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The Worst Among Us: Trump

The Worst Among Us: Trump

By Dennis Loo (7/27/19)

Trump is one of the best examples one could imagine, in a kind of nightmare scenario, of what might happen if truly the most backward among us, who can still (sort of) speak before crowds and still (occasionally sort of) read a teleprompter, who is a closeted illiterate, and wasn’t babbling to themselves alone, as the homeless or insane or demented are wont to do, taking the lead and having just enough to pass as above-normal to do that, airing and legitimizing the very most backward and delegitimate of ideas for TV trash addicts and notions not normally aired in polite company and the political arena (most know to maybe think, but not say those things outloud!), the latter arena already severely cheapened previously by the GOP, being forced to adopt ever more absurd rhetorical positions by their need to distinguish themselves as to the right of an ever-more right-wing Democratic Party, the latter group intent on adopting many previous Republican positions (such as Obamacare, which was originally a Heritage Foundation (GOP Think Tank) idea.

We need to see clearly, however, that Trump himself is not an aberration but an expression of his age, that the path for a Trump-styled leader who is extreme in every way (within that which can be accepted or swallowed) that in negative sense who he is, who does not care at all for truth and truth’s pursuit, was and is the very path that the Democratic and Republican Parties were working for. They both could not govern except by stretching and actually ripping the fabric of truth constantly, and did so knowingly and frequently over the last forty years in particular. Even as some of them (e.g., Obama) express their distance and disagreement from Trump’s departures with reality and their shock at his transgressions, their own trampling of truth they do not broach. To do so would be revelatory, transparent, and reveal far too much.

This is how I put it a few months ago at a books’ release party at a retirement community in San Diego, before an audience of around fifty (my illustrator/co-author on The Case For Revolution was supposed to but didn’t end up delivering this in its entirety):

“Remarks [written for Khalid to give verbatim, but by DL]

I asked my co-author of The Case For Revolution, Khalid Hussein, to speak for me, Dennis, because I am having some problems articulating my words because of a rare neurological disorder, but Dennis is here today for the Q & A and signing.

In the first part of today, Khalid will read remarks from Dennis, in a written statement about Globalization and the Demolition of Society, 2nd Edition, hereinafter I shall call it GDS or just Globalization. Then, Khalid will talk about the second book we are today also releasing, The Case for Revolution, which I will refer to as TCFR. TCFR is as you know, an illustrated and a graphic novel version of some of GDS, and is first in a series planned like it for the rest of GDS.

I [Khalid] am the artist and adaptor of Globalization for TCRF, the text for which, comes from Dennis’ words in the Globalization book.

The books will be available to buy only today at $19 (for simplicity) for GDS, $16 for TDCFR, or for both books at a bundled discounted price of $32, with a signing at the end.

Dennis Loo received his Ph.D. from UCSC (UC Santa Cruz) and is an honor’s graduate, in only three years, of Harvard. He has won national awards in three individual areas: for his journalism, his scholarship research and writing, and his political activism. For over 20 years Dennis has taught at Cal Poly Pomona and is a tenured Full Professor of Sociology there.

There is a lot of material in GDS, and you will discover that when you read it, as 8-9 of you Wesley Palms’ residents have done, but I am going to confine my remarks today to just two areas: how we got here; and how both major political parties, have contributed to this.

While Trump’s peculiar relationship to truth is widely now understood, Trump is merely the most extreme example, a caricature if you will, of trends that have been going along in the US since the 1980s, beginning with the Reagan presidency; under Republican and Democratic Presidents alike, the only difference being just how far we have come in time from 1980, not their party affiliation, with each president regardless of their party label, being more extreme than the one before him and some rhetoric (especially by Democrats) to the contrary, carrying out the drive to install market forces in charge, and in the process, necessarily undermining the meaning of truth.

When I said this in effect the other day at a lunch table, one person said to me: Obama never outright lied. In saying this, this person was airing a common view, that Obama was different. I am here to say that this is not so.

There is a term in the Globalization book that I use a lot and that is more well-known outside the US than here: it’s neoliberalism. I use the term liberal in the Adam Smith meaning of the term, that is, the idea that you treat market-forces liberally, or hands off. Adam Smith is probably best known for the idea of laissez-faire capitalism, the notion that the way to get the best society is to be hands off the market, for, in other words, everyone to be selfish, and let
“the invisible hand” of the market sort it all out.

