Friday, April 14, 2017

WTF? Our New Mantra


As it turns out, there’s been a collective WTF? momentum that has only been increasing since the election. Every time I thought about writing a new post, another news report, Tweet, gaffe, appointment, executive order, or act on the part of Congress has put the sane among us into a tailspin of incredulity.

The election post mortem shows that the dumbing down of America has reached its apex. Trump’s election was sealed was by white, male high school graduates from the rust-belt states, and apparently, their beholden women. Appallingly, 52 percent of white women and 61 percent of white women without a college education voted for him. The Democrats obviously underestimated that voting block. Political correctness is gone. Trump’s disparaging attitudes has given permission for the bad behavior and misogyny associated with that lower socio-economic mentality.  
Can this be happening? Can so much be unraveled so quickly? Every single appointment made by this individual masquerading as our president (I can’t even bear to capitalize the title or use it with his name) is antithetical to the mission of the cabinet or agency he (for the most part) is supposed to be serving. Draining the swamp? He has only succeeded in filling to overflow. Those who have been appointed, that is; 500-plus jobs remain to be filled.

The list of misdeeds grows by the day. His ineptitude and lack of diplomacy in interactions with our foreign counterparts. The Muslim travel ban times two. The exhorbitant trips back and forth to the “winter” White House. His blatant lies. His refusal to disengage from his financial interests and release his tax information. His nepotism, appointing his daughter and son-in-law to positions they have no experience with. Rolling back consumer and environmental protections.

The various investigations concerning his and his coherts’ ties to Russia are moving at glacial speed. The House of Representatives is mired is a p*ssing contest between conservatives and ultra-conservatives (Freedom Caucus) attempting to create policies that strip their electorates of basic services, including a failed health care replacement that was roundly condemned and finally defeated. Government agencies charged with protecting the environment and wildlife are being eviscerated.

Of course, the House jumped right up to “investigate” his baseless claims of wiretapping. **Crickets** there.

The Senate, despite some valiant attempts on the part of Democrats (who really need to get their act together), approved a Supreme Court judge who is in bed with corporate interests and will deny women’s constitutional rights. The Senate, thanks to marble-mouthed turtle Mitch McConnell, effectively gave the finger to a well qualified, moderate candidate proposed by Obama – just because they could.

Each day, the likes of the Washington Post and New York Times (“fake” news) uncover a new report connecting the administration to nefarious dealings.

While I believe they and others have done a good job of uncovering this information, I blame them for fueling Trump in the first place. He moved from the entertainment pages to the front pages, in part due to the incredulity factor. Of course, all the attention fueled the flames of his ego and gave his permission to say (and Tweet) even more outrageous things.

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich in his Resistance Reports has stated five grounds under which Trump can be impeached: (1) in taking the oath to faithfully execute the laws of the US, he’s violated Article 2, Section 2 by accusing Obama of wiretapping without evidence; (2) violation of the First Amendment concerning laws banning freedom of religion by enacting the Muslim travel ban, and (3) freedom of expression by stating that the press is the enemy, favoring only the “friendly” ones; (4) Article 3, Section 3, treason if he did provide “aid and comfort” to Russia; (5) Article 1, Section 9, the emoluments clause, which states that no official can take anything of value from a foreign government, points to pushing stays at the Trump International Hotel and the granting of 38 Trump-related trademarks by China.

Unfortunately, even Reich says that our best option is to flip the House in the 2018 mid-term election (24 seats need to be won), adding that the House needs to have the political will to challenge him, but it won’t.

Speaking of flipping

Trump’s approval ratings keep sinking; most recently it’s around 40 percent, a bit of an uptick, it seems from the Syrian retaliation. (Reports claim that Trump has investments in the company that manufactured the Tomahawk missiles used in the attack.)

Protests since the inauguration have been continuous as seen in the Women’s March the week after, the spontaneous protests in airports after the first travel ban, the confrontational town meetings in response to the Republicans’ version of the health care bill, and the upcoming Tax Day March on April 15, the March for Science on April 22 (Earth Day), and the People’s Climate March on April 29, the 100th day of the so-called administration.

The Indivisible Guide, a plan of action created by Congressional aides, has laid out plans of action at the grassroots level.

Despite his bluster, Trump’s successes have been few: several of his appointments have crashed and burned – Gen. John Kelly, most notably. Alt-Right King Steve Bannon was booted down a notch from his cozy place on the Security Council. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who bears a remarkable resemblance to Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies and sounds like her, too) and GOP Rep. Devin Nunes have had to recuse themselves because of the Russian investigations. Others were approved after much bickering.

In terms of executive orders and legislation, two swipes at his much-touted travel ban have tanked and the much-lauded GOP version of healthcare failed in part because the “Freedom Caucus” (the new incarnation of the Tea Party) believed it did not sufficiently screw consumers. Trump brushed it aside and says he’s moving on to tax reform. That was until the Syrian gas attack caught his attention and Congress ran off to recess (where hopefully their electorate will again hold their asses to the flames). Add to the mix: Saber-rattling on the part of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who is as much of a loose cannon as Trump. And the dropping of MOAB in Afganistan – compensation for his small hands and small dick. So, whio’s buying green bananas these days?

Petitions and requests for donations from organizations such as Credo, MoveOn, NARAL, People for the American Way, and Planned Parenthood, along with local politicians fighting the Trump agenda flood our inboxes. Our social media feeds have a steady stream of revealing articles that alternately enlighten and outrage. This is where you really need to check your sources. Forbes has a list of credible media outlets. Bill Moyers has posted a list of investigative reporting outlets to follow.  

We’ve called our Congressional peeps, emailed, marched, Tweeted, Facebooked, and donated. Many of us who previously watched the news with eyes half-closed are viewing Rachel Maddow and company with eyes wide open and suffering sleepless nights as a result. Shrinks and social workers have seen the fallout among their clients. My local NPR station devoted an entire program to the stress resulting from the election.

Bridging on the collective WTF? momentum is a pithy newsletter – “What the Fuck Just Happened Today?” – chronicling the daily list of apropos moments. I wish I could say they copped the titled from my post-election post, but I can say with confidence that it’s become a mantra among those of us coping with this new reality.    

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