Let’s Have a Public Debate Now, For and Against Replacing Trump by Pence

Eric Zuesse

Here is an argument for replacing Trump by Pence.

Here is an argument against replacing Trump by Pence.

The public needs now to become engaged in this debate, because otherwise the only people who will be participating at all in this incredibly important decision as to whether to replace Trump by Pence, will be the members of the Congress and of the Administration, neither of which body is trusted by most Americans.

It’s now, or never, for this issue to become debated by the public. That public debate has started, with those two articles. It will either be joined now by the public-at-large, or else the existing, and widely distrusted, power-structure will make the decision with no real public participation in it. Is that the way a ‘democracy’ would function? Is it the way a democracy would function? Would the public, in a democracy, keep quiet while elected and unelected officials of a distrusted federal government make the decision as to whether the public needs to be even consulted about this matter, and whether to replace Trump by Pence until a new U.S. Presidential election determines, with the public’s input, whom the the next occupant is — and the public not be consulted before then about whether to replace Trump by Pence during that interim?

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The Fading Scent of the American Dream

It’s been 10 years since I devoted a week to the theme of The Rot Within(September 17, 2007). Back in 2007, I listed 16 systemic sources of rot in our society, politics and economy; none have been fixed. Instead, the gaping holes have been filled with Play-Do and hastily painted to create the illusion of shiny solidity.

We live in a simulacrum society in which the fading scent of the American Dream is more a collective memory kept alive for political purposes than a reality. Even more disturbing, the difference between a phantom prosperity (or in homage to the Blade Runner film series, shall we say a replicant prosperity?) and real prosperity has been blurred by layers of simulated signals of prosperity and subtexts that are carefully designed to harken back to a long-gone authentic prosperity.

This is the reality: the American Dream is now reserved for the top 0.5%, with some phantom shreds falling to the top 5% who are tasked with generating a credible illusion of prosperity for the bottom 95%. While questions about who is a replicant and who is real become increasingly difficult to answer in the films, the question about who still has access to the American Dream is starkly answered by this disturbing chart:

If you talk to young people struggling to make ends meet and raise children, and read articles about retirees who can’t afford to retire, you can’t help but detect the fading scent of a prosperity that has steadily been lost to stagnation, under-reported inflation and soaring inequality, a substitution of illusion for reality bolstered by the systemic corruption of authentic measures of prosperity and well-being.
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Should Mike Pence Become the President?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

On August 26th, Morning Consult headlined “More Voters Want Pence as President Than Trump, Poll Shows” and reported that “In a choice between the president of the United States and his second-in-command, more voters say Vice President Mike Pence should take charge of the country.” On September 27th, the Quinnipiac Poll reported that 56% of American voters answered “No” to “Do you think that Donald Trump is fit to serve as President?” and that even 14% of Republicans answered “No” to that.

On August 27th, Axios bannered “First Cohn, now Tillerson, turn on Trump”, and reported that U.S. President Donald Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor, Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs; and President Trump’s Secretary of State, ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, were rejecting Trump for his fence-riding about hate-groups such as nazis and KKK.

On October 11th, Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair reported that “Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment [i.e., Trump’s allegedly being mentally incompetent, specifically as suffering Alzheimer’s disease] — the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president for incompetency]. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, ‘What’s that?’ According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.” Sherman also said that he’d been told that the reason Tillerson had referred to Trump as being a “moron” was “that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal.”

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My letter to Larry Flynt on Trump Impeachment

Larry Flynt,

Your grounds for impeachment #s 2 through 6 (plus that of the paragraph that follows them) are already documented by overwhelming, incontrovertible evidence. What is required is to recognize that and to remove from the list the impediment of the ground you have placed as #1 which helps create the illusion of requiring more information, which risks increased militarism, and which could derail this entire impeachment project due to the lack of evidence for any of its central claims.

That’s not all that’s required. You’ll recall that a number of Democrats gave out the idea that they would impeach Bush and end one of his wars if elected in 2006. Once handed the majority they proceeded to do the exact opposite. What’s required now is to get clear commitments that Representatives can be held to that they support immediate impeachment and will continue to support it.

