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In case you missed last night’s two hour steelcage GOP extravaganza, here’s the 26-second food fight between frontrunner Donald Trump and Jeb Bush that everyone is talking about.

Not surprisingly, the topic was one that dominated the discussion all night: What candidate is best qualified to savage civil liberties at home while bombing the rest of the planet into oblivion? Judging by his ability to disembowel Bush in front of hand-picked audience of red-meat party loyalists, Trump appears to be the hands-down winner.

It should be pretty clear by now, that “ratings machine” Trump is more than a passing phenom that will suddenly vanish when voters see that he doesn’t really have a party, a platform or a good grasp of the issues. That’s not going to happen. The imperious real estate tycoon is an explosive and charismatic character whose shoot-from-the-hip candor and rapier-like sarcasm have transformed him into a right wing Huey Long. That’s right, Trump has become a populist icon who thrives on biased attacks of a media that is justifiably reviled by nearly everyone.

Just imagine a mercurial megalomaniac like Trump in the oval office just inches away from the Big Red Switch that ignites the Pentagon’s prodigious arsenal of nuclear weapons.

It’s worth thinking about at least…

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump 
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  1. fnn says:

    What candidate is best qualified to savage civil liberties at home while bombing the rest of the planet into oblivion?

    Hillary’s the One!:
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/11/19/hillary-clintons-road-to-war/

    Hillary Clinton promised us a speech on what she’d do to destroy ISIS, but what she gave us was a speech detailing how she would destroy Syria – and drag the US down the road to another unwinnable war. What she essentially proposes is that we fight a three-sided battle – against ISIS, on the one hand, and against Bashar al-Assad, Russia, and Iran on the other.

    She elaborated on her “no-fly zone” scheme, saying she wanted to set it up only in the north. This means not only that the US air force will be protecting the “moderate” Syrian rebels – a coalition of US-supported head-choppers and al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda – but also preventing Russian warplanes from flying over the huge swath of territory in the north controlled by the Islamic State – including Raqqa, their capital. So how does she intend to keep Putin out of the skies over Raqqa – by shooting down Russian planes, Chris Christie-style?

  2. Tovaritch:

    Trump is no more a “mercurial megalomaniac” than so many of the other Great Men who have sat in the Oval Office (including St. JFK, who almost got us all killed during the Cuban Missile Crisis). Your Superman FDR started the nuclear weapons race to nuke Germany; now you socialists are stuck with the karmic blowdown.

    This sort of talk doesn’t scare me any more. I am slowly dying in any case from the low-level “radiation poisoning” of the Affirmative Action Nanny State that puts me (a 65-y-o White Male Army veteran and janitor ) at the very bottom of this nation’s pecking order. My reward for having been a “good American” is to be a victim of the “Knockout Game” by a gang of four “urban youths”. My taxes pay for free chicken for the Hmong immigrants and their kiddies at the local supermarket.

    I hope Trump proclaims himself Emperor for Life and put his kid Barron on the throne upon his demise. What have I (or this ex-republic) got to lose? My “freedoms”? [Insert laugh track here.]

    • Replies: @Ft
    , @DCThrowback
  3. There is at least a chance that Trump will at least try to do what is right for the country. More than you can say for any of the other Republican front runners. Our scumbag ruling class has nothing to fear. They will own president Hillary, big red button and all.

  4. Actually Trump has been very consistently against the neocon wars. Trump has said that he admires Putin and could work with him, no problem. He has also told the American Jewish community that he does not need or want either their money or their support. I agree with his stand on immigration too, so I’m solidly in Trump’s corner.

    I’ve enjoyed your articles very much btw.

  5. I guess I should clarify that I won’t be voting for Hillary or Sanders either. Eight years of “hope you can believe in” is about all I can take.

    Any chance of Pope Francis throwing his hat in the ring?

  6. Pope you can believe in?

  7. attonn says:

    Trump is all about a common sense. For people unfamiliar with it (majority of Americans), that’s got to be horrifying.

  8. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    The media have been complicit in turning politics into glitzy showbiz.

    Remember Saxophone blaring Clinton in 92 and Democratic Convention as a Rock Show?

    Remember Obama the celebrity candidate, the One?

    Well, the end logic of all such is someone like Trump.

    For the media to talk of dignity or restraint or respect is bogus.

    Politics has been showbiz for some time.

    I mean the #1 moral issue in America has been ‘gay marriage’. When that idiocy made it through supreme court, US was lit up in homo colors.

