No 1909 Posted by fw, March 12, 2017
“What about us, we the people, the working and ever more lower-class majority in whose name the U.S. government acts? What do we need. If the oligarchy’s masters won’t remove the nation’s eco-exterminist president, the orange-faced Ignoramus-in-Chief, then we’d have to do that ourselves, through mass rebellion. But if we developed the capacity and willpower to unseat this nauseating petro-plutocratic/Exxon-plagiarizing jackal, what would the point and purpose be? ….A ruling class that degrades political discourse to the current new Springer-Trump low and grants us either the “lying neoliberal warmonger” Hillary Clinton or the malignant pre-fascist and geocidal narcissist Donald Trump as our “choices” for president is a ruling class that deserves to die. We need to organize not just to bring down an administration and a government but to bring down the government and the broader domestic and global profit and empire system the U.S. government both reflects and serves.” —Paul Street, Counterpunch
Below is a repost of Paul Street’s long, gripping, provocative essay. Subheadings, text highlighting and an additional bulleted formatting style in one section, have been added to facilitate selective browsing for key ideas.
Hands up those who think that the stated goal of the removal of the “Insane Clown President” requires, as Street asserts, this double-edged provision: We need to organize not just to bring down an administration and a government but to bring down the government and the broader domestic and global profit and empire system the U.S. government both reflects and serves.”? More to the point, is the latter doable?
And if not doable, what is the point of even advancing it? After all, it has taken over four decades to demolish American democracy, reconstituting it may take as long, or longer. Or, as William Rees warned, it might take a climate-driven global collapse of civilization to bring humanity to its senses.
Whatever. Enjoy Paul Street’s feast for the rational mind, with a generous, deserved sprinkling of disrespectful ridicule.
To read Paul’s essay on the Counterpunch website, click on the following linked title.
Paul Street (age 58) is an independent researcher, journalist, historian, author and speaker based in Iowa City and Chicago. He is the author of seven books to date, including his latest: They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy. (Paradigm, 2014). Here’s the link to his official website, http://www.paulstreet.org/
The US VP, the presidential Cabinet, and Congress can remove the President without impeachment
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed February 19, 1967, gives the U.S. Vice President, the presidential Cabinet, and Congress the power to remove the President of the United States from office without impeachment. One provision in the Amendment allows the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to send a letter to Congress stating that the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This letter would immediately initiate a transfer of power to the Vice President, subject to Congressional review.
A different provision in the Amendment empowers Congress to form its own body to evaluate the President’s fitness for office, eliminating the need for the Cabinet’s involvement in the process (emphasis ours):
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”
Truth be told, the 25th Amendment leaves the door open for the president to be kicked out of the White House for being too stupid, too vicious, or just too much of a jackass – for being someone like Donald Trump
The amendment does not specify any specific form of disability. It permits Congress to determine and enforce its own criteria for presidential fitness. Congress could deem the President “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” if they conclude that he cannot be trusted with classified information from intelligence agencies. Congress can use the threat of removal to enhance it leverage over the President’s actions. There’s no medical diagnosis required. Truth be told, the Amendment leaves the door open for the president to be kicked out of the White House for being too stupid, too vicious, or just too much of a jackass – for being someone like Donald Trump.
The purpose of this Russophobic hysteria is to create a precedent for the CIA to unseat an elected President
Do not misunderstand me. I am no fan of the U.S. Constitution, an archaic and openly anti-democratic document introduced in the 1780s explicitly to keep the wealthy propertied Few in controlling power over and against the property-less and property-poor Many. I do not wish to defend “the power and duties” of the U.S. presidency, an office whose occupants have committed war crimes and other crimes against humanity on a vast scale for many decades. Let the imperial presidency collapse. I hold both major capitalist U.S. political organizations in total contempt. I agree with the American expat playwright John Steppling when he writes that “The strange sight of liberal America participating in a neo-McCarthyite assault on Trump appointees, not on the grounds of their inherent racism and stupidity, but because they have contacts with Russia, is among the more surreal spectacles of modern political history… the result of this new Russophobic hysteria is to create a precedent for the CIA and even more shady and shadowy forces to unseat an elected President…common cause is being made with the worst actors in American politics.” And I am no fan of the lethal white Christian nationalist Mike Pence, who would become president if Trump were removed.
