On the 18th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

Written by Chris Floyd 20 March 2021 3846 Hits

For months before the Iraq War began, I and many others wrote, in print and on-line, about the outrageous lies that were being told by the US government and its media sycophants to bring about this mass-murdering act of aggression. How did we know they were lies? Not from any secret knowledge or insider info, but simply by reading the mainstream media stories of previous years, especially the ones from the mid-1990s that detailed how Saddam's regime had destroyed its WMD program, and how the US and UK governments always had the evidence for this, and knew there were no Iraqi WMDs throughout the propaganda build-up to the war.

We also read the current news of that time, which detailed how Iraq had completely opened itself to the UN inspectors that the US/UK demanded in early 2003, how these inspections were going forward and finding nothing (or rather, confirming what had been reported and what US/UK leaders had known since the mid-1990s.) And we read how the UN inspectors were ordered by the US and UK to leave Iraq in March 2003 -- before they had completed their UN-mandated inspection -- because Bush/Cheney and the Pentagon had already decided the attack must begin in mid-March.

None of this was secret. All you had to do was read the mainstream stories all the way through. (And ignore cable and network TV news, which essentially did nothing but regurgitate a few seconds of Pentagon and White House talking points each night about the "imminent danger" of the non-existent WMDs.)

But the war came. Thousands upon thousands of innocent people -- whose lives were worth just as much as those of anyone reading these words right now -- were murdered, slaughtered, destroyed. Millions of lives were ruined. Many, many thousands were tortured. Whole nations were destabilized. The American occupiers recruited, armed and paid local militias of extremists to help them brutally repress the victims of the invasion. Many others were radicalized by their torture in US and UK prisons. The US invasion directly gave rise to ISIS and a whole decade of unimaginable horror and conflict across the region.

Again, all of this was based on demonstrable lies, which many of us called out at the time as lies, using freely available, perfectly "respectable" press reports as the foundation of our opposition to this war crime. Every single person in power who supported the war in Iraq at that time knew everything we ordinary citizens knew at that time. Every US senator blustering for war knew of the long-standing evidence that Iraq had destroyed its WMD program in the early 1990s and had never re-started it. (They also knew that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush had been instrumental in Iraq's earlier WMD program, and had assisted Saddam in conducting WMD attacks in his war against Iran and the Kurds.) If any person in power at that time tells you they didn't know all this -- that they didn't know what ordinary citizens could read in the papers -- then they are lying through their teeth.

So what happened to the perpetrators of this monstrous, murderous atrocity? Nothing. What happened to those in power, both in politics and media, who supported this mass murder? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. What would you do if the most beloved person in your life was viciously, brutally murdered – and nothing was done, if the murderer went free, went on to live in wealth and comfort and privilege and power? How would you feel? Imagine that for a moment – then extrapolate it by tens of thousands. THAT is what those in positions of power in 2003 did with their instigation or support of a war based on lies which they KNEW at the time were lies, just as all of us who read ordinary press reports knew they were lies. They helped murder someone just like the most beloved person in your life.

Look, I recognize the realities of life. I know we live in a fallen world. I know that we are often faced with choosing what we hope will be the lesser of the evils that confront us. I don’t demand perfect moral purity in the reeking, blood-choked cesspool of our power systems. But I cannot and I will not forget what these people have done, what they have countenanced, what they have championed. I will not ever in my heart absolve them of their evil. And even if I am forced by the corrupted currents of this world to choose any of them over some even greater evil, I will never stop seeing the blood dripping from their hands. I will never stop despising them with every fiber of my being.

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On the Acquittal of the Murderous Thug Donald Trump

Written by Chris Floyd 14 February 2021 6139 Hits

A friend of mine wrote on Facebook after the acquittal tonight: "America is truly lost." And his words prompted this response from me:

"Yes, you are sadly right. America is lost. But it was lost when it killed 3 million people in Southeast Asia when I was a boy. It was lost when Nixon obliterated Cambodia with an illegal bombing campaign and paved the way for the Khmer Rouge to kill millions more. It was lost when Ronald Reagan cracked jokes about “queers” and did nothing while tens of thousands died of AIDS, and when he armed genocidal dictators in Central America who killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

It was lost when Bill Clinton imposed sanctions on Iraq for its non-existent WMD program (the US and UK knew the WMD program had been dismantled in 1993), sanctions which the UN determined (and his own secretary of state admitted) killed 500,000 children. It was lost when George W. Bush invaded Iraq with lies about that non-existent program and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and gave rise to ISIS and the destabilization of the whole world.

