American Gotterdammerung


Here I am again. It seems this will never end. I'm not referring to my blog which used to be called the Letter from Melbourne and renamed Occasional Notes from CA. I'm referring to the American endurance contest otherwise known as the Presidential Election Campaign of 2016. To my Aussie readers, it's worse than you think. You have 8000 miles and Australian media filtering the bad news.

With about three weeks left before election day, Donald Trump's reaction to the ever increasing bad news facing his campaign sounds more and more ominous. While I cannot be absolutely sure he will lose (I never thought he had a chance to get the Republican nomination - at least from my then-perch in Melbourne) the polls and general feelings predict he's going to get clobbered. Democrats may not only win the presidency but win majorities in both houses of Congress.

But from his Republic of Salo, Trump is already speaking of a "rigged election." I suppose no one should be surprised that his rhetoric of hate now invokes a Clinton conspiracy with "international bankers" to stop his rise to the top. He didn't have to use the word, Jewish, with regards to the commercial world - most of his followers probably haven't heard of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" but when things get rough, latent anti-Semitism always seems to rear its ugly head.

But my real fear is that our current American polarization, that began with the ridiculous slate of Republican candidates for the nomination and included the long and powerful campaign of Bernie Sanders, will not end on election day. White America's middle class decades long frustration with standard operating procedure in the U.S. is likely to lead to their agreement with Trump's notion that a rigged system led to his election loss -- and will result in post-election day eruptions of violence. That's my sad prediction for the USofA immediately following November 8th.

And maybe violence and bombs are what it will take to change things here now. The first Gilded Age ended only when Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican) and Congress reacted with fundamental reform to union miners dying and physical threats to the system from the Wobblies, anarchists and Communists.

But it's a sad time to be in America. Today's New York Times reported on a Connecticut judge who dismissed a suit against the gun manufacturers for partial culpability in the Sandy Hook elementary school mass murder brought by the relatives of some of the children. Most legal observers were surprised the case had gone as far as it had.

The judge dismissed the suit based upon the protection given gun manufacturers by the American Congress in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005. Please forgive my pessimistic cynicism when it comes to fundamental change in my country (I'm thinking here also about my personal campaign on the overuse of psychiatric drugs, especially Adderall, in children). If we, as Americans, cannot make changes to our gun laws after 21 children were killed by a madman, then we are truly a very stuck country.

Meanwhile, over in Oz, the biggest international news is about the safe return of the "Budgie Nine" back to Down Under from Malaysia. Turnbull and Shorten continue to argue over everything but overall the country continues to chug along economically as far as I can tell, from perusing the online Age two or three times a week.

Today's Times carried another interesting article on the power of the too big to fail Big Four banks of Australia. I read the article with interest. While Denise and I lived in Melbourne we actually banked with CitiBank (if you want to consider an international too big to fail bank). Despite the concerns raised by the article, I felt once again, when it comes to regulating the market place, the Australians are dealing with problems on a much lesser level than in the free-wheeling corporate oriented U.S. business/political world. As I've said many times, Aussies (including businesspeople) are just much more accepting of government regulation that tempers the worst amoral efficiencies of capitalist market economies - compared to the United States.

So I say again to my Aussie mates, "Beware of Americans bearing gifts," and "The Americans are coming! The Americans are coming!" You've got your issues similar to ours here in the States, but as long as you remain on guard and have 8000 miles of ocean protecting you, I believe "you'll be alright, mates." I could use some "No worries, mate," myself right now.