Lotteries and Rights in the Sporting Life

The pigeon flapped in desperation, moving across Melbourne’s lavish Capitol Theatre in fits and starts.  It was more alarmed than anything else at the address being given by former Australian football (soccer to some) player Craig Foster.  Foster has been beating the drum on one particular message for some time now: that sports can change the dimension of human rights, becoming, as it were, a fertilising agent.

At the Capitol, he made the point with various reiterations, reminding his audience about the fortunate Hakeem al-Araibi, who became his inspired subject of humanity.  Al-Araibi was not merely a Bahraini refugee who had been detained for supporting fellow footballers who had protested during the Arab Spring, but a member of Melbourne’s Pascoe Vale Football Club.  On a trip to Thailand as an accepted refugee, he found himself in Thai captivity facing the prospect of extradition to his homeland.

Foster’s very public campaign seeking his release from Thai prison demonstrated an unequal law of favouritism in this field: had the Bahraini national not been a footballer, a sports figure of some merit, there is little to suggest that he would have received such furious and tenacious attention.  As Foster said at the time of al-Araibi’s release in February, “This is a man, probably the most famous young man in Australia right now, a courageous young man, a human rights defender… we’re so proud of all of Australia to have fought so hard to bring [him] back home”.

Currently, refugees on Nauru and Manus Island, detained at the behest of Australian foreign and domestic policy, are distant, faceless subjects of legal purgatory.  Attention and sympathy is heavily rationed; not even the occasional gruesome death can spur the Australian citizen to storm the immigration offices.  Such a point is acknowledged by Foster.  When it came to garnering international support for al-Araibi’s case, critics pointed their fingers at Australia’s own venal refugee policy, one strong on outsourced mandatory detention.  “Nor was it lost on any of us fighting so hard against two governments and monarchies and in urging FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and the International Olympic Committee to uphold their human rights obligations that we are failing to uphold our own.”

Foster also notes that such matters should not be lotteries of fate.  To his Capitol audience, he observed a certain luck of the draw in al-Araibi’s case: that being a registered footballer gave him more rights than standard citizens designated as refugees.  FIFA, a governing organisation famed for habitual corruption, does at least boast of a commitment to respect “all internationally recognised human rights” while striving “to promote the protection of these rights.”  The grim logic of this is clear: if you are going to have your rights infringed and impeded, best suffer as the practitioner of a certain sport.

Another take is also offered in this regard, one that shows Foster to be, like his colleagues in the field of human rights, a figure conscious of brand and reputation.  Never ignore the power of cash and sponsorship.  Never discount vulgar pragmatism when protecting human rights.  Linking their observance with image can be the stuff of financial prudence.  “If countries are acquiring Formula One, football tournaments and the like in order to ‘sportwash’ their image,” observed Foster on a panel event at the UTS Centre for Business and Social Innovation this year, “then surely there is a responsibility from sport inherently to make sure that human rights abuses aren’t occurring on that very basis.”  Well, yes, but not always.

The focus on sports and rights is a field that is becoming verdant with well-wishers and talking heads.  The big sporting event comes with broader social implications.   With such endeavours come buildings, equipment and due exploitation.  As Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation notes: “The industry not only depends on star athletes – who also have rights – but on the work of millions who build the sport parks, construct the stadia, manufacture the panoply of sporting goods and provide the services and catering that make mega-sporting events possible.”

Unfortunately, such realisations have not seen states such as Qatar deprived of their hosting rights of the 2022 World Cup. That particular country boasts a particularly crude system of binding migrant employees to a single employer with considerable control, known as kafala.  Invariably, it is one rife with exploitation.  This, despite claiming its abolition in 2016.

The Centre for Sports and Human Rights in Geneva was recently opened to study the relationship between rights and sports, though it remains to be seen whether it becomes an institution of weight rather than a laundering body for states with less than scrupulous human rights records.  The optimists are currently out in force, given the record of the Centre’s inaugural chair, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.  “Our collective vision is a world of sport that fully respects human rights.”

Where to, then, with such disagreements about rights?  The avenues are few and far between in instances where repression abounds.  The modern refugee has few guarantees, facing the eternal drawbridge that might, at any given moment, be lifted.  As far as the sporting character, Foster suggests a regulatory chamber for sports, a global body that will adjudicate and dispense justice.  The underpinning rationale here is the acknowledgement that human rights transcend sporting rights.

