Friday, January 27, 2017

Nothing Is Unbelievable Now

The word “unbelievable” is obsolete now that Trump is president. Any horrible thing you can imagine someone in government doing or saying is believable now. Trump's appointments and actions seem calculated to hurt the most people possible, especially if they are brown, female, or immigrants. Some of this is ideological but most of it seems more like mean-spirited bullying, a Trump specialty. It doesn't seem that these actions actually HELP anyone, not even Trump's misguided yet hopeful supporters, but he's fulfilling his wild campaign promises, so his fans are like, “hell yeah!” Many of Trump's actions will end up hurting his supporters much more than they will educated know-it-all liberals like me.

But to see this requires accepting facts and sometimes complicated reasoning. Take for example building a wall with Mexico and (maybe) imposing 20% import tariffs on goods from Mexico to “force them to pay for it.” This will raise prices on many goods for Americans (including vegetables and fruits) and probably cost jobs in industries that rely on imported parts. We could have a trade war. Americans will pay for the wall through higher prices and job losses. It will also damage the Mexican economy which will likely increase illegal immigration regardless of any wall.

As was the case during the campaign, there's such a flurry of batshit-crazy "alternative facts" coming out of Trump and his cronies that it's hard to keep it all in focus. And it's only been one week! This is all bad, but it's just the tip of the iceberg because he is also saying and doing scary things in the international arena, like saying again that we "should have kept the oil" in Iraq, and maybe we will get another chance. Statements like this are lighting up social media in the Arab world and putting at even greater risk the thousands of military personnel we still have in place helping our Iraqi allies to fight ISIS. And as Trump has been so fond of saying about others, there is clearly "something going on" with Russia to explain why he has criticized everyone from the US intelligence community to John Lewis to Meryl Streep -- but never Vladimir Putin.

Here are a few other examples just from today's NY Times.

Gail Collins suggests that Trump actually has no strong views on abortion and women's rights (or perhaps on anything but himself) but that he's just following Pence's toxic anti-woman agenda on this. He's a puppet for both Putin and Pence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/opinion/mike-pence-pulls-president-trumps-strings.html

Nicholas Kristoff points out that the stupid lies about inauguration crowd sizes and nonexistent electoral fraud are acting as a smokescreen for real damage caused by early actions like the abortion “gag rule” that blocks US foreign aid to any care-providing organization that even discusses abortion. This goes farther than gag rules from earlier presidents in that it will apply to all health services, including for example efforts to combat the Zika virus. Direct US funding of abortions is already banned, but this expanded policy will kill poor women in places like Africa and lead to more abortions. But Pence and Trump won't see or care.

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/opinion/president-trumps-war-on-women-begins.html

Charles Blow focuses on Trump's use of lies and criticism of the press to try to control all narratives, supplying “alternate facts” when the truth is too inconvenient, as it usually is. In addition to this, the Trump team is blocking US government agencies that deal with science from using social media and removing references to climate change from government websites. Charles Blow writes in part:

[Trump] is in fact having a running war with the truth itself.

Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged.

Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science.

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/opinion/a-lie-by-any-other-name.html

Welcome to 1984.

The cartoon by Nomi Kane is from The Nib, a great political cartoon site:

https://thenib.com/an-embarrassment-of-leaks

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Two excellent treatises of yours, back-to-back. Too bad that Trump is so "inspirational." - Craig