Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Chronicle of a Grift Foretold

We are now less than three weeks away from the inauguration of His Fraudulency 2: Electric Trumpaloo, and the Congressional GOP is already doing what it does best - beavering away undermining whatever "good government"/progressive/antiplutocratic rules they can find.

And I'm perfectly confident predicting that we're going to see much, much more of this in the next four years. In fact, I'm absolutely slam-dunk, pure-D, dog-ass certain of it.

Why, you ask?

Because the thing to remember about the GOP as currently constituted is that it's not a "political party" in the "tradition of American political party" sense but a party in the "faction of the caudillo" or one-party state sort of party.

The GOP doesn't want to "govern" in the sense that a party in power in a republic wants to govern; it wants to RULE, in the way that the United Russia Party of Vladi Putin rules. It wants all the cakes and ale and graft and hippie-punching and Koch-sucking it can shoehorn into a swagbag, and it will get it though Hell bar the way.

The GOP also knows perfectly well that stoogeing for plutocracy and pimping for Christian theocrats and ignorant hillbillies isn't going to appeal to a majority of the citizens of the US, and that to continue to rule it will have to circumvent the norms and conventions and institutions that would otherwise expose it as a bought-and-paid-for tool of the Rich and Well-Born on economics and the Christopathic Nutbags and Racist Trash on social issues.

So whilst this might get walked back a trifle don't kid yourself; the reign of His Fraudulency and his Wingnut Congress will be characterized by just this sort of grifting and chicanery.

We are about to see a federal government riddled with open corruption - not the sly, business-as-usual, K-Street sort of corruption we've seen over most of the modern era but the open, hand-out, greasy sleaze corruption of the Gilded Age or of a Trump Casino - the like of which those of us living have never seen. You'd probably have to go all the way back to the pre-Progressive Era to find the sort of daylight-robbery kind of pay-for-play we're looking at coming at us.

It's not just because it's who they are. It's because this sort of grifting is the ONLY way that the GOP can continue the grift. The plutocrats don't give a shit about Second Amendment Rights - in fact, they'd just as soon disarm the dangerous crank-addled hillbillies. The Christopaths could give a shit about the estate tax, and the gunlickers don't care sweet goddamn about the carried-interest deduction. The GOP coalition is eight rabid rats in a sack, and the moment one rat gets the hint that one of the others is getting over on it the ass-biting will go nuclear.

My real fear is that these morons know so little of history that they will try and push the nation back into the Gilded Age while in their ignorance have no idea how close we came to some form of autocracy in the 1929-1932 period and how dangerous it will be to try and go there today.

The Ryans and McConnells and Trumps are too ignorant to know what a turbulent place the US was in the original Gilded Age, and too stupid to figure out that while the Homestead Strike and the Haymarket Riot were one-sided wins for the government back in the day the profusion of cheap semiautomatic and automatic weapons and simple, easy-to-construct mines ("IEDs") have made suppressing rebellions a mug's game for Western troops.

They may very well get their wish and then discover why the original John D. Rockefellers and Carnegies and their robber-baron ilk didn't push back that hard against the Welfare State back in the day.

They had seen the bodies hanging from the lampposts in St. Petersburg and Rome and knew better than to think that they were safe.

I have no doubt that the upcoming Trump Administration will make Dubya and his band of cronies look like MENSA for competence and the Salvation Army for probity, or that they will do their level best to push the GOP Back-to-the-Gilded-Age agenda as far towards reality as they can, and that both sickens and enrages me.

But what I fear the most is that this administration will tear down a LOT of the institutional and social barriers that have protected us here in El Norte from the sort of caudilloist corruption and nepotism that has been endemic in much of the rest of our hemisphere.

His Fraudulency 2 himself is a walking violation of the Emoluments Clause, and rather than gibbering in fear that he will invoke a constitutional crisis the rest of the wingnut monkeyhouse has been doing a Gingrich; trying to insist that breaking the norms and rules is really the New Norms and Rules and that doing to the federal government what Newt does to Callista on Friday night after a bottle of lambrusco and 100mg of Viagra is Just How It Works.
We Are So, So, So, SO Fucked.

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