This view on talismanic sports figures being human rights standard bearers can come across as a bit green, fanned by an enthusiastic naivety that accompanies certain sports players.  Sports figures are not merely the bearers of rights, but their promoters.  The sporting fraternity must never shy way from the critical issues of the day.  But the other, oft neglected side in such discussions is that sports figures are also there to be manipulated, to be drugged, stressed and watered by unscrupulous state bureaucrats.  Inadvertently, such figures also serve ends they might be oblivious too.  Be that as it may, Foster’s points, maturing within the legal framework he is developing as an incipient lawyer, are valid ones: the sporting character, by virtue of being one, also has fundamental human rights.

30+ Afghans Killed In Drone Strike While CIA Celebrates 18 Years Of War On Afghanistan

undefined

From the abstract of a (paywalled) piece about the never ending US war on Afghanistan:
Slow failure: Understanding America’s quagmire in Afghanistan

The United States government has no organised way of thinking about war termination other than seeking decisive military victory.

This implicit assumption is inducing three major errors.

First, the United States tends to select military-centric strategies that have low probabilities of success.

Second, the United States is slow to modify losing or ineffective strategies due to cognitive obstacles, internal frictions, and patron-client challenges with the host nation government.

Finally, as the US government tires of the war and elects to withdraw, bargaining asymmetries prevent successful transitions (building the host nation to win on its own) or negotiations.
The Taliban were created to suppress the corrupt warlords in Afghanistan who menaced the people. They achieved that and the people were greatful. But the Taliban did not have the means to govern the country. When the World Trade Center towers came down the US accused al-Qaeda and went to war to oust the Taliban who had given some Arab friends a retreat in Afghanistan.

The CIA still celebrates the moment:
The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan was won in 2001. The Taliban were ready to lay down their arms and to make peace. But the US rejected all their offers. It instead captured, tortured and killed them whenever it could. It set up a new government filled with the same corrupt warlords the Taliban had previously ousted. That was a major strategic mistake.

The warlords robbed left and right and created the usual mess with the people. The Afghan government never gained the necessary legitimacy to rule the country. The insurgency against the warlords grew again and the Taliban reestablished their networks.

The US tried to suppress them first with its own (incompetent) military campaign and then by building an Afghan army under government control. But the utter corruption that has only grown under the warlords guarantees that the Afghan army will never become a competent force. Meanwhile the Taliban are winning the war. They already rule over more than half of the country.

The US is looking for a way out by negotiating with the Taliban. It wants a face saving exit but has no leverage to achieve that. The talks also got sabotaged by the ruling warlords in Kabul, which the CIA still pays, as well as by the borg in Washington DC.

The war on Afghanistan was never run under a common command or plan that incorporated all the necessary civil and military elements under one hat. The CIA did its thing, the military something different and the development people tried all kinds of really stupid things. No part coordinated with the others. The same obvious mistakes were made again and again. That made it impossible to win.

It is also the reason why, eighteen years after the CIA bribed the warlords to fight on the US side, sh*t like this is still happening:
A US drone attack killed 30 pine nut farmers and wounded at least 40 others in Afghanistan Wednesday night, the latest killing of innocent civilians by American forces as the "war on terror" enters its 19th year.

The farmers had just finished work and were sitting by a fire when the strike happened, according to tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul.
...
Reuters reported that there may be more farmers missing:

Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured.

A survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened.
Is that the CIA's way to celebrate 18 years of war?

Each of the families of those killed or wounded day workers will now send another son to join the Taliban.

As all three steps described in the above abstract have failed to 'win' in Afghanistan there is only one way left to end the war on Afghanistan.

Stop paying the warlords, leave the country and forget about it.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.

‘An Antiwar Conservative’ – Rep. John Duncan, Jr.

Can an antiwar conservative survive? US Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (Ret.) speaks at the Ron Paul Institute's 2019 Washington Conference on taking difficult votes in the House against the Iraq war in 2002. Often when there were just a couple of "no" votes on a particularly bad bill, it would be Rep. Duncan along with Ron Paul voting together. Watch Rep. Duncan's moving speech to open the 2019 RPI Washington Conference:

Who Launched That Mystery Attack?

undefined

The Mideast has its own variety of crazy humor. The Saudis have been blasting and bombing wretched Yemen, one of this world’s poorest nations, since 2015.

