Dreaming of an America after Trump?


Well? What if? What if Trump was impeached tomorrow? Or forced to resign? However it works, imagine Little Hands is out of office. I’ve seen it suggested that the GOP wants the same as the Dems, for Trump to fail. I’ve even seen it suggested that the Republicans are just waiting for him to step out of line so they can throw him out of office and put a “real” Republican like Pence in his seat.

Wouldn’t that be nice, eh?

But, Mike Pence, right? Even scarier than a loudmouthed misogynist, is a bigot with a plan. Okay, so let’s say Trump and Pence both go. What next?

There are hundreds of bastards like Trump and Pence just waiting in line for the chance to screw over the poor, the religious, racial, and ethnic minorities, the non-whites, non-straights, and non-males. If Trump and Pence were to be spirited away tomorrow, there would be hundreds more just like them jostling to take their places. Politicians louder, more extreme, more outrageous, more controversial, more religious, would fight to win the hearts, not minds, of a nation of ignoramuses created by their policies and populism. In the last century, this country is has become a petri dish for bigots and bastards like trump and Pence. Their elimination from office gives us no more than an afternoon’s respite while their replacements are selected. The next day, it’ll be back to business.

Yay, we win, nothing’s changed. And it’ll take a long time before we have the energy to fight anyone else. It’s a winning strategy for those that hold the power behind the personality politics that plagues this country. We get to win and nothing changes until the next election when we go through it all again and pick the next person that won’t do anything either. This time authoritarian and patriarchal, next time liberal and progressive, right? And when the political pendulum swings back in the direction of our own positions, we can all take a one- or two-term timeout and pretend we’re making progress.

The current dialog seems to be that, once Sanders was eliminated from the race, the “progressive”or left-leaning alternative to Trump was Clinton, a career politician every bit as embedded in self-interest and social apathy as a politician can be; a war-hawk liberal who didn’t inherit her wealth like Trump, but accumulated it while her husband was president and while she was a senator. This so-called servant of the liberal left got rich while her husband was cutting welfare and unemployment benefits to appease the GOP, who wanted him impeached because he couldn’t keep his dick to himself. Clinton, H. (and Clinton, B.) accumulated millions while she voted to inflate the housing bubble, and then got richer again from the coffers of the same companies that cashed in their unregulated toxic loans and junk bonds and bailed themselves out with billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Would she have been a more progressive option than Trump? Absolutely. Would she have been the better option for leftists? Definitely. But Clinton as lefty saviour? Fuck off. The Dems as the progressive party? Double fuck off.

We’re mourning the end of the Obama era not because of what he achieved, but because of what he allowed us to believe about ourselves. Gay-friendly, women-friendly, kid-friendly, peace-loving Obama, the candidate of Hope, the man who said Yes We Can, the man who gave us hope for the future, who spoke eloquently and behaved with dignity, even as he fucked the dog for the first two years, even as he crumbled and signed off on the bailout bills bequeathed to him by Bush’s busted flush, even as he pushed more troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, and loaded up more drones, and dropped more bombs on brown people in more countries than any other president before him. Mourn Obama if you like, he was graceful and smart and funny and cool, and he said a few nice words and signed a few nice laws that lagged far behind the public sentiment of common decency. He is better than what comes next, but he failed to make Obamacare fit his original vision. And he failed to translate the radical popularity of his transformational presidential campaign into real and lasting change. He failed to transform his party from the party that elected him to a party that was electable without him. That is partly on him, but it’s mostly on the sleep-walking neo-liberalism of the Democrats, a traditional right of center party that eschewed the teachings of FDR and worked against Henry Wallace to ensure a leftist like FDR would never again threaten their corporate paymasters.

Blame Pence and Trump and the GOP all you like, and their supporters, but the Dems are complicit in this and we won’t see anything like real change while people like Clinton stalk the Democrats’ convention halls. Sanders almost made it, almost overcame the Democrats nomination regulating machinery, but he’s too old to make another run. Elizabeth Warren is where the Dems need to be looking because she exists beyond easy labels like “socialist”—but she’s also too extreme for establishment Democrats, and too smart, too dangerous, and too impervious to bullshit for the corporations that own them. The Dems are a party that looks to its members for policies and platforms, and only remembers the people, especially the working class, when it is election time and they are forced to go looking for votes.

