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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/8/18

The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler

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From Counterpunch

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The prolonged nationally televised commemorations of the racist, corporatist, and imperialist killers John McCain and George H.W. Bush -- both privileged sons of the United States military industrial complex -- have been nauseating for any decent and historically knowledgeable human being to behold. But the national rituals attached to the deaths of these monstrous butchers have also been very instructive in the age of Trump.

Following the nation's so-called mainstream media during the Trump years, you might almost think it has become anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian. Outside FOX and other right-wing outlets that function as de facto Trump state media, the reigning U.S. news and public affairs complex has been consistently skeptical, critical, and even mocking in its coverage of and commentary on Donald Trump.

What is wrong with Trump in the minds of the corporate and financial establishment that owns the corporate media oligopoly? Is it that he's a product and tool of a corporate and financial oligarchy so extreme that three absurdly rich people (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates) now possess as much wealth between them as the bottom half of the nation -- this while the upper tenth of the One Percent holds the same net worth as the bottom 90 percent?

Is it that he has helped feed a Pentagon System that eats up more than half the federal government's discretionary spending while tens of millions of U.S. children live below the federal government's notoriously inadequate poverty level?

Is it that the ruination of livable ecology has continued unabated (to say the least) under his watch?

Or that the nation remains savagely segregated and unequal along lines of class and race with no protest or counter-action from the White House under Trump?

No. Those are NOT the problems that the wealth and power elite and its media have with Trump. All those things were true of previous presidents, including both Bushes and the neoliberal Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The major parties, the Democrats included, have signed off on record military budgets for Trump.

No, the main problem with Trump for the establishment and its corporate news empire is that he has not been properly cloaking the regressive and imperial American System in the false clothes of compassion, smarts, democracy, and "public service."

Recall that the silver-tongued Harvard Law star Obama was the "Empire's New Clothes." He gave the United States a professional class multi-cultural and pseudo-democratic image makeover the American ruling class desperately needed in the wake of George W. Bush's clumsy reign.

The uncouth and outwardly abusive, openly atavistic Trump is the opposite. The anti-intellectual orange monstrosity has been stripping the American system of its outward veneer of decency, democracy, and sophistication. The vulgar p*ssy-grabber yanks the elegant, fake-friendly, multilateral shroud off the avaricious national[ist] beast of class rule and Empire. The malignant mobster-like mogul exposes that malevolent beast in too much of its selfish, racist, oligarchic, and otherwise ugly nakedness for it to elicit love and admiration at home or abroad.

Man-Child Trump couldn't care less about the bigger profits and world-imperial system that made him into a billionaire plutocrat. He's all about one thing -- himself.

Along the way, Bad Grandpa Trump has turned the White House into just another putrid and corrupt mechanism for the immediate enhancement of his own fortune and that of his family and has mucked up global trade and foreign policy.

The neo-Hamiltonian Robert Rubin-sponsored professional-class superstar Obama had the decency to wait until after leaving office to cash in on a presidency spent advancing the multinational corporate and financial agenda of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

The thuggish oligarch and showman Trump -- a fan of authoritarian strongmen like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Rodrigo Duterte, Jar Bolsanaro, Mohammad bin-Salman (the vivisectionist Saudi Crown Prince), and even the "communist" monarch Kim Jong Un -- is a giant embarrassment as well as a policy problem for the ruling class. The moronic uber-narcissist Trump is bad for business and public relations. He's bad for the nation's legitimacy, and that of its so-called elite -- its oligarchy, that is.

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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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