fool's gold

Parading as a peaceful transfer of power, the inauguration of President Trump was nothing more than a propagandic changing of the puppets. The only question, which oligarchs are pulling the strings? But for puppet Trump, that mystery seems to be solved, according to reporting from The Intercept,

Immediately after taking the oath of office on Friday, Donald J. Trump declared that “we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”

Documents obtained by The Intercept show exactly which people Trump is giving power to—the wealthiest sliver of American society. The incoming administration allocated at least a dozen of 183 seats on the inaugural platform to donors and fundraisers, who sat beside cabinet designees, senators, and President Trump’s immediate family. Another 49 seats for the pre-inaugural Friday morning church service, which Trump attended, were allocated to a billionaire fundraiser.

Puppet theater
Not long after Obama’s 2008 victory it became clear that the power players behind him were the very people he battled against in the primary race. Obama, who ran as the anti-Clinton to win the nomination, turned to the Clinton political clique to commandeer his administration, because, as Hillary Clinton aptly noted, Obama lacked the experience to lead the country. But maybe that was Obama’s plan all along: play puppet for the neoliberal machine, then block any reasonable challenger to Hillary in 2016. While that plan backfired horribly for Democrats, the baton will simply be passed to the other team of oligarchs ready and eager to manipulate our new national puppet, because, like the puppet before him, he lacks the experience to lead the country. How convenient!

Protests
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall protests accompanying puppet Obama’s election, despite the bank bailout, and his acquiescence of the Clinton Wall Street team, whose policies set the mortgage meltdown in motion. Maybe that’s because he made for a prettier puppet than his successor. Okay, scratch the maybe. But the reasons protests of Trump are breaking out are most obviously a reaction to his jackass mouth, offending anyone and everyone he perceives in his way, and those in fear of his promised policies. All worthy of a freakout of worldly proportions. But if those protesting pin their frustrations on Trump and his team alone, they’re guaranteeing more of the same when they elect to replace him with a puppet for the other team in four years. After all, the economic, immigration, militaristic and national security policies of puppet Obama should’ve brought liberals into the streets a long time ago.

Fool’s gold
No one wants to be taken for a fool. More importantly, no one wants to admit they’ve been taken for a fool. But niceties aside, looking in the rear view mirror, anyone who’s voted for a national candidate from the two-party duopoly over the past forty years is a fool, this fool included. That’s because, since the Johnson era, when he pushed through civil rights legislation against all odds, presidents have served as faceplates for an economic elite hidden out of sight from the public eye. That said, the problem with focusing on puppet Trump and his circus of fools is that we lose sight of the real centers of power animating and enforcing his policies. Writing about this dynamic for the website Popular Resistance,  Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, point out,

It is not enough for us to protest Trump, we must protest the system that oppresses all of us, and build power – first, the power to change the political dialogue and second, the power to put in place the transformation we need.

And, while official Democratic party-dom wisely stayed out of the public eye in planning the Women’s March, by showtime the partisan flavor of the event was evident. Again from Flowers and Zeese,

We were disappointed to hear the Women’s March was really a Democratic Party march, to co-opt the movement to partisanship for the Dems. The Democrats hid their involvement in the march, no doubt because many are dissatisfied with the Democratic Party. It is interesting to note that they did not announce their participation until people arrived at the march. The Democratic Party has been a killer of political movements. If women are going to achieve equal rights, fair treatment in the workplace and other basic human rights, they will need to break from the Democratic Party to demand their rights.

While it’s easy for Democratic party supporters to see the Koch Brother’s political network funding and animating Republican candidates, from president on down to dog catcher, they go blind when looking for the oligarchs sitting behind their candidates. And you could make a similar observation about Republican ease of view of Democrat sugar daddies. Of particular note are the well-known George Soros, and the lesser-known Tom Steyer. Both billionaires, both with a history of funding Democratic candidates, and PACs supporting Democrats, pushing policies near and dear to their hearts and wallets. The Left writer and author John Stauber has had a keen eye for the money men, and apparatus, behind the Democrats. In a recent piece for Counterpunch, he writes,

The money for the progressive pundits and media comes from donations, but the really critical fuel is supplied by the Blue Oligarchs, their foundations, and the super rich and wealthy who want to promote the Democrat Party.  Call them the Soros and Steyer Crowd…

The Democrat Party front groups that the Soros gang bought and created a decade ago looked so powerful and slick schmoozing with Obama,  until Trump’s real brand of populism crushed it.  But the billionaires are enjoying the Trump stock market surge, and they will regroups and roll out more money for their Dem front groups.

While passionate protestors thronging to the Women’s March, in Washington, DC, and dozens of other locations around the country are righteous in their indignation for the new national puppet, they may be losing the baboons for the buffoon. What concerned women and men of liberal hearts and minds need to beware of is any solution to Trump that centers around the Democratic party. While working class Trump voters are about to be taken for fools, working class and poor Democrats have been smacked around for the past eight years by a puppet whose preference for the wealthy reflects that of one just rejected by voters to perpetuate his legacy. And judging by their newly elected congressional leadership, the neoliberals are not going down easy, despite their ass-kicking all down the political line, leaving the party in their weakest position since the Civil War.

So while it’s of utmost necessity to resist the further plunder of whatever is left of our resources, converting more public lands into drilling playgrounds for oil and gas producers, and further subjugating of our citizenry to the rapacious whims of the marketplace, we need to keep foremost in our minds that this is just a turbo-charged version of what Democrats have done for decades. True, they’re friendlier to issues concerning women’s rights, LBGTQ rights, etc., but this game of identity politics has camouflaged neoliberal economic policies like promoting charter schools, global trade deals, and militaristic empire building, all to the service of their paymasters.

To say we’re in perilous times is not an understatement, considering the new administration’s deleting of any reference to climate change from the White House official website. So while it may feel comforting to wish and work for a Democratic replacement puppet in 2020, remember that the change we need is outside the corrupt duopoly. Rather than look toward celebrity cable news talking heads, and New York Times columnists for guidance, maybe it’s time to look within for answers. That’s where the real gold is hiding.

Oh the world may be full of girls with their charms on show
But the one that I seek will have much more than any I know
–Graham Parker “Fool’s Gold”