Monday, May 28, 2018

No God But Mammon

Never one to gush platitudes like "normal" presidents do when touting American Exceptionalism on solemn occasions, Donald Trump certainly did not disappoint in his Memorial Day tweet.

Instead of thanking God, Mom, and Apple Pie on this great national day of fake mourning for people who allegedly "gave their lives" rather than having their lives snatched out from under them by the Lords of Capitalism, Trump did what Trump does best. He instigated yet another bout of fake outrage by making Memorial Day 2018 all about memorializing... gasp, surprise...himself.

"Happy Memorial Day!" was his jovial message to America. "Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women for 18 years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!"

But hey, let's give the oaf at least a little credit. For someone who's trashed our sacred norms day in and day out, even failing to utter the requisite "God Bless America" at the end of his presidential acceptance speech, he has at least advanced to the point of envisioning all those dead American soldiers partying up in Heaven and cheering him (Trump, not the other boring old God) on.

Well, maybe not, when you parse it. The tweet says the dead soldiers "would" be happy, as opposed to Trump speciously claiming that they actually are happy. So fact-checkers, beware, because this was a highly nuanced tweet. I still think the president is a closet atheist despite going to church with Melania at Easter and Christmas.

The semi-good news is that Trump graciously capitalized Blacks and Hispanics, giving them parity with the Military, one of the few remaining job opportunities with benefits for poor people, of whom America's Blacks and Hispanics represent a big chunk. Lower-case "women" sadly didn't fare nearly as well, but at least more of them are working at crappy jobs at salaries so meager and benefits so nonexistent that Exceptional America's birthrate is now plummeting to record low levels.

But our ruling class racketeers don't want you to be outraged about those grim facts. They want you to be outraged at Trump's lack of presidential etiquette.

Since Trump didn't mention the Invisible Guy in the Sky, former CIA and National Security Chief Michael Hayden did the hypocritical honors for him, tweeting out "OMG!" in response to Trump's tweet. Talk about disrespect! Hayden couldn't even be bothered to spell out G-O-D, for Christ's sake.

Professional #Resistance Fighter Chris Cilizza of CNN did the next best outraged thing. He dredged up (who else?) Barack Obama as the shining standard of how presidents should vapidly "do" Memorial Day via Twitter:

"We can never truly repay the debt we owe our fallen heroes," tapped out Obama in his final year in office. "But we can remember them, honor their sacrifice, and affirm in our own lives those enduring ideals of justice, equality and opportunity for which generations of Americans have given that last full measure of devotion."

With soaring neoliberal rhetoric like that, it's not shocking at all that Barack and wife Michelle just signed a reputed $50 million dollar deal with Netflix to produce fiction, nonfiction, documentaries, talk shows, you name it, for the purpose of "telling stories to the world."  It's also not shocking that they immediately parked the cash in a Delaware LLC, a/k/a tax shelter, which they dubbed "Higher Ground Productions." As Obama lectured to the soon-to-be displaced tenants of the Chicago neighborhood hosting his presidential "library," they shouldn't complain or sue him over their incipient homelessness, because he and Michelle "won't be making a dime on it." On their library/entertainment venue, that is. True fact: it's not that he can't ever truly repay the destitute and the evicted. It's that he won't. But they'll always have his Ladders of Opportunity to tide over future generations of Americans, if not already existing Americans. If they die prematurely, at least they'll have given "that last full measure of devotion" to him, Barack Obama.

  But, I digress. Since this post is ostensibly about the Military Industrial Complex's glorification of violent death and sugar-coating it under the twin platitudes of God and Democracy, I'd now like to send a prayer-gram to all the bellicose American presidents of all the Memorial Days Past, Present and (Dicey) Future. 

This prayer actually has multi-purpose functionality and would come in especially handy on those very special School Massacre Days, when the banal Thoughts and Prayers being so tediously offered in lieu of gun control laws just don't seem to do the trick on the public psyche any more.

From E.M. Cioran's "The Arrogance of Prayer"--
Lord, give me the capacity of never praying, spare me the insanity of all worship, let this temptation of love pass from me which would deliver me forever unto You. Let the void spread between my heart and heaven! I have no desire to people my deserts with Your presence, to tyrannize my nights by Your light, to dissolve my Siberias beneath your sun. Lonelier than You, I want my hands pure, the contrary of Yours which were forever corrupted by kneading the earth and busying themselves with the world's affairs. I ask Your stupid omnipotence for nothing but the respect of my solitude and torments.... Grant me the miracle gathered before the first moment, the peace which You could not tolerate and which incited You to breach the nothingness in order to make way for this carnival of time, and thereby to condemn me to the universe -- to humiliation and the shame of Being.
Surely, I jest.


On a related note, I offered a riposte the other day to Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times effort, in which the Puff Queen of Shallow bemoaned all the Grifters -- Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Elizabeth Holmes -- who are giving such grief these days to the more staid division of the Ruling Class Racket. Her prescription? Delete your social media accounts, pronto... but be sure to keep following Maureen Dowd on Facebook and, of course, Twitter.

