That’s just the way it is

 

Divide and rule is as old as the hills.

That’s just the way it is.

In the wake of Trump’s surprising win over Hillary Clinton, Democrats have seized upon several explanations for the poor showing of their establishment candidate. It was the Russian’s. Or Wikileaks. But most pernicious was the excuse put forth by the candidate herself before the results were known. Trump supporters were deplorable, declared Mrs. Clinton.

The expletive was directed at white working-class voters who’d been left behind by the neoliberal, New Economy, celebrated by Hillary, and largely created by her husband, Bill Clinton, when he was president.

Indeed, a list of the feral elite who served in the Clinton Administration reveals just what interests were served. There was Robert Rubin who went from co-chair of Goldman Sachs to secretary of the treasury. And, Ron Brown, corporate lawyer and lobbyist at the Department of Commerce. Mickey Kantor, corporate lawyer, was in charge of “free trade” deals. Warren Christopher, another corporate lawyer, was at the State Department and would initiate the liberal interventions that continue to plague US foreign policy. Then there was Hillary herself, a corporate lawyer and board member at Walmart, the low-wage behemoth that’s destroyed countless small town economies. She would supervise health care.

While that kind of lineup went over big with the corporate and banking interests, its policy pursuits would end up driving a wedge between the Democratic Party and the working class.

At the top of the neoliberal policies pursued by the Clinton Administration was the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Of course the corporate CEO’s and the bankers loved NAFTA. The corporate media was also a big fan, no surprise, since their owners have the same class interests.

For the rest of us there’s not been much to celebrate.

NAFTA decimated American union wages and led to a hollowing out of the economy. In essence, US industry shifted production to Mexico where Mexican workers were paid one-third that of US workers. Imagine the feeling when the boss came to inform you that your job was being moved to Mexico and there was nothing you could do. Do you think there might be some animus towards Mexicans?

It wasn’t just American workers who suffered. NAFTA decimated the Mexican economy, leaving Mexican workers the choice of going to work for American corporations in Mexico (maquiladoras) for whatever wages they were offering or migrating to the U.S. Indeed, NAFTA created the conditions that made the Mexican immigrant invasion that Trump rails against inevitable.

By the time NAFTA was fully implemented the feral elite behind its central policies had already settled upon a racialized explanation of Mexican immigration to the U.S. According to this conventional wisdom, NAFTA bear no responsibility for the millions of Mexicans leaving Mexico for the U.S. or for the rapidly declining fortunes of American workers who suddenly faced competition from people willing to work for whatever they could get. Rapists and freeloaders coming for American jobs is now the carefully-crafted storyline.

What’s so infuriating is that the liberals who are now so concerned about Trump’s racism, played a huge part in creating the fertile soil for it to flourish. The deplorables pejorative is especially offensive given the role of liberal economists and politicians in engineering the economic facts that racism and xenophobia are now being exploited to explain. Especially galling is Bill Clinton decrying Trumpian xenophobia while being the architect of the policies that exacerbated the hatred.

The result of these bi-partisan neoliberal policies has been mass immigration from Mexico and the destruction of the American working-class.

For the feral elite it’s nothing personal. It’s just capitalism, with its emphasis on the surplus value of labor. Different classes of workers are created and placed in competition with one another to benefit the 1%.

Divide and rule.

That’s just the way it is.

 

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A state turns its lonely eyes to Mittens

 

Mittens wants to be our Senator.

Not only that but he’s convinced that we share his enthusiasm.

We don’t.

However, Mittens does offer a useful representation of our feral elite. Romney is the sort of centrist politician that stands for nothing except for looting the republic under the benevolent gaze of the corporate media, whose owners profit massively from the ongoing operation.

There’s just one little problem for politicians like Mittens in 2018.

