Trump’s Sammy Glick Syndrome

What-Makes-Sammy-Run

Don Rose

WARNING: This column contains Freudian language.

The ascension and behavior of Donald Trump have given rise to a cottage industry of amateur and professional psychoanalysts who explain Trump along with the amateur and professional political analysts. None have examined him personally, but we hear terms such as “narcissist,” “pathological liar” and “sociopath” tossed around like dice on a craps table.

All this calls to mind “What Makes Sammy Run?” a popular 1940 roman-a-clef  by Budd Schulberg about the rise of a ruthless Hollywood mogul.  Sammy Glick clawed his way up from poverty, stealing ideas, stepping over people, sharply elbowing others out of the way, lying, cheating and betraying friends until he achieved the pinnacle of power in La La Land. For generations, even people who hadn’t read the book knew of the “Sammy Glick” syndrome.

One line from the book has long stood out in my mind: a character described Sammy as “the id of our society.”

The id, if you recall Psych 101, is the infantile, me-first, gimme-gimme-gimme aspect of our tripartite psyches, which includes the ego and the super-ego. Freud’s biographer Ernest Jones describes it as “the primordial reservoir of energy…essentially instinctual…completely unorganized….It has all the negative features of [what Freud called] the Primary System.”

The super-ego, simplified, is what we  essentially call “conscience” or our sense of what is morally and socially the right thing to do–a function controlled by the ego, which sort of monitors the id and the super-ego.

Were I updating Schulberg’s book, I would write “What makes Donny Run?” about a guy whose demonstrable lies, sometimes contradictory, spout like an oil gusher. He takes another cue from a John Wayne line in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”:  “Never apologize–never explain–it’s a sign of weakness.”

Therefore, Donny can never recant or apologize for the stupidest or most dangerous of lies–from the relatively harmless egoism of claiming the largest inauguration audience in history to accusing a past president of criminally wiretapping his phone. He keeps doubling down and when cornered shoves the blame off on someone else.

Yes, Trump is Sammy Glick blown up to Jumbotron proportions with an id the size of Godzilla filling the screen and no identifiable super-ego. He is the id of our society writ large. He believes he can do or say nothing wrong.

For example, he currently claims all is well after the very worst week in his administration, where his Trumpcare legislation began crumbling in Congress; bipartisan Intelligence Committee leaders found no truth to his wiretapping accusations; two federal judges ruled against his revised Muslim ban; his budget was widely assailed; his first national security advisor was exposed as a lobbyist for Turkey who took illegal payments from Russia; he refused to shake hands with Europe’s leader Angela Merkel; he offended our ally Britain with a false claim they spied on him at Obama’s behest–and his new secretary of state brought us closer to war with North Korea.

Freud himself acknowledged there are some cases like his where psychoanalysis can’t really help. Examining Trump’s psyche requires a colonoscopy.

This post originally appeared on Don’s blog.

21 thoughts on “Trump’s Sammy Glick Syndrome

  1. Agreed! I have characterized Mr. Trump as believing he is The Greatest Man Who Has Ever Lived, Period. But the Clinton clan may come close, in terms of their collective belief that they simply MUST be part of the American Scene. Positively indispensable, you see. I don’t know in what year Chelsea turns 35, minimum age to be POTUS, but I expect her hat will be in the ring.

  2. I have no problems with fair and accurate criticisms of anyone in public life, including President Donald Trump. However, I object to unfair and inaccurate criticism in that (1) it lessens the credibility of the critic (making future criticism from the same source less likely to get a decent and respectful hearing), and (2) it tends to make sloppy and bogus thinking the norm rather than the exception. For example, this article states as a matter of fact:

    “… he [Trump] refused to shake hands with Europe’s leader Angela Merkel…”

    Flat out wrong. Twice over. See The Moon of Alabama blog entry for March 20, 2017 entitled: “The False Handshake Story Aims To Delegitimize Trump.” Says that blog’s author: “I dislike Trump and his policies. I dislike Merkel and her policies. Both are my political enemies. But what I dislike even more are lying media which try to deceive for undeclared political aims.” More importantly, this blog article contains not one, but two photographs of President Donald Trump shaking hands with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel: once when she arrived at the White House and again at the conclusion of their joint remarks. The blog’s author goes on to explain that a gaggle of photographers in the Oval Office tried to get President Trump to shake hands — again — with Chancellor Merkel and President Trump simply ignored them. Why? Because several times in the recent past President Trump has shaken hands with foreign leaders in the Oval Office (like Prime minister Abe of Japan, and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada) only to see banner media headlines the next day mocking him for his “awkward” hand-shaking skills. Conscious of his public image like every other President who has preceded him, President Trump simply decided to do his hand-shaking somewhere else: in a manner, time, and place of his own choosing. I can’t say that I blame him.

