Sunday, Apr 30, 2017

Crisis: On Trump's First 100 Days - Four Views

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Laugh at Donald Trump’s 100-Day

Fact-Checking President Trump Through His First 100 Days
3. Watchdogs: Trump's Disastrous 100 Days Fueling "Golden Era
     of Activism"

Donald Trump and the Erosion of American Democracy

This is a Nederlog of Sunday
, April 30, 2017.

Summary: This is a
crisis log with four items and four links. It so happens all items are about Trump's first 100 days, and I have kept this Nederlog brief: Item 1 is from The Intercept; item 2 is from the NYT and is an interesting review of over 91 of Trump's lies; item 3 is about a decent article on Common Dreams; and item 4 is about an also decent article on Spiegel International.

One reason to keep this brief is that it is - at long last - decent weather in Amsterdam,
and I am going out in the afternoon.
April 30: As to the updating problem: The Danish site was again on time today. The Dutch site is still running behind at April 26. They did it well from 1996 till 2015, updating within minutes at most. I think they totally stopped doing this to limit the readings of my site. I think (but I don't know anything whatsoever about "xs4all") they now update once a week, which means that they are - for me - over 10,000 times worse than they were between 1996 and 2015.

These horrors happen now for the 16th month in succession. And they happen on purpose, because it is extremely simple to do this properly, and it was done properly from 1996 till late in 2015. (If you want these horrors, then sign in with "xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them like the plague.)

And I have to add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others I have NO idea AT ALL: It may be December 31, 2015. (Xs4all wants  immediate payment if you are a week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying my site now for over a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Laugh at Donald Trump’s 100-Day Faceplant

The first article today is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept:

This is from near the beginning:

Yet both Obama and Trump vaulted over everyone and everything into the White House. Tens of millions of Americans were willing to place their lives in the hands of political anomalies whose central pitch was that they would deliver profound change. The rise of Bernie Sanders, who’s proven that you can become the most popular politician in the country without owning a comb, demonstrates the same thing.

What does this mean?

I’d say it means that something has gone incredibly wrong with this country’s political system, that large numbers of us are desperate, and are willing to hand over power to absolutely anyone.
One of the points here, taken up in the next quotation, is that both Obama and Trump are incredible liars and deceivers, and I agree with this.

Then again, I do not know whether I agree with the last point, in part because "
incredibly wrong" is hardly a diagnosis; in part because I have seen only frauds and deceivers as American presidents since Reagan, for Bill Cliton also was liar and a deceiver; in part because 9/11 made a considerable political and legal difference, but isn't mentioned; and in part because I don't quite believe that Americans are so desperate that they "are willing to hand over power to absolutely anyone", although I agree very many are quite capable of being royally deceived.

Here are some of the reasons why Obama was a liar and a deceiver, and the same holds for Trump:

Obama said American healthcare was in crisis and that “plans that tinker and halfway measures now belong to yesterday.” Obama was also outraged by pharmaceutical companies gouging Medicare.

According to Trump, “People all across the country are devastated” by the healthcare system, but if we put him in charge, “Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” Trump was also infuriated by Big Pharma and just like Obama vowed to crush them.

Yet Obama delivered a halfway measure that tinkered with the problem, and never went after drug manufacturers. Trump is now poised to give America … literally the same thing.

Obama called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake” in 2008. In 2016 Trump said NAFTA had caused “devastation” and was “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed.” But Obama didn’t renegotiate NAFTA. Trump just announced he’s not going to pull out of it, and it seems clear the odds of any real renegotiation are slim.

Obama attacked Wall Street, and so did Trump. Both then stocked their administrations with bankers.

Yes indeed, and these are only a small part of their many deceptions (and as I said above: both Bushes, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan also were major deceivers).

Here is the last bit I am going to quote from this article:

If left unaddressed, the anguish that Americans demonstrated by voting for both Obama and Trump will not evaporate. I once believed there could never be a worse, lazier, more frightening president than Ronald Reagan. Then I was sure of the same thing about George W. Bush. Now I’ve learned my lesson. We have to get busy creating a place for this country’s anger and despair to be used constructively, or it will eventually birth something even worse than Trump.

What happens to an American dream deferred? We lucked out once when it elected Obama. We may survive it electing Trump. But if we keep deferring it, it is absolutely certain that one day it’s going to explode and take the whole world with it.

Hm. I certainly don't think it makes sense to try "to get busy creating a place for this country’s anger and despair to be used constructively": How would you do that?

But I do - more or less - agree that if the Americans continue to be deceived about the real qualities of their presidents, and keep falling for their propaganda, their lies and their deceptions, then the probability is that "one day it’s going to explode and take the whole world with it".

2. Fact-Checking President Trump Through His First 100 Days

The second article is by Linda Qiu on The New York Times:
This starts as follows:

In his first 100 days in office, President Trump has falsely boasted of attracting the largest inaugural crowd ever, cited a nonexistent terrorist attack in Sweden and leveled an unproved accusation that his predecessor spied on him.

While these inaccuracies have commanded much attention, there has been a steady stream of falsehoods.

The Times has logged at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days (Saturday is Day 100). On five days, Mr. Trump went golfing, and on two he made limited public statements. Here’s an assessment.

And indeed this is precisely what the article does: It lists 91 lies that Trump made on 91 days of his presidency.

Here are three of the 91 lies:

Jan. 25

“You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion.”

I will not explain why this is a lie, nor will I do this for the following one:

Feb. 6

“It’s gotten to a point where it (terrorism) is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.”

