Dragon City Journal features contemporary cultural essays & graphics, on a variety of subjects, but mostly dealing with politics and government, film, cities and urban life, religion and metaphysics, and travel. It is a monthly or bi-monthly publication. There are also occasional book and film reviews as well as some fictional pieces. “Subscribers” are notified by email of the posting of new essays, and are encouraged to add comments express their thoughts and opinions.
The news today on NPR’s “All Things Considered” was that Senator John McCain, who recently underwent surgery for a blood clot behind his eye, has been diagnosed with an aggressive, incurable form of brain cancer. Immediately, the encomiums began to flow from the journalistic toadies; the word “hero” could not be invoked enough in the expectation that this great lion of the Senate might never return to entertain us with his “Maverick” (read inconsistently self-serving) legislative behavior. It was even said that reporters took time out to offer prayers for the “hero.” Awww, how sweet.
Given our gutless and obsequious media—and I now include PBS on that compliment—it is what I would have expected because somehow it was missed that that reason Mr. McCain’s medical leave received extra media attention was that he was unable to be present a the Capitol to register his vote to repeal the ACA. How ironic. McCain will no doubt receive the very best medical care that his Senate health insurance (which we pay for) and the millions he married into will afford him. How ironic that his illness will not allow him to register a vote to deprive millions of Americans decent health care.
And how ironic that McCain will likely not be present to cast his vote for Trump’s budget that cuts medical research, climate research, and among several other expenditures that are related to the health of Americans, even cancer research—so that a bloated DOD budget can be enhanced and more of the country’s wealth can be transferred to the rich. McCain never met a war or military expenditures he didn’t like and he will be one of the rich to profit from Trump’s budget. But what doth it profit a man . . .
And how ironic that Trump once referred to McCain not as a “hero,” but as a “loser” who got shot down, perhaps the only thing I ever found to agree with Trump, since I regard McCain not as a hero, but as a “professional POW”. Trump will no doubt find some way to deny that should he be asked about his concerns for the senator who dared not show up to cast his vote for Trump’s and the Republican’s promise to screw over the American public with a third-rate system of health care.
Well, I do not wish John McCain ill-health any more that I would some poor bastard in a shit-hole state who voted against his own best interests by voting for Trump. But I do have the dilemma that to wish this phony hero and consummate hypocrite a healthy recovery could mean his return to the Senate to cast his votes to repeal the ACA and pass the Trump budget.
I never liked John McCain and have made that quite clear many times in these pages, even though I found areas of agreement with him on torture, and immigration. But now I understand the dilemma of that North Vietnamese man who pulled McCain’s sorry ass from that Hanoi lake to keep him from drowning. Little did he know that by giving McCain a new lease kin life and sending him to six decades in Congress the revenge he was taking on America by giving us a fake hero.
Current Journal Post
From the beginning of his campaign a lot has been made of Donald Trump’s stupidity. Some might say “stupid like a fox” but there is no doubt the man is an ignoramus as are most people who can’t see or think outside their own ego. Trump is however blessed with instincts of a natural con man. He knows a con when he sees one (easy with his moral compass), and he knows a sucker when he sees one (or even 63 million). Most of his so-called business success is a result of cons.
A con man also has to have a sense of the context in which he is operating, and here Trump was blessed by the political zetigeist. There is much dimension to that, but central was that the people hated Congress if not government in general They are the “establishment,” the “swamp” that is so much reviled. Alo part of the zeitgeist is that American racism is alive and well and Obama gave it a face that stood for Blacks, Muslims and Hispanics who were seen as a demographic tsunami that would turn American tawny, liberal, and less Christian. And there was a festering pustule of extreme right-wing Republicanism ready for the lancing and releasing the great White unwashed, un-educated, intolerant, self-entitled who now saw themselves as “victims.” It just needed a tough-guy voice and glaring visage with reptilian eyes and jutting jaw. Another piece of luck was that Trump’s competition was a joke. Their names are enough: Bush, Cruz, Perry, Rubio, Kasik, Carson (stop laughing), and Fiorino (who provided a pre-test that you could bitch-slap a woman on national TV and come away a winner—good practice for Hillary), there were more but they were all assholes like the rest.