Everything changed after 2008—when for a lot of Americans the economy went in the crapper. Despite endless pearl clutching by wealthy liberals, racism, anxiety and the economy are all related. In my opinion, we have Trump as president because after the Wall Street crash Obama bailed out the banksters instead of the homeowners

Indeed, Trump won by tapping into the anger and despair in the flyover regions of America by directing fury and frustration at institutions of the establishment — the leadership of both parties, mainstream media outlets, the banking and financial sectors. Liberals want to forget that Trump beat Clinton by running as an economic populist against an establishment candidate who raked in millions from Wall Street banks for speeches. It’s become apparent that he lied, but Trump promised to change course away from policies on trade, immigration, and international affairs that these establishments had championed and that had contributed to the decline and immiseration of communities across wide swaths of the country.

Trump is the monster that financial elites like Mittens created by embracing everything for the 1% and nothing for the losers that Mittens infamously described as takers. During a private fundraiser for his presidential campaign, Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors that he believes half of the population is made up of freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them.

You do have to hand it to Mittens in that he’s entirely shameless. Any honest appraisal of Romney’s actions and behavior while at Bain Capital would offer a more useful description of the term takers. In fact, Mittens is the perfect embodiment of financialization, where America went from a productive economy that built things and employed millions of workers, to an extractive economy based on looting.

Rolling Stone’s gonzo journalist, Matt Taibbi, well describes the vast projection of Mittens world view.

“And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you’ll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. It’s almost enough to make you think he really is qualified for the White House.”

It would be nice if the Utah media would explore the history of Romney’s time on Wall Street and the sheer hypocrisy of his worldview but I’m not holding my breath.

At least we’ll have the comedic value of Mittens.

There will also be ongoing comedy in that Romney is a notoriously tone death candidate.

But, in his defense, it’s hard to run as an actually feeling human when you’re a sociopath.

Update: If we’re lucky we could get a corporate Democrat to contest Romney.

Oh, wait.

Here’s Ajamu Baraka, international human rights activist, organizer and political analyst offering a warning about the faux resistance.

“I have to give it democrats. Trump is product of failure of neoliberal capitalism but democrats successfully coopted a potential resistance against the neoliberal system into safe politics of anti-Trumpism.”

 

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Morality of Empire

 

The missile strikes in Syria were a joke.

Western officials claimed the 105-missile attack, including on a scientific research and development center in the capital of Damascus’ Barzeh district and two facilities nearly the city of Homs, had crippled Assad’s chemical weapons abilities.

The attack wasn’t really about chemical weapons at all. In fact, there’s a strong case to be made that the chemical attack was fabricated. Instead, the attack was an attempt to disable the Syrian air force by destroying its airports. It failed and now the Pentagon is hiding this failure by claiming that all its cruise missiles hit the undefended targets some of its missiles reached.

Here’s what the military experts at Sic Semper Tyrannis, have to say about the West’s cruise missile diplomacy.

“Do not believe a word you have heard from the Pentagon and the White House about the “success” of the cruise missile strikes on Friday last. A fraud is being perpetrated on the American people and the world at large. Frankly, General Mattis and General Dunford have dishonored themselves by going along with this charade.”

The martial exercise was not just about a purported chemical weapons attack in Syria. Let’s be honest, Trump and the mandarins of US foreign policy could care less about dead Arab children. The problem goes much deeper.

The US empire is running into post-primacy faster than anticipated, and Russia, due to geographical, historical, cultural and military factors, is today the objective leader of the worldwide resistance to the Empire. Hence, Russia-gate.

In my opinion, the US empire is in steep decline because the US maintains a very unique empire based on greedy/ideology. As a nation of hustlers, that’s just how we roll.

However, this greedy/ideology is really starting to bite us in the ass. We are ruled by fools, where the pursuit of profit interferes with competent empire management. The way in which our feral elite thought they could “manage” China, offers a useful testament to this greedy/ideology. Our leading lights, while recognizing China as a long term adversary, couldn’t pass up the chance to offshore US industry to China, largely to destroy American unionized labor and increase shareholder value and executive compensation. Except, now China is seen as an existential enemy. Recently, Trump launched a trade war with China as the enormity of the blunder becomes clear.

Even worse, the ceaseless demonization of Russia and China has brought the two together, violating the maxim about uniting enemies. Even the Machiavellian ghoul Henry Kissenger understood this and sought to keep Russia and China divided during the Cold War. Presently, Russia and China are working together on the One Belt One Road project in central Asia, that promises to be a game changer  Add the Petro-Yuan to the equation and you have the emergence of a new Eurasian model which threatens to make the US corporate empire irrelevant.

Most of this starts with the basics. Not only does the US not have anything remotely resembling a consistent foreign policy, it does not even do diplomacy. The Department of State does not deal with diplomacy simply because the US leaders don’t believe in diplomacy as a concept. They simply issue threats, like UN Ambassador Nikki Haley openly declaring at a UNSC meeting that the US is willing to ignore the decisions of the UNSC and act in complete violation of the UN Charter.

Despite the enormity of their failure, the managers of the US corporate empire do have at their disposal the worlds best propaganda system. However, this system has limits. The reason that the corporate media works so hard to manufacture support for war because they still require that consent from the American people.

Meanwhile, there is a brewing dissatisfaction. Indeed, for the last two elections Americans have clearly voted for a different foreign policy. First for Hope and Change, where they voted for Obama as a turn from the disastrous foreign policies of George W. Bush, and now Make America Great Again, where Trump supporters voted to end these disastrous wars of empire that are sending their kin home in body bags.

The reason for the lack of change can be attributed to the bi-partisanship of empire, and to the suppression of the discussion of the morality of the empire by the feral elite that directly benefit from this empire. It’s pretty simple: America is now involved in so many wars in so many different places, and there exists such an overwhelming bipartisan consensus that involvement in these wars is necessary and to the US advantage, that to confront the morality of our militarism honestly would require an almost total overhaul of America’s role in the world.

It’s beyond time for an overhaul.

If we are to have any hope of doing so we’re going to have to put aside  partisanship. No more team red or team blue. Those artificial constructs allow the feral elite to divide and rule. Instead we’re going to have to make alliances across those lines in the pursuit of an anti-empire foreign policy.

We don’t have much time.

Update: Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets), details the malign influence of the neocons on US foreign policy.

“I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government’s ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump’s approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time?”

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It must be a coincidence

 

It must be a coincidence that every time Trump or someone in his administration talks about leaving Syria there’s a chemical weapons attack.

On Saturday, April 7, video and stories claiming a chemical weapons attack in Douma were broadcast. The US State Department immediately declared that “the Assad regime must be held accountable” and Russia “ultimately bears responsibility” for it.

However, there’s been no investigation and the claims of an attack come from the usual propagandistic suspects. The evidence consists of statements and videos from the White Helmets, and Syrian American Medical Society. Both organizations receive significant funding from the US and British governments and are not neutral aid organizations. They both call for US intervention in Syria.

From the way back machine we recall that one year ago, in April 2017, there was another so-called chemical weapons attack, at Khan Sheikhoun, that was blamed on the Syrian government. This so-called attack brought Trump’s cruise missile fusillade, causing the corporate media to go into an orgasmic rapture. What so remarkable is that immediately before the 2017 chemical incident, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said U.S. policy was no longer focused on getting Assad out.

Now we have the incident in Douma. The armed opposition, i.e. al Qaeda, is in retreat. They are losing the war and are desperate. They have tried since 2012 to pressure the U.S. and NATO to intervene directly on their side.

Going further, the rebels have access to chemical weapons in East Ghouta and they have a powerful motive to stage a false flag attack, to incriminate Syria, and by extension Russia.

These so-called chemical attacks are not occurring in a vacuum. Since Trump’s surprise victory there’s been a very determined campaign to demonize Russia.

It’s coincidental that the very same thing happened with the questionable attack in Britain.

Days after an alleged poisoning of an ex-spy in Salisbury, the UK’s Foreign Office was telling reporters that Russia would be held responsible. Anyone who questioned such proclamations was branded unpatriotic. Now, we learn that laboratory forensics had still attached no such culpability, while there’s been a plethora of contradictory theories about what happened and how.

