Sure, it seems to intersect in some ways with Putin Derangement Syndrome, but this is by way of an exploration of: How we got here, the recent etiology, the precursors to his brand of fascism, and the basket of great tools bequeathed to him by the Clintons…>Dubya…>Obama. Obviously I won’t hit all the bases, but feel free to add your own. Turns out it’s long, but I reckon it needs to be, s so many of these folks had so much to say. ;-) I wish there were prizes for those who finish it…
For instance, I loved old Sourpuss Hedges’ opening paragraph in his newest polemic at truthdig: ‘Defying Donald Trump’s Kleptocracy’
He opens with:
“The final stages of capitalism, Karl Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. Democracy, social welfare, electoral participation, the common good and investment in public transportation, roads, bridges, utilities, industry, education, ecosystem protection and health care would be sacrificed to feed the mania for short-term profit. These assaults would destroy the host. This is the stage of late capitalism that Donald Trump represents.”
Yes, yes; his list of Old Yeller’s cabinet appointments is hideous, and they may run the capitalist casino table. Even I stopped at his choice of self-styled Christianist Sec. Ed. Betsy DeVos being…Blackwater Worldwide Erik Prince’s sister? Just before his Resistance finale, he does mention:
“America has only one genuine political party. It is the corporate party. Schumer and Trump are charter members. They will work together—as Trump has predicted—as a well-oiled wrecking crew.”
What’s wrong with his opening picture: “This is the stage of late capitalism that Donald Trump represents.? But does he call for an end to capitalism? And end to the US Empire? No. And No. And sure; you can hope some of the Constitutional scholars are right, and he’ll be impeached under the emoluments clause.
At least Norman Pollack sees the underpinnings of The System more clearly:
“The ambience of Mar-a-Lago comes to life, contempt for the supposed inferior, who have not made their fortunes (especially through ill-gotten riches), and deservedly merit only scorn—and humiliating treatment for their alleged failures as human beings. Perhaps that might awaken them, or the more ambitious among us (for we are them!) to the glories and our responsibilities as 100% Americans. Patriotism is in vogue, if not embroidered with a Nazi-like banner, then still recognizable for its guttural hatred of all that challenges god, country, flag, and militarism, that which alone can cleanse our fellow countrymen of their sordid betrayal of values sanctioning a rightful hegemony, absent all traces of socialism, in international politics. American GREATNESS is code for world dominance in all areas of life; arguments to the contrary are matters of unjust defamation and internal subversion.
Why this unraveling today? That of course is simplistic. America has always been prejudiced against the poor (Newport “cottages” of 100-plus rooms a precursor of Mar-a-Lago), widely interpreted to include minorities, dissenters, radicals, whomever stands in the way—certainly, gender until recent years–of the ruling groups and capitalism per se. Simplistic, in the more important sense that Trump is merely the present culmination of long-term trends, as though American history by 1800 had not already experienced an ideological-structural scrubbing that would ensure the universality of capitalistic institutions and corresponding hierarchical valuing and arrangement of social classes. Democracy wore a false mask, pace the mileage and the prestige of Jeffersonianism, throughout the period of plantation slavery, and continued in racial segregation. And what held for blacks could be used as leverage against all working people: the stamp and generalization of second-class citizenship. This antidemocratic heritage has been matched, stride for stride, by imperialism, gradually enlarging in scope to embrace both foreign markets and intervention, the latter issuing in regime change, occupation, the works.”
He chronicles some of the early Presidential anti-communist and Amerikan Exceptionalism policies that got us here, and:
“…until we come to Obama, who I believe has gone 90% in the direction, and hence provided the foundation, for where Trump is heading, an all but formalized Fascist State. Intervention, drone assassination, trade adventurism (TPP), CIA-JSOC regime change, the silencing of whistle-blowers—a legacy of George Patton-Joseph McCarthy quite unlike what FDR had envisioned when he presided over WPA, CCC, and later, announcement of the Four Freedoms and its implicit inclusion of all Americans.”
But since Hedges mentioned it, and just for fun, let’s look at the 2013 Report Card by the ASCE on US Infrastructure:
[Every four years] “Using a simple A to F school report card format, the Report Card provides a comprehensive assessment of current infrastructure conditions and needs, both assigning grades and making recommendations for how to raise the grades. An Advisory Council of ASCE members assigns the grades according to the following eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. Since 1998, the grades have been near failing, averaging only Ds, due to delayed maintenance and underinvestment across most categories.
Now the 2013 Report Card grades are in, and America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure rose slightly to a D+. The grades in 2013 ranged from a high of B- for solid waste to a low of D- for inland waterways and levees. Solid waste, drinking water, wastewater, roads, and bridges all saw incremental improvements, and rail jumped from a C- to a C+. No categories saw a decline in grade this year.”
Let’s look at the Great Amerikan Recovery job picture Obama is so bloody proud about, shall we? From In These Times.com:
“The U.S stock market may be at record highs and U.S. unemployment at its lowest level since the Great Recession, but income inequality remains stubbornly high.
