Last Night, Donald Trump Disqualified Himself

In the wake of mass protests and violence, Trump is threatening today to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would lead to deploying U.S. troops on active duty against American citizens. If you don’t think he’ll do this, or you think the troops will disobey his orders, think again. Trump boasted in 2016 that the military would follow his orders regardless of their legality, and he may well be proven right in the coming days.

Trump, hidden away in his bunker, hides his own weakness by calling others weak. And now he’s threatening to send U.S. troops in a war against their own mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, kith and kin.

Welcome to Amerika.

Bracing Views

Donald Trump Hail the Leader (Trump at FreedomFest, July 11, 2015 (AP Photo/John Locher)

W.J. Astore

As a retired military officer, I watched last night’s Republican debate from Detroit (transcript here) with a special focus on which candidate is qualified to lead the military as commander-in-chief.  I knew, of course, that Donald Trump had promised in the past to use torture against America’s enemies (last night, he called them “animals”), that he would pursue and kill not only terrorists but their families (apparently because the families always know, according to Trump, what their father/brother/sister is up to, as if there are no secrets in families).  Trump, in short, is an Old Testament “eye for an eye” man: if they behead us, we’ll torture and kill them, end of story.

But Trump was put on the spot when he was asked what he would do if the U.S. military failed to carry…

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17 thoughts on “Last Night, Donald Trump Disqualified Himself

  1. I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of US military personnel WILL obey Trump’s orders. I believe Trump now qualifies as a Tyrant: there is no “legal” means by which he can be removed from office, regardless of his crimes. We can thank the sizable percentage of our fellow citizens who support him and other revolting GOP politicians, giving GOP control of the Senate, which makes DJT unimpeachable. UNIMPEACHABLE, regardless of what specific offenses Democrats might try to pursue him on. “Our” System is more broken now than any prior time in my own lifespan.

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  2. Having just revisited your earlier post, “Nine Rows of Ribbons!” I can’t help but wonder what the campaign ribbon will look like for the coming military intervention and shredding of The Constitution, despite the “solemn vow” of all involved (from top to bottom) to defend and uphold it.
    Oh, hang on – this just came to me (really, just now): there is also the part about “enemies, foreign or domestic.” That, you might say, will be “the Trump card.” (I can’t believe I just wrote that.)

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    1. Trump tweeted other day that he wants “Antifa”–which isn’t even a unified, organized group!!–placed on the Index of “Terrorist” Organizations. As far as I know, this remains in the threat stage. US policy is that POTUS can target US citizens for assassination, anywhere on the planet at any time, if so designated. Nothing, and I mean nothing, this MENTALLY DERANGED individual does going forward should surprise us. I will militantly retain my right to be outraged, nevertheless.

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      1. It may interest you to know that several U.S. states already declared Antifa to be a terrorist organisation years ago, as have a few foreign countries.

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        1. Kaja–You mean Trump got left in the lurch in the sprint to new levels of idiocy?!? Now he’s really gonna be pissed off! But seriously, those countries wouldn’t include Poland, Hungary and Brazil, would they? We should bear in mind that Hitler was legally elected Chancellor in 1933. Small-minded, frightened “middle class” voters–“We want stability! We want law and order!”–can open the door to tyranny. They then suffer the fate of everyone else when the society comes to utter ruination.

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          1. What’s your fucking point? Antifa is violent – I’ve seen it firsthand. Terrorist or not, someone needs to stop them from causing further damage. If local residents and police won’t do it, then the National Guard gets sent in. That was Trump’s ultimatum. Would you rather that no-one do anything, and let the black bloc run amok? Be very careful with your answer…

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          2. Kaja–My answer is simple and civil: I think you’ve shown your own “true color” and I’ll have nothing further to do with you. Sorry I wasted time previously with my lengthy replies to your comments!

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  3. What is unfolding in your country is the natural dialectical process of sharpening social opposites within the phenomenon of U.S. society. The unresolvable social contradictions of extreme levels of inequality also now condition the unresolvable economic contradictions of obscene wealth and grinding poverty which obstructs financial function. And both produce the political contradictions of oligarchic dictatorship opposing the popular communal wish for a civil context which is real democracy.