    If Donald Trump understands anything, he understands the U.S. corporate media that gave him tons of free publicity because of his “outrageousness.” The lazy corporate media did not want to cover anti-war and working-class issues — having already anointed You-Know-Her as the inevitable Queen — but wanted, as always, to “report on” yet another “horse race,” even if only two rats and no horses actually ran against one another for the grand prize. So the Orange Rat with the Blond Fur won because he knew more about using the media than the media (not to mention You-Know-Her’s smug, billion dollar campaign) did about using him. Tough titty, said the kitty.

    So let me rephrase the above comment from this article (and many more that one can find on the Internet just like it):

    “President Trump ignored the suggestion of White House photographers that he shake hands with German Chancellor Anglea Merkel in the Oval Office. The two leaders did shake hands for the cameras on two other occasions.”

    There. Fixed it. Fairness and Accuracy. In my estimation, we could all of us stand to practice a little more of both. Personally, I haven’t seen two uglier or more unpopular people shaking hands since the U.S. presidential debates last September. But following that thought leads to somewhere I don’t wish to go right now …

  3. Mike.. In a perfect world everyone one would tell the truth and be kind to their neighbors. Pangloss kept bucking up Candide with that advice as he met disaster after disaster. ” Everything happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds”.was his advice with each disaster Candide and Cunegard faced.. Just the other day a modern day Pangloss in the form of a Republican congressman said a similar thing about rape. ” It’s god’s will so all will turn out ok” ( or something along that line)..
    I happen to take a very contradictory view of life ever since I was demobilized in 1946 after having given my youth to the army in 1943. After the war I read Traven’s first big novel, The Death Ship, and saw that we common folk are all pawns in the crucible of governments who are run for the powerful on the backs of the pawns.
    As a result I expect lies, misstatements, and evil intent as the common coin and I always go out of my way to thank those few who are truth tellers or exceedingly honest. I don’t waste my time on the small stuff. Life’s too short for that.
    So to wrap it up all I can say is that wars are not fought on an even and honest battlefield and we are in a war to save our democracy so let’s cut some slack for guerrilla tactics in that fight.

    • Sorry, traven, but I do not consider sloppy writing and thinking — much less, lying — good tactics, in guerrilla warfare or any other kind. As the Sanskrit motto of India proclaims: Satyameva Jayate. “Only Truth Conquers.” I believe that.

      Furthermore, as Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

      I do not hate President Trump, even though I oppose most of what he stands for. But in one area of policy: namely, detente and cooperation with Russia, I consider him well grounded and reasonable. And wouldn’t you know it, but the so-called Democrats — who used to loathe the likes of Tricky Dick Nixon and Tailgunner Joe McCarthy — have become even more of a right-wing war party than the Republicans. In this particular area of United States government policy, I support President Trump and oppose any — like You-Know-Her and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who seek to thwart him and plunge the United States into another Cold War. This one won’t remain “cold.” The U.S. military will never allow Peace to break out again. Like the Irishman who walks by a pub and sees two drunks brawling in the gutter, our fuck-up-and-move-up, ticket-punching brass will always want to know: “Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in?”

      Anyway, I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can oppose President Trump when that makes sense and I can support him where that makes sense. I don’t for a moment buy that ersatz “partisanship” between America’s two right-wing factions.

      Most important of all, though, German tanks rolling through Poland toward the Russian border seems criminally insane to me. I don’t give a rat’s ass what Latvia or Estonia or Montenegro or Senator John McCain want. If Angela Merkel considers that sort of thing “leadership of Europe,” then I have no use for her or her country’s policy. I recall reading many unpleasant stories about German “leadership” in the twentieth century. I do not wish for the world to experience any version of that in the twenty-first.

      One can find any number of true and factual things to say in criticism of President Trump. I say stick to tactics like that. If a liar like President Trump makes liars out of us, too, then he has won and we have lost. Nietzsche had that right. Not bad for a German.

