Regular readers of Pravda.Ru may recall that one of the theories I've discussed in previous articles is that most of the conflicts in the world are not driven by "good vs. evil," but simply by clashes between varying degrees of evil-those that most people accept as the course of "doing business," vs. those that "shock the conscience."
My theory is based upon the premise that human nature is fundamentally evil, or at least inclined to it. This is supported by the fact that the American government was largely modeled on a premise best summed up by this quotation from Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority."
In an effort to contain this corruption, America's founders instituted a system of "checks and balances" designed to ensure that no individual, or oligarchy, would gain the power to act against the interests of the governed.
But, as visionary as these founders were, the one thing they failed to check and balance was the corrupting influence of capitalism, which has now given rise to the corporate fascism and political corruption legalized by the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC.
Perhaps this is because, at the time of its birth, America was essentially an agrarian culture, and the theoretical virtues of capitalism-competition creating the best products and/or services, workers being rewarded according to merit and ambition, and the marketplace intrinsically providing the necessary "checks and balances"-worked well in such an economy. Perhaps it is because these founders were unable to foresee how politically powerful industries, and those who control them, would become. Or perhaps it was because many of these founders were wealthy themselves.
But, whatever the reason, the evils unbridled capitalism is capable of producing were already present in the form of slavery. After slavery ended, the Industrial Revolution spawned different evils in the form of unequal pay for women and racial minorities; companies enslaving workers by paying them in private currency only redeemable in company stores; the destruction of smaller businesses by larger ones through the dissemination of inexpensive (and often inferior) products; child labor; brutally long work days; the exploitation of labor by demanding the maximum amount of work for the minimum amount of pay; and the firing, blacklisting, and even the massacre of those who complained.
Many of these evils still exist in some form today. Yet, when Trump beguiled voters with the argument that America's government would be more efficient if it were run like a business, it was still an easy sell to the myopic, the ignorant, and the gullible. But for those of us who recognized Trump's duplicity, we understood that he really intended to run America's government as his business, implementing policies and laws that benefit him, his family, and his wealthy friends and cronies. And he was going to do that despite the damage it caused to the economy and to the people.
This was Trump's first con. The second recently came in the form of the new "tax bill," which not only dramatically shifts the tax burden from the corporations to the people, but also threatens the economy by drastically increasing the national debt.
For this con, the strategy was to sell the quixotic idea of "corporate socialism": By reducing the corporate tax burden, corporations will be more inclined to remain in the United States, expand or build more businesses, and create more jobs.
Not only does this specious argument ignore Acton's harbinger and the abuses of the Industrial Revolution, it also blatantly ignores that capitalism, by its very nature, is based upon greed and selfishness. If Trump and his corrupt cabal, led by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, despise government-based "socialism" so much that they look for every opportunity to undermine it, then why do they suddenly believe the leaders of corporate America will magically grow halos and demonstrate a concern for anything other than lining their own pockets?
The reality is that there are numerous corporations, even without the tax cuts, that currently have the profitability to increase the salaries of their workers, expand or build new businesses, and create more jobs. Instead, they squirrel those profits away in off-shore tax shelters, give their executives lucrative bonuses, and, in some cases, even pay millions in severance packages to people who drove the business into bankruptcy.
Tax cuts will not deter corporate executives from moving jobs overseas, where they can pay pennies, instead of dollars, to workers; where they can destroy the environment for personal profit; where they can pay off corrupt government officials for favorable legislation; where they can force workers, including children, to work long hours under the most oppressive of conditions; and where they can pay mercenaries and private militias to murder those who denounce this oppression. These are the executives who are now supposed to grow a soul, develop compassion, and consider human and natural resources to be something more than objects to exploit.
Now that Trump has successfully enhanced his personal wealth at taxpayer expense, he is prepared for the biggest con of all, perhaps the con that motivated him to seek the presidency in the first place.
As of this writing, an investigation, led by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, is looking into possible crimes committed by Trump, members of his family, and/or his supporters. Criminal charges have already been filed against some of these supporters, and, on an almost daily basis, American media are replete with theories about who is going to be targeted or charged next.
According to reports, Mueller's probe is extending beyond allegations of possible collusion with Russia into examinations of the financial dealings of Trump, his family, and supporters. Many Republicans in Congress (who, not surprisingly, also stand to gain financially from the new "tax bill") are now crying "foul" and demanding that Trump fire Mueller.
Trump claims he has no intention to do so, and critics have opined that this is because he believes Mueller will eventually exonerate him.
This is absolute nonsense. Trump wants Mueller to expose every single crime he, his family, and his supporters may have committed. He wants all those crimes out in the open for the world to see. Why? Because he will then pardon every single person Mueller accuses. And, if he is charged, he will attempt to pardon himself, or resign and strike a "Gerald Ford" type deal with sycophant Mike Pence to be pardoned once Pence assumes the presidency-all the while reaping the financial windfall from his tax bill.
The ultimate con man is about to pull off the ultimate con.
In one of the districts of Donbass, a situation occurred that received a response on the Web. The Russian tank T-72BZ was blown up by a mine, but it is not that simple.