    Racism is just one form of classism in a class society. The fundamental human difference is not skin colour, but the relativity between social classes. As I sat watching the implosion of the supposedly normal facade which hides a violent predatory society last week, I began to recognise what I saw – for I had seen it previously in France 1968 in my youth! I never thought I would live through another pre-revolutionary process. But I was wrong. When one knows what to look for, one can see what others may not notice.

    Your economy, society, and political superstructure are fracturing, and are about to disintegrate. Be very careful, friends, the huge number of human beings which your corrupt system has hurt for many years are seeking change – and they will create change one way or another.

    Those who have hurt them will pay a price for their murder and thievery. Before a new and more decent society can be constructed, the decadent dictatorship of stolen wealth will have to be laid low.
    As we say about the Covid-19 Crisis in Ireland: “There will be no return to the old “normal – we must do better”.

    You may choose to perceive this eruption of change as a tragedy or a farce, or indeed, a potential moment of redemption. But your perception (or mine) is not the driving force – the dialectic laws of historic development is the inescapable driving force. There is vastly more than meets the eye. We must penetrate the event to see the transformational process.

    Take care my friends, as this unfolds. Choose the side of progress and human decency, disdaining the old reactionaries which have over-reached their contempt at the end of their viability. Their way is over, globally! Their debt-crippled political economy is about to crash, just as they’ve threatened violence against ordinary people. The idiot Trump doesn’t know that card was played and lost.

    These events are influencing the process of change here too. I live on the fringe of a small prosperous town. I’ve just been notified of a solidarity event next weekend to protest at the state murder of the unfortunate Mr George Floyd. This is only the beginning …

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    1. The potential for bringing real change in France in ’68 could not be brought to fruition because there was no revolutionary organization with wide influence. The French Communist Party, as elsewhere in Europe, wouldn’t know a revolution if they tripped over it! I will say this on a hopeful note, though: unlike in previous murders-by-cop, mainstream elements, even some corporations, have said “Enough!” Even the National Flute Association–the National Flute Association!!–posted “Black Lives Matter” on social media!! I learned this because I have a friend who is a professional flutist.

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  4. I agree completely on all points, Greglaxer. However, this is a new moment, 80 years after Neville Chaimberlain appeased Adolf Hitler, after Josef Stalin signed a treaty with the Nazis. Although Winston Churchill helped smash the Irish revolution in 1922, he must also be given credit for standing alone against fascism in 1939. He was capable of learning, adapting, changing tactics if not his spots.

    Neoliberalism has brought the inherant contradictions of the capitalist mode of production to a sharpness and intense opposition never seen in any previous phase of capitalist historical development. The Covid-19 global pandemic has now interrupted the declining flow of its financial blood, already thickened to immanent thrombosis by the disease of immense debt.

    Scientific Socialism is a theory of the function of human society as much as an abusive buzz word for
    formal thinkers. Although the propagandandistic misrepresentation of its scientific veracity has misled millions, it remains the only body of human knowledge which co-ordinates a real alternative to collapsing Neoliberalism. Many of those most effective by this pernicious mental virus are now dying off, or willing like Chamberlain &co to compromise with murderous stupidity.

    It is clear from reportage that a new young generation are not so feeble minded. It therefore becomes the duty of those of us educated in dialectical reasoning redouble our efforts to encourage this brave new generation to study dialectics. May I suggest the work of the late Soviet Oppositional Philosopher Evald Ilyenkov as a good place to start the reclaiming of Scientific Marxism as a guide to understanding the end-game underway in the capitalist period of human social history.

    The International Friends of Ilyenkov (IFI) celebrate, support, and promote his heroic work to continue the struggle for Materialist Dialectics which cost him his life in the dark days of Breshnevian reaction.
    But the light is returning just in time for our species survival. Regime change at home beckons. And that will not be achieved by substituting a new tailors dummy to front a corrupt system.

