Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Introducing FukYoo Politix

Yes that's right folks, a profanity laden title (well sort of), what about our much vaunted editorial policy now?

To be honest if I could think of a better name I would but at this point nothing I can think of sums up the mood better than that of a  big stiff middle finger being raised at the status quo in angry defiance by voters and their elected representatives.

And if your wondering what exactly I am going on about take a look around at all the "strange", "bizarre" and "unpredictable" outcomes occurring in politics around the world today. Seeing a pattern yet?

No, well let me be a bit more specific and name names.

Trump, Brexit, Corbyn, Morgan, Greece, South Korea, Australia, Trudeau, Austria, France, Arab Spring, Thailand, The Philippines etc etc etc etc.

All around the world the safe comfortable middle ground is being taken over by angry squatters from the Left and Right side of the political spectrum. Safe, clean and neat, whichever way the wind blows, consensus politics is on its way out and we suddenly have resurgent political opinions which are not based around some neo-liberal party position which is all about enacting the political version of PC ethnic cleansing  by stigmatizing people and parties with actual political manifestos.

Now is the time to choose a side, a nice definite side, not one of these namby pamby sides which is just a bunch of mush minded policy positions devoid of any actual genuine political position.

For the last 40 years populism has been a dirty word but not any longer, if you want to get out and get on the political bandwagon of your choice and ride one of those sweet sweet waves into electoral upset now is the perfect time to do so.

If whats left of the worlds largest democracy can drive home a turgid, throbbing shock outcome (well shocking to some) then anywhere can. Nowhere is safe and all bets are off, including little ol NZ.

Oh yes brothers and sisters (warning I am now in full rant mode) you to can get a slice of this delicious political pie at the nearest voting booth the next time an election comes round. No more dull generic Brand X politics for you, now is the time to change up to FukYoo Politix, the preferred political position chosen by angry electors everywhere.

It doesn't matter if you are left or right, fascist or anarchist, green or rabid free-marketer there is a party awaiting your vote and an incompetent elite to be swept from office. With FukYoo Politix you can deliver a shock political outcome all the time, every time, clear out the deadwood and energize the populace with the democratic equivalent of a peoples uprising (without all those people having to be put up against the wall and shot).

Oh yes, don't be shy about it, you might not be liking Trump or Corbyn, Durante or Trudeau but this is the closest you will get to a revolution without actually having one and possibly the best chance to achieve the political outcomes you desire.

Don't sit their waiting for the same old parties and the same old faces, mumbling the same dead messages over and over to genuinely represent you in government. Change up to a political firebrand with a message of hope and change (yes that hope and change!) you can trust (at least until they become the next established elite) who will upset the apple cart and the status quo at the same time.

Lets face it boys and girls, the resentment has been simmering away in you for some time now it just that you thought the game was so rigged that there was no reason to play. You wanted to do something about it but being a part of the same old political parties and their dead messages of brain dead political activism was about as appealing as a lead salad and had left you mired in a swamp of apathy and impotence.

With FukYoo Politix you will no longer get a flaccid electoral outcome or have to put up with feculent politicians smarming around in office doing what they want. With our patented formula you will vote, longer, stronger and harder all the time, every time. No more being the political wallflower at the big dance, now you will have the confidence to go up to the party of your choice and ask them to dance (and they will say yes!).

Now there is a reason to play the game and Win! Drain the swamp (yes that swamp!)You, yes you can be part of something bigger and feel like you're not just some dull drone in the hive or a cog in the machine but instead a living breathing actor on the stage of history with a full speaking part and a spiffy pair of tights.

Does it really matter that they aren't selling the same old comfortable message you are used to? Does it really matter that some of the things they are saying sound a bit scary and not like the same old same old which the same old same olds have been saying?

Hell no! Who cares if the populist demigod you elect into office turns out to be a power hungry demagogue you were not going to get the outcome you desired under the old system, better to burn it to the ground and make a fresh start and get at least get a 50/50 odds on an improvement in life rather than the 100% bummer that all those stuffed shirts in Parliament were planning for you.

For many of you this is as close as you will ever get to experiencing what its like to be caught up in something genuine and real. No more three minutes every three years for you, now its all day every day, 24/7 politics, politics with a Bang, Zap and Boom!

