Clinton’s Updated Tammany Hall — Destroying Democracy and Climate Too


I have invited Patrick Walker of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) to be a guest blogger. Walker and his fellow political revolutionaries at RAP are a leading force in the grassroots Sanders surge. Best of all they have a strategy. Check out and sign the “Bernie or Bust Pledge.  This is the second post in a three part series.

Clinton’s Updated Tammany Hall—Destroying Democracy AND Climate Too

History does repeat itself, but never in quite the same way. So dirty machine politics, a historical “fossil” most associated in U.S. history with the “bad old days” of Tammany Hall and its notorious Boss Tweed, has doubtless had “evolutionary” ancestors in ancient Athens or Rome, and has contemporary relevance because the Chicago political machine, most associated with Mayor Richard Daley, had a formative influence on the political career of longtime Chicago-dweller Barack Obama.
Well, as far as history goes, it has repeated itself, but in a way sinister beyond imagining; it’s as if dinosaurs—utterly dominant in sheer physical prowess—had acquired an evolutionary trick that made them masters over humanity: they had learned to control human minds. As Hitler and his most dangerous henchman Joseph Goebbels diabolically realized, modern mass media provide by far the most effective means of controlling human minds, corroborating the sheer political genius of philosopher David Hume (as explained by fellow genius Noam Chomsky), who irrefutably explained how tiny minorities control majorities (often against their self-interest): by controlling popular opinion. To which the Hillary Clinton political machine is using to such effective extent that it might induce the human race, against its obvious self-interest, to commit collective suicide by electing fossil fuel maven Hillary Clinton.

Combining Chomsky’s scintillating insight (standing on the shoulders of “giant” Hume) and the historical story of Tammany Hall provides the ultimate insight into our own (potentially apocalyptic) times. Consider the following quotation from Robert McNamara’s historical essay on Tammany Hall I just cited: “Neighborhood toughs would be employed to make sure the vote ‘went Tammany’s way.’ There are myriad stories about Tammany workers stuffing ballot boxes and engaging in flagrant election fraud.” Contrast this with Chomsky’s—unimaginably presently relevant—citation of Hume: “Hume was intrigued by ‘the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, the implicit submission with which men resign’ their fate to their rulers. This he found surprising, because ‘force is always on the side of the governed.’”

In short, Clinton new Tammany Hall—a political “dinosaur,” but on a national rather than merely urban scale and backed by unprecedented billions of dollars—uses its modern, Goebbels-inspired propaganda machine to shove down the majority’s throats a candidate who (utterly hostile to their own professed desire to take effective action on climate) represents the interests of fossil-fuel industry predators on humanity’s future.

In this new, vastly more sinister Tammany Hall, it’s the globally connected “Bilderbergs” Hillary and Bill Clinton themselves who play the role of Boss Tweed, the “puppet master” of the whole show. By contrast, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, so insightfully stigmatized as “Little Debbie,” is an expendable tool of the omnipotent Clinton machine—Hillary’s simultaneous “henchwoman” and laughingstock.

So why isn’t this story major news?

Evildoers Hiding in Plain Sight: Why WE Must “Be the Media”

“Hiding in plain sight”—probably our nation’s most important political slogan—was popularized by its most important recent political article, Mike Lofgren’s “Anatomy of the Deep State,” now being lengthened into a likely bombshell book. The Deep State, the combo of entrenched bureaucracies and corporate interests that serves as an unaccountable “shadow government” dominating our visible one, is far too big a topic to address here. Except to note that Hillary Clinton, the cutting edge of all status quo corruption, is its lifelong indentured servant, as I’m sure Lofgren, clearly no fan of Clinton’s “smart power,” would affirm. But what we need to focus on is the slogan “hiding in plain sight,” which supplies trenchant insight into our radically broken political system and relates intimately to my emphatic all-caps use of the word “HIDDEN” in my series title.

In the present case, what’s “hiding in plain sight” is Hillary Clinton’s dirty Tammany Hall machine—in an important sense, not hidden at all, but like the proverbial “emperor’s new clothes,” successfully escaping discussion through a widespread, profit- or fear-based conspiracy not to talk about it. A conspiracy, moreover, that annuls all hope of desperately needed intelligent political analysis, since the one real cause in so many repulsive political developments—the Clinton political machine—is simply banned by widespread conspiracy from discussion. And, since mainstream plays a central role in the “widespread conspiracy,” the slogan “hiding in plain sight” is intimately tied to another deeply insightful current political slogan: “Be the media.”

In short, since mainstream media, owned by an ever-smaller number of corporate conglomerates, has abdicated its responsibility to inform a free citizenry—letting dangerously mutated dinosaurs like Clinton’s Tammany Hall hide in plain sight—alert, informed citizens bear the responsibility to “be the media,” shining on those unnamed horrors the revealing (and damning) spotlight they deserve.

While we’re dealing in slogans, another important one for me is “reinventing the wheel,” something I resolutely refuse to do here. So, in fulfilling my citizen’s obligation to “be the media,” I won’t waste readers’ time by redoing work two fellow “citizen journalists” have already done brilliantly: illustrating with well-documented examples how the corporate-financed Clinton political machine, working through the DNC (technically the Democratic National Committee but better called “Democratic Nasties for Clinton), has relentlessly subverted democracy and undermined Bernie Sanders to achieve its climate-destroying goal of electing Hillary Clinton.

For that purpose, I refer readers to Michael Blecher’s deservedly smash-hit article “Why Are Bernie Sanders Fans So Angry,” a virtual lawyer’s brief meticulously documenting the dirty tricks Clinton’s political machine (based in both the DNC and corporate-owned mainstream media) has unfairly used to squelch any chance Bernie Sanders has of winning the Democratic nomination. And also to Sane Progressive’s hard-hitting video (by far the best she’s made), which comprehensively covers the new ground Michael Belcher missed, simply since his article appeared before the second Democratic presidential debate.
Any contribution I make as a citizen journalist is here confined to commentary: analyzing how the urgency for humanity of the climate issue portrays the anti-democratic Clinton machine dirty tricks Blecher and Sane Progressive ably document in a far more sinister light.