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    1. Interesting… you seem to be a good bit more optimistic than everyone else in this thread about the state of western society. However, I have some questions for you.

      1 – How is neoliberalism alone responsible for the problems with capitalism? Have you considered that both breeds of corporatism (the other being neoconservatism) are equally at fault?

      2 – How, precisely, has scientific socialism been misrepresented? Bear in mind that I’ve read the Communist Manifesto, studied Soviet history quite extensively, and I used to be a Lamarckist. Furthermore, why is it the only solution?

      3 – When you say “new young generation are not so feeble minded,” which generation are you referring to, and what made you come to that conclusion?

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      1. Thank you KAJA for your interest and questions. Rather than optimistic or pessimistic, I advocate being realistic when considering evidence to develop new concepts. In my view, this is vitally important when working both physically and mentally.
        The dialectical interaction between physical and mental work constitutes active human consciousness and thus, our species culture.
        This raises the fundamental question of all human knowledge: How do we know the world beyond thought?

        So, what is human thought? This question predates the emergence of modern philosophic enquiry in classical Greece. But it was through the advance of human knowledge we call The Enlightenment that real human progress began its forward march towards potential civilisation.
        Human thought is the reflective process in which a human being becomes aware of and conceptualises the universal external. Because the subjective human individual is also a constituent part of that external, we, as a species must necessarily accept the contradiction that a human being is both subject and object at the same time. Here, the scientific worldview begins.

        Thus, humanity as a species presents as a complex, dynamic, and contradictory phenomenon (used in the philosophical meaning, a phenomenon being that which can become known to a human person). By sharing new knowledge with others, our collective understanding is deepened and we develop human culture. This is facilitated by developing an objective style of mutually respectful behaviour through the joint pursuit of deepening our scientific understanding. This is an objective social process, not just a so a simple individual one which quickly obstructs the species potential for assembling new theories while sensibly letting go old ones superseded by newly acquired knowledge.

        In no way does this imply that old ideas are necessarily no longer correct or can have no relevance – indeed they may! But only within specific and newly defined limitations outside of which, truth may become error. That is one of the meanings which flow from Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
        There is nothing here to be pessimistic about.

        As we further test and refine our knowledge, deepening understanding of a given subject, human culture thus makes progress. Of course, where and when we allow nonsense to triumph over understanding, we may also regress from time to time – e.g. The Dark Ages, or the Trump or Bolsonaro presidencies.

        Question One concerns political economy, a significant and still contentious field of knowledge. There remains much abuse of scientific method to this today, with Neoclassical Neanderthals and pseudo-scientific NeoKeynesians dominating widespread and largely ignorant discourse. Each of these deliberately blinkered traditions is an active avoidance of the logic of the scientific pursuit of Political Economy which properly began with David Ricardo and Adam Smith’s “Labour Theory of Value”. Because of the prevailing limitations of theoretical and technological advancement, they were unable to solve the question of the nature and motion of money as finance capital – let alone identify what money fully meant in their era.

        Karl Marx made it his life’s work to deepen our understanding of these questions. To accomplish this, he had to revisit basic questions about human knowledge also, and by developing the Hegelian Philosophical approach with the help of his wife, Jenny von Westphalen, his revolutionary friend Frederick Engels and his Irish partner Mary Burns, and also many others including the German/American tannery worker Joseph Dietzgen, he produced a theoretical concept of capital which has been proven time and again. Marxism as a science remains a collective endeavour based on authentic scientific method.

        The term Neoliberalism is now widely used to define the socio-political functions of capitalism in the period following the formal collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement on August 15 1971. This developed its own new features and socio-political outcomes. But this precise nuance of meaning should not be conflated with the word’s more vulgar use to distinguish between a weird and wonderful array of bourgeois political outlooks based on the limited subjective propaganda of confused journalists and commentators.

        Neoliberalism is a phase of the disintegrative period of capitalist systemic historical development, typified by the inability of its financial process to redeem the massive indebtedness created by the actions of central banks etc. in efforts to breathe new life into a dying system. In this sense Neoliberalism isn’t “the cause” of capitalism’s decline, but a feature or aspect of it.

