LAUGHINGSTOCK NATION

14 10 2018

Recently, our President addressed The United Nations, and something unprecedented  took place. When he said,

 “My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

That usually solemn body broke out in laughter.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Several commentators that I read were aghast, enraged that our country has been brought so low that our President is laughed at by other world leaders.

Not me. I’m glad it finally happened, and I hope it’s not the only time. I wish the world had started laughing at America’s pretensions a long time ago.

I wish that, when Colin Powell falsely asserted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, he had been laughed at. I wish the UN had laughed at George Bush for supporting those lies, instead of acquiescing and giving the US permission to invade Iraq and Afghanistan on the ludicrous pretext that a bunch of Saudis hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings in the US. I wish the UN had laughed at Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech. I wish French and British diplomats had laughed at the US when this country put them up to the UN resolution that was wrongly used to justify intervention in that country’s US-incited civil war, which plunged Libya from being, as Iraq once was, one of the wealthier, more stable countries in the region into being a failed state and a gateway for African refugees seeking to escape to Europe. Not that African refugees don’t need a safe haven.

I wish world leaders had laughed at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama when they spouted rhetoric about peace and democracy while supporting neither. I wish the response to the Democratic Party’s dodge that “The Russians colluded with Trump to influence/steal the 2016 elections” was being greeted with the widespread derision that this “the dog ate my homework” excuse deserves.

I wish the world would laugh at every politician who mouths platitudes about dealing with global warming while doing everything he or she can to promote the cancer known as “economic growth.”

And of course I wish the world would laugh at every politician who denies climate change.

I wish that the world had laughed at Bill Clinton, the elder Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson as they attempted, and in many cases succeeded, in championing American interests ahead of the best interests of the whole planet. Jimmy Carter, not so much–he had his failings, but he seemed to have a clue, and what he has done with his life since being ousted in the 1980 coup that installed Reagan confirms that he’s got a good solid clue. That the best President we’ve had in the last fifty years was a one-termer is certainly worth a laugh.

Elsewhere on the domestic front, the FBI’s whitewash of a so-called “investigation” in regard to Ms. Clinton’s communications–both the appropriateness of the server she was using, and the influence peddling and election fixing various leaks have revealed–has helped make our law enforcement agencies a laughing-stock. Investigation into that whitewash revealed agents acting on a political agenda, rather than seeking the truth and letting the chips–and indictments–fall where they may. Well, at least the agency as a whole isn’t playing political favorites–their investigation of the Brett Kavanaugh-Christine Blasey Ford rape charges came out of the same bucket of white paint as their perfunctory look at Ms. Clinton.

Ah, Brett Kavnaugh.  When credible charges that he had pooped in his pants at the age of two came to light, he angrily denied them, calling the story “a viscous (sic) smear.” “I was born potty trained,” he insisted, and offered a sworn affidavit from his mother to back up his claim.

How honest is he? Well, consider this. When stories about his crude, self-centered behavior in his  teenage and college years first surfaced, he could have said,

“For a while when I was young, I got drunk a lot and did terrible things, not all of which I remember. But then, I started taking life a lot more seriously, and changed my ways, and part of that has been doing whatever it takes to make amends to anyone I’ve wronged, so not only do I apologize,  I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to make it right for these women, too.”

He could have said that, and spun these accusations into a redemption story that swept him right through his confirmation, but he didn’t. I bet it didn’t even occur to him—what honesty!

Having a bullying, whining, over-privileged, nearly clueless frat boy like Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, joining his reactionary ideologue colleagues Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch to form a majority coalition of…whiny, over-privileged, nearly clueless frat boys who are bound to rule against reality every chance they get, makes SCOTUS a laughing-stock for sure. Oh, by the way–reality doesn’t care if a court rules against it. This conflict should be good for some real howlers.

And the Democratic response to Kavanaugh–while I cannot deny that it focussed on a very serious matter–was, I think, a deliberate attempt to get voters emotionally riled up and motivated to vote–for any old Democrat, no matter how corporate–in the upcoming election. Just to be blunt, I’ll say it was the Democratic equivalent of “grab ’em by the (crotch) and they’ll do anything you want.”