But don't believe us, then check out these scintillating testimonials from some of our many satisfied customers.

If I cant dance, its not my revolution - Emma Goldman

I used to feel so impotent at student demos but now I am ready to storm the registry and set up a genuine student government - Who ate all the pies?

Give me liberty or give me death! - Patrick Henry

The revolution is not an apple that falls when its ripe. You have to make it fall - Ernesto del Serna Guevara

It followed me home, can I keep it? - Anon

Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down - Malcolm Little

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof - V

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical - T Jefferson

Picket lines and picket signs, Don't punish me with brutality, C'mon talk to me, So you can see, What's going on - M Gaye

Yes, that's testimonial for you from just a few of those who have stuck it to the man and now you can too with our handy no frills product.

No longer do you have to believe their lies (and they have lied to you), no more buying into some lame ass excuse for their bad behavior, now you can do something about it, send those grubby little catamites a message that your going to be possessing your house soon and they are going to be given their marching orders.

Wont it be fun to see them queuing for the dole or on a work for your benefit scheme or maybe, just maybe, being stripped of all their ill gotten gains and made to pay for their selling you down the river. Wont that be satisfying to see them being run out of office, attending their own show trial or being chased by an angry mob through the streets.

Yes FukYoo politics is both cheap and easy to use, no instructions needed and although there will be some mess (cant have a revolution without breaking a  few eggs) but that's all part of the fun, all you need is a corrupt political elite and a angry electorate just looking for a way to stick it to them, and now you can.

So don't delay, don't gamble a stamp, don't send any money (its COD), just get out there and vote for that agitator candidate, the one who is not part of the establishment and who is saying all those crazy things your mother warned you not to vote for.

Your mother would not approve (or would she?) but once they sweep into office you will soon be the beneficiary of the largest political change since the last time people got pissed with those they elected to represent them started acting like they were born to rule.

And that's all there is to it, at the very least its cathartic but at its best you can reaffirm some democratic principles and give the system a much needed injection of fresh blood rather than spill it all over the streets.

And don't settle for some cheap imitation brand of political change, don't gamble your political health on some cut rate product which could leave you with a nasty rash or even worse (like a corporate police state or John Key as PM for life) go for the tried and tested formula which has proven itself again and again.

So the ball is in your court amigo, you can sit back and watch things happen and wonder what it might have been like when you are old or worse have to deal with awkward questions like "what did you do in the revolution mummy?".

Good luck, you know what to do.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Honey, dont you want a President like me?

I could have written this post a week ago but there was enough stuff coming out then that all I would have been doing was contributing to the noise. Better to wait a while and see what transpired and it did not disappoint.

Trump won, Clinton lost, now what?

"Now what" depends on where you stand in all of this.

If your someone who favored Clinton then you have most likely had one of the three responses.

The first is shock and resignation as exemplified by the response of Pablo on Kiwipolitico. The person supposed to win did not and the victory of good over evil did not take place. As he notes at the end of his post he is going to have "a cup of tea and a lie down".

He does note at the start how most of the commentators and pundits got it wrong but fails to go into any in depth analysis of it but Will Rahn of CBS news summed it up well in a rather short piece about why their "unbearable smugness" blinded them to the reality which was always there but their blinkers, ideological and perceptual, prevented them from seeing the reality that was preparing to walk into oval office.

This level of thought represents the second of the responses that liberals have had, a basic questioning or soul searching about what happened and a tacit admission that they got it wrong. unfortunately I don't think many in the media are going to admit that and the continuing stream of negative Trump articles continues to show that they probably never will. Once you get locked into a reality tunnel (liberal or conservative or whatever) its very hard to break out of it.

The third stream of thought is represented by Michael Moore's post the day after the election where he sounded a wake up call of sorts but phased in in the rhetoric of "well, after eight years of the Right bashing Obama now its our turn to bash Trump" which is in effect is hoisting the partisan flag even higher and simply widening the gap even further.

This kind of response is to continue the good ol liberal fight no matter what and simply ignore how the failings of the Left lead to the very defeat they are now pissing and moaning about. Moore's response sounds like the bluster of a sore looser given that six months before he accurately predicted Trumps win and clearly and articulately set out why in this very well thought out article.

