Many progressives so despise Donald Trump that they decry all his positions even those that make some sense, such as questioning NATO and the dangerous New Cold War with Russia, as ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller explains.
By Graham E. Fuller
With the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, it’s hard to know where first to focus attention. Rage and righteous indignation on all sides are mounting. There is more than enough blame to go around for how the U.S. got itself into this situation. Where it will all go from here is beyond the imagination of the most lurid screenwriters of White House dramas.
Whatever the outrage du jour may be, we must not forget that history didn’t begin with the 2015-2016 presidential campaign/circus. To believe that is analytically lazy, an easy cop-out, even self-serving. Major elements of these deep domestic pathologies trace back at a minimum to America’s fateful actions from the very beginning of this disastrous American Twenty-first Century.
It was in 2000 that the Supreme Court, in an act of sheer partisanship, threw the contested Florida election to George W. Bush. This “decision” did two things: it demonstrated that the politicization of the Supreme Court had now touched the very pinnacle of the U.S. political order. The Court’s reputation would never recover from the event.
Second, it enraged many Democrats who felt that the election had been stolen from Al Gore, thereby tainting the presidency of George W. Bush from the outset. Bush’s incompetence, ignorance, and domination by dark neocon forces led us into a series of desperate wars in the Middle East that shaped the region down to this day — the Global War on Terror, the collapse of Iraq, Libya, Yemen, an Afghanistan on the ropes, the creation of ISIS on the smoking ruins of Iraq’s civil struggle and to the beginning of the Syrian agony whose impact has massively shaken even Europe, and pushed the nature of U.S.-Russian relations towards resuscitation of the Cold War.
Unlike other nations that have undergone terrorist cataclysms but succeeded in rising above it, the United States never survived the psychological shock of 9/11. It is still living with it. U.S. obsession with domestic security — in one of the world’s safer environments — even invented a new, Teutonic-sounding word “Homeland” to celebrate the birth of the security state; it also raised the corrosive specter of the “Muslim Other” in our midst.
It was this event that spurred Washington to massively expand the size and number of existing security and intelligence organizations, and create vast multiple layers of new ones. We see how they now compete and stumble around against each other; their very unmanageable size has arguably contributed to an overall deterioration in the quality of U.S. intelligence. A sober grip on the trajectories of world forces seems quite beyond Washington’s ken.
Whatever Donald Trump may think about the CIA — and how legitimate any of his perceptions may or may not be — his dissatisfaction is not entirely out of place; it would be prudent for him to undertake a close, zero-based review of the entire massive and redundant national security structure. More is not better; bigger is not better. The national security structure would be leaner, meaner, and more efficient were it immediately slashed by 50 percent at the outset.
All organizations work hard to preserve their individual corporate fiefdoms; when does a bureaucracy voluntarily ever downsize? Better intelligence is no longer even the real dynamic at work; institutional self-preservation is.
Militarized Foreign Policy
The militarization of American foreign policy grew special wings under the Global War on Terror. It is little wonder that so many of the key senior positions in the Trump cabinet and the White House are now being filled by military men: National Security Advisor, CIA chief, Director of National Intelligence, the NSA, the Secretary of Defense, etc. We narrowly missed a military Secretary of State.
This is not to say that the military cannot produce significant competence at the top, but again the problem with the military — and a military budget that surpasses most of the rest of the world combined — has led to securitization and militarization of foreign policy. Defense trumps State every time. Global threats expand to meet and justify the military budget; military solutions become default approaches to world issues. Where would we be without our threats?
The new national security state has promoted the most dangerous security idea of all — the idea that international security is a zero-sum game; that among great powers everything takes on the character of a win-lose confrontation. Our think tanks earnestly scour the globe for “coming threats.” (I know, I’ve written many of them in my day.)
We cannot contemplate such a thing as a win-win relationship among great powers. Of course the massive resources consumed by the U.S. military (think of the staggering lost opportunity costs) are powerfully backed by the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower presciently warned us about half a century ago.
