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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/27/19

All That is Holy is Profaned: Beyond Ruling Class Trumpeachment

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.From Counterpunch

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Malignant Orange is an unspeakable atrocity. Think Muslim travel ban, Charlottesville, the advance pardoning of racist pig Joe Arpaio, sadistic family separations, calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "murderers," the fake national emergency, the Nativist Wall, the criminal diversion of taxpayer funds, "go back to the crime-ridden countries you came from," Kavanaugh, the captivity to the National Rife Association, emoluments, climate denial, reckless environmental deregulation, the abrogation of asylum rights, record-setting drone war, "shithole countries," insane threats ("fire and fury") to annihilate other nations (North Korea and Iran), "I might end birthright citizenship," threats of "tough guy" violence if Congress or voters try to remove him from office, disfigured weather maps, the torture of Puerto Rico, covering for Saudi Arabia's dismemberment of a dissident journalist, the torture of Yemen, 10,000 false statements, "the Blacks love me," "my perfect phone call," "the Kurds are very happy," "this phony emoluments clause"....the nauseating list of its soul-numbing and head-shaking offenses goes on and on and on.

The venal and neofascistic Malignant Orange is the Energizer Bunny of Awful. It deserves worse than mere impeachment and removal. It merits the fate of "Damiens the regicide," related in Foucault's classic Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Modern Prison:

    "On 1 March 1757 Damiens the regicide was condemned 'to make the amende honorable before the main door of the Church of Paris,' where he was to be 'taken and conveyed in a cart, wearing nothing but a shirt, holding a torch of burning wax weighing two pounds' ; then, 'in the said cart, to the Place de Grève, where, on a scaffold that will be erected there, the flesh will be torn from his breasts, arms, thighs and claves with red-hot pincers, his right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the said parricide, burnt with sulphur, and, on those places where the flesh will be torn away, poured molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax and sulphur melted together and then his body drawn and quartered by four horses and his limbs and body consumed by fire, reduced to ashes and his ashes thrown to the winds.'"

Let this orange abomination be swept into the proverbial dustbin of history. Let it pass from this Earth. The sooner, the better. There's no telling what this cornered animal and its deranged backers might do in the next few weeks and months.

But who should sweep it away? How and with what purpose and what vision of a world beyond its sinister presence? There is profound and all too rarely noted irony in the hatred Donald Trump has elicited among much of the American capitalist and imperial ruling class. For who from the American oligarchy that hatched Trump on its foulest margins do not also deserve "to make the amende honorable"? Their parasitic profits system has pushed livable ecology to the edge of existential collapse while creating a planet so profanely unequal that the five most obscenely rich homo-sapiens together possess as much wealth as the bottom half of the species; this while billions struggle to "live" on less than two dollars a day. With his shameless indifference to Western ruling-class niceties and civilization -- al pretense, his string of hired wives, and his global empire of debt-leveraged properties, the terrible, tiny-fingered, tangerine-tinted Twitter-tantruming titan Trump epitomizes the spiritual death that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels described in 1848:

    "The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has...left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous 'cash payment.' It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value ...[and] stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers...[it] has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation...All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned..."

Among its many lethally reverberating sins of "egotistic calculation," the blindly accumulationist bourgeoisie promotes human extinction through the transformation of the planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas Chamber, the disastrous diminution of biodiversity, the poisoning of Earth's waterways, the acidification of its oceans, the continual razing of its forests and mountaintops, and the melting of its glaciers and ice-sheets. These are crimes beyond Hitler (himself something of a "green," I am told) and his Third Reich.

None of this destruction is surprising. Bourgeois society, named capitalism by the end of the 19th century, has never had a moral center. It is not about anything remotely like democracy or the common good. My old copy of Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary defines capitalism as "the economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution ... are privately owned and operated for profit, originally under fully competitive conditions: it has been generally characterized by a tendency toward concentration of wealth and, [in] its latter phase, by the growth of great corporations, increased government controls, etc." This definition does not mention any of the things routinely and inaccurately identified with the profits regime in the dominant U.S. political and intellectual discourse: democracy, freedom, trade, job creation, an independent media, and a "free market" characterized by widespread competition and/or little or no government interference.

