Friday, January 13, 2017

Sackcloth and Ash Heaps

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
There are two types of mourners in the United States right now and they tend to be the same faction of the voting public: Those mourning the dwindling days of the Obama administration and those mourning the incoming (God help us every one for my having to say this in public) Trump administration.
     Even without social media, we heard much the same thing in 2001 when Slick Willie was frantically pardoning white collar crooks like his buddy Marc Rich and Hillary was looting the Executive Mansion of much of its furniture with the shameless industry of a crack head looking for the means to score her next fix. Back then, we were preparing to say farewell to a neoliberal two term administration that, despite countless scandals, was still able to fool the American public into believing was the greatest, most transformative liberal administration since FDR. And we dreaded the incoming Bush administration and the unseen evils it would bring.
     So yeah, I'm sure you'll forgive me for thinking of that infamous George Santayana/Winston Churchill quote these days.
     Among the many things that ought to be retrieved from the memory hole is this quote from then Sen. Barack Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 when he said, "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."
     One suspects Obama was talking about the GOP that has vilified and continues to vilify him (albeit for the wrong reasons) for a full decade. Yet the history we continually ignore teaches us these past Presidents did not talk or negotiate with our enemies as often as send troops and bombs to their countries. Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Korea. The Bay of Pigs. The Gulf of Tonkin. And, as determined to make good on at least that campaign promise, Obama was more prone to talk to our soft enemies in the GOP than to self-perceived enemies abroad to whose countries he'd also sent troops and bombs and drones. In fact, Obama had taken so many innocent lives in his Quixotic quest to crush terrorism (which is on the rise, especially in Europe) it makes his Nobel Peace Prize supercede irony and to border on the parodic.
     So this is what we're hearing on social media-  People who willingly suspend their basic humanity to defend Obama by asking of his critics absurd things such as, "Well, how many people did Bush kill in Iraq?" Yes, people have asked me that and trying to play the numbers game as if war crimes become real only after a threshold is reached. "Well, hundreds of thousands of deaths is absolutely a war crime but a measly several thousand through drone strikes? Meh."
     So, for all his supposed strength and opposition to terrorism aimed less these days on al Qaeda and more on the Daesh terror network and its various factions such as ISIS and ISIL, Barack Obama's squandering of human lives, including at least two American ones that had been extrajudicially taken, had been a miserable ongoing failure. And the miserable failure of his foreign policy was largely do to installing to head Foggy Bottom Slick Willie's own wife who turned out to be a bloodthirsty dictator-in-waiting in her own right.
     Which brings us to the new boss...

The Doomsday Clock to January 20th
     There's little truth to the rumor that the last week before the inauguration will be counted down by the Doomsday clock but the perception and suspicion is that it is still justified. There's a growing unease, if not a panic, that even as the GOP busts its collective nut to shoehorn the repeal of ObamaCare and to appoint every one of Trump's unconvicted criminals into his Cabinet, Trump is laying the groundwork for a style of governance that rightly recalls 1933-1945 Germany.
     And whatever his other failings, the relatively lawless George W. Bush had still divested himself of his stock holdings before taking office and, by general consensus, still honored the Emoluments Clause that forbids Presidents from accepting cash and other gifts from foreign nations as well as domestic entities. We're seeing none of this from Trump, who in his recent presser tried to fool the MSM, the American people and watchdog agencies into thinking he can just hand over all his business interests to American Psycho 1 & 2 in the form of a blind trust. Which would work only if he suddenly develops amnesia and loses any and all memories of what he's owned for decades, starting with the Trump Tower that has seamlessly supplanted Blair House.
     And, darkly waiting in the wings as a deterrent is a Savonarola wannabe in Mike Pence should the GOP get buyer's remorse and try to have Trump impeached.
     However lawless were the Nixon and Bush II administrations (and they largely were), the incoming Trump administration will redefine what's truly lawless. And this incoming Executive branch will just ramp up whatever neoliberal evils that had been pursued by the Obama administration: The gutting of Social Security; Turning a blind eye to Israel's own war crimes against the Palestinians and aid workers; The ongoing bloating of Wall Street banks and Big Business; Further war crimes against Arab and Muslim nations.
     All that and more because Donald Trump was just smart enough to fool the redneck goobers (Hell, he even fooled Michael fucking Moore) and using their rage against the plight of the middle class into a form of political jiu jitsu and using that force against them and their interests. One has to wonder how many of those Trumpers would've still voted for him if he'd promised on the campaign trail to appoint billionaires and multimillionaires instead of pretending to revile his 1% buddies by telling his red-hatted supporters that they've been "picking their pockets"?
     And, as with Bush II and Obama, his supporters will cheer on Trump as he leads us down a not so merry primrose path to Hell as he begins his administration as the least-liked incoming President in modern times, if not for all time. Obama never came close to getting us out of Iraq and especially oil- and mineral-rich Afghanistan. He never came close to reversing the economic slide left to him by his predecessor or ever revitalized the job market.
     It boggles the mind how a Trump supporter could possibly think their man will undo this. We should've listened to that eagle in the lead picture and realized way back on June 16th 2015 that Donald Trump will be the most anti American president of all time. It does not require a Greek chorus or being a political science savant to know Trump's administration is already doomed to the ash heap of history. And we who aren't in the 1% will be beneath it.


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