Now, coming to today’s real third-rail topic: Russia. The obsessive — virtually hysterical — narrative of Russia in U.S. domestic politics today is not really about a true threat to the national security. Russia hasn’t done anything that we don’t routinely do to ourselves (and others). Hacking abounds, it is the new growth industry.
“Blame Russia” instead is a convenient joint project for several unexpected bed-fellows: Clinton Democrats, embittered by Hillary’s defeat, seeking a scapegoat; Democrats who may detest Trump for quite understandable reasons, and seek to fully delegitimize his presidency at any cost and to refuse any constructive cooperation. What better device than to label him a Russian agent. End of discussion.
In addition, we have the military-industrial-security complex viscerally opposed to any kind of rapprochement with Moscow or talks with Putin; it’s simply bad for business. By all means investigate the Russians. But that is not basically why our nation is in a fix.
We are talking of sacred cows here. NATO is perceived as a God-given good in itself. Yet there are plenty of good, rational reasons for rethinking the place of NATO in the world. Try the views of the seasoned, beady-eyed conservative geopolitician George Friedman who does exactly that. Or my more critical blog of last July.
It constitutes neither treason nor ignorance to reconsider these foundations of our future place in a world that no longer resembles that of NATO’s founding. And of course by now NATO has its own priority of deeply-rooted institutional self-preservation at any cost, through promotion of ranges of new missions designed expressly to preserve its role. Serious debate with Europe about what NATO should and should not be is urgently due, but any such rational debate is not to be found in Washington, on this or so many other global strategy issues.
And finally, however emotionally satisfying, where does de-legitimization of the president take us? Rejection of the (highly flawed) electoral system entirely? Good luck at changing it. And who has the right to determine “legitimacy”? Our partisan Supreme Court? Determined citizens? This all represents exceptionally dangerous ground indeed. We’ve been down this de-legitimization route now against George W. Bush and Barack Obama (for differing reasons), and now Trump. It gets uglier with each iteration, but also exceedingly more dangerous to the nation as more and more people join the ranks of “he’s not my president.”
Draining the Swamp?
Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington had some allure during the primaries. The swamp goes back decades. Yet very little draining has yet taken place; instead we have a celebration of plutocracy in power as never before.
Money in politics has simply moved yet one further step up the rung, now foreshadowing a permanent future American corporatist governing structure. This deep, corrosive, bald presence of money in politics has grown by leaps and bounds in this century; no need to go to election 2016 to start bemoaning it.
It is self-deception if we let the coarseness of the Trump image lead us away from the thought that it has ever been much different. And the 90 percent left behind this time will be the chief victims of oppression, poor health, prejudice, discrimination.
The U.S. does not even seem capable of governing itself at this point, and the fault lines are sharpening. The specter of domestic political violence can hardly be excluded in this swirl of personalized politics of black hats and white hats. There is no debate, only vituperation, slander, vilification and demonization.
Drastic failures in U.S. foreign policies going back at least to 2000 have raised ongoing serious doubts in the eyes of the world about U.S. “leadership.” More and more countries, friends and rivals, are moving into damage limitation mode in dealing with us; their main task is to prevent the U.S. from dragging the rest of the world into dangerous confrontation.
Like so many others, I too am deeply disturbed at Trump’s style, manner, impulses, psychology, and policy preferences. Worse perhaps are their translation into dismaying top personnel choices. Trump himself may not be an ideologue but his appointments mostly are.
But don’t let the grossness of the immediate Trump symbol lead us to overlook the degree to which most of this goes back many, many years, and we all had a hand in it in one way or another.
Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is “Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan.” (Amazon, Kindle) grahamefuller.com
Vital point by Mike K that humans need a drastic change in outlook as we are definitely at crisis on earth with our behavior as Homo rapiens and not our self proclaimed Homo sapiens. Endless war is killing our Earth.