        The sequestration by the owners of capital of surplus value created by workers is the essential predicative action through which the capitalist mode of production functions. This transformation of value into finance capital is prone to regular disjunctions of process, the Crashes and Depressions and Recessions which regularly impoverish working people as the system fails. Thus capitalism is always a system in ever-deepening crisis creating wars and misery in its wake.

        To unravel this awful contradiction, Marx offered the theory of TRPF – the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (see Capital Vol 3 Chapter 13). This TRPF theory has been proven over and over – with its predictive capacity now widely acknowledged. The Marxist Economist, Michael Roberts, provides perhaps, one of the most clearly accessible explanations of this important theory through his regularly updated Blog pages – always worth reading.

        Question Two opens a vast vista – the whole history of C20 has been largely the strategic misrepresentation of Marxism by the ruling class and the opinion formers who serve their interests (often via media trivialisation and academic obscurantism). Forever anxious to mislead working people they attempt to invalidate Marx’s insightful analysis and theories. Their latest fad is for MMT (Modern Monetary Theory), which I prefer to think of as Magic Money Tree fetishism.

        To reconnect with the authentic Marxist tradition, once again, I recommend the work of the late Soviet Oppositional Philosopher, Prof. Evald Ilyenkov – who valiantly defended and promoted Materialist Dialectics as a scientific method in the face of lethal opposition from old-guard Stalinism led by the Brezhnev cohort. But that’s far too big an issue for proper consideration here.

        The only solution? I am not a formal thinker, so in one way, this question has no meaning for me in terms of dialectical reality. I cannot precisely prescribe what will emerge out of our social environment. I may make an educated guess, however. And Marxism or Scientific Socialism is a field of knowledge continuing in such creative speculative development. However, the antics of the anti-Marxist brigade are not, and cannot be, a part of Marxist tradition. Quite clearly, they express ideas which conflict with the progressive spirit of Scientific Socialism.

        Although many virologists warned of the potential danger of a new Corona Virus becoming pandemic, how could anyone predict that Covid-19 would erupt and further destroy the ailing capitalist production mode? The Scientific Socialist method of Materialist Dialectical enquiry seeks to cognise reality as it emerges out of natural necessity. But it cannot tell me which horse will win the 2.15 at the Curragh. That is not its purpose or meaning.

        Question Three challenges me. I refer to my own generation (born in 1947 – in the first half of the last century). The 1919 Irish Revolutionary Dail (parliament) was defeated by the connivance of right-wing Irish counter-revolutionaries with the old imperial masters in 1922. My father was an intelligence officer for the revolutionaries in Dublin, but it was not until the end of his life in the 1970’s that he was willing to discuss any of that history with me.

        He was appalled at how former comrades lost the ability to disagree respectfully in the search for truth, thus preventing intelligent discourse to create a progressive future. Anger led in due course to internecine violence and betrayal, the stupidity of closed minds, the loss of comradely loyalty and endeavour – and inevitably, a ruling class faction seized power.

        Since the early 1960’s I had become involved in politics and philosophy as the congealed stupidity of the Irish establishment brought the country to its knees. My generation cast aside the superstitious amorality of a state supposedly immersed in a Christian tradition preaching the love of their God, but practicing intolerant contempt and hate, and rejecting nature. This history of hypocrisy damaged so many lives and communities.

        Although rejecting this, through young naivety, my generation often became infused with that prevailing negativity, even while attempting to overcome it, a tendency which ultimately prevented us from cognising reality in a proper way. So it was back to the books for some of us. When I began to understand the true implications of Marx’s materialist dialectical method, it was because I was painfully moving beyond the “certainty” of an incorrect “formal” or “Orthodox” caricature of Marxism. The term Orthodox Marxist is itself an oxymoron.

