Good News, Bad News

Bannon is out but don’t forget: we are still the China shop and the rodeo clowns trying to corral the tormented, crazy bull may just be three generals. If we were seeing that in another country, we would suspect the scene was being set for a military coup.

GOOD NEWS: Bannon is out.

BAD NEWS: The other fool – whatsisname, Trump? Still there. Just not listening: all the stuff I have said about him, and he is still hanging on.

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It can’t happen here, says the American religion. We call those other countries “third world.’ And we are “first world.” Right. We the First People, our virtue eternally protected by the Pledge of Allegiance and the Patriot Act, by living on a hill in a shining city under protection of the god of the prairie and all the nice things we do to other people’s countries.

As if a military regency were more improbable than the White House taken over by a mean, miserable, ignorant collection of character flaws and snarling resentments funneling money into his collection of flim-flam businesses, installing family members as flatterers to insulate him from the world and let them cash in, too. You can’t get any more third world than the Trump kakistocracy. If the junta takes over, it will be a segue not a revolution.

The Charlottesville Nazis and Trump’s support shouldn’t shock us. He kept telling you in his campaign that they were there, and they kept cheering and snarling while he kept recruiting and grooming them, and then there they were, on proud display. A Trumpist bloc, more numerous than coal miners and maybe all the Rust Belters dispossessed by history is the ugly animal that lives inside the worst of us.

Trump is probably dead in the water now, but don’t take your eye off him. If he didn’t have some good Houdini skills, he would be in jail. Even Bannon, a high-functioning nut job out to damage what’s left of civilization following fevered dreams of gods, demons and Knights Templar, knows that. But does Trump know it? How high and thick is his flattery wall?

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GOOD NEWS for the rest of the world: Trump has so degraded the government and the country, depleting the executive and diplomatic corps, that combined with the Republican descent into social madness, that not much is left but military to impose the “indispensable nation” myth and “project power.” Other countries (except North Korea, Iran and maybe poor Venezuela) and peoples are probably blinking in the sudden glare of liberation.

For much of of Planet Earth, the US is a military empire that overthrows their governments, rapes the land, protects their oligarchs, and tells the people that if it were not for our bombers and drones and spy satellites, it would be even worse for them.

“The Russians” were right: Trump’s victory was a big win for them. Think of it the other way: if you were an American nationalist and could put Trump in charge of Russia instead of Putin . . . .

In the best imaginable case, the US will come through this less arrogant, less stupid, less unaware, more attuned to civilization instead of domination.

BAD NEWS: Trump and some of the more deplorable clumps of congressional disasters think that bombing, droning, invasion and occupation are fine things. A clown of chaos like 45, running to stay a step ahead of Mueller, might be crazy enough to use the big stuff, and create the Clash of Civilizations, which may not be inevitable but is still optional.

For the rest of us, until the authoritarian, nativist gang is out on its collective ear, the lives of the people who live in this land are under threat of a degenerate tyranny built on ignorance whose objectives boil down to variations on theft of money and power.

Á propos, since NOLAscape readers are the most perspicacious people in the world, you will not have failed to notice that we used to be able to say that the Kim dynasty of North Korea was a unique lunacy. No more. Trump handed them their release papers. Now when they say they need nukes because the United States is threatening to attack them, they have the evidence.

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Trump is turning into a brooding, miserable Tiberius. Watch him lumber on to the stage, as if Mueller’s men were fingering their handcuffs backstage. When his reign was tattered and beleaguered, the Roman Emperor Tiberius moved his base to Capri, a holiday island off southern Italy, leaving military consigliere Sejanus, Tiberius’s John Kelly, in charge. In the wings to be elevated by the Praetorians when somebody finally offed the Emp, or he died under assault of his own excesses, was young Caligula.

           

                      Tiberius                              Sejanus                                       Caligula

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GOOD NEWS: Cedric Grant is out of the SWB.

BAD NEWS: The city is giving him and equally incompetent cronies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in pensions for their great work in causing millions of dollars of damage to hundreds of people this month.

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GOOD NEWS: Landrieu is riding to the rescue. The man with no name materializes in the mist, fixing generators, bringing pumps to life.

BAD NEWS: Landrieu is turbocharging his resumé with a rescue story to save the city from a mess that he should never have allowed to happen. He should have known that Grant was useless. Others did. SWB failure is more life threatening than the bogeyman stories about security in the French Quarter, getting $40m and possibly years of disruption. He should have known  that the SWB was not functioning, and put in competent staff that would not have let this happen.

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GOOD NEWS: White House watchers are increasingly predicting that Trump can’t last his term, some that they would be surprised to see him get to the end of the year.

BAD NEWS: Trump is an escape artist. If he wasn’t, he would be in jail. His choices may be to try to hold onto office for immunity, or resign in return for an immunity deal.

If he hangs on by his fingernails, brush warfare, proxy wars and trying to turn Blackwater into a Praetorian Guard may be the only way left for the pretend emperor to flex his authoritarian neuroses. Partnering up with Netanyahu and Adelson to pick a fight with Iran may be in our future, leading to another few generations of Middle Eastern bloodshed. That should unleash more Radical Islamic Terrorism, so he can tweet it more.

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GOOD NEWS: Kelly seems more intelligent, savvy and grown-up than Trump. A low bar but . . . .

BAD NEWS: Kelly, McMaster and Mattis could be the USA’s first military junta. Move over, Argentina.

GOOD NEWS: That is not all bad. If the military triumvirate moves in to save the state, they may actually be doing it.

BAD NEWS: I don’t have to tell you.

But I will.

The interlocking net of security agencies and the military establishment are in the core of the “deep state.” The Bannon gang thought they could re-write its operating system by Trump’s poking the ugly embers of nativism, firing Comey and gutting the executive branch by appointing idiots and vandals to the cabinet and agencies. Now they think they chose a cracked vessel, but they aren’t giving up. The barbarians are still inside the gates.

The other side, and it’s a big other side, of salvation by the Generals is that American military and security agencies are the causes of more death, destruction and misery in recent decades, certainly since the beginning of Vietnam, than any other force in the world, with religion in second place. The religious terrorist groups are bad, but add them all together, including their brothers and sisters in the neo-Nazi clubs, and they don’t come close to US “national security.

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BAD NEWS: Our Popeye Conversation is not up on the site yet.

GOOD NEWS: It will be very soon – just a day or two.

Popeye is an irresistible work of art and entertainment, charming and seductive. If you don’t know it, this is your chance to fall in love.

I can’t find Popeye on any of the subscription streaming services that I use, but you can rent it from Amazon for $2.99 or $3.99. I bought it for $8.99, because it is a beautiful, bright piece that you can watch again and again.

© NOLAscape August 2017

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