Excellent points here. Although I did not vote for Trump, I get awfully tired of the endless hate speech and discrediting of every conceivable aspect of his person. They are blind to any good he might do because they simply hate him. What a waste of everyone’s time, talents and intellectual capacities. Thank you, Mr. Fuller for a balanced look at this strange phenomenon currently playing.
There were slight rays of hope in Trump’s inaugural speech
and I cannot deny that I was much inspired by the (political)
pomp&ceremony of the day- it’s “regal-ness”
was a sham of soap opera-esq stage craft, a New Century
Trump-era Camelot of a beautiful family of beautiful people.
We Americans have this nascent love affair with monarchal patronage
such as The Original Signers of the Constitution, (Federalists)
and/or Betsey Ross & The Daughters of the American Revolution
I am thusly thrust back into the era of past aggressions
that superimpose the aspect of the more things change, –
the more acquainted they become with the status quo.
From “Before Adam” by Jack London, c.1906
excerpt from 1st lines of chapter 11
It must be remembered that the description I have just given of the Swift One is not the description that would have been given by Big-Tooth, my other self of my dreams, my prehistoric ancestor. It is by the medium of my dreams that I, the modern man, look through the eyes of Big-Tooth and see.
And so it is with much that I narrate of the events of that far-off time. There is a duality about my impressions that is too confusing to inflict upon my readers. I shall merely pause here in my narrative to indicate this duality, this perplexing mixing of personality. It is I, the modern, who look back across the centuries and weigh and analyze the emotions and motives of Big-Tooth, my other self. He did not bother to weigh and analyze. He was simplicity itself. He just lived events, without ever pondering why he lived them in his particular and often erratic way.
As I, my real self, grew older, I entered more and more into the substance of my dreams. One may dream, and even in the midst of the dream be aware that he is dreaming, and if the dream be bad, comfort himself with the thought that it is only a dream. This is a common experience with all of us. And so it was that I, the modern, often entered into my dreaming, and in the consequent strange dual personality was both actor and spectator. And right often have I, the modern, been perturbed and vexed by the foolishness, illogic, obtuseness, and general all-round stupendous stupidity of myself, the primitive.
And one thing more, before I end this digression. Have you ever dreamed that you dreamed? Dogs dream, horses dream, all animals dream. In Big-Tooth’s day the half-men dreamed, and when the dreams were bad they howled in their sleep. Now I, the modern, have lain down with Big-Tooth and dreamed his dreams.
This is getting almost beyond the grip of the intellect, I know; but I do know that I have done this thing. And let me tell you that the flying and crawling dreams of Big-Tooth were as vivid to him as the falling-through-space dream is to you.
For Big-Tooth also had an other-self, and when he slept that other-self dreamed back into the past, back to the winged reptiles and the clash and the onset of dragons, and beyond that to the scurrying, rodent-like life of the tiny mammals, and far remoter still, to the shore-slime of the primeval sea. I cannot, I dare not, say more. It is all too vague and complicated and awful. I can only hint of those vast and terrific vistas through which I have peered hazily at the progression of life, not upward from the ape to man, but upward from the worm
J’hon Doe II
April 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm
That “guy” is going straight to the White House, …..
and the people will carry him there . >alexander
We’re in an era and a place
where a ‘Supreme Court’
decides for & Legalizes
state’s right to Create & Enforce
voting RESTRICTIONS against US citizens.
does the striking down of a Justice Scalia
portend lesser freedom or greater equality?
an increasing refugee status-0f-existance?
fenced inside enclaves of military prisons/
police precincts, poor schools / gang terror.
This IS america “where the weak get diss’d
every day” by means of targeted aggressions
and methods of control/categorical separations
upon the Darwinian biased structured hierarchy
of power ‘naturally selects’ the keys-to-the kingdom?
Trump making the next SCOTUS appointment
would mean more foreclosure/harsher stricture,
less self-actualization based upon fake “equality”
nor ‘kinder/gentler’ promises but the realization
of Huxley’s vision and Orwell’s Animal Farm.