So to read his response the day after I suddenly realized exactly how smug the Left and the Right had been in their denunciation not of Trump per se but the political reality that is sweeping the world. Establishment politics is failing and wherever possible the populace are electing spoiler candidates or any candidate who stands in opposition to the prevailing political orthodoxy.

In such a climate Trump was going to win and lo and behold he did. Yes the last minute sneak attack by the FBI helped but in the final countdown Clinton was rejected wholeheartedly by many states she assumed she would win easily and by people who she assumed that she could simply sell the same old message to because if you cant win against a person like Trump then only one of two things has happened.

One is that you are simply not such a great candidate yourself, which Clinton was, she never really had the support she needed and the fact that she was pure establishment through and through did nothing to help her brand against Trumps outsider attack. Further her own moral failings, despite a continued stream of press attempting to minimize or mitigate them, were such that she simply did not have the high ground that she needed to take the crown.

And while some have said she lost the election and won the popular vote, so what? Clinton knew the rules of the US political system when she went into it and never showed the slightest inclination to ever change them or even protest them. Also had she won and jilted Trump supporters said the same the response would have simply been "we played by the rules and won fair and square".

And its noted that the response from Clinton post election has almost been zero. Its almost like she never existed and has been put back into the cryogenic freezer to wait till 2020. My guess is the shock of the loss and the sheer cost of the battle (both emotionally and physically) would have put her into a deep funk from which she might never recover because unlike Dubya Bush in 2000 there will be no second coming for the Clinton Dynasty although if rumors are believed to be true then Chelsie Clinton is being groomed to run for office and one day achieve what her mother did not.

My feeling is that the Clinton political line is dead and as the US empire now goes from decline to fall the pretenders to the throne will be less and less legitimate heirs from the ruling elite and more and more outsiders who have the means to take the throne, like Trump.

Because on the other side of the line Trump should not be hailed as a victory by the Right, at least not the establishment Right.

Oh no, no one is going to believe that Trump will forgive and forget those who went against him or that his roles for the top slots in the company are going to go to a lot of old time Republicans with WASP backgrounds and the right accents.

Trump's victory should be seen as that of a revolution against the old order, a struggle to break the power of the Republican elites (by another section of the elite) which has been achieved and now that the reigns of power have been loosened from their claw like grasp they may never get them back.

Trump did this by appealing to disaffected and marginalized voters in a what can only be described as a "unique" strategy of directly appealing to their needs (jobs, jobs and more jobs which was part of the hidden subtext to "make America great again") while behaving in a manner which enhanced his anti-PC outsider status (think casual sexism and racism ect).

Sure there might be a few allowances into Trump's cabinet but the very definite split in the Republicans between those who opposed him and those who sucked up to him is clear and monsters like Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie and a host of others are going to be running the US from now on in and while there might be a few conciliatory nods to the old guard there is absolutely nothing in Trumps history or background to indicate that he will abide by their rules or systems.

The reality is that even if Trump does bring jobs back to the US he is not a democratic populist nor a believer in democracy. Trump is not a rags to riches fairy story (more riches to even more riches) nor is he a some sort of great white hope come to save the US from whatever ails it.

What Trump is is the next logical step in the process called 'decline of empire' as the system becomes so weak and broken that those outside the ruling class can attempt to seize control and there is little the ruling class can do to stop it as they are already weak and fractured by their own infighting.

The only person who might have been able to fight Trump at his own game was Bernie Sanders (who may run in 2020) and the Democrats made sure he never got to the ballot box by actively conspiring against him in their backing of Clinton and thereby not only crippling the democrats but also robbing them of a genuine chance to tap into all that voter anger which Trump subsequently took for himself.

Because as much fun as it was to demonize Trump supporters as "rednecks" and racists and purely white males there were a lot of women, blacks and Latinos who also tapped into the vibe of FukYoo politics and cast their ballot for Trump.

So now what for the US?

The reality is probably ugly as it gets as Trump lets all sorts of fugly people into the system and the few remaining restraints and shackles on power are loosened even further. This in itself is nothing new as the US political system is already compromised in such a fashion but Trump is likely to take it to its logical (and ultimate) conclusion (a truly corporate state) or even bend things back to the way they were (think oil being actively promoted and alternate fuels being openly criticized).