        It is because they appear to have escaped the bleak intellectual confinement which my generation endured, that I think young people today may come to the question of their survival unencumbered with the ideological baggage I inherited. And it is for that reason I anticipate they will quickly come to adopt a scientific method which has been proven capable of providing correct guidance in the revolutionary construction of a new society in which equality is not just a word or concept – but a healthy living reality.

        My job now is to encourage them to do so, and protect them as best I can from the reactionaries and a murderous ruling class whose deviousness they face in this task. A revolution is possible. And as Capitalism fails, it has now become a necessity for human survival. What it will look like we do not know yet, but it must inaugurate a real democracy in my view, overturning the elaborate fraud of the capitalist state.

        My apologies for the quantity of words, but the quality of reason is not strained. Thank you, Frank

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        1. Now I’m really intrigued. First off, the relativistic thinking when it comes to topics as subjective as politics is the very reason that I am so careful to define my terms, as we all should be. Judging from what you’ve written thus far, I think we might already have a problem, since we’re not working with the same definitions of many different terms. However, for the time being, I can at least follow your logic. At least we can agree complete on the idea of “dark ages,” although I am far less worried about anti-science administrations than I am about anti-science pseudo-intellectuals in academia.

          I appreciated your derisive description of modern economists, incidentally. Anyone who thinks a system of perpetual growth is either a madman or an economist, to paraphrase Kenneth Boulding. Calling modern economics a giant shell game may be a gross over-simplification, but then, there are an awful lot of disciplines in the modern day that could be revealed to be utterly hollow once the elaborate shell is peeled away. The fact that so many postmodern academics seem more concerned with spinning intricate webs of vacuous nonsense disguised as intelligent thought via pompous word salad doesn’t help, since most critics would find themselves befuddled and thus at a complete loss for how to refute such bloviation. Arguments, therefore, become impossible in the face of apologetics, and thus is the status quo preserved. I have some my own economic ideas, incidentally, but there can be no progress on that front until the gatekeepers are ousted.

          Now then, regarding my second question, I’m well aware of the grievous over-simplifications of socialism used in common vernacular, such as the deliberate conflation of social programmes and taxation used to pay for them as socialism. I don’t know if you’ve read my recent five-thousand-word travesty, since I haven’t gotten any views from Ireland in a long time (speaking of which, I don’t know who you are, but you obviously know me, if you’re using my old name), but I operate with a very precise definition of socialism (note that I never use “Marxism” unless I am referring to a system that matches the Communist Manifesto perfectly, which goes against your statement that Orthodox Marxism is an oxymoron, as it so happens). “Scientific socialism,” on the other hand, is a phrase which I’ve only seen in an anarcho-communist book from 1840, “Property is Theft,” by P J Proudhon, so I was totally unaware of any misrepresentation in academia, much less the popular press. All I am aware of from outside sources is the invocation of Charles Darwin, but since robber barons of the Gilded Age had already appropriated Darwin’s name and twisted his ideas into the pseudoscience of social Darwinism, I can’t help but wonder if the misrepresentation of scientific socialism is at all connected to the misrepresentation of Darwin back then, or if it’s more recent. Christian creationists, which are a rare breed in every country except the US, like to smear Darwin as a racist to this day, for instance, even though he was anything but.

          Finally, I didn’t expect you to be referring to your own generation when you mentioned the younger. I can definitely see the justification behind that, even though I have only American, French, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian history to go by, and I must confess that my knowledge of Irish and British history from the time is scant. I was initially worried that you might be referring to mine, which is what made me raise an eyebrow. My own generation disappoints me (I’m a millennial, born in 1992, which you probably already knew), but the next generation, which is just now entering adulthood, makes me hopeful. My own personal experience is anecdotal, and thus not evidence of anything, of course, but I’d be happy to provide the justification behind my thinking, in case you’re curious.

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        2. Whoopsies, I made a mistake in my last comment. I was going cross-eyed from staring at my screen for too long (stuck at my desk all day), and I mis-read the very first line. Kindly disregard the remark that I made about my old name.

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    2. Ha ha! Joe Biden is so eager to become the new “tailor’s dummy” that in recent statements the words are actually coming out of his mouth intelligibly!

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