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Trump and Pence's Prospects

Trump and Pence’s Prospects

This is part 3 of “Media’s Role and Trump/Pence’s Prospects”

By Dennis Loo (4/1/18)

Here I am going to elaborate on the opportunity that this ruling class fight over Trump’s presidency presents. If they – the RCP - were to recognize what a tremendous opportunity this is, and not miss out on this through a stereotyped response, then they could go very far with this. Instead of characterizing Trump as a “juggernaut” which they are doing, and as a result the RCP siding with bourgeois anti-fascist forces, the RCP were to see that Trump is actually tarnishing the bourgeoisie’s image through his overt extremism, and thus alienating most Americans and helping by so doing to discredit the bourgeoisie as a whole and the system that produces a Donald J. Trump, the RCP could turn this into a constitutional crisis and then perhaps wrest something more out of this. The RCP seems right now driven more by righteous outrage rather than taking a scientific attitude.

When there is a scandal, other forces that are normally suppressed and impotent, have a chance to emerge and exert influence far beyond their numbers. Such a situation now exists potentially.

The fight we want is not an anti-fascist fight per se, although that is an element in this situation, but it is not the situation’s essence. If you look at the US presidents from Reagan to the present, what stands out is that regardless of which party holds the White House – and Congress for that matter – is that the most recent president and the corresponding Congress and Supreme Court are overall worse than the last. The progression from what Reagan did, to today, is that the most recent administration is much more right-wing and dictatorial than those who came before him. Obama, for example, was worse than George W. Bush and considerably worse than Reagan and his Vice President, ex-CIA director George H.W. Bush, George W.’s dad who was a one-term president.

There is a reason for this: the logic of neoliberalism which both the GOP and the Democrats actually subscribe to, without ever using the word. Neoliberalism has nothing do with the conventional meaning of liberalism, which harkens to political liberalism such as Ted Kennedy or Elizabeth Warren, but invokes the original meaning of economic liberalism a la Adam Smith or “laissez-faire,” leave the market to decide all important (and not so important) things.

Obama, despite his carefully cultivated public image, was known to some as the “Deporter-in-Chief” and was even deporting people at a faster rate than infamously bigoted and “We’re going to build a wall” Trump! This reality stands in sharp contrast to their public images, where Obama you’d think was so much more pro-immigrant than George W. Bush or Trump. Their public images, however, are designed to appeal to their base but their actual policies is what matters.

Clinton was overall more right-wing than those that preceded him, even though he was a Democrat. What matters most, in other words, is chronology, not party affiliation. The US is, after all, governed by a bourgeois dictatorship, rather than anti- and pro-fascist wings of the bourgeoisie fighting each other (even if the latter is a part, but a secondary part of the situation).

As I wrote in Globalization and the Demolition of Society:

The very logic of globalization dictates ever-higher levels of job and social insecurity for all but those at the very highest levels. Globalization and neoliberalism’s mantra is to privatize that which has been public; outsource that which has been in-house and in-nation; deregulate so that the “free market” may be unfettered; ceaselessly downsize the workforce, cutting payroll and reducing benefits, making job security and a secure, guaranteed retirement things of the past. Not surprisingly, the inevitable outcome of these measures means that insecurity—the more, the better— is the ineluctable, inevitable, desired outcome. From the standpoint of corporations, the more perilous the jobs and the economic status of the labor force overall the better, since this will compel employees to accept less in return for working ever harder and longer…

The connection between these economic changes and state policies governing business practices on the one hand, and the persistence and increasing stinginess or outright threatened elimination of governmental programs such as social security, welfare, and so on, on the other hand, has to some extent been chronicled and analyzed by others. What has not been well explored is what these dramatic economic changes imply with respect to social control and to the matter of the stability of the social order and the heightened probability of violent reaction/counteraction. Since the basis for people to cooperate, to behave normatively (for example, to abide by the law) is constantly and deliberately undermined under neoliberal regimes, and since, for the most dispossessed, even less of what was available to them in welfare states with Keynesian economic policies is now offered, governments must increasingly rely upon coercive means with spending on “security” (law enforcement, military, immigration control, prisons, surveillance and so on) rising inexorably. This point bears underscoring: more repression and more coercive means of social control are not principally a policy choice in the sense that people might think of the GOP favoring more coercion and the Democrats less. The overall direction of neoliberal regimes dictates that more coercion will be required, regardless of the party in power and the individuals in office.[i]

For example, as I wrote in February 2009 and reprinted in my 2011 book Globalization and the Demolition of Society:

Contrary to his public pronouncements about taking the “moral high ground,” “restoring due process,” ending torture, and that “no one is above the law,”[ii] the Obama administration declared on February 20, 2009 that the hundreds of prisoners in Bagram, Afghanistan being held by US forces and subjected to torture and murder since our invasion of Afghanistan, do not have the right to challenge their indefinite detentions or the fact that they have been tortured.