It was lost when Barack Obama expanded Bush’s “death squads” and drone bombings, when he greenlighted a fascist coup in Honduras that resulted in thousands of deaths and social collapse, when he partnered with Prince Bone-Saw of Arabia to kill thousands upon thousands of children and other innocents in an aggressive war in Yemen. It was lost when the slave-owner’s wheeze of the Electoral College made a slobbering, two-bit gangster like Trump the president. And yes, it’s lost now, when that same gangster sends fascist goons to sack the nation’s Capitol then walks free to keep spreading his fascist, racist poison with the help of the Republican Party and that toxic monstrosity of our age, Rupert Murdoch.

America has been lost for my entire life, and I no longer have the slightest hope that it will ever be found again. It only exists in our dreams, in old movies and books and the music it created out of slavery and oppression. Good things have happened in and come from America, just as good things arise in every single godawful system and culture human beings find themselves in. But the idea so many of us had of America was lost long ago; or rather, it was never real. It was sham, and a hope, and a cheat, and a desire, and a dream of what could be but what never was. Perhaps this acquittal will be one more disillusionment that will help us to see where we really are – and how far we have to go, and how hard we have to fight, to be where we want to be."

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Impeachment Cave-in: Dems Plumb New Depths of Perfidy

Written by Chris Floyd 13 February 2021 5616 Hits

I really don't want to hear anyone saying that the staggering cave-in by the Democrats on Saturday – their monumental act of political and moral cowardice – was because they wanted to "move on and get down to the business of passing Covid relief and confirming cabinet posts, etc." If that's your defense of these weak reeds, please bear this mind: Congress is going into RECESS next week. They aren't going to doing ANYTHING about Covid relief next week. (Just as they've not done anything about it for the 42 days of full Democratic control of Congress -- oh, except whittle down the amount of their relief plan to the point where they are going to give help to FEWER people than Trump did last spring, and also weasel-word their way out of their clear, unequivocal pledge to send "$2,000 checks" to struggling Americans). They've not going to confirm anybody next week. They're not going to do ANYTHING, because they're taking a week off.

So even a full week of testimony – forcing stark, eyewitness evidence of Trump's murderous perfidy (and that of his enablers) into the public eye, day after day, laying out clearly the new evidence that has been uncovered this week – would NOT have 'distracted' them from any other business next week ... because they weren't going to DO any other business next week. (Also, during this past week of the impeachment trial, we have seen the Senate do plenty of other business -- including confirmation hearings.)

Let’s also dispense with the excuse that “the Republicans were going to acquit Trump anyway." Yes, that's very likely. But as a matter of principle, the Democrats owe it to the American people to lay out the full case, to tell the American people the full story, and to use every single power at their command to defend the constitutional republic, uphold the ideal of lawful democracy and at least attempt to serve a modicum of justice on a wanton criminal. Even if you lose this fight, is that not a fight worth making? And as a matter of political principle, you want to show every bit of the ugly filth of the insurrection and Trump's role in it, you want to get it out in front of the American people and MAKE the Republicans go on record as supporting this thoroughly documented evil through their vote of acquittal.

The day began with a remarkable Democratic victory: they managed to get a handful of Republicans to join them in calling witnesses and thus holding a genuine trial. But in a matter of hours, they simply threw this victory in the gutter. They surrendered from a position of strength to the vile, deceitful political thug, Mitch McConnell, and saved the Republicans from themselves. It is an utter, inexcusable disgrace, an act of rank betrayal. And they got nothing for it. Nothing.

