Category Archives: U.S. Politics

From the Age of Aquarius to the Stormy Age of Morons: Tillerson’s Parting Shot………

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The 1960’s were occasionally dubbed the Age of Aquarius, and not just by The 5th Dimension in 1969. It reflected the atmosphere, culture, and flavor of a particular era. The brief Age of Aquarius immediately followed the brief Age of Camelot in Washington.

Then immediately at the tail end of that started the Age of Nixon, a brooding era of expanding unwinnable wars in Southeast Asia. An era of political malfeasance, when first the Vice President, then the President were forced to resign from office, for unrelated reasons.

But the American center held throughout the following eras, through Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama. As the USA and the World moved away from the Age of Aquarius.

The 2016 US elections ushered in an unusual new era. I have been thinking of an appropriate name for it. The “Trump Era” seems too tame and banal for this wild ride of the past nine months.
Enter Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who took a parting shot at Donald Trump as he is preparing to depart this dysfunctional administration.

Moron, actually a “F—ig Moron” is what he reportedly called the president to a reporter. Trump has publicly denied that Tillerson called him a “F—ing Moron”.  Tillerson, when given a chance to deny, has publicly refused to deny that he called Trump a “F—ing Moron”.

So, that parting Parthian shot by Rex Tillerson will likely define this era. Rex succinctly but perhaps unintentionally, defined this Trump age as a “F—ing Moron” age. It may go down in history as such……

Cheers

M. Haider Ghuloum

 

 

Presidential Name-Calling: Sticks and Stones from Washington to Pyongyang…..

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“Sticks and Stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me…”
      Untrue children’s rhyme


Epithets and insults have been memorable these past two years. From the US presidential campaign to the post-election rallies to the UN General Assembly speeches. Almost all of them dished out by Donald Trump:

Look at That Face (Trump mocking Carly Fiorina)!

Little Rubio (Trumo mocking Marco, who famously   confided to the media that Trump has a small, er, hand)!

Lying Ted (Trump describing Sentor Ted Cruz)!

Low Energy (Trump about Jeb Bush? Ben Carson)!

Crooked Hillary (Trump for Clinton)!

Rocket Man (Trump about Kim Jong Un)!

Now the Iranians have picked up the term “rogue”, a favorite epithet used by US politicians against other nations. Trump and Rouhani traded “rogue” name-calling at the UN General Assembly this week.

But the top prize, the Oscar, the Nobel of epithets goes to an alleged North Korean Twitter source: “Impotent threats by international shouting magnate Donald Trump are dismissed, as the twitchings of a Dog licking its flea-riddled scrotum.”

That trumped Trump, and probably stumped him as well.

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

History: On Voter Fraud, Mike Pence, and a Roman Horse Named Incitatus……

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US Vice President Mike Pence will spend about three hours today with a shadowy group of conspiracy-theory people appointed by Trump ‘to prove’ that he actually won the popular vote . They are assigned to investigate “Voter Fraud”.
FYI: Mike Pence, like a good poodle puppy, calls President Trump “a Great Leader” or a “Great President” almost every other day of the week.

Historians tell us that the insane Roman emperor Gaius Caligula appointed his favorite horse Incitatus to the Senate (Roman Senate not US Senate). Incitatus was not from Kentucky, and he was one senator who was NOT afraid of Caligula.
I thought you might want to know….

Imperial WWE: Emperor Caligula and his GOP Roman Senators and Their Wives……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Before the Dark Forces Took Over America: Those Were the Days……..

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Sometimes, reading and listening to the media and to people, many people both here and abroad, it seems like Dark Forces have taken over America. People talk wistfully of the era of Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Yes, the era of George W Bush is also missed now as part of a Golden Age, and that is an accurate assessment given what has come after Barack Obama. Who would have thunk it way back in 2008?

That is because the Dark Forces have now completed their takeover of America, at least for now. In this dangerous bleak Year of Our, Your, and Their Lord of 2017. Only the federal courts and the media stand between them and wrecking the system so carefully crafted by the Founding Fathers of the United States. The legislature, those who are to consent and advise, have gone spineless. A combination of malevolent lawmakers in the Congress, tunnel-visioned corporate types running the executive branch, and an ignorant uninterested president are leading America to some kind of brink. (Did I leave out single-issue-focused voters?) Widening domestic class warfare and likely more permanent wars abroad, mainly new wars in the Middle East. Even as they claim to be trying to make America great again.

