T

he penultimate Presidential debate, if one can even call it a debate, was an exercise in pure skulduggery.  I would’ve much preferred to stick needles in my retina or watch a re-run of Mathilukal or even the recently concocted YouTube video of that shameless pair cavorting on the debate stage in a Trump/Clinton dance-off, than sit through ninety excruciating minutes of that sorry pantomime.   “You are a puppet…no you are the puppet… no you”….on and on it went, like a couple of sugar-induced toddlers fighting over a lollipop.  And one of these two…heaven help us, will soon have their finger on the button.
Trump for his part, started out by feigning to keep his counsel, briefly holding his tongue without interruption, but then quickly reverted to type, descending to that familiar grimace with that pouty suffix…Wrong”.  Having come unglued, he launched into a grizzle faced tirade….a rambling stream of incoherent bile about no particular subject or policy issue, interspersing his thrusts with invectives, “such a nasty woman”, “she’s such a liar and so on.
Clinton on the other hand, was trying out a poor rendition of the Artful Dodger.  When queried on the WikiLeaks emails, she pivoted and fired yet another salvo toward the Russians and Putin, a diversionary stunt to keep from being grilled on the illuminating and juicy content of those emails. Most knowledgeable and reasonable people both inside and outside the US, had already surmised, that she is a fork-tongued hypocrite. No fracking in the US, but Oh Please, let’s have some fracking in Poland. Let’s be the responsible guardians of awesome power, but Oh please, let’s overthrow governments and influence-peddle through the Clinton Foundation. His panics are part of the American family, but Oh please, let’s bring those “needy” Latinos under manners.  In short, a public persona for the cameras, and another sinister and more private one for her benefactors. The author Matthew Bishop coined the term that best describes the Clintons and their machinations. “Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World. This is their playbook from which they’ve trotted out one calamity after another, or as the writer Janet Reitman put it succinctly in her article in the Rolling Stone, referring to various relief aid programs to a devastated Haiti…a disaster of good intentions’.
On foreign policy, to further exacerbate an already fraught situation, Clinton wants to institute a no-fly zone in Northern Syria, in the very operational areas that the Russians and Syrians are flying sorties against the radical Islamists.  As if destroying Libya and Yemen through proxy wars to further destabilize the region wasn’t enough, this warmonger, in hawk to Tel Aviv and their sugar daddies on Wall Street, is now spoiling for yet another fight and with the nuclear-armed Russians no less.  She’s itching to set out her stall to establish her credentials as the 21st century’s new Iron Lady on steroids, no… sorry scratch that, on crack.
Back and forth it went, accusations and counteraccusations, with very little in the way of substantive discussion on policy positions beyond a series of scripted and perfunctory remarks by Clinton on taxes, guns, immigration and abortion.  While Trump was drowning in a sweaty scowl all evening, Clinton had that disingenuous smirk, the one you see on a teenager when he’s been caught red-handed, stealing a fiver from his mother’s purse.
All of this, against a backdrop of a clearly divided country on the precipice of a virtual political breakdown on so many different levels.  That in 2016, a completely self-absorbed, no-nothing, shallow, nincompoop like Trump, would have ascended to the position of Candidate for President,  despite no less than two years of media scrutiny and vetting, representing  one of the two major political parties of the most powerful nation on earth….THAT is the real story. He was aided and abetted by a callous grasping media doling out billions of free air time to quench their insatiable thirst for prurient viewership and ratings.
This near dystopian reality, has been in the making for decades. It’s a rather crude and frightened response by a significant portion of the populace, to the kinds of tectonic shifts underway in the world, from wars and mass migrations to the geo-strategic balance of power, much of it being played out and centered in the Middle East.  To add insult to injury, the agenda setting media has cynically dummied down our informational gathering, disseminating and dispensing systems, to where we no longer aspire to critical thinking, intelligence and intelligent thought or even fact-based reasoning.  Instead, we belittle it, pour scorn on it, all of it.
On the Middle East in particular, it has been well understood for some time now, that the primary cause of these global shifts is rooted in the hegemony of the major powers and their century long dialectic with the Arab ruling classes. Anyone with half a brain knows, that this wanton power grab through pliant surrogates, has long enriched the very few at the very top on either side…primarily benefitting those who have controlled our military, economic and banking systems.   What we are sadly witnessing, with these US induced regional wars, is the unraveling of that Faustian bargain,  propped up by a  decades long U S military enforcement mechanism.  Remember Wolfowitz, that crazy neo-con knave of a bastard and war criminal wanting to “end countries”?  He and many others like him, somehow normalized the thinking…that when the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.  We are now witnessing its unintended consequences on Europe, the Middle East, and increasingly the rest of world.
That Trump and Clinton in their own peculiar way, still represent the worst of that failed and decaying world view, is no longer a matter for debate.  If anything, Bernie Sanders and his progressive insurgency proved that these atrophying neo-liberal systems are way overdue for a real root and branch shake-up.
Yet the establishment and their deep-state enforcers, consider Bernie and to a lesser degree Trump, as a couple of heretics, albeit with diametrically different objectives, who are bent on dismantling this cozy set up that has thrived on the backs of millions of stolen lives for the better part of a century.  And now, having been exposed by both the Left and the Right as a rotten masquerade, they are scrambling to keep it intact and on life support.  And coming to their aid, an utterly craven idiocrasy of a quisling media, sweeping up all the spoils of a broken down campaign finance system, the very best that money can buy.
Toward the end of that that sorry excuse for a debate anchored by FOX News, Trump, in a show of defiance, took the unprecedented and dangerous step of refusing to state categorically, that he would  follow a long set tradition to gracefully concede the election if he loses.
Earlier, midway through it, I had suggested the following on Facebook. “still waiting on this plonker from FIX IT news to ask a question on the most penultimate issue of our time…The ENVIRONMENT. It won’t happen! Tells you everything you need to know about the State of our Politics. Just hoping Hillary will say a word or two in her closing remarks. I doubt it!”    Well, neither of them uttered a singular word on the subject.
Where do we go from here?  Damned if I know! Trying to find a silver lining in this duplicitous and maddening debacle is like trying to lift a piece of shit by its clean end.  One thing’s for sure. These are dangerous and uncharted waters and we’ll get an inkling on November the 8th, when we hope, we’d finally be put out of our long suffering misery.