Author Archive for George Grundy

Treason

Republicans have again demonstrated that they wish to legislate the certain death of thousands of their own people. It’s not a case of ideology or tribe – even the CBO says that each healthcare bill this government tries to put through will throw millions off insurance. Poor people dying is an inevitable consequence.

It’s hard not to conclude that the Republican party is now the enemy of the people, a clear and present threat to the American public and to America itself. Violent revolutions have happened in much less serious circumstances.

Dancing Israelis

Strange things were afoot in and around Manhattan on 9/11. Five Israeli army veterans were seen in Jersey City, taking photos of themselves with the smoking wrecks of the Twin Towers in the background, and appearing to celebrate. Local residents called the police, disturbed by the incongruous behaviour.

That afternoon, police stopped a truck on the approach to the George Washington Bridge. When the five occupants were arrested at gunpoint, police found box-cutters in the van, as well as maps of New York with high-profile locations highlighted. One of the men had $4,700 cash hidden in his sock. All those arrested had two passports, one European, one Israeli. Bomb-sniffing dogs detected explosive residue inside the van. As they were being arrested, the driver of the van told police that they weren’t ‘the problem’, they were on America’s ‘side’, and that Palestinians were America’s problem.

Two of the five arrested men were determined by the FBI to be Mossad agents. The five Israelis were held for 71 days then, amazingly, released without charge and deported.

It gets stranger. On their return to Israel in November 2001, the five chose to go on a TV chat show to talk about 9/11. As part of a conversation concerning why they were in America, one told the host ‘our purpose was to document the event’.

It might be possible to argue that the five Israelis were merely spies who by chance found themselves near the scene of the attacks and displayed appalling and astonishingly poorly judged behaviour. However, ‘our purpose was to document the event’ sounds unequivocally like evidence that the attacks were known to be coming before they commenced.

In total, almost 200 Israelis were deported before and after 9/11. Whatever the reason for their presence, it’s clear there was a massive Israeli intelligence operation in place. It’s not tenable to suggest that what happened around 9/11 was just a routine intelligence gathering operation – Israel had spies on the ground who were physically very close to many of the alleged hijackers, as well as Mossad agents near New York who knew what was about to happen. As such, this represents the most grave betrayal of America imaginable, and should have caused the US government to cut all ties with Israel, with the seismic ramifications that would have caused.

Israel is supposed to be America’s most implacable ally. Its very survival would be in question if the US ever chose to abandon the country politically or militarily. Instead, the entire matter was (and remains) swept under the carpet and, as America’s sights turned on the Middle East and demonising Muslims, Israel became one of the main beneficiaries of 9/11.

Attached to this story is, incidentally, a salutary demonstration of how the US media still works. When Donald Trump was running for the Republican nomination in 2015, he claimed that thousands of Muslim people were seen cheering from New Jersey as the twin towers fell. Trump said he’d seen the footage on youtube. This revoltingly emotive lie was fact-checked by many and found to be entirely untrue, but the documented, published and clear evidence of cheering Israelis that day didn’t once get a mention.

The Big One

In June 2001, George Tenet (then Director of the CIA) told Richard Clarke, ‘it’s my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one’.

In truth, the events of 9/11 were a much more frightening attack than that which we saw on our television screens. There was an assassination attempt on President Bush that morning. Evidence points towards the fourth plane (that crashed in Shanksville) having been headed towards the Capitol, which was in session and not evacuated in time to have averted disaster. A fifth plane, due to be hijacked and used as a weapon, never got off the ground.

Instead of an attack on the Pentagon and two tall buildings that killed ‘just’ 3,000, 9/11 was a full-scale coup aimed at the decapitation of American government. The original plan involved the death of George W. Bush and dozens of congress-people and senators.

The Capitol attack would have left America’s political class devastated. Dick Cheney, the new President, would have declared martial law. America’s democracy would have functionally been ended, and we would still be living in a dystopian future, with American hegemony and worldwide war. Though it seems extraordinary to articulate it, in many ways 9/11 was a lucky escape. A cabal of political and military extremists within the US government staged the attack in order to change the world forever. That they mostly failed was more due to happenstance than anything else.

Although nearly sixteen years have passed and the cast of characters almost entirely changed, the strain of fascism and militarism within America’s deep state remains, and the party that has all-but abandoned even the pretense of patriotism and democracy has used every trick in the book to regain control.

America’s changing demography means that the Republican Party faces a choice—retain power through any means possible, or lose and die. This merely raises the stakes, given the powers now vested in the office of the President, and with a country that is on the point of collapse.

Trump has lost control of his legislative agenda and demonstrably lost control of his generals. He is a weak President, apparently suffering from degenerative cognitive loss. George W. Bush was in some ways similar – an imbecile with very limited mental capacity, surrounded by extremists with their own agendas to enact.

As we head towards the summer recess and Trump’s authority becomes increasingly tenuous, those holding real power know that terrorism and war remain the most powerful tools in their arsenal. Osama bin Laden may be gone, but there are plenty of other actors in the Middle East who could be blamed for a devastating attack on the US, providing yet another excuse for military conquest of carbon deposits, masquerading as war for self-preservation.