Consider, for example, Blecher’s correct assertion that “many in labor should also feel betrayed by the Democratic Party as they endorsed NAFTA and now TPP” combined with his equally correct later identification of environmentalists as among “many factions in the Democratic Party [who] have a right to be angry.” In environmentalists’ case, as regards TPP, boy, do we! Not only with the Democratic Party, but primarily with Hillary Clinton, who by all evidence is one of our gravest betrayers. I’ve already cited a Guardian video portraying the TPP issue as one of Clinton’s most shameless flip-flops. But, adding insult to injury, Clinton’s betrayal on TPP extends far beyond endlessly repeated cheerleading for a blatantly climate-destructive treaty, followed by a politically convenient, insincere flip-flop. In an arrogantly crass attempt to hide in plain sight—Clinton just assumes climate rubes can be hoodwinked—she instantly undermined all potential value to her “evolution” on TPP by stating she wouldn’t lobby against the treaty she claimed to oppose. Compare this to the actions of real TPP opponents like Elizabeth Warren and (most relevantly) Bernie Sanders, who ferociously lobby against TPP as if it’s a matter of life and death.

Granted, Clinton, unlike Warren and Sanders, is no longer a U.S. Senator, but as the globally connected odds-on favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination and as an obviously potent power broker in the Democratic Party (how else could she quash Sanders’ presidential prospects?), it seems self-evident Clinton could squelch TPP by lifting her little pinky—something she brazenly admits she’s unwilling to do. Climate change hypocrisy, anyone?

And matters only get worse. Consider another important Blecher point: that renowned anti-corruption activist Lawrence Lessig was “for incomprehensible reasons” denied participation in the second Democratic debate. Differing just this once from Blecher, I find the reasons the DNC at the last minute change its criteria to deny Lessig access all too comprehensible. Quite simply, Clinton is the poster girl for the types of political corruption by Big Money Lessig staunchly opposes and would melt on contact with Lessig like the Wicked Witch of the West melted when doused with water. And alarmingly, not just the type of “cozy relationship” corruption Lessig rightly castigates despite the Supreme Court ruling otherwise, but going beyond the pale, the shameless quid-pro-quo corruption even our corporatist Supreme Court condemned.

In the first case—a climate-relevant one—consider Secretary of State Clinton’s global cheerleading for fracking while the brother of her advisor John Podesta was a fracking industry lobbyist. In the latter, more alarming case (not, mercifully, climate-related), consider Secretary Clinton’s shocking quid-pro-quo approval of arms sales—to nations well-known for human rights’ violations—right after those nations donated to the Clinton Foundation.

In short, Hillary Clinton, even putting climate aside, is simply too corrupt to be president, especially in a nation where legal experts like Lessig, or renowned sociologists like Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens, have rigorously confirmed that corruption by money is our nation’s gravest besetting political ill, part and parcel of a global ailment powerfully diagnosed by superstar economist Thomas Piketty.

And never is the political reign of oligarchy money and influence more sinister than when that money comes from fossil fuel interests—a point at the core of Naomi Klein’s climate-justice vision. Indeed, in Klein’s climate justice terms, Clinton is an “epic fail”: a failure not just in her acceptance of campaign money from fossil fuel interests but in her agenda on other non-climate issues—a militaristic, corporate-friendly, undemocratic agenda starkly opposed to Klein’s vision of the prerequisites essential to securing global cooperation needed to combat climate change. To such an extent that Clinton is best viewed as Naomi Klein’s anti-matter—or kryptonite.

As to Sane Progressive’s incredible citizen reporting, all I can add is the climate sleaziness of mainstream media coverage, combined with my interpretation of this as a new, deeply sinister Tammany Hall. And if I fully endorse Noam Chomsky’s interpretation of this as the substitution of manipulated popular opinion for force, I do wish to emphasize that it is a type of force: to use of virtually endless corporate money to defeat any Democratic progressive who endorses genuine populist Bernie Sanders against corporate tool Hillary Clinton.

What It All Means—for SERIOUS Climate Champions

So, viewed in climate terms, Clinton’s democracy-crushing political machine is an updated Tammany Hall, but far worse: updated in Clinton’s case by billions of dollars of corporate money, modern mass media (even farther reaching mass media than used by Goebbels) as her tool of propaganda, and the crushing of the lone candidate, Bernie Sanders, dedicated to saving the climate—and, therefore, potentially humanity’s very existence. And this powerful machine, “hiding in plain sight,” has secured from important Democratic progressives and a major environmental organization endorsements that no rational considerations of policy or—perhaps more importantly—candidate character, can conceivably justify.
Clearly, without open revolt against a Democratic Party dominated by the corrupt Clinton’s new Tammany Hall—a political machine that has hijacked FDR’s party—that machine will shove the climate-unfriendly Clinton (supported by money from the likes of Exxon-Mobil, “the company Clinton keeps”) down our throats. At a time when humanity can least afford such an utterly corrupt “fossil fool” wielding the gargantuan power of U.S. president.

Next: Patrick Walker’s final next article in this series, “Wake Up Zombie, Kick Up a Big Stink. ” Details how to organize revolt.

About Richard Moser

Richard Moser has over 40 years experience as an organizer and activist in the labor, student, peace, and community movements. Moser is the author of "New Winter Soldiers: GI and Veteran Dissent During the Vietnam Era," and co-editor with Van Gosse of "The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America." Moser lives in Colorado.
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