By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:
Irresistible rise of the billionaire bullshit artist
Saturday 5th March 2016
It was no less an authority on the topic of governance than Tom Paine who famously noted that “government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.”
Paine knew of that which he spoke, being one of the US’s founding fathers and having first-hand knowledge of the French revolution.
One wonders what he would have thought this week as the disturbing farce that is the presidential election race reaches the final furlong and begins to look, inevitably, like being a straight choice between a war-mongering hypocrite and a bigoted buffoon.
And two parties whose policies you couldn’t slip a fag paper between.
Not that you would know anything about that because the issue of policies hasn’t really cropped up unless you count hating foreigners and the ludicrous plan to build a sodding big wall across the Mexican border.
With the exception of Bernie Sanders who actually had an intelligent and detailed manifesto — the only thing even vaguely resembling a policy — the rest of this sorry bunch can come up with is to assure people they’re not Donald Trump.
And indeed they are not. In the case of Ted Cruz, they’re even worse.
Well there hasn’t exactly been a lot of reason or common sense during this interminable campaign, and human rights haven’t had a look in.
He also penned a less well-known work, fittingly entitled The American Crisis, which seems remarkably prescient at this juncture.
Of course the two main stories of the campaign have been the remarkable success of Sanders who — running on a socialist, humanitarian ticket (usually as toxic as polonium 210 to any campaign for the presidency) — has been a real breath of fresh air in the otherwise fetid proceedings and the seemingly irresistible rise of the ludicrously be-coiffed billionaire bullshit artist Trump.
Sanders put up a brave and principled fight, which is why it looks like he is going to lose.
Trump, who now looks nailed on for the GOP candidature has of course spent the whole campaign doing the mirror opposite of Sanders, taking every opportunity to smear, slight, abuse and berate his opponents.
During the last few months he has claimed that torture is fine, that all Muslims are terrorists and should be banned from entering the US, attacked a female reporter who had the temerity to question him by claiming it was her time of the month and, most recently, refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan.
He’s basically Jeremy Clarkson with a bad rug.
As for Hillary Clinton, this is a politician who enthusiastically called for the carpet bombing of Iran, … played down torture and abuse at Guantanamo and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
“But she’s a woman,” this column hears constantly. Yes… but should someone’s sex be the main criteria for election to a country’s highest office? I hope not.
There is no hope in Clinton, she is a vicious, manipulative, two-faced, back-stabbing war criminal who, like her fatuous philandering husband, only looks like a reasonable option because of who she’s running against.
You could stand a bucket of pig shit against Trump and it would look like a viable alternative. It doesn’t mean it is.
But, moving on while retaining the theme of godawful governance and hypocrisy, this week saw David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande pay tribute to the dead of the Somme 100 years after the battle in which more than 100,000 British servicemen lost their lives.
OK, so what’s wrong with that I hear you say?
Well, nothing. Except… the gesture was made en route to a one-day summit focused on security, the refugee crisis and the conflicts in Syria and Libya.
So, using the site of one of the worst military disasters of all time, where hundreds of thousands were slaughtered due to the incompetence, arrogance and indifference of their own commanders many miles away from the front lines to discuss, er, two of the worst military disasters in recent times which have seen hundreds of thousands slaughtered and millions displaced due to the incompetence, hypocrisy and indifference of global leaders.
It would be ironic if it wasn’t so vomit inducing.
And finally, to Salford, where the local authority seems hell-bent on showing that they can be just as idiotic and reactionary on a regional level as any world leader.
In their infinite wisdom Salford City Council has introduced a public spaces protection order in posh parts of the city in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour including swearing in public places.
Anyone who breaches the condition, without reasonable excuse, faces a fine.
So much for freedom of speech and expression then.
All I will say on the matter is to refer you to the words of the late, great comic and social commentator, Lenny Bruce: “If you take away the right to say ‘fuck,’ you take away the right to say ‘fuck the government’.”
Don’t say you haven’t been warned.