Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cracking Up

An eon ago, when Trump was inaugurated, I wrote that he poses threats to two separate factions: the ruling class, and the rest of us. He threatens the movers and shakers with his big fat unfiltered mouth and he threatens the poor and working class with his cabinet of bloodthirsty military men and bloodthirsty economic terrorists.

Of course, his renegade crusade of disaster capitalism is nothing compared to the gigantic crack in the Antarctic ice shelf, which in a matter of months will spawn the most humongous iceberg ever seen on the planet. Trump is nothing if not a humongous media distraction from this imminent catastrophe.

His latest epic gaffe came over the weekend when Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News pundit who's made a financial killing with his grotesque series of Killing (Lincoln, Jesus, etc) bestsellers, asked him why he's such great pals with a killer like Vladimir Putin. (Never mind that Trump has never actually met Putin; the nightmare of the corporate media-political complex is that Trump isn't sufficiently interested in punishing Russia and killing Putin in the interests of American hegemony.)

Trump's blunt answer, "We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?" immediately sent shock waves through the upper echelons of power, and joy into the hearts of those few remaining critics of unbridled, state-sanctioned American violence and permanent war.

In an unintentionally hilarious editorial, the New York Times today suggested that when America kills people and starts wars and invades countries and imprisons more of its own citizens than anywhere else on earth, it does so out of inherently good intentions. Occasionally, passive mistakes are sometimes made by the unaccountable best and brightest in the humane process of destroying millions of lives.

 Trump, the Worst and the Darkest, has shirked one of his most important presidential duties by failing to tout American exceptionalism and declare the United States immune from the consequences of its own criminal behavior. The man whom they accuse of lying every single minute is suddenly not a good enough liar to suit them:
Asserting the moral and political superiority of the United States over Russia has not traditionally been a difficult maneuver for American presidents. But rather than endorsing American exceptionalism, Mr. Trump seemed to appreciate Mr. Putin’s brutality — which includes bombing civilians in Syria and, his accusers allege, responsibility for a trail of dead political opponents and journalists at home — and suggested America acts the same way.
The Paper of Record insists from one side of its mouth that the Trump administration cease and desist from its serial lying about inaugural crowd sizes, nonexistent massacres on our soil and all manner of "post-truth" atrocities. It then insists from the other side of its mouth that Trump blatantly lie about American war crimes, CIA coups and presidential kill lists. It insists that Trump ignore American brutality throughout the world and instead concentrate on Putin's much more limited brutality in his own oligarchic chunk of real estate.

The Times editorial board proceeds to twist itself into an even more convoluted pretzel:
 There’s no doubt that the United States has made terrible mistakes, like invading Iraq in 2003 and torturing terrorism suspects after Sept. 11. President Barack Obama often drew fire from Republicans for acknowledging the obvious — there are limits to American power and sometimes decisions to employ military force have resulted in “unintended consequences.” American drone strikes against extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance, have sometimes killed civilians.
War crimes devolve into mistakes. Bombing people 26,171 times in just the last year alone has had the unintended consequence of making them permanently dead or maimed. All such targets are considered "extremists" due to the fact that they insist on breathing more oxygen that the American Imperium deems them entitled to. And thousands of droned dead civilians are downgraded into "sometimes" things. And this is so unfair, because the previous bomber-in-chief was still blamed by the opposition party for not bombing enough.
 But no American president has done what Mr. Putin has done in silencing nearly all independent media, crushing dissent, snuffing out Russia’s once-incipient democracy, invading Ukraine, interfering in the American election — apparently on Mr. Trump’s behalf — and trying to destabilize Europe. At least in recent decades, American presidents who took military action have been driven by the desire to promote freedom and democracy, sometimes with extraordinary results, as when Germany and Japan evolved after World War II from vanquished enemies into trusted, prosperous allies.
Putin kills out of hatred and greed. America kills out of love and concern. As the Times now revises history, even Bush and Cheney wanted nothing more than to spread the goodness of democracy to Iraq, a country that they effectively destroyed, spawning the worst immigration crisis in all of global history. When the Clinton administration deployed its economic sanctions against that same country, Secretary of State Madeline Albright infamously declared that the resulting deaths of half a million children were worth it.

The Times editorial board makes no mention of how the Clinton administration and the "Harvard boys" actually enabled and sometimes personally profited from Russian crony capitalism after the break-up of the Soviet Union.  Among other culprits, Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers literally wrote the book on how to privatize Russia, create a handful of oligarchs, and immiserate the Russian people in the process. Neoliberalism (greed, inc.) has no national boundaries, and the media-political complex wants to keep it that way, despite all the hand-wringing and unfounded allegations of how Putin hijacked "our" election.

