Media (445)

 

Trump versus the Majority

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Almost a week after Mike Pence declared that the federal government had made ‘remarkable progress’ in fighting the corona virus ‘under the leadership of Donald Trump,’ at a briefing by the Corona Task Force where Dr. Anthony Fauci was barely allowed to talk after having been muzzled for weeks, that same Dr. Fauci testified in the Senate that he is ‘very concerned’ about the surging pandemic and fears that the number of daily new COVID-19 cases will soon rise to 100,000. Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, who are not as self-destructive as the president, issued strong statements in favor of wearing masks, something Trump still refuses to do, and governors in southern and western states reversed decisions about opening bars, allowing indoor dining and access to beaches.  Meanwhile the EU blocked entrance to Europe for travelers from the US, and some eastern states imposed two weeks of quarantine on travelers coming from states where the virus is raging.  And with Americans getting infected in record numbers the administration is still trying to get Obamacare repealed, without an alternative for the 24 million potential victims of that action.

The corona crisis is only one of three areas where Trump has positioned himself in opposition to the interests and convictions of a significant majority of the American people.  While the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has swollen to a social giant and is crying out for racial justice the US President has presented himself as the main defender of confederate traitors and their statues.  To make crystal clear where he stands Trump re-tweeted a video in which the chant ‘white power’ was prominently featured. Even more outrageous was the news that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban for killing American soldiers and that the president must have been aware of it at least since February 2020, when the information was included in his daily security briefing, but should have known since March 2019, when he was briefed about it by John Bolton.  The White House initially lied that Trump had not been briefed, which produced all kinds of speculation about  his allegiance to Putin, and is still scrambling to explain why the only action by ‘the most informed person on the planet Earth with regards to threats to the US’ had been inviting his Russian idol to the G7.  

As insane as it seems that the president would run on issues that are rejected by a large majority of the voters there is some logic to it.  Trump knows that he cannot expand his base beyond its hard core of non-college white males and hangers-on, so his only option is to deepen that core by mobilizing deplorables who for whatever reason have not voted for him in 2016.  That strategy can only work if it is complemented by so much voter suppression in battleground states that it opens a narrow path to an Electoral College majority, hence Trump’s ranting against voting by mail.

Next to the information about the Commander-in-Chief’s betrayal of his own troops a record became public of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders, Putin and Erdogan most prominently among them.  The president’s preference for authoritarian strongmen is well known, but easy access to him for the Turkish leader and his slavish attitude towards his Russian handler still raise the question what leverage they have over Trump, who thuggishly called Theresa May ‘a fool’ and Angela Merkel ‘stupid.’

Finally, the question is in order if Trump is trying to kill off Mike Pence before the November election, so that Nikki Haley can still take his place.  First the vice president was sent to a church in Dallas, where a large choir happily spread the virus by singing Christian hymns, and today he is in Phoenix, another corona hotspot.  It may be one more of Jared Kushner’s changes to Trump’s re-election campaign.


Ga HIER naar toe voor alle afleveringen

 

Trump versus the Pandemic

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Donald Trump cannot get over the fact that the corona virus took away the best economy and unemployment rate ever, and therefore he is desperately running against the COVID pandemic.  If the president had the ability to listen to experts like Dr. Fauci, who warned the Congress that there is a ‘disturbing surge’ going on and strongly advocated wearing masks, social distancing, more testing and  tracking, he would realize that he’s only strengthening his viral opponent.  Instead, Trump only hears voices in his head telling him that the virus will ‘fade away.’  So he doesn’t wear a mask, setting a terrible example, and dragged 6,200 of his dumbest deplorables into a Tulsa arena after six members of his advance team had already contracted the virus there, while two members of his campaign staff got infected during the event.  The ‘highlight’ of Trump’s rambling speech was his mentioning that he had told ‘his people’ to bring down the testing, a blunder his press secretary tried to clean up by suggesting that it had been a tongue-in-cheek remark, until the president threw her under the bus and told the press that he was not kidding.

After a midnight return to the White House, looking like a golfer who had just badly missed the cut in a major and wondering why his other 62,800 expected fans had betrayed him, Trump gave himself a rematch in Phoenix, Arizona, where the pandemic is surging even more than in Tulsa.  This time the location was a closed mega-church and his audience consisted of 3,000 students, not likely to die from COVID-19 but perfectly capable of bringing the virus home and killing grandma.   Before the rally the president visited ‘The Wall,’ of which by now 216 miles have replaced already existing barriers and a total of 4 new miles have been constructed.  Trump claimed that the wall helps keeping the virus out of the US, although based on the number of cases in each country it is more likely that it keeps the virus out of Mexico.  With a second large ‘superspreader’ event in four days the president gave the pandemic a serious boost, of which the results will be visible in two or three weeks.  And as Dr. Fauci explained that the first wave is still out of control, non-scientists Mike Pence and Larry Kudlow proclaimed that there won’t be a second wave.