These US-supported attacks and a naval blockade of Yemen imposed by Saudi Arabia and its sidekick ally, the United Arab Emirates, have caused mass starvation. No one knows how many Yemenis have died or are currently starving. Estimates run from 250,000 to one million.

The black humor? The Saudis just claimed they were victims of Iranian `aggression’ this past week after the kingdom’s leading oil treatment facility at Abqaiq was hit by a flight of armed drones or cruise missiles. The usual American militarists, now led by State Secretary Mike Pompeo after the demented warmonger, John Bolton, was finally fired, are calling for military retaliation against Iran even though the attack was claimed by Yemen’s Shia Houthi movement.

This drama came at roughly the same time that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of US president Donald Trump, vowed to annex Palestine’s entire Jordan Valley if elected. Not a peep of protest came from the US, which recently blessed Netanyahu’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights while scourging Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, for annexing Crimea – a Russian possession for over 300 years.

I studied US photos of the damaged Saudi oil installations. Its oil tanks appear to be precisely hit at the same place. After the attack, the Saudis claimed half of their oil production was knocked out; but a day later, they vowed production would be resumed within a week. Parts of so-called drones were shown that appeared way beyond the technological capabilities of Yemen or even Iran. The missiles may have been supplied by Ukraine.

The Saudis, like their patron in Washington, have a poor record for truthfulness. Remember the Saudi denials about the murder of journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi? More important, we have been waiting for more false flag attacks in the Gulf designed to justify a US attack on Iran.

The pattern of so-called drone attacks against the Saudi oil installations is just too neat and symmetrical. The Israelis have a strong interest in promoting a US-Saudi War. The attacks in Saudi came ironically right after the anniversary of 9/11 that plunged the US into war against large parts of the Muslim world.

As a long-time military observer, I find it very hard to believe that drones could be guided over such long distances and so accurately without aircraft or satellites to guide them. In Yemen, which is just creeping into the 12th century, changing a flat tire is a major technological achievement. To date, Iran’s missile arsenal has poor reliability and major guidance problems.

Adding to the questions, the Saudis have spent billions on US-made air defense systems. They failed to protect the oil installations. The Saudis would have been better off buying air defenses from the Russians, at a quarter of the US selling price.

Trump at least showed some wisdom by so far rejecting demands from the neocons that surround him to launch major attacks on Iran. Blasting Iran would not serve much purpose and would expose US forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, and Syria to Iranian guerrilla attacks. Saudi oil installations – after what we saw last week – are vulnerable.

Attacking Iran, even if just from the air, risks a much wider Mideast war just as the Trump administration – which originally campaigned against ‘stupid’ Mideast wars – faces next year’s elections. But the administration is under intense pressure from its pro-Israel base to go after Iran.

Bombing Iran’s oil infrastructure would be relatively easy and has been intensively planned since early 2002. But what next? So-called ‘regime change’ (Washington’s favorite euphemism for overthrowing disobedient foreign governments) rarely works as planned and can get the US into horribly messy situations. The CIA overthrew Iran’s democratic government in 1953 and look where we are today.

Perhaps the attacks on Abqaiq may cause the reckless Saudi leaders to stop devastating Yemen and throttle back on their proxy war against Iran which has gone on since 1979. But don’t count on it.

Reprinted with permission from EricMargolis.com.

Belgium, Germany and Kuwait: draft resolution on Syria

The Security Council, Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2209 (2015), 2235 (2015), 2249 (2015), 2254 (2015), 2258 (2015), 2268 (2016), 2286 (2016), 2332 (2016), 2336 (2016), 2393 (2017), 2401 (2018) and 2449 (2018), and its Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011 (S/PRST/2011/16), 21 March 2012 (S/PRST/2012/6), 5 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/10), 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15), 24 April 2015 (S/PRST/2015/10) (...)

China and Russian Federation: draft resolution on Syria

China and Russian Federation: draft resolution The Security Council, Recalling all of its previous resolutions, statements of its President and press statements on the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, Reaffirming the full respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, Reiterating its grave distress at the continued severity of humanitarian situation in North-West (...)

Red-faced over Blackface

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.
— Matthew 7: 1-2

Justin Trudeau in brownface.

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has found himself in the the center of a media tempest, and a countrywide tempest, because of having appeared at events in blackface/brownface in the past. Trudeau appeared before the media and apologized for what he acknowledged is racist, albeit he stated that he was unaware at the time of this action being racist.

