By David Haggith, the Great Recession Blog.
I’ve never seen anything so surreal as the United States’ current political circus of unelectable and undelectable candidates offered as each party’s top of the crop. I can’t stop wondering if the Trump is Clinton’s decoy, gathering all the Republiducks into one place so the Democats can slaughter them. Yet, as surely as Trump looks like he’s trying to throw the election, Hillary looks like she’s going to fall over unconscious from a brain aneurysm on the dawn of election day … or on midnight after the votes are in and counted, depending on which conspiracy you like best.
Equally weird is the certain fact that the Democrat’s Chosen One was assured her party’s worship through inside engineering. I’m not surprised such maneuvering happens inside political parties but that, after it came fully into the open, Hillary seems more likely to win.
That she was able to take the Democrat who was most to blame (and who resigned because of it) and raise her quite publicly and immediately to the top of her campaign goes to show how voters believe this is just the way party politics works all the time. Hillary made that move openly, knowing that most people in her party couldn’t care less about such things. She even got a big bump in popularity after the move. That’s how little such shenanigans mattered to her supporters.
The Trump — What a card!
That the irony is everywhere is unsettling. If I were writing a novel, I couldn’t pick a better name for an unlikable, self-aggrandizing, megalomaniac presidential candidate than “Trump.” He has the sole virtue of sounding anti-establishment at a time when people crave a strongman who can save the nation from its own craven greed now that it has lived for decades above its means.
Then there is the irony that, having been clobbered by a rich, self-serving one percent who were too big to fail, the masses run to whom? A billionaire who is a member of the one percent who has spent his entire life serving only himself and bragging to the world that he’s the greatest man who ever lived. The more he brags that he’s rich, “really rich,” the more people flock to him to save them from a world dying under the strains of unbridled greed.
And, yes, there is the irony that the man named “Trump” spends his entire life blowing his own horn as brazenly as he can.
I’m not suggesting the Trump should stay with statements the mainstream media will approve, but his move toward more extreme statements as he nears the main election looks a lot like a guy whose plan is to throw the election by becoming less likable, as if he never really wanted to win. I wonder Is this all just another clownish Trump publicity stunt like his past pretenses of running? (Speaking out against crying babies is hardly a bold policy statement. It just seemed cold and clumsy. Awkward!)
Clearly, this is far from a normal election year:
Republican officials are exploring how to handle a scenario that would be unthinkable in a normal election year: What would happen if the party’s presidential nominee dropped out? ABC News has learned that senior party officials are so frustrated — and confused — by Donald Trump’s erratic behavior that they are exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he drops out.(ABC)
Even if you were looking for an anti-establishment Republican candidate that most Republicans would hate, Trump certainly doesn’t look like one now that he has come out with a stimulus tax plan that is almost straight out of the establishment-Republican, thirty-year-old play book.
In a nutshell, his plan to save America’s economy is to give deep tax breaks to the top one percent by establishing the cheapest capital-gains tax in decades. That assures the rich continue of paying less in taxes than the middle class (since they make their money off of capital gains, not wages). Then Trump intends to balance this tax cuts (bigger than the Bush tax cuts that helped bankrupt the nation) with huge spending increases in order to assure enormous deficits from here to kingdom come.
Having been sold that bill of goods by Reagan and Bush who assured us the economic benefit of tax cuts would outweigh the tax losses to such a degree that we could increase our spending without running the national debt up (and having seen that prove outrageously false … twice!), it looks like we are about to take that same ride for a third time around the block as everyone waves their hands and screams, Salvation is here! Throw us some candy!”
The only major change to the Republican plan of the past thirty years is that we’ll be running up massive deficits on projects at home rather than on foreign wars. The plan assures we’ll move further than we’ve ever been from paying as we go for the things we want to do. That’s what got us here, and it looks like we’re as determined as ever to hit the throttle as the bus heads straight for the cliff. A vote for Tump assures that we’ll continue to hand the bill for all of our overspending to our children and grandchildren at least until the ground leaves the wheels of our bus behind. Praise Trump!
