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Clarence Lusane, A Trumpian World of Them

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Think about it. Next time around, Donald Trump would essentially be able to do anything. Anything. As long, of course, as he’s president of these increasingly (dis-)United States. And for that version of reality, he can thank the Supreme Court, the very one he empowered with those three court selections of his. In its most recent presidential decision, that court turned a future President Trump into something new: as Justice Sonya Sotomayor suggested ominously (“With fear for our democracy, I dissent”), “a king above the law”; or, if you prefer your history to start not just before the American revolution but elsewhere, as Justice Elena Kagan suggested in her dissenting opinion on another recent decision by those six right-wing justices, that court is turning itself into “the country’s administrative czar.”

You might even consider experimenting with a new title for The Donald: Czar Trump the Great. If Sotomayor is right, he’ll even be able to order his troops to assassinate a political rival without the slightest fear of ending up in court, no less in jail. Next time around (if there is a next time and Joe Biden’s recent grim debate performance suggests that there well might be), any whim or terrible thought of his could indeed become our reality without the slightest fear of future prosecution. Thanks to “his” Supreme Court, he will essentially be able to do anything — anything — his heart (if he has one) desires with “absolute immunity.” And Donald Trump has been nothing if not grimly whimsical. The first time around, he was certainly the president of the rich and beyond-well-to-do. Next time, he would surely repeat that experience and since his election “coalition” was and remains, as TomDispatch regular Clarence Lusane makes vividly clear today, a distinctly white nationalist one, I wouldn’t count on anything he promises Black or Hispanic voters to happen, not for a second.

As Lusane explains, his next time around is certain to be a white racist presidency of the first order (even if his vice-presidential choice does turn out to be Senator Tim Scott). But let Lusane explain. Tom

Who Thinks Donald Trump Is Racist?

Other Racists, That’s Who!

Former president Donald Trump often finds himself on the defensive against accusations of racism. He regularly denies the charges, distorting his record and resorting to his “Black friends” defense, while attempting to throw the allegations back at liberals. However, he never explains why he is the favorite son of the one group in society about whose racial bigotry there can be no debate: avowed racists.

Since Trump emerged as a public political figure, they have been resolute in their loyalty to him. Are Trump’s African American allies like Senator Tim Scott or Representative Byron Donalds, or Latino ones like Senator Marco Rubio, truly ignorant of his unapologetically racist champions? Or is their blind ambition to share a ticket with him (or be close to power) simply more important to them?

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Ariel Dorfman, Clarence and Ginni Thomas Finally Get Their Due

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For just a moment imagine Clarence Thomas — yes, Clarence T! — as the president of the United States. It’s a mad thought, right? Or is it? One thing is clear: the present Trumpian Supreme Court — and no, The Donald didn’t appoint Clarence Thomas, but he might as well have along with the three (in)justices he did put there — is taking ever more power from Congress. In decision after decision, it’s making itself into something like the true ruling body in America, even as recently it also managed to turn future presidents into, according to dissenting justice Sonia Sotomayor, a “king above the law.” In the process, it may also be sending the rest of us into a future environmental hell. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a striking recent dissent from a decision of the six right-wing justices to overturn what was known as the Chevron doctrine, long a cornerstone of federal regulation, and essentially put such regulation in their own hands, they are transforming that court into — this was her term — “the country’s administrative czar.” Yes, “czar.” And that word wasn’t, I suspect, chosen idly.

Clarence Thomas, in other words, is one of six (in)justices intent on transforming the Supreme Court into… well, the ultimate law of the land and, in a fashion, potentially the ruler of the land as well.

