The President of the Un-united States — caged, wounded and sweating
Last week the global citizenry seemed to be in shock as they watched the American president explain that the Saud family’s current dictator will not be sanctioned for having one of his former advisors hacked to death in Turkey — because, said Trump, America needs a level of control over Saudi oil, and loves the billions of dollars the Sauds pay Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner for an endless supply of weapons of mass murder. And there’s a shared commitment to the survival of Israel’s current government and the destruction of Iran’s.
But this story didn’t shock us because it was another piece of Trumpian excreta. What was shocking was that a president was at last admitting that the USA assumes the right to pillage resources from all over the planet while distracting everyone with bullshit about bringing us democracy freedom and prosperity. Everybody knows this but here it was on TV, straight from the horse’s arse.
A couple of days later, the horse in question was back on TV flanked by outgoing California governor Jerry Brown and incoming Gov. Gavin Newsome, both in excruciating get-me-outa-here poses, while Trump claimed to have A Great Plan, or Many Plans, or Many Great Plans, to stop fires like the ones that have in the past month killed nearly 100 Californians, destroyed 20,000 of their homes and other structures, and burned up a quarter of a million acres of forests and suburbs.
“I mean, as big as [these fires] look on the tube, you don’t see what’s going on until you come here,” intoned the president at his eloquent best, addressing an audience of two firefighters and four TV cameras in the town he called Pleasure — “what a name, right now,” he exclaimed, suggesting he’d glimpsed a whiff of irony. The town’s name is “Paradise,” corrected Jerry and Gavin in unison.
We know that Trump is a unique threat to the USA and to the world, that he misunderstands the minute portion of global matters he’s aware of, that he can’t imagine complex options about anything, and that his peak god and goal in life is money.
These days, however, he staggers as much as he swaggers, wounded by scandals, lawsuits, electoral losses, and with increasingly fewer friends in high places. So I will pile on no more about his crudity and cruelty and instead lay out some figures and facts about how insane the American ruling complex is, beyond its nut-bar Prez, and how American citizens with a brain and a heart are responding to their disastrous leader.
More war than ever
Since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the United States has spent about $6 trillion on wars that directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 people in the Middle East [source: Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs]. Bush and Obama were in the White House for much of this period, and a few thousand Cabinet secretaries, multi-billionaires, and revolving door corporate/public servant bosses initiated and managed most of the war business.
Last February, Trump admitted that “we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East," saying that was "a mistake”, but he has ordered more military spending in Syria and on America’s 800 military bases around the world, and more killing, following the dictum of his fellow male fundamentalist US General Curtis le May on how to beat your enemies: “If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”
Meanwhile, on America’s home front, Trump has trouble getting extreme policies enacted. His huge corporate tax cut got through because the Republican-dominated Congress did the bidding of billionaires who finance their election campaigns, but Obama’s Affordable Care Act stays alive because tens of millions of voters rely on it; public opposition keeps the wall along the Mexican border unbuilt; Europe keeps the Iran nuclear agreement in place, and even though Republicans are stacking all of America’s courthouses with pro-corporate and anti-social judges, enough socially-minded courts survive to beat back such destructive projects as the Keystone XL gas pipeline.
What about the voters?
Trump’s overall disapproval rating is 54%, versus 40% approval. Only one in four adults strongly approve of him.
Since the US has no national electoral office, local politicians run all of America’s elections, and Republicans are using state and local power to make it ever harder for urban Democratic voters to have their votes counted. Even though most black voters are urban dwellers, and 90% of them vote Democratic, by far the majority of the broad community of urban voters being disenfranchised are, like most Americans, white men and women.
Despite all the vote-rigging and voter suppression, in last month’s elections for members of House of Reps Democrats got 53.3 million votes nationally versus 48.4 million for Republicans. In the Senate, 47.5 million voted for Democrats versus 34.3 million for Republicans, but Republican senators still outnumber Dems. Why? Because the states with large populations — California and Texas each have larger populations than Australia does — only get two senators while Wyoming, with fewer people than Tasmania, also gets two Senate votes. Republicans win most rural states with very small electorates, Dems win most of the urban biggies.
This stupid Senate structure was copied by Australian politicos at federation in 1901, but another sign of hope in America’s recent election is that the state of Maine became the first to elect its Congressional representatives using our preferential system, which they call ranked choice voting (RCV). Make way for the American Open-Carry Nuclear Weapons Party any day now.