A rational, dutiful ruling class, with any sense of concern for the image of the US, would push for removal of the “noxious racist idiot Donald J. Trump”
At the same time, it strikes me that a national ruling class with any reasonable sense of duty to the entity called the United States – or with any serious concern at least for the public relations image of the United States – would push now for the permanent 25th Amendment, sec. 4 removal of the noxious racist idiot Donald J. Trump from the White House.
The Open Madness of Candidate Donald
24 glaring indications of the unabashed madness of candidate Trump
Of course, candidate Trump gave numerous glaring indications that he was unfit for the job, which includes putting at least a veneer of decency and sophistication on the highly indecent, brutal, and exploitative system of American Empire and Inequality at home and abroad. The unabashed madness of candidate Trump was epic. Herr Donito the presidential contender:
I could go on.
Insane Clown President (ICP)
Since taking office, Trump’s presidency has been an homage to “Jackass” the reality TV series
Perhaps you thought it was all some crazy comedy act, calculated to win the election with the moron vote, and that Trump would become presidential when he became president.
24 more glaring indications of “The witless Big Brother-in-Chief”
Wrong. Since taking the oath, Insane Clown President (ICP) Donald Trump’s presidency has been a great homage to the American reality television series “Jackass.” The witless Big Brother-in-Chief:
Saturday Morning Meltdown: Bad Grandpa Launches PhoneTapGate
Dunce-Cap Donald’s childish, narcissistic serial Tweeting help make a joke of the office
Dunce Cap Donald has continued with his malignantly childish and narcissistic habit of serial Tweeting in pouty and undignified ways that help make a joke out of the U.S. presidency. In his creepy quest for constant attention, he persists in making outlandish claims like a teenage “mean girl” going after her enemies online.
His latest Tweet storm’s accusations of Obama’s wiretapping is “the wackiest yet”
The president’s latest Tweet storm is the wackiest yet. It’s like something out of the Bad Grandpa movies. Without evidence, Trump accused his predecessor Barack Obama of having wiretapped his telephones prior to the 2016 election. Trump made no effort to offer any proof to support the allegation. He said that “bad” and “sick” Obama’s alleged bugging of him was a scandal on the scale of Richard Nixon’s Watergate.
The next day, the White House wheeled out a junior spokesperson to walk back the orange-haired beast’s latest online meltdown. The spokesperson could only say that the raging Twitter Twit in the Oval Office “believes” the bugging occurred and that Congress should investigate. FBI Director James Comey (who helped elect the Trumpkin last October) has asked the Justice Department to repudiate the fantastic allegation made against Obomber44 by Trumpenstein45.
Bad Grandpa says he doesn’t believe Comey’s denial of any knowledge that a FISA judge permitted the executive branch to tap Trump’s phones.
Even if Trump has some hint of evidence consistent with his charge (unlikely), it is ridiculously inappropriate for him to have a teenage Twitter Tantrum over such a – one would think- grave matter of high state conduct.
Whether the spying allegations turn out true or false, “Trump shows that he’s a certifiable dumb-ass”
If it came out that the Obama administration did have a FISA wiretap on Trump, that would show that a high-level federal judge agreed (speaking of McCarthyism) that the campaign had suspicious links to “foreign agents.” Either way, proof or no proof, Trump shows that he’s a certifiable dumb-ass.
It’s like having your demented old uncle who watches FOX News and listens to raving right- wing talk radio lunatics like Mark Levin all day in the Oval Office.
For an encore, Trump Tweeted that Arnold Schwarzenegger had been fired from the Apprentice
For what it’s worth, Trump followed his remarkable Twitter-launched charges against Obama (who I have also long loathed for different and evidence-based reasons from the left) claims with the following Tweet the very same morning: “Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show.”
Think about it – This is the behavior of the commander-in-chief of the world’s Superpower
Insane. Clownish. Unreal. Dystopian. The world’s and history’s top Superpower has “commander-in-chief” who goes on Twitter to make wild accusations against the previous White House occupant and takes a Tweet swipe at a reality television personality in the same online breath. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell could have an interesting email exchange over that.
