Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Listicle of Trump News, To Mess Up Your Day

The only mentally sound way to read news about Trump is as a form gallows humor.  It would be perfect if we were watching the end of the Western liberal coalition from another planet while drinking beer and munching on popcorn.

1.  Speaking of beer, Trump's tariffs on aluminum will be paid by those who drink beer in the US:

Tariffs on aluminum used for beer cans “does kind of hit home” in Wisconsin, Sensenbrenner said.
American brewers fill and sell about 36 billion aluminum cans and bottles per year. Those cans hold 62 percent of the beer volume sold in the U.S., according to the Beer Institute that represents the industry.
Aluminum cans are the single largest cost in U.S. beer production, according to an analysis from the economic research firm John Dunham & Associates.
“The aluminum tariff is a tax on beer and will have severe consequences for brewers,” John Dunham said.
Beer drinkers will “ultimately” bear the cost of it, he said.
Hilarious, and so is the rest of that linked article, talking about the great costs of Trump's tariff policies to rural America.  That, my sweet friends, is where Trump's base is located.*

2.  On Fox&Friends (a right-wing show), the host of the program, Abby Huntsman, let her Freudian slip show while talking about the North Korea summit:

“Anthony, talk to us about this moment,” she said, turning to Scaramucci. “This is history. We are living — regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators — what we are seeing right now, this is historic.”
Bolds are mine.  Huntsman later apologized for her mistake.

It should have been two warlords meeting...

3.  Trump is the first US president since 1941 not to name a science advisor.  He is going to a meeting about nuclear weapons without someone who understands nuclear weapons.  What could possibly go wrong?

“You need to have an empowered senior science adviser at the table,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who led negotiations with India over a civilian nuclear deal during the George W. Bush administration. “You can be sure the other side will have that.” 
The Trump administration does not care for science, both, because Trump thinks he already knows everything (the Dunning-Kruger effect) and because environmental science, in particular, shows that the Republican views about climate change are wrong.

The joke here is that Trump will be armed with nothing but his infinite arrogance while the other side has all the information at their fingertips.   The joke on us is that he is negotiating on our behalf.

4.  Trump may decide that he doesn't need a science advisor, but he may just be the first president with the need to appoint the taper-of-torn-papers-together advisor.  This is needed, because Trump rips up papers:

Former staffers handling records management for the White House told Politico that they were tasked with taping the paper scraps together to ensure that the administration did not violate legal requirements to preserve presidential records.
I'm seeing all those aides crawling under his desk, picking up scraps of paper with tweezers,  and then carefully taping them together! — This is the man over sixty million people voted for.  (At this time feel free to go and bang your head against your desk or the garage door.  I prefer the latter).

5.  Trump's primal eruptions about the G7 meeting are so wonderful.  Here he goes on about Canada's Justin Trudeau:

Just hours after leaving the G7 (Group of Seven) summit in Quebec on Saturday, President Trump abruptly retracted US support for a joint statement signed by every nation in the group and blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “meek and mild.”
Firing off tweets from aboard Air Force One, Trump said he was reversing the US position in response to Trudeau’s comments at a press conference at the end of the summit. Trudeau had pledged to impose tariffs on the US in response to Trump’s recent steel and aluminum tariffs against Canada.
“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around,’” Trump tweeted. “Very dishonest & weak.”

You decipher that.  All I get from trying to make sense of Trump's utterances is that he despises gentleness and politeness, and that those are signs of weakness for him,the strong man and warlord-to-be.

But when Trudeau talks back at him suddenly that is dishonest and weak!

We should keep in mind that for Trump the meaning of "lies" or "dishonesty" is anything he doesn't like, and all his adversaries are, by definition, weak.

I never thought I'd be allowed to live through an era when something like the G7 meeting is just a delicious clown circus!  How lucky I have been.

Here's the iconic picture, which you have already seen.  But note how the most assertive posture in the picture is Angela Merkel's forward leaning one, and note how she stands out, partly for being female.  Then note how Trump is the only one sitting with his arms protectively folded and his shoulders rounded.  Also note Bolton's protective stance.

The end of the Western alliance!  What's not to like (unless you care for human rights and democracy)**?  Putin will love this, as he will love everything Trump said about the G7 meeting.


So here is my listicle for today!  It has the disadvantage of not being short and easy to write and for being really depressing to read.  Also, from my point of view, it suffers from lack of remuneration (the link is in the left column).

But how else can I write*** about the frequent despair I feel when this planet seems to have turned on its axis and everything I optimistically thought might happen in the future (a fairer, better, more affluent world, with more space for nature and a more stable climate) might now not only happen, but could be permanently replaced by a three-ring circus?****  And this country elected the biggest clown in it.

*  I'm not happy about the suffering of the people in those areas, quite the reverse, and I know that many who live there didn't vote for Trump.  But there is a certain satisfaction when those who caused an event learn the consequences of their actions.

**  The histories of the United States and many European countries are terrible in terms of human rights and democracy, true.  But no other power bloc currently pushes for either human rights or democracy, rather the reverse.  If the influence of the Western alliance on at least the lip-service given to those concepts vanishes, what will fill the resulting vacuum?  My belief is nationalism, dictatorships and religious extremism.

***  I shouldn't write about it at all, I know, unless I can point to solutions.  The only one right now in the US is to vote in the mid-terms.  

****  The rings would be nationalism, capitalism and religious extremism.  Many of the most powerful countries are already nationalistic (Russia, China and now the US), klepto-capitalism is increasingly regarded as benign in those three countries, and religious extremism is rising in the Islamic world and has power out of the proportion of its population base in the US.

Human rights and democracy are not going to matter in that system.