Trump also blew his horn over and over about how he could fund his entire campaign so as to be owned by no one and then made a lot of noise about how bad hedge-fund guys are; but then he hired a top hedge-fund mogul and partner at Goldman Sachs to be his campaign finance chair to help raise funding. Really? A partner in Goldman Sachs — the company that gift-wrapped the Great Recession for us — will make him less beholden to the corrupt one-percenters who got us where we are?
Feeling Pencive about Trump
In an odd marriage of opposites, Trump chose a running mate whose history demonstrates he stands for everything Trump has railed and rallied against. Being the quintessential establishment neocon, Pence never saw a war he wouldn’t approve or a tax he wouldn’t cut or free-trade deal that he didn’t vote for or a bank he wouldn’t further deregulate or a major corporation whose greed he would stand up to. He’s Bush to the core.
Trump chose Pence to soften the Republican establishment’s opposition to his campaign. So, he’s already caved in to the establishment.
Pence is such a champion of the free-trade deals that moved jobs out of America (the free-trade deals Trump hates). Pence supported and voted for NAFTA. He has even spoken in support of Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership plan. So, he has heralded free-trade agreements from the start to finish.
Pence has also spoken in favor of more open borders. While Trump sounds like an isolationist, Pence is pure globalist believing that American companies win with open borders and free trade, but blind to the fact that only the shareholders win. The workers wind up competing against lower wages from immigrants who come across those open borders or seeing there jobs move out of the country entirely. So, the top ten percent grow wealthier under these deals because of cheaper labor while the middle class fades.
Pence also fully supported George Bush’s regime-change experiment in Iraq, which we are still fighting a decade later. I cannot see any manner in which the US is better off with Iraq as it is today than it was with Iraq as it was over a decade ago, having spent more than two trillion dollars there. Costs over the years ahead are estimated to total more than 6 trillion dollars. And that doesn’t cover the economic costs to Iraq. Total dead, nearly 200,000. What on earth did either the US or Iraq gain that was worth all of that?
The amount already spent on our pre-emptive war against a nation with no weapons of mass destruction, which posed almost no threat to the US at all, totals ten percent of all the decades of accumulated national debt. That’s for just one war in one little country … for which we have NOTHING to show.
Yet, Pence, in a nation that the Republican Speaker of the House called “broke,” has called for “dramatically” increasing military spending. Apparently no cost of war is too great for America, even when it fails to buy us an ounce of security and appears to have turned Iraq into an incubator for ISIS by removing the one strongman whom the US originally set up there to keep a heavy hand on such movements.
Throughout the Bush years and beyond, Pence, as vice chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, continued to champion the Iraq war as a virtuous spread of democracy. Trump, on the other hand, strongly spoke against the Iraq war leading up to the primaries but now seems comparatively quiet about it, lest people point fingers at his running mate. (The cost of sucking up to the establishment.)
I think the only Obama plan that Pence every heartily agreed with was getting the US involved in a civil war in Libya. So, Pence is a US imperialist to the core, who has said a number of times that US should impose democracy wherever it can in the middle east (apparently even at the cost of trillions of dollars).
Pence is as blind as Bush was to the reality that democracy is only as good as its people. So, if the people in a nation hate you, that democracy will also hate you and oppose you. Hardly sounds like a plan in the United State’s best interest, and it hasn’t turned out too good for the country’s we’ve tried to bring democracy to either.
Pence is a neocon’s neocon and stands for everything Trump has proclaimed he stands against. Totally bizarre.
None of that would matter if Pence were just a token vice president, as many have been; but, according to the NY Times, Trump lured Pence with a promise that he will be put in charge of of all domestic policy and all foreign policy if Trump is elected and will become “the most powerful vice president in history.” Well, that’s “in charge of everything.”
While the NY Times has only a single source for the statement that Trump promised Pence the full power of president, and the Trump campaign now says that isn’t true, such a move would be consistent with Trump’s direction in his tax plan and his embrace of a neocon running mate. All of his actual actions to date reek of the moldy hash of the Repub establishment. The reality that is unfolding around Trump is consistent with putting an establishment Republican in charge of everything.