Personally I am waiting to see if Trump will obviously deny climate change as POTUS and take measures against it rather than just make empty promises that he does not intend to keep (like Obama).

But if there is a core theme here it is that the US was in decline no matter what, Clinton would have been the friendly face of that process while Trump is the mask removed to reveal the beast that has always been leering beneath.

In short, empires fail and the US is a failing empire. Focusing on the perceived pros and cons of a candidate is like focusing on one tree when the whole forest is on fire. The naive hope of Clinton as savior or fears of  Trump as destroyer were overblown response of a system unable to cure itself.

At it's core these hope and fears were built around the increasingly weak norms of the US being dominant in a post cold war world.

Norms such as US hegemony and military might are now exposed more than ever before and while scary to some there is also some hope in the breakdown of structures that are 50 plus years old and predicated on one nation and system dominating the rest of the world.

Out of the chaos of the failure of the US as sole superpower there may in fact be a better future, it just requires being willing to give up the old norms for the new ones, to accept that all things must come to an end sooner or later.

Of course there will be "structural adjustments" but that's a topic for another post**.

*-The title of this post is a take on the Frank Zappa song Honey, don't you want a man like me?
**-Like Part II of Plumbing the Depths (when I get around to it)

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Thank you Gareth Morgan, thank you!

Friday was a long day at work. I started at 7AM (as is my norm) and I was just coming out of a rather tense meeting at 5.30PM, heading towards my desk in the hope of quickly checking my work in-box, scan the web and get out of there before 6.

Emails cleared, coat on and just a quick check of the news on Stuff when something caught my eye.

It was an article that Gareth Morgan, billed in the article as "philanthropist" (which I suppose he is but most of know him as an economist, the guy who runs a Kiwsaver fund or that "nutter who wants to kill all cats") had formed a political party (The Opportunities Party - TOP for short) and was planning to "light a fuse" under Parliament (the symbolism of uttering such a statement on the front steps of Parliament on the eve of Guy Fawkes was undoubtedly known to him).

There are not a lot of articles on NZ politics these days that can get my pulse racing but Sam Sachdeva's article certainly did that (although I am really enjoying Tracy Watkins semi gonzo reportage out of the US at the moment - keep it up Tracy!) and by the time I had finished reading and was heading for the door it was just after 6PM.

So here I am on a relaxed Sunday after doing some odd jobs round the house sitting here with a beer and some good broken beat wafting down the hallway as I write this and its been a few days for me to mull things over because Sam's article was absolute gold in terms of quotes and information.

Think about it; Gareth Morgan is going to form a political party, "light a fuse" under parliament and he has all the solutions to NZ's problems because they are "just so easy, really." If that's not a clarion call to an exciting next 12 months till the election then I don't know what would be.

The only more exciting alternative to the coming election would be if John (father of inutilus playboy Max) Key was to pull the fleshy rubber mask of his face at a Beehive press conference and stand revealed as a Lizard Person from Rigel 6 and then announce to a stunned press gallery that National were renaming the party the Rigelian Reptile Party (RRP) and would be running on a platform of fattening up the people for "their new overlords" and that we would be all invited to a feast on the mother ship when it arrived.

He would then utter a guttural hiss when asked about "the actual details" of that plan before retreating from the light while his press secretary would try desperately to put a positive spin on things as angry chaos reigns among the assembled reporters.

But no, Key would never do that, he is much too cold blooded to loose the plot now before the mother-ships arrive, he wants us docile and unprepared for whats coming so we will just have to entertain ourselves with what Mr Morgan has to give us.

And Gareth has been bountiful in his entertainment offerings. To start he delivered in one press conference a wealth of quotes which just scream for further analysis and I note that Sachdeva was very careful to use quotation marks around every utterance he (Morgan) used lest we think he (Sachdeva) was taking things out of proportion and casting Morgan in an incorrect light.

To give Morgan his credit though he appeared to know what he was saying as when asked about the situation he likened himself to a NZ Trump, which shows a higher degree of self awareness than Trump would ever have but does little to change the fact that what he was saying sounded a lot like many of the core narratives that Trump has been uttering (just getting things done, knocking out the establishment politicians, how easy things are etc).