Several years back, I led a team of authors drafting articles of impeachment against then-President George W. Bush for then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich. We drafted over 60 and settled on the best 35. Had Congress moved forward, it would not have passed all 35 or convicted on them. But we felt it was important to establish the record and present the options. In fact, I would have preferred to go with more than 35, including a wider range of topics. The fact that someone has abused power in 10 ways should constitute no license to abuse it in an 11th way.I am aware of the general horror of Mike Pence, but a country that impeached and removed presidents would be a very different country in which the next president would have to behave or face impeachment and removal in turn. Fear of the next person will look ever weaker as grounds for allowing the current person to destroy things as he proceeds with his destruction.I’m further aware that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s team wants Trump around more than the Republicans do, so that the Democrats can “oppose” him. The task before the public is to compel members of both major parties to impeach, not to sit back and observe them doing so of their own volition.
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Russian TV Says U.S. Breaks Peace Treaty

Eric Zuesse

Headlining “‘More US troops at our borders’ – Russian Defense Ministry”, Russian Television (whose U.S. broadcasts the U.S. Government is considering to ban) reported, on Friday, October 13th, that “On Thursday, the U.S. announced the presence of a second [U.S.] regiment in the already very tense Baltic region, and Poland, and that’s a move which Moscow claims violates that fundamental peace treaty signed between Russia and NATO.”

This report was referring to the NATO Founding Act, which had been signed in 1997 after Russian President Boris Yeltsin learned that the verbal promise which the agents of America’s President George H.W. Bush had made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO would not move “one inch to the east”, was soon going to be broken, and that Hungary, Czech Republic, and Poland would be the first former Warsaw Pact nations to be added to NATO. Yeltsin was furious to learn of this, and so there were negotiations; and, this time around, Russia got the West’s signatures upon what was to be the contractual relationship between the by-now clearly expanding NATO, and the post-communist and now lone nation of Russia. The NATO Founding Act promised that:

NATO reiterates that in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces. Accordingly, it will have to rely on adequate infrastructure commensurate with the above tasks. In this context, reinforcement may take place, when necessary, in the event of defence against a threat of aggression and missions in support of peace consistent with the United Nations Charter and the OSCE governing principles, as well as for exercises consistent with the adapted CFE Treaty, the provisions of the Vienna Document 1994 and mutually agreed transparency measures. Russia will exercise similar restraint in its conventional force deployments in Europe.

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The Endgame of Financialization: Stealth Nationalization

As you no doubt know, central banks don’t actually print money and toss it out of helicopters; they create a digital liability and use this new currency to buy assets such as bonds and stocks. Central banks have found that they can take control of the stock and bond markets by buying up as much as these markets as is necessary to force price and yield to do the central banks’ bidding.

Central Banks Have Purchased $2 Trillion In Assets In 2017. This increases their combined asset purchases above $15 trillion. A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money–especially if you add in assets purchased by sovereign wealth funds, dark pools acting on behalf of monetary authorities, etc.

Gordon Long and I discuss this stealth nationalization in our latest video program, The Results of Financialization: “Nationalization” (35 min):

In the old model of nationalization, governments expropriated/seized privately owned assets lock, stock and barrel. When a central state nationalized an enterprise, it took total ownership of the asset.

In today’s globalized financial world, such crude expropriation is avoided for two reasons:

1. The entire point of the dominant neoliberal / neofeudal /neocolonial model is to maintain private ownership as a means of transferring the wealth to the New Aristocracy, i.e. the financier class. Government ownership certainly conveys benefits to the some are more equal than others functionaries atop the state’s wealth-power pyramid, but it doesn’t transfer the assets’ income streams to private hands.
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NYT: $100,000 Russian Facebook Political Ads Prove Censorship Need

Eric Zuesse

A front-page news-story in the New York Times on Friday, October 13th, says that Silicon Valley has been so very discredited by around $100,000 of Facebook ads that were allegedly placed by entities in Russia, so that companies such as Facebook must censor to prevent this from occurring in the future.

The article is headlined “Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats”, and it says that, “Tech companies are under fire for creating problems instead of solving them. At the top of the list is Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. Social media might have originally promised liberation, but it proved an even more useful tool for stoking anger. … News is dripping out of Facebook, Twitter and now Google about how their ad and publishing systems were harnessed by the Russians. On Nov. 1, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on the matter. It is unlikely to enhance the companies’ reputations.”

The article quotes several Silicon Valley Web tycoons who present themselves as displaying their patriotism by criticizing what allegedly had happened, and joining in the media’s call for voluntary censorship:

What is different today are the warnings from the technologists themselves. “The monetization and manipulation of information is swiftly tearing us apart,” Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, wrote this week.

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