Capitalism is about profit for the owners of capital -- period, full stop. There is nothing more, the world be damned. If corporate and financial profits are high, the system is working for its architects and intended beneficiaries: capitalists. Its great corporations (granted the legal protection of artificial person-hood) are working as they are supposed to under U.S. common law, which holds that corporate "managers have a legal duty to put shareholders' interests above all others and no legal authority to serve any other interests" including the species' interest in survival.

Trump stands charged with breaking civilized norms and the rule of law. He is guilty of all that and more. He is evil on steroids. But the norms, laws, and standards that Trump violates with impunity denouncing the "phony emoluments clause" (from the "Fake Constitution"?) and calling the bourgeois corporate media "the enemy of the people"(!) mean less than one might think to capitalist elites at the end of the day.

And yet Trump is a great bete noir, a beast to be slain for many in the nation's wealth and power elite. This is for five interrelated reasons. First, while he has gratified many among the wealthy Few with regressive tax-cuts and de-regulation, Trump interferes with their profits and capacity for effective planning with wildly erratic and unpredictable trade, tariff and foreign policies that do not show proper respect for the global networks and imperial needs of capital.

Second, Trump lacks suitable deference to the professional and managerial class and the related meritocratic ideology big capital called into being to coordinate its far-flung operations and to sell its system. The American ownership class's goals and fate have been intertwined with the "expert" professional and managerial class (some of whose members have long been given entre'e to the economic and political power elite) since the rise of a "modern" urban-industrial order and the corporate-managerial reconstruction of American capitalism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Third, Trump goes too far in bridging the gap that is supposed to exist between economic and personalized political power under "democratic capitalism" (an oxymoron) Trump thinks his private wealth should merge with and be enhanced by his supreme political office, as if this was the time of the late-feudal absolutist state. A textbook malignant narcissist of the lowest reptilian order, the Trumpenstein thinks it's all about Him. This fat-assed, golf-cheating, McDonald's-wolfing idiot looks in the mirror and see a glittering monarch. This flabby and stupid silver-spooned, bone-spurred aristocrat thinks his wealth (likely inflated) proves that he is a "stable genius." He muses that he should be appointed as "president for life," maybe even king. This demented and angry clown (who thinks that Colorado shares a border with Mexico) refers to his election as the moment "when I took over the country" and he actually f*cking means it. Trump is the first president in U.S. history who poses a real threat not to honor a re-election count that does not go his way.

Trumps thinks it "perfect"[ly] acceptable for him to use his position at the top of the American Superpower to extort assistance for his re-election bid from foreign heads of state like poor Volodomyr Zelensky, president of missile-hungry Ukraine. That, it turns out, is an American ruling-class no-no going to back to the birth of the nation Trump says he wants to "make great again." It's what's going to get him impeached and possibly even removed from the presidency.

He's been trying to run the White House like a private business and like a mob outfit. Donito Assolini doesn't get it: the President of the United States is supposed to be a dutiful agent of American Empire and Inequality, Inc., like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The Al Capone here is the whole ruling class.

Fourth, Trump is too clumsily and childishly brazen in laying bare the moral nothingness and senseless selfishness of the real material-historical bourgeois society that lives beneath the veils of "Western civilization" and "American democracy." Trump the Transgressor rips off the shroud. He could give a flying f*ck for the nation's longstanding egalitarian, legalist, democratic, and humanist pretensions, for its constitutional pledge to advance the General Welfare, or for its more recent outward commitment to racial, ethnic and gender "diversity." He gives the lie to bourgeois society's and America's holy claims to embody and advance higher ideals like liberty, popular self-rule, "the rule of law," and the desire for "a more perfect union." Trump too transparently profanes everything he touches, including the hallowed pretenses of "American democracy."

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Paul Street ( and is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (2004), Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (2007), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (more...)
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