So where does change finally come from? Will America ever be a progressive country? Will it ever live up to its promise? It won’t happen in my lifetime. The problem is generational and cannot be fixed without a long-term commitment to a concerted and extended grass-roots effort to see beyond personal gain. Maybe a catastrophic collapse of the American empire would precipitate the social and political revolution needed to fix the problem sooner. Maybe we need another Great Depression and Wall Street Crash to persuade people that rampant self interest helps no one in the long term. Trump might just bring that about, and it might bring a progressive backlash.

But while plenty of people still look to FDR’s social policies as the progressive ideal, we can’t forget that it took a pair of World Wars to destroy Europe and propel the USA into its position as the global financial leader and military superpower. More than FDR’s New Deal, WWII brought untold riches to the USA and while it was perhaps unintentional to make such a paradigm-shifting profit from the global conflict, the lesson was quickly learned that a permanent war economy was good for technologists, industrialists, and financiers. It’s not bad for the churches either. Against that level of organized and protective self-interest, it’s going to take a mammoth effort to create lasting change.

Maybe there is hope. And maybe we saw it yesterday when millions of men, women, children in the USA and around the world put on their marching boots and demonstrated that they were prepared to get up off their arses and speak truth to power. People can be moved to stand up for their rights, to stand up for equality, progress, and justice. And what we saw, more than anything else, is that people coalesce around causes and fight injustices. It was wonderful to see, but unless it transforms society it will be a pretty memory and not much more. People don’t march for a label. People aren’t motivated by partisan squabbling. And, as we saw, people don’t vote for a party that doesn’t represent them.

If the Democrats can’t see that, can’t accept that they need to change to capture that energy, then there are millions of votes just waiting for the party, any party, that does. So far, none of them do.

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy


If this is your image, please let me know so I can give proper credit. Borrowed from the Wonkette blog.
If this is your image, please let me know so I can give proper credit. Borrowed from the Wonkette blog.

$1.8 billion was spent by Clinton and Trump in a presidential election that was allegedly decided by a hacking campaign funded from Putin’s pocket-change.This must say many things about the state of this democracy. Clinton spent $1.2 billion on her campaign, outspending Trump 2:1, and still lost to a small-handed, thin-skinned, egotistical ignoramus, a racist, misogynist liar in thrall to the billionaire class from which he came. We spent nearly $2 billion on a dyspeptic election between two deeply flawed candidates so out of touch with the working and middle classes that an election-winning minority chose immediate self-destruction while the losing majority preferred slow exsanguination. 

How flawed was Clinton’s campaign that the election was even close? When a nation decided that the billionaire will beat the multi-millionaire in a race to the bottom of the swamp, surely the question has to be not why he won but why so many people agree that Capitol Hill is a swamp? How many years of reptilian predation did it take to get this far? 240 years ago, the nation’s forefathers argued over installing a new American aristocracy to replace the British one that they’d just served with divorce papers. The idea of the popular vote, the tyranny of the masses, terrified them so much that they created a bicameral government, that would look like a democracy but behave like a patriarchy. The will of the voters, rich white men, would be represented by Congress and tempered by the sage guidance of Senate, populated by even richer white men. The women, the poor, and non-whites could not be trusted with a vote. Two and a half centuries later and plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, nest-ce pas? The poor still agree that the poor can’t be trusted with a vote, and who cares anyway, right? Certainly not Hillary, who decided that she already had the poor vote, the women’s vote, the black and Hispanic votes, and went after the white middle-class vote, in a neo-liberal disenfranchisement of the Democratic base. And while the base stayed home, the baser voted for a rich white man whose campaign depended on pushing as many buttons as possible and remembering which ones drew the loudest cheers. 