The newspaper finally stoops to one of the ruling class's favorite justifications for screwing the rest of us: if it's "bipartisan," then it's like a giant jar of sweet gooey Smuckers preserves -- it's just got to be good:
Mr. Trump’s willingness to kowtow to Mr. Putin in the Fox interview was too much even for the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who rebuked Mr. Trump, called Mr. Putin “a thug” and rejected any equivalence between America and Russia. The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, urged the F.B.I. to investigate Mr. Trump’s finances and personal ties to find out if the Russian government was blackmailing him.
Never mind that there is no evidence, yet, of Trump "kowtowing" to Putin. And the fact that the Washington Consensuals have not yet gotten their hands on Trump's tax returns or other documents to prove their allegations doesn't say much about our vaunted "intelligence community," does it? The longer they fail to produce their smoking gun, the more one suspects that there is no "there" there.

The cracks widen, all over the world, both figuratively and literally.


Jay–Ottawa said...

Hummmm de-dumm dumm …
Just set your feeeeeeeeeeeeeeet
On the sunny side of the streeeeeeeeeeet.

Oh, I didn't know you were here listening to my happiness. So, the Antarctic is about to let go of a great big ice cube. Look at the silver lining. The oceans are too hot and need an ice cube or two to cool off and bring back the coral reefs. Mother Nature is stepping in directly to fix global warming ... err, I mean climate change, which I believe is the more acceptable term in polite company.

Hey, that report about what Trump said to O'Reilly is shocking.

" … do you think our country is so innocent?"

Say what? Trump said that on national TV, yet. No wonder the Times fell over itself to "correct" him.

Try to see the advantages of having an irrepressibly unsophisticated and vocal guy like Trump at the tippity top of the American house of cards. Sometimes he volunteers as a whistleblower. Move over Snowden. Sure, he's deeply misinformed most days, yet once in a while he blurts out the truth on a crucial point. O'Reilly gets upset. The Times gets upset. Cracks me up. Once again, I say look at the silver lining. Did you evah, evah hear Obama or the Clintons rise to that level of truth? Sad.

annenigma said...

May Trump's uncharacteristically understated and restrained remark be the first crack in the facade of our 'Exceptional' nation, or at least the version where "We are great because we are good" of Hillary Clinton. What Trump really wanted to say was "We're not killers? Ha! Get real, man! We're the biggest and greatest killers! We're Exceptional killers!"

No wonder Obama took possession of the Torture Report when he left office. He knew Trump would have a hard time not bragging about it had he read it. Obama put that report in his Presidential papers so it wouldn't be released until 2029.

If Trump engages in enough slip-of-the-tongue honesty, Americans may finally begin seeing ourselves as the rest of the world sees us - voted year after year during President Peace Prize's term, no less - as the greatest danger to world peace.

We're certainly still the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" 50 years after MLK spoke Truth to Power.

Zee said...

It is in the Times' interest to propagate the myth that Trump is somehow "kowtowing" to Putin, because it offers support for the other, older, Trump-presidency-delegitimizing-myths that the Russians "stole" the election from Hillary with the complicity of James Comey.

We hear these latter tired, baseless canards hurled about on a near-daily basis by "liberal" pundits such as Charles Blow[hard], E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson, perhaps in the hope that if these Big Lies are repeated often enough EVERYONE--not just the diehard Hillary supporters--will start to believe them.

Thus far, I think that these oft-repeated lies are backfiring; indeed, the continued faux outrage of the pseudo-Left is simply starting to irritate even people who once opposed Trump.

Michael Peterson said...

Relativism and Whataboutism is still the besetting sin of the left. I could understand it when Russia was the USSR and claimed to be the friend of the international working class. In fact, I am old enough to have felt the appeal of that argument myself, even in the USSR's fading days of the 1980s.
However, Trump's half-baked articulation of the idea that the US is no better than Russia ignores the fact that Russia today is an oligarchic, kleptocratic sham democracy with the revanchist, blood and soil nationalistic ideology of Putin, the modern czar, who is unafraid to have media and political figures killed. In the US, the killing of media and political figures only happens on House of Cards. So, I don't think y'all are there ... yet. But give Bannon and his boys the chance to push their puppet emperor in that direction, and the left will look back nostalgically on the days of neoliberal globalism as it is being herded into the camps.