Now lets pause here for a second before we dig into the meat of the situation and note two key points.

The first is that I while I am not writing post purely in the vein of "politics as entertainment" that's where we are in the world today.

When the elites start perpetuating their own broken system to such an extent that the waters keep rising and they just yawn and go back to their petty squabbles the populace either starts to take power in to their own hands or succumbs to their powerlessness and begins to mass hallucinate, treating the whole experience with the kind of detached attitude of watching reality TV ("its ok, its only on TV, it cant hurt us") rather than a matter which needs addressing urgently.

Net result: a political climate perfect for an individual to come in and start saying the things like Trump, and now Morgan has done.

The second is that while we have been laughing at whats has been going down in the US of A we may not be laughing in 12 months time.

Not because Morgan will turn out to be the anti-Christ in the same manner that Trump has been demonized but that we (the collective we as a nation) have been unable to recognize what is happening to our society and even if we do, we (the collective "we" again) remain unwilling to do anything substantive about it and thus we (still collective) will not to take the power back from our elected representatives and instead wait with baited breath for a person to come out and tell us they have the solution to all our problems and that those solutions are "just so easy, really".

Of course NZ politics is not the same as US politics, we have MMP to prevent the lunacy of a two party diktat but we do seem to have a more than a few pressing problems to which the government (or other parties) wont do anything about which are just crying out for a solution, final or otherwise.

And that's where we are today, politics as entertainment and an electorate low on voting moxie and burnt out on a secession of lying scumbags in Wellington that we don't believe anything they say and to which we would happily give over power to a person who has the solution to all our problems and not "afraid to make the hard calls" (that last quote is taken from the Opportunities party website).

So don't say "it cant happen here", don't say "not in NZ" because it just has happened here and its been happening all round the rest of the world (the US, the UK, Greece, France, Spain, Austria, the whole Middle East with the Arab Spring and many others) so you can either roll yourself back into the comfort of your delusions or crack open both eyes and take a look around at what is knocking on the front door.

Its not the Mormons or Colin Craig, its not Forrest and Bird, its not some aggressive vacuum cleaner salesman or even the cops (come to bust your euthanasia cult), no its Gareth Morgan and what he has to offer is far more appealing.

Now back to the analysis.

Morgan may face the same problems that the Conservatives and Mana/Internet faced but I think its safe to say that Morgan is not playing the same game as either of those two parties.

To start Colin Craig and the Conservatives came close but in the end it was their conservative religious flavor which kept the electorate from buying in wholesale while Mana/Internet had just the opposite problem by being far too radical and talking just shy of revolt at times.

Morgan is unlikely to be taking either such path and unlike Craig or Dotcom (also both also rich men trying their hand at politics) he already has positive brand recognition (though his investment and economic backgrounds) and cuts a lot closer to our own Millionaire PM, John Key, so he can already claim some legitimacy to the throne (in a world where economics is religion).

Also Morgan is already media tested and while some of his media exposure in the past is less than favorable (think cat culling) he also has his philanthropic background to buttress that in terms of brand equity so unlike Dotcom or Craig he is not just a faceless moneybag trying to muscle into parliament. He has credibility and enough history to be the face of something larger without being sunk by a wave of voter reservation killing his polling from the get go.

That does not mean he is going to sweep into parliament but it does mean that in an electorate which is jaded from the same old worn out politics and politicians he may be able to gain enough traction in 12 months to break 5%.

But where will he get his votes from I hear you cry, where?

Good question, voice in my head, good question.

The answer is either one of the following sources:

Morgan and TOP can either follow the normal route and try to take them off other political parties which is likely to see him move to fight it out for the middle voter with National, Labour and NZ First (because he would not survive on either the far left or right given that the Greens and Act have those spaces locked down) or try for what Mana/Internet intend and tap into the 25% plus of eligible voters who don't vote. Or he could go for both.

No matter what path he chooses its an uphill slog and given his intent to light a fire in parliament and upset the establishment it seems likely that he is going to try for both but with a tactical emphasis on muscling NZ First out of the center and then cobbling together enough votes to get a seat in parliament either via an electorate or the 5% threshold.

