nukes” without the slightest understanding of the Nuclear Triad…or even what it is.
In fact, in the wake of the Khizr Khan fiasco last week, Trump had such a catastrophic five days in a row that the press ended up calling it “the worst week in anyone’s run for President ever.” There’s only one thing wrong with their critique. They said the same thing about The Donald at the end of March—and the end of April, the end of May…and the middle of June. In fact, get used to it: this guy is the Terminator. He just keeps coming back, and he stays within the margin of error because mainstream America is scared to death when faced with the alternative.
The alternative is Hillary Clinton. And I finally understand that she is a serial prevaricator who has lied about virtually every issue ever put in front of her. We have her on tape. We have her on film. We have her on daily news—repeating her lies on continuous loop without one iota of shame—and it doesn’t matter! It doesn't matter in the least because the public has become inured to them, because the term “lying politician,” has become a pleonasm in the daily discourse of running our dysfunctional government. And HRC’s notorious flip-flops are now being looked upon simply as business as usual for the political scumbags inside the Beltway. So, We the People rationalize that Hillary is no different…and therefore not that much worse than anyone else. (That’s how far we have lowered the bar.)
I also get the fact that her Kool-Aid brigade are willing to dismiss Hillary’s Brian Williams Category 1 pathological “dodging sniper fire” lies with the same kind of numb vestigial shrug we often witness from Wildebeests in the Serengeti when hyenas devour their young…which goes a long way toward explaining the former Secretary of State’s bizarre Benghazi “Video” McGuffin and her disappeared 30,000 emails. Because as history has taught us: “Nothing succeeds quite as well as a big lie.”
Aware of this, Hillary pulled it off, just as she pulled off all her deleted connections to the Clinton Foundation, because she knew that neither the FBI Director James Comey nor anyone in the press would challenge her on it. In fact they enabled her felonies right before our eyes, and we all accepted it. We accepted it because we have been numbed to the congenital dishonesty of our press and our government officials—all of them—including and especially our Security Agencies.
Somehow, I’ve almost gotten over the fact that I shudder every time Hillary opens her mouth, not just because she reminds me of the Bride of Chucky (which she does), but also because she is more like Richard Nixon than any other politician before or since. Like Nixon, Hillary doesn’t like people very much. And like Nixon, she is the only candidate in either party who possesses the political genetics to walk into the Oval Office on day one, sit down at her desk and be ready to run the country. And like Nixon (a closet liberal BTW), HRC would be able to do it with the same ruthless efficiency and marginal ethics that will be just enough to allow the fractured engine of Democracy to continue on its troubled course, chronically ill but not yet ready to die. She is in fact the recruitment Poster Marine for the Corrupt Continuum. And that seems enough for some…
It’s a continuation of corruption that “We the People” are embracing because—like the battered wife or the kidnap victim— we have become the enablers of all that we detest…because at our core we’re terrified of what we might lose if we opt for change.
As it is, I witness this pandemic Stockholm Syndrome that has infused the American mindset in the last 12 months, and I am haunted by the words of French counterrevolutionary Joseph de Maistre who said: “In a Democracy people get exactly the leaders they deserve.” De Maistre knew this only too well. Flourishing from 1751 to 1821, he survived that bloody orgy of anarchy called the French Revolution, witnessed the career arc of Napoleon and lived to become part of France’s eventual return to sanity.
The question is, will we? (Return to sanity, that is.) And let’s face it: This presidential race that has left us with the two most deplorable choices for POTUS in modern history is purely an extension of our consciousness as a nation—nothing more, nothing less. As Americans, We the People have become narcissistic, overfed, undereducated and uninformed, overloaded with technology, manipulated by media, radicalized by extremists on both sides and turned into mindless “World War Z” fodder for the demagogue. We’ve been drugged and doped and media saturated out of most of our national initiative. And we cannot get our head out of our apps long enough to recognize it. We know something is wrong, but we’re in denial about the fact that “we” are what is wrong.
With 340 million inhabitants (4.9% of the global population) we consume 18% of the world’s food (and throw away 40% of it). We use 24% of the world’s energy, own 68% of the world’s cars and trucks, and 40% of its TVs, smart phones, and electronics. 58% of the US food chain is GMO, 69% of the country is overweight, and 120 million of us are now defined as morbidly obese. What we have become is a monster of consumption that is truly devouring the world. And yet we are convinced that somehow we need more.
Bernie Sanders fed into that need. And for a year, he transplanted his Socialist roots deep down into the Democratic brand, using that platform to convince legions of the disenfranchised that they weren’t getting theirs while barking the standard Socialist mantra to rail against the low-hanging fruit of that “elite” 1%. (Of course, the 1% includes anyone who makes over $320 K a year, who usually work their butts off to get there and who pay 19% of all income tax and employ 24% of the workforce.) Very little of this mattered to Bernie who applied his “more free sh*t for everyone” game plan, until the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Shultz threw him under the bus …but not before his legion of angry faithful rose such a stink at the Philadelphia Convention Center that the Democrats had to build a six mile wall around the complex to prevent Bernie’s “Brownshirts” from storming the doors.
