These days I don't post much to TILIS because I've just about blown my wad; I've said everything that I can possibly say about America's political economy that is not just blow-for-blow, he said/she said bullshit, or simple repetition with further supporting facts.
But Alexei Bayer's on-point op-ed in the Kyiv Post hit on so many ugly, uncomfortable truths about America that I just had to. [Bold mine].
Apropos, I encourage readers to check out one of my most popular posts on the strange schizophrenia, the cognitive dissonance, of Americans who fly the rebel battle flag yet claim they are the most patriotic, "real Americans:" The Confederate flag: Celebrating treason.
Trump's treasonous candidacy
By Alexei Bayer
Kyiv Post | July 30, 2016
Five months ago, I wrote a column titled “Why does America want a Putin in the White House?” (Kyiv Post, Feb. 20). It was, of course, about the affinity between Donald Trump, then a leading contender for the Republican nomination, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Since then, Trump became a Republican nominee and the affinity between him and Putin has been shown to be a direct connection, not just a mere similarity. His people purged the Republican platform of its rather important and widely supported plank, calling for supplying Ukraine with weapons to combat separatists and defend itself against Russian aggression. It was, incidentally, the only point of the platform they cared about and had any interest in changing.
Trump then talked about reneging on America’s treaty obligation to come to the defense of its NATO allies - meaning Eastern European and ex-Soviet member-states - if Russia attacked or tried to destabilize them. More recently, it has been revealed that Russian hackers were almost certainly behind the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, which were made public via Wikileaks on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
And now Trump has announced that as president he would consider recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and removing economic sanctions. He has publicly invited Russians to commit an illegal and hostile act: to hack US servers in order to help him win in November. Even if Trump was making a sarcastic remark as he now claims - a big if - it was, at the very least, dangerous. Henry II could also claim that inquiring “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” was nothing but a joke - but Thomas Beckett ending up dead was no laughing matter.
As a result of these events, lots of people started to dig into Trump’s business connections with Russian oligarchs and his advisors’ dealings with various unsavory post-Soviet characters. Conservative pundit George Will - a staunch opponent of Trump - has indicated in this regard that having Trump release his tax returns (which Trump says are being audited and therefore can’t be shown publicly) is now imperative: the nation needs to see how much the self-proclaimed billionaire is in hock to various Russian interests.
Indeed, I believe that Hillary Clinton should refuse to debate Trump until he shows his tax returns - on the very likely assumption that the Republican candidate may be liable to be persecuted for high treason. Also, it's the least the American public should do, considering that Trump himself spent years demanding that Barack Obama show him his birth certificate.
Plus, in view of Trump’s invitation to Russian hackers, a possibility has opened up that someone might hack into the IRS to ferret out Trump’s taxes.
The interesting question is this: will Trump’s flag-waving, America-first supporters turn away from him because he has been shown to be chummy with the Russians?
Not in the least. I have recently been travelling the back roads of rural Pennsylvania. It’s Trump territory and even though Philadelphia, parts of Pittsburgh and college towns across the state are heavily pro-Hillary, the Keystone State as a whole is very much in play. In some polls, Trump has been shown to be in the lead.
What strikes you is the abundance of Confederate flags bedecking people’s houses. I have also seen this in upstate New York, a state that Trump says he will win thanks to his support in rural areas, on Long Island and some New York City boroughs - including, amazingly enough, among Russian-speaking Jews on Brighton Beach.
New York and Pennsylvania were the core part of the Union and major routes of the Underground Railroad. The two states suffered the largest number of battle deaths in the Civil War among Northern states.
The Confederate flag is flown typically by Trump supporters side by side with the Stars and Stripes. Even though the Southern secession was a treasonous and subversive act, these people consider themselves true patriots - much truer, apparently, than the official Washington for which they harbor nothing but profound disdain.
Those Confederate flags proliferated after last year’s shooting of nine black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina. Horrified by the racist attack, state officials decided to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol. Since then, flying it has become an act of defiance, a way to stick a finger in the eye of the authorities at all levels and a show of contempt for political correctness and the liberal dogma.
This is the milieu from which Trump draws his support. His core constituency is not in opposition to the existing government as much as it is hostile. Trump’s voters, while wrapping themselves in the flag, are declaring themselves to be against the United States of America, its political system, its institutions and its Constitution. They are nihilists rejecting the very principles on which the country was built.
They are, to put it bluntly, America’s enemies. This is why their flag-bearer, Trump, has no program how he’s going to govern and why almost everything he promises to do contravenes the Constitution. Some statements he makes suggest that he has never even read the document.
This is also why joining forces with Putin, whose propaganda spreads lies about the United States in different languages and whose government believes that it is already in a state of hybrid war with Washington, is so natural for Trump. As he embraces America’s enemies, Trump’s supporters remain completely unfazed. On the contrary, it would be perfectly natural for them to follow their leader and start admiring Putin for being decisive, direct and s great leader.
Anthony Burgess has written about it in his 1962 novel, Clockwork Orange. In the book, violent hoodlums from lower middle class housing estates invent and use Natsat, a teen slang consisting mostly of Russian-inspired words such as kisa (girl), krovy (blood) and jeezny (life). They are siding with the enemy with the express purpose of taking the mickey out of their elders, teachers and cops.
And so Trump’s voters might now want add the Russian tricolor - or, better still, the flag of the self-proclaimed Novorossia, which incidentally is a carbon copy of the Confederate flag - to the flags they are already flying.