It’s a slippery slope, of course. Once you accept that only the wealthy can hold power, and that special interests and lobbying can purchase legislation, and when the Supreme Court upholds that free speech means no restrictions on private money supporting political candidates, then you can’t really object when the money comes from special interests that may or may not reside outside the country. Hey-ho, the shift to transglobal power brokerage becomes the norm, and every four years we hold an election to show how nothing changes except the special interest rates.

Despite being outspent by an establishment politician in the pocket of Wall Street, the man whose business resides at 40 Wall Street won in a landslide loss to a candidate that won 3 million more popular votes, because of an electoral college system designed by the bedwetting self-interested government to ensure that a populist candidate like Trump would never win. Even two centuries ago, they feared someone like Trump would destroy America. Because of the reverence that we place in the Constitution, that infallible sacred article that has only been found wanting 27 times and amended once every nine years, we hold tightly to a flawed democracy that lawyers, the second-oldest profession, have debated for 200 years, but which everyone else can understand and interpret, and that everyone cherishes in whole but cherry picks only the bits we like best.

Once elected, as expected, the slight of hand Trump immediately revealed his sleight of hand, and has begun assembling the most despicable cabinet of despicable basket cases that DC has ever seen. D.C. Comics couldn’t create an outfit of such villainy, and all we can do is marvel at the appointments of men whose sole aim is to destroy the very bureaus of which they are the sworn enemies.

– Rick Perry, as Energy Secretary, heads a department whose name he forgot when asked which department he would scrap. Perry, the weapon who once got a D in a college class called “Meat,” will have be entrusted with the country’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

– “Crooked” Hillary might have been paid to speak to Goldman-Sachs a few times, but we don’t know if Steve Mnuchin, the ex-Goldman-Sachs exec and Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary, was ever in the audience.
– Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon, six-term Republican congressman, and staunch opposer of the Affordable Care program, is chosen as Health and Human Services Secretary, whose mandate is to manage the Affordable Care program.
– Scott Pruitt, the fossil fuel shill from Oklahoma, who campaigns for deregulation of the oil industry, is to be the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, an agency he is currently suing.
– Andrew Puzder, the fast-food magnate whose livelihood was built on zero-hours contracts and no minimum wage is chosen as the labor Secretary.
– Linda McMahon, the former chief exec of World Wrestling Entertainment, will go three rounds with the Small Business Administration.
– Elaine Chao, the wife of Mitch McConnell and long-term swamp resident, once Labor Secretary under G. W. Bush, will be in charge of making America’s infrastructure great again as Transportation Secretary.
– Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant who has drawn criticism for his anti-Muslim rhetoric is Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor.
– Stephen Bannon, Breitbart exec and all-around right-wing, racist fucknut, is Trump’s Chief Strategist.
– Ben Carson, the other-worldly neurosurgeon who ran for president and then said he was throwing his vote to Trump in exchange for a cabinet position, and then said he was unqualified for government because he had no experience…will accept the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
– Jeff Sessions, the Alabama old boy who was rejected as a federal judge because of his racism, is to be Attorney General, overseeing the federal judges.

I haven’t even mentioned Mike Pence, the anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ crusader, as Trump’s VP and sidekick. The list of supervillains goes on and on and, Jesus, this is all too fucking depressing. But there is one last special mention for Rex W. Tillerson, Trump’s pick for Secretary of State. He’s the Texan Exxon CEO who received the Order of Friendship from Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Possibly more sinister, he was the 33rd president of the Boy Scouts of America. Tillerson, who received a BS from the University of Texas at Austin, is the anti-regulation, climate change denier, who supports open energy markets and broke Iraqi law by signing energy contracts with Iraqi Kurds in 2011. Hw also wants deregulation of energy, but joined a lawsuit to prevent a water-tower being built that would have facilitated the increase of fracking near his home in Irving, Texas.

More worrying than the usual array of hypocrisy, right-wing zealotry, and generally high levels of hypocrisy and self-interested fucknuttery, it are Tillerson’s ties to fellow energy Tsar, Vladimir Putin. Given that the CIA and FBI have both confirmed that Russian hackers did in fact play a role in subverting the course of the US elections, which pissed James Comes off no end because he thought his strategic announcements of investigations into Clinton use of a private mail server, a precedent (yes, Trump that’s how you spell it, you illiterate baboon) set by all previous email-capable administrations. By the way, is the GOP calling for an investigation into whether James Comes is the FBI face of Putin’s hack squad?