Trump doesn’t sound like a man who wants to actually do the work of president nor even like a man with any actual anti-establishment ideas of his own for saving the economy. He’s just great at saying, “It’s great. It’ll be great. It’ll be the best, the best plan anyone ever saw.”
While Pence runs the country and attempts to run the world, what will The Trump actually be doing to make America great again? Keeping his eye on the big picture as an idea man while he continues to build his corporate empire? Creating a bigger and better Miss USA pageant so the world can see how great America truly is by how beautiful its women are?
Apparently, running the nation is something one of Trump’s peons can do, since Trump has an entire corporation to look out for and a name to keep building. So, maybe the presidency is just part of building that name:
All Dick Cheney jokes aside, let’s remember that the real job of the vice president is actually something like, “being alive on the off-chance the president is not,” not “assuming the duties of the presidency in toto for the duration of the president’s term.” (Huffington Post )
So, this is the year in which the antiestablishment candidate came out with the biggest establishment economic plan in the history of the nation — the same old buy-everything-without-paying-for-it stimulus, but on steroids at a level the would make the Russian Olympic team envious. (I plan to write more on the Trump tax plan at a later date, but it’s the same old never-trickle-down major tax breaks to the rich while buying lots and LOTS of stuff to stimulate the economy.)
Republicans have fallen for this candy for thirty years, so it will probably sell like circus peanuts. And who better to sell the nation on circus peanuts than a pompous con artist who has defaulted on debts due to failed plans more often and more spectacularly than any candidate in history — the Don of Debt, a joker for a trump card and a lifetime blow hard, Donald Trump, a man who has no record of ever standing in business for anything higher than himself?
Hillary or Billary or Pillary or Shillary or Chillary or Killary
A thorn by any other name.
Whatever you want to call her — and they all fit to a tee — the possible next world leader from the Clinton dynasty seems well qualified for the starring role in Weekend at Bernies or Waking Ned Divine. If her head bobbles anymore, her neck will fatigue and her cranium will fall off, revealing the burned wiring that extends up to her motherboard from that dead battery pack she calls a heart.
Already, the shorting circuitry causes her to smile and laugh uproarously like she’s going to eat the person she’s looking at everytime someone accuses her of misconduct. I’m sorry, but an “I’m going to eat you” smile chills the heart and fits all that’s been rumored about her and the worst of what her many bad actions have shown.
She also appears to be ready to join the plight of some big Russian leaders of the past and cough herself out of existence. Even her fans at major networks have raised questions about her brain injuries being the source of her abundant coughing, her unsteadiness, and her sometimes bobbling head.
Speaking of Russian, I think Hillary pushed the wrong red button when she reached for the reset button on relations with Vladimir Putin. It appears she pushed the nuclear button with Russia, as the US moved during her time as Secretary of State all the faster into racing Russia to arms in Europe. While Bush was sophomoric in his relations with Russia, giving foreign leaders high-schoolish nicknames like “Putie,” Hillary helped frost the entire nation over like Elsa, the ice princess in Frozen. Relations with Russia haven’t been this icy since the cold war.
Follow Ms. Clinton’s trail as Secretary of State, and it looks like a scorched-earth scar across the globe. Nations that were unstable before she stepped foot there are now deep in war. She takes personal responsibility for counseling President Obama to jumpstart Libya’s civil war, and President Obama gladly agrees it was her idea. There you also find her apparent Benghazi flameout.