And now they're going to shut up shop for a week. Take a break. Kick back. Do some sucking up to their donors. Oh, and all that "urgent" work on the "President's agenda" from which impeachment was a distraction? Meh. It's not so urgent after all, it seems.

I didn't think the Democratic leadership could be any more sickeningly supine than they were throughout Trump's corrupt and criminal reign. But I must give them credit. Even now, long after they lowered my expectations of them to the level of the depths of the Marianas Trench, they still retain the capacity to astonish – and sicken.

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In Memoriam Richard Kastelein (1967-2021)

Written by Chris Floyd 07 February 2021 6097 Hits

It is with great sadness that I must announce the death of the publisher and co-founder of Empire Burlesque, Richard Kastelein.

Rich passed away last Friday at the age of 53. I saw the news this morning in a brief on-line notice from his family. If there is any information forthcoming about memorials and remembrances, I will pass it on.

Rich was one of few people who could with real justice be described as a force of nature: a man of immense talent, ranging over many fields, with a passion for life at every level that inspired and invigorated all who knew him. He played a very important role in my life, and I feel the loss of my friend most keenly.

I might write more of Rich's remarkable life at some point in the future; I don't have the heart to do it at the moment. 

Goodbye, my friend. Sail far, sail free.

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The Surrenderists: Dem Leaders Stand Down; No Consequences for Coup

Written by Chris Floyd 07 January 2021 8789 Hits

The Democratic leadership has announced that the House will not be called into session again until after the inauguration. So that's it: no impeachment, no censure, no investigations, nothing. They are going to do absolutely nothing about an armed invasion of Congress aimed at overthrowing a presidential election. They are going to do nothing about it, not even make a *gesture* of doing something about it. What does that say to the many fascists seething not only in the populace but also in the halls of power? It says: Do your worst; there are no consequences. This is a monstrous abdication of their duty to the country and to the Constitution. It is a dangerous act of weakness that will only embolden the enemies of democracy (again, many of whom are in Congress right now), who see that the Democratic leadership will do nothing, absolutely nothing, even in response to a violent attack on their own institution, on their own persons.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not. Even with all the media buzz about measures to remove Trump last night, I knew in my heart that the Democratic leadership would do nothing. Trump will stay in the White House, in command of the military, in charge of the nuclear codes, raging and lying and stoking more and more hatred and division. Then he will exit without facing the slightest consequences for his actions – not even for provoking an insurrection against the constitutional republic. Again, this is a deeply dangerous and monumentally, criminally foolish course of action by the House leadership. It is just as disheartening, just as much a measure of the rot in our democracy, as the Trump insurrection itself.


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Unwrung Withers: No Downsides for Trumpists From Their Coup Push

Written by Chris Floyd 11 November 2020 13150 Hits

The Trumpists will keep on pushing their (thus-far) cack-handed coup attempt because they know two things: 1) it might just succeed, in which case, yay! and 2) None of them will suffer any consequences for their blatant attempt to degrade and destroy the democratic process. If the coup fails, Mike Pompeo will be sitting on corporate boards in late January; Bill Barr will be raking in cash at  some bigtime law firm; the ROWS (Right-Wing Oligarch Welfare Spigot) will keep spewing moolah and concocting fake jobs for the likes of Snivelling Stevie Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, Mick Mulvaney, etc.; Mike Pence will be running for POTUS/24, getting respectable press coverage; Jared and Ivanka will swanning swankily around the Hamptons; and Donald Trump will be giving his first post-president interview to Maggie Haberman at the NYT, where they will josh cheekily about old times while he announces his new network (or takeover of OANN), his upcoming "Rallies for the Real President" and on and on. 

They all know they won't face prosecution or even investigation for any of their malefactions in office; as with the Bush Administration, their crimes will be buried, and the deep poison they injected into the political/governmental system will neither be addressed nor removed, in the name of "looking forward not back," just as Obama/Biden did in 2008. And as in 2008, the poison will keep festering, worsening, bearing even more horrible fruit down the line.