As Joseph Welch, chief counsel for the U.S. Army, said to the drunken, power-mad Joe McCarthy in 1954: “at long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
A Great Regressive Opportunity
When will the American ruling class get rid of this “outrageous, knuckle-dragging atrocity”?
So, when does the wise, benevolent, and far-seeing American ruling class, gravely and properly concerned for the legitimacy and outward decency of the American System, make use of the Constitutional Amendment that Lyndon Johnson gave them to get rid of the outrageous, knuckle-dragging atrocity – the abject national embarrassment – currently occupying the White House?
Three things block Trump’s rapid removal from office
First – the short-term bottom-line benefits appeal to the greedy business class
Three things stand in the way of rapid removal. First, the remarkably unpopular and indeed widely loathed party in Cabinet and Congressional power cannot resist its current opportunity to ram through a right-wing regulation and tax-cutting, pro-business agenda in the name of the “free market.” It doesn’t want to blow the current shining moment in its longstanding battle to smite the common good and the hapless Many yet further in service to the nastiest among the wealthy Few.
The short-term, bottom-line benefits of the current deregulatory, tax-cutting and diversionary, populace-dividing and public-degrading promises on offer from the unexpected Trump-Pence-Paul Ryan-Mitch McConnell moment are very attractive indeed for much of the business class.
It’s got nothing to do with decency. Quite the opposite. Decency went out the door a long time go in this nasty neoliberal age.
Bad and Distant Entertainment
Second – to the mass of Americans, the Trump Show is like some stupid reality TV entertainment
Second, it’s not clear that an adequate mass of the U.S. populace is sufficiently agitated or equipped to wade through all the bizarre nonsense and force the matter from below. It’s all just a blur to most ordinary Americans, who are too busy trying to keep their heads above water in the current “long depression” to try to figure out what in Hell the ICP [?] and the rest of political and chattering classes are going on about. “What’s a FISA court? He said what? What’s that she said? Oh well.” Life goes on. It all seems pretty removed from relevant daily experience and struggles – kind of like, well, like some stupid reality television show. It’s bad entertainment and background noise for millions.
Corporate media has long been working to turn political culture into “an endless senseless freak show”
One of Trump’s greatest assets has always been the (ex-?) citizenry’s systematically encouraged disdain for – and inability to understand and engage with – the purposefully noxious idiocy of U.S. politics. The right has long been working with often unwitting allies in the corporate media to turn the reigning political culture into an endless senseless freak show that threatens the mental health of anyone who focuses on it to more than a passing extent. Untangling the cobwebs of madness behind the constant “ThisWeekInTrump” (Ted Rall’s clever phrase) spectacle takes time and energy few Americans possess, preoccupied as they are by absurdly long working and commuting hours and often by multiple low-wage jobs. The Latest Trump Abomination Report is just another soul- and brain-deadening energy suck. Call it the banalization of dystopia. Brave New Shrug.
What Benevolent American Elite?
Third – “The harsh reality in the neoliberal era is that the economic elite that rules America is global and transnational”, willing to let the US “sink in the mire”
Third, it’s not clear that the ruling class I posited three paragraphs above exists anymore if it ever really did. A “business elite” that truly cared about the United States of America and its future —
As Noam Chomsky told Occupy Boston five and a half years ago, the financial elite atop the corporate sector and the political system has been de-developing and dismantling the United States since the 1970s.
The harsh reality in the neoliberal era is that the economic elite that rules America is global and transnational and feels much more in common with fellow opulent masters of capital in other nations than it does with ordinary folks in “the homeland.” It is all too willing to let much of the ever-more poisoned and used-up national territory that is the United States sink in the mire.
Perhaps He’s Gone Too Far?
In the election, the neoliberal, transnational ruling class supported Clinton over the “Circus Freak” Lesser of two evils is no choice at all.
Still, even this neoliberal and transnational ruling class can’t have the United States – still very much the world’s most powerful and governing, system-underwriting capitalist state – become an openly Kardashian farce. Along with real policy concerns over his promises to normalize relations with Russia and launch an economic nationalist agenda, that’s why it overwhelmingly supported the far more boring but Establishment-vetted and reliably ruling class, Yale Law-trained, and Council of Foreign Relations- and Brookings-approved arch-neoliberal candidate Hillary Clinton over the Orange-Tinted Twitter-Addicted Circus Freak in the election.
