Reptile Dysfunction

by William Skink

I’m not sure how invested I am in maintaining a new blog space, but for the time being this is it: Reptile Dysfunction.

For my first post I would like to process the way in which I was cast aside from the other blog space I kept alive for years, 4&20 Blackbirds.

Unlike Jay Stevens, I don’t have some grand vision of providing a platform for progressive voices because frankly I don’t even know what that term means anymore. The definition, as it applies to politics, is this:

(of a group, person, or idea) favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.

Within the political realm, being progressive is too often just a rhetorical stance taken for effect. Once elected, the practice of exercising political power takes hold, and absent a well-organized social movement, maintaining power and influence becomes the priority.

On Friday we saw a rare victory against the corporate push to destroy our national sovereignty. The House vote dealing a significant blow against the Obama regime’s fast track authority to negotiate destructive trade agreements happened because people organized a ground-swell of opposition Democrats couldn’t ignore. Here’s Richard Trumka on the victory:

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the main US labor federation, was uncharacteristically ebullient after the House voted down fast track on trade Friday, delivering a sharp rebuke to Barack Obama.

Trumka called the vote “a marvelous contrast to the corporate money and disillusionment that normally mark American politics today”. He added that “this was truly democracy in action”, a nod to the millions of Americans who had sent emails, met with lawmakers and marched in the streets to oppose fast track and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation pact that is being negotiated.

This victory has created a very awkward space for Hillary Clinton. While the Clinton campaign launched the lie that her candidacy is a populist one, the reality is Hillary Clinton is the epitome of what is wrong with Democrats. While all the other Democrat candidates have come out against these terrible trade agreements, the Clinton campaign is desperately trying to avoid the subject. An Atlantic article back in April details the challenge Clinton faces when it comes to trade. From the link:

Obama’s biggest hurdle in getting the trade deal approved was always his own party, as my colleague Russell Berman pointed out last week, when negotiators reached a deal to fast-track the TPP. What’s changed is that the TPP has collided with the presidential race—in ways that are risky for Hillary Clinton. The problem for Clinton is that she has historically backed free-trade deals, and as secretary of state called the TPP “the gold standard in trade agreements.” Yet her campaign’s big push over the last week or two has been to prove her liberal bona fides. Many progressives still don’t like NAFTA, a product of Bill Clinton’s administration (actually, many Americans don’t like NAFTA), and while Hillary Clinton still looks like a prohibitive favorite in the Democratic primary, rivals like O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders oppose it, as do the labor unions that are a major part of the Democratic coalition.

When Hillary Clinton opens her mouth to unload the deceitful rhetoric necessary to bamboozle Americans into voting for her, extreme skepticism is warranted. At yesterday’s rally on New York’s Roosevelt Island, her deceit was in full bloom:

At a rally on New York’s Roosevelt Island, she invoked the memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, saying FDR brought “a wider and constantly rising standard of living” to all Americans, a promise, Clinton said, “that still sounds good to me.”

The former First Lady, senator and secretary of state attacked the “trickle-down” economics that began with President Ronald Reagan and remains a mainstay of the Republican philosophy, calling it a failed policy.

“Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations,” she said. “Prosperity and democracy are part of your basic bargain, too. You brought our country back. Now it’s time, your time, to secure the gains and move ahead. And you know what? America can’t succeed unless you succeed.”

It astounds me that people actually believe this crap. There is a good reason Gore Vidal referred to America as The United States of Amnesia. To believe Hillary Clinton is a populist one must consciously suppress the reality of how the Clintons sold out the Democratic Party during the 90’s. And then there’s Obama’s economic policy of infusing the criminal syndicate known as Wall Street with enough liquidity to re-inflate the stock market, hoping that keeping the banks afloat will “trickle-down” to the plebes.

Amnesia is a critical component of supporting Democrats. Without it, reality may intrude and shatter the illusions Democrats need to justify their support.