We probably – probably – won't see Trump getting hugs from Ellen or Michelle Obama like the ones enjoyed by that lovable old mass-murdering war criminal George Dubya these days; but beyond that, Trump's withers will remain unwrung. Because that's how our power structure rolls: it has its nasty internal spats, but closes ranks when it comes to accountability before the law – or common decency.

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House of Death: Trump's Endgame Plan to Kill Democracy

Written by Chris Floyd 10 November 2020 13120 Hits

If you are resting easy about the election result: don’t. If you don’t think Trump, McConnell and their party of rightwing extremists, who have already exerted every sinew in a bid to destroy the democratic process, won’t keep on doing this until the very last second, with every weapon at their disposal, no matter what damage it will cause — think again. This is the endgame: to use monstrous, baseless deceit, heavy political pressure, bribery, blackmail, chaos, cajolery and fear to force enough GOP-led states to shut down or delay the Electoral College process past its deadline. 

Then the election would go to the House of Representatives, where each state has a single vote, controlled by the majority party of its delegation. Although the Republicans are a minority in the House in sheer numbers, the party controls more state delegations. In this scenario, a state like Wyoming, which has only one US House seat (held by Liz Cheney, Dick's daughter), representing the state's total population of 578,000, would have EQUAL weight in deciding the presidency as California's delegation – with 52 members, representing 39.5 million people. 

In this scenario, it won’t matter how many popular votes Biden won. (Right now his lead is more than 4 million.) It won’t even matter how many Electoral College votes he clearly won. If the GOP extremists can, by hook or crook, throw the election to the House of Representatives, they stand a very good chance of giving the presidency back to Trump.

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of the kind of vast and unprecedented open fraud that would’ve had to have taken place in broad daylight – in Republican-controlled states – for the election results to be called into question this way. And today McConnell was offering the ludicrous-on-its-face assertion that the very same ballots that elected Republican senators were somehow questionable when it comes to the presidential vote. That is: every ballot that went against Trump is questionable and possibly illegal; but that same ballot will still be valid if it also registered a vote for a Republican congressperson or senator. Only its vote for Biden would be discarded.

At the beginning of his term, Trump launched a much-ballyhooed national commission to look into the vast voter fraud he said occurred in 2016. Stocked with his own hand-picked sycophants, it had to disband in a matter of weeks because there was absolutely no evidence of this fraud. It is the same case now, in an election that had GOP observers in ballot-counting offices across the country. It’s almost shameful to have to make these arguments, but such is deep and ignorant credulity of millions that you have lay out the details of why down is not up, dry is not wet and day is not night. 

The gambit might not work, but McConnell’s shameless intervention today shows that this their intention. For the moment, Rupert Murdoch, that monstrous arbiter of political fortunes throughout the Anglosphere (save New Zealand, which is spared his ghastly sleaze), has signalled that Biden (like Tony Blair) is a safe pair of hands and that Trump should accept defeat. But anyone who has lived in the degraded world that Murdoch has poisoned for generations knows this wretch can turn on a dime if he feels it’s to his benefit. Just as all the Murdoch “news” outlets suddenly shifted against Trump last week, they can shift back this week and turn their relentless propaganda machine to support the Trump-McConnell attempt to overthrow the election at the last moment.

I think they will purse the House route because I don’t think they will manage to get the election result decided by Trump’s appointees and allies on the Supreme Court. There would need to be at least the slimmest modicum of evidence even for partisan courts to move his preposterous claims to the SCOTUS. And since the election, the lower courts have been throwing out Trump’s empty cases at every turn – because, again, there is no evidence of any kind of vast, systematic fraud anywhere in the US that could overturn the results. 

(This leaves aside the fact that courts are not SUPPOSED to decide elections like this. The bland assertion of “let the courts sort it out” that we see offered everywhere these days is already a perversion of the ordinary political process. There is only one case of this in US history, and that was the sinister and absurd ruling in 2000 – by a majority with two judges who had family members (wife, son) working for the Bush campaign – that the recount in Florida had to stop because it might “injure the interests” of plaintiff George Bush; that is, literally, that his “interests” would be injured if the recount showed that he lost the state and the national election. But even this was a case of intervening to stop a recount; not ruling on charges of massive fraud for which there is no evidence.)