Other than horsing around the country attacking the pandemic like Don Quijote once attacked windmills and with similar results, Trump found time to manipulate the legal system by trying to replace the US Attorney in charge of investigating Rudi Giuliani and various Trump ventures in New York City with a completely unqualified stooge.  The attempt largely failed after AG Barr made a total ass of himself, and in testimony to Congress it was revealed that undue pressure was put on DoJ prosecutors to give Roger Stone a pass, bringing the US closer to banana republic status.

While the president is tasting the carpet in the Oval Office, losing his battle with the ‘invisible enemy,’ his real opponent, Joe Biden, is slowly making himself more visible, but in such a way that Trump cannot touch him.  Biden’s campaign offers a reminder of Mohamed Ali’s ‘rope-a-dope,’ when George Foreman punched himself out of breath until Ali knocked him down, with the difference that Foreman landed some serious body  blows while Trump is only swinging in the air.

And after John Bolton was allowed to publish a book picturing Trump as a lazy, self-centered, ignorant buffoon, the next title, ‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Produced the World’s Most Dangerous Man,’ is ready to roll off the presses.  The author, Mary Trump, is being sued by her uncle, Trump’s brother Robert, because there is an NDA, so it’s unclear if the book will see the light of day.


Ga HIER naar toe voor alle afleveringen

 

Dull as Dishwater

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

That is how Malcolm Nance characterized Trump’s commencement speech at West Point, for which over 1000 graduates had to come back to campus and stay in quarantine for two weeks.  Trump only left the teleprompter three times, each time to mention that he had attended the Army-Navy game, redundantly emphasizing that it was all about him.  And at a time when the whole country was crying out for change the president came up with the following reactionary doozy: ‘when times are turbulent and the road is rough, what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring and eternal.’ So much for change, and that became even clearer when Trump signed an executive order prohibiting chokeholds, unless an officer fears that his life is at risk, which is the biggest loophole since companies like Shake Shack were allowed to receive pandemic relief money meant for small businesses.  After delivering his address Trump had trouble getting down a ramp, prompting speculation about his physical condition, which led him to tweet that the ramp had been slippery but that he broke a world record on the last 10 feet.

The White House event where the president signed the executive order was a bag of mainly bad intentions.  Families of some of the victims of racist police violence had been invited and briefly met with Trump but did not attend the signing, where they would have been out of place among the white law enforcement officials headed by the inevitable Bill Barr.  Only the uninformed attendees wore face masks, as Trump’s cockamamie idea that it’s better to die of COVID-19 than to sacrifice an inch of one’s masculinity appeared to gain traction in his inner circle.  His base will be tested on that same conviction in Tulsa on June 20, when the president intends to have an indoor rally with 19,000 attendees and an additional 40,000 deplorables in an overflow area, in spite of a rapid rise of COVID cases in Oklahoma.  Face masks will be distributed but don’t have to be worn.  Experts fear that the event will be a corona virus ‘superspreader,’ but Trump has not spoken with Dr. Fauci in two weeks and made clear that he has no need for scientists, saying ‘if we’d stop testing now we’d have very few new cases,’ an opinion that was immediately echoed by Mike Pence.

Meanwhile the president who doesn’t read is under attack from the publishing business.  First there is a book about Melania’s art of the deal, describing how she renegotiated her prenuptial with moving into the White House as leverage, then there is an upcoming book by Mary Trump, revealing how she helped the New York Times unravel her uncle’s nefarious financial history and adding some more dirty laundry, and finally there is John Bolton’s ‘tell all’ book about his time as National Security Advisor that Trump is desperately trying to keep out of the bookstores.

The president’s legal action is an exercise in futility, however, because the book has already been leaked to the press, so it’s now common knowledge that Trump asked Xi Jinping to help with his re-election and approved of China’s building concentration camps for Uighurs.  Additionally, the president’s ignorance about Great Britain’s being a nuclear power is matched by his geo-political insight that Finland is part of Russia, and his opinion that some journalists should be executed.

After a week in which there were suggestions that Trump might not even run for re-election because of his tanking poll numbers he showed some surprising flexibility, by calling a SCOTUS decision in favor of the LGBTQIA community ‘very powerful’ and saying that he ‘would love’ to see Colin Kaepernick play football again.  It will be a real shocker if he repeats those things in Tulsa.

 

Ga HIER naar toe voor alle afleveringen


 

An Overtly Racist Campaign

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

 The last two weeks, as the rage about the murder of George Floyd overtook the country, some members of Trump’s inner staff were musing about the possibility that the president would give an all-inclusive speech, acknowledging the pain of the protesters and suggesting first steps towards national healing, as would be expected from the US President in these circumstances. Stephen Miller would write the speech, which was tentatively characterized as a ‘holistic revitalization and recovery,’ and it should have been a piece of cake for him because he only had to make sure that every sentence said something opposite to what he actually believes.  However, the plan faded, not because Miller lacked flexibility but because Trump could never have convincingly read the text off the teleprompter.  After a clumsy and rude attempt to enlist Floyd for his own cause, by claiming that ‘George would be very happy’ about the new unemployment numbers, the president spent most of the time leading up to Floyd’s funeral acting like a crazy old man at the end of a bar, tweeting ‘LAW AND ORDER,’ and ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.’    