In that spirit, it is appropriate to listen to an old but good song that expresses the spirit of these dark times. It is sung by Mary Hopkins, and is titled Those Were the Days…….

A sad song, now even more bigly sad….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Second American Century, But Trump Can’t Lead the Free World: Und Warum Nicht?…….

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The United States has been leading the “Free World” since the second week of December 1941. Seventy Six years of uninterrupted U.S. domination of the West and of the world. It has managed to do so through various presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. All based on the strength of the US economy, US military, and the attractive American ideals.

But with this last election of 2016, the Shining City on the Hill looks less shiny to more in the world. Don’t get me wrong: the American ideal and its attraction still exist, its pull beckons both the needy and the persecuted and oppressed from across the world. Its freedom of speech and expression is unequaled, so far. But the new American ruling classes are not in sync with the rest of the Industrial World, with the rest of the Western World.

Some years ago in Paris, in my other carnation, I was at a lunch near Avenue Georges V with some French associates. They were curious what I thought the new 21st century would be like. They had doubts about another American Century. Europe was consolidating, asserting itself; China was grown, opening. I surprised and seemingly displeased them by asserting that this new century will also be an American Century, a Second American Century. I said that I can’t see any challenger in Europe or in Asia to the United States of America. The allure, the values, and openness of America continue.

I still do: I can’t see any challenger to America as the world’s dominant power. Nor as the world’s ideal destination, and as the main source of human innovation. Emma Lazarus endures……

But the new ruling classes that took power in January are small and mean by normal American standards. Possibly the worst in the past hundred years. The louder he praises his appointees, the smaller they look. They are not what the world is used to. They are not what most Americans are used to. And they are not nearly as honest as Americans are used to in their ruling classes.

Trump is no Roosevelt, and no Kennedy: a comparison would be an insult to both those dynasties. He has no vision of a New Deal type restructuring. He has no group of the Best and Brightest advising him. No “we are going to the moon” ideal. And he is no war hero, on the contrary…… Instead he has a gaggle of the meanest, greediest, and most selfish people advising him and running government departments. He appeals to some baser instincts in America (every nation in the world has them).

His first legislative act was to try and deprive millions of Americans of their health care coverage. With the goal of clearing up billions of dollars to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, like himself and his associates. That has failed spectacularly. By executive order he has sought to destroy the beautiful natural treasures of this country, turning the treasures over to developers. Making the United States into another Brazil.

I can go on and on. The Second American Century is here. Unfortunately Mr. Trump and his gaggle of extremist ideologues and small thinkers can’t lead it. They are not qualified, and the rest of the world will not follow. His administration is the only Industrial Country Government that denies Climate Change and Evolution and Healthcare as a human right.

America‘s best chance now is that Donald Trump will do something stupid that gets him impeached and convicted.

As he liked to yell during his noisy campaign rallies: Get Him out of Here!

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Jeff Beauregard Sessions III Visits Mexican Border, Refrains from Mooning Neighbors…….

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“Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the US-Mexico border Tuesday and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump. The nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as “filth” brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations. The tour included visiting a port of entry, where Sessions exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area……..”

Jeff Beauregard Sessions (The Third) is the Attorney General of the United States. He was named after a good Southern gentleman: Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. That earlier Beauregard was a man of many talents, but he is best known for starting the American Civil War at Fort Sumter (where he won a Pyrrhic victory), and he went on to fight other battles for the Confederacy.

Now, back to the current border.
On another border of another country, at another time, the following happened. A very high security official went on an inspection visit of the tense border between his country and a neighboring country. He ended up making a speech facing the border. At one point he got carried away, turned his back on the neighboring country, pulled down his pants and mooned the befuddled neighbors on the other side.

Some of the soldiers among the neighbors across the border were offended, and aimed their rifles at his rear end. But alas, they decided not to create an international crisis by shooting his arse.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

American Illusions: From ‘No More War’ to ‘One More Muslim War’…….