In the homeland, Mueller’s raid of Cohen’s office has liberals in thrall.

However, I find the timing of Mueller raiding Trump’s personal lawyer’s office more than a little suspicious, coming as it did right after the Syria announcement. Perhaps the deep state is trying to send a message?

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to observe that strange things are happening in the Beltway as various factions vie for control.

One faction, composed of the intelligence agencies, the neoconservative wings of the Democratic  and Republican parties, and the corporate media, has been consistently hostile towards Trump’s call for a less interventionist foreign policy and detente with Russia. The reason for this, I’m convinced, is that behind the scenes, there is an entrenched foreign policy establishment determined to maintain and reclaim U.S. unilateral “leadership” of the world. Right now they are freaking-out because the U.S. is losing influence, prestige and power around the world.

Now they want to attack Syria, and by extension nuclear-armed Russia.

God help us all.

Update: Caitlin Johnstone’s on the same page:

“So quick recap:

One year ago, the Trump administration transgressed establishment Washington orthodoxy by asserting that it was no longer pursuing regime change in Syria as a priority. Days later, there were contested reports of a sarin gas attack in Idlib province which killed dozens of civilians. This was immediately responded to by a missile strike on a Syrian airbase without any investigation. After the strike, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was trotted out, saying that removal of Assad had just become a US priority.

Flash forward to this year.

Two weeks ago, Trump was openly talking about wanting to get US troops out of Syria “like, very soon,” as soon as 48 hours by some reports. As we all know, this was followed by another disputedreport of a chemical attack on civilians, which was followed by another military strike on the Syrian government. And, just today, none other than Nikki Haley was trotted out to inform us that US troops will be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future.”

 

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Deeper Malady

 

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago. We would do well to reflect on a speech he gave exactly a year before his death.

At the Riverside Church, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, King portrayed the war in Vietnam as an imperial one, prosecuted at the expense of the poor. Vietnam, he said, was “the symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit,” and, if left untreated, if the malady continued to fester, “we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

This speech, which has been dropped from the more conventional memory of King civil-rights activism, was intensely controversial at the time, angering enemies and supporters alike. Many of his close personal aides felt that he shouldn’t have given it.

The reason for the hostility was the same then as it is now. King made the connection between foreign and domestic policies, drawing clear the inexorable ties between domestic policy and unjust aggression abroad.

This link should not be surprising. Everyone from Eugene Debs, to Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have known you cannot sustain freedom at home in a global context shaped by militarism, unchecked corporate power, and empire.

In our present milieu it’s much easier to blame Trump, or liberals, or gun lovers, or Russia, or hippies wanting to get high.

However, King’s words were prophetic. “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”

US citizens, under the spell of American-Exceptionalism, reject this verdict. They believe that the US is the benevolent hegemon busy spreading freedom and democracy. Even with the ending of the first cold war there has been remarkably little debate over the American empire. Both Republicans and Democrats tout this state of affairs as the naturally occurring inherent goodness of American imperial power.

I believe that this turn to reactionary politics is in large part because voters have lost confidence in our leaders’ ability to tell the the truth about the costs incurred maintaining the far-flung empire. Because of their ignorance of our foreign policy these same voters are lured by demagogues. Panic creates the longing for a strong leader.

Trump’s conservative populism also benefits from the political/economy of empire. In the Riverside speech, King made implicit the connection between the US empire and the neoliberal economic policies that have only become more pronounced since his death.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society,” he said. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

While liberals want to hear the civil-rights message in King’s speeches, they refuse to examine the foreign and domestic policies of empire that he condemned. They champion Barak Obama, who they depict as a clear contrast to Donald Trump. “When orange-faced Trump proclaims Make America Great Again, he’s declaring war on the progressive America that Barack Obama began laying the groundwork for.”

But, is Trump really that different from Obama?

Instead, I would argue that for all his charm, Obama was a much more capable steward of empire than the boorish Trump. Obama continued the same militaristic policies as Bush, but in a way that made it easier for Americans to ignore. Drone-strike assassinations and employing terrorist proxies as cut-outs rather than frontal assaults. Regime change instead of invasions.

