Author Archives: Ben Tanosborn

Pagliacci, Trumpiacci and a foreign policy of scary clowns

Whether one loves or despises any singular choice in President Trump’s cabinet, I have come to realize that some of us had a glimmer of hope in the possibility Rex Tillerson would have a chance to become US’ most successful secretary of state in three decades. A glimmer cut short, however, in the reality of Tillerson being sandwiched between a narcissist clown as a boss and a bipartite Congress obsessed with empire as its mission; coupled, of course, with a neocon hawkish ideology in both State Department and Pentagon—ideology that has operated on autopilot for over two decades no matter the circumstances or which party occupied the White House. Continue reading

The new and improved ugly American

After a two-month hiatus—a self-imposed exile in an exclusive political exchange with some of my closest transoceanic peers—I feel invigorated to resume the quest which I had taken up in 2003 with my Behind the Mirror columns: a then rebuke to a reckless, and brainless, foreign policy adopted by George W. Bush under Cheney’s tutelage. Continue reading

Allies, adversaries and Washington’s imperious hawkishness

May 7 marked 72 years since the signing in Reims (France), the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region, of the first document in the German unconditional surrender in World War II (1945). That document was superseded by a “more-formal” one signed by Field Marshall Keitel in Berlin the following day; all part of an anecdotal account as to why Victory Day is celebrated on May 8 in much of Europe and the US, while Russia does so May 9, putting an end to what Russians call “The Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945.” An interesting chronology (May 7, 8 and 9) of specific events for history buffs, but irrelevant otherwise! Continue reading

Trump morphs from deal-maker to weal-faker

Yes, the old adage of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” finally is starting to resonate in the lustful ménage a trois that Donald Trump brought to American politics with his populism courting the unlikely duet of conservatism and deplorable-jingoism. What seemed as a bountiful and exotic relationship to the leadership in the Republican Party is now appearing to be no more than a one night stand, and not the beginning of a long term relationship; reality becoming sobriety to an ephemeral night of GOP political lust. And as the repeal-replace of Obamacare fails in the House in its initial attempt (the bill in the house pulled being short of the necessary majority), it’s beginning to look as if Trump’s inaugural attempt as political deal-maker does bode ill for his egocentricity. Nor does it help Republican Party unity. Continue reading

America’s dangerous descent into symbiotic politics

US media gave us Trump . . . but it seems unlikely that same media will take him away. It’s beginning to look as too formidable a task, unless there is a quick transformation of the mutualism that exists between the Republican congressional majority and the Emperor in the White House wearing no clothes while narcissistically touting sartorial acumen. Continue reading

A mostly-right message from a totally-wrong messenger

We have seen Donald J. Trump in many settings, performing many roles . . . some of us for as long as 4 decades that he’s been in the public eye; and all of us during these last 19 months that he has been wearing the new sartorial duds of a politician: first as unlikely candidate for the GOP nomination to the presidency in June 2015; then as sure-to-fail candidate to the presidency; later surprisingly becoming president-elect last November; and now as full-fledged president of these United States of America, informally sporting the US’s ostentatious, self-imposed title of “leader of the free world.” Continue reading

Pavor nocturnus during the fortnight of Trump’s inauguration

Entering 2017 in political America has been a true centennial celebration of surrealism, American style . . . at least in ideology and politics, if not in art. We may not quite have the quality-legacy of surrealism provided by Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx or Pablo Picasso to Europeans a century ago, but we are poised to receive an overdose of new political reality shortly after Donald Trump is installed as our 45th president today, January 20. Plan on it . . . count on it! Continue reading

Enough cyber-disputin’! We just hate Vladimir Putin!

In 1898, incited by a yellow press (the Hearst gang) and aspiring American imperialists, the American public was clamoring for war after the Maine’s sinking in Havana’s harbor. The cry then was, “Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!,” which allowed sacrificing an old and decrepit despot to surrender its colonial booty (Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico) to a nascent bully in the high seas itching to test its 1890’s state-of-the-art armored cruisers, using two dated Spanish flotillas for target practice. Continue reading

Phoenix unlikely to rise from Democratic Party’s ashes

After almost four decades of disregard for a decomposing cadaver, party progressives appear ready to cremate the Democratic Party’s corpse and give it a requiem mass, doubtful that their minority status will allow them to revive the party. Not the majority, however, who seem hopeful for a Lazarus’ resuscitation without a Jesus in their midst; a legion of career politicians tending to their own personal needs. Continue reading

Trump’s election breaks chains of political correctness

One likely winner to come out of the 2016 US presidential election: accuracy in polling. Obviously not past but future polling! Continue reading

