Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trump Derangement Syndrome and Russia-gate

I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again: Critics of the moronic george dubya bush were often accused of suffering from "bush derangement syndrome" [bDS] by his supporters. To whit; pointing out he was stupid, that his case for the invasion of Iraq was based on lies, that he was a craven servant of the plutocracy, that he stole elections, was "deranged." But all of those things turned out to be true. (NEWS FLASH!! I'd read the words "bush derangement syndrome" on various right-wing sites but it's only now that I see the stupid term was coined by Charles Krauthammer. How precious! I never bothered to read much of what that imbecile wrote but the one time that I did he proved himself to be garbage.)

[Some might say that 9-11 Truthers were also included as suffering from bDS but that's a separate category. Personally, I believe that bush II's regime was determined to let something/anything happen, and were therefore deliberately lax in doing their job of providing leadership/focus/direction, but they had no idea it would be so big. And, anyway, bush II's official investigation into the event was bullshit, so let people think it was an inside job for all that I care.]

So bDS wasn't really a thing. But "Trump Derangement Syndrome" certainly is. Sure, Trump is vile and loathsome. A bloated, orange, combed-over piece of racist, misogynistic sludge. But just look at the deranged things that certain of his opponents are prepared to say:

  • That the CIA and the FBI are friends of democracy and the rule of law.

  • That the USA had a flourishing democracy in the first place and that it is now, for the first time apparently, endangered as never before by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

  • That the USA actually operated under the Rule of Law before Trump/Putin but now this too is threatened.

  • That Hillary Clinton's "hacked" emails revealed nothing bad, and they didn't even exist, but that nonetheless they were "hacked" (not LEAKED) and these non-revelations of nothing bad somehow cost the election.

I guess this is all part and parcel of "Hillary Derangement Syndrome" (HDS). So let me go into THAT for a little bit:

  • Hillary Clinton was THE MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE EVAH!!! (And if you challenge them on this shit-assed ludicrous assertion prepare for either an avalanche of invective or a summary social-media blocking. I, personally, find it immensely gratifying when the hateful insults are being hurled by a female Hillary-bot who would ordinarily condemn such behaviour as a symptom of "toxic masculinity" such as saintly women never stoop to.)

  • That Hillary Clinton's vagina somehow overcomes her slavish devotion to the military-industrial complex and her fealty to Wall Street criminals and her serial assaults on the well-being of ordinary US-American (her active ongoing support for corporate health insurance/the industrial-prison complex/welfare "reform" that threw millions into destitution) and the blood on her hands of Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Egyptians, Libyans, Hondurans, Venezuelans (to name only the most egregious of her imperialist crimes). Seriously. So many people were prepared to exalt this piece of shit because she was a woman, which really comes down to her genitalia. Because when it came to her policies, she showed herself just as violent, cold-hearted, cynical and corrupt as any male politician. She didn't exhibit any of the supposedly inherent qualities that make women different from men.

And on and on it goes ...

  • That a few hundred-thousand dollars of social media ads produced by a click-bait farm in Russia gave the election to Trump in an election that cost over $1 billion. Yes. If you're reading this blog then you're probably one of the people who convinced themselves that a fucking "Black Lives Matter" meme/ad, posted after the goddamned fucking election was over, helped get Trump elected. Jesus Christ! STOP!!! How the fuck could an ad purchased AFTER the fucking election influence the fucking election?!?

  • That indictments of Russian nationals who will never be extradited to stand trial constitutes "evidence" that Russia meddled in the 2016 US election.

  • That Russia committed an "Act of War" when it meddled in the 2016 election but that pointing out that the USA "meddles" in the politics of other countries (including invasions and overthrowing of governments) is called "Whataboutism."

  • That Trump's belligerent tone towards North Korea was a threat to the future of all mankind, but his meeting with Kim Jong-Un was disgraceful kow-towing to a dictator. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's ravings about shooting down Russian planes over Syria wasn't problematic at all. (And why are you still talking about Hillary Clinton? By the way; You should have voted for Hillary Clinton. She was the greatest candidate EVAH!!! And it's your fault we have Trump you stupid PURITY PONY!!! Wahhhh!!! She lost because of YOU!!! I'll hate you forever!!!!! Wahhhh!!!!)
  • That (the latest) 12 Ruskies hacked into the electoral roles and purged thousands (?) hundreds of thousands (???) .... well, they purged enough Democrat supporters from the roles to suppress the voter turnout. Democratic Party supporters showed up at the polls on election day 2016 and even though they swore they'd registered to vote they weren't on the list and therefore couldn't vote. And so they quietly went home. And, unlike the complaints about butterfly ballots in the Florida voting during bush II vs Gore 2000, or the shenanigans in bush II vs Kerry in 2004 (long lines in Democratic strongholds/complaints about voting machines switching votes from Kerry to bush II/unprecedented discrepancies between exit-polls and final vote counts) that were noted at the time, as far as I can tell, these politically-timed FBI allegations are the first anyone has spoken of this.  Two years of silence and now all the gullible suffers of TDS are scared shitless about how the Russians deprived vast numbers of people of their franchise. 