Clinton viewed “smart power” as the strategy for asserting U.S. leadership and values—in a world of varied threats, weakened central governments, and increasingly important nongovernmental entities—by combining military hard power with diplomacy and U.S. soft power capacities in global economics, development aid, technology, creativity, and human rights advocacy.As such, she became the first secretary of state to methodically implement the smart power approach. In debates over use of military force, she was generally one of the more hawkish voices in the administration. In August 2011 she hailed the ongoing multinational military intervention in Libya and the initial U.S. response towards the Syrian Civil War as examples of smart power in action. (Wikipedia)
Libya became another failed state that may not regain health for another fifty years, and Syria has already become another Middle East quagmire where US involvement has slowly escalated, and costs are endlessly growing. Russia has done more to stop ISIS in Syria than the US because of conflicts in the United States’ hard-to-describe Syrian policy that seems more intent on regime change than on stopping ISIS, America’s true enemy.
Hillary advocates the “We’ll stuff democracy down your throats or kill you trying” approach that Pence favors. At the global level, you see, the establishment in both parties is the same.
Clinton engineered Obama’s Middle East policy from the start of the Arab Spring. She moved Obama against Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in favor of an “orderly transition [to] a democratic participatory government.” She advocated greater force in Afghanistan than either President Obama or VP Joe Biden were in agreement with.
Throughout her life, Clinton also never saw a scandal to which she couldn’t find a way to attach her name. From White Water to keeping someone she knew was a rapist out of prison by destroying the female victim’s reputation t0 destroying the feeble reputations of any women in later years who accused her husband of infidelity to the growing scandal around the Clinton Foundation, her name is right there again and again.
She disregarded US security with her emails and then lied about it repeatedly to such an extent that FBI director Jame Comey struggled to find enough loathing adjectives to describe her incompetence:
There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information…. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position … should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation…. Their presence [on an unclassified system] is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at agencies and departments of the United States government…. We also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department [under Clinton’s leadership] … was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information that is found elsewhere in the government…. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account. (CNN)
That’s the kind of foresight, attention to security and forthrightness I want to see in a president of the United States.
Seriously? With over three-hundred-million people to choose from in the US, these Trump and Hillary are the best and brightest saviors that either party can put forward? That this is what rises to the top is one of the scariest thoughts on earth.
An Epocalypse upon us all
Meanwhile Barrack Obama is ceding US power to the UN with his TPP to such a level that it would appear he is setting up his next office as Sec’y General of the UN. He appears to be readying that office with the power it will need for him to operate without US interference.
Unless, of course, the deep plan is that Hillary goes into a coma after winning the election that The Don of Debt is throwing her way so that Obama can manufacture an excuse for maintaining the office of president during a protected emergency election. So say some conspiracy theorists, though there is no constitutional basis for that. Still the political world is so bizarre right now to where my stomach is queasy enough that I even find conspiracy theories plausible.
On the other side of the pond, Merkel appears to self-destructing by turning Germany into a European Islamic Caliphate. The EU appears more likely than ever to self-destruct along with her now that the Brits pulled the plug at the center of the cess pool, giving rise to other European nations to do likewise. All this happens as the world’s oldest banks in Europe now glow in the dark as if nuclear explosions are going off inside their vaults.
No matter how you look at it, it is truly a bizarre election year where the main characters in the US have big plastic heads that seem to be occupied by tiny alien operators.
To cap this whirling dervish all off, a virtual Who’s Who of Republican leaders have stated on record they will vote for a liberal Democrat for president — a woman whom they usually talk about with complete derision. Hate her as they do, they’d rather have her than one of their own. How surreal is that?
It’s a year like none other in my lifetime, and it certainly all fits the Epocalypse that I have been saying all year is building around us. We are walking through the gates of a new world order that is forming and falling apart at the same time. It is a time of great conflicts as globalizing forces clash against local resistance, resulting in crumbling unions and reforming alliances.
It happens as there deep economic faults show up everywhere while neither of the two people rising to the world’s dominant leadership role look remotely suitable to the task. On one side we have a “very rich” narcissist with a red squirrel for a wig who can never stop boasting about how great he is while he defaults on debts all over the world. On the other side, we have a stumbling, coughing, fainting bobble head who leaves a slime trail of fire wherever she has travelled this earth.
I’m going to bed now. Hopefully to dream sweeter dreams of times long past or far — very far — ahead, for the next four years look like the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.