  4. Mike.. We agree that detente with Russia is a constructive policy and Hillary was the avatar (?) of war . I am not so sure about Merkel. To me she seems like one of the more adults on the block. I look at Putin the same way. He is not a nice guy but he is adult in representing his country’s interests in a responsible way. Merkel’s open door to thousands of Muslim immigrants was a bold and humane action considering Germany’s track record. I think that strategically you and I agree. Our disagreement is more in the tactics of politics. In the film Apocalypse Now the Captain’s mission was to kill Col. Kurtz and his mission call signal was “Street Fighter”. That made sense.
    I am here and you are there..Trump may take away part or all of your pensions but you don’t have to live every day in your country while all of its protections for the pawns of society are gleefully destroyed by you know him. I have to live with the consequences of the rule of a man who you do not have to live under.
    You guys are all too young to have seen Benito Musselini strutting around like “you know him” (Trump) starting wars against weaker nations like Abyssinia and Libya and as a coward under the aegis of Hitler., a fellow megalomaniac.
    You say you can support him “when it makes sense”.. Well, that sounds like the right wing Republicans prior to WWII saying of Hitler, ” Well, he made the trains run on time”. No! This guy is dangerous and it is a war for our democracy. Truth has died in the United State.s. “Fake News” is now the reality. Calling a narcissistic Sociopath that is reality not name calling or fake news. We live in a land in which many citizens respect it’s leader’s fantasies as the truth. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Not too many kings around here.

    • “traven” — Chancellor Merkel is certainly “right of center” on the whole. And I’m sure the rising tide of neo-Fascism is going to wash over her with a big wave of backlash over Germany’s relatively “open door” policy for those fleeing the US-made boondoggle in the Middle East. I warned ages ago that Trump had a very real chance of being elected here, and I feel that Marine LePen has a quite good chance of being the next President of France. Then we have PM May in the UK, a new soulmate for Trump, striving to out-Thatcher dear ol’ Maggie. I’m tempted to hibernate for the next few years, but I don’t want to miss the next Epic Fail of Team Trump! Well, he’s certainly and “entertaining” POTUS, right?!?

  5. In their public meet and greet in which handshakes are typically exchanged, Trump demurred when asked by photographers as well as Chancellor Merkel herself to shake hands. One wag put it well: Trump was suffering from performance anxiety.

    It’s true that they did shake hands later; it’s also true that Trump presented Merkel a huge bill for military services rendered, a bill that Merkel wisely ignored.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-angela-merkel-nato-bill-defence-ignore-usa-germany-spending-a7650636.html

    • “It’s true that they did shake hands later” …

      It’s also true that they shook hands before, when Chancellor Merkel first arrived at the White House …

      I went to some length explaining this silly “handshaking” business above, with a link to sources and supporting photographs. I don’t feel like doing it again. No doubt if President Trump had shaken hands with Chancellor Merkel three times instead of just <b<two, he would most likely have come under attack from the openly hostile corporate media (who once supported him lavishly) for doing so an “odd” number of times, or for “doing it like ‘Tsar‘ Vladimir Putin taught him” instead of like a good German would. Whatever…

      Personally, I favor disbanding NATO — the Notorious Aggressive Trespassing Operation — as a needless boondoggle anachronism. The United States taxpayer could save a lot of money if President Trump would do that. NATO serves no purpose other than providing some cushy billets for ticket-punching U.S. military officers with nothing better to do than collect medals, promotions, salary increases, and inflated pensions for everything except actually finishing something, which they assiduously manage never to do. I also do not see what business countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean have meddling — at the braying, bullying insistence of US. commanders-in-brief and their Joint Chefs of Stuff — with whatever transpires in the foothills of the Himalyan mountains, known since ancient times as the Hindu Kush.

      But when I see all those pictures of U.S. Marines (and a few NATO mercenary stragglers) on patrol guarding heroin-producing poppy fields for boy-buggering Afghan warlords, I understand perfectly. It turns out that the Afghan Taliban (which means “students”) had almost wiped out the heroin business during their brief time in power. They considered it “un-Islamic.” But the CIA (which has always gotten much of its illicit funding from the international drug trade) and the Pentagram (which always needs an excuse for doing something, somewhere, to somebody) could not tolerate the Taliban doing that. You see, the United States has this other “war” to “fight” forever: namely, the “War on Drugs. ” This “war” even has its very own “Tsar” (or “Czar”) to “manage” it (the usual career incompetent) who cannot abide the notion of some barely armed goat herders in Afghanistan actually winning this “war” for us at much less cost to ourselves.