The policies of violence and control remained consistent.

And Trump supporters. How can we reconcile Trump’s Make America Great Again with his determination to vastly expand the US military, whose mission is a violent maintenance of empire?

Could it be that the deeper malady King referred to inspires the present day gun violence and opioid overdoses? Where do you think these teenage school shooters get the idea that violence might be the solution? Or our neighbors who gaze at America’s savage imperial actions and medicate away the pain?

Is not Russia-gate, at its very essence, a way for the deep state to maintain a violent imperial presence in the face of Trump’s call for a less interventionist foreign policy and detente with Russia?

King ended his Riverside speech with words that are just as powerful today.

“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.”

 

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I am the Walrus

 

The non-stop demonization of Russia has achieved its desired outcome–a new cold war with Russia. This comes as the US empire enters post-primacy and desperately seeks a major new conflict to maintain its dominance and forestall the rise of a multipolar world.

Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous gambit.

Foremost Russian scholar, Professor Stephan Cohen says that in this climate there is no one to halt the dangerous slide towards nuclear war.

“There is no one today. Only the Schumers and the Pelosis. And they have become with this Russia gate stuff, claiming that Putin attacked America and it was like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I mean I never call people names, but this is warmongering. That’s exactly what it is. If you claim Russia attacked America, the assumption is we have to attack Russia. And we’re talking about nuclear war potentially. So what kind of political leadership is, we have descended into a morass of degraded commentary on Russia that has never even when the Soviet Union existed, even during the worst days of the Cold War, we didn’t have this kind of discourse.”

Russia-gate also canceled out Trump’s call for a less belligerent foreign policy and a new détente with Moscow. Indeed, the chaos in in White House since Trump’s inauguration can be seen as a struggle for control over US foreign policy. The deep state, led by the CIA, has successfully brought Trump to heel, forcing him to nominate one crazy neocon after the other in a desperate attempt to prove that he’s not Putin’s bitch.

First Trump fired Rex Tillerson, and nominated Tea-bagger Mike Pompeo to replace him as Secretary of State. Then Trump advanced torture advocate Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo as CIA director. And now Trump has named psychopath John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor.

Democrats rather than decrying Bolton for his bat-shit crazy views instead accused him of being a Kremlin agent.“John Bolton once suggested Russian hack of DNC may have been a false flag operation by Obama Administration,” fretted lead Democratic Russia-gater Adam Schiff.

You can’t make this shit up.

The addition of Bolton is hardly surprising in this climate. Liberals have been mainstreaming neocons since Trump’s election, welcoming crazies like Bill Kristol, David Frum and Max Boot into their McResistance fold.

“One of the most amazing outcomes of the Trump administration is the number of neo-conservatives that are now my friends and I am aligned with,” MSNBC pundit Joy Reid openly admitted in an interview last year. “I found myself agreeing on a panel with Bill Kristol. I agree more with Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, and Max Boot than I do with some people on the far left. I am shocked at the way that Donald Trump has brought people together.”

These are the very same neocons in think tanks and the media who pushed for the invasion of Iraq and subsequently have suffered no consequences. They’ve kept their jobs or been promoted.

If anyone wants to know why I have come to loath liberals, this is a good place to start.

Fuckers!

One might reasonably assume that Russia-gate proponents are actually angry because Trump has had the temerity to try to improve relations with Russia. In fact, it’s more than a little suspicious that when Trump  attempts a sensible policy–like a less belligerent foreign policy–he gets assailed by the same actors that castigate him when he does something stupid. This leads one to the conclusion that unless Trump is launching cruise missiles he cannot please the pro-war Beltway insiders.

The actors behind Russia-gate are playing with fire. Lies about the Russian government and Putin should be taken very seriously. They are war propaganda and they are meant to get public support for military action against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Furthermore the campaign against Russia appears to be a case of projection. It’s extremely hypocritical to blame Russia for meddling when the US, since WWII, has carried out invasions, bombings, overthrowing governments, occupations, assassinations of political leaders, and rigging elections in numerous countries around the world.

