Thursday, January 26, 2017

One Nation Under Trump

I couldn't resist another post.  I haven't gotten my new blog up and running yet, at least not the way I would like, so I thought I would offer my initial impressions of Emperor Trump.

We all knew he would hit the ground running, sort of anyway.  He showed at his inauguration parade that walking, let alone running, is not one of his strong suits.  This guy could barely move.  Whatever exercise he gets will obviously be on the golf course.  But, there is no lethargy in his tiny little hands.  He immediately started signing executive orders, putting his imprimatur on the White House.  The only thing he seemed to forget about was a page that allows you to petition him to save the National Endowment for the Arts.  I guess after Sly turned down the job to head the NEA there was no point in keeping it.  The petition had garnered thousands of signatures before the White House caught on and made sure the page no longer responded.

His Trumpness also wants to get rid of a number of other federal agencies, including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, started by Obama, that works to "sustain American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy."  I'm surprised he hasn't removed the solar panels on the roof, but maybe his staff forgot they are up there.  If you remember, that was the first thing Reagan did when he came to the White House, nullifying Jimmy Carter's drive for clean energy.

Mostly, Emperor Trump has been pushing the idea that his inauguration was a really big show.  He inflated the numbers at his CIA rally, claiming up to 1.5 million persons came to see him sworn in as President.  Later that day he had his press secretary scold reporters at the first White House press conference for getting the numbers wrong.  Trump's inauguration was "the biggest crowd ever.  Period!" an angry Sean Spicer shouted.  When he came back Monday in a less grumpy mood, Sean tried to make the case that when you combine crowd size with television and Internet audiences, Trump's inauguration was the most watched ever.  But, these numbers didn't add up either, as the media gleefully reported, noting that at least four presidents had bigger television audiences and Obama had more Internet hits for his 2009 inauguration than Trump had in 2017.  Yet, the Trump administration remains undeterred in its alternative version of events.

As if this wasn't enough, his excellency continues to insist that millions of votes were illegally cast, but so far the only "proof" he has offered is the anecdotal observation of very famous golfer Bernhard Langer.  Apparently he even got this wrong, as Trump was relating a story by some friend of Langer, who apparently wasn't aware that the very famous golfer is a German citizen and unable to vote in American elections.

These and other events the past five days have led Paul Krugman to suggest that Trump is "obviously mentally ill."  Body language experts have also weighed in with their initial impressions of the relationship between Trump and Melania, suggesting it is distant at best.  Needless to say, these incidents have been a field day for comedians, bloggers and pundits, unmercifully poking fun at our new first family.

But, don't let these strange events fool you.  It's all part of a "shock and awe" strategy designed to keep us off guard.  Naomi Klein wrote extensively about this in her book, "The Shock Doctrine."  This administration plans to pour Uncle Milty's supply-side economics down our throats, and unless we stand up to it, we are all going to feel like we are being waterboarded.

So far the Republican leaders in Congress have shown little resistance.  Little Marco was quite vocal in his concerns over Rex Tillerson's close relationship to Vladimir Putin, but ultimately backed away and voted with Republicans to accept the Exxon oil chief's nomination, despite the all too obvious conflicts of interest.  

McCain has voiced his concerns over Trump's threat to reintroduce torture as an interrogation technique, but if the past is any indication, Mackie will probably not put up much of a fight.  The same goes for the TPP, which Trump eliminated with a stroke of the pen, despite all the hard work Congressional Republicans put into it.

It is highly doubtful Trump put much thought into any these actions, or for that matter his cabinet picks.  How does one justify Ben Carson, Rick Perry and Betsy DeVos?  Sadly, these picks will probably all be confirmed as well, ushering in a number of religious conservatives with very specific agendas into his administration.  You might recall, Ben Carson believes the Egyptians used pyramids as grain silos.  Betsy De Vos seems to worry a great deal about grizzly bears, and Rick Perry didn't even know the Energy Department existed until he was nominated to lead it.

Trump Almighty has also decided to gag the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any documents that relate to climate change without his approval.  He might as well set up a new agency on Biblical Flood Research given what seems to be a profound disrespect for science, let alone assessing crowd sizes.  He appears to have taken a page from Norman Vincent Peale in projecting his strangely "confident and optimistic thought pattern" to overcome facts all together.  In this sense he is little different from dictators like Kim Jung Un and Gambia's Yahya Jammeh, attempting to impose his will on the nation.  I'm not sure Pastor Peale meant his book to be taken in this way.

Then there is the wall.  He made any re-negotiations with Mexico on NAFTA a non-starter by tweeting out, "if Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting" in Washington, DC.  He also lashed out at "sanctuary cities" for harboring illegal immigrants.

How we deal with Trump is a huge concern.  So much so that Mayor De Blasio and Governor Jerry Brown have vowed to defy him, as has President Pena Nieto of Mexico.  Democratic members of Congress have similar vowed that they will strenuously oppose Trump, but are leaving the door open to trade.  In my humble opinion, no door should be left open.  Every Democrat needs to stand firm against Trump and his loyal Republican minions in Congress.  Trump's view on TPP and NAFTA are purely populist ones, as I seriously doubt he or his administration made any effort to familiarize themselves with these comprehensive trade agreements.

His administration will be all about imposing a new world order.  He is looking to undermine the European Union, giving his support to right-wing fanatics, like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, who have vowed to break away from the EU, which represents the world's largest trading block.  In this way, his Trumpness can deal with European countries through bilateral agreements, bypassing pesky EU regulations.  It also opens the door for his buddy Vlad to bring back the Eastern European countries into Russia's sphere of influence.  It will be like the last 70 years never happened.

There is also talk of Trump greatly reducing the US's role in the United Nations.  Nikki Haley has to be wondering what her reduced role as UN ambassador will be?  I'm not sure Israel will be too happy with this, as Bibi Netanyahu pitched a big hissy fit when Obama didn't stand up against the latest UN resolution scolding Israel for building new settlements on the West Bank.  Not that Israel has ever heeded a UN resolution, other than the one declaring it a sovereign state.

It is hard to imagine his Trumpness will succeed in his mission, but we shouldn't underestimate his efforts.  After all, he defied all odds in becoming the "Leader of the Free World."

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