Does a Racist Act Mean a Person is Racist?

There are two important aspects to consider with regard to denouncing a person as racist: temporality and intentionality.

Few, and probably none, of us are perfect; consequently, we have at one time or another said or done something we truly regret. These regrettable incidents do not necessarily represent how we truly feel or reveal who we really are. Humans are creatures who can be affected by emotions and negative life events, who thus influenced can lash out unthinkingly and angrily. Yet, afterwards they are filled with angst and remorse for what they have said or done.

What we believe today and who we are today might be very different from what we believed in the past and who we were then. Are we to be condemned for all our past mistakes, despite having accepted accountability, having sincerely apologized, and having lived a morally centered life ever since?

Who will cast the first stone?

More important than when an event transpired is what was meant by the words or acts. The simple reason is that humans are imperfect; they can have otherwise good hearts, and even in expressions of good mirth might say or do something ignorant of what this negatively connotes.

I do not ascribe racist sentiments to Trudeau over his blackface/brownface episodes. To wit, if Trudeau were then aware of any racist symbolism of blackface/brownface, would he then have appeared in a photo sandwiched between two Sikhs while also wearing a turban? (see below image)

The media is assuming a holier-than-thou stance (something Trudeau has been criticized for) in piling on over Trudeau’s past indiscretions. This is hypocrisy.

Is Trudeau Presently a Racist?

Certain political stances reveal that Trudeau is indeed, undeniably, a racist.

Anti-Palestinian

Trudeau has turned a willfully blind eye to the racism and oppression suffered by Palestinians at the hands of Israeli Jews. He mischaracterizes and opposes BDS, a non-violent means for Palestinians to pressure Israel to end occupation and oppression. In another example of poor judgement, Trudeau has appeared at a function for the Jewish National Fund, a racist registered charity in Canada.

Moreover, the Trudeau government has imperiled free speech by agreeing to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. This definition equates criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism.

Especially under Trudeau, Canada has been no friend to Palestine.

Anti-First Nation

In 2015, Trudeau promised to guarantee the rights of First Nations, stating that it was a “sacred obligation.”

There are several examples of Trudeau trampling on the scared obligation. The plight currently facing the people of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation starkly illustrates Trudeau’s fidelity to a sacred obligation between nations.

The Wet’suwet’en First Nation lies in the central interior of the province colonially designated British Columbia. The territory is unceded and the Wet’suwet’en people live under their own laws. The Wet’suwet’en First Nation rejected the passage of pipelines on their territory. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court of BC decision granted an injunction allowing pipeline corporations to enter their territory.

The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs representing all 13 Wet’suwet’en house groups have stood behind the rejection of pipelines in their territory.

The Unist’ot’en (C’ihlts’ehkhyu / Big Frog Clan of the Wet’suwet’en) continue to press their case in the BC Supreme Court arguing that Wet’suwet’en law must be upheld on unceded Wet’suwet’en lands. They await the court decision which they see as indicating whether reconciliation is sought by the Canadian legal system or whether the colonial laws will continue to be imposed and Indigenous laws and ways ignored.

Media Hypocrisy

Trudeau’s colored faces is a distraction. It is a distraction for longstanding racism that has lined the pockets of corporate types and the government types that facilitate the plunder of the lands of other peoples.

Lastly, the fact that the corporate/state media allow the racist occupations of historical Palestine and First Nations to continue with nary a criticism speak loudly to what underlies the supposed indignation over Trudeau’s facial make-up. Trudeau represents an opportunity for the media to cash-in on another how-the-mighty-have-fallen story that titillates some among the masses. Meanwhile, racism continues to simmer under the mediascape and the wider Establishment.

The Spirit of Washington Redskin Fundamentalism

Since the events of 9/11, the Corporatist Sportsworld in general, and the National Football League in particular, have increasingly promoted the brand of American Militarism. For example, if you took a shot of whiskey every time an Armed Services recruitment ad aired during a typical NFL game telecast, you would probably be drunk by Halftime. Then there are those thrillingly gratuitous military jet overflights of fan-packed stadiums, which are not included in the high prices of the tickets; those are tax-dollars searing the air overhead. Or consider the “live look-ins” at soldiers based in Afghanistan, especially during the Holiday Season, as even the Holidays become more and more militarized: Jim Nantz never questions why our “brave American men and women in uniform” are still stationed over there, nearly two decades after their initial insertion. It’s like a never-ending War Zone celebration dance that Nantz narrates: all part of the fun and spirit of the Game!