And if that isn’t the path to hell, tell me what is. Oh, and speaking of whatever comes after this life of ours, let TomDispatch regular Ariel Dorfman, author of the remarkable novel The Suicide Museum, take you into, if not hell, then an all-too-grim afterlife for one of those potential czars, Clarence Thomas, and his wife Ginni (famed for her urge to reject the results of election 2020, claiming “Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History”). Dorfman has some experience with the afterlife, having already sent Donald Trump to hell with the aid of famed Italian poet Dante Alighieri. This time, however, he’s asked for a hand from Shakespeare and, in particular, Lady Macbeth. But let me not keep you here any longer, not when you can travel with Clarence and Ginni into a world that normally would be beyond imagining. Tom

Judgment Day for America’s Worst Supreme Court Justice

Lady Macbeth Has Words for Clarence Thomas and His Wife Ginni from the Other Side of Death

At least I had the courage to do the deed myself. That counts for something here on the other side of death, where I wait for you, Clarence Thomas, and your sharp-toothed wife Ginni, and someday the others whose decrees and rulings from afar have aided and abetted the mayhem and the massacres. Cowards all of you, and boring and petty to boot, at such a safe distance from the volleys, the salvos, the gunfire. Oh, the names I have had to learn -- Sandy Hook and Columbine and Uvalde and so many hundreds more and even more after that, while you were careful to stay at a safe distance from the children as they fell.

Not me, not me.

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Andrea Mazzarino, The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse?

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Consider it strangely (in)appropriate that, among the things Donald Trump and Joe Biden hardly discussed (including climate change) at their debate, they did face off over… yes, Afghanistan! You remember Afghanistan, right? Biden said that Trump “didn’t do anything about that,” and Trump, in his usual incoherently hyperbolic fashion, responded, “He was so bad with Afghanistan. It was such a horrible embarrassment. Most embarrassing moment in the history of our country that when Putin watched that and he saw the incompetence… No general got fired for the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country, Afghanistan, where we left billions of dollars of equipment behind. We lost 13 beautiful soldiers and 38 soldiers were obliterated.”  To which Biden replied, “You ever heard so much malarkey in my whole life?”

Uh… Do you even remember Afghanistan? You know, the land George W. Bush and crew invaded soon after the 9/11 attacks; the place this country’s military then fought in until, just short of 20 — yes, 20! — years later, when, as the Taliban won ever more victories and the Afghan military that the U.S. had trained began to collapse, the Trump administration launched a chaotic process of not-quite-withdrawal, all too fitting for that disaster of a war that Joe Biden ended with the deaths of those 13 U.S. troops and (as ever) untold numbers of Afghans. It was, in truth, a horrifically appropriate conclusion to the first of America’s terrifyingly and terrorizingly disastrous wars on terror.

And now, in some eerie sense, you might consider the Afghan war — in fact, all of America’s wars on terror — to be coming home to roost in a genuinely disturbing fashion, thanks in significant part to the man whom TomDispatch regular Andrea Mazzarino labels the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse — and yes, there is something potentially apocalyptic about this bump stock of a moment in America. Tom

War and Famine

America’s War on Terror and the Wasting of Our Democracy

Many war stories end with hunger wreaking havoc on significant portions of a population. In Christian theology, the Biblical "four horses of the apocalypse," believed by many in early modern Europe to presage the end of the world, symbolized invasion, armed conflict, and famine followed by death. They suggest the degree to which people have long recognized how violence causes starvation. Armed conflict disrupts food supplies as warring factions divert resources to arms production and their militaries while destroying the kinds of infrastructure that enable societies to feed themselves. Governments, too, sometimes use starvation as a weapon of war. (Sound familiar? I’m not going to point fingers here because most of us can undoubtedly recall recent examples.)

As someone who has studied Russian culture and history for decades, I think of Nazi Germany’s nearly three-year siege of the city of Leningrad, which stands out for the estimated 630,000 people the Germans killed slowly and intentionally thanks to starvation and related causes. Those few Russians I know who survived that war as young children still live with psychological trauma, stunted growth, and gastrointestinal problems. Their struggles, even in old age, are a constant reminder to me of war’s ripple effects over time. Some 20-25 million people died from starvation in World War II, including many millions in Asia. In fact, some scholars believe that hunger was the primary cause of death in that war.

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