At the moment, I believe this plan will fail. Maybe it’s not evn a serious plan; maybe it’s just Trump trying to extort an agreement: “give me a sweet deal — blanket pardon, debt relief, etc. — and I’ll go; if not, I’ll take a flamethrower to the place.” Maybe. But there is absolutely no guarantee of that. We have seen how far the Trump and the GOP extremists have been willing to go. They tried to destroy the popular vote process in the most flagrant way possible, hoping to game the Electoral College to a victory that the American people would never give them. They failed with the popular vote; they even failed with the Electoral College. Now they are going to try to blow that up as well, and see if they can throw it into the House and have one last throw of the dice with Liz Cheney and the other willing executioners of democracy.

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Brief note on a bleary post-election morning

Written by Chris Floyd 04 November 2020 13650 Hits

You’d think that if you woke up after an election to find one candidate leading by two million votes, with the millions of votes yet to be counted almost certainly going heavily in his favor, that would be it: “Well, the result seems clear: you had a race and the voters chose one guy over another. That’s democracy in action!” But we are dealing with the United States and its Electoral College: the 18th-century contraption of slave-owning elites who had already restricted the right to a vote to limited categories of white men. Yet even with this truncated electorate, they were frantically worried that challenges to the domination of the rich elite (the only people worthy and wise enough to rule!) might arise, and so they rigged up the Electoral College to ensure that the popular vote of the filthy rabble would never be the sole determining factor in obtaining the presidency. Now here we are. Once again, the will of the people has been expressed, narrowly but decisively, at the ballot box; and once again, this means nothing. All that matters is how well one side or another has gamed the slave-owners’ democracy-suppressing system.

Yes, it should never have been this close, with an incumbency that has literally destroyed the economy and wilfully condemned tens of thousands of Americans to needless death. And yes, the Democrats ran a candidate who was as close to an empty suit of clothes hanging on a rack as he could possibly be, inspiring no one, offering nothing but vague bromides (“Nothing will change,” he told our present-day wealthy elites) while adamantly rejecting policies and programs that addressed the urgent needs of ordinary Americans. Yes, he was the worst possible opposition candidate at the worst possible time. But even with his manifold shortcomings, the American people have once again rejected Trump at the ballot box. And once again, the slave-owning oligarchs of yore have stretched out their dead hands and are threatening to strangle the will of the people. 

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"Lost Americans": A national ballad of history and tragedy

Written by Chris Floyd 22 October 2020 14186 Hits

We came across the ocean
fighting through the stormy waves
We carved out our dominion
And planted it with graves
We built a mighty nation
on the backs and blood of slaves
And sang our praise unto the Lord
for the blessings that He gave

In a covered wagon
rolling cross the endless plain
the earth was dark with carcasses
of the buffalo we’d slain
We sent our soldiers out
to make the Indians feel the pain
And swore our souls were white as snow
without a crimson stain

We’re the lost Americans
The lost Americans
We came into a land that knew us not
We made the world again
With God and law and sin
While others paid for everything we’ve got

Every now and then
A champion would arise
to speak of truth and justice
And tear the veil from people’s eyes
But every single time
they got a bullet in the head
And lots of pious praise
when they were safely dead

Now we take the names
of our conquered native foes
we give em to our weapons
as around the world we go
Blasting anybody 
who might get in the way
of the pure and holy goodness
of God’s own USA

We’re the lost Americans
The lost Americans
We came into a land that knew us not
We made the world again
With God and law and sin
While others paid for everything we’ve got

Words and music © 2020 by Chris Floyd

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Lords of Misrule: UK Elites and the Rise of Global Feudalism

Written by Chris Floyd 30 September 2020 16224 Hits

I darkly suspect that the UK is entering a long winter of discontent and widespread upheaval, which will likely end with the replacement of the hapless opportunist Boris Johnson by someone even worse: the hardcore, inhumane, hard-right true believer Michael Gove, with the equally inhumane, sinister crank Dom Cummings still running the show. (Cummings, remember, has long been Gove's man, not Johnson's.) Together they will use the chaos and suffering to keep pushing their brutal agenda of "disruption" and "reform" to destroy the ability of government to act for the greater common good. Instead they will continue turning over its functions to cronies in the private sector, who will drain the Treasury in corrupt deals while providing degraded services – or none at all – as we have seen in almost every case of "privatisation" over the past decades and especially during the pandemic.

