Wednesday, February 1, 2017

THINKING HAPPY THOUGHTS ON FEBRUARY 1


THE QUESTION

After spending the better part of two days putting together the last edition for you guys (clip it and save it!), cataloging every shitty thing that happened in the first 10 days of Trump, I went into hibernation. And when I woke up, I was hungry. So I dragged myself over to my favorite Pakistani joint, where I’ve been a regular for years.

As my friend Abdul served my lunch, he sat down beside me and we started to talk. We’ve talked about politics on many occasions, going back to the era of Preznit Dubya. Despite working 12 hour shifts six days a week feeding a steady stream of hungry Torontonians, Abdul is well versed in world history. His take on world events is usually pretty savvy, and I've known him to be an admirer of shrewd plays, even by politicians he might not personally care for.

Today, however, he seemed genuinely puzzled. He was completely at a loss in accounting for Trump's post-inauguration moves. He was full of questions, most of which boiled down to this:

“Why has Mister Trump decided to begin his Presidency in this way? Why is he doing all these awful things? What is he hoping to accomplish?”

I thought about it for a moment. And then it came to me... it's because he’s got nothing else.

Trump’s campaign was erected on a twin platform of economic populism and nationalist demagoguery.

On the campaign trail, he promised to serve the former by “draining the swamp”, ridding Washington DC of the corruption that he claimed was the root of all America’s economic problems. In service of the latter, he promised to enact a raft of illiberal, racist, misogynistic, anti-Muslim legislation, designed to roll back decades of civil rights advances.

Thanks to his Billionaire’s Club cabinet picks and his transition team peppered with former Goldman Sachs executives, it is now painfully obvious to all but the most deluded Redcap cultist that Trump never had any intention of doing anything to help “the little guy”. As if the gold plated toilet bowls weren’t enough of a warning sign.

So basically, without the economic populism, nationalist demagoguery--sowing chaos left and right, fighting a running war against journalism, science, and reality, winking at the White Supremacists in his Amen Corner--is literally all he's got

Folks, it's usually at this point, in most Third World countries, that the population begins speculating on whose side the military is going to take. It's not a pleasant thought, but America's fate, and perhaps that of the world, rests with the few honorable, decent Republicans still left in the GOP after the Tea Party purges of the last 8 years.

I'm an atheist, and I've been praying every night this week. I suggest y'all do the same.

Sincerely,
Yer Old Pal Jerky

INFO CLEARING HOUSE
  • John Gartner, a top Johns Hopkins psychotherapist, has decided to breach a longstanding ethics edict agaisnt issuing psychiatric diagnoses without meeting the person being diagnosed in order to sound the alarm about what he sees as Trump's potentially disastrous psychoses.
  • Did you know that a Trump-connected dirty tricks operation was caught on camera soliciting violent and/or destructive acts from left-leaning, progressive protest organizations? This is actually a helpful illustration of how CNN is not just "the flip-side" of FOX News, because if it was, they would have covered this story for days on end.
  • Are ALEC-backed legislators in state houses across the USA pushing for a surprise Constitutional Convention? It certainly looks like it... and the repercussions could be awful.
  • Yer old pal Jerky has never been one to put particularly heavy stock in the idea that Presidents are responsible for the state of the nation’s economy, either for better or for worse. I think it's mostly luck, in either case. However, seeing as I see conservatives crowing about DOW 20,000, I thought I might as well burst their bubble with an explanation as to why there's actually not much cause for cheering in those numbers. 
  • It's good to know that career foreign service officers aren't just standing around staring with dropped jaws and eyes agog while Trump makes an origami swastika out of the US Constitution! Instead, they've decided to issue a strongly worded memo! Through the "anonymous dissent channel" of course.
  • With multiple arrests and at least one death in Russia's intel community now being connected to its creation and public release, the so-called "Steele Dossier" is looking increasingly credible. Which means Trump really is a piss freak. Interesting.
***
SUGGESTED READINGS

1. This Politico story, written by three people and arguing that "Trump's flashy executive actions could run him aground", seems kind of naive, perhaps missing the point--as discussed in this piece, which posits that chaos may be the entire point.

2. Here's another piece by Yonatan Zunger, this time describing what those who have been targeted by Trump and his minions--Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, Blacks, women, LGBQT, academics--can expect to have happen in the coming weeks and months: an acceleration of, and increase in, legislative provocation.

3. Another magnificent video by Vic Berger, this time, looking at Trump's announcement of President Bannon's pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorushisushushisush! Also see the Quote of the Day for more on this pick.

***
QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer."

- Henry Kissinger, as quoted by Trump's Supreme Court nominee, 
Neil Gorush, in his undergraduate yearbook photo.

DDD EXTRAS
  • As always, be sure to check out our sister site, the Useless Eater Blog, for a daily rundown of all the weird stuff that happened on this day in history, every single day!

2 comments:

  1. I miss Toronto so much and the diversity it has. What you wrote about your friend Abdul's questions on why Trump is doing what he has done. You are right that is all Trump can do. He wanted to win the presidency so bad he sold his soul to KKK, Nazi right wingers, corrupt politicians and CEOS and rascist citizens. He has generals in place in his cabinet to be ready to start a war. Bannon is in charge and he wants war against Muslims as Hitler did the wage war against the jews. It is not jews mostly this time but Muslims who are the victims. It is a repeat now of the 30s. I only hope that the good people will rise and fill the streets when they see and hear about this Trump hatred. So many were not aware in the 30s but now we have cyber communications to bring the truth to all. I hope we can keep it. And keep protests in the streets. There are more of us than them. Up in my north Ontario we are mostly white. we have a Syrian refugee family that were welcomed in our area last year. Last night There was a candle vigil for QC victims at the local centapah and Saturday there will be a prayer service. Most CANADIANS CARE. We must keep caring. I will not go to the USA now. It is not the USA I know. It is Trump land. LAND OF HATRED.

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