On the day of Floyd’s funeral Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory, promoted by the neo-fascist cable channel OANN, that the 75 year old white activist in Buffalo who had been pushed by the local police and made fall backwards, cracking his skull, and who had subsequently been left bleeding on the pavement by the officers, was an ‘antifa provocateur’ who was trying to jam the police scanners.  Of course no other equipment than a cell phone was found at the scene and the whole story itself was a provocation, but the fact that the president jumped at it shows where his head is at, and that is not surprising.  After a lifetime of overt racism, starting with refusing to rent apartments to black tenants, followed by having black employees whisked off the Atlantic City casino floors when Trump, the owner, came visiting, then an aggressive campaign for the death penalty for the ‘Central Park Five’ and his refusal to accept their eventual exoneration by the legal system, and eventually his ‘birtherism,’ meant to undermine the legitimacy of the first black president, it can only be expected that from now on Trump will be more racist than ever.

A first sign is the choice of date and location of his first mass rally after the country ‘opened up,’ June 19th and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  On that same day in 1921 and in that same place some of the worst race riots in US history took place and over 300 black Americans were killed.  The day is known as ‘Juneteenth,’ a holiday to celebrate the end of slavery, which is commemorated as an alternative independence day by the black community.  Trump’s choice of Tulsa and June 19th is a direct provocation that makes clear that from now on for him the 2020 campaign is a race war.

On another front Trump is fighting the military leadership that would be willing to rename forts named for confederate generals but ran into a veto from the president, who tweeted that those names reflect ‘a Great American Heritage, a history of Winning, Victory and Freedom.’  It is not surprising that the president, who doesn’t know more about US history than a kindergartner, is not aware that those generals were primarily losers, but he should at least have known that they were traitors in their days.

As for fighting the COVID pandemic, Trump made a contribution by visiting a swab factory of which that day’s production had to be destroyed because he didn’t wear a mask.  Referring to the fact that he had called himself a ‘wartime president’ one observer noted that Trump’s attitude is equivalent to George Washington taking a long vacation after crossing the Delaware.


Ga HIER naar toe voor alle afleveringen

 

Trump Fans the Flames

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

When historians look back on this week they’ll hopefully say that we saw the final convulsions of Trump’s presidency, mostly due to the president’s unequaled ability to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, as Abba Eban once described Palestinian strategies.  With a black man brutally murdered by the police and millions of Americans having lost their livelihoods almost any politician would have understood that only two interventions had a chance to ward off major social unrest: an immediate expansion of the safety net and drastic measures to reign in police violence.  But Donald Trump didn’t see it that way. He tweeted ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts,’ announced a MAGA night at the White House for which nobody showed up, so that he  and Melania had to hide in the basement, threatened peaceful demonstrators with ‘vicious dogs’ and ‘ominous weapons,’ said that ‘MAGA loves black people,’ in spite of the confederate flags, attacked the DC major and lied that her police didn’t protect him, which had to be denied by his own Secret Service, and called the family of the murdered man without even letting them talk.

In November Trump wants to run on a Law and Order platform, and for that he needs unrest in the streets, but not so much and not so early.  That strategy might have worked  if the president could project firm control over events that threaten the American people, but instead he only attempts to project power over the American people, as was evidenced by his statement that he was going to activate Attorney General Barr ‘very strongly’ and that he was also going to activate the US military.  For the latter move he needs to invoke the 1807 ‘Insurrection Act’ and get cooperation from the governors, who first have to ask for military pressure before Trump’s legions can march in, and whom he therefore literally begged to start ‘dominating’ the citizens of their states.  On this Trump is already backtracking because it doesn’t look like he’ll get a request for military assistance from even the most reactionary governor, and the cooperation from the military is even more wanting.  Former Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Mullen and former Defense Secretary Mattis have criticized Trump, as has current Defense Secretary Esper.

The only military leader Trump has been able to drag into his poisonous web is the current Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff General Milley, who as a good lapdog put on his battle fatigues and marched with the president and Barr to St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House, where Trump, after peaceful demonstrators had been violently removed with teargas, could have a photo-op holding a bible upside down and pretending to be Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments.  Even some Evangelicals may have questioned his sincerity.

Just before the commotion started the president found time to conduct basic foreign policy, from the beginning of his presidency his very strength, and after he had announced the elimination of the special status of Hong Kong as a trade partner he invited G7 leaders for a meeting at Camp David, offering them an opportunity to renew their friendship with Vladimir Putin.  It was too much of an honor for Angela Merckel, who said ‘nein, danke’ and won’t show up.

By now most people have already forgotten that Trump finally revealed the reason for his opposition to voting by mail.  It’s not the adult voters who commit fraud, but their children, who have a habit of stealing the ballots from mail boxes.  Voting Committee Members all over the country can hardly forgive themselves for having overlooked such an obvious illicit scheme.


Ga HIER naar toe voor alle afleveringen


 

Subcategories