Nevertheless, despite all manner of “surges” and End-Game tactics, the Taliban QB–or, quarterback–always eludes our latest “blitz package”–as if the average citizen-fan never tires of watching the same “replay” over and over again. Indeed, the war cry in Afghanistan now seems to be: “We’ll get’em next replay!” Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen–maybe a “TBA” with Iran? Certainly, the “Great Game” in Afghanistan has gone terribly deep into “overtime,” as if the referees are either dead, or simply lost the ability to blow a whistle.

The present piece was written in the recent past, 2014, concerning the mild uproar, at that time, over the insulting nature of one NFL franchise’s brand image: the Washington “Redskin.” Although I suggest an alternative logo during the article, upon further reflection, perhaps the “Washington Pentagons” would be the better name for the professional footballers from DC? Otherwise, none of the issues discussed below have moved one inch in 5 years–and they say that it’s a “game of inches…”

*****

It’s September again, and that means that the Roman Circus of the National Football League is back in session.

For the most part, it’s business as usual: “broken plays” and broken bones; “blown coverages” and blown-out knees. However, back in May (2014), ten members of the Congressional Native American Caucus scored several headlines by threatening legal action against a Pro Football franchise, the Washington Redskins. These congressmen contended that the Washington mascot, the “Redskin,” constitutes a racial slur; moreover, they made legislative motions to force the franchise to change its name. Indeed, the “Redskin” controversy garnered almost as much attention as the state of (then) star quarterback RG III’s wounded knee.

Such a name-change, reflecting prevailing cultural sensibilities, has a recent precedent in the DC Pro Sportsworld. The basketball “Bullets” turned into the “Wizards” in 1997, due to the connotation of violence in the name “Bullets.” “Bullets” owner Abe Polin decided to change the team’s name when his longtime friend, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was gunned down in 1995.

Daniel Snyder, the impish owner of the Redskins, however, has been consistently defiant on this issue. Sticking to his guns, so to speak, Snyder has publicly vowed: “We’ll never change the name…it’s that simple. Never–you can use caps!.” One is tempted to ask: “CAPS as in bullets, Mr. Snyder?”

For my part, I’ve always thought that the Washington franchise should change its name. Given the absolute lack of players and coaches of Native American origin, I believe that the “Redskin” logo is patently misleading. Instead, I would propose the name “Washington Black-and-Whiteskins,” as both more appropriate and entirely accurate, in light of the preponderance of black and white players–year in and year out–on the team.

Of course, such a logical re-branding of the Washington team might undermine the Sporting World’s official policy of lip-synching racial harmony by promoting an actual image–however verbal–of the same, rendering it too “black and white,” you could say–and, on the hallowed ground of the team concept, no less! Incidentally, as our corporate overlords and managers are ever fond of reiterating: there’s no “I” in team, which explains why team is blind–but that’s another deal…

Back to the case at hand: Some “whites” would object, no doubt, to the “black” preceding the “white” in the logo “Black-and-Whiteskins,” even though the reverse arrangement, “White-and-Blackskins” would be rather dyslexically awkward, causing a chronic case of headache amongst the fan-base, perhaps, like reading “The Last of the Mohicans” upside-down, or right-to-left.

The “and” itself, naturally, might generate its own controversy, with its radically conjunctive note of equivalency. Your garden variety white supremacist, for example, would insist that the “white” be positioned above the “black” on the helmet, which only recapitulates the previous dyslexical white objection, if only in more openly racist form. On typographical grounds alone, the supremacist’s perspective is clearly out-of-bounds. As for the mere white separatist, you would think that an ellipsis–or very long dash mark–would do the trick, making the “Washington Black-and-Whiteskins” a more attractive label–except that the concept of ellipsis eclipses the separatist’s grasp of reality, in all probability. Even a hint of juxtaposition can be enough to turn the separatist’s white skin…red.

Beyond the marginal, fringe constituency that the white supremacist-separatist fan-base is said to embody, let’s consider the more common core, traditionalist view: that of the Red, White, and Blue-blooded Redskin Fundamentalist, represented by the Scrooge-like owner, Mr. Snyder.