      So I want to see NATO disbanded. If the Germans don’t like that, they can always take over management and financing of the organization themselves, leaving the U.S. taxpayer out of it. NATO does nothing for America and we cannot afford the drain on our shrinking pocketbooks any longer. But if the Germans insist on NATO and wish to remain in it, then they and some other wealthy European countries can pay the 2% of their GDP that they promised. They can afford it. Otherwise, it looks to the casual observer like the Germans, Poles, and a few Baltic nobodies want something without having to pay for what they get. Come to think of it, those ungrateful Europeans sound and act just like the typical American. “Something for nothing” knows no geographical boundaries.

      As a matter of fact, the Germans have not paid their full 2% contribution to NATO and haven’t for many years. Therefore, “businessman” Donald Trump sees an “accounts payable” deficit that he would like to close. Again, I have many disagreements with President Trump, but I do not count demanding that the Germans and Europeans pay up — call it Imperial “tribute,” if you wish — among our disagreements.

      And I don’t give a shit how many times, or in what manner, he shakes hands with a German Chancellor who has sent her military forces up to the Russian border just to piss in Vladimir Putin’s face. If the Germans want to drag the U.S. into a war with Russia, just to impress Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Senator John McCain, then I don’t want the President of my country doing anything with his hands except wrapping them around her Teutonic throat and squeezing. Any way out of NATO works for me.

      • Mike–I do believe Frau Merkel is on record DENYING that Germany is in arrears to NATO. For what that’s worth (rumor has it politicians have been known to prevaricate!). During the campaign, I vibrated with some sympathy for Trump’s anti-NATO rhetoric. But rhetoric is all it was. Since then I’m confident the brass-hats have sat Donald down and explained how the real world actually works. The NATO members form the core of the Coalition of Lickspittles the US assembles from time to time to launch “little” operations like the War(s) Against Iraq. So I don’t understand your statement that “NATO does nothing for America.” NATO is Willing Tool Number One. It’s the US that appears to be dragging Germany and other lickspittles into war with Russia–which will be a colossal mistake–not the other way around. I, too, am for dismantling NATO…AND The Pentagon. The US’s official stance on the nuclear disarmament talks just launched by the UN is: not interested. We’re boycotting. That’s right, Mr. Trump, “lead by example”! Some years back a global public opinion poll identified the greatest threat to world peace not as Russia, not as China, not as “north” Korea and not as “Islamic extremism” but rather the United States of America. And I couldn’t agree more.

      • I don’t want to leave the impression that I uncritically support President Donald Trump, because I do not and have said so many times. Nonetheless, the guy does happen to occupy the White House — except on weekends — and so we have no choice but to deal with him as best we can. Personally, I consider him a monumental fool for allowing the U.S. military any role whatsoever in U.S. policy, both foreign and domestic; and when Trump once said that he knew more than our fuck-up-and-move-up generals I thought: “Well, who doesn’t? They haven’t won a war since 1945 and wouldn’t know a war worth fighting — much less how to fight one — if it bit them in the butt, which their aimless, pointless “fighting somebody somewhere about something” regularly does. I mean, we don’t exactly recruit these people from the deep end of the nation’s intellectual gene pool.” But despite my hopes that at least one civilian political leader had at last begun to wise up, Donald Trump has proven that he knows just as little as our generals do. And that takes quite a lot of not knowing. And yet President Trump has put these demonstrable failures in charge …

        Like JFK with the Bay of Pigs and Lyndon Johnson with the Gulf of Tonkin and Barack Obama with the Afghan “surge,” newly inaugurated President Donald Trump has immediately found himself reeling from concerted attacks upon his independence of action by a U.S. military and CIA desperate to maintain their death grip upon the U.S. treasury and the political power that such unlimited access brings. I’ve already explained the whole “War on Drugs” fiasco, namely: “The more drugs, the more ‘war’ (and ‘warriors’) needed to ‘fight’ them.” Ditto for the so-called “War on Terror” debacle: namely: “The more terrorists, the more ‘war’ (and ‘warriors’) needed to ‘fight’ them.” A War on Drugs to have more drugs. A war on Terror to have more Terror. A War on Poverty to have more Poverty. Does anyone else, other than me, begin to see a pattern?