Contributing to this inequality is the fact that while more Americans are working than at any time since August 2007, more people are working part time, erratic and unpredictable schedules—without full-time, steady employment. Since 2007, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time has increased by nearly 45 percent. More Americans than before are part of what’s considered the contingent workforce, working on-call or on-demand, and as independent contractors or self-employed freelancers, often with earnings that vary dramatically month to month.
These workers span the socioeconomic spectrum, from low-wage workers in service, retail, hospitality and restaurant jobs—and temps in industry, construction and manufacturing—to highly educated Americans working job-to-job because their professions lack fulltime employment opportunities given the structure of many information age businesses.”
The bolded ‘working part time’ link goes to Economic Policy Institute, with great visual aids of the horror story. Still, it always vexes me that people speak about income inequality so often, when the larger deal by far is wealth disparity. So many of the precarious working underclass have nothin’ but their crap weekly paychecks and are one emergency away from total destitution or homelessness.
From Clinton: welfare reform, three strikes, the advent of the incarceration state, repealing Glass-Steagal and creating the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CMFA) to further enshrine casino capitalism by OTC derivatives. Thank you, Bubba.
Obama’s crap version of the post-depression Gilded Age bank meltdown Pecora Commission: the three-day Angelides inquiry er what.ev.er. that ended with all the only‘regulation’ the White House could stand! The useless Dodd-Frank. Looks like his admin wrote the Wiki piece, fer crissake. His administration bailed out Wall Street to the tune of many trillions (figures disagree), while many homeowners lost their homes to predatory lenders: especially blacks. Failure to prosecute white collar bankster crime with programs like Lanny Breuer’s ‘Deferred Prosecutions’ (by wd) for “increased accountability” (double ha!), etc. Terror Tuesday drone assassination, outsourcing torture by using a new definition, unitary executive.
Bush, Jr.: endless war, torture at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, first tranche of bank bailouts, well, one could go on and on.
Another gift to Mr. T is of course the bipartisan™ ‘Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act – legislation designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations – has passed the Senate as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report’.
Ooof: And from Glen Ford’s ‘Locating fascism on the Map’:
“One does not embark on a campaign to lower wages and savage the social safety net without simultaneously buttressing the national security state. In addition to the exponential expansion of the U.S. domestic and global surveillance regime inherited from George Bush, Barack Obama dared to push through Congress a bill authorizing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the military, without trial or charge. The 2011 New Years Eve insert to the National Defense Authorization Act (NNDA) effectively demolished the principle of due process of law in the United States. Although George Bush claimed the same authority, as inherent in the powers of the commander-in-chief, he never attempted to pass legislation to that effect, knowing that Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill would fight him, tooth and nail. But, Obama’s bill sailed through both chambers of Congress.
When Donald Trump moves into the White House on January 20, he will be empowered to imprison whomever he chooses, without recourse to law as we know it, thanks to Barack Obama. Who, then, is the “fascist”?” [snip]
“President Obama’s greatest foreign policy challenge was to put the United States back on the global military offensive, following George Bush’s humiliation in Iraq. This required a new doctrine, to replace Bush’s discredited crusade to “spread democracy.” On March 17, 2011, Obama loosed his “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine on Libya, effectively negating centuries of international law and custom. As interpreted by Obama, national sovereignty and the inviolability of borders means nothing if the superpower, standing in for the planet, deems a government to be a threat to its own people — even if crimes against humanity have not yet occurred. Absent the principle of sovereignty, international law ceases to exist.”
And the list goes on to Syria and other proxy wars for resources, fun, and profit…
Ford also reminds readers that Obama campaigned on the promise that ‘entitlements’ were on the table, but that the nation was saved from O’s Grand Bargain of $4 trillion in cuts by Republicans who refused to bidness with him in the end. It’s easy to agree with him that the Lords of Capital see their coming demise, and seek to improve the US’s falling share of the world economy by stealing from other nations around the world. I mean: ‘exporting democracy’ around the world.
“If you are searching for the real meaning of fascism in the superpower under late stage capitalism, you will find it in the nexus between the presidencies of Obama and Trump.”
From Ajamu Baracka’s Jan. 3 ‘Trump’s Neo-Fascism will be Built on Neo-Fascism of Obama and Democrat Party’
“This is not a new situation for us. When the repressive apparatus of the state focused on radical black organizations like the National Negro Congress and Civil Rights Congress, and on such individuals as Paul Robeson, W.E. B. Dubois, William Patterson and Claudia Jones, to the systematic assault on the radical Black Liberation Movement in the 1960s and ‘70s, we were largely required to fend for ourselves against the state after being abandoned by white liberals and significant numbers of white leftists. I fully expect that to happen again.
Neo-fascism is not a new existential phenomenon for us or for people around the world who have suffered from the racist, arrogant assaults of this criminal state to maintain the Pan-European colonial/capitalist project. So save your hysterical concerns about Trump for others and either commit yourself to building a revolutionary movement or get out of the way.”
From James Risen, NYT Dec. 30: ‘If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama’ (self-explanatory title, actually.)
