Evil Arrives — The crisis point is here

Evil Arrives

The crisis point is here

January 19th 2020

Robert Harrington, an Ex-Pat living in London, wrote an absolutely searing column for the Palmer Report last night, “The Face of Evil.” https://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/the-new-face-of-evil/24527/ In it, he tells of how he came to realize that the Holocaust was far from a unique event, that roughly a third of humanity is evil, and that they have coalesced into the monster known as the Republican party under the malign rule of Trump.

The Holocaust, of course, is far from unique. Since the vow was made in the ashes of 1945 to Never Forget, there have been at least a half dozen genocides in which more than twelve million people died. Here in the states, such atrocities were largely brushed off. “Oh, it was the communists. Communists are evil.” It was Africa. It was Asia. They were brown. They were black. They were the wrong religion. Some Americans considered it to be the actions of lesser people with poisonous ideologies, saying so without irony and without realizing by the mere fact of the dismissal, they had placed themselves in groups of lesser people with poisonous ideologies. The belief the Holocaust was unique was just one of the comforting lies with with we cocoon ourselves.

Genocide is well within the range of human social behavior. Voltaire had us pegged two hundred and fifty years ago when he wrote, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Which brings us to the role of religion. Religion informs nearly all holocausts (yes, including communism, which was a godless religion, but a religion nevertheless, in which adherents had to subscribe to a creed, no matter how absurd). In some instances, religion instigates the mass murder in the name of some deity or leader. Religion never worships gods; it worships power. The ability to kill at will is the ultimate power. God is for the peasants. God’s power is for the Church.

There was one thing about the Holocaust that made it stand out. It was strange and horrifying how the Germans went about it in a cruel and methodical manner, using the modern tools of western civilization. The face of the Holocaust wasn’t the screaming mercenary with the blood-dripping machete; it was the meek, mild accountant who carefully tabulated the number of shoes taken off the feet of dead Jewish children. All very modern, quite civilized, leaving the accountant to go home at night and be a good Christian with his wife and children. Perhaps he told the children he processed shoes for the Fatherland, leaving out mention of where the shoes came from. Perhaps he assured himself he didn’t know where the shoes came from, and told himself comforting lies about the long trains of human cattle, and all the missing neighbors. He was, after all, a Good German.

Without an evil leader able to lead an entire culture in to an abyss, he might just have been another accountant in a shoe factory, leading an essentially blameless life. Germany, sophisticated, devout, educated, and religious, needed only a charismatic monster to fall into the ultimate darkness.

Voltaire understood the mechanism for genocide: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Robert Harrington believes America is at the cusp of a Hitlerian nightmare. He’s right because America, self-assured, lacking introspection, historically illiterate, and ridden by racial and political fear, is a genocide waiting to happen. Harrington has identified the factor that will make the American abyss like the one Germany experienced nearly a century earlier—the rise of a monster.

Trump is vicious, vindictive, petty and above all, cruel. He is like Hitler, only Hitler at least was able to form relationships with other individuals and pets, something Trump seems incapable of. Trump appeals to the most base of people with a series of “am-i-right” political sketches disguised as a philosophy and the endless flagging of grievances, and there is no bottom to his pettiness and his willingness to destroy or hurt those who have crossed him in any way. Case in point: This past week, facing impeachment, he took time to utterly gut the school lunch program that Michelle Obama had made an effective instrument for improving kid’s lives and their ability to learn. Trump’s action will needlessly condemn millions of kids to hungry afternoons in school, trying to read and listen over the demands of their bodies. Why did he do such a horrible and pointless thing? It was Michelle’s birthday. He wanted to hurt her.

There seems to be no doubt in Harrington’s mind that Trump will trigger an American moral and ethical apocalypse. There’s no doubt in my mind that he stands to be the next Hitler, and that with unlimited power, he is capable of unlimited cruelty, and he has the mindless, hateful, evil following to attack and destroy lives in the tens of millions. He rides the wings of the next Holocaust.

The Senate will have their trial this coming week. The punditry agree that it will be a sham trial and Trump will be acquitted. Trump is openly demanding he be acquitted before he gives his State of the Union speech in early February, and craven and morally vacant senators are queueing up to oblige him.