The appointment of John Bolton to be National Security Advisor makes abundantly clear that we’re not close to being done.

I am the walrus.

Goo goo g’joob.

 

 

 

 

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Heck of a job Brownie

 

If you wonder why America is in terminal decline, look no further than the lack of accountability.

Not for us, silly. Under the regime of neoliberal-flavored-austerity there’s extreme accountability. Fuck-up and you’ll be living in a van down-by-the-river.

No, I’m talking about America’s elite.

I touched on this lack of accountability in my last post, where Bush and his happy band of neocons, after destroying Iraq and murdering millions, never faced justice.

It was explained away and everyone moved on. The corporate media never raised a stink precisely because they’d been such fervent cheerleaders. If they did discuss it, pundits described the invasion of Iraq as an honest mistake with the US flubbing its noble efforts to introduce democracy to a indifferent population.

This account is bullshit.

As Rolling Stone’s gonzo journalist, Matt Taibbi says. “The invasion was no mistake, and nobody above the age of eight believed the WMD story. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. We all knew what was going on. Far from being an error, the war was a perfect expression of everything we stood for then, and still stand for now.”

Bygones.

Now, by all accounts, Bush has settled into a comfortable retirement and his second career as an artist. He recently appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show to promote his book of paintings.

Condoleezza Rice is a political science professor at Stanford, busy shaping tender young minds.

Ditto for torture rationalizer John Yoo, lecturing as a Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Yoo, if you’ll recall, was one of the key formulators of the outrageous legal opinions that justified the Bush administration’s use of torture.

The most interesting member of the gang–Karl Rove–was something of the mastermind. After all, his moniker was Bush’s Brain. A famous exchange between journalist Ron Susskind and Rove summed up the attitude of the Bushies. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” 

While Rove was wrong about a great many things and indeed helped drive the US empire into a ditch he was absolutely prescient about elite impunity.

In fact, President Obama, after campaigning on bringing the perpetrators to justice, backtracked. In a later speech describing his lack of action he perfectly encapsulated elite impunity, citing what he called “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards”.

I wish I could tell you that the Bush administration was an aberration. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the Bush administration that’s been allowed to skate.

After the Wall Street crash, the bankers that wrecked the economy and destroyed untold lives were bailed out and allowed to keep their bonuses rather than being arrested and jailed.

Once again Obama intervened and made absolutely sure that no one was held accountable. On 27 March 2009, Obama assembled the top executives of the bailed-out financial firms in a secret meeting at the White House and he assured them that he would cover their backs; he promised “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks”.

Do I detect a pattern?

It’s not just Obama.

Neither political party nor the press has had the temerity to ask a simple question about our never-ending War-on-Terror. Why has our vaunted military–the finest fighting force everbeen unable to win any of these conflicts? Does lack of success have something to do with our military brass failing upwards, transitioning from leadership to Lockheed/Martin or Raytheon?

What about our intelligence agencies in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures? It turns out that in the aftermath of 9/11, they authorized a sweeping surveillance program here in the homeland, capturing the phone conversations and emails of millions of Americans without our consent or knowledge. This disclosure was after senior intelligence officials and current liberal hero James Clapper openly lied to congress about the existence of the vast extralegal spy regime.

Again, bygones.

The upshot is that our elite have been able to make their crimes vanish from the legal, economic and moral process. Whatever crimes you commit, whether wars, invasions, torture, murder, fraud, theft–if you’re a member of the elite, you’re given a pass. To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, who famously described taxes as only for the little people. Crimes are only for the little people.

And, here we are.

The abandonment of the rule of law by our elite has been corrosive. In my opinion it was a huge contributing factor in the election of Donald Trump, who described the invasion of Iraq as a mistake.

Liberals take satisfaction that Trump is an aberration. He isn’t. He’s the logical outcome of elite impunity.

In the disastrous wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bush inadvertently exposed the curve that our elite are graded on when he told his FEMA director–“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.“.

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