My published comment:
Trump is as all-American as rancid apple pie, just another poster child for the de facto twin mottoes of the USA: Might Makes Right, and Greed Is Good.

The golden thread that links all these charlatans together is that while they might get charged and convicted due to public outcries so loud that even corrupt prosecutors can't ignore them, few ever see the inside of a jail cell.

Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, despite perpetrating one of the biggest frauds in history, to date has only had to pay a $500,000 fine, return shares, and promise not to lead another public company for a decade. Poor little rich girl, huh?

Trump has enjoyed a whole lifetime of slaps on the wrist because, essentially, he is just like one of those too big to fail banks for whom financial settlements are the cost of doing business. Fines become just another tax write-off, a nifty way to suck more money from regular people.
Usually it's only when plutocrats and celebrities begin failing to provide nice returns on the investments of their fellow rich people that the "justice" system suddenly develops a moral compass and takes a brief break from prosecuting low-level, mainly black and poor, offenders.

It's certainly no accident that the current CEO to worker pay ratio is 275 to 1, while United Way reports that more than a third of US citizens don't earn enough money to meet their basic needs.

This goes way beyond Silicon Valley and Hollywood and D.C. It's capitalism on steroids that's run amok.


voice-in-wilderness said...

On what national day do we remember our major war criminals? Each generation will have those it considers most deserving. For myself I would start by putting Robert McNamara, Henry Kissinger, and Donald Rumsfeld high on a list. Of course it easy to put each of our post-WW2 presidents on the list.

voice-in-wilderness said...

Just skimmed through the White House transcript of Trump's Memorial Day speech and it appears he did mention the Invisible Man in the Sky. He closes with:

As long as we are blessed with patriots such as these, we shall forever remain one people, one family, and one nation under God. (Applause.)

It’s been my great honor to be with you today. I want to thank you. May God bless the families of the fallen. May God bless the men and women who serve. And may God bless the United States of America — our great country. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much.

Karen Garcia said...

He did it again, waited for the requisite outrage, defined the daily news cycle narrative and then turned the tables on the virtue rats by going the traditional presidential route. The guy is a master manipulator,

Anna Radicalova said...

I thank the Man in the Sky that Trump doesn't have the mental capacity to be half as sinister as Obama. At least with Trump, WYSIWYG. The fact is, almost of what Trump's done that the media is screaming about are things Obama already had going on, either on the sly or with media and Party consent. Hypocrites.

Obama's Netflix deal reveals his slick style. A Netflix exec bundles big money for Obama's campaign, then the exec's wife is rewarded by Obama with an ambassadorship to the Bahamas, then the exec brokers a $50 million deal for Obama's Higher Ground production company (registered in Delaware of course). Obama worked a similar deal with Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker. She was a big bundler, got rewarded by Obama as Commerce Secretary, and is now undoubtedly a big funder of the Obama Cathedral in Chicago.

Karen quotes Obama: "We can never truly repay the debt we owe our fallen heroes," tapped out Obama in his final year in office. "But we can remember them, honor their sacrifice, and affirm in our own lives those enduring ideals of justice, equality and opportunity for which generations of Americans have given that last full measure of devotion."

What? Generations of (poor) Americans thought they were defending FREEDOM! Would parents have sent their sons and daughters to die for ladders of opportunity? For justice while Obama let war criminals off who are now spewing their evil imperialism on tv, and let banksters enrich themselves even further by investing interest-free taxpayer bailouts after selfishly destroying homes, neighborhoods, jobs, pension funds, life savings, and even lives in massive fraudulent schemes for obscene profits?

Justice, equality, and opportunity are for the legal system, not Wars. Constitutional Law professor/Nobel Peace Prize winner/President Obama refused to prosecute all these criminals because he was interested only in protecting the interests of empire. In addition to assassinating American citizens, Emperor Obama also killed both Freedom and Privacy via the NDAA of 2012, expanding the surveillance state and usurping our Constitutional rights to secure the blessings of Empire. And he had the audacity to act as if he valued America as a free and democratic country.

At least with Trump, we know what he's doing and why. Stealth and deception aren't his style. He may be manipulative, but he's amateurishly transparent at it, unlike master manipulator Obama who prefers to work in the shadows, hiding his true power and influence.

Karen Garcia said...

In my comment above, should have written "virtuecrats" not "virtue rats." Although the latter does actually work, come to think of it.

And yes, I think Obama and Trump are two sides of the same manipulative coin. Trump is the dull side, Obama is the polished side. Just because he plays a dullard on TV, of course, doesn't mean that Trump is stupid. Far from it.

With the Obama persona, or brand, people see what they want to see. Liberals see an erudite professor who was stopped in his progressive traps by the GOP, while right wing reactionaries/conspiracists. see a Marxist Islamist Kenyan.un-American. The hero- victim character is a very lucrative role for him to play as he pretends to "rise above the fray" during his money-grubbing post-presidential career.

Jay–Ottawa said...

"Slick" Willy should probably pass on his sobriquet to Obama, who has earned it. Hillary was never slick, in her way as transparent as Trump.