Both are paths fraught with danger but there is also that mood in NZ which, like the US, he can tap into and to which established NZ parties cannot; he can play the underdog outsider card for all its worth and even a political rock star like Winston Peters cannot swing that beat the same way because it is essentially a one time technique, it can only be used once as the party or individual enters the political sphere (or in Winston's case broke ranks in such a way as to essentially make him an underdog/outsider again) and plays on their unique position to gain votes as a form of protest.

Therefore come November 2017 Morgan could have mustered enough support to make the election a very interesting spectacle.

I don't think we will see a lot of Trumpism going round but neither will we see a lot of Clintonesque behavior. Instead it will be NZs own particular brand of sycophantic lolly scramble as politicians do the hustings and parties desperately try to outbid each other in promises while denouncing the other with Morgan in the middle sucking up just enough votes to create an even closer race than we were already likely to get.

Where Morgan will get his votes from will primarily be from NZ First territory but also from Labour and National. Winston Peters has had the political rebel space to himself for so long that its going to be a shock for him to potentially share it with another person playing the exact same card as he did in the early 90s. Winston of course has his niche voter bases (like the elderly) which will remain loyal to some degree but again its a fair guess that Morgan will be targeting such a demographic as a good source of votes and again playing off his sound economic image.

And the TOP website, while currently very sparse, gives us some clues as to what Morgans likely political viewpoint will be with references to individual choice and the afore mentioned "making the hard calls" indicating (along with his economic background) a likely conservative twang to his middle of the road stance (again something to worry Winston).

Morgans biography and life history indicate a possible libertarian viewpoint, albeit filtered through the lens of life in New Zealand. His self made millionaire story has all the hallmarks of a man believing in self reliance and while its too early to be sure I sense that Morgan will be closer to the right than the left when it comes down to things (again prime NZ First territory).

But amid all this speculation it would be wrong to either write him off or take him to the bank. Morgan is treading a hard road and new political parties have come and gone before and not just in recent memory so the next 12 months is going to be a race in many ways and I don't think he will be doing this just for the grins so watch out establishment politicians.

Finally its worth noting some of the responses from other politicians which came out in Sachdeva's article.

Andrew Little's response was the most unbelievable of the lot as unless he knows something we don't its hard not to imagine his comment about Morgan being "in our corner" as nothing but a bravado laced off the cuff comment said through clenched teeth when confronted by a reporter seeking comment.

Little is rapidly running out of time to get Labour back into the game for 2017 (although perhaps some magic has come out of their recent party conference - lets watch that space) and he does not need another vote siphoning upstart political party wrecking things just when the basic plan for the coming election might have been taking shape, so his take on Morgan is likely to be political blather more than genuine happiness at the prospect of another challenger for the title.

The "not worried" from Green co-leader James Shaw also has the reek of someone trying hard not to hide his upset at the prospect of another potential vote magnet in orbit around the Beehive. To be sure potential Morgan and Green voters are probably not the same demographic but if Labour gets knackered by Morgan then the odds of the Greens going into government go down exponentially unless they decide to play with National.

Steven Joyce's response is probably the most prosaic of the lot, saying it will "add color and entertainment" but that is, like Labour, ignoring the potential loss of disgruntled National voters who were never going to go to Labour or NZ First but just might swing towards Morgan (chipping nationals lead down even further and making the prospect of a deal with a king maker party all the more necessary) if he says the right things. Still he was accurate in his take of the situation by stating that there have been "crowded markets before" and that a clear message is important.

Absent from the feedback in the article was, surprise surprise, any comment from Winston Peters and perhaps that was simply because Winston was not available for comment but I think its telling that the one person who will truly suffer if Morgan gets his mojo on was not around to have some input.

So that's all for now but I think Morgan will be making a solid play for the punter and in doing so he has made the next 12 months of politics infinitely more interesting by coming in and having the potential to breakup the squalid political dynamic that had begun to harden like a vomit stain on the rug the night after the party.

So thank you Gareth Morgan, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Countdown to extasy?

Ok, lets see how to open this.

As the tumultuous 2016 election draws to a close...

No, too pretentious.How about.