Hope shrinks eternal ( . . . for transformational political change in America)

Enough! Here we are in the midst of a national election . . . literally. Many Americans are already casting their votes while an over-staffed, self-serving mainstream media continue keeping us entertained in a surreal world where democracy and hypocrisy walk hand in hand, as if a perfect couple forged right in the bosom of E-Harmony. Continue reading

Bill-George-Barack-Hillary: US’ free-trade relay team

Hillary is ready to take the baton from Obama and run the last leg for America’s free-trade relay team. Scoundrel Bill started the race by allowing businesses to export many family-sustainable jobs in America without providing an economic bridge to remedy the consequences; and now his missus is about to complete the race, without scruples and a straight face, on behalf of the moneyed-class. Any attempt to see it any other way is political suicide by deception, nothing else. Continue reading

Americans’ 2016 choices: Lesser-Able and Lesser-Evil

Once again, the quadrennial apparition has reached the dreaded countdown to political ignominy, placing American democracy on trial once again . . . yet quickly dismissing the charges, letting the political circus continue with its three-ring democracy made up of a dangerous quasi-autocratic executive, a corrupt special-interests Congress, and an ugly, politically tainted judiciary. But in 2016, the choice of whether to reelect Lesser-Evil for the umpteenth time might be looking at Evil as a new candidate: Lesser-Able. Continue reading

Deplorables, delusionals and demagogues united by a flawed foreign policy

If you are an alien, terrestrial or extraterrestrial, looking at our nation these days, you would be scratching your head trying to figure out why our country is known as the USA and not the DPA (Disunited Peoples of America). Only thing that appears to unite us—not all but most—is the love of empire and pride in a corporate-military war machine that mercilessly sucks a great part of our economic, intellectual and moral resources; truly impoverishing our people and making Americans friends of some but enemies of most people around the world. Continue reading

Archie Bunker still lives within some, many or most of us

Politicians are human and occasionally they cannot contain themselves, allowing their true sentiments to come out; sometimes in droplets hardly noticed, but sometimes in damaging blurbs. We, certainly the media, usually point to these blurbs as gaffes. But in reality they simply represent what these politicians think but are not supposed to acknowledge in a world where we must try, at times force ourselves, to be painfully politically correct in order to achieve some modicum of conviviality. Continue reading

America’s choices to run the empire: Sociopath Trump or unpalatable Clinton

Sadly for most Americans, the more we examine our choices for president, arrogantly referred to as “the leader of the free world,” the more our 2016 presidential election is starting to look as a simple referendum, the flip of a coin that has either two heads or two tails: a toss of a coin that no matter how we call it, as it lands, we are all likely to lose. The question we might want to ask this year, however, is how reparable we want that loss to be. And the answer, as unhappy as it may seem to most of us, appears to be rather clear. Continue reading

Lesser Evil: America’s winningest political candidate

Why, I am constantly being asked by my overseas peers, do you Americans have such affection for a creepy old pretender, a political candidate who’s been around forever, and all he has done is have his way with you? Does the “me-or-else” political ultimatum award Lesser Evil license to govern and rape? Whether dressed as Tweedledee or as Tweedledum, Lesser Evil righteously appears to so think; adding one more rosary bid in our march towards the 2016 presidential election . . . just as it happened in 2012 and, as I tap into my memory, to all other quadrennials before then. Continue reading

Glue holding America together no longer binding

Often cited as an important reason for US success as a global power, our diversity has finally come home to roost, and it’s taking a destructive, cruel toll. A unique magic glue that we somehow thought would keep myriad groups in America working at unison with a common goal forever, has unhardened, lost both its adhesive properties and cohesive strength, leaving us with a divided America. No, not as a simplistic two-part nation, but as a fragmented Humpty Dumpty beyond the conservative-liberal political fray. Continue reading

An America neither Republicans nor Democrats dare show

It’s over, and to use Joe Biden’s favorite and oft-repeated descriptive noun, rebirthed from nine decades ago, the duopoly gatherings in Cleveland and Philadelphia gave America a double dosage of political malarkey. Republican malarkey coated with both fear and hate, and Democratic malarkey wrapped in chameleonic deception. Continue reading

Uncontrolled refugeeism lacks political wisdom

Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orban, Nigel Farage and myriad other populist, right-wing leaders sprouting over much of the Western World, are being tagged by the political ruling class as an ill-conceived, hate-fest phenomenon; and often portrayed as the mutant offspring of fascism. Such interpretation, however, might be only serving as ear plugs against the loud, real voices of people who fear a real threat to their economic wellbeing or their cultural identity. Continue reading

