“Our System Works”?
Three Ways the New York Times Seriously Misleads Its Readers in a Single Sentence!

April 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


“So at a time when many were beginning to question the vitality of American democracy, Mr. Ryan’s failure showed Americans that our system works.”

This is how the editors of the New York Times (“Paul Ryan, Brought Down to Size,” March 27) summed up the Trump/Pence regime’s March 24 failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). The first part of their sentence is true, even if badly understated—many people are not just questioning “the vitality of American democracy,” they are in deep agony over it. Every day brings a new Trump/Pence assault on the people and the planet, a new move in the fascist remaking of American government and society. But the second part (and actual point of the sentence, as well as the editorial)—the part where they reassure their readers that this system, with its checks and balances and supposed sensitivity to public opinion, is working to stop Trump—is nothing but a lie.

Actually, the failure to repeal the ACA shows nothing of the kind. But your summary—this one sentence—does show us three different ways that you, dear New York Times editors, are dangerously lulling people to sleep at a moment the Trump regime is not only continuing its murderous march to consolidate fascism, but gearing up for new offensives. So let’s break this down.

First way: The only reason the Trump/Ryan/Republican move to repeal Obamacare failed was that 28 members of the extreme right-wing Republican “Freedom Caucus” voted against it. This bill would have stripped some 24 million people of health care coverage and jacked up rates for many more, and these fascists thought it was too liberal! They thought it didn’t go far enough in slashing Medicaid and other health care benefits. (Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows has suggested cutting $34 billion from Medicare and Medicaid to, among other things, pay for Trump’s Mexico wall.) The fascist white supremacists in this caucus oppose government spending on health care or other social safety net programs because it infringes on the “freedom” of big capital to prey on people, and because many Black people and other oppressed nationality people actually get some health care from Medicaid, and to them that means it must be cut altogether.

In other words, Trump failed this time around to overturn Obamacare because these 28 Republicans insisted on a position even crueler, further to the right, and more fascistic than the Trump/Pence/Bannon fascists in the White House. So the system’s “checks and balances” against fascism are the ultra-fascists? In fact, it is typical of fascist regimes that, at least in the early stages, different sections of those trying to impose fascism jockey for position and advantage, even as they mainly unite in their attempts to crush opposition, both from the masses and from other sections of the ruling class.

Second way: You would have thought, from the triumphal tone of the editorial, that “our system” had stopped Trump overall. In fact, the juggernaut has continued to roll, and with a vengeance. The day of their defeat on health care, the Trump regime gave the go-ahead to build the environment-killing Keystone XL Oil Pipeline. The next week began with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents busting into a home in Chicago, guns blazing, and shooting a Latino man. Later that day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to take “all lawful steps to claw back” federal funds from sanctuary cities, where police and sheriffs do not fully collaborate with immigration agents in hounding, imprisoning, and deporting immigrants.

Meanwhile, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency’s refused to ban a dangerous pesticide, and the nomination of Neil Gorsuch—a certified Christian fascist—to the Supreme Court moved ahead with support from some Democrats and is likely to succeed, with devastating implications for the people.

Then on March 30, a new attack on Planned Parenthood and women’s basic rights passed the Senate in the form of a Trump-backed bill that now allows states to block funding for family planning clinics which provide abortions. That same day, Trump declared Somalia an “area of active hostilities,” which means that U.S. forces can basically strike at will, whether or not their targets pose any direct threat to the U.S., even if civilian casualties are likely. This comes after the Trump regime already massacred some 200 civilians in Iraq on March 16, hundreds more in Syria on March 17, and has escalated tensions and threatened military escalation—with potentially catastrophic consequences—against North Korea.


In fact, on March 28, the very day the New York Times published its “system is working” editorial, Trump/Pence gutted Internet privacy and opened the door to more massive government surveillance. They overturned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions on coal-burning, methane gas emissions, and power plants, while opening up more public lands for environmentally devastating coal mining. Trump and Attorney General Sessions hosted national representatives of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), assuring these murdering oppressors they’d have “100 percent” backing from the White House and made more threats against Black people in Chicago. And Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, met with Republicans to regroup in their battle to slash health care spending and overturn or gut Obamacare.

Third way: the Times essentially treats Trump as just another president subject to the same considerations as other presidents. Trump, this implies, is “normal” after all. Wrong—seriously wrong—again. This is fascism, not bourgeois democracy as usual, and it does not consolidate power smoothly, according to some master plan. It does so through lurches and jolts, setbacks and counteroffensives.

An example from Nazi Germany illustrates this. Adolph Hitler first came to power in early 1933. Soon after, Germany’s parliament building—the Reichstag—burned down. Hitler seized on this to take emergency powers, greatly limiting people’s rights. Nonetheless, nearly a year later, in December 1933, German courts acquitted Georgi Dimitrov and three other communists who had been accused by Hitler of starting the Reichstag fire. This was a real setback for Hitler, but it would have been suicidal to conclude that he’d been put on the defensive and would soon be irrelevant! In fact, six months later Hitler launched major bloody offensives against centers of opposition located both in the conservative German parties in Hitler’s coalition and elements of the Nazi party itself.

The New York Times IS Unintentionally Revealing Some Truth About One Thing...

But the New York Times is unintentionally revealing some truth about one thing: in dealing with Donald Trump, the system of bourgeois democracy—the dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class—is working normally. At this moment, the ruling class is more concerned with channeling the millions who are shocked, outraged, and in agony over Trump and, yes, “questioning” the nature of the U.S. political system, into activity within the confines of their system. In other words, the New York Times and other liberal or Democratic representatives of the ruling class are more fearful of the masses of people getting out of their control than they are of Trump’s fascism. They don’t want anything that could possibly call into question the legitimacy of this system or give people a sense of their own potential strength when they step outside the well-worn ruts of normal channels. And this is despite the unprecedented, even existential threats it poses to humanity and the planet.

It IS possible to stop this fascist threat and drive Trump/Pence from office, but only if millions reject the kinds of false assurances and illusions offered by the New York Times and other representatives of the system, and instead take to the streets, acting outside normal channels and demanding “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!” There is a window before the Trump/Pence regime is consolidated in which to act, and an urgency to doing that NOW. Refuse Fascism has called on people to unite with both the major anti-Trump marches on April 22, April 29, and May 1, and build these as part of driving out this fascist regime. There’s a place in this effort for everyone who wants to oppose Trump.

History and humanity are counting on us.



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