The 2016 election cycle has seen an extremely high level of partisan agitation on the political spectrum as...

Ugh, to Pol Sci,  we need something more punchy. 

The Clinton party bus swerved wildly towards the guard rail (and the sheer drop on the other side), the passengers inside screaming in fear as their premature celebrations turned to terror as the beaten up black muscle car continued to ram into it.

Ah that's better.

When I completed my previous post about US politics I figured that was the last I would be writing about the political cl**terf**k that the election there had turned into.

Clinton had a decent lead, had dealt with Trump in the debates and Trump himself seemed to have finally gone that one step too far (although to be fair he had previously taken so many one steps too far that we really should not  have been surprised by his ability to keep on steppin no matter what he said or did) and with 10 days to go it was just a case of buckle down the hatches, say nothing stupid and vigorously firefight any bush-fire press that might emerge. What could possibly go wrong?

Well we found out what could go wrong a few days a go when James Comey of the FBI most likely torpedoed the Clinton Campaign with what can only be described as a well timed shot just below the waterline.

To be fair the good ship Clinton was not so seaworthy as her PR might have painted it, given the incessant bad press around her campaign which was only beaten (or possibly trumped (pun intended)) only by Trumps own horrendous coverage and media behavior.

Clinton was always a much better candidate compared to Trump but had she been paired against a decent Republican (although I currently have no idea who that would be but lets say, for arguments sake Mitt Romney) she would have scrubbed up a lot worse than she had and probably would have been fighting for her political life long before now as the ongoing doom cloud around her just never lifted and it was Trumps own scandal, dodgy dealings and dirty laundry (and by God there has been sooooo much of it) that was providing any counterweight to the media just tearing her limb from limb like a christian thrown into the lion enclosure.

But even to my own non partisan eyes and skeptical view it is hard not to see this new move by the FBI, of releasing further files on the then pardoning by Bill Clinton (on his last day in office as POTUS) of tax dodging financier Marc Rich (although to again be fair the details of the investigation do make for interesting reading and do not do the Clinton Campaign any favors), as not being anything but a well timed move to disrupt the current Clinton campaign in its final days.

Why the FBI has done this I don't know but perhaps all the pressure it was under with its investigation of Clinton emails previously and the heat it took for its clearing her given whats since kept coming out may be part of it.

Either way its neither here nor there now as the old saying goes,  a week in politics is a long time (anything can happen), and surprise (or perhaps not so surprising) something has happened and already the more liberal of my friends (both here and in the US) are freaking out and stressing up a storm as their previously assured stance that it was Clinton for the win has now been thrown into complete disorder by the FBI and no amount of reassuring talk can get them out of it.

So the mood on that side of the lines goes way down with previously unheard of talk like this suddenly coming out.

Its not talk or thoughts that I myself have not had given my views on the state of the US institution but I am usually a lone voice on such opinions so its quite a surprise to be cast into the role of potential Cassandra as my ongoing and consistent predictions that Trump, his campaign and all associated is in fact a major seismic shift in not just US but global politics has gone from "rants from the nut fringe" to "prescient political analysis".

Of course I cant really see the future but its not hard to size up the current mood of politics around the world today with surprise wins to outsider candidates (some left some right) and the overall rejection of the establishment to see that if such a figure was to rise in the US that they might actually get the big payoff of the presidency if they ran.

And that's where we are now, the cusp of a potential Trump win and by golly are the liberals freaking out as their bastion of pseudo liberality (Hillary Clinton) gets c**k-blocked for a second (and most certainly final time) in her quest for the presidency. Oh the humanity!

Actually I do think Clinton would make a better president than Trump but as I have said before so would an egg-salad sandwich and the decline of the US would continue no matter who was helming the institution but those views usually are not appreciated in the either/or atmosphere that this election has generated there and in NZ.

So, lets just for a moment speculate on what a Trump presidency might be like shall we, as ugly as might be.

Will it be a return to some sort of Reganesque quasi religious revival with conservatives waking up in America while assorted criminals run amok in the Whitehouse basement (and the VEEPs office) as an Imperial president tries to asserts his will on the rest of the planet or will we get a Dubya Bush style Rubicon crossing president fronting  the US (but not leading, as W could not even have lead a conga line) as it slides into deeper and darker paranoia laced waters under the mandate of "national security" or will this be the final straw for an already sclerotic US and the decline becomes the fall.