(Huxley’s vision and Orwell’s Animal Farm)
‘Money in politics has simply moved yet one further step up the rung, now foreshadowing a permanent future American corporatist governing structure.’
Particularly as Clinton spent far more money than Trump. Her election would have reinforced the role of money even more than Trump’s.
It seems to me that much of the commentary I read on Consortium is preoccupied with rehashing the same old games that have got us to this sorry point in human history. There is little recognition that we are at perhaps the terminal crisis point for our species on this planet. Is it not clear that the same old, same old games of politics and power struggles that have so totally failed to deliver us a viable way of living together are now not only futile but fatal?
The changes in us and our behavior need to be so revolutionary and dramatic that perhaps it is no wonder we fail to even consider them. But less than these transformations will be completely inadequate to solve our self-created problems. We are challenged to find ways to make the major changes in ourselves necessary, or perish as the failures we presently are. The only real questions now are about how we can do the seemingly impossible to save ourselves from ourselves. Anything else is merely fiddling while the planet burns. The key to our survival is to change our minds so as to have a whole different view of who we are and what the primary goal and meaning of our lives is. Then our behavior and relationship to each other would be transformed so as to give rise to a sustainable peaceful world. No amount of external fixes will ever make this possible.
While I know that there are a few who won’t agree with me I often find Graham Fuller’s essays to be informative, and insightful. Taking into consideration Mr Fuller’s spook resume, his opinions leave me a lot to wonder about, but there I digress.
In the first part of Fuller’s recent article, it almost reads like a thesis for his job application under a Trump Adminstration. Such as Fuller’s description of a spy, or multiple spy’s apparatus that is definitely in need of a huge downsizing, but it is clogged up by an even bigger needed downsizing of a tremendously big federal bureaucracy that is stubborn to change. There I agree, as most I imagine will, with Grahan Fullers opinion. Attempting to commit to this massive shredding could prove to be a very unhealthy project for those willing to hammer it down.
The admission by the CIA man Fuller where he talks about scouring the globe for ‘coming threats’ almost sounds like a confession. Although I will admit I’m not here to judge anyone, including Graham Fuller, but I read his admission of this as an honest portrayal of himself when talking about how think tanks, and government agencies need an explanation for why we do what we do.
My grandfathers would have thought that the U.S. Government had picked there pockets when establishing the Federal Reserve while with a recessed congress with a 3-0 vote by only three senators in the dead of night would do it. My ancestors would not be wrong to assume this since these money changers have plagued mankind going so far back as even before the time of Ceasar and Jesus.
Although President Trump shows his reservations in regard to NATO, I would caution this newly elected president to be careful to just how far he will go to change things for the good. Any attempt, of President Trump should show interest towards implementing a move towards a national currency will surely be a dangerous undertaking.
I am of the opinion that if Donald Trump wishes to move our tax dollars away from the Military Industrial Complex, then he would be well advised to create a national diversion, such as a massive infrastructure program whereas the mighty MIC could replace it’s productivity with these programs to keep these money changers wealthy.
Personally I have been thinking of what more I could have done to avoid this terrible bend in the road where America finds itself, and I can’t. I won’t go into all of what I have done, but I will tell you this, that besides paying taxes, even over paying them on occasion, I have been there many a time to help our country when needed and asked to aid in our effort to keep us safe. So, with that I will continue to help when needed, and rest my head that I and my family have been good Americans.
Sen. Sanders (the people’s president) still has the right strategy: work with him in areas of agreement, oppose in areas of disagreement. NATO IS obsolete. It should be converted into NARO (North Atlantic Reconstruction Organization) as the Trans-Atlantic contribution to Sino-Russian Silk Road/World Land Bridge/win-win policies. Set up another RFC to issue public credit monetized as Lincoln Greenbacks in the many trillions of $. The reason an entirely fiat money works is because the SOURCE of all wealth does not come gold bricks; it comes from a creative/productive, well-trained, well-organized Labor Force. From the minds of men and women come ALL invention, NOT from gold bricks laying about.
