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And You May Ask Yourself

December 17, 2016

And you may ask yourself

What is that beautiful house?

And you may ask yourself

Where does that highway go?

And you may ask yourself

Am I right?…Am I wrong?

And you may tell yourself

MY GOD!…WHAT HAVE I DONE?                  ­­­

–“Once in a Lifetime”, Talking Heads

Making sense of the 2016 Presidential election has been a challenge. This goes beyond the normal ebb and flow of American politics. This is a genuine point of inflection where the American experience changes direction in a dramatic way.

We have elected a man based on fevered populist rhetoric and visceral, irrational hatred of the opposing candidate. The Electoral College was designed to prevent a demagogue like Trump from becoming president. What was designed to be an emergency brake turned out, in 21st Century America, to be an accelerator.

Anything resembling principle has been replaced by partisanship and naked lust for power. The Republicans could not get enough of Clinton’s email mishap but Lt. Gen. David Petraeus was on the short list for Secretary of State, who, one would assume, had to notify his probation officer that he was leaving the state to go interview for the job. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has had his own “classified material” problem, will be our new National Security Advisor.

Mishandling classified material is not such a big deal after all, unless, of course, it was done by Hillary Clinton. Down the rabbit hole we go.

Trump promised he would “drain the swamp”, bring manufacturing jobs back and be the voice of the “little guy”.

Let’s think about bringing the manufacturing jobs back, including opening the coal mines. Trump and his supporters are peddling the false notion that the loss of American manufacturing jobs is due solely to unfair foreign trade. The fact is (to the extent that facts even matter anymore), automation, innovation and increased productivity has killed far more American manufacturing jobs than NAFTA, Mexican rapists sneaking across the border  or Chinese currency manipulation.

As a case in point, let’s turn to Trump’s first intervention into private enterprise to “save” jobs—the much-reported Carrier escapade. This was designed to be a PR stunt and to that extent, it was brilliant. But what about the substance and how did this stack up against Trump’s promises?

There are still more Carrier jobs leaving Indianapolis for Mexico than staying. The taxpayers of Indiana got shaken down to the tune of $7 million to save 850 jobs (for who knows how long?). Trump promised he would impose a 35% tariff on companies who shipped jobs overseas on those products coming back into the US markets. Does Carrier face such penalties?

Nope. And as a bonus, there is the cruel irony that even the people whose jobs the deal did not save will be paying taxes to subsidize the jobs that that were. This is not the Art of the Deal. This is Trump jangling the keys to distract the people who voted for him while he lines the pockets of the crony capitalists.

These jobs are not returning, no matter what Trump promised. Trump is not going to unplug the computers, disassemble the robots or make American manufacturing less efficient. The coal jobs are not coming back unless coal can become price-competitive with other sources of energy. Trump, for all his boasting, cannot turn back the tide of economic globalization or world commodity prices.

Turning now to “draining the swamp”, let’s see how that’s going so far.

The incoming Secretary of the Treasury made a fortune by foreclosing on people during the Republican-inspired financial collapse of 2008.

The incoming Secretary of Commerce made a fortune as a vulture capitalist closing plants and shipping jobs overseas.

The incoming Secretary of Labor made a fortune by marketing hamburger porn and wants to replace his workers with robots.

The incoming Secretary of Education has never had children in a public school, but is a billionaire and a major contributor to the Trump campaign.

And let’s not forget the incoming Secretary of State, who has no diplomatic experience, but does have experience cutting giant oil deals with Vladimir Putin.

Drain the swamp? Maybe when he said “drain” he meant “fill”. In the post-truth Age of Trump, anything is possible and language no longer has meaning.

As the oligarchs gather, who in their right minds think that this is good for the “little guy”? No, Trump is setting up a Putin-style kleptocracy that we can only presume will have Putin-style results. This crowd does not have the backs of white, blue-collar and frustrated workers.

“What is that beautiful house?” Something that we will soon not recognize.

“Where does that highway go?” Nowhere that the disenfranchised white blue collar workers think.

“Am I right?…Am I wrong?” The Trump supporters will answer this for themselves. Time will tell how long it will take them to realize they have been conned, especially when they will no longer have the jangling keys of Clinton’s email and other cheap tricks to distract them.

“MY GOD!…WHAT HAVE I DONE?” No more Obama to blame. No more Clinton to blame. No more evil libtards to blame. They will soon see that insults, falsehood and empty promises do not make for good policy.

  1. Not anonymous permalink

    I was never a Trump fan but I am and will always be a Clinton loather. The press, academia, the bureaucracy, the courts, and to some degree Congress are lined up against Trump. He won’t get away with much. Suddenly we will have oversight and scrutiny instead of blind sycophancy. The narrative remains and Trump doesn’t fit it. In the meantime I am ROTFLMAO.

  2. Not anonymous permalink

    Calm down BiGDog. It will all workout:

  3. Not anonymous permalink

    Here we are and the world hasn’t ended while a lot of left wing boobs are going crazy. Trump has never been my cup of tea but he was the only alternative so here we are.

  4. Not anonymous permalink

    So far no big misses but the left is soiling itself and then rubbing it on their faces. Looks like they have resigned themselves to being a permanent minority.

    • First of all let just say that you do not appear to have the faintest clue about the ebb and flow of American politics. Childish gloating today is just asking to eat crow tomorrow. Good luck with that.

      No big misses? Its hard to tell where to start, But let me run through just a few…

      The botched raid in Yemen where we managed to not only have our own killed and wounded but we managed to kill a bunch of civilians. ISIS thanks us.

      Flynn threatens Iran with big bluster from the WH and yet neglected to to give our forces in the region and heads up, according to CENTCOM.

      At the same time, Trump threatens Mexico with a military incursion for no apparent reason. Trump hangs up in a snit on one of our most trusted allies Australia and manages to blame Obama. Russia gets active in Ukraine again and Trump has nothing to say…while he threatens Mexico.

      Trump issues his rather illogical travel ban apparently without any legal review as it is met several Federal judges issuing injuntions against it (Trump gets sued enough personally that I thought he would know better).

      Spicer and Conway get caught in one lie after another (usually over petty stuff like how many people were at his inauguration) and now we have a new term in the political lexicon: alternative facts.

      Trump’s cabinet members have been caught in varying degrees of corruption and/or stupidity…like trading in medical device stocks while creating legislation that would help his investments, plagiarizing important documents for the confirmation and Trump replaces a Nobel winning physicist Department of Energy head with someone who has a BA in animal husbandry. And the Food Porn guy looks like he is dead in the water.

      And against this backdrop, Trump managed to hit a disapproval rating of 50%, something that it took W. three years to accomplish. But Trump, being the man of action that he is, hit that mark in just eight days.

      You are right. The trump administration is off to a perfect start. Now I will sit back and watch you twist yourself into logic pretzels trying to blame Obama.

  5. Not anonymous permalink

    if I were soaked in fake news I would probably have to agree with you.

    • Please point out anything in my reply that is fake. Snide comments are not a discussion. Keep to the merits or get lost.

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