So if you believe in God you might wonder why he would lean down and smooch this arrogant, narcissistic asshole on the butt, also why he would do it on both cheeks. Because Trump also had the complicity of the flaccid Democratic Party, except for Bernie Sanders, who also read the zeitgeist, and ignited a sensible response to it, enough to be a viable candidate from the Left. But Bernie wasn’t the DCC’s chosen one and they screwed him over and outraged an entire eager demographic. Instead the Dems pushed forward the pant-suited princess who was both Washington and Wall Street establishment with flavorings of stupid stuff like her emails. She offered Obama 2.0, a version of a defunct half-assed package of domestic and foreign policies. Neither Obama nor the DCC paid much attention to the years of Republican takeover of the states and gerrymandering of congressional districts. Obama’s “legacy” was entirely concerned with Obama (no wonder it is proving so easy to obliterate). Still more good luck for Trump there. Thank you God (I’m sure you godlies really mean that).
Trump was willing to say, or tweet, anything, anything. He has two measures—the buck, and whether or not you like him. The truth means nothing for him and he lies and exaggerates at will an with surprising little question or contradiction from slavering and adoring base that he plays like a credulous carnival crowd. While the country stood stunned that American politics could sink to that of a banana republic this arrogant, greed-driven, narcissist snuck in the back door of a stupid electoral system (and with a little help from Russia and our own FBI Director) to become President. That’s how a so-called American “democracy” shows itself for the joke it actually is and why people get the government they deserve, and that is proving t be something that is frighteningly close to fascism.
The political planets aligned beautifully for Trump; there is no other way an ignorant, sleazy huckster could have conned his way into the White House. An suddenly we are confronted with all three branches of Federal government in the tiny hands ho literally you would not buy a use car from. Worrisome as that is already proving to be, it is reflective of a structural corruption to American “democracy.” Corporate/Wall Street and the National defense establishment and the Christian/Racist culture have already secured their sovereignty over the political system. They are the donor class and “own” Congress. The Right slso controls kost bof the gov ernorships ajd state bhounses. They now control America from topl to bottom. They define the political agenda, mainly through fear, and define its solutions, mainly through blame and scapegoats. It is a politics ideally designed for suckers.
The Democrats, or the Left (if there is any such thing in the US) is incapable of countervailing this structural wall. Obama proved that; he played wall Street’s and DOD’s game with bails out and wars, barely missing beat from his predecessor’s game. He became the “deporter-in-chief” and didn’t appear to miss a Congressional Prayer Breakfast or a “God Bless America.” They have become as enmeshed in the structural corruption as their opposition. They might have got in bed with the right-ringers for the night, but in the morning the Dems were told to “put the money on the dresser and get the fuck out.” Hillary found that out with her Wall Street “friends.”
So, what is there to do? March? Demonstrate? Protest? Whatever? Write pieces like this? None of them will likely be of effect. The Democrats can’t even force this guy to show his taxes; he just laughs at them.
In the end what brings down most fascist states is overreach; it must be Trump who brings down Trump. And therein lies a degree of hope: the conned must figure out they have been conned.
In the end, when he fails, the fascist narcissist dictator usually ends up blaming his base, the very people who idolized him and brought him into power, as being undeserving of his sacrifices for them. They will be especially unworthy of him, of his greatness. He never did like them; they were only useful idiots w ho brought their hoples and bigotries to his carnival show.
And so it will be when Trump comes down, which his idolaters finally empiricise his false promises, when their health care is not the greatest, when their jobs do not return, when the immigrants don’t all go home, when America will not be “great again” but worse than it ever was before, except for Trump, his family and the rich—when they realize that there is no red queen in the three card monte, when they realize they have been sold an illusion, that they have been conned.
Will it end with impeachment? Assassination, but one of his own betrayed? By resignation? By failed reelection? Will Trump end up pissed on and strung up in a gas station, like Mussolini? A satisfying thought, but likely. With a self-inflicted gun shot in a basement room, like Hitler? Not likely. Will America finally learn from this horrible mistake, from the fatal flaw in its history and character—that I is not great because it is White, Christian and capitalistic, but those are the reasons it never was, nor ever will be, great.
©2017, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 05.11.2017)