NARO….I like that, well done Brad
I fear that instead of NARO, we will get Nero….
I agree with you Brad on Sanders, and I think NATO needs reforming and more importantly, the UN. We need the dialogue which Oleg has referred to. But no matter how smart you are, technology takes jobs as it works up from manual production, to driving your car, to diagnosing illness or comparing data for major decision making.
We now have the constraints of global warming and a peaking in oil availability (limited by rising production costs vs acceptable profit returns) as mentioned before. The latter will take jobs. In time it will be too expensive to truck, fly or ship food around the world. If the answers aren’t found soon economies are in for a huge change and that has very serious and often dangerous consequences as past experiences have shown. Already we are approaching the point of no return from green house gases. The last two years have been the hottest on record as the trend line bounces it’s way upward. Creativity with productivity better come fast.
And Oleg, it would be nice if we all thought universally but that is not the case. Many politicians have dangerous egos, and one has to be very wary in where those egos are going to take us. Also there is a tendency for the clanish Exodus syndrome, repetitions of the supposed Biblical Exodus reported to be from Egypt to Palestine with god telling a clan they can kill every man woman and child and the land is theirs. It was similar to Boer’s exodus to South Africa, the Puritan’s exodus to America, the Spanish to South America. I don’t care what religion anyone has as long as it is personal and doesn’t negatively affect the lives of others. In North America, 9/10th of all natives died. Can we overcome those challenges?
Can we overcome all of these challenges you’ve listed?…we will simply have to, or die trying. There is no other choice. It is said Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Let us hope we haven’t run out of brain power and empathy yet.
Sen. Sanders (the people’s president) still has the right strategy: work with him in areas of agreement, oppose in areas of disagreement.
That’s a nice idea, but the oligarchs in the Democratic (sic) party will only subscribe to the neoliberal areas they agree to and oppose any progressive thoughts Senator Sanders might advocate. After Sanders folded so easily into the party’s lair it is unlikely he will ever have much influence there.
That is why I immediately jumped over to the Greens, to the tune of ten bucks a month, thinking Sanders’ attempt at reform of brand-D will fail miserably, and end up wasting more time, $, and citizen support on a fool’s errand. We Greens sure can use Sanders support and rolodex. I trust we’ll see him one day come though the green door (all my comments will be void if I see very rich donors making a serious move on the Green Party…it will then be time to move on and rally under some other “Peoples’ Flag”).
I have watched Trump’s inaugural speech. Congratulations, it seems you’ve got yourselves a good president. And I am really surprised by many comments in the press, including this one by Mr. Fuller. It seems there is a real disengagement between elites and the people, and it shows even in the commentaries. I am not an American but what Trump said made perfect sense. He would have scored high with a speech like that somewhere in the Russian industrial heartland too, like the Ural region. The jobs and the economy, the power of the people, and the patriotism. Especially the patriotism. To be great, a country should be very diverse, with a lot of very different people. But to be great, a country should be united, and the way to unite all these diverse and different people is to love your country and open to each other through this. A truly great notion. Not some silly tolerance and multiculturalism when you just tolerate other people, turn your eyes away and try not to show it. The patriotism when all people are all citizens and patriots regardless of who they are, their race, origin, etc. And you love them because they all are your compatriots. Regardless of everything but the values and the patriotism and the love for your country. That’s what we try to do in Russia too. You’ve got yourselves a really good president.
I have watched Trump’s inaugural speech. Congratulations, it seems you’ve got yourselves a good president.
Unfortunately, when it comes to politicians talk is cheap and Donald Trump is no exception. He said, “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism… ” It will be difficult to unite the civilized world if the United States behaves in an uncivilized way attacking other nations that are no threat to it. Or supporting uncivilized nations and giving them weapons to attack defenseless people.
The bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
Nice idea, but it flies in the face of the protests he has inspired across the U.S. and around the world.
