Monthly Archives: March 2016

MAKING AMERICA HATE AGAIN

The title is taken from some of the signs held up at various Trump campaign rallies. There has recently been outbreaks of violence at these rallies between protesters and Trump supporters. Of course, such violence plays right into Trump’s strategy of appearing to be the injured party, or the victim. Even thought Trump has openly espoused the use of violence against those protesting his neo-fascist proclamations, and has often applauded those of his adherents for committing violent acts. This includes his own campaign manager who threw a female reporter to the ground. It also includes Trump’s threat of instigating riots throughout the U.S. should the GOP have the temerity of denying him the Republican presidential nomination. But it also begs the question of why there are apparently millions of Americans that are so in sync with with his fascist agenda and so eager for violent retribution against those that are opposed. I know that I have written about this several times before, but one has to go back to the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany in the 1920s to understand the mechanics of the groundswell for a fascist candidate in 21st century America.

Benito Mussolini began the fascist imperative in Italy before 1920 through a nativist, xenophobic campaign against all foreigners. Originally a socialist, he soon rejected socialism and founded the first fascist party in Europe. The attainment of power became an all-consuming quest as Mussolini employed organized thugs known as the “black shirts” to quell and silence all those in opposition to his ambitions. He was appointed Prime Minister of Italy in 1923, through what constituted  the democratic process, but soon destroyed all vestiges of democracy, and declared himself dictator for life. He became an ally of Hitler, and it wasn’t until near the end of WWII that he was removed from office and executed by Italian partisans. It should be noted, however, that Mussolini’s popularity among Italians remained high until Italy’s fortunes began to plummet as WWII dragged on, and the Axis powers began losing their conquests.

In Germany, a down-and-out former WWI corporeal named Adolph Hitler became a keen observer of Mussolini’s exploits in Italy. He was desperate to obtain a government job as a means of supporting himself. Finally a German bureaucrat hired Hitler to sit in on a small troublesome outfit known as the German Workers Party and report back if this group constituted any kind of threat to the government. When Hitler came to the first meeting there were maybe 20 people in attendance, and their speeches were dull as dishwater.  Hitler then finally spoke at this gathering, with fiery, demagogic rhetoric, as he blamed the Allied powers and a small minority of Jews for all of Germany’s many problems. More and more people began listening to Hitler’s thunderous demagoguery as the crowds at his speeches quickly swelled. Along the way, Hitler found an ancient tribal symbol, and fashioned it in what became known as the swastika, or a new symbol embroidered into flags and armbands for his growing movement. A truly brilliant stroke for any budding demagogue. He changed the name of his party to the German National Socialist, or Nazi party. Like Mussolini, he organized his own band of goon squads known as the “brown shirts” that roamed through German cities and beat-up or otherwise terrorized any and all opposition. And like Mussolini, he rose to become Chancellor largely through the democratic process, but then destroyed all remnants of democracy once in office. The rest as they say, is history.

So, the interesting question is not the reason for Trump’s ascendency on the national scene, but, rather, why people in such large numbers are drawn to this fascist imperative. After all, Trump merely saw an opening and exploited it like Hitler and Mussolini before him. But why is such a large chunk of the so-called Republican base buying his snake-oil, or drinking his Kool-aid, or any other metaphor one can use. One reason, as I previously pointed out, is the hate-based vitriol that’s been leeched into the American mainstream over the past 25-30 years by talk radio stars such as Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. The poisonous seeds that have been planted into the American psyche by these xenophobic, nativist, hate-preaching polluters are finally taking root and are beginning to grow. Their efforts have not been in vain.

Another primary reason is that a good portion of the American populace really isn’t paying much attention to the political scene. Trump is a TV celebrity businessman with a lot of name recognition who gets tons of free publicity. People tend to gravitate toward a known brand such as Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The other candidates are lesser known and too many people are too focused on the next American Idol, and can’t be bothered by researching out what the other candidates stand for. After all, what’s more important- keeping up with the Kardashians, or who the next president will be. The irony is that Americans were generally better informed about the political scene in the 19th and early 20th centuries when all they had were newspapers,  than they are today when a wealth of information is right at their finger tips through Google. Thus, a lying huckster like Trump who speaks out of both sides of his mouth, can make all kinds outrageous claims and falsehoods to an uninformed electorate and get away with it. Until the day will come, as it did in Italy and Germany, when it will be too late to do anything about it, without fear of horrific retribution.

Well, I promised myself I wouldn’t write about Trump again; but when I saw that sign about making America hate again, I guess it got political my juices flowing.