Now it is the case that Obama and the rest of the US presidents were lying and did lie, though not as routinely as Trump; and indeed, Trump has been criticized by many, including Obama, for lying so blatantly because Trump makes a mockery of the office by doing so, and disrupts presidential credibility that way, something the US imperialist camp’s leaders do not want and cannot afford. You will notice that their criticisms are mainly of the nature that Trump is endangering carefully and important alliances and in being so vulnerable to cheap flattery and therefore, too readily subject to manipulation.

Let me cite a few examples, of many of Obama lying, that are in the Globalization book:

While the Obama administration was unmatched in talking about “transparency,” and while Obama talked about this, he was actually implementing the “Insider Threat Program,” which requires federal employees, complete with criminal penalties, to report fellow people who they were suspicious of. On (June 22, 2013) a report from McClatchy’s newspapers, “Obama’s Crackdown Views Leaks as Aiding Enemies of the US” by Marisa Taylor and Jonathan S. Landay, revealed a program of Obama’s little known to the public called “Insider Threat Program.” This program, put succinctly, calls for federal employees to keep an eye on their co-workers and snitch on anyone who appears to be acting suspiciously. Failure to do so will be punished.

Remember that the Glass-Steagall Act, which was designed to prevent another market meltdown, was passed and signed under Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1999; whereas, after Keynes appeared under FDR and “we are Keynesians” as Republican Nixon declared in 1971, Obama’s economic adviser Lawrence Summers said in 2006 that we (meaning both Democrats and Republicans) are all “Freidmanites” now; both major parties tout globalization and policies that serve it, neoliberalism, and both love capitalism, though the Dems are more careful about those who are left behind.

If you remember nothing else but this from this presentation, remember this: both major parties are implementing market forces as the driver – that’s why it’s called globalization, but they have different bases to appeal to. Obama’s platform looked like George H.W. Bush’s.

When Edward Snowden revealed a few years ago that the gov’t was spying on all of us, Obama went on the Charley Rose show and claimed that the gov’t needed an individual warrant to do this, when he knew the gov’t wasn’t doing that.

Did you know that the DoD under none other than Obama was teaching everyone in the military that non-violent protest was “low-level terrorism”? At the same time, he said he was going to close Gitmo, which he never did even though he could have by executive action, that he was trying to deal with anti-state terrorism with drones and killing rather than imprisoning people, and during his two terms he killed thousands (including 100s of children) and routinely used “double-tapping”? Have you ever heard of “double-tapping?” It is the practice of hitting a crowd of people twice with drones, only waiting an interval after the first drone hit as people try to help those first struck with US drones, to discourage that very help. This was routine under President Obama.

It’s important to understand why Dems and Republican politicians are compelled to misrepresent publicly what they’ve been doing. First of all, the two parties appeal to different audiences, and must seem at least to be acting on those social bases’ behalf. If the parties did not, they would endanger their credibility, and possibly lose their bases.

If the two parties were identical in every respect, then we would easily see that, and likely reject them both.

The two parties have some real differences, but what is also true is secondly, both major parties are neoliberals. They both advocate and stand for letting market forces (with more inclusiveness by the Dems for some) basically run things. Don’t let the liberal Democrats in Congress and running for president fool you. Both are bourgeois parties who thrive and survive by the logic that the more unstable the working class is, the better for corporations. The two parties just talk a different game.

The first version of GDS came out in 2011. Two weeks or so after it came out, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) burst on the scene, proving what GDS said that year, and true as much or more now: that just waiting in the wings to emerge is a popular anti-capitalist movement that enjoys a large majority support, as OWS did according to all the polls at the time. As I said on page 2 in 2011:

Globalization and its political expression, neoliberalism, could not continue to exist and prevail without the degradation of the meaning of truth.

This undermining of the truth makes up the major theme of GDS’ first section.

The 2nd edition is the same as the first edition, except that there’s a late-2018 new Preface where I come to grips with explaining how it is possible for the same nation to, on the one hand, show large national majorities supporting OWS and, on the other hand, electoral college support for Trump.

To put it simply, and while there are varying reasons why Trump got as many votes as he did, the main reason was that those who voted for him reject the status quo, the same direction that things have been going.

They wanted a radical change, and in Trump they naively thought they would get it, instead of what we have seen: widespread and blatant theft and stupid incompetence. How the institutions and their system logic, triumph over individuals and even their wills, will out, this book tells you, whereas the newspapers, TV, radio, and two major political parties won’t tell you that.”

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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12