There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Rather than the kind of protection provided by the military and law enforcement, we would be much better served if we were protected by laws that are just and politicians that lived up to their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution at all times and not just when politically expedient. As for God, he or she hasn’t done much for the millions of people living in poverty. Or this child that only survived a few hours with its homeless mother – http://www.wweek.com/news/city/2017/01/16/a-baby-is-dead-after-being-found-with-his-homeless-mother-at-a-portland-bus-stop/
I agree it is good to back-off from some of the threats and militarization around the Russian border, America would never accept it on its border. But one must be vigilant too, and aware of political gamesmanship that often is intermixed within these international relationships. Is Reump a capable politician, my senses tell me no, but I could be surprised in the future. I worry over his Russian relationship (almost pandering to Putin) because I gather there have been and are future hopes for his business in Russia.
Much of today’s populism is from poor job prospects. Young people face endless short term unpaid internships and the like even when highly educated.
I think there are going to be a lot of disappointed people over hoped for job creation. Job loss isn’t so much about businesses moving outside the US as it is about new technology. Take a look inside a hospital lab where many staff manually did the testing. Chemistry tests are now done by a few huge automated machines fed body fluid samples bar coded at time of collection. Machines can now identify bacteria causing infection and find out what antibiotics they are sensitive to. Computers are now being made that can diagnose problems by inputting the symptoms and mechanized lab results. They aren’t limited by the knowledge gained by a physician at school or experienced on the job in the past.
Then there is fuel which fed our present industrial age now maxing out. In the early days 1 barrel of oil used to find the oil would produce 100 gal of usable oil. Today it is harder and deeper to find so 1 barrel used, produces only on average 20. With mining of the tar sands the ratio becomes 1 for 5. Using steam to release deep heavy oil it becomes 1 for 1 to 2. So costs go up as returns go down. They tell us of the vast volumes of shale oil etc but only a small fraction of that is economically retrievable if these figures are true. And that is going to happen fairly quickly in historical terms. We need to find a replacement be it solar, wind, fusion reactors or better fission reactors. If we don’t, it will soon be another hit on jobs, and we will have to rely on more localized economies as in the pre-industrial age. Trucking, shipping, and flying vast amounts of products about, will be a thing of the past due to costs.
It’s a whole new world winging in fast and that causes great fear and uncertainty, and some behavioural irrationality.
Jobs are ultimately about the goals and vision. What is the purpose of the economy? If it is just to feed and keep the population content – this is one thing. If it is to make some financial speculators rich – this is another thing, usually going along with the first. That’s what you basically have in the US now. A few are getting rich through financial games, and the rest is kept content, fed, and entertained. In this kind of economy, jobs will be disappearing, because one cannot eat two lunches, drive two cars at the same time, wear two pairs of jeans, etc., and the productivity and automation will keep axing manufacturing and agricultural jobs as they do now. Financial speculations does not create anything new at all, nor they are supposed to. So it is not about new technology, it is about goals and vision. We have lots of underdeveloped areas on our planet. We have the whole open space waiting for us. If one decides to build new roads – along go the jobs. If one decide to build a spaceship to go to stars – this will create LOTS of jobs. Etc. Where does the money come from? This question comes from the corporate bottom line minders, who prefer to cut costs regardless of the human and infrastructure costs of these decisions. Remember FDR’s New Deal? You still use the roads and infrastructure built then. Another source of money to pay for it: all kind of waste, military-industrial complex, government inefficiency, needlessly stationing troops all over the world. That’s what I hear in your President’s inaugural speech, and while I think it will be mightily hard to achieve, I think he should be commended at least for trying, for spelling it out, for his vision. And after all, he may pull it off, who knows, especially if we all will help him, you in the US and we abroad too. We in Russia will be happy to work together with the US to achieve better life for our peoples and peaceful development of our planet. One must dream big, as your President said just yesterday.
Major elements of these deep domestic pathologies trace back at a minimum to America’s fateful actions from the very beginning of this disastrous American Twenty-first Century.