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“One Two Three Four
We Don’t Want Your F–king War…”

I remember this old refrain fondly now. I used to hear it almost on a daily basis during my undergraduate university days. It is about time to dust it up and hear it again.

That replaced what it should have been:
“One, two, three, four
Tell me that you love me more”

This time it is not just the political classes, not just Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex that own the politicians, it is also the corporate media that is daily pushing one Muslim war or another. Much of it is also funded by foreign lobbyists, their loyal think-tanks, and other interests.

The old mantra “No More War” has been co-opted. During the George Bush (fils) and Obama eras, the United States gradually got engaged in several Middle East civil and uncivil wars. September 11, which had its genesis in the old Afghan War against the Soviets: American weapons and Saudi money and Wahhabi ideology created Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Opened the door to the second (or third) Afghanistan War that is still going on, sixteen years later. Then the Iraq war came with much fanfare (and eventually much embarrassment).

Soon other wars snuck in by stealth: Islamic State, Somalia, Libya, African Sahel countries, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. The United States is now involved in wars in some 10 Muslim or Muslim-majority countries. And the American political classes and the hungry media seem eager for more war. They castigated Obama for not getting into just one more war in Syria, and now they are glorifying Trump for putting one foot into a potentially disastrous Syrian war.
The sights were set on Syria early on, not for the benefit of the Syrian people, but for strategic regional reasons. Before the Arab Uprisings of 2011. For a while the sights were set on Iran, a truly foolish idea. Lebanon is not far from their thoughts, not with Netanyahu, the Guru of the American right and assorted chickenhawks, egging them on. On the other hand, the Jihadis get some mileage by talking about the “new crusades”.

Nowadays, it is always “One More Muslim War”: one more Muslim war to end all Muslim wars. That old illusion of the 20th century. Except that it doesn’t end all Muslim wars, just sets the stage for the next one…….

I really long for “No More War“. I find myself longingly humming the old refrain: One Two Three Four…. and I wish I could end it differently, with the clean version, with no four-letter word. Fat chance……

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s Brief Airborne Syrian Fling: My Fatwa for Next Year………

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President Trump has managed to gather some sort of consensus, at least within the media and among politicians, around his brief air-war fling with Syria. As usual in the initial phase of a military action, both parties and the media have managed to praise his action, in some cases for fear of looking unpatriotic or “too outlier” (fear of bullying is not confined to school children).

Soon they will be asking: what next? What? No more? Especially cable media will go through severe withdrawal symptoms, being used to some thirty years of covering (ad nauseam) non-stop foreign wars. Some are already beginning to ask the question. Then the absolute rulers of the allied Muslim countries will push him to support a “democratic” Syria (where power can be shared between the Wahhabi Salafists attached to Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood attached to Turkey’s strongman Erdogan). A claustrophobic democratic experience they would never allow their own peoples to enjoy. Apparently Trump has been listening to the potentates lately, and he seems to be impressed.

My guess? My Fatwa: sometime well before the summer of 2018, Democrats will look back and say that Trump did his Syrian fling in order to divert attention from “other” more pressing “America First” issues he could not handle. The quick disenchantment happened with LBJ, Bush (pere et fils), and perhaps others.

A one-week apparent success (meaning no American casualties) while his foes’ knives are being temporarily hidden. Foreign action trumps domestic failure, but only for a while (just ask George H W Bush who presided over the end of the Soviet Union and a swift American victory in the Persian Gulf War).
The infrastructure will still need to be dealt with, and Trump may soon have some Obama-style stonewalling by the Republican Congress on the required spending. Then there is Healthcare, then a mechanism to keep and create jobs inside the USA, then a mechanism to encourage young people to enroll in STEM education (preferably within the excellent traditional mode of a broad American undergraduate college education that we all enjoyed).

The risk is that America First may become America Later. Looks like George Dubya Bush was right: being US president is a hard job……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Healthcare: Trump Stunned by Complications of a Life and Death Issue……

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President Donald Trump seemed stunned after the defeat of the Republican, his, health care bill in Congress. He complained: “”Nobody knew could be this complicated”

Why? Because it is about life & death, Mr. President. Your Party sided with death when it chose to try to kill quickly after private deliberations in dark rooms.


More on this later, stay tuned.

Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum