On Seeing the Forest

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blindboy started the topic in Saturday, 24 Jun 2017 at 9:07pm

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blindboy commented Saturday, 24 Jun 2017 at 9:10pm

On Seeing The Forest

A large section of the Republican Party has spent the months since Trump's election resolutely staring at the individual trees representing his misdemeanors. The Washington Post's revelations on Friday reveal that this is now undeniably a forest. There are so many trees in such close proximity, that it would take a degree of wilful blindness, beyond any but the deeply and irrepairably prejudiced, to claim otherwise. That such individuals exist in the Republican ranks is beyond dispute. They have long welcomed the ignorant and prejudiced and allowed them a voice in their policies.

Trump, like Nixon before him, is now caught in the jaws of a system whose powers and integrity he under-estimated. He may wish to call it the "deep state" but in fact, it is simply democratic institutions going about their business: the administration of justice. In most democracies that would be the end of the matter. The evidence would be assessed and the offender, regardless of their political position, would be dealt with appropriately. Sadly things are not quite so certain in the United States.

The powers of the President are wide enough for him to evade justice if Congress lacks the courage to impeach him. This is the point at which Nixon failed. Enough Republicans turned against him to ensure impeachment and force his resignation. It is hard to imagine a more significant decision than the one now facing Congressional Republicans. If they allow Trump to block a fair investigation into the events involving Russia's hacking of the election, then the United States will no longer have anything resembling a functioning democracy and they will have in effect, granted Trump a carte blanche to behave as he wishes.

Trump has never attempted to hide his admiration for Putin. In the circumstances, it is becoming a major concern that this admiration extends to emulation. Putin has under-mined what might have developed into a functioning democracy in Russia by concentrating power in his own hands and ruthlessly dealing with opponents. It may be possible to mount a defence of his motives. It is not possible to defend his methods. It is hard to imagine that Trump, emboldened by his successful blocking of a fair investigation, would not move to strengthen his personal power.

The political reality is that the United States has long been a plutocracy. Money does not merely talk, it determines policy. It long ago took such complete control of both parties that opposition was impossible. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than climate change. Evidence had no place in policy. It was entirely determined by corporations with deep investments in fossil fuels. Putin's influence was illegal. The propaganda machine of the Koch brothers was not. The last time well established science was so comprehensively ignored was in the Soviet Union in the 1930's, when Lysenko's discredited genetic theories led to widespread famine.

Trump represents an attempt to further extend and entrench the power of the wealthy and the corporations they control. They seek to create a totally disenfranchised work force at the mercy of the demands of industry and commerce. The wealth of the United States and its monied classes was built on slavery. In our age, they have realised that slaves are economically inefficient. It is much cheaper to have disposable workers. In recent decades these have been located conveniently offshore but this has created economic imbalances that can only be dealt with by creating a similarly disposable work force within its own borders.

The easy availability of powerful drugs through corrupt pharmaceutical corporations, the dismantling of medical insurance and the degradation of the food supply all point in the same direction. Large numbers of relatively wealthy consumers in the United States were once essential to the economic survival of its corporate rulers. Now they have identified other markets, they no longer matter. Historical trends are not always explicit. They can be hidden even from their main actors. Self-interest is all that is necessary.

Europe sleep walked into totalitarianism, following leaders who played to their prejudices. Trump's puppet masters have already demonstrated similar skills. Jews in the Europe of the 1930s, Mexicans and Muslims in the United States today. It is wise to remember that the United States is an exact description. Within its borders are many states that were once held together by a common history and shared interests. The more radical and divisive the leadership in Washington, the weaker those bonds become. Also within its borders is a military arsenal almost beyond comprehension, part of it in private hands. Disregarding the welfare of your population is not a recipe for long term stability. It is to be hoped, if Trump survives, that the centre holds.

Laurie McGinness

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frog commented Sunday, 25 Jun 2017 at 4:31am

I would be more worried about Trumps links to Saudi Arabia than Russia. His first visit overseas as president was to where? He criticised SA as a candidate but now seems to be a big fan and has supported their new aggressive stance in the ME against qatar and iran and happily support new massive arms sales to them.
Interestingly SA is against all the russian aligned countries in the ME (Syria and iran) with centuries old conflict with the shia at the heart of this.
So Trump is buddies now with SA a country who is working against russian interests in ways that are in direct public view to all but is supposedly at the same time mysteriously linked to russia?

More likely he never had much to do with russia and recently got dazzled or redazzled by the flattery and wealth of the saudis and remembered the money they loaned him for some of his property ventures and could not help himself revert to type as a deal maker and wanted his finger prints on a 60 billion arms deal.

Now if the newly emoldened Saudis feel they have trump at their back to go harder against the shia, yemen, iran and syria (who russia supports) we have something far more serious going on for world peace than some email hacking by someone. Petrol on the ME fire...

The media frenzy is about russian links when perhaps the main story is almost the opposite of being too close to russia and is there in plain view and far more concerning for all of us.

Frogg

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Blowin commented Sunday, 25 Jun 2017 at 6:27am

From Peter Fitzsimmons SMH column :

Hillary Clinton phones the White House shortly after midnight.

"I need to talk to President Trump, it's an emergency!"

After some cajoling, the President's assistant agrees to wake him up.

"So what is it that's so important that it can't wait until morning?" grumbles Trump.

"A Supreme Court Judge just died, and I want to take his place," insists Ms Clinton "Oh. Is that all? Well, it's OK with me if it's OK with the mortuary," replies President Trump.

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GuySmiley commented Sunday, 25 Jun 2017 at 5:55pm

...... and now for something completely different

http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2016/s4691365.htm

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Gaz1799 commented Monday, 26 Jun 2017 at 12:34pm

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