I could go on. But trying to channel this nonsense is tiring and depressing. Listen people: Trump IS disgusting. So was/is Hillary Clinton and the entire leadership of the Democratic Party. It goes without saying that the whole Repugnican Party is vile. They BOTH suck. And they will BOTH destroy civilization given the chance. Obama is the first president to have allotted to his office the power to murder US citizens without trial. He maintained and expanded the carnage in the Middle East. He presided over the transfer of 90% of the growth in the GDP to the top 1%. And he was the saner one out of himself and Hillary Clinton. A vote for her would have been an endorsement of a rotten status-quo.

Go after Trump for his real crimes and horrors. But EVEN IF he got some Russian help; he's not Putin's puppet. He can't be. The USA is too powerful. And Trump's fans have forgiven him so many scandals that any pee-tapes would have no impact on their devotion to him. Stop trying to ratchet-up tensions between the nuclear super-powers you fucking idiots.

So, at long last; What do we do with these stupid mother-fuckers? These ranting, paranoid, conspiracy-theory nuts? These shameless hypocritical morons?

My suggestion is to obtain as many large bank vaults as we can and fit as many of these Russia-gaters as we can into each of them. Strap them all into their chairs and fit them with one of those bondage gags that allows things to be stuck into their mouths:
The above "Deep Throat Gag" sells online for $25.94 at eXtreme Restraints (dot-com), although I see they're out of stock at the moment. (And, just so nobody gets it into their pretty little head that the Schoolyard is into displaying graphic images of females being bound and humiliated, I draw your attention to the "Locking Penis Pump Gag" from the same online merchant, which sells for $72.67.)

I posted that first bondage gag image for a reason. To whit; That's where we'll put the lit stick of dynamite into the restrained Russia-gaters' mouths. (Aha! They're apparently called "ring gags.") Then, when all their mouths are filled with explosives, we'll close the door to the vault and allow these imbeciles to enjoy their own personal Armageddons, while we go on to try to make something of our lives.

I have no intention of being vaporized for such hypocrisy and ridiculousness. This evidence-free braying about Russian "acts of war." Fuck you assholes. Now and forever.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Two Books I'm Reading

I just finished reading Michael Hudson's Killing the Host: how financial parasites and debt bondage destroy the global economy. It's from 2015 so it leaves out some important European developments though it does include the beginnings of Syriza's capitulation to the European troika.

My complaints: Hudson says the FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real-estate) produces nothing of real value for the economy. I would think that's excessive. Surely when insurance is working properly it helps to subsidize some degree of necessary risk-taking? Sometimes he differentiates between speculative "investment" banking and ordinary retail banking. But at other times he says its all fraudulent rent-taking. This might be true but I would prefer if Hudson had done more than just assert this. If he went into the claims bankers would make for their "services" and systematically prove that they produce nothing of net value. Finally, some of the "wealth creation" of the financial sector (the enormous froth of speculation) has produced some degree of computerized assets that have leaked into the real world through conspicuous consumption. If financial speculators bid up the prices of their own assets, they have, in some way, "created wealth" that did not rely on squeezing the real economy.  It might still be a net negative, but Hudson merely asserts it.

The book is repetitive. It's fun at first to read one insult against bankers after another. But eventually you realize that it's probably added about a fifth of the book's length.

Still, the book has shit-loads of useful information about the insidious expansion of the financial sector and how it tries to foist debt upon everyone and everything. Tax-cuts create debt. Higher tuition creates higher debt levels. Higher home prices create higher debt levels. Banks' high interest-rates and deficits are a drag upon the real economy says Hudson, and eventually the economy slows down, and people can't pay their debts. What has been happening up until now is that the banking sector has brainwashed policy-makers through neo-liberal economic theory which treats all income as earned (including the parasitical activities of the financial sector). To do this, they first had to eliminate neo-classical economic theory which differentiated between earned and unearned income. Unearned income is the passive growth in the value of one's property as a result of the economic development of the surrounding community. It was the rents paid to feudal landowners. Now it is debts owed to bankers.