        To extend the “military logic” at work here, consider a “War on Malaria,” rhetorically declared by an American Commander-in-Brief (pick any one, it doesn’t matter which) where the U.S. military and camp-following corporate mercenaries “bomb the shit” out of civilian water-treatment infrastructure so as to produce lakes of stagnant, stinking sewage, thus breeding even more mosquitoes spreading more malaria and dengue fever for the U.S. military and camp-following corporate mercenaries to ‘fight’… In other words: Warfare Welfare and Makework Militarism

        Come to think of it, the U.S. military actually did this destroy-the-civilian-infrastructure thing in Belgrade, Yugolsavia; Baghdad, Falluja, Ramadi, and now Mosul in Iraq; along with most of Afghanistan and the entire country of Yemen. Warfare Welfare and Makework Militarism. In elementary “logic” courses, this type of “reasoning” — i.e., make war on what you want to have more of so you can have more “war” on it — constitutes a “fallacy,” or improper line of argumentation. It even has its own long-recognized name: “solipsism,” or recursive , self-absorbed tail-chasing, which in Basic Computer Programming goes something like this:

        Start: Go To Start

        If you want a concise synopsis of the U.S. “military mind” at work wrecking the world just because it can and doesn’t know what else to do, then there you have it. And President Donald Trump has put these demonstrable failures in charge…

        I don’t know who knows less: President Trump or “his generals,” as he likes to call them. Most likely, neither of them knows anything worth knowing. Which means that the United States of America has no one both awake and in charge at same time. Thank goodness for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Canada and Mexico. Without them, the United States might actually need some sort of military for its genuine “defense.” Looking on the bright side, perhaps the United States should just surrender to the all-powerful Russians now, while they still feel magnanimous. Sort of like “The Mouse that Roared,” in reverse, only in our case, “The Rat that Squealed” would probably make a better title for our farcical national obituary. Until and unless President Trump gives the unceremonious boot out the door to “his generals” — every last one of them — I doubt seriously that he will learn much of value or have much of a chance at really governing the United States.

        Too bad. For a moment there, Donald Trump had the chance to do something better, and I wish that he had.

  6. Thanks for the reply, Greg. I completely agree when you say that “the brass-hats have sat Donald down and explained how the real world actually works.” As I wrote above, President Trump has no chance of really governing unless he rids himself and our government of these “professional” uniformed parasites. Firing retired General Michael Flynn and hiring an active-duty general to replace him does not bode well for our erstwhile “democracy,” which increasingly resembles a banana-republic junta. Flynn had to go because Trump wanted him to clean out the Bush/Cheney neocons and “Clinton/Obama “liberal interventionists” at the NSA and CIA. The intended targets struck first. Trump never read his Machiavelli who advised a new prince to “get your enemies first and get them all at once.” Trump thought that he had all of Day One to do whatever he wanted. In fact, he had only Hour One to do the necessary — and he wasted it.

    I also like your term for NATO: “the Coalition of Lickspittles the US assembles from time to time to launch “little” operations like the War(s) Against Iraq.” That judgment echoes what Russian President Vladimir Putin once observed: “The United States doesn’t want allies. It wants vassals.” How true.

    But I stand by the statement that “NATO does nothing for America,” because I differentiate America — as a nation mostly impoverished by a Corporate Global Oligarchy — from its “government,” a wholly owned subsidiary of that same CGO that couldn’t care less what the working-class paupers want or need or think that they have voted for.

    I agree, of course, that “NATO is Willing Tool Number One. It’s the US that appears to be dragging Germany and other lickspittles into war with Russia–which will be a colossal mistake.” But Germany has every right to decline deployment of its “defensive” forces beyond its own borders and must accept responsibility for recklessly provoking the Russians if it acquiesces to U.S. government bullying. To say the least, Russians do not have fond memories of German military forces rolling through Poland and up to Russia’s borders. Something about “Operation Barbarossa,” I believe. If Chancellor Merkel has no understanding of her country’s twentieth-century history — and I cannot for a moment suppose that she does not — for some reason she seems perfectly willing to do America’s bidding, even it puts her own country in mortal peril. “Lickspittle”? Yes. “Vassal”? Yes. “innocent victim”? No.

    For some reason Chancellor Merkel believes that she can play off Russia and the United States against each other in Germany’s interest. The United States will probably want to play. The hothouse orchids and special snowflakes who infest the U.S. government think of war as “play.” The Russians won’t play — in every sense of that word. It will surprise me greatly if Frau Merkel survives the upcoming elections in Germany. I see where just the other day the governor of Bavaria led a huge delegation of German businessmen to Moscow. Those “NATO” sanctions on Russia haven’t done anything but hurt German business and make Russia more self-sufficient, turning away from Europe toward China and Asia. Frau Merkel has screwed herself and her country by not standing up to the U.S. within NATO, which she had more than enough influence to do. She went along with the Russia-baiting because she had her own reasons for doing so. Blaming Donald Trump – who after all, knows practically nothing of foreign affairs — won’t cut it for a national leader with Angela Merkel’s long years in office. Anyone who blames Donald Trump and/or Russia for eating their homework — as the Clinton/Obama “Democrats” do — has no claim to any sympathy from me.