It’s easy to imagine the crows of angry triumph he will shout to a shivering world. Will he speak of final solutions and a new order that will last a thousand years? Will he list the people who will pay bigly for impeaching him and testifying against him? It’s unlikely the remaining members of his administration will be able to contain the raw fury and hatred pent up in the man.

At that point, his power will be consolidated. A Senate acquittal will like be the moment in German history when the Enabling Act was passed, allowing Hitler to supercede and suspend all laws basically at will.

The Senators could save America if they weren’t moral and ethical vacuums, wedded to power and willing to appease monsters and scum in order to cling to it.

They can stand as human beings, do their job, and save America from a looming nightmare, or they can create a future in which the best hope they have is that history will quickly forget their names, so their children will not have to share their disgrace.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how they will vote. They are cowards and nihilists. Expect little.

Voltaire had the perfect epitaph for these sad remnants of humanity: “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”

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Suppose They Held a War… People aren’t rallying around Trump’s crap

Suppose They Held a War…

People aren’t rallying around Trump’s crap

January 12th, 2020

There was an op-art poster popular in the late 60s, at the height of the Vietnam conflict, which read, “Suppose they held a war and nobody came?” Even then, it was seen as a bit of whimsy, even amongst the “Oh-wow-that’s-heavy” crowd. Americans have a long and often sordid history of responding to calls to arm with vicious and irrepressible war fever. The dubious conflict that got tens of thousands of Americans killed and lead to that plaintive poster was a largely fictional incident in the Gulf of Tonkin in which a couple of Vietnamese war boats in Vietnamese waters approached to within 10 kilometers of the USS Maddox and the Maddox opened fire. In the exchange, one US aircraft was slightly damaged, as was the Maddox itself, which took a single bullet hole in an non-vital part. The Vietnamese saw four dead, six wounded, and three boats moderately to severely damaged. The Johnson administration lied about the incident, claiming the Vietnamese fired first, and the vaunted American press dutifully repeated that lie. Nor did the press explore the reasons for the tensions; Vietnam had a fair and open election in which Ho Chi Minh and the communists won, and the cold war hawks in LBJ’s cabinet couldn’t stand for that. It took thousands of deaths and vast sums of dollars wasted before a significant protest movement formed, only to be vilified by America’s “silent majority” as traitors, cowards and commies.

World War One was even more mystifying. The US had no interest, strategically or ethically, in the war, and by 1917 it was obvious that it was a bloody, inconclusive and hideously expensive pigs-wallow of a war. A large majority of Americans wanted to stay the hell out. But then the Zimmerman telegram emerged, with the self-same German foreign minister begging Mexico to start a war with America and making the unlikely promise that they would give Mexico back those territories lost in the 1848 US-Mexico war. That infuriated President Wilson, who had run—and won—on a campaign slogan of “Too proud to fight” just a few years earlier. This was followed soon after by a German decision to target neutral shipping in the Atlantic, and subsequently sank five American freighters. Wilson used this to whip the country into a war frenzy the like of which nobody had seen since the Civil War, made more incredible by the fact that America still had scant emotional involvement with the European conflict. (Americans get annoyed by attacks, real or imaginary, on their ships, except when they don’t—in 1942 German U-boats were sinking US freighters at a expense in lives lost and dollars squandered the equivalent of a 9/11 attack every two weeks, and still had to declare war first before America made a military reaction.) So it’s safe to say that Wilson used the incident to whip up the war frenzy.

He almost certainly knew that Germany was slowly losing that war. He was probably far more worried about the revolution in Russia, and the threat of communist uprisings in the west. Given the disgraceful nature of the Industrial Revolution and the deplorable conditions the working class suffered, it was a quite legitimate fear from his viewpoint.

In scant weeks, millions of Americans who were “too proud to fight” and glad they weren’t involved in that bloody, unending mess were screaming for German blood, talking about rounding up German-Americans and putting them in camps, and denouncing anyone who questioned all this as cowards and traitors. Just like that! Snap fingers. The government passed repressive laws to shut up the dissenters that were so draconian that the Supreme Court was forced to look up the Constitution and see what it had to say about this kind of stuff. Turns out the Constitution takes a dim view of punishing people for having doubts. But that was later. In the meantime people gleefully punished people for opinions they shared just scant weeks earlier.