Short lifespan of American Demo-Republicanism

It doesn’t seem so long ago when an ambitious political couple holding preteen Chelsea Clinton by the hand was moving from the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas, to the august quarters of the White House in D.C. A young Democratic president had just defeated Ronald Reagan’s heir, Papa Bush, and a prophetic populist with a Texan twang, Ross Perot, in the colorful presidential fray of 1992. Continue reading

Evolution, revolution and the troglodyte eruption

Finally, after three-plus decades of unmitigated adventurism, both domestic and global, the [economic] chickens are coming home to roost in this 2016 presidential election. And this time around we can indisputably state that “the economy matters.” And it matters much more than at any other time in our nation’s history. Why? Continue reading

Blacks and Latinos misread their suicidal allegiance to Hillary

Forget about the number of super delegates; or the several undemocratic manipulations by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The reality that stands out loud and clear at the end of April, with almost two-thirds of the primary-caucus vote having been cast, is that Hillary Clinton is commandingly leading Bernie Sanders in the democratically-chosen delegate count by a tally of 55 percent against 45 for the senator. Continue reading

Requiem for American foreign policy change

It was expected to happen and, true to course, it did. On Tuesday, April 26, presidential primaries in five northeastern states hermetically, and silently, sealed the fate of how the US will be dealing with the rest of the world on all issues, geopolitical or economic, for another four, perhaps eight years. Continue reading

Neither America nor the world deserve Hillary Clinton’s inevitability

Who, one might ask, better to understand, advocate, and take action on US interests around the world than the former secretary of state? Doesn’t Ms. Clinton’s background as past head of the State Department for Barack Obama round out her other training in domestic affairs as the perfect US Head of State, better described in our hawkish-lexicon as commander-in-chief? Isn’t that the way our forefathers did see the proper, and noble, political training demanded from anyone who aspires to become president of this nation, the United States of America? Continue reading

Hillary’s inconsequential emails . . . and telltale speeches

Indications are that the federal probe investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she served as secretary of state is winding down. And so far, neither the FBI nor the prosecutorial staff at the Justice Department has come up with information that point to Hillary or her aides knowingly, or negligently, discussing classified secrets over her non-secure email system . . . contrary to the hopes and “political prayers” of every soul in the Republican Party. Continue reading

Ave Trump! Those about to die (politically) salute you

After the symbolic early-bird primaries/caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, where approximately 5 percent of either party’s nominating delegates were offered to the presidential candidates, the winds of March came early on this 2016 Super Tuesday directly propelled by that extra leap day, February 29. Approximately a quarter of the delegate count were at stake for each party this March 1, and the results have provided some political enlightenment, as well as minutiae, to keep the politicians concerned, the TV pundits employed and the politicophile public entertained. Continue reading

Iraq war: Not a mistake, but a holocaustic crime

Either our minds have softened in the United States, or our hearts have hardened way beyond the callous stage. Or, likely both! Continue reading

2016 presidential election: Hillary’s progressive Halloween costume

“Everybody wants to get inta da act! Inka dinka doo, a dinka dee, a dinka doo.” Our parents, our grandparents, remembering the ‘40s or ‘50s are likely to smile if reminded of that entertainer, Jimmy Durante, who traversed from vaudeville to the early days of television with his antics. Continue reading

Tossing the Democratic coin: Hillary’s evolution or Bernie’s revolution

We cannot help but smile at the shrill and jingoish display of fervid patriotism that the lady from the heartland of the north, Sarah Palin, brings to American politics. A faux conservatism which is made up mostly of geriatric memories celebrating America’s past glories as center of power and influence in a unipolar world. Continue reading

Presidentialism not serving American politics well

Here we are heralding the entrance of a new year with myriad problems confronting us; some problems appearing as daily spoken realities—those principally dealing with the economy, war and terrorism; others, subliminally present, silenced by national choice—such as bigotry, an ever-expanding income-wealth inequality and the prospect of a world without US economic and military hegemony. The subliminal topics appearing as taboo, where neither government nor most of us dare go or openly discuss. Continue reading

Trump’s identifiable ‘supernova’ constituency

It won’t be long before Donald Trump is forced into a lifetime decision; one far more reaching than anything he has faced before. He will either have to accept the logic of exiting politics in a graceful, or even narcissistic, Trump manner . . . or seriously bet all his chips—money and brand—in the founding of an American populist movement, perhaps a stars-and-stripes’ version of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National [in France]. Continue reading