They are, according to this new White House, outside the law that the Obama team has made such a fetish of claiming that they uphold.

“This Court’s Order of January 22, 2009 invited the Government to inform the Court by February 20, 2009, whether it intends to refine its position on whether the Court has jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by detainees held at the United States military base in Bagram, Afghanistan,” Acting Assistant Obama Attorney General Michael Hertz wrote in a brief filed Friday. “Having considered the matter, the [Obama] Government adheres to its previously articulated position [under Bush].”[iii]

I also wrote:

“In September of 2009, Obama’s administration announced that it was going to extend the right to challenge their detentions to Bagram detainees. Unfortunately, the people assigned to represent the detainees’ interests were not lawyers but military personnel, and the procedures they unveiled were the same as ones that existed in the early days of Bush’s military tribunals.”[iv]

Let me give you still another example:

Just weeks after taking office, the Obama administration adopted an unprecedented policy of sunlight, directing bureaucrats across government to “apply a presumption of openness” regarding the release of documents to the public, according to a memo by Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder.

Obama’s policy [however] does not cover an important part of the White House: the Office of Administration, which oversees much of the day-to-day functions of the president’s own office and staff.

In 2007, then-president George W. Bush, whose penchant for secrecy was a reliable villain in Obama’s campaign speeches, became the first president to declare the White House Office of Administration off-limits to public inquiries. At the time, Bush was engaged in a heated court battle with good government groups over access to information about a massive batch of missing White House e-mails.

A federal court ruled in favor of the Bush administration, agreeing that the office was not technically an “agency” as defined by FOIA, and was not required to abide by the openness law.

Today, the Obama White House Web site announces that the Office of Administration “is not subject to FOIA and related authorities.”[v]

In other words, Obama meant more of his predecessor, not less!

In perhaps the most egregious example of how Obama has no peer in making something unlawful appear lawful, see this:

In a May 21, 2009, speech at the National Archives, Obama said this about the “War on Terror”:

We’re going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who’ve received extensive explosives training at al-Qaida training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al-Qaida terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture—like other prisoners of war—must be prevented from attacking us again.

If the people he will not release cannot be released because the evidence against them is tainted—because they were tortured to obtain the “evidence”—then that is not the fault of the individual detainee; that is the result of criminal acts by the US government. This stands in direct contradiction to Obama’s campaign pledge that he would restore habeas corpus because holding innocents is “not what we do.” In his National Archives speech, Obama hastened to add that the decision to hold someone who has not been found guilty of any crimes should not be the action of the executive branch alone and that detention should not be open ended. “That’s why my administration has begun to reshape the standards that apply to ensure that they are in line with the rule of law. We must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards for those who fall into this category. We must have fair procedures so that we do not make mistakes. We must have a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified.” How does one square abridging habeas corpus with ensuring you are “in line with the rule of law?” How do you have “lawful standards” when you are breaking the law itself to do it?

 


[i] Loo, Dennis, Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Glendale, Ca: Larkmead Press, Pp. 53-55, 2011.

[ii] “During his 2008 campaign, Obama stated:

“We will lead in the observance of human rights, and the rule of law, and civil rights and due process, which is why I will close Guantanamo and I will restore habeas corpus and say no to torture. Because if you elect me, you will have elected a president who has taught the Constitution, who believes in the Constitution, and who will restore and obey the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Ibid., p. 8, 2011.

[iii] Dennis Loo, “Obama: Bagram Prisoners Be Damned,” WorldCan’tWait.net, February 22, 2009, http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&vi ew=article&id=5399:obama-bagram-prisoners-be-damned&catid=128:the-war-of- terror&Itemid=30 4.

[iv] Op Cit., Pp. 8-9.

[v] Justin Rod, “Like Bush, Obama White House Chooses Secrecy for Key Office,” ABC- News.com, May 15, 2009, http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=7589622&page=1.

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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