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Categories: Economics, ELVIS PRESLY, MARILYN MONROE, MICHAEL JACKSON, WHITNEY HOUSTON, THE STATE OF HAPPINESS VS. UNHAPPINESS, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CHAOS IN AMERICA

It’s January 20, 2017, and newly elected President Donald Trump enters the Oval Office in the White House for the first time. He is eager to show the American public that he’s a dynamic man of action by quickly implementing the agenda he ran on during the campaign. There has recently been a spate of terrorist bombings in Europe committed by ISIS and other Islamic-Jihadist barbarians. So, as the first order of business, Trump commands the military to start bombing ISIS barracks and employing torture methods to any captured Jihadists. The barracks have never been attacked before because they are primarily populated by the wives and kids of ISIS fighters. Some Generals and Admirals balk at these commands, pointing out that they would be in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions, and that they could thus be prosecuted for committing war crimes. Trump calls them “pansies” and fires them immediately for failing to comply with direct orders from their Commander-in-Chief. New officers are appointed who are far more amenable to carrying out Trumps orders.

The bombing of ISIS barracks by U.S. forces begins for the first time with the resultant deaths of hundreds if not thousands of casualties, comprised mainly of women and children. Not only the Arab world, but most of Europe is outraged including our closest allies.  Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, among others, threaten to pull out of NATO but, in the end, are pretty much impotent to stop these bombings. ISIS, however, seizes on these actions as the gift of an invaluable recruiting tool. ISIS goes on-line and states that such bombings demonstrate that America really is The Great Satan the world has been warned about. Thousands of new recruits join ISIS in the following months. We are now locked in competition with the Jihadists in a race to the bottom of the mud pit. American credibility sinks to an all-time low.

Next up is building that gigantic wall  on the Mexican border, nearly 2000 miles long, that Trump promised during his campaign. The Mexican Government is nearly doubled over in stitches when Trump asks them to pay for the construction. But Trump can always rely on the U.S. Treasury for funding so construction begins. At a cost of multi-billions in new deficits added to the $20 trillion of debt the U.S. owed when Obama left office. The Trump Wall, with all its grotesqueness, as it becomes referred to, now replaces Lady Liberty in New York harbor as the symbol of America. At the same time, Trump orders the process of rounding up nearly 11 million undocumented Hispanics for deportation to Latin America. These include children (of illegal-alien parents) that were born in the U.S., and who are thus supposedly American citizens according to the Constitution. But Trump calls them “anchor babies” and insists that lawyers (whom he’s paid for) have advised him that deportation of such children is perfectly legal. Although denounced by such media outlets as the New York Times, the Los Angles Times, and the Washington Post, Trumps favorability ratings skyrocket, especially among the Republican base.

Next, Trump begins a trade war with Mexico, China and other countries. Trump slaps a 33%-45% tariff on most imported goods as he promised. This hits the lower middle class especially hard, since much of the clothing they buy at Wal-Mart or K-Mart or other such low end stores is imported from Asia. The person who is considering buying a $30,000 dollar Ford, which is the most he can afford, now finds that same car costs $45,000 because it’s manufactured in Mexico. China, which owns over a trillion dollars of U.S. debt, is outraged over these new tariffs on its exported products and begins retaliation. First it dumps a good portion of the U.S. bonds it owns, on the open market  causing panic among U.S. stock and bond investors. Interest rates skyrocket which results in massive investment sell-offs on Wall Street. The stock and bond markets plunge. Next, retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports are established primarily by Asian countries and Mexico. The export industry in this country, which accounts for a large chunk of the U.S. economy, takes a huge hit. Export factories begin to shutter, laying off tens of thousands of mostly blue-collar workers who were the backbone of Trump’s supporters in the previous November election. One might call it ironic justice. The unemployment rate begins to significantly increase, causing the first dip in Trump’s poll numbers.

Through all the turmoil, David Duke, the former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, reiterates his undiminished support for President Trump. Although Trump has supposedly dis-avowed him, Duke still insists that Trump is doing right by the white race, and continues to have the full support of the KKK. I could go on with more examples but I think you get the picture. It’s the same thing that happened in Venezuela which was a functioning democracy until an ego-driven, blustering bully named Hugo Chavez took the reigns of power. Venezuela had a reasonable economy fueled by its very large oil reserves until Chavez drove that economy into the ground. He refused to relinquish the presidency when his term was up until cancer finally killed him. But his thuggish cronies are still running the country and ruining its economy.