Jay Stevens exemplifies this amnesia when he tries to provide a little historical context for starting 4&20 Blackbirds, describing the long-gone days of 2006 like this:

When I started 4 and 20 blackbirds — what? — nine years ago, I had a vision for the site. It was simple. I’d create a blog that would give a platform for progressive voices in a media environment that shut out all but the most saccharine of “conventional wisdom” and grating right-wing voices on cable television and talk-show radio. And it was in the context of some crazy times — we were in the middle of an ill-conceived, poorly planned, poorly run and unethical war in Iraq. Republicans ran Congress and beat down all opposition voices with the club of 9/11 and specter of terrorism.

The blog was also started, then, to tout the candidacy of Jon Tester for Senate.

How things have changed.

Jon Tester is a US Senator. We’re no longer in Iraq. We have a Democratic president. And there are still plenty of issues that should energize us, unite us.

The ignorance in claiming “we’re no longer in Iraq” is astounding. 4 days ago NPR reported on the Obama regime adding 450 troops to the already 3,100 troops on the ground in Iraq. From the link:

President Obama has authorized the Pentagon to send up to 450 additional troops to Iraq in an effort to beef up the training of local security forces in their fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

In a statement, press secretary Josh Earnest said the military personnel will “train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province.”

He added: “The President made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and upon the recommendation of Secretary Carter and Chairman Dempsey, and with the unanimous support of his national security team.”

The U.S. already has 3,100 troops in the country. They’re deployed at four established training sites. The additional troops will be deployed to Anbar province, an area just west of Baghdad that is reportedly now under Islamic State control.

Instead of dealing with reality, like I’ve been trying to do for years, Jay Stevens wants his blog to get back to the original vision of shilling for Democrats. Good luck with that.

While Stevens tries to reboot 4&20 Blackbirds, I will plod along with my reptile dysfunction here. I’m not trying to get anyone elected and I won’t blow Democratic sunshine up your ass, dear readers. I’m just trying to understand this fucked up world the best I can.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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9 Responses to Reptile Dysfunction

  1. JC says:

    First comment on the new blog! Congrats!! I emailed you my phone number. Give me a call as soon as you can. FYI, I’ve archived all of our work at 4&20.

  2. Steve W says:

    Very glad to be the first reader to reply here, Mr Skink (unless I’m beat out before I post)

    Honest writing is usually very good writing. It’s very difficult to connect with readers when you can’t disclose the agenda that leads you to write something. It always comes off as fake.

    It’s why the right-wing has such a difficult time with comedy. If it’s not true it won’t make you laugh,

    Personally I don’t mind political persuasion pieces. If Jay had started writing his shtick I would have skimmed it and told him what i agreed or disagreed with.

    What pissed me off his what an asshole he was to people I respect and like.

    Glad to see you are still here at least for a while!

  3. Rob Kailey says:

    Good move, Lizard, and I mean that sincerely. When Matt and Jay deemed MT Cowgirl inappropriate for LitW, the MT Cowgirl(s) went on to forge what is undoubtedly the best read website in the state. It’s obvious that you don’t share the same ambitions, but here’s hoping that you can share your understandings widely and for a long time.

  4. lizard19 says:

    thanks for the comments, cheers me up immensely. JC, I’ll add you to the administrative access once I figure out how to do that, and I’ll give you a ring tomorrow. got go hang up some drapes now, so to speak.

  5. Nameless Range says:

    I’m glad you’re going to keep at it Lizard.

  6. The Kralj says:

    Are you going to allow comments from everyone, including myself, or pussy out and become a PP, Pussy Progressive, like Cowturd? Jus’ wonderin’.
    Jus’ Wonderin’ in Montana.

    • no, I’m not going to allow comments from everyone. I started this blog in a day. why don’t you start your own blog, and I’ll include it in the blogroll.

  7. Big Swede says:

    Nice new blog ya got got here Liz.

    Shame it anything were to happen to it.

  8. steve kelly says:

    Colonialism: The control or governing influence of a nation over a dependent country, territory, or people.

    Good luck with the new blog. Sucks being robbed. Appears you have offended the absentee overlords. No worries, Montana is controlled and looted every day, 24/7. It’s just how we live, for now at least. I dream that we become a real state someday.

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