As World Socialist Web Site reporter Patrick Martin pointed out

The Democrats made no serious effort to expose Kavanaugh’s long record of political thuggery on behalf of the Republican Party, including key roles in both the Clinton impeachment and the theft of the 2000 presidential election. Nor have they highlighted his role as an apologist for illegal wars and torture in the Bush administration, or his 12-year record on the US Court of Appeals, issuing hundreds of right-wing decisions.
Any lawyer worth his $800-an-hour salt should have been, and should still be, able to find not just grounds for rejecting the nomination, but for Kavanagh’s impeachment from the judiciary, in the nooks and crannies, if not the flashing neon signs, of that record. I hope somebody is working on this. if not, it’s one more reason to laugh at the Democrats, who fast-tracked fifteen Trump judicial appointments while making a show of opposing this one.billy-butcher-trump-clinton-pop-characters-5
Here in Tennessee, Democratic nominee for the US Senate Phil Bredesen made a laughingstock of himself when, in a tight race with Republican Stepford wife Marsha Blackburn, he said he would have voted to confirm Kavanaugh. Several people were reportedly trampled in the rush to get away from him. Way to differentiate yourself from your opponent, Phil! Let ’em know what a clear choice you offer!
Meanwhile, we Greens are kicking ourselves for having failed to come up with a Senate candidate this year. Oh, well. Due to the courts’ peculiar  interpretation of The First Amendment, we do not have the right to express our candidates’ Green Party affiliation on the ballot without going through an expensive, time-consuming petition process that only one party has successfully completed in the more than fifty years the law has been on the books. Then, if none of our state-wide candidates received a fairly high number of votes, we would have to spend another hundred grand collecting signatures for the next election. The” fairness” of this process, and the court’s wisdom in upholding it, is one of many factors that make a laughingstock of our electoral system. But I digress…
Now that the Democrats have, predictably, failed to stop the GOP majority from installing Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, what are they going to do with all that rage, especially if they fail to flip Congress, as they aspire to do, in the upcoming election? If they were gun-owning Republicans, completely fed up with Democrats, I think we might have a serious uprising, even a very uncivil civil war, on our hands. But these are Democrats. They don’t do guns. What will they do? Will all this rage merely be channelled into yet another surge in anti-depressant prescriptions? Or do the Democrats have the nerve to raise hell in the numbers, and over the protracted period of time it would take, for a non-violent campaign to have a serious impact on the functioning of the government? If they turn out to be the equivalent of a guy who challenges a bully in a bar and then tries to talk his way out of it, we will all be laughing at them. Laughing just to keep from crying, as the old blues song sings it.

“Oh, if only Hillary had won,” you say, “we wouldn’t be in this mess. She would have nominated two decent people to the court.” Clinton’s court nominees would, no doubt, have had a more impartial veneer, but, the way judges rise through our court system being what it is, Ms. Clinton’s nominees would undoubtedly have been solid supporters of the existing order–you know, the existing order that’s destroying the planet. Merrick Garland is a champion of the corporate system, not a social justice advocate.

Oh, yeah–Ms. Clinton’s nominees would get about the same welcome from our Republican-dominated Congress as Dr. Blaisey-Ford got. Democrats may wish that Congress would impeach the President. If Ms. Clinton had been elected, you can bet impeachment proceedings would have been under way the moment the swearing-in ceremony was over, and not only for her, but for Vice-President Kaine, as well. We’d all be talking about President Ryan. So yep, we wouldn’t be in this mess if she had been elected. We’d be in a different mess, and it would be just as deep.

So, I think we owe President Turnip a debt of gratitude for making the US an out-front laughing-stock. For too many years, the world community has  taken their Uncle Sam, his multiple addictions and obsessions, and his sociopathic self-involvement far too seriously. It was tough. Nobody had the strength to stand up to him, and the few who tried–Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Libya–he beat up unmercifully. Now he’s threatening Iran, Russia, and China, but it’s increasingly clear that, in spite of all his guns, he’s just a pathetic drunk whose strength is not what it used to be. I think it’s safe to predict that, should he try beating up on any of those he’s currently attempting to bully, he will be the one to get hurt.

In fact, I think it’s safe to predict that, with President Turnip on a bound-to-fail mission to “Make America Great Again” domestically, starting a fight with somebody else will look like the ideal distraction for the residents of this dysfunctional home of ours when his failures become too difficult for even his supporters to ignore. Lay in some tools and supplies and hang tight with your friends and neighbors, folks. Looks like a tornado coming in. We’re gonna need a good sense of humor to get through all this.

You Gon’t Know My Mind Leadbelly

Louis Atmstrong/Duke Elllington The Mooche

Odetta You Don’t Know My Mind  (I didn’t have time to include this or “The Mooche” in the show, but both are stellar cuts from two of the best musicians of our time.)


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