Trump, of course, asked for the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails. Maybe he already knew they had. And, maybe that’s why, despite spending only (only!) $600 million on his campaign, he swept to power. Some may blame the Russians and Putin, but, again, if your campaign is so bad that the poor vote for ritual disembowelment at the (small) hands of the orange ignoramus, can we really blame some hackers who, in their day job, run technical support for Time Warner Cable (probably)? Putin and pocket-change campaign for change means that Trump benefits Russia (or Putin) more than Clinton does. Why? Is it because the Russian he-man thinks he has more sway over day-go Don? Or does it mean Vlad and Donnie, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g, presents more of an opportunity for both of them to make money? Money and power seem to be the stock in trade of the political classes the world over, and maybe it simply comes down to that fact that Russia’s rubles buy more power than Donnie’s dollars, and that’s why Clinton is left licking her wounds while the man who presented a real opportunity for change continues his campaign of hearts and minds from his newly installed elder statesman throne at the top table of the Democratic Party.

Bernie’s right, of course. Only when we finally have a pure, political system that money can’t buy will we finally have a democracy that decries rather than depends upon special interests, financial corruption, and transnational power brokerage that recasts the nouveau riche as ancien regime. But then, surely that’s just the raving of a bitter old madman. Why would anyone in this Christian nation listen to an irascible, wild-eyed, Jewish socialist who wants to throw the money lenders out of the political temple, eh?

Cecil The Lion Bequeaths Solution to Greek Problem


Greek Lion
Greeks and Lions – Fate?

The cowardly murder of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion has, understandably, drawn angry reaction around the world. While we can hope that the outpouring of anger and grief coagulates into positive action to protect wildlife, the clamor to shut down hunt tourism in Africa has identified a potentially huge source of income for austerity-battered Greece.

In a surprise move that European economists say may save the Eurozone from financial collapse, American sportsmen are to be invited to hunt Greeks. For $50,000 each, Wisconsin dentists can visit the cradle of Western democracy, get a tan, try the seafood, kill a Greek, and fly home again.

Only tagged Greeks would be targeted and there would be strict rules against luring them from their homes with Nana Mouskouri records, baklava and Ouzo. Tags would be drawn by lottery, Hunger Games-style, depending on demand. The draw would be televised live by Trump Entertainment’s media channel. Spain, Germany and the UK are expected to bid for the rights to host the weekly drawing, with Fox and NBC expected to challenge for television rights. Details are understandably scarce right now but Greece is expected to tag as many as 30 citizens a month depending on demand. Under the terms of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, the American NRA is expected to sue Athens if that number is not tripled.

As reported here, American billionaire and professional loudmouth, Donald Trump, had initially trailed the pack of Republicans vying for the party’s presidential nomination. Determined to be president of something other than the 589 shell companies through which he channels money, Trump had been expected to announce a highly leveraged hostile takeover of Greece and had already signed the papers to remortgage the Hellenic Parliament.

However, since calling John McCain and other former prisoners of war losers and painting Hispanic immigrants as rapists and criminals, Trump has surged in popularity with the American public and finds himself leading the GOP’s race for the White House. This unexpected resurgence of Trump’s presidential campaign may be good news for the property tycoon but bad news for Greece, a campaign insider admitted. And, with the latest polls seeing an upsurge in domestic popularity, Trump’s sights have shifted away from Athens and are locked firmly on D.C.

Greeks were understandably relieved. Despite strict austerity measures imposed by German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Athens this week saw citizens dusting off bottles of Metaxa usually reserved for drunken Brits holidaying in the Aegean. But the festive mood has once again been shattered by these new proposals emanating from Berlin.

“This plan,” said a Trump insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, “is the sort of ingenious financial solution that the President Trump would bring to the American economy.”

“This solution could clear up all sorts of problems like dwindling retirement funds, Medicaid, Medicare, welfare and more. But don’t quote me on that,” he added.