Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’


press secretary

Press Secretary, n. A White House official who lies when the president cannot do it for himself.

* * *

–from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded)


POTUS

Thanks to our friends at Steaming Pile of Trump for this one.

They collect anti-Trump memes, and plan to have T-shirts available shortly with some of them.


Donald Trump

“Trump – who got five deferments from Vietnam – is currently cosplaying as a military man, complete with hat and jacket.”

–Joy Reid (quoted by The Guardian)

“The only jacket Trump should be wearing is a straight jacket.”

Ahmed Tawakal‏ (on Twitter)


Amidst all the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of molars over the very real horrors of Donald Trump’s election, almost no one has talked about the very probable horrors of Hillary Clinton’s presidency had she won.

She was an unrepentant hawk. An interventionist (Libya, Iraq). She was a fan of drone warfare. She wanted to put in place a “no fly zone” over Syria, which could quite possibly have led to direct military conflict with Russia.

She would have been almost as abject a servant of the Israeli extreme right as Trump has turned out to be. This would, as under Trump, have bolstered the longstanding and accurate impression that the U.S. aids and abets Israel in its theft of Palestinian lands and in its oppression of the Palestinian people. If you want  permanent conflict in the Middle East, this is the recipe.

She, like Trump, would have been in bed with the brutal, authoritarian Islamists currently in power in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Turkey, as well as the repressive military regime in Egypt.

She was obsessively secretive and an advocate, likely an architect, of Obama’s war on whistle blowers. She would have continued that war.

Like Obama, she was chummy with the bankers and corporate elite — remember her $5,000-a-minute speech to Goldman Sachs?

I could go on. The similarity of many of her positions, both domestic and foreign, to those of Trump, Obama, and Bush the Lesser are legion.

But let’s talk about why she would have been a disaster from a domestic politics standpoint.

Had she won, she’d have faced a hostile Congress, and even if she’d wanted to make progressive economic changes (she didn’t), the Congress would have stymied her. (Her true priorities were revealed in her “no we can’t” responses to Bernie Sanders during the primary season.) Economically, it would have been more of the same for the next four years: the rich getting richer and the poor and middle class getting screwed.

It would also have meant that the corporate-lackey wing of the Democratic Party — a wing whose strategy has been purely to pander on social issues while serving the corporate and banking elite on economic issues — would have remained firmly in control.  Clinton’s victory would have cemented their control. Now, progressives might seize control of that party.

Had Clinton won, anger over economic inequality would have built, as the Republican propaganda machine (read Fox “News” and Breitbart) cast the center-rightist Clinton as a “leftist” or even a “socialist.”

This would have fed directly into the alt-right/neo-Nazi Trump-base narrative of “elite liberals” thwarting the economic well-being of ordinary Americans.

As gridlock set in even more deeply, anger would have continued to build, likely resulting in even more far-right Republican gains in the House and Senate in 2018, and the likely election of a smoother, more skilled Republican theo-fascist as president in 2020.

As is, we’re saddled with a grotesque excuse for a president: a narcissistic pathological liar, a whining, paper-thin-skinned bully who is obviously and grossly unfit for office.

As such, he’s inciting massive opposition. Millions of people who have never before been politically active have become so, doing everything from taking to the streets and engaging in civil disobedience to simply calling their congressional representatives or showing up at town halls.

Would this have happened under Clinton? No. Not a chance. At least on nothing approaching the current level.

Rather than the rise of massive progressive opposition, the neo-fascist, phony-populist right would have continued its ascension.

Now, Trump and his alt-right tools are in control, and they have to own what they produce. Their economic policies insure that they can’t deliver on their economic promises and will instead deliver more misery to the working class and what’s left of the middle class.

Thus, there’s already mass progressive opposition. And it will grow.

Some misinformed leftists have argued that the election of Trump was a disaster. It was. What they forget is that the election of Hillary Clinton would, in the long run (barring mass incineration), have been an even bigger disaster.


There seem to be two explanations for Donald Trump’s attacks on the courts, media, and objective reality: 1) He’s a whining, self-pitying baby who simply can’t stand it when he doesn’t immediately get his own way; 2) He wants to pull a full-Stalin by undermining the institutions that stand in his way — the judiciary and free press — and by creating a false reality in which his followers simply accept his bald-faced lies and self-contradictory statements while ignoring abundant and immediately presented contradictory evidence.

These two explanations are not mutually exclusive; both are probably correct.

So, what do we have to look forward to from Trump and his Republican enablers?