So historically, it’s not hard to con Americans into a war, no matter how dubious, bloody, or unnecessary.

So when Trump had Suleimani assassinated and Iran responded by shelling some US bases in Iraq, I got a sinking feeling that Americans, with a whoop and a holler, were going to repeat the same tired bloody mistakes once again, and would probably enthrone the despicable Trump in the process.

Certainly Trump tried to rouse the American people to arms, giving reason after reason, each more dire than the last, for why it was necessary to ambush and murder this man. The latest iteration of that, just nine days later and the ninth different reason given, was that Suleimani was planning to attack “four embassies”. Each of Trump’s rationales has been knocked down for lack of evidence to patent absurdity (Suleimani was most certainly no friend to ISIS, and indeed was a lead ally in stymieing the terrorist organization.) The “four embassies” rationale died an ignominious death this morning when Trump’s Secretary-of-Defence-This-Week, Mark Esper, admitted on national television that he had no idea what Trump was talking about.

Faux News and all the other horse-manure factories of the far right tried to whip up war fever, and didn’t get much of anywhere. Oh, they got the Trumpkins riled up, but that was a given. They’ll do whatever their God-daddy leader wants.

But outside of the deplorables, nothing. Outside of that, the 60% of Americans who aren’t part of his cult know he lies: he lies when he has to, he lies when he doesn’t have to, he even lies when it would be to his advantage to either keep his mouth shut or tell the truth. They know he lies. They know he’s had it in for Iran for years, and especially since the hated Obama got that nuclear agreement with them. They know that in 2016, Trump had no idea who Suleimani was, and will be totally unsurprised to read in today’s Washington Post that in early 2017 he was asking his cabinet for ways to assassinate Suleimani, and his cabinet was ignoring such requests.

A majority of those polled yesterday believe that Trump was wagging the dog, using Iran to try and detract from his looming impeachment trial.

Trump’s advisors and enablers have to be looking at this and wondering what would happen if there was a real international incident that required an American military response, another Pearl Harbor or a 9/11. Would people follow Trump, or just conclude that he staged the event for his own purposes.

Yet another reason to get rid of him. When America does need a leader, all they’ll have is Trump, and he’s utter shit at that.

Horrible as the assassination and repercussions have been, it could have been far worse. At least Iran’s response was carefully crafted to avoid escalation, with the exception of the shooting down of that Boeing 737 passenger jet. I have little doubt it was an accident: Iran had little to gain from killing scores of their own citizens, plus 67 Canadians and 39 Ukrainians. And that’s on Trump, too; negligent as someone in the Iranian military was, it wouldn’t have happened were it not for the crisis Trump created.

Millions of people in Iran are outraged by the shooting down. Perhaps they remember when the US accidentally shot down an Iranian plane in the 80s, killing 232. As a result, the government is facing mass protests of a kind not seen since the days of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Nobody likes the Iranian regime. They are religious nuts, vicious, and troublemakers. It would be delightful if this tragic incident caused their downfall, and a more secular, reasonable regime were to replace them.

But for now, it’s in the realm of wishful thinking. But if Trump tries to take credit for it (and he would) then tell him to buzz off.

Even with the threat of war fever manipulation, America is better off with a leader than a bullshit artist.

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Holy Murder – Got Mit Uns

January 5th 2020

The Washington Post is reporting this morning that Trump did not notify leaders of Congress of the planned assassination of Qassam Suleimani as he is legally required to do, but he DID notify the Russians. Kinda shows who he’s really working for, doesn’t it?

If anyone tells you that Putin and his criminal gang are better suited to hear American military strategies ahead of Congress, explain to them that they are fools and traitors to their country and to get the hell out of your sight. Yes, I’ve seen Trumpkins make that very claim. They are shit Americans.

Mike Pence, God’s Designated Liar on Earth, tried explaining that Suleimani was behind 9/11, an utterly factless claim put out there in Pence’s dim-witted hopes that people would somehow take this to mean that Trump had just prevented another 9/11. It’s on about the same level as assassinating Boris Johnson and then claiming he was involved in the 1605 plot to blow up Parliament.

