Blue background and head and shoulders of white man with black hair biting him lips as if he's upset

The universal laws of physics have been turned upside-down and torn to shreds: we’ve traveled back in time. We have hurtled back to the 1990s with a homophobic sexual predator as president. America’s military is once again launching strikes to protect the fossil fuel industry and distract the country from sex scandals and legal troubles. We are saying goodbye to a right-wing ideologue Speaker of the House while healthcare is being used as a political weapon.

Wednesday morning quickly brightened our month by bringing us the news of Paul Ryan’s retirement. Ryan, the creepiest teenager ever, confirmed recent speculation by declaring he was stepping down from the speakership and would not seek reelection at the end of the year. He has spent his entire career drafting crippling cuts to public spending, especially to Social Security and various healthcare programs. As speaker, he has overseen a large increase in federal spending and falling tax revenues. For all of his talk about fiscal common sense, he has possessed none.

There are many rumors as to why he is stepping down after a relatively short tenure. It could be that he is well aware of his party’s impending doom and does not want all of the blame for the Republicans’ first loss of any power since before 2010. It could be he genuinely wants to spend more time with his children, although there is almost nothing genuine about the man. He may be distancing himself from the current administration and congressional leadership as part of the groundwork for a future presidential bid. Much has been said about his reluctance to become speaker, but his election was wholly unsurprising and looked like the work of a very savvy politician. He got himself on Romney’s ticket in 2012 and received nationwide name recognition yet none of the negative press for the overall soporific campaign. From there it wasn’t long before he was two heart attacks away from the presidency. Nobody gets into that position by accident. So if he was talented enough to carve that out for himself, why would he not be looking at the presidency? Both 2020 and 2024 would be attractive years for him to run. He could again be the Republican savior who united the Congress (he really didn’t). He guaranteed he would never again seek elected office, but we all know how much lines like that are to be trusted. In very recent history, Jeb! (you have to scream his name) wasn’t running and then did. Clinton was unsure about a 2016 bid even though we all knew she’d been running since Monica Lewinsky dropped to her knees. I just cannot see this being the last of the world’s most famous old lady hater.

Newt Gingrich left the House in 1999 under very different circumstances. However, both his and Ryan’s departures are something to have been temporarily celebrated by the left. Each man is an ideological moron and political genius. They both ascended to one of the country’s highest offices and proceeded to inflict a huge amount of damage. Nonetheless, the excitement over their exits was/is clouded by other national events.

The United States, United Kingdom, and France were experiencing bomb throwing withdrawal symptoms so cooperated on furthering turning Syria into one of Trump’s shitholes. Their attacks were supposedly in retaliation for the Assad regime using chemical weapons on civilians. Killing any civilian is a travesty and any normal human being should find the use of chemical weapons reprehensible. Yet more weapons and warfare will neither bring back the dead nor force the belligerents to lay down their arms. The one thing that will definitely prolong war is new violence.

The Department of Defense claimed to have used more than 150 missiles during one short mission. Considering the accuracy those weapons are supposed to have, the “greatness” of the American military, and the added involvement of the French and British, 150 seems like an awful lot to take out a few missile sites. The civilian death toll is doubtless high and there is no guarantee all of Assad’s weapons were destroyed. Apparently, the weapons manufacturers’ stock values spiked in the wake of the attacks so there’s another possible reason for the excessive force.

I hate to say I told you so (, but Macron’s admission that he was the mastermind behind the violence proves the peace movement needs to be a global effort. While Trump and his fellow Republicans are extremely dangerous, to ignore neoliberalism is to condemn future generations to war and corporate greed. It also shows us that Trump isn’t the freethinking individual his supporters believe he is and there is more to the story than immediately meets the eye.

Syria is right in the middle of two proposed fossil fuel pipeline routes that will power Europe. Macron and Theresa May, the UK’s Prime Monster (that’s right, I said it), would earn untold riches and political capital if they were able to secure their countries’ cheap and poisonous energy supply. Taking out Assad would create a power vacuum the West could fill with a modern day Vidkun Quisling. They would then control a large chunk of the Middle East and a major energy supply route.

The twisting of Trump’s arm may have been so easy because of his predicaments at home. As with Bill Clinton, Trump is battling a legal scandal that is occupying the majority of the media’s attention. Although Clinton’s property dealings are child’s play compared to election theft and obstruction of justice, both are powerful enough to bring down a presidency. Also like Clinton, Trump is a well-known philanderer mired in multiple sex scandals. The scandals are mopping up whatever is left over from the media’s obsession with Russia so Trump’s “achievements” are being ignored and he is not receiving the kind of attention he sorely craves. The military strikes in Syria distracted the media and gave the administration a few seconds of respite from answering questions about the president’s skin tag and dodgy friends. It is safe to say Trump successfully wagged the dog.

In 1993-94, the Democrats attempted to pass healthcare legislation that would have created a system similar to what Obamacare later instituted. The Republican congress smelled blood and sought to destroy Democratic hopes for the ’94 midterms. They completely shutdown all healthcare efforts and kept all incumbents’ seats while making substantial gains in other races. Ideological issues were at play, but the entire issue boiled down to both sides wanting to score political points and winning the battles of election season. Only a few days ago, the president signed an executive order creating new work requirements, and strengthening existing ones, for all participants in social safety programs such as Medicaid and public housing benefits. I explained in a past article why the work requirements will not decrease public spending or help anyone in need. It is just another example from this week of how America is failing to move forward. It is interesting that Clinton introduced some work requirements back in 1996. If the United States provided healthcare to all of its people like civilized countries, Republicans and Democrats could not play games with people’s lives, and no-one would be left to suffer or die because of money.

One piece of news not related to the ‘90s was three states fulfilling Trump’s request for deploying National Guard troops to the Mexican border. Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona have thus far sent a total of almost a thousand personnel to the border. They are said to currently be unarmed and only providing intelligence and infrastructure support. Their presence is only a deterrent to immigrants, however, if they are either armed or the intelligence they are providing will lead to action from some other authority. As the ultimate goal is to cleanse America of people of color, the official story has to be a cover. No-one should trust that the troops do not carry weapons, and the administration and state governments are clearly plotting something more drastic for the future.

The only notable activity from the legislative branch was a failed vote to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Everyone knew it wouldn’t pass so it was another gigantic waste of time. It is laughable how many symbolic votes the Congress entertains before its members head to their constituencies and promise the voters they will work for them. A balanced budget would mean slashing public funding which is what happened with Clinton and twitchy John Kasich in 1997. Neither side has the guts to raise money from the robber barons or cut funding for the bloated military, so a balanced budget would have a grossly negative impact on most people. The federal government constantly disrespects the Constitution, so a balanced budget amendment wouldn’t force it to produce even a crappy budget deal. No incumbent up for election this fall is earning the right to be reelected.

Outside of the economic boom brought by the internet, the ‘90s is not a decade we should be in a rush to return to. America has to look to the future because living memory does not provide us with snapshots of peace, equality, or universal prosperity.