A pointless, tragic ‘American Soap Opera’!



by Selvam Canagaratna


"Like the bee its sting, the promiscuous leave behind them in each encounter something of themselves by which they are made to suffer."– Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave, 1945


They were both, er, extremely practised liars: he a life-long sexual predator who, until quite recently, was so proud of his horrible proclivity to the point of being openly boastful about it; and she a past-master at what is best captured by that aptly picturesque ‘local’ english concoction, ‘Bombay-looking, Calcutta-going’ – except that, in her case, it only applies to ‘filthy lucre’!

Just days before the second-of-three Presidential Debates, both candidates were confronted by Wikileaks’ revelations that neither could possibly counter credibly. But both denied all allegations, nevertheless. Making matters worse [for Trump] the Washington Post also uncovered a 2005 tape of Donald, in his own gratingly unmistakable voice, making very lewd comments about women and bragging that he had kissed and groped women without their consent.

Anderson Cooper, one of the two Moderators at the second Debate, confronted Donald: "You bragged [on the video tape] that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?"

"No, I didn’t say that at all," lied Trump promptly, sticking to the half-answer he’d given over the weekend – that it was mere ‘locker-room’ talk which he now regrets. But Cooper persisted: Had Trump actually kissed or groped women without their consent, or had he not?

Trump’s response was intentionally off course: "Nobody has more respect for women than I do." Cooper asked him again, and Trump repeated, parrot-like "I have tremendous respect for women." Cooper asked him a third time if he’d ever "done those things," and Trump thought up an altogether meaningless response, "Women have respect for me" he claimed, before adding, "And I will tell you, no, I have not."

Within hours of the live brodcast, Donald’s outright denial of his 2005 boasts of his sexually predatory exploits returned to haunt him; many of his long-silent victims began putting themselves on the record, establishing beyond doubt that Donald indeed had a three-decade-old history as a ‘serial groper’.

One of them, Jessica Leeds, described Trump’s sexual antics during a flight to New York more than three decades ago: she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, and sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin. They had never met before.

About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Trump lifted the armrest and began to ‘paw’ her. Trump grabbed her breasts, then tried to put his hand up her skirt. "He was like an octopus," she recalled. "His hands were everywhere!"

She finally fled to the back of the plane.

The other woman, Rachel Crooks, told the Times she met Trump in an elevator in 2005 and, after she introduced herself, Trump began kissing her on the cheek and then on the mouth.

A Florida woman said that Trump groped her without consent in 2004, according to the Palm Beach Post. Cassandra Searles, who was ‘Miss Washington 2013’, has also claimed that Trump groped her. Four women who competed in a 1997 Teen USA beauty pageant told Buzzfeed News that Trump walked in on them while they were changing. And during a Miss USA beauty pageant in 2001, Trump entered a dressing room while the contestants were changing into bikinis.

Wrote Patrick McMulla in Vanity Fair: "Here’s how the wheels came off Donald Trump’s campaign in the span of just a few days. He was caught on a video tape bragging how his ‘star power’ lets him grope and kiss women without their consent. Then, at a presidential debate two days later, he is grilled about whether he has ever done any of the things he talked about in the video. Trump claims that ‘they are just words’, of which he is now embarrassed; just locker-room talk and nothing more.

"But there were tens of millions of women watching Trump say that he never acted out the predatory fantasies he described. And some of those women had been telling their friends for years that the same man dissembling on TV had actually done those things he boasted about, to them!

"So shortly after the second presidential debate ended, the dam broke, and a wave of allegations burst forth. BuzzFeed was told that Trump had waltzed around the women’s dressing room during the 1997 beauty pageant while some contestants, who may have ranged in age from 14 to 19, were in various states of undress. [Trump had bragged about this ‘privilege’ on The Howard Stern Show: "I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed . . . and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant," he said on a recording unearthed by CNN. "They’re standing there with no clothes . . . I sort of get away with things like that."]

"Soon after, People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff published a personal essay detailing how Trump allegedly pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat when she interviewed him on Trump’s first wedding anniversary. "You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?" Stoynoff recalled Trump telling her, while his pregnant wife Melania was upstairs.

"Cable-news talking heads were wide-eyed as the allegations kept coming in real time, while Trump’s surrogates tried to spin the scandals as the result of media bias, and women seeking ‘15 minutes of fame’.

Enough of Trump. the clown. On to the diehard warmonger.

John Wight, author of Dreams That Die, noted that although mainstream media coverage was on Trump, "In truth, it is Hillary Clinton, with her penchant for war and the destruction of Arab countries, who is far more dangerous – not only for the people of the US but a world grown weary of US hegemony."

Binoy Kampmark noted: "WikiLeaks made its sniping foray into the US election with ample juicy material prior to the second presidential debate, this time revealing excerpts of paid speeches shedding light on Hillary’s view on banking, finance and trade. Behind the scenes, before an audience that has remunerated her to be friendly and benevolent to the corporate sector, Clinton has shown herself to be very partial to sympathy and praise. In public, she has attempted to mine the populist storm against corporate elites and the sapping dangers of free trade. In private, she has fawned and placated.

"What matters in these excerpts is a vision entirely consistent with the Clinton duo, which have functioned over the years as annexes of corporate representation in US politics."

Colin Todhunter, writing in CounterPunch magazine, asked: "So what will the US voter give to the rest of the world by voting in a handmaiden of empire? What will we have to thank the US voter for? A voter spoonfed and indoctrinated with a diet of CNN/Fox fear-based propaganda about ‘Russian aggression’ and Islamic terror as well as the US’s role in exporting ‘freedom and democracy’ to the smoking ruins it helped create in Syria, Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan?

"What we will get is what we already have: a trajectory towards a nuclear precipice and a continuation of the steely grip of freedom around the necks of weaker states who refuse to bow to US hegemony."

In essence, then, the contest’s between a corrupt, Janus-faced female neocon-warmonger pretending to be a peace-loving Democrat and a sex-mad, dodgy businessman who, having achieved billionaire-status largely by resort to ‘legal bankruptcies’, has also battered the Republican Party in his mad quest for the Oval Office.

Weirdo American politics!

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