  7. I see where the Moon of Alabama blog (March 28, 2017) has also picked up on the lame, pathetic excuse now increasingly offered by every unprepared high-school student — as well as the so-called “Democrats” — on the due date for an assignment. In brief:

    Democrats: “Russia Ate Our Homework”

    TRUMP increases sanctions on Russia.

    DEMOCRATS: “Putin installed this president! Trump is illegitimate!”

    TRUMP expands wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria

    DEMOCRATS: “Russia is out to get us!”

    TRUMP dismantles environmental regulations.

    DEMOCRATS: “White House distracts from Russia investigation!”

    TRUMP kills worker protection, lowers billionaire taxes.

    DEMOCRATS: “Putin’s interference cost us the election!”

    TRUMP launches nuclear war with North Korea.

    DEMOCRATS: “Russia ate our homework!”

    Somehow the Russians keep preventing the Democrats from actually proposing and fighting for any real alternatives to the “Pied Piper” (thank you, John Podesta) President they did so much to encourage during last year’s presidential election. I mean, even a vastly unpopular, singularly unaccomplished, politically tainted, and clearly inept candidate like You-Know-Her should have had no trouble dispatching a political rookie like Donald Trump. Right? Right? Only an omniscient, omnipotent Russian President like Vladimir Putin could keep the Democrats from, you know, actually acquainting themselves with the downwardly dropping working class and promising them some economic relief. You know. Like the political rookie Donald Trump did. Damn those all-seeing and all-powerful Russians for making Donald Trump see the obvious while simultaneously eating the Democrats’ homework.

    What a perfect metaphor.

    • Mike–I’ve been throwing barrels of cold water on this anti-Russia campaign via Facebook for some time now, but not gaining any traction. It seems everyone who was crushed by You-Know-Her’s colossal failure has signed on to the notion that Putin engineered her ignominious defeat. The drumbeat of war is unmistakably in the air. That little guy who runs ‘north’ Korea continues to occasionally grab headlines, but the US propaganda machine is basically painting Russia as Public Enemy #1. “1984,” we are told, started selling like hotcakes after Trump’s inauguration. I suggest people pay at least as close attention to “Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” Stanley Kubrick’s “blackest of black comedies” from 1964. For we may rest assured that the Pentagon is still occupied by those who believe “a nuclear war is winnable,” with “acceptable” casualty levels here at home.

      Bill Astore–Just as you surmise correctly that the US Empire “doesn’t know how to” “downsize,” likewise it was incapable of NOT believing that it would, indeed, dominate the globe in the wake of the demise of the Warsaw Pact nations. World domination has been the goal under every US president, Democrat or Republican, since the arrival of the Age of Modern Imperialism in 1898. ‘Che’ Guevara called for “Two, three, many Vietnams” to lead to the ultimate crippling of the US War Machine. Right now that machine is lurching around like a partially disabled robot in the Middle East, pinned down by bands of guerillas fighting for…do we really even know? The important thing is the proof that the machine is NOT invincible. It’s just extremely sad that so many innocents die and the machine proves incapable of learning.

  8. My apologies to Sammy Glick Syndrome, but in addition to false (but widely accredited anyway) claims that President Trump did not shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, other widely circulated assertions claim that:

    ” … bipartisan Intelligence Committee leaders found no truth to his wiretapping accusations.”

    Now, President Trump made an accusation alleging not one, but two things: namely, that President Obama had wiretapped his [Trump’s] phone AND Angela Merkel’s phone. As a matter of internationally reported fact, President Obama did indeed tap (via wires or wireless connections) Angela Merkel’s private cell phone, and when he got caught at it, he had to publicly apologize and promise — honest injun — never to do anything like that again. So half of President Trump’s accusation should come as no surprise to anyone. No knowledgeable person disputes it. As to the other half of President Trump’s accusations against President Obama and his administration, two highly regarded (except by President Obama) former “Intelligence community” professionals ( Ray McGovern and Bill Binney) had this to say: (see The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate, Consortium News (March 28, 2017)

    “So, were Trump and his associates “wiretapped?” Of course not. Wiretapping went out of vogue decades ago, having been rendered obsolete by leaps in surveillance technology [emphasis added].