None of this showed up on camera because the media conspired to scrub down the Democratic Convention into a Norman Rockwell mural of patriotic harmony and Big Umbrella brotherhood—with eloquent speeches from shiny people and Hillary appearing on stage like Lady-Bountiful/Grandmother of the Year, locking arms with celebrities, singing Kumbaya and simply pleading to be allowed to serve her country “one more time.”
Meanwhile, the DNC allowed Bernie Sanders to push the Democratic party platform so far to the left that the America we know will never appear on the horizon again. Instead, it will die of a strain of economic HIV that will take us down generation by generation until nothing of the Capitalistic matrix will be left.
That’s not what troubles me most about Hillary Clinton (although there is much there to dislike). What haunts me to this moment and will forever is her opening statement when announcing her run for the highest office in the land: “To continue the great work begun by Barack Obama.”
And OMG!! I remember thinking at the time. I personally couldn’t imagine a scarier thing in the world! Forget the fact that in just the last ten days, this guy signed the Monsanto Protection Act and got nailed for indirectly selling helicopters to ISIS—just on foreign policy alone, the Obama legacy has become the political equivalent of a live grenade.
When recently asked on PBS about his greatest foreign policy achievements, Barack Obama immediately answered without pause: “Our restored relations with Cuba…and the Nuclear Arms Deal with Iran.” When I heard him say this, I went into a kind of retro-shock that after 7 years in office our Nobel Laureate POTUS had those two things in the realm of foreign policy for which he was proud.
The rapprochement with Cuba was OK, I guess. We already do business with our fair share of sleazy dictators with deplorable human rights records, so why not Cuba? Time to bury the hatchet, I suppose. But Iran?! The Iran Nuclear Arms Treaty summarizes just how sold out we are as a nation and how little any of us can do about it.
I need merely refer to the fall out from a May 6 New York Times interview with White House Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor Ben Rhodes. In the article Rhodes arrogantly proclaimed that the Obama Administration had in fact “deliberately deceived” the American people by creating a false narrative surrounding its negotiations with Iran.
This, coming from the White House operative referred to by many as “Obama’s alter-ego where foreign policy is concerned,” pointed to the fact that not only was the deal apparently negotiated in bad faith but also undertaken by intentionally ventriloquizing the Washington media into becoming an “Echo Chamber” for the Obama Administration’s policies—something, Rhodes bragged, that The White House has repeatedly done for years.
For those of us who weren’t paying much attention, the Iran Nuclear talks were based on the premise that the US would be dealing with “moderate” Iranian politicos, when everyone knew the radicals were front and center from the beginning. What followed during the next two weeks was what had to be the worst diplomatic pocket-picking since Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in Our Time” negotiations with Hitler—an international collapse of resolve that not only sent $150 Billion to the fountainhead of terrorism in the Middle East, but also one so replete with toxic spillover that even Israel and Saudi Arabia aligned against it.
As it turns out, Ben Rhodes defiantly implicated Obama, Kerry, Valerie Jarrett and company in a conspiracy of lies about the nature of the negotiations from the beginning. Rhodes further denounced the administration’s previous foreign policy scout team as a “bungling bunch of morons,” singling out former CIA Chief Leon Panetta and then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for their incompetence.
All the while, all teams were dealing not with moderates but with Iran’s most vociferous radicals, including the Ayatollah Khamenei himself who showed up inbetween his daily “Death to America” rallies to make sure the US knuckled under and, once the negotiations were completed, immediately went out to a fully packed street crowd in Tehran to announce that, “We got everything we wanted!”
This is a continuum if not the nadir of the same foreign policy disaster in the Middle East instigated by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who proudly helped to orchestrate the disastrous Arab Spring (of 2012)—the same Arab Spring that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in Libya only to see—four years later—ISIS establish its largest base of operation in that country, spawning the largest diaspora North Africa has ever known.
This is the same “Arab Spring” that left our US Embassy team twisting in the wind—despite 5 different pleas for rescue—including Ambassador Christopher Stevens… and including Navy Seal Tyrone Woods and Service Officer Sean Smith, all of whom were captured tortured and killed…and then lied about ad nauseam.
There is little doubt that the State Department knew the real cause of the attack on our Benghazi Embassy from the outset—that it was an Al Qaeda orchestrated raid planned in advance—because they were outed two days after the fact by (then) Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Aubshagur who went on ABC Sunday Morning to declare that the Obama Administration knew exactly who had done it and why, and then defied them to take action, threatening repercussions if they did so.