But like all good gamblers I like to hedge my bets and ever since I read Daniel Gardner's Future Babble I will happily admit that I could be way off and Trump will be a fabulous president or Clinton will win and peace and love reigns for the duration of her term and the US just goes from strength to strength*, its just that I have trouble seeing that happening (either her winning (now) or a Clinton presidency being some sort of revival or renaissance but I leave it to this great scholar to sum up her odds.

So how will the US and the world deal with President Trump, will the seas rise and swallow the US? Will there be a mass exodus of anyone who cant deal with trumps arrogant visage leering at them from every form of media for the next four (possibly eight) years. Will Trump put into effect all the threats he has made on the campaign trail (and he made a hell of a lot) or will he end up being constrained by the few legal means that previous US presidents have not removed?

And who will come along with President Trump for the ride because like both Regan and W Bush (as well as Bill Clinton) it is not just the president but the wide assortment of mens rea that will inevitably inhabit the back offices like a scorching case of herpes. What hideous monsters will operate in Trumps Olympian shadow? Where will he steer the US? Into isolationism, further alliances with other regional strongmen around the world (like Putin) or will he chart some bizarre course of his own making.

Will a Trump residency be all flash and no fire a lot of talk and little action? Given that the US still has the worlds largest military and spends far more than anyone else on this planet combined and as Trump has pledged himself to increased military spending its hard not to imagine that part of "making America great again" might include an invasion or two, perhaps a medium sized war or even the Big One, that long sought masturbatory fantasy of righting zealots and survivalists in the US.

In the end its difficult if not impossible to know but if such a presidency needs summing up I think its Van Halens song I'll Wait from their album 1984 which captures the potential state of a futureTrump Presidency. The song is a seamy story of a mans obsession with the photos of a woman in a magazine (possibly pornographic) and how he cant turn away, how the images have locked him in and how trapped and powerless he is. The ambiguity of the lyrics (like many good rock and roll songs**) leaves lurid images in the wake of a classic driving Van Halen groove.

Its all about the power of illusion and how it can render people powerless, and while Clinton is no bastion of authenticity herself, Trump is the casual lying, pomposity, hypocrisy and disregard for the truth of politicians  upped to the Nth degree and the problem with such individuals (like Trump) is that, like the photos of the woman in the song, he has also captivated (or paralyzed) minds and for such under his spell (or those fleeing in fear of it in the case of those who cant stomach a Trump presidency).

This makes it almost impossible to really judge what he will do. Its the cult of personality gone haywire on steroids as a celebrity obsessed media culture finally has the chance to get it hands on the levers of power.

And like sharks scenting blood, as the polls now show a near neck and neck race, the stakes go back up and the scent of power grows stronger I would not put it past the Republicans to run the same game as Florida in 2000 (vote rigging and manipulation) to get back into power. Sure many don't like their candidate but no politician in their right (or is that wrong) mind would give up an even shot at power because if they don't its possibly another eight years out of the Oval Office.

Or Trump could turn out to be nothing like we imagine (see Mr Gardners book again) and Trump might not be the right wing nightmare that so many imagine and the for all the hype he might just end up another lame duck voted out of office after one term or simply see out his time actually making America great again.

The point, as Gardner points out so well, is that we really don't know and speculation is ever only going to be so good so perhaps we could all just take a deep breath and see what happens (yeah like that will happen) or we could simply let our dystopian fantasies run wild (mine included).

So get ready for the final week, rest up and take plenty of vitamins, perhaps keep a bible close by or even some sort of weapon.

Or you could just relax and realize that its not the end of world, if the seas do rise it will from climate change not Trump getting elected president.

The last week is going to be interesting to say the least


*-While I accept the main premise of the book I don't agree with all examples and do find that some cases seem a bit cherry picked but on the whole the argument holds it also has the smug superior tone that many books which base themselves on "psychology" have. So take it with a grain of salt.
**-What do you think Robert Plant is wailing about in a Whole Lotta Love when he says "I want to be your backdoor man".