    “The real question is: Were Trump and his associates surveilled? Wake up, America. Was no one paying attention to the disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 when he exposed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as a liar for denying that the NSA engaged in bulk collection of communications inside the United States.

    The reality is that EVERYONE, including the President, is surveilled [emphasis added]. The technology enabling bulk collection would have made the late demented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s mouth water.”

    Factually (and technically) speaking, then, President Obama may not have had his minions tap any “wires,” but only because few phones today actually use wires to carry their signals. After Edward Snowden’s massive data dump, every one of us ought to know that the U.S. government collects information on EVERY phone call to, from, and within the United States, and has built monstrous data depositories that almost rival the pyramids of Egypt in size, just to innocently deposit our private information that government lawyers claim no one in government actually stole from off any “wires.” You know, fellow Crimestoppers: lawyers with moving lips. That sort of thing. Some “tapping?” Well, yes. But not off any wires in Trump Tower. Honest Injun.

    So, aside from the fact that President Obama surveilled EVERYBODY — even American citizens and their 16-year-old sons travelling in Yemen until a robot drone found and murdered them — I still have seen no hard evidence — “bipartisan” or otherwise — that Russia or its President, Vladimir Putin, did anything to “influence” last years U.S. elections. Not unless the evil Ruskies somehow secretly “washed” the brains of millions of us voters, convincing us that we really didn’t loathe — and swear never, ever to vote for — You-Know-Her because of her stupid, craven vote in the Senate authorizing Deputy Dubya Bush’s stud hamster vendetta against the toothless Saddam Hussein in Iraq, not to mention numerous other wars that she has cheerfully endorsed over the years. Adding the ultimate insult to injury, though, I see on the Huffing-and-Puffing Post today that former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has signed on to the Democrats’ anti-Russian crusade, claiming that “Russian cyber-attacks constitute an act of war against the United States.” Way to go, Democrats. Now you’ve got Five Deferment Dick, Deputy Dubya’s old boss, hanging around your necks like a dead, stinking albatross. You certainly do know how to make yourselves anathema to the anti-war, working class base of your own party. Let’s see you blame Russia for that genius move …

    • Michael .. I’m sometimes a nitpicker so I am happy to see that your use of the word ” wiretapping” had two ‘p’s’. You are a literate person and would never accuse anyone of “wiretaping”‘ your phone.
      Although not an impeachable offense I find Trump’s twitter claim that Obama did taPP his phone as clear evidence that this man is totallyu unqualified for the office he holds. In the past the American people disqualified Dan Quayle for the Vice Presidency because he couldn’t spell ‘potatoe’ or was it ‘squash’? Murdering the English language thru misspelling when any sane person knows that one can tap a phone but not tapp a phone. Where have we come to in this country? Let’s get down to basics!

  9. Nato is not the problem: the expansion of Nato is. There’s a valid argument for Nato: it provides stability, a structure, a modus operandi. Let’s not forget the two awful European civil wars, otherwise known as WW1 and WW2, that devastated the world from 1914 to 1945.

    Of course, Nato was intended to contain Soviet expansion in the aftermath of WW2. In the main, it achieved its goal. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nato should have been downsized, perhaps even disbanded. It should not have been expanded, but that’s the cost of unbounded hubris.

    The key American mistake after the Cold War “victory” was in imagining that, with the “end of history,” the U.S. could now dominate the world as the lone superpower. That hegemonic drive has led to the decline of America over the last 25 years.

    With its global network of bases and its doctrine of “global reach/global power,” the U.S. has defined the world to be its area of interest. Unbounded ambition has met the limits of power. Every year, American power grows weaker, simply because it is overextended and used in areas of marginal interest to the USA.

    The empire can’t shrink itself; it doesn’t know how to. Will it end as explosion or implosion, or both? Will the world explode in war, or will America implode from the rot within? Are both possible?

    • I disagree about the significance of NATO. “The two awful European civil wars, otherwise known as WW1 and WW2” did not occur because first Russia and then the Soviet Union (also Russia) invaded Western Europe. On the contrary, Western Europe — meaning Germany in the 20th century — twice attacked and devastated Russia. Prior to the 20th century, Charles XII of Sweden and, of course, Napoleon Bonaparte of France, also invaded and devastated large parts of Russia. So Russia has long-standing and entirely legitimate reasons for fearing encroachment from Western Europe. Consequently, after defeating the German armies and driving them from Russian territory in 1945, Russia (in the form of the now defunct Soviet Union) set up a buffer region in Eastern Europe to help defend against any future repetitions of these invasions from Western Europe. NATO had nothing to “defend” against because the Russians had stopped where they wanted to stop and had no desire to “invade” Western Europe in the first place. It would take a rather parochial U.S. view of European history to conclude otherwise.