Gove and Cummings are part of a broader rightwing movement across the world, which has for decades been funded with unimaginable amounts of money (almost always "dark money," hidden and laundered through cut-outs). These extremist ideologues believe that government has only one legitimate function: enhancing the power and privilege of an elite that rules by the "right" of its inherent superiority: either its "superior genes" (as Trump – and Cummings' lordly father-in-law – openly say) or a putative in-born "superior intellect" (as Dom postulates, ludicrously including himself among that number). Money is the main signifier of inherent worth in this barbaric belief system; and being unaccountable to the laws and regulations that restrict the grubby rabble is one of the chief privileges of the elect.

In essence, it's a form of high-tech feudalism, where baronal power centers (oligiarchs, corporations) hold sway over weak and nominal national governments. If you read what the right-wing think tanks (often American in origin) with which Gove and Cummings have long been associated are ACTUALLY saying in the dense, dull prose of their innumerable "policy papers," you'll see that this characterization of their ideology and their aims is no exaggeration. It's an ancient evil – brutal, rapacious rule by unaccountable elites – dressed up in modern form and cloaked in the cynical perversion of rhetoric about "rights" and "freedom" and "sovereignty" and "modernization” and “AI,” etc. They are heartless liars in pursuit of loot and power, and they literally, demonstrably, do not care who lives or dies, as long as they get what they want.

Until we recognize this, until we stop treating these radical, death-dealing, society-wrecking extremists as normal politicians working within the system, we cannot effectively confront them and stop their depredations. They will continue to use the system itself to hollow out government and society until there is nothing left but their little clique, sealed in sumptuous fortresses behind masses of armed guards, lording it over the ruins.

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Power not Piety: Trump Foes Falling for False Narrative on SCOTUS Pick

Written by Chris Floyd 27 September 2020 16460 Hits

I see the GOP is successfully manipulating the narrative once again, drawing in even Trump opponents their web of falsehood that paints the Supreme Court pick as a "religious" issue instead of what it is: the installation of a rightwing hack who, having already helped kill one election, will spend decades entrenching the power of rapacious elites.

The objection to Amy Barrett is not that she's a Catholic. This a fake-news trope being drummed up by Trumpists. Joe Biden is a Catholic. There is a Catholic on the Supreme Court appointed by Democrats. The objection is to the legal positions she's advanced during her brief career on the bench, which almost uniformly chip away and strip away the rights of free citizens in favor of Big Money and government power. The other objection is that she, like Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, was part of the legal team that worked successfully to overthrow the will of the American people in the 2000 election by stopping the re-count in Florida, which would have given Al Gore the electoral college majority along with the majority of votes from actual voters that he won.

Working first with state officials in Florida -- that is, with governor of the state, George Bush's brother Jeb, and the official directly in charge of elections, Kathleen Harris, who also happened to be the chairman of Bush's Florida campaign operation -- the Roberts-Kavanaugh-Barrett cabal stopped the recount (with the help of a riot staged by GOP staffers who physically invaded public offices and threatened recounters.) This deeply corrupt usurpation of the democratic process was then upheld by a Supreme Court with two justices who had close family members (son, wife) working directly with the Bush campaign.

Now Barrett, having already taken part in the illicit overturning of one election, is being bullrushed onto the Court so she can rule on another election which Republicans are already openly admitting they will contest, no matter how badly they're defeated at the polls or in the electoral college.

None of this is about religion, or family values or any other hot-button "cultural warfare trope the rightwing hokes up. It's about power: specifically, the power of the elite to hold unaccountable, unregulated sway over American society and its citizens. Barrett, a willing executioner of American democracy in 2000, is being appointed by a man who was not chosen by the majority of voters in 2016 and openly says he will not respect the voters' wishes in 2020 if they vote against him; and she will be confirmed by a Senate "majority" that represents 15 million fewer Americans than the "minority" opposition.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: whatever you want to call the system of power in the United States today, it is not a representative democracy in any sense of the word.