The Redskin Fundamentalist believes that his team’s logo transcends the vicissitudes of time, place, opinions, and fashion. Only what is best, and noblest, is preserved in the indelible icon, reflecting the virtuous victory of civilization in its oft cruel confrontation with the miscreant Savage (sometimes referred to as “Labor”…). For the traditionalist, the “Redskin” logo symbolizes preservation without reservation. The beauty of the iconic “Redskin” image lies in the fact that it sublimates and whitewashes the Savage, cleaning him up for civilized consumption–thereby ennobling him, as it were…

And this is precisely the issue. The “Redskin” on the Washington football helmet represents nothing less than a trophy of the historical hunt: a sporting testament to the subjugation and, in many cases, extermination, of an entire group of indigenous, continental people. The reservation system itself has always been a bit of genocide on the installment plan

Indeed, it is one of the enduring paradoxes of the American Tradition that we, who claim to love Freedom the most, held on to Slavery the longest. The so-called “Redskins” themselves, as a conquered and incarcerated people, also embody this obviously ignominious side of our legacy. Put another way: We thugged the original North Americans out of their lands–and not “their lands” in the sense of “Property,” which is a white Western legalism–then slapped their disenfranchised likeness on a football helmet.

So, on second thought, maybe the “Redskin” icon should stay? It stands as both an ironic symbol and powerful reminder of the domination of an indigenous people, the “Native Americans”: or, How the West was really won. To the smug Scrooge Snyder I say: “Bah, hum-thug!” In the case of the Washington Redskin, there’s more mask of thuggery to the mascot than meets the culturally conditioned sporting eye; seen more clearly, it represents centuries of a Big White Lie.

A Careless Bully At The KFC At The End Of Empire

Will Trump go to war with the Iranians or the homeless? Or both?

Trump is a coward. The nation of Iran has the means and the will to fight. Do you recall the will displayed by Iranians when repelling foreign invaders when Iraq attempted to invade Iran as a de facto US proxy force? Conversely, the homeless do not possess any defence against assault by the agents of the US police state.

Regardless of his image among credulous true believers, Trump, character-wise, is the diametric opposite of the image he conveys as a titan of supreme self-confidence. The pose is ego-based compensation for inner feelings of inferiority and abject weakness. Only those who are terrified of their own feelings of weakness and vulnerability fixate on the weakness, real or perceived, of others. If you desire to suss out a person ridden with self-doubt, no matter how outwardly confident and bestowed with worldly success, notice if they possess a proclivity to bandy the ultimate designation of capitalist derision, “loser.” Trump is prone to inflict a Heinrich Himmler-like evil towards the homeless because, as was the case with the chinless cipher “toy soldier” Himmler, Trump is contemptuous of his inner feelings of inadequacy. To avoid a crippling spiral into shame and self-doubt, feelings of doubt and concomitant animus must be displaced.

The US, in a collective sense, cannot address the societal sin of allowing homelessness, due to a fear that even regarding the crisis might lead to feelings of vulnerability…that some form of contact loseritude might overwhelm and decimate their will. The inherent weakness in the structure of late US empire compels contempt for the homeless. Trump’s self doubt is the source of his compulsion to humiliate those he perceives as weak and shunt them from sight. Only then can he separate himself from self-hatred.

The reason the mode of mind is lethally dangerous: The psychical trope cannot be sustained in a viable sense. The sense of weakness remains, compelling the sufferer to double down on the perpetration of force. There can be no end to the depth of cruelty inflicted because the pathos rages in the interior life of the totalitarian bully — not those on whom he projects his feelings of weakness and vulnerability. The fires of Auschwitz were lit by fires of self-hatred. When tyrants attempt to cage their self-contempt, hell is unloosed upon the world.

There is much back and forth about Trump’s level of intellect. Is he the cluelessly imbecilic, Dunning-Kruger effect-ridden, ambulatory head wound that he appears to be? Does he fake being a gibbering idiot so that his foes will underestimate him?

Carl Jung stated Adolf Hitler did not possess originality nor intelligence but possessed a “low animal cunning” — a description that fits Donald Trump as well. A business failure, he got his start — bestowed with epic advantage — in business with multimillions of dollars from his wealthy, crooked father thus Trump was able to impersonate a canny mogul within the make-believe precincts of reality television, preening for the noxiously credulous citizenry of the United States of Dumbfuckistan, while accruing revenue for the benefit of a cabal of cretinous, short-sighted-by-cupidity, mass media oligarchs.