      In short: Russia wants no more of Western Europe today than it ever did. And to the extent that Eastern Europe remains militarily neutral and non-threatening, Russia has no interest in these minor nations either. Yes, Russia does see the expansion of NATO (the Notorious American Trespassing Operation) as a legitimate problem, but that has no bearing on why NATO should exist in the first place. Russia doesn’t threaten Western Europe and seldom, if ever, has. But the United States military needs as many excuses as possible for its own largely unnecessary existence, so NATO — like SEATO and other alphabet-soup collections of vassal dependencies — serves as a convenient fig-leaf covering the dangling naked genitals of Imperial-American “Shock Doctrine” or “Disaster” or “Regime-change” capitalism.

      The British, for their part determined never to allow a single rival nation to establish itself on the European continent, have a more concisely understood and formulated foreign policy: namely, “Keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.” If it has any purpose at all for anyone, therefore, NATO has precisely this British objective, but that does not in any way imply a connection to vital U.S. interests which have always lain, as our first President George Washington warned us, in avoiding foreign entanglements. Other than protecting the heroin-producing poppy fields of Afghanistan and laundering vast international drug-money flows, NATO exists only to help bankrupt the United States — at the insistence of the U.S. itself. Russia and China and Iran have nothing to do with any of this.

      If they truly wish, the European nations can re-organize themselves so as to include Russia in a larger economic and security framework. I hope they do. I see no reason why they can’t. If the U.S. and Great Britain don’t like this, then tough. The world has about had enough of British and American imperialism. The Notorious American Trespassing Operation has to go.

      • Mike–I cannot agree with your characterization of the Eastern European states as “militarily neutral” (or leaning in that direction, since you used the phrase “to the extent”) vis-a-vis Russia. The former Warsaw Pact nations (called “Soviet satellites” by imperialism during the first “Cold War”), after the collapse of the USSR, flocked to cast their lot with “the West.” They’re not all NATO members, but they joined the European Union and not a few have made their territory available to US military installations and missile batteries aimed east. They do this, I’m sure, in exchange for what crumbs may slip from the Master’s table, and because the post-Soviet leaderships were recruited from the anti-communist elements that persisted during said “Cold War,” with help in surviving provided happily by the CIA. Poland was the exemplar in all this, with its inherently anti-communist overwhelmingly-Catholic population. I really think there can be no doubt that that explained a Polish churchman being elevated to the Papacy back in the day. “Everybody loves a winner” it is said, and US Imperialism won (for what it’s worth!) the “Cold War.” The USSR was bankrupted trying to keep up with Reagan’s proposed “Star Wars” missile plan–and of course their misadventure in Afghanistan didn’t help. But, uh, anybody check the US National Debt lately? We were bankrupted, as well, but not to worry! Just print a few trillions more of those “Federal Reserve Notes,” formerly known as the good-as-gold Almighty US Greenback Dollar. The ultimate Ponzi scheme! Personally, I can’t wait for this house of cards to implode.

  10. It is also interesting to note that almost half of the Eastern European countries admitted into the EU now have authoritarian regimes rather than liberal democracies which was part of the aim of the EU. If anything NATO, \which is like an extended arm of the US military , has probably subtly helped to push them in this direction because of of the US obsessive anti Russian miltary encirclement policies.

  11. Once again the propaganda is being ramped up with the Syrian government being accused of a chemical attack. And of course McCain is on it! As is the 24×7 hysterical American media. Its once again based on allegations by known jihadist propaganda outfit the “White Helmets”.

    And then we have Susan Rice on TV claiming she did not leak the “unmasked” names to the media. However, just couple weeks agon the PBS NewsHour she was asserting she did not request any unmasking of surveillance reports.

    Did we have this level of obfuscation of truth and mendacity by the high level government officials, media and political elites throughout our history?

    • “tunis”–In response to your closing question, I have to say that governments have always kept secrets from their subjects, whether the regime calls itself a democracy, republic, junta, you name it. But unquestionably politics HAVE sunk to new lows in recent decades. As for Syria, I see where Trump just declared that the world is a mess, but fear not, HE knows how to fix things!! Oh boy, here we go! And keep your eyes on the Korean Peninsula. I suspect the only thing restraining this administration (thus far!) from attacking “north” Korea is a coterie of reasonably level-headed generals and admirals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s