Eventually, Hudson repeatedly says, it becomes obvious that the debt can't be repaid and won't be repaid. But up until that last second, the FIRE sector will push for every policy they can to drag the charade out as long as possible, regardless of the continuing damage that is done to the real economy. In North America, it was the taxpayers bailing-out the Wall Street banksters and the Federal Reserve flooding the financial sector with money via Quantitative Easing. In Ireland, it was the government accepting to paying the debts owed to the foreign-owned banks and swallowing the fall-out from the bursting of the real-estate bubble that they'd caused. In Greece it is the total destruction of a society. The destruction of living standards. The forced emigration of young people seeking work abroad as there is no work in the country of their birth. The sell-off of national assets to foreigners. The addition of user-fees to all public services either to service the debt or to profit the rent-seekers who now own the privatized state assets.

Hudson spends a lot of time lamenting the way neo-liberals have shortsightedly destroyed the idea of a united Europe. In the 1990s, the rising European FIRE sector and their quislings in politics pushed repeatedly for a neo-liberal European constitution. The people of Europe voted against this over and over but these financial sector parasites just kept hammering away and wore-out the opposition and now the European Union is a banker's union. The people of Europe have no say over monetary or fiscal policy and the sad results we see today.

Throughout the book Hudson also provides a great deal of detailed, specific examples that show that the masters of society know exactly what they're doing. They deliberately pursue actions that benefit themselves even while damaging the economies that play host to their parasitical behaviour. Timothy Geitner comes across as particularly sleazy.

In the end, it's a book that makes me angry.

I've also just finished Vol. 2 of Blanche Wiesen Cook's three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. It's the only volume I've got. It was given to me back when I was a TA in graduate school. I was pressed for time back then and I'd only read the one chapter I had to to be able to mark the first-year assignments I'd been given. I finally got around to reading the whole thing 15 years later.

This photo was considered "controversial" by racists at the time. That the First Lady of the United States was socializing with a Black girl. By 1938 70% of US-Americans admired Eleanor Roosevelt. The 30% that didn't are the same shit-head 30% who today vote for Doug Ford or Stephen Harper or Donald Trump. Most people aren't stupid idiots.
First of all; now I want to read the other two volumes.

Second of all; marrying Eleanor was one of the things that makes me partially admire Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She was a remarkable woman who played a large role in making FDR's administration the greatest Democratic administration there ever was. (You also get a sense of how difficult the ruling-class minority made it for any sort of progressive legislation to appear in the USA. The fanatical shrieking of racists and "Liberty League" scumbags at times almost drowned out the cries for relief from the victims of the Great Depression.)

Several times throughout the book, tears came to my eyes as the author describes how ER and a community of forward thinking women (and some men) tried to stand up for justice, peace and human dignity.

I'll share the last such anecdote and then have to call it a morning for blogging. It was at something called the Southern Conference on Human Welfare in Birmingham, Alabama. It was convened by decent people, white and Black, in the South who wanted to challenge the racist, growth-retarding social-political structure there. Eleanor Roosevelt was an invited guest.

The Southern Conference on Human Welfare determined to change the South and challenge segregation. Fifteen hundred delegates, black and white, sat anywhere they wanted Sunday night, 21 November 1938, in the city auditorium of downtown Birmingham. According to Virginia Durr: "Oh it was a love feast ... Southern meetings always included a lot of preaching and praying and hymn singing ... The whole meeting was just full of love and hope. It was thrilling." Frank Graham was elected chair, set a beautiful tone, "and we all went away ... that night just full of love and gratitude. The whole South was coming together to make a new day." 
Somebody reported the integrated seating at the opening-night gala, and the next morning the auditorium was surrounded by black Marias. Every police van in the city and country was there. Policemen were everywhere, inside and out. And there was Eugene "Bull Connor "saying anybody who broke the segregation law of Alabama would be arrested." Tensions escalated; violence was in the air. The delgates complied and arranged themselves into separate sections.  
ER, Mary Macleod Bethune, and Aubrey Williams arrived late that day, out of breath. ER "was ushered in with great applause," looked at the segregated audience - and took her seat on the black side. One of Bull Connor's police officers tapped ER on the shoulder and told her to move. ER noted in her memoirs: "At once the police appeared to remind us of the rules and regulations on segregation." 
As if to announce fascism would not triumph here, ER refused to "give in" and placed her chair between the white and black sections. Pauli Murray recalled that ER's demonstration of defiance and courage meant everything to the young people of the South, who now knew they were not alone. Although the national press did not report ER's brave action, the weekly Afro-American editorialized: "If the people of the south do not grasp this gesture, we must. Sometimes actions speak louder than words." 
ER was given a little folding chair and sat in the middle of whatever meeting hall or church she atteneded for the rest of the four-day meeting. She said she refused to be segregated and carried the folding chair with her wherever she went. According to Durr: "Policemen followed us everywhere to make sure the segregation laws were observed but they didn't arrest Mrs. Roosevelt."

Inspiring stuff.