Letter From America

Written By: Ian Williams
Published: May 20, 2017 Last modified: May 20, 2017

George W Bush once complained that he was “misunderestimated.” You can almost sympathize. Donald Trump has made Bush Jnr seem a towering giant among commanders-in-chief. Yes, like Trump, Bush was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he absorbed a microscopic residual sense of noblesse oblige from it, while there is no scintilla of nobility or obligation in Trump.

Real estate and gambling, Trump’s prime avocations, are all about skimming money as it’s churned, not actually creating and making things that people might need. He has been one jump ahead of his creditors for years. And while he might have once installed gold-plated bathroom fixtures, you can be sure that the people who sold and installed them were cheated of some or all of their pay. While posing as an entrepreneurial genius, he drove casinos into bankruptcy, bought, renamed and lost the Trump Shuttle airline, the Trump Plaza hotel and finally got into his stride by adding his brand name to buildings financed by people with insufficient taste and intellect to appreciate that in early modern English “trump” meant “fart.” Be serious, how do you lose money with a casino?

So, Trump is indubitably guilty – but of what? The Russia thing evokes deep reservoirs of historical prejudice in the Democrats, but has amazingly little traction with the Republicans and Trump supporters. Did he have business dealings with the Russians? Almost certainly, and very likely they financed his dubious projects. After all, Russian kleptocrats are the Saudi oil-sheiks of our day, with lots of spare money and no accountability. And Trump and his team are incredibly incompetent. The Clinton’s were discreet in collecting the dinars from the Sheiks; Trump appointees have been caught lying about their chats with Russians.

But there is something worrying about all the fuss. Firstly, how can any detached observer keep a straight face when American pundits wax indignant about foreign interference in US elections?  The world is spattered with countries from Iran to Chile whose elections have been overturned by US subterfuge and conspiracy – not to mention those where the Marines just went in to adjust the outcome.

US “interference” played a large part in empowering Boris Yeltsin and the consequent collapse and looting of the Russian economy. And you don’t have to be a Chomskyite conspiracy theorist to see the US funding and advice behind many of the so-called “colour” revolutions around the globe. Even if you accept, as I would, that most of these risings were justified and mainly fuelled by local anger, there is ample evidence of American funding.

So, were the Russians hacking during the election? Almost certainly, but no one claims that they interfered with the famously vulnerable American electronic voting machines. Nor did they produce “fake news” or falsified emails, leaving that to Fox and Breitbart, although their ‘bots might have turned out the Trump vote the same way that foreign donors are attacking Corbyn in this election.  However, the main charge is that Russian inspired hackers exposed correspondence between the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Now amid all the Clinton camp’s squawks of indignation blaming the Russians for losing her the election, there is not the tiniest hint of contrition for what was actually revealed, which was that DNC apparatchiks and Clinton conspired to ensure the defeat of Bernie Sanders. It is indeed an unusual role for Putin’s revived KGB, but they were revealing rather than concealing or distorting facts. If the facts showed Hillary in bad light that was because what she was doing was bad!

The election was indeed stolen, but it has been a prolonged hegemonic heist. The Bolshevized conservative wing of the Republicans has been pursuing the long march to power while the Clintons and their plutocratic pals were hollowing out the Democratic Party and concentrating on big donors to get themselves in the Senate and the White House. With centralized Leninist discipline, the avowed right took over the Republican Party and won power in states, counties and cities across the country. They used it to gerrymander districts, purge voter rolls and ensure that even if people vote in the face of all the contrived obstacles, it is their local officials who count the resulting ballots. They have deployed their people in the courts, not least the Supreme Court, and are set to add even more.

Hillary was right to say there was a vast right-wing conspiracy, but she flattered herself to think she was the main target. These guys are serious about reconstructing the US as some Ayn Rand dystopia – and frankly the Clintons have never posed much of an obstacle to it, as their steps at dismantling of the New Deal demonstrated.

Be warned: it is coming soon to a House of Commons near you. While they have been too clever to acknowledge it, the Tory Party has clearly been studying the techniques of voter dissuasion and boundary reform as gerrymandering.

About Ian Williams

Ian Williams is Tribune’s UN correspondent