Tuesday, January 30, 2018

More bragadoccio from Trump tonight, and then what? More of the same nothingness, more likely

Donald Trump's “State of the Union” address has been the subject of mass speculation about what he will say, maybe bragging about  a "New America," or something. But does it really matter what he says? First of all, we all should know by now that Trump is all over the map ideologically—although the range is mostly from “compassionate conservatism” to fascist far-right. It is interesting to note a comparison between Trump and Richard Nixon; Nixon was a racist, but he kept his commentary on the matter “private,” in as far as they could be given that he recorded everything he said in the White House (who knows why, given all the trouble he was in). But on the other hand, even if he was not empathetic with their problems and goals, Nixon nevertheless actively courted the support of minorities and liberals, with what one could regard as “progressive” policies on civil rights and the environment. Let’s not forget that it was the Nixon administration Justice Department that sued Trump’s company for discrimination and civil rights violations; according to a recent story in The Guardian,

It also charged that the company had required prohibitively stringent rental terms and conditions to black applicants and had lied about unit availability to keep black residents out. A then 26-year-old Donald Trump was the president of the company at the time.

Three Trump doormen also told the DoJ they had been instructed to deflect African Americans who came to Trump buildings to apply for apartments. The suit was later settled “without an admission of guilt”, as Trump is keen on reminding.

Trump also called for the death sentence of the Central Park Five, who were later exonerated after being wrongly convicted of raping a jogger in the park. In another “accommodation”  to Trump’s racism, according to the Guardian “Another former Trump employee told The New Yorker that black staff were hidden from Trump when he visited (the Trump Plaza) casino with his wife. ‘When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,’ said Kip Brown.”

And we also know that Trump still has a hard time separating “Dreamers” from the “murderers and rapists” that he imagines most “Mexicans” are. It seems that time, self-reflection and conscience have not had any impact on Trump, as if any of that even was a part of his make-up;  we shouldn’t keeping our fingers crossed that it will happen any time soon, if ever. Trump’s ego and thin-skin must constantly be massaged, even when he now offers outrageous and impossible terms for a DACA “deal.” This is no “deal”—this is the kind of hostage taking that even Dr. Evil would know is absurd. 

Another “liberal” issue is environmental policy, and Trump has allowed his completely unqualified Interior Secretary (as are most of his appointments for their cabinet posts), Ryan Zinke, run over environmental laws like a road grader. But does that stop Trump from making more bizarre and head-scratching pronouncements? Are you kidding? His belief in the concept of global warming was muddled before he was elected, then “coalesced” around the idea that it was a “myth,” or at least wasn’t caused by “human” factors. Zinke ordered the EPA to remove all mention of “global warming” on its websites, and the opinions of scientists working for the department that were contrary to that of the administrations were to removed. 

Yet there was Trump just the other day telling the world that he “might” revisit the Paris climate accord after having abandoned it as being against U.S. “interests.” What this means could be anything; Soon afterwards, Trump was telling an interviewer that global sheet ice was at “record” levels, seemingly denying once more that global warming was occurring. Climatologists say that Arctic ice sheets continue to shrink, while any increase in the Antarctic is due less to “growth,” but the addition of usually more northerly ice sheets, in reaction to rising sea temperatures. Trump’s comments are “baffling” scientists, but his defenders are careful to note that he didn’t “exactly” say if the “records” being set are from increases or decreases; so much for the “on-the-job training” of this president.

Of course, tonight Trump will take “credit” for things he doesn’t deserve to take credit for, and deflect blame for the mass failures of his regime to others. He won’t admit that the reason why there is no DACA deal is because he has courted the fringe fascist-right to such an extent that he has alienated most of the population, and being a glutton for undeserved praise, he finds that his only true “friends” are those who respond favorably to his most racist and anti-immigrant policy pronouncements; "naturally" he must "accommodate" them first. And House Speaker Paul Ryan always pretends to be “uncomfortable” with racist rhetoric coming from the fringes, but an immigration deal is unlikely to be forthcoming from the Republican-controlled House because Ryan is either in secret agreement with these lunatics, or he “imagines” that they are a much more powerful force than they actually are, and he is just too lily-livered to stand-up to them. But he and Trump don't deserve all the blame; Mitch McConnell on the Senate side has also been called a "weak-chinned sellout" for Trump's latest outrages.

So really, it doesn’t matter what Trump says; the only thing that can be said for certain is that even if he does say something “conciliatory,” we have heard this song and dance before, and nothing positive has ever come from it.   

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