  • Repeal of the Affordable Care Act without anything approaching an adequate replacement. Trump and the congressional Republicans will almost certainly take their cues from the insurance industry and big pharma, making healthcare less available and more expensive for the vast majority of people. Probability: Virtually certain. 7-stars-72

 

  • Assaults on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Congressional Republicans will push for “entitlement reform” (never mind that people paid for these things through payroll taxes), which will amount to at the very least reduction in cost-of-living increases for Social Security and reduction of benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients, and more stringent eligibility requirements for Medicaid recipients. Probability: Virtually certain.
    7-stars-72

 

  • Full-scale privatization of Social Security and Medicare. The more ideological (read Ayn Rand worshiping) Republicans, such as Paul Ryan, will push hard for this. If this happens, they’ll likely sell it by leaving a weakened Social Security system and Medicare in place for those over 45 or 55, and privatizing both for those under those age limits. This would result in not only younger people losing those benefits in decades to come, but also resentment among them at paying for benefits for older people which they themselves won’t get. Probability: All too possible. 
    4-stars-72

 

  • Increased voter suppression. The Republicans have used entirely manufactured scare stories about “massive voter fraud” at the ballot box, while providing no evidence whatsoever of it, to push through restrictive laws in states across the country that make it more difficult to register to vote (e.g., among the elderly without photo ID and the poor who don’t have cars who’d have to travel to get state ID) and to cast ballots (restricting early voting). This has resulted in the disenfranchisement, at minimum, of hundreds of thousands of voters, and more likely millions of voters. Now, the Republicans seem poised to do this on a national scale. They’re unpopular (look at their approval ratings), desperate to hang onto power, and are very obviously willing to do anything to retain it, including betraying America’s (supposed) democratic principles. Probability: Very, very high. 
    6-stars-72

 

  • Use of a terrorist incident to suppress civil liberties. The chance of Trump creating a “false flag” terrorist incident are low, simply because of Trump and accomplices’ overall incompetence and the outright loathing the intelligence agencies have for Trump; they very probably wouldn’t allow him to get away with this. On the other hand, if there’s continued instability in the Trump Administration, and continued appointment of the grossly incompetent to decision-making positions, it’s all too possible, in part because Trump is playing into ISIS’s and Al-Qaeda’s hands through his fear-mongering rhetoric and Muslim ban. If there were a major terrorist incident, we can expect demonization of all critical voices and opposition movements, legislation restricting freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. Probability: Likely under 50/50, but only because of the professionals in the intelligence agencies. 3-stars-72

 

  • Worsening economic inequality. Trump’s economic policies overall, basically trickle-down economics (or as Jim Hightower puts it, “tinkle-down” economics), will result in continued and worsening economic inequality. Lowering taxes on the rich and corporations will do nothing to create new jobs, because demand creates jobs, not “job creators.” When low- and middle-income people receive more money, they spend almost all of it on food, consumer goods, utilities, and services — they have to. This creates jobs. When the rich receive more money, they spend it on stock buybacks, real estate (among other things, driving up the cost of housing), and luxury goods, such as yachts. This creates very few jobs. And this is the direction in which billionaire, entitled-heir Trump is headed. Probability: Virtually certain.
    7-stars-72

 

  • Continued scapegoating, fear-mongering, and demonization of all opposition. The Clintons, Barack Obama, and the other corporate Democrats paved the way for Trump’s success through their betrayal of those who elected them, through their abject servility to the corporate elite; this resulted in long-simmering anger among working and middle class people. Trump has taken full advantage of this anger and will continue to do so. Probability: Certain. 7-stars-72

 

 


I’ve written a lot about how the Clintons, Obama, and the the other corporate Democrats have led the way to the current political catastrophe. How they sold us out, deliberately betrayed us.

Let’s briefly outline how all of the other equally guilty parties have  totally screwed us. This covers so much territory that it’s necessarily schematic. If you doubt any of this — it’s a matter of abundant public record — please, please investigate everything I say here. Facts are facts, “alternative facts” are just lies.

Here we go.