American society is on the brink, so indoctrinated and cowed by the concept of terrorism that in the event of another major attack, the government would not have to impose tyrannical measures on its people; the people would demand them for their own protection.

I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.

No Way Out – How the Trump Administration Points Toward Oblivion

America dodged a bullet in the fall of 1973.

As the vultures circled the Nixon administration, it was the Vice-President who was picked off first. Nixon’s fabulously corrupt VP Spiro Agnew (fun fact – his name is an anagram of ‘grow a penis’) resigned from office in disgrace just ten months before Nixon himself was ousted in early August 1974.

Agnew’s departure effectively forced Nixon to elevate Gerald Ford, the House Minority leader, to the Vice-Presidency. Tricky Dicky may have wanted George H.W. Bush as his second Veep, but Bush (as chairman of the RNC) was himself under investigation for financial impropriety. Already weakened, Nixon had little choice who to select, and Ford was widely seen as a safe pair of hands.

From there things unraveled quickly. By August of ’74, Ford had still not moved into the Vice-President’s official residence, and when he was shown evidence of Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal, told his wife Betty ‘I don’t think we’re ever going to live in the Vice-President’s house’. Within days, he was President.

Had Spiro Agnew not resigned ten months before the President he served, America might have faced the double crisis of a President and Vice-President being removed from office simultaneously. Third in line of presidential succession is the President pro tempore of the Senate, who at the time was Mississippi Democrat James Eastland, a near-70-year old civil rights opponent in the autumn of his career. It would have been a titanic mess.

This story looks increasingly relevant as President Trump and his administration continue to present a master-class in incompetence. 100 days in, with Russian scandals daily, no legislation passed and with mainstream media now openly debating the President’s mental capacity, few doubt that the vultures are circling perilously close to Donald J. Trump. It seems only a matter of time before disarray turns into collapse.

Trump has surrounded himself with a retinue of scoundrels, crooks, extremists and dunder-headed misfits. And that is a big problem. Because although James Madison’s drafting of America’s constitution was nothing short of genius, provision was only made for how to deal with an individual political ogre. There is no remedy for an entire administration staffed by thieves and villains.

If Trump is removed from office Mike Pence becomes President. Pence is a religious and political extremist, and may prove a worse President than Trump, given that he may actually be able to enact his agenda.

The Republican Party is now a dysfunctional group of incompetent extremists, able to oppose but chronically inept at governing. There is no easy way out here. Stupidity, extremism and idiocy is here for the next four years, as is their finger on the nuclear button. The human race is in danger.

Here to Stay

 

Possibly the worst thing Donald Trump said during the 2016 election campaign (with so many to choose from) was that if he lost, he would not accept the validity of the results. On the eve of the election, the best Trump could say was that he would ‘see how things play out’, before making a decision on whether to respect the outcome. This wasn’t just controversial, it was a dangerous threat to the mechanics of American democracy, which rely very much on the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next.

Sadly, we never got a chance to see if Trump would carry through on his ultimatum, but four months into this presidency, the threat of impeachment offers a secondary process for removing this unstable man from the public stage.

Trump is manifestly the worst equipped individual ever to assume the office of the presidency. His incompetence takes away the breath. He can’t speak sentences, and regularly gets his minions to argue against a story then confirms it himself a day later, throwing his staff under the bus. Many in the media now openly discuss the idea that Trump may be mentally unwell.

America has never seen such a daily diet of drama and outrage. Less than 120 days into his presidency, Trump has put together a long list of seemingly impeachable offenses, including the firing of James Comey, obstruction of justice (through asking Comey to drop his investigation of Mike Flynn) and giving highly classified information to the Russians (in the Oval Office!).

During a four-year term, there are three ways to remove a president from office. The president might die, he may be removed by the 25th amendment or he may be impeached. Eight presidents have died in office, but Trump seems in rude health – death seems unlikely. The 25th amendment, adopted in 1967, has been invoked six times, but Section 4 (that deals with the removal of a sitting president) has never been invoked. The amendment relies on the Vice-President to initiate proceedings. Mike Pence doesn’t remotely look like our man.

Which leaves impeachment. And in the modern age, we’re still looking at an empty hand – Nixon resigned before he was impeached, so perhaps he has an asterisk. Clinton was impeached by the lower house but kept his job when the Senate voted proceedings down. So the odds are not in our favour, despite the unprecedented situation.

Here’s the problem. Trump said he wouldn’t respect the result of the election. Does he strike you as the kind of man who will accept impeachment? Or does Trump seem more like the kind of man who will declare impeachment proceedings illegal, fake, false – something he will not accept. This sort of thing happens all the time in 3rd world nations – a leader is officially deposed and simply refuses to go. In countries like those there is normally a collapse into dictatorship or a civil war.

Where this goes from bad to worse is that, because of the effects of 9/11, more power than ever before has been vested in the executive office. Trump has at his disposal legislative and structural (the NSA etc) power that previous presidents can only have dreamed of. An intransigent man who refuses to leave office is now historically equipped to do so.

Without 9/11, Trump would not be president. Because of 9/11, he may be impossible to remove.