Moreover, Trump was able to become President due to the epic stupidity of the elite of the Democratic Party who rigged their primary and nomination process for a candidate whose sense of entitlement to power was only exceeded by her ineptitude as a campaigner and her inability to turn in a plausible impression of an actual human being. In short, the bar of US intelligence is set so low even someone as toxically stupid as Trump can outwit the militantly obtuse elite of late US imperium.

Yet John Bolton, The Moustache Of The Apocalypse, was banished from the sight of the Tangerine Tsunami Of Viciousness. Yet the (bi-partisan) blood-sustained empire has not seen the last of the former’s blood-intoxicated breed and the latter’s brand of racist demagogic jerk-rocketry. Trump and Bolton were made by the system; they did not make the system. An empire sustains itself on militarist plunder and its leaders retail in sleight-of-hand, xenophobic tropes. What else would its political class be populated by other than a nest of vipers? What else would Trump bear, on a psychical level, but a head full of snakes? There has not been a reckoning of common sense and basic decency in the precincts of US power. Bolton simply blundered into the snake pit of Trump’s vanity.

Rich thus born-with-obscene-advantage man-boys such as Trump — and again in the news, due to newly unearthed allegations of creepopthatic transgressions against women trapped in vulnerable circumstances, Blubbering Brett Kavanaugh — are raised with the (careless and vile) ethos:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Worse: When called out for their transgressions against people born without money, power, and privilege, man-babies such as Trump and Kavanaugh flush with indignation and insist they are the victim and their accusers should be subjected to pillory and rebuke. Hence, we arrive at the origin of this vicious clutch of hideous man-boys: Capitalism is, what it always has been, a hierarchy of bullies.

*****

Post prancing down my Facebook news feed by a Trump rah-rah: “Trump has kept his promises. The economy is great. America is getting great again.”

Dispatch from a realm closer to reality:

The US economy is an over-heated, inflated bubble which is merely serving to bloat the already obscenely bloated coffers of the economic elite; Trump is gutting environmental regulations and laws that help to preserve endangered wildlife; he has withdrawn from crucial nuclear treaties; his wrong-headed tariffs are proving economically devastating to farming regions; he is caging children in concentration camp-like conditions; he is obsessed with building a money-sucking wall on the southern border and his xenophobic, racist demagoguery provoke violent reactions in a nation where xenophobia and racial resentment, perpetually, simmer beneath the surface.

It comes down to this: Donald Trump embodies U.S. America, its origins and zeitgeist, as is the case with the prevaricating, High Dollar owned and controlled tools of the Democratic Party. Why and how have these circumstances been allowed to prevail, unfettered by common sense and common decency? The US was founded on a principle in which the moneyed elite would have the means to monetise all things that their cupidity-seized minds surveyed, including the life and labor of human beings. Moreover, addressing the query in advance, there is not a “solution” to late empire…other than the terrible redemption that arrives with The Second Law Of Thermodynamics. Empires overextend themselves abroad and collapse into their corrupt core at home.

Do you desire to catch a glimpse of the Second Law Of Thermodynamics in play? Gaze upon the junk food bloated body of Donald Trump, denizen of the KFC at the end of empire, or note the carnage his (or the Great White Lifeguard Of Hope, Joe Biden’s) increasingly senile dementia-ridden mind inflicts upon syntax and cohesive narrative structure.

Trump’s collapsing linguistic function mirrors the decay of US infrastructure. His proposed remedy also mirrors his psychical derangement: A manic compensation, analogous to a junk food binge, involves the full-spectrum exploitation of all available fossil fuel resources, without regard to the damage inflicted on the body of the earth and the soul of the world.

Although the intrinsic foulness of the US did not arrive with Donald Trump. He is a reflection of the racist, genocidal, perpetually exploitative, money-lusting, humanity-loathing construction of the US — a hideousness that has been in play since the origin of the sham republic. Donald Trump simply reveals what exists at the rotten root and makes visible the murderous spores carried on the insidious winds of US empire.

Strong Men in Europe: Tony Abbott Visits Hungary

“I extend a special welcome to Australia’s former prime minister.  It is in part due to his tough policy that we regard Australia as a model country.  We especially respect it for the brave, direct and Anglo-Saxon consistency which it has shown on migration and defence of the Australian nation”.