(PS. And if you still think the Democrats will fight any overthrow of the election result by the Republican Party and the GOP-dominated Supreme Court in 2020, see the above reference to the 2000 election. They didn't fight for democracy then and they won't do it now. This is not a pleasant truth, but it is the truth, and we'd better get ready for it.)

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The Surrendered Land: US Institutions Won’t Fight for Democracy

Written by Chris Floyd 26 September 2020 16155 Hits

I follow the novelist A.R. Moxon on Twitter, where his political takes routinely bring genuine insight, wit and moral rigor to the increasing beserkery of our times. But he recently posted an observation, or prediction, that I found I couldn’t agree with, much as I would have liked to. It prompted some thoughts in response that I put up – on Twitter, where else? – not so much in refutation of his point but more as a wider-angle lens on the possibilities that face us in a post-election meltdown. Below are Moxon’s comment and my response, which has been edited and augmented somewhat, since the original was in the terse telegraphese of Twitterspeak.

On Saturday, A.R. Moxon wrote:
For literally millions of us our remaining hope is that the monster is gone in January and I do wonder if Republicans understand how dangerous the desperate fury that will rise up simultaneously all over the country will be, if that hope is thwarted on some cheating ass bullshit. I don’t think Republicans have even seen a riot yet.

My response:
Perhaps. But honestly, who will lead this riot? The Democrats will do nothing but issue a few stern tweets and cry, "Just wait til the midterms!" The media will pen some trembly editorials, then keep broadcasting Trump rants and doing "process" pieces about insider politics in the White House and endless stories on “What do folks in this Ohio diner think about Trump's contentious second term?" 

Obama & Michelle will make some uplifting Netflix shows about hope & unity – while sternly warning people not to "riot" or carry out a general strike: "Engagement, not estrangement: that's the key!" Hollywood/NPR/NYT liberals will follow their lead, while supplying us with lots of clever memes and skits and biting satire about Trump’s comb-over and his ghastly entourage. John Oliver and Trevor Noah and Rachel Maddow will look sternly into the cameras and denounce the latest outrage – then cut to a commercial for some massive corporation raking in ungodly profits from Trump tax cuts and deregulation.

Billionaires like Bezos will keep chasing, and getting, fat government contracts, Facebook of course will be rolling in clover (while continuing to serve as a gargantuan propaganda machine for Trump and fascism). Google and other Silicon Valley giants will keep working on "important partnerships with the government on vital communication and national security issues.” Wall Streeters will keep wallowing in the hot tub. Military contractors will keep practicing their sinister alchemy, transmuting the blood and suffering of human beings into gold.

Meanwhile, those who do take to the streets – in organized actions by unions and other groups or in spontaneous protests – will be beaten, caged, gassed, jailed or shot dead by berserk cops and their militia allies, augmented by DHS goon squads, with the full force of the Justice Department (and federal courts backed with Trumpist hacks) to back up their atrocities.

The god-awful truth is that there are no institutional forces in American life that will stand up to a post-election power grab by Trump. They've already demonstrated this by failing to stand up to his egregious and brazen pre-election power-grabs, and his howlingly obvious, easily impeachable/prosecutable corruption. They have already surrendered, they have already given up on our constitutional democracy, the rule of law, equal justice and the very idea of a greater common good. Our institutions gave up on this long ago, to service the super-rich, the militarist empire & their own comfort and privilege.

So again: where will these riots come from? And if they do arise, how will they be sustained, in the absence of any genuine support from the bastions of civic society, from the political opposition, from any institution on the commanding heights of the system? I desperately hope I'm wrong and we will see a massive outpouring that will overwhelm the tyrant and force our surrendered institutions and political leaders to join with the people or get swept away. I fervently hope this will be the case if (or when) tyranny comes. But at the moment, it is very hard to see this happening.

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