Sometimes, the utter hollowness and hypocrisy of the Trump campaign is tripped up by the tiniest but most meaningful of circumstances. Not long ago, Trump, the great biblical scholar, gave a speech at Liberty University which is a Christian school run by Jerry Falwell Jr. During his talk he quoted from a passage out of the New Testament called “Second Corinthians.” Only Trump referred to it as “Two Corinthians.” Twitter and Facebook lit up like a Roman candle. One person wrote on Twitter that-“Two Corinthians go into a bar…..” I think that simple posting says it all.

Categories: Economics, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, human affairs, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, Ronald Reagan, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE KINGFISH

 

It’s the early 1930s and the United States, as well as the rest of the planet, is mired in the greatest economic downturn the world has ever seen. In the U.S., the unemployment rate soars to over 25%, businesses begin shuttering at an alarming rate, banks are locking their doors, and people who thought that they would live out their lives with a comfortable middle class existence, now find themselves broke and homeless. The mournful despair and desperation of those times is, perhaps, best caught-up by a popular song back then called “One Meat Ball” which you can still listen to on YouTube, if so interested. In this song, a poor, down-and-out man goes into a restaurant and orders one meat ball for about 15 cents, which is all he can afford. He’s hoping to get the bread basket that comes when someone orders a regular meal. But the angry waiter sings out-“You gets no bread with one meat ball.” Such was the new norm of those times.

With rage and despair covering the country like a giant, thick blanket, Franklin Roosevelt is elected President by a landslide in 1932, and starts the New Deal upon taking office in 1933. But also elected to high office during those desperate days was a man who would be king. His name was Huey Long, and he was first elected as Governor of Louisiana in 1928, and then Senator from that state in 1930. Long was a rarity for a Southern politician in those days, in that he didn’t display the usual racial bigotry and segregation advocacy that was common amongst most white Southerners of that era. In fact he generally advocated for the poor, black or white. As Governor, he was responsible for the construction of many new roads, schools and infrastructure throughout the state as he attempted to bring Louisiana out of the dark ages. But there was also a very dark side to Huey Long. He was the ultimate power-hungry politician who would ruthlessly destroy anyone that dared to oppose him. He reveled in the acquisition of power, the more the better, as illustrated by his fondness for being called the Kingfish.

Although Huey Long supported Roosevelt’s candidacy in 1932, shortly after the Kingfish was elected to the Senate, he stated that he would oppose FDR, and run for the Presidency himself in 1936. So sure was he of winning that next election, that while running, he announced who his cabinet officers would be when he took office. Most political analysts and commentators of the day wrote that there was little doubt that once the Kingfish entered the oval office, he would quickly establish a total dictatorship. Crushing any and all opposition was Huey Long’s specialty. It was claimed by political insiders that Roosevelt, himself, feared for his re-election prospects should the Kingfish run against him. Of course, none of that materialized because Huey Long was gunned down by an assassin’s bullet in 1935. An excellent fictionalized version of the life and times of Huey Long can be found in the American classic novel, “All The King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren.

Now let’s fast-forward to the upcoming election in 2016, and the new Kingfish of our times . Today is known as Super Tuesday because a bunch of states will be holding their Presidential primaries. If the prognosticators are correct, Donald Trump stands to win almost all of these elections, which will likely give him a lock on achieving the Republican nomination. Yes, the same Trump that does the Texas-Two-Step as he waltzes around the issue of releasing his tax returns for public observation. What damaging stuff those returns must contain. The same fearless Trump that wouldn’t participate in a Fox News debate because Megan Kelly would be one of the hosts, and she might have been “mean” to him. All 110 pounds of her. The same Trump that advocates for the use of torture when dealing with our supposed enemies. Or at least “something much worse than water boarding.” And, the same Trump, who with the greatest reluctance, finally “disavowed” a ringing endorsement given him by the former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. That fine human specimen is named David Duke, and he publicly announced that any white person that didn’t wholeheartedly support Donald Trump would be “a traitor to his race.” Trump danced around that issue for 2 days, feigning mental amnesia about who white supremacists are, before finally choking out the words-“I disavow.” Welcome to America’s new Kingfish.

What’s fascinating and disturbing at the same time is the number of people out there gleefully supporting this neo-fascist demagogue. Willing to destroy the Constitution and its inherent civil liberties that have been around since George Washington. Over some delusional fantasy that Trump will stick it to the Mexicans, the Chinese, and the Moslems. That vengeance will rule the day. In the end we do it to ourselves. As Pogo said-we have met the enemy and he is us.

Categories: Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump | Leave a comment

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