The fact that they continued to lie about it and that Hillary somehow agreed to become the point person for this is still murky in its source but confirmed in several books, including Ben Stein’s Blood Feud. But the bottom line is that she did lie. She lied to the families and to the American people and (as part of her dark contract with Obama), agreed to take the fall for it in return for his endorsement in 2016.
That brings us nearly full circle and underscores the hypocrisy of both political conventions and how the media dealt with them. And I focus here on the GOP convention speech by mother of slain Benghazi Staff Officer Sean Smith. In her impassioned Tuesday night speech in Cleveland, Gold Star Mother Patricia Smith cried out in anguish to Hillary Clinton for lying to her about the (bogus video) cause of her son’s death. And for her troubles over her martyred son she was savaged en masse by the Press, denounced for exploiting her son’s death and even threatened a time or two. When Charles Woods, Gold Star father of Navy Seal Sean Woods (also slain in Benghazi), came to Patricia Smith’s defense and reiterated that Hillary had lied to him as well about the attack (either that or she was suffering from dementia), he was subsequently ignored for having a faulty memory and for being pressured by the Trump camp to step up.
This actually brings us 360 degrees to Donald Trump’s little piss-up with Khizr Khan and the ridiculous double standard being thrust upon both candidates. Here we have Hillary Clinton who had direct impact on the deaths of Benghazi’s victims not needing to defend herself because the press was doing it for her. And here is the Donald being raked over the coals by Khizr Khan and being too stupid to just shut up.
Of course, Trump is a knee-jerk retaliator who counterpunches in every direction like a drunk losing a barroom brawl. And now, rather than engage in any meaningful dialogue about how to fix this nations problems, he is rattling off so many inanities daily that he’s shaken his own campaign organization to the roots. There is little doubt at this point that The Donald will self-immolate, and the press will be the instrument to take him down.
It is the same media, mind you, that made candidate Trump, that enabled him to suck all the air out of the Republican primary by giving him 90% of their air time for months, while some very gifted people were afforded no voice at all and were finally left to die of benign neglect. Now, however, it is time for The Donald to go home, because after all the man has fulfilled his purpose.
In case we ever doubt our media’s bias for a moment I must add a footnote to the Ben Rhodes debacle that summarizes the spirit of our national consciousness. According to a later report by The Wall Street Journal, when Ben Rhodes went off on everyone including the Obama Administration and essentially spat in the face of the public in the process, he was absolutely vilified by the Washington Press Corps—not for his arrogance, not for being part of a conspiracy to deceive the American people, and not even for his expressed contempt for the press and his associates…but for his disloyalty to his Commander in Chief, for outing the President and his team.
Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels once famously said: “We regard the press as an instrument upon which the government may play.” Nothing has underscored that truism more than the last seven years.
During that time, the press has covered up so many depredations by the Obama administration it has been difficult to vet because there are now media filters that sieve out unfavorable information from public view. In truth, America has been under a virtual news blackout so insidious that one has had go to the foreign media to find out what is actually happening in the world.
Those backing Trump are those who have summoned enough grit to fight back. They are outraged by the daily government assaults on our institutions; and they’re right to do so. But by choosing Donald Trump as their standard bearer, they have anointed a shallow political poseur who has done nothing more than master the Art of Complaint—and who has absolutely nothing constructive to offer to replace what now exists. In doing so, they have abandoned reason, logic and all the tools of democracy that deny good men and women the ability to invoke legitimate change. Along the way, they’ve completely obliterated a political party in the bargain.
That seems to have been the plan all along. So what we are left with is some perverse inversion of the Manchurian Candidate—the only GOP candidate that Hillary could beat—the nominee who still chooses to attack his fellow Republicans and can’t seem to concentrate on the real issues at hand.
Eleven months ago, I wrote a blog: “Will Trump Trash the GOP?” I hate to say, “I told you so,” but he has done exactly that. And by doing so, The Donald has become the perfect conjuration of the Clinton political machine. And they have to be high-fiving behind closed doors, because now it’s hers to lose.
The press helped Trump do it. The public bought it. And all the Democrats had to do was wait. Of course, there will be some backsliding. And Hillary’s daily conduct is always a target rich environment. But she is the Devil we know, and now her ranks are filled with defectors from the Republican ranks.
Barring a miracle or a midnight revelation, in November the Democrats will win the White House and both Houses of Congress. And for the next four years at least, they will have tricked the nation into the one party system for which they’ve been conniving all along. Well as the proverb prophesies: “Be careful what you wish for.” One party “democracies” have always failed in the end and taken down the countries that embrace them.
President Ronald Reagan once prophetically noted a phrase that now haunts us all: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
By allowing Trump to self-destruct in geometric progressions, the Democrats are having their way with it all the way into November. “We the People” have been the ultimate enablers, and we have let the media help us pave the way. We have finally demolished the GOP, severely crippled the two party system and shot ourselves in the foot. Let’s just be sure that the next round doesn’t go straight into the brain.