These words of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Tony Abbott at the Third Budapest Demographic Summit uttered on September 5 would have made the former Australian premier gooey and weak at the knees.  Abbott, it must be remembered, had been the proud architect of the “turn back the boats” refugee policy, insistent that naval matters dealing with such arrivals be given a military flourish of secrecy.  It was not for the Australian public to know how many vessels might actually be making their way to Australia.

Orbán’s welcome pressed all the reactionary points of strongman mythology: inherent toughness, obsessive border security, and the singing praise for appropriate racial stock – the indomitable, pragmatic character that would not bow down to other “ethnic” elements in the populace.  (The irony, of course, is that Australia’s ruthless anti-refugee policy has the support of a good many nationalities keen to ensure that yesterday’s immigrants prevent today’s boat arrivals.)

Abbott, for his part, wrote gushingly of the Hungarian leader a few days after his Budapest meeting, seeing him as the prominent personality behind the Visegrád group (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) who had valiantly rallied, along with the Brexiteers, against the European Union and its more intrusive expectations.  Orbán “has not only transformed the economy but was the first European leader to cry ‘stop’ to the peaceful invasion of 2015 and is now trying to boost Hungary’s flagging birth rate.”

The account tallies with the wet-dreamers who find the Magyar crypto-despot admirably pugilistic and capable in prosecuting his goals, especially when it comes to Christianity and cultural identity.  Like Abbott, Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative, was impressed in a meeting with Orbán, one that had not been anticipated.  He spoke of Hungary, and Central Europe, having been victims of colonisation at the hands of Islam and the Middle East.  Orbán, it was noted, was won over by Christian leaders in the Middle East warning about their treatment at the hands of Islam’s followers.  “What did they say [about Muslim refugees]?  Don’t let them in.  Stop them.’”

The admiration for Orbán is the praise afforded an ambitious and successful authoritarian running under the banner of threatened civilisations, keen to do battle with demons.  Along with his ruling party Fidesz, the Hungarian leader has, as Timothy Garton Ash accurately conveys, “so completely penetrated the state administration that Hungary is again a one-party state.”  An independent judiciary has been eliminated.  Cronyism is encouraged; family members are favoured with government contracts; dissenters and opponents are the target of harassing tax investigations.

Since losing his federal seat in the May elections, Abbott has had little time for the antics of a fractious, scrutinising Parliament, and believes that Britain’s premier political institution is simply disrupting those who wished for Brexit.  It was only before a gathering at the UK Policy Exchange where he finally felt he could give a “full throttle, double-barrel roar”, one “turbo-charged by the Parliament’s consistent attempt to sabotage the people’s vote.” (The inner despot in Abbott fails to appreciate that Parliament is the voice of the British people, however muddled it might be.  Arguments on civilisation can cut both ways.)

Abbott was also keen to move away from anything approaching environmental calamity and cultural accommodation.  Being in Europe, and more specifically in such amenable company, had intoxicated him.  This was the frontline against unwanted Muslim immigration and environmental doomsday preaching.  “I mean,” he told summit delegates, “you get a million angry military-age males swarming into a single country in a year.  There are not there to be grateful, but they are there with a grievance.”  Nor was there a population bomb with a fuse waiting to go off, or carbon footprints worthy of concern, or an emissions problem in an increasingly heating world.  Instead, his idea of the “extinction rebellion” was demographic rather than climate related; people, certainly the right people, were not breeding enough.

The demographic problems of various countries, with declining birth rates, had necessitated dramatic action.  “Hungary, whose population is predicted to shrink by a quarter over the next half century, is waiving household debt for larger families and not taxing four-time mothers, among other measures worth careful study.”

Orbán, as with some of his European colleagues, is terrified by a demographic vanishing.  “It’s not hard to imagine that there would be one single last man who has to turn the lights out.”  At the third demographic summit, he noted “the spiritual foundations of Hungary’s family policy.”  Demography, in being destiny, was unavoidable: “human life is finite; and that just as we enter life, so we must leave it.”  With certain resignation, he noted the need to have more demographic conferences, in part to return his country to a state of model, diligent procreation.  Woodpeckers, he surmised, had to be taught how to peck wood again.  Christianity had to “regain its strength in Europe.”  Abbott, himself a religious zealot, could only agree: Christian Europe had get back to some fecund, dedicated shagging.