And here is the last lie that I'll quote, that comes with a brief comment by Linda Qiu:

Feb. 7

“And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.”

Mr. Trump inaccurately described the trend in the murder rate, which was much higher in the 1990s.

There are 88 more lies in this article, and I think it is well worth glancing at, if only because few will remember many of the lies: This is a recommended article.

3. Watchdogs: Trump's Disastrous 100 Days Fueling "Golden Era of Activism"

The third article is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows (and is the first of two more serious articles on Trump's first 100 days):

Some of the nation's leading watchdog groups released reports this week taking stock of President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office, covering everything from his failure to "drain the swamp" to the resistance movement meeting his administration head-on.

The consensus seems to be that Trump and his administration are doing everything they can to dismantle recent progress on civil rights, climate action, government accountability, and other critical measures for democracy—but in doing so, have ushered in a game-changing era of grassroots activism.

Yes, I think that may be adequate, although I am - still - somewhat skeptical about the "game-changing era of grassroots activism" (for this is at present, at least as regards the "game-changing" more a wish than a reality).

Here are some further reactions of some groups. First CREW:

Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), which has sued the president over his conflicts of interest, released its report Friday, detailing "the ethical failings of both the president and his staff."

"President Trump promised to 'drain the swamp,' but instead the first 100 days of his administration have illustrated the catastrophic consequences when a president fails to prioritize ethics when entering public service," CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder said. "This failure of leadership resounds through the administration and the government as a whole, and ultimately harms our democracy and the interests of the American people.”

Hm. I more or less agree, but don't think that is very strong. Next, there is the Leadership Coalition for Civil and Human Rights:

Then there was the Leadership Coalition for Civil and Human Rights, which said Trump's first 100 days were marked by his "utter contempt for the protection of civil rights and civil liberties, especially for marginalized communities."

That seems mostly correct. And this is Environment America:

Maggie Alt, executive director for Environment America: "There is no question, President Trump is a disaster for our environment and public health. His actions will make our air and water dirtier; ensure we experience the worst effects of climate change even more swiftly; and will put at risk our oceans and national parks."

Yes indeed. Finally, here is the ACLU:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has been fighting the president's immigration and travel bans, among other measures, released two reports Wednesday entitled "100 Days of Failure" and "100 Days of Resistance."

"In his first 100 days, Donald Trump has accomplished only one thing that is remarkable—he's awoken American democracy like never before and reminded us all that it's 'We the People' who truly govern," said ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero. "As Trump's 100th day in office approaches, it is clear that resistance to his unconstitutional and un-American policies is everywhere."

"It is broad, deep, and intersectional, breaking barriers across class, gender, race, and even political and party lines, as some conservatives cast their opposition to Trump," Romero said. "If sustained, this golden era of citizen activism may indeed be one of President Trump's greatest legacies—albeit unwittingly."

I mostly agree, and indeed also with the phrase "If sustained". And this is a recommended article.

4. Donald Trump and the Erosion of American Democracy

The fourth and last article today is by Christoph Scheuermann on Spiegel International:

This is from near the beginning:

Trump has never made a secret of his intense disdain for the institutions that are necessary for a vigorous democracy: an independent judiciary, a critical press and a healthy opposition. Essentially, Trump would be happy to do away with all of that, or at least marginalize it. Following the ruling from San Francisco, he indicated that he is broadly dissatisfied with the federal judges there and threatened to curtail their power.

The president's anger with people who contradict him and institutions that stand in his way does not fade with time. On the contrary, the more resistance Trump is faced with, the harder he fights and the more deeply he believes that he is right. But in a democracy, it is necessary to establish alliances and build coalitions. The president, too, must defer to these constraints: He is reliant on Congress, his power over the states is limited and judges are independent.

Democracy lives from the ability to forge compromise, but that is a skill that Trump appears not to possess. As such, his first 100 days in office can be interpreted as an attack on the foundations of American democracy.

I more or less agree. And here is more on the real values of Trump:

The president's priorities were revealed particularly transparently in the tax plan that he presented Wednesday. The heart of the tax-code overhaul is a cut to the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to just 15 percent. It also calls for the elimination of the inheritance tax in addition to income tax cuts. Together, the cuts would cost the state $2 trillion in tax revenue every year -- an enormous hit to the budget for a tax reform that primarily benefits the rich. People like Trump and his family.

Incidentally, this is indeed a - quite crazy - plan: Whether it will pass the Senate remains to be seen.

This is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:

Trump is a president who has broken with democratic norms. He casts doubts on the legitimacy of Barack Obama's presidency and demanded during the campaign that Hillary Clinton be locked up. After the election, he made accusations of vote manipulation, saying millions of immigrants living in the country illegally had cast votes despite having no right to do so. He never offered proof for the allegations.

He has also inflicted wounds on democracy by regularly doing the exact opposite of what he promised during the campaign. The faith of the electorate in their political leaders, which was already low, will likely sink further -- and the desire for a strong ruler, who will impose his will on the system, will grow.

The first 100 days have revealed an immoral president without a plan, an unpoised leader with no interest in the political process. It seems unlikely that Trump will impose a state of emergency or strive for single-party rule: The U.S., after all, isn't Turkey or Venezuela. But he has set in motion the internal erosion of democracy and is taking advantage of its weaknesses. As such, the only hope lies in his own incompetence.

Again I more or less agree, and this is a recommended article in which there is considerable more than was quoted or mentioned here.


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