It was only a matter of time before neoliberalism’s “success” in driving dissent in the Middle East away from the general populace and into the hands of opportunistic imams promoting a hard line, right wing version of Islam would have the same, seemingly unintended consequences in the US. Here our own elite-led, class-based “sectarianism” has created the fatal rupture necessary to unleash unrestrained state and corporate power after decades of empowering billionaires and NGO’s to help implement the kind of privatization schemes and austerity measures that are now being formally enshrined into law by the Trump administration, and carried out by his cruder, more ideologically-brazen wrecking crew.
An invisible boulevard of green lights – initiated under Ronald Reagan and running through each successive administration was no accident of design, but an engineered feat, smoothing the way for the maximum security garrison state just signed into law under a “partial Muslim ban”. You could even say this particular task has been outsourced to POTUS 45 whose gloves-off approach to government makes him ideally suited to drowning its last remaining protections in an acid bath.
After all, it will require a brute’s fist to contain an itinerant, gun-slinging labor force untethered to the institutional protections once afforded by the state, and keep this growing zombie population in check behind a giant wall along the US/Mexican border. Enter the unabashed lug with perfect timing, a nightmare issuing from the 1930’s ink well of Max Fleischer – a surreal, sulphur-based boon to our un-democratic duopoly; a cartoon Il Duce balancing a vaporized dog turd on his head, and shovel ready to deliver a decisive blow to its conjoined liberal half.
Trump’s just implemented partial ban on flying (or swimming) Muslims was earlier launched under the auspices of Homeland Security and the State Department, discretely maintained by the Obama administration and condoned by its apologists. Any traveller to the US in recent years could tell you that the TSA’s probing wands have just been warming up for a full-posterior assault on human rights worldwide.
After less than a month in office, Trump has overseen the ribbon cutting, rights-shredding ceremony that finalizes a long-held, elite-led dream of transforming the US into a vassal state for the powerful entities that require a willing scapegoat to implement the sort of chaos and uncertainty necessary to justify a domestic assault on the regulations that stand in the way of privatization, and the bottom lines of stakeholders poised to cash in on a massive government giveaway program. Sure, his opponents on both sides of the aisle will offer a spirited resistance to overturn some of the more egregious aspects of a “partial Muslim ban”, while allowing it pass otherwise intact. Outside of politics, this sort of staged and heavily-choreographed posturing is called “theatre”. (Think Meryl Streep on her feinting couch and Lena Dunham’s undelivered promise to go on a 20 minute hunger strike). Within the corridors of power, it’s called “business as usual”.
Trump’s attempts to re-brand the US with a more honest representation of its values has ignited a firestorm of faux indignation on the part of the his political opponents who would rather go with a more upbeat, IKEA-inspired marketing strategy for permanent war, mass displacement and ruinous trade deals. Steve Bannon’s boiled, maggot riddled head on a burning stick conveys the mission statement of a condemned steakhouse more accurately than a silkscreened ‘Hope’ banner.
Now that Donald Trump is stocking the swamp of Washington with his own petting zoo of corporate and banking crocodiles, the liberal class is having amnesia-inducing seizures (Timothy Geithner? Lawrence Summers? Rahm Emmanuel?) and blaming Russia for the now obvious consequences of their own cynical attempts to thwart Republicans with Wall Street stalwarts equally disposed towards austerity. In the meantime, diehard Democrats are forming a Tea Party-inspired movement with its own ‘alternative facts’ to counter a narrative wholly dependent on the belief that dirty deals with the Saudi regime and and social media assaults on Mexico somehow represent a significant policy shift away from dirty deals with the Saudi regime and US taxpayer-funded military strikes on Bedouins.
Notice, too, how the ‘Bro’ contingent of the Democrat base whose professed ‘atheism’ gave them license to make hate speech against Muslims and their beliefs ‘hip’, are now demanding a reversal of Trump’s executive order to collectively punish them. Hate speech, it turns out, is only hate speech when uttered by an abject moron with an ingrown toenail for a head. Otherwise, it’s the “envelope pushing” rhetoric for “edgy” comedians.
At first glance, Trump’s victory bears the hallmarks of a “Black Swan” event; an unexpected, cataclysmic ‘game-changer’ representing a paradigmatic shift in US leadership globally and domestically. That is, if you believe a Democrat in the White House isn’t equally committed to unleashing military violence to achieve the sort of foreign policy aims that keep restless populations in check with permanent war. If anything, a Trump presidency will merely accelerate what his predecessors have already set in motion in terms of disenfranchising labor, privatizing education and de-regulating Wall Street. It was with their full knowledge and consent, after all, that the draconian measures now bearing the POTUS 45 seal are now being erratically codified into law.