A case can be made that “major elements of these deep domestic pathologies trace back” to the writing of the Declaration of Independence that set the pattern for unconscionable hypocrisy practiced ever since. “All men are created equal with a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” That from slave owners who never had any intention of releasing their slaves from bondage. That also from opponents of raising the minimum wage to a living wage, and countless other hypocrites in between.
The Declaration of Independence set the goal and ideal toward which this experiment in government of, by, for, the people is to strive. It is much like an alcoholic saying “I WILL dry out and become a sober human being”. We can either say “What!? A sorry-ass drunk like you!? No frickin way”. Or we can help the drying-out process along, towards a successful end. It is just an experiment after all, of deliberate design, not relying on the old conservative approach of customs and traditions handed down from long ago, from time-out-of-mind, with no guarantee of success. Otherwise I’d say swear fealty to the Crown and kiss the ring of Queen Liz number 2, and apologize for the long absence since George number 3 of the Hanover Dynasty…our experiment failed.
The experiment DID FAIL !!!
Well then…long live Her majesty the Queen.
I was at the Buzzflash site and saw a link titled The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun”.
Clicking on it took me to the Washington Post. They sure didn’t waste any time. Expect a steady drumbeat of breathless “coverage” about this important issue from Jeff Bezos’ bullhorn. All the better to avoid mentioning Holy Israel’s latest outrages.
“Rage and righteous indignation on all sides are mounting.”
So what? Wasn’t this exactly the reaction of the US South when the Federal Government finally decided that the continued debasement of negro citizens was going to have to end?
“Whatever Donald Trump may think about the CIA — and how legitimate any of his perceptions may or may not be — his dissatisfaction is not entirely out of place; it would be prudent for him to undertake a close, zero-based review of the entire massive and redundant national security structure.”
Donald Trump is no more qualified to do that “review” than me or the old woman who lives across the street. He will have no real choice besides selecting which of his adviser’s views prevail.
“And who has the right to determine “legitimacy””
I’ll volunteer for that one. Every time an election rolls around “places to vote” would be set up at schools, libraries, courthouses, etc. There would be a lot of poll workers watching each other, and all of THEM watched by security cameras. People wanting to vote would be identified as local citizens by the gimlet-eyed workers. The “voters” would sign their names, place their thumbprint beside the signature, then smile for the VoteCam machine. At this point they get a paper ballot, two #2 lead pencils and a separate gum eraser. They would then retire to a closed booth/tent out of sight of both workers and security cameras, and mark their ballots. When finished, they would return with the folded paper ballot which they’d place in the top slot of a big locked box. After all voting is finished either the day workers or another select crew would put the unfolded paper ballots into the dumbest and simplest non-computerized mechanical scanning machine it is possible to design for a tabulation. After that those paper ballots would be held in secure storage for future reference if necessary.
“The U.S. does not even seem capable of governing itself at this point, and the fault lines are sharpening.”
Agreed. When the Republicans got away with ignoring their constitutional duty to vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee I realized the rot was even worse than I’d imagined.
“…we all had a hand in it in one way or another.”
I’m afraid I must dispute this. The lawless and partisan Supreme Court is responsible for lots more than Bush vs. Gore. Among their many other sins, they opened the spigot of unlimited billionaire money. And it sure wasn’t me who declared that Corporations Are People!
Zachary I think you make some very valid points. I think a major issue though is the loss of jobs. That I believe has inflamed people to the point where they have taken an interest in government functioning and realized that the democratic system has fallen apart. For democracy to exist, people have to be continuously watchful and informed over what’s going on, and take to the streets when things go awry. I think this is the weakness in all democracies. We let them gradually slide into self serving institutions of the elite or at least where the money is.
With the introduction and legalisation of PACs and Super-PACs people should have gone ballistic.
That was a hard-headed, legitimate, set of comments. I do not necessarily agree with everything that was said, but they were all legit.