    In this kind of sick demented culture, Trump is right at home.

    Yes he’s sleazy, yes he’s loud, yes he’s shameless.

    But what in our political or moral culture deserve any respect?

    In a nation where the Prez pays tribute to Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner as a person of courage, when that freak is chosen as ‘woman of the year’, what is so shameless or vulgar about Trump?

    He’s no better but no worse.

  9. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    How about ban the presidency?

    And ban Congress too.

    Shut down Supreme Court.

    Let each state go its separate ways.

    How about US as 50 nations?

    The only thing that will remain ‘federal’ is printing of money and control of currency.

    Otherwise, split up please.

  10. Ft says:
    @Eustace Tilley (not)

    You should have disowned the army the moment you found out that the gang leaders in uniform were carpet bombing he Hmong country .that should have helped you chart a different career and should have saved some money from unspent bomb and spared the lives and dislocation of lives of Hmong .
    Oh my bad! They did not tell you who you were killing .

    • Replies: @Eustace Tilley (not)
  11. tbraton says:

    “Not surprisingly, the topic was one that dominated the discussion all night: What candidate is best qualified to savage civil liberties at home while bombing the rest of the planet into oblivion?”

    I must admit, Mike, that your line made me laugh out loud. My smile quickly turned into a frown as I read on and found you singling out Donald Trump as the candidate to be feared the most: ” Just imagine a mercurial megalomaniac like Trump in the oval office just inches away from the Big Red Switch that ignites the Pentagon’s prodigious arsenal of nuclear weapons.” And you singled out Trump’s exchange with an out-of-control and desperate Jeb!!! Bush as the key moment of the debate.

    But we must have been watching different debates the other night, for Trump and Rand Paul came across to me as the most sane and sensible and least warlike, by far, of the nine Republican candidates on the stage. They both expressed reservations about establishing “no fly zones” in Syria and spoke of exercising restraint in that unfortunate war, unlike all the other candidates, who all seemed to be vying for roles in a future remake of “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” either as Gen. Jack D. Ripper or Gen. Buck Turgidson.

    This is what Gov. Chris Christie, the candidate who lied once again about the date he became U.S. Attorney for N.J. (NOT September 10, 2001), had to say about Syria:

    “BLITZER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.
    Governor Christie, if the U.S. imposed a no-fly zone over Syria and a Russian plane encroached, invaded that no-fly zone, would you be prepared to shoot down that Russian plane and risk war with Russia?
    CHRISTIE: Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it. A no-fly zone means a no-fly zone, Wolf. That’s what it means.
    (APPLAUSE)
    See, maybe — maybe because I’m from New Jersey, I just have this kind of plain language hangup. But I would make very clear — I would not talk to Vladimir Putin. In fact, I would talk to Vladimir Putin a lot. But I’d say to him, “Listen, Mr. President, there’s a no-fly zone in Syria; you fly in, it applies to you.” And yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if in fact they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.”

    When asked for his reaction to Gov. Christie’s inflammatory and irresponsible remarks, Sen. Rand Paul answered:
    “PAUL: Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate. You know, here’s…
    (APPLAUSE)
    … the thing. My goodness, what we want in a leader is someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say, “Yes, I’m jumping up and down; I’m going to shoot down Russian planes.” Russia already flies in that airspace. It may not be something we’re in love with the fact that they’re there, but they were invited by Iraq and by Syria to fly in that airspace.
    And so if we announce we’re going to have a no-fly zone, and others have said this. Hillary Clinton is also for it. It is a recipe for disaster. It’s a recipe for World War III. We need to confront Russia from a position of strength, but we don’t need to confront Russia from a point of recklessness that would lead to war.
    This is something — this type of judgment, you know, it’s having that kind of judgment; who you would appoint and how you’re going to conduct affairs, that is incredibly important.
    I mean, I think when we think about the judgment of someone who might want World War III, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don’t like their friends; they don’t want to — you know, they want to (inaudible) a Democrat.
    So I think we need to be very careful.”

    BTW here are some remarks Donald Trump made in reference to the Iraq War:

    TRUMP: In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.
    We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.
    It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.
    (APPLAUSE)

    Of course, Carly Fiorina immediately responded: “FIORINA: That is exactly what President Obama said. I’m amazed to hear that from a republican presidential candidate.” Earlier, Fiorina named a number of retired generals like Petraeus and Jack Keane, all of whom she “knew personally,” and said she would hire them all back to fight ISIS. (I’m not sure how Petraeus would feel about fighting a terrorist organization that many credit him with creating in the first place.)