Look closer and you might be able to glimpse their partial fingerprints on these just-signed death warrants for climate scientists and surplus labor alike. You’ll certainly see them on the deportation orders for millions of Mexicans and the thousands of Haitians signed by POTUS 44, whose “tough stance” on immigration was widely heralded as further proof of his pragmatic, bi-partisan leadership and not evidence of a cynical opportunist passing the buck to his successor. After all, refugees from the seven nations on Trump’s hit list didn’t fare much better under President Obama in terms of how many were accepted into the US, or for their chances of not being left to languish indefinitely in maximum security detention centers until the orders of deportation were signed.
The now former president could turn any military operation – overseas and domestic – into a crowd pleasing, charm offensive, which explains why his Muslim bombing, refugee-making policies didn’t ignite a protest movement, while his crass, universally despised heir-apparent is able to mobilize millions to the streets and across airports in solidarity with those displaced by his predecessor.
Trump’s victory has merely formalized what Republicans and Democrats set out to accomplish through successive measures of repression, increased surveillance and further enrichment of the boardroom class. Those same militarily-imposed divide-and-conquer strategies that have proven so effective in what are now war zones have now laid waste to effective opposition at home against neoliberal assaults on all human activity not devoted to increasing a corporation’s profitability. Dissenters could either throw their lot in with a regressive, religious-based doctrine (as their Arab counterparts were forced to do when a US-installed ‘strongman’ deemed only mosque attendance legal for gatherings) or settle for a more secularized police state, but with the trappings of a “diverse”, self-congratulatory awards ceremony.
Not surprisingly, the liberal class, at the behest of its hired scribes and pundits take a dim view of its diminished influence and is hopping on board with the a newly-invigorated protest movement that was notably absent when the last president was bombing most of the countries on Trump’s hit list. More surprising, though, is their willingness to resurrect discredited Cold War tropes of Kremlin interference in American elections to battle their own well-earned insignificance. If you think that’s an overly harsh assessment of House Democrats, you might want to consider Chuck Schumer’s recent grandstanding antics at an anti-Trump demonstration. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that the quisling Senate Minority leader was actually opposed to Trump’s Executive Order banning the browner segment of several Muslim majority countries from activities ranging from huddling in plain view of the Statue of Liberty or receiving an Academy Award. The same Chuck Schumer who just a year ago tweeted:
“We must tighten loopholes in the Visa Waiver prgm, ensure passports can’t be faked, & stop terrorists who want to exploit the system”.
More generously put: Chuck Shumer is what happens when you replace political opposition to a firmly entrenched right wing establishment represented by a cartoon elephant with a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool jackass.
Once all left wing elements have been purged from the two-party system, a conglomerate political establishment will emerge to ensure the smooth transfer of vassal state resources into Empire Inc’s gaping maw without the interference of Latin American tribal elders or even elderly Okinawans protesting US bases on their land. Wait for the disenfranchised left stateside to form their circular firing squads, or at least adapt to an identitarian mandate that calls its own skewed priorities “intersectionality” by which, “cellulite acceptance” demands the same recognition as Black Lives Matter or NODAPL. Gradually, social media-generated theoretical solutions to injustice – whether you define it as racially-motivated police brutality or Demi Lovato’s Twitter trolls – follow a predictable trajectory along the stretchy path of their own petards.
The slow-boiling-of-a-frog method of further disenfranchising the poor and curtailing civil liberties, synonymous with the Democrats had reached the point where nearly half of the doomed creatures preferred to plunge head first into a scalding, quick-death inducing cauldron, rather than wait out another four years of protracted torture. The rest in the meantime, is left to wax nostalgic for the days when mostly unrealized visions of “Hope” buoyed an unpaid intern’s dream to leave his/her parents’ basement before turning 50.
Now the same corrupt organization that crafted their own doomed candidate’s “tough on immigration” stance is placing its worst offenders front and center at protests across the nation as a fundraising effort for the next center-right war hawk to make a failed, future bid for the presidency. Expect the corpse of Charlie Sheen to trounce his future Democratic rival and be sworn into office on the ‘Tiger Blood’ ticket.
Meanwhile, the Western Liberal knows not whether to shit or go blind. You would think his apoplectic post-election indignation might have something to do with his own failure to recognize the signposts written in Arabic and Spanish along some cratered, body-strewn path made visible by the tracks of an armored vehicle bearing the US army (or one of its proxies) insignia. Had he been able to decipher them, he would be mouthing the words “This is your fate, Gringo. Imshallah! Have a nice day”.