  • Racism. The Voting Rights Act of 1964 severed the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party. Almost immediately, the Republicans instituted their racist “southern strategy.” Until recently, it was mostly implemented via dog whistles: Willie Horton, “welfare queens,” etc. The Republicans have now reverted to overt racism. Who knew that the racism of the Christian South ran so deep? The Republicans did. LBJ thought the Democrats would lose the South for a generation because of the Voting Rights Act. He was wrong. It’s been more than half a century.
  • Anti-intellectualism. To put it more baldly, pride in being ignorant, pride in being easy for scumbuckets to manipulate. To put it in Republican-speak, pride in being “just plain folks,” not having any “fancy book learnin’.” Pride in ignorance stupidity ain’t a good thing, folks. But it’s a dominant trait in America. Admiration for Donald Trump, a dumbshit real estate heir with a fourth-grade vocabulary, an IQ probably in the 90s, and a transparently phony “just plain folks” schtick, provides a good illustration of this.
  • Industrial-Strength Ignorance. Decades ago, George Carlin said, “Think about how stupid the average person is, then realize that half of them are stupider than that.” As an example of this stupidity, an appallingly large percentage of the population thinks that the American military is weak — while that military accounts for nearly half of world military spending. They’re stupid enough  to buy the obvious bullshit assertion that the way to create jobs is to give ever more money to “job creators.” They evidently think that rich jerks, upon receiving taxpayer largesse, say to themselves, “Yeah, first thing I’m gonna do with this is drive up my labor costs by hiring more people.” (News flash here, folks: Demand drives job creation; tinkle-down economics doesn’t. (hat tip to Jim Hightower)
  • Assaults on Higher Education. Thirty years ago the U.S. had the highest proportion in the world of adults with college degrees. At last count, the U.S. rankded 17th, largely because of the skyrocketing costs of higher education (annual increases averaging three times the rate of inflation. Why would the Republicans, with the collusion of all too many Democrats, permit, indeed foster, this? In general, the less educated people are, the easier they are to manipulate.
  • Disinformation. Manufactured “news.” This has been going on for years. Let’s start with the Acorn deliberate disinformation campaign, accusing this in-part moderate voter-registration campaign of fraud. The Republicans produced no evidence of this, but Fox “News” destroyed this voter-registration campaign in large part because the corporate Democrats were too gutless to call them on it.
  • Voter Suppression. The prime example beyond the Acorn debacle is the utterly evidence-devoid charges that there has been massive voter fraud at the ballot box. Again, no evidence whatsoever. The result? Voter ID laws that have resulted in the disenfranchisement of millions of poor, mostly nonwhite, and elderly people. (My mom, who died last year at 99 , and who never had a driver’s license, would have had to produce ID.) At the same time, Bush stole the election in 2000, and Dumbshit lost the election by almost three million votes in 2016.
  • Taxation without representation. Millions of people in the U.S. are disenfranchised, largely because they’ve been sentenced to prison time despite having done nothing to hurt others. We’re talking about drug “offenders” here, folks. The assertion that they “forfeited” their rights by doing or selling drugs is no more valid than the assertion that their self-righteous accusers “forfeited” their rights by being authoritarian assholes. In other words, prove the assertion. Goddamn it. Prove it.
  • An Undemocratic Voting System. People here have a choice between bad and worse. Is it any wonder that 41% of eligible voters chose not to vote in the last election? A proportional or ranked voting system would have encouraged participation. As is, the voting system discourages participation. One minor example of this is that voting happens on a fucking Tuesday with no provision for people to take time off from work to vote. Are you kidding me? Do you want people to vote or not? (The question answers itself.) And let’s not even get started on the Electoral College–a national disgrace for over two centuries.
  • Koch Whores. At this point, money buys elections. Here in Tucson, Kock Brothers’ money bought a house seat for Martha McSally. Same thing across the country. The corporate Democrats with their superpacs and deep-pocketed corporate donors aren’t much better than the Republicans — overall, they just get less money.
  • Authoritarianism. Probably around 30% of the American electorate are desperate for a “strong man” to goose step behind. Authoritarians want easy answers, want to abandon their responsibilities as independent, decision-making adults, and quite often are driven by sadistic, bullying impulses, impulses which immersion in the authoritarian herd allows them to give vent to.
  • Religious Fundamentalism. By its very nature, fundamentalism — blind acceptance of the commands in a “holy book” or from a “holy man” — is authoritarian, anti-intellectual. It demands blind faith and discourages, all too often physically, free inquiry and a questioning attitude. It’s no wonder fundamentalists are such enemies of free thought and free people, and want to impose their views on others: a moment’s consideration shows that their beliefs are contradiction-riddled insupportable bullshit. Is it any wonder that they flock to mean-spirited, slimeball charlatans who screw them (and their kids and neighbors) economically, but promise to impose their theocratic “moral” dictates on others. In the last election, 81% of American fundamentalists voted for Donald Trump. Trump received the votes of 26% of those eligible to vote (Clinton got 28%, and over 41% didn’t vote at all), and almost half of his 26% came from fundamentalists. Nearly a century ago, Clay Fulks, in Christianity, A Continuing Calamity, nailed it:

 

Having fundamentalists in a nation is like having congenital imbeciles in a family–it’s a calamity. Allow their mountebank, swindling leaders enough control over society and though religious faith would flourish fantastically, society would revert to the sheep-and-goat stage of culture . . . Wherefore it is perfectly irrelevant whether your fundamentalist is honest or utterly hypocritical in his religious beliefs . . . It just doesn’t matter. The question of his intellectual integrity will have to wait until he grows an intellect. In the meantime, however, what the forces of reaction are doing with him constitutes a continuing calamity.

 

 

 


spiegel

(Front cover image from the new issue of Der Spiegel)