    So there were any number of Republican candidates at Tuesday night’s debate (7 to be exact) whom you could have singled out for criticism for their advocacy of a reckless and irresponsible foreign policy positions, but Donald Trump and Rand Paul appeared to be the only sane and sensible candidates there. I guess we were watching different debates after all.

  12. @Eustace Tilley (not)

    While the Bay of Pigs occurred under Kennedy, the reality is much more complicated than that. The deeper story is that Allen Dulles did the grunt work for this under the approval of Eisenhower (who let him have a certain amount of freedom running the CIA). Dulles then went to JFK, explaining this as a fait accompli; JFK permitted it, it failed, and the egg ended up on his face. In was a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of decision. If he told Dulles no, he was hosed; he told him “yes” and got hosed anyways.

    This was the beginning of his end as fired Dulles while Dulles effectively still ran the org in absentia…and likely played a role in his death 2+ years later.

    Yay deep state!

    • Replies: @Eustace Tilley (not)
  13. I just read Buchanan’s piece on Trump https://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/will-elites-blow-up-the-gop/
    and Husseini’s http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/17/speaking-the-unspeakable-why-the-establishment-wants-to-silence-donald-trump/

    I’m starting to wonder if I’m wrong about Trump.
    It wouldn’t be the first time.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Abstain. And tell others you’re doing so.

    Not a single one of these people — including the self-parodying Donald Trump — has the desire or the ability to change anything that really matters to those who take the time to read sites like this one. Yet many of us inevitably get cranked up about the four-year charade. Your vote, however thoughtful or informed, in the end does nothing but endorse the system against which you rail.

    Stay divided, stay conquered.

  15. @Mike Whitney

    Yes, you were wrong about Trump. But your intellectual curiosity and willingness to (perhaps) change your mind when presented with better evidence is a very encouraging sign, and I commend you for it.

    The truth about Trump is not always easy to put into words, especially if one intends to be brief and to the point. Many of the commenters and columnists here on Unz have hit upon various aspects of Trump’s appeal with pithy phrases such as “he has common sense,” “he stands up to the PC establishment,” “he defends ordinary Americans,” “he understands scarcity,” etc. One of my favorites, although I forgot who said it first, is “He really is Julius Caesar.”

    All of this is true, although it is not always sufficiently explanatory. The essence of Trump is that he is a man of facts and reality, a non-ideologue, and (pace your assertion of megalomania) a non-egotist. His brash style is not the result of braggadocio but of the genuine concern of a true leader. He leads and makes decisions, and he expects to be listened to because he is right; he expects to be respected because his heart is true. It is quite natural that the ruling establishment would accuse Trump of bombast, instability, egotism, ulterior motives, and incompetence, because those are the very qualities that they possess and must perforce dissimulate before others. Trump in fact is the very opposite of all those things.

    Trump is Julius Caesar. The establishment are Brutus and Cassius.

    Trump is like Jesus Christ. The establishment are the Pharisees.

    Trump is Vladimir Putin. The establishment are the oligarchs.

    If you can read deeply into the historical import of these proffered examples, you will come to understand both the appeal of Trump and the nature of the black forces arrayed against him. The Man of Truth is always attacked by the petty potentates and money-powers of the day, who maintain their artificial advantages by force and fraud, and who (with startling hypocrisy) accuse the Man of Truth of the very same sins that they themselves commit.

    In further point of Trump’s rhetorical style, it needs to be pointed out that real leaders are not accustomed to talk much about what they intend to do, and the very act of being forced to submit long, wonkish explanations of their actions for the approval of their spiritual inferiors is itself an insult to their honor. Only “politicians” in the modern mold are apt to be wonky, or to care about their image, or to lie and beguile others in order to advance their own cause. This is all sickeningly and indescribably “beta.” Trump’s “alpha-ness,” by contrast, is attractive precisely because it is firm and solid and without guile. It doesn’t try to attract; it is attractive. And it is no mere affectation either; it is the stripes and scars of a veteran pack-leader.

    As I said, it is difficult to put into words. But do you see a pattern building up here? Trump is an admirable and virtuous man, a phronesi, a condottieri. He is the kind of leader America has been lacking for arguably the last 20 years, with what results we see.

    • Replies: @Howard J. Harrison
  16. @Ft

    I read Vo Nguyen Giap’s “People’s War, People’s Army” while a senior in high school and was fairly well aware of what was going on in the Indochinese Theater in the 60’s, relying mostly on the New York Times, Ramparts, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation newsletters.