This piece at wsws.org sorta tells the Dem accommodation story; big surprise, eh? ‘As new Congress is sworn in: Democrats signal readiness to work with Trump’
And this one demonstates their collective hypocrisy name-by-name even more:
“While the Trump administration and the congressional Republicans prepare an unprecedented onslaught against social programs for working people, the Democratic Party is engaged in cynical posturing to give itself a political cover for its inevitable capitulation to the demands of Wall Street and the financial oligarchy.
The incoming leader of the Senate Democrats, Charles Schumer, declared that the Democrats would fight “tooth and nail” against the overhaul of Medicare, carefully avoiding any such pledge in relation to Medicaid, the more immediate target.
Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 2016 presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to congressional Democrats calling for a “day of action” on January 15 “to vigorously oppose the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it and throw our health care system into chaos.” Again, the Democratic politicians are deliberately downplaying of the attack on Medicaid.
Sanders has played a particularly rotten and demagogic role, issuing a series of appeals to Trump to “keep your promise” made during the campaign not to cut Medicare and Social Security.
Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, made her own appeal to Trump, saying that he had an “enormous” opportunity to obtain Democratic support, and urging him “to show that he’s eager to find common ground, to meet with Democrats.”
During the Senate ‘Day of Action’, RT is reporting that “In a passionate defense of affordable healthcare, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders used a giant cardboard cut-out of a Donald Trump tweet to remind the president-elect of his promise not to cut Medicare and Medicaid”, fwiw. It seems to have turned into a photo-shop Twit war…
Finally you’re almost at the end of this tome, and sorry it was soooo long. But I’d like to add a bit by Paul Street from his ‘’Beyond Anti-Trump’:
“Let’s be careful about the phrase “anti-Trump coalition.” The phrase leaves the door open for everything being about the Big Bad Donald and for progressives to get sucked/suckered once again into the ruling class politics of the Democrats. We need to take on the unelected deep state dictatorships of money, class, race, empire, militarism, sexism, and ecocide – the reigning oppression structures that have ruled under Barack Obama as under previous presidents. As the activist-artist Brian Carlson recently wrote me from Buenos Aires, Donald Trump is the latest “bobble head doll on the dashboard of real [U.S.] power.” The thin-skinned tyrant Trump is the most terrifying and noxious such doll yet, perhaps, but the point stands.
We must not let Trump become a great red cape in the hands of the ruling class matadors. We charge screaming “Down with Trump” while the owners plunge their weapons into our passing hides. We must learn to head for the masters who hold the swords and spears behind the cloak. Resist him we must, but we cannot afford obsession with Trump.
One of the drawbacks of having Democrats Obama in the White House is the way they put so many folks to sleep on terrible policies and actions people would resist if only they were being carried out by Republican presidents. It’s amazing how many liberals and progressives find things like drone war and Wall Street bailouts and mass deportations strangely acceptable when conducted by supposedly liberal and sophisticated Democrats like Barack Obama. It’s like the matador keeps a special blue (Democratic) cape with the power to render citizen bulls listless in the face of their own slaughter.” [snip]
“Let 2017 be a year of radical awakening in the United States. Imagine the following scenario: sparked into organization and action by the kleptocratic corruption and multiply egregious polices of the geocidal Trump administration but mindful of the Wall Street-captive nothingness of the Obama and Clinton administrations, millions of U.S. citizens rise not only to oppose an appalling right-wing presidency but more fundamentally to confront the unelected capitalist and imperial deep state that controls the nation beneath and beyond the childish, candidate-centered marionette theater of its quadrennial major-party electoral carnivals. Workers and citizens organize against what activists call (updating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the 21st century) “the 10 evils that are interrelated”: the profit system, militarism, imperialism, racism, sexism, classism, police-state-ism, atomization, cynicism and (last but not at all least) ecocide. The new resistance movement (must) insist on merging numerous struggles previously fought on a dysfunctional single-issue basis. A many-sided peoples’ revolution begins, building on Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock and the lessons of great people’s movement across history.”
Please remember that our rulers don’t give a good goddam about our needs; they service their own power and financial needs. We are essentially their neo-feudal slaves. What might a People’ Revolution bring? Remember: it was Obama’s DHS/multi-security state fusion centers that shut down Occupy encampments in one or two fell swoops; another good model for Old Yeller, no?
The End. (Congratulations.) ;-)
Updated Jan. 7 with a few extras I’d forgotten and made in comments, re Obama and SOS Clinton:
$trillion over ten years upgrade of the nuclear weapons, a police state run amok and essentially impunity, an enshrined phony R2P neocon/neoliberal policy, a long list of supporting fascist coups/regime changes by the quaint term ‘soft power’ (CIA, USAID) or military power, always in the favor of the worst tyrants, but friendly to bidness w/ the west. millions of brown people deported to ‘our backyard’; declaring VZ a ‘direct threat’ to US national security, and lo and behold, from the Vatican under the putative liberation theological pope francis, ‘reportedly’, this:
ah; the muddy water clears: from an HRW representative: “Venezuela: Letter to Pope Francis” hitting on the evil, tyrannical maduro government. hrw is one of the most compromised NGOs, and mainly seems to the bidding of the west. amnesty int’l as well, but the horrid part is that both once in awhile get something right.