Trump himself tried claiming that he had preempted an plan for an imminent attack upon American interests, which was about as factually-based as anything else that flushes out of that man’s mouth.

Nearly every pundit in the country is bloviating on what kind of blow-back America can expect, and what Trump will do next with the disaster he has created. They are even, gawds help us, asking if it saves Trump from impeachment. Fox News and the Christian Right see Trump as a resolute and godly hero for employing the same tactics that Trump assassinated Suleimani for. Lindsey Graham huffed that you can’t impeach a president during war time, and right wingers are even pushing for a constitutional amendment saying just that.

A few quick points, Lindsey: Trump has already been impeached. It was in all those papers and news sources you don’t read. Second, we aren’t at war. Iraq, where the assassination took place, is a putative ally—or at least was, more on that in a moment—and despite the incessant saber-rattling from Bolton and Cheney and the rest of the trash militant right, Iran is not an enemy. At least, not as of this writing. And third, if you have anything at all resembling a brain in that skull of yours, do you really want a loophole in the constitution that encourages a president to start a war in order to avoid being brought up on criminal charges? Really? Is that all that’s left of your bullshit “suthun honor”?

This morning, the Iraq Parliament voted by a small majority to kick American troops out. If Trump reacts the way I expect and decides to blow off the Parliamentarian decree (after all, if he doesn’t pay attention to the US Congress, why would he care about anyone else’s?) then he’s probably just rekindled the Iraq war. And Donald may be too stupid to realize this, but America cannot win ground wars in Iraq and Iran. Hell, in the past twenty years, America hasn’t been able to win a ground war in Afghanistan, an economic basket case. It will just mean thousands of lives lost, and trillions of dollars squandered.

And Iran has renounced the nuclear deal in total today. I don’t want to hear a single American whine about that: the US arbitrarily broke the deal two years ago, part of Trump’s efforts to score points with the “let’s bomb them all” crowd, and the criminal fascist Netanyahu.

Oh, by the way, Donald. Remember ISIS? Those are the indisputably bad guys you claim to have defeated. Well, funny thing. The people who really brought ISIS to heel were the Kurds and the Iraqis. But now you’ve betrayed the Kurds, and you’ve pissed off the Iraqis to the point where they want your ass out of their country right now, and so ISIS can regrow, abetted by the propaganda coup that your foolish assassination of Suleimani has given them. And no, they still aren’t nice guys. But then, neither are you.

In fact, you’re a lot like Suleimani, except he was a lot smarter and less of a corrupt fraud. He was a vicious and crafty bastard, a master at asymmetrical warfare, and yes, Americans were his most frequent target. You may be wondering how such a bastard could develop a devoted following. Well, next time you hold one of your mini-Nuremberg rallies, look at the rabid faces goggling back at you with mindless devotion. Same types of assholes, only unlike you, with your manipulative nihilism, Suleimani actually stood for something (if awful) and didn’t have to pretend to be a leader.

His assholes are more dangerous than your assholes, and most of them are a lot smarter. You might want to keep that in mind.

It’s no wonder you reported to the Russians first ahead of your own nation. Putin must be beside himself with joy. For many years, since before you were born, Russia has wanted strong influence in the Persian and Babylonian regions. Reducing both countries to utter chaos is the easiest way to do that, since he understands that he cannot win a ground war or sustain an occupation in either land. (Unlike you, he learned from a failed occupation of Afghanistan). You’ve given him the chaos he wants to become the principal cohesive entity in that region. He doesn’t need troops and bases there to subdue the locals; he just wants control of the currency and the main industries, and you’ve given that to him.

And of course, the only country capable of preventing him from doing that is already in chaos, and largely at Putin’s hand. He managed to get a puppet regime that trashed the country’s intelligence and military, and divided and enraged the population. Place called America. He managed to get that most unlikely piece of shit you can imagine into the Oval Office.

That would be you, Donald.

And you’ve pretty much destroyed the intelligence agencies you now desperately need to gauge world reaction. What a fucking fool you are.

I can’t wait to see you convicted and thrown in prison. I hope you never see daylight again.