    That’s why my MOS was 91Bravo.

    • Replies: @Ft
  17. @DCThrowback

    I was referencing the Cuban Missile Crisis, not the Bay of Pigs fiasco, as an illustration of the recklessness and arrogance of St. JFK with regard to nuclear weapons. The Bay of Pigs must not be confused with the Missile Crisis. The Cuban Missile Crisis was much, much more dangerous.

    It was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, many believed, that the U.S. came as close as she has ever come to global thermonuclear war: “During the [2002 Havana] conference Robert McNamara stated that nuclear war had come much closer than people had thought. Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, said, ‘A guy named Vasili Arkhipov saved the world’.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis#Post-crisis_revelations

    “Much to Kennedy’s annoyance, [Canadian Prime Minister John] Diefenbaker recommended that independent United Nations inspectors should go into Cuba and survey the nuclear sites. …Ultimately, Diefenbaker believed that Kennedy’s ‘arrogance’ had endangered North America and could have resulted in nuclear war.”

    http://www.usask.ca/diefenbaker/galleries/virtual_exhibit/cuban_missile_crisis/index.php

    • Replies: @Ft
  18. Ft says:
    @Eustace Tilley (not)

    I think this Kissingerian wit ” bomb anything that moves ,shoot anything that flies “fits with your source based wisdom .

  19. Ft says:
    @Eustace Tilley (not)

    Why doesn’t CIA declassify the periods involving this saga? It was Dulles who was fomenting troubles all over the map and was forcing Kennedy’s hand.I was supposed to be by 2009.But CIA successfully blocked .
    Eishenhower later admitted the monster he created by allowing Dulles free hand . Truman blasted CIA after Kennedy’s death .

  20. Svigor says:

    That’s right, Trump has become a populist icon who thrives on biased attacks of a media that is justifiably reviled by nearly everyone.

    Just so. It’s been hilarious watching the media dance and contort around this.

    He has also told the American Jewish community that he does not need or want their money

    ANTISEMITISM!!!

    I kid.

    He has also told the American Jewish community that he does not need or want either their money or their support.

    Not true. He said he doesn’t want their money, but he’d love their support, but they won’t support him because they want to buy and control their candidates.

    I.e., ANTISEMITISM!!!

  21. Svigor says:

    Well, the end logic of all such is someone like Trump.

    Yep. He’s the anti-Hussein. Hussein was the apotheosis of media power. A bland mediocrity whose greatest achievement was being born a mulatto and reading from a teleprompter. Proof the media could sell anything, given AA.

    Trump is his funhouse mirror image. A flamboyant achiever who speaks off the cuff and is doing it all with raw talent. Proof America is fed up with the media.

    And ironically, Trump’s success is proof that much of America got the message from Hussein’s election; American politics has gone full retard. So why not elect the guy they like? The ship sailed on the leftist corporate media’s pretensions of sobriety 8 years ago. Nobody needs to earn his way up anymore.

  22. @Intelligent Dasein

    Intelligent Dasein’s comment is very good. My comment here will be less good, but I would nonetheless add it to the conversation.

    Though I support Trump, I share the Mike Whitney’s (the article’s author’s) concern regarding Donald Trump’s temperament. Citizens ought to worry about any president’s handling of nuclear missiles, but some presidents are more worrisome than others, aren’t they?

    One should not blind oneself to the drawbacks of one’s preferred candidate. I do not blind myself to the drawbacks of Trump.

    As candidate for the presidency, Trump is not the least worrisome candidate we have seen. John McCain however was much worse. I voted against McCain during primary and general elections, but mean to vote for Trump.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  23. Just imagine a mercurial megalomaniac like Trump in the oval office just inches away from the Big Red Switch that ignites the Pentagon’s prodigious arsenal of nuclear weapons.

    Trump may be a hothead, but suggesting he belongs in the company of Harry S Truman is hitting below the belt.

  24. tbraton says:
    @Howard J. Harrison

    “John McCain however was much worse. I voted against McCain during primary and general elections, but mean to vote for Trump.”

    Same here, except I couldn’t vote in the 2008 primary since I was registered as an Independent. I recently changed my registration to Republican just so I could vote for Trump in the March Florida primary and against Rubio and Jeb!!!

  25. Mr. Whitney, Trump is “Art of the Deal” not “Art of the Bomb”…blowing things up leaves him nothing to govern. Throwing that Big Red Switch “bomb” out there sounds more like something Obama or Hillary would do.

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