Praise for Trump’s speech to Congress raised hopes that he had been “brought to heel”
There were, perhaps, some hopes that the Madness of King Don could be contained after he seemed to have calmly read a seemingly ruling class-approved, NATO-backing teleprompter speech to Congress on the first Tuesday in March. The 70-year-old Toddler-in-Chief even won praise for seeming “presidential” from silly liberal pundits like Van “Man Ho” Jones on the Trump-demonized network CNN. Maybe, it seemed, the beast had been drugged and tamed, brought to heel.
Hopes were quickly dashed with Trump’s “Towergate” assault on Obama
But then came the wild, recklessly un-and anti-presidential Saturday morning Towergate assault, followed by the weird further attack on poor steroid-poisoned Arnold. It was perhaps the craziest Trumpenstein moment yet – and that’s saying quite a bit.
Well-placed rumors have it that Trump has gone too far and must be removed
Thus, I am not surprised to hear well-placed rumors that “a bloc is forming between Republicans and Democrats to remove Trump because he is viewed as incompetent and mentally unstable” (Louis Proyect via “social media”). Or to read a March 7th Time Magazine piece by two Yale Law students telling readers about Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, arguing that “it is important to understand the constitutional mechanisms that would allow removal of a president if a broad bipartisan consensus emerges that he or she is unable to lead our nation.”
President Jackass has gone too far, perhaps, even for an American wealth and power elite that has been giving American and world citizens the double-fisted middle finger(s) for as long as we can remember. (From the beginning really, but with special viciousness since we so ungratefully rose up in many-sided democratic rebellion during the 1960s, that scary decade of democratic protest that the top corporate attorney and future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote a famous ruling class memo about [and against] and that presidential candidate and current Richard Branson kite-surfing pal Obama [recently rewarded for his dedicated service to the nation’s unelected dictatorship of money with a $65 million contract to write his third book – his third book about himself – along with Michelle Obama doing a book about herself and Barack] made sure to distance himself from while praising Ronald Reagan.)
We shall see. I’m not holding my breath.
A Ruling Class That Deserves to Die
What about we the people? Even if they rose in mass rebellion, the alternatives are none too appealing
What about us, we the people, the working and ever more lower-class majority in whose name the U.S. government acts? What do we need. If the oligarchy’s masters won’t remove the nation’s eco-exterminist president, the orange-faced Ignoramus-in-Chief, then we’d have to do that ourselves, through mass rebellion. But if we developed the capacity and willpower to unseat this nauseating petro-plutocratic/Exxon-plagiarizing jackal, what would the point and purpose be? To install Mike Pence and a new coalition of Christian white-nationalist neocons allied with neoliberal imperialists to ramp up the New Cold War with Russia, flirting with catastrophic consequences? To bring back the same old warmongering, Russia-hating dismal dollar Democrats, who serve capital and empire with a different, more politically correct and multi-cultural and bi-coastal and metropolitan mask – and whose right-leaning failures recurrently return visible state power back to the evermore wacky rightmost party after one or two presidential terms?
A people’s rebellion must be “meaningful, radical, and democratic” – Probably an impossible goal?
No, our goal should be something far more meaningful, radical, and democratic. A system that posits the choice between outwardly liberal corporate-imperialist populace-betrayers like the Clintons and Obama on one hand and wicked Republican thugs like George W. Bush and Donald Trump on the other hand is a system that deserve to be overthrown in the name of (imagine) popular sovereignty (the U.S. Founders’ ultimate nightmare). A ruling class that degrades political discourse to the current new Springer-Trump low and grants us either the “lying neoliberal warmonger” Hillary Clinton or the malignant pre-fascist and geocidal narcissist Donald Trump as our “choices” for president is a ruling class that deserves to die. A ruling class that is willing to let the Earth be pushed past irrevocable tipping points of environmental destruction is a ruling class long past it moral expiration date.
We need to organize not just to bring down an administration and a government but to bring down the government and the broader domestic and global profit and empire system the U.S. government both reflects and serves.
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