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You’re Going to Die Now – Happy Holidays!

You’re Going to Die Now

Happy Holidays!

December 31st, 2019

We’ve been hoping, all sane people have been hoping, that America could avoid a major international crisis before Trump was driven from office. No American president in history has been less equipped, mentally, morally or cognitively, to deal with a crisis that could result in a general war.

Iraqis, perhaps backed by Iran, occupied the US embassy deep in the “green zone” in Baghdad. People who remember America’s pointless occupation of Iraq will remember the green zone. It was supposed to make the hundred million dollar embassy the US built in that captive city impregnable.

Well, not so much, as it turns out. As Trump golfed, the embassy was occupied by protesters.

Trump finally bestirred himself to tweet, “The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request….”

OK, that sounds almost sane. OK, the bit about “Warfighters” and other lethal stuff being immediately rushed to the site, the bluster of a weak leader caught with his pants down.

But then it got Trumpweird. He continued in the next tweet, “….Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”

Yup. Because there’s nothing weird about making an open threat and following it up with a holiday greeting. You see it all the time in Hollywood, “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die. Happy Valentine’s Day.” “Yippie Kie Yay, motherfucker. Merry Christmas.” “Perhaps I’ll kill you tomorrow, Wesley. Happy Candlemas.”

It’s weird, but in fairness, Trump had a more important issue on his mind: the optics: “The Fake News said I played golf today, and I did NOT! I had meeting in various locations, while closely monitoring the U.S. Embassy situation in Iraq, which I am still doing. The Corrupt Lamestream Media knew this but, not surprisingly, failed to report or correct!” Well, the GOP wasted tens of millions of dollars and thousands of Congress hours trying to crucify Hillary over the non-scandal of whether she allowed Benghazi to happen. He knows how much trouble those noisy, sanctimonious, cowardly loudmouths on the right can create with such made up scandals. He should know: he was part of that deplorable crowd.

OK, the possibility of a general war in the middle east, once that could involve Russia is small potatoes next to the possibility that the pseudo-journalistic trash of the right wing media might turn on Trump and launch their endlessly dishonest propaganda.

So Trump doesn’t have a clue about how serious the situation in the middle east is right now, but rather whether it might drown out his constant whines about being impeached. That’s what makes him such a great leader.

Fortunately, not all of government is filled with vacuous and corrupt morons like Trump and Moscow Mitch. Chris Murphy, Democratic Senator from Connecticut, wrote a memorable series of tweets in response today that not only spells out how we got to this juncture (incredible incompetence from the Administration, and malign policies from Russia and Israel), but what it means, and why it could turn into a bloody fiasco that could cost many lives, not just of people living in that region but Americans as well. Rather than try to sum up what he wrote in a masterpiece of concise thinking, I’ll just repeat the texts here:

The attack on our embassy reminds us of all Trump’s Middle East disasters:

1/ Emboldened Iran starts attacking U.S. targets;
2/ Turkey invades Syria;
3/ Saudi Arabia gets away with murder;
4/ Israeli/Palestinian peace slips out of reach.

And that’s just the start…

4/ Thousands of Yemeni children continue to die in a U.S. fueled civil war;
5/ Iran restarts their nuclear program;
6/ Saudi Arabia and Qatar break relations, pushing Qatar to Iran
7/ Turkey buys weapons from Russia, breaking NATO’s back

8/ Brutal crackdown on political dissent in Egypt ramps up
9/ U.S. abandons Kurds to die in Syria, leaves our bases for Russia
10/ U.S. hold on aid to Lebanon weakens their army, empowers Hezbollah
11/ ISIS begins to regroup in Iraq, breaks out of prisons in Syria

The list keeps going, but the point is this:

The attacks on our embassy in Iraq (and Iraq’s unwillingness to defend us) is – on this last day of 2019 – a reminder of how catastrophic this year has been for U.S. interests in every corner of the Middle East.

The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable.
Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us.
America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away.
What a disgrace.

What a disgrace indeed. A lot of people think tomorrow is the dawn of a new decade (it’s not, but that’s for another time), and here we are, facing a massive international